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Yoga Cult?; President Obama Outlines Security Failures

Aired January 7, 2010 - 20:00   ET



CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Tonight, here are the questions we wanted answered.

How far is President Obama willing to go to stop terrorists?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're at war against al Qaeda. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them.

BROWN: The White House raises the stakes and lays it all on the line.

OBAMA: The buck stops with me. When the system fails, it is my responsibility.

BROWN: New details on how the Christmas Day bomber got through.

JOHN BRENNAN, U.S. DEPUTY NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The intelligence fell through the cracks.

BROWN: What will it take to stop the next terrorist from striking here at home?

Also tonight, our special investigation of Dahn Yoga. Is this nationwide chain of yoga and wellness centers a cult? Dahn says no. Some ex-employees say yes. And they claim it all comes down to money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Basically, they will suck all of the money that the person has and can borrow, without fail. They did it to every single one of my claimants.

BROWN: Dahn says there's no undue pressure on its members to give money. Tonight, hear both sides.

And hot off the presses, Jay Leno reportedly could be knocking Conan out of his spot. We will tell you what NBC is saying about the story that is burning up the Internet.


ANNOUNCER: This is your only source for news. CNN prime time begins now. Here's Campbell Brown.

BROWN: Hi, everybody. We start tonight, as always, with the "Mash-Up." We're watching it all so you don't have to. And our top story, tonight, the White House report on the Christmas Day bomb plot is in, and it is scathing. Today, President Obama outlined how his administration dropped the ball in the bomb plot. And the commander in chief made one thing crystal-clear. He fully understands we're still fighting a war on terror. Take a listen.


OBAMA: For, ultimately, the buck stops with me.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: President Obama today taking full responsibility for intelligence mistakes that failed to stop the Christmas Day airline bombing plot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama explained the three main findings of the review.

One, the U.S. government had...

OBAMA: And the new steps that were...


BROWN: The president also pledged to provide more agencies access to intelligence reports involving threats on the United States.

Now, you heard the president there say that the buck stops with him. He acknowledged the system failed. That was the line of the day among all the top administration officials, from Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, to chief counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, today all very much on message.


OBAMA: This incident was not the fault of a single individual or organization, but rather a systemic failure across organizations and agencies, a failure to connect the dots of intelligence.


BRENNAN: A failure to connect and integrate and understand the intelligence we had.

OBAMA: Across our intelligence community.

BRENNAN: That could have revealed the plot.

OBAMA: That would have prevented a known terrorist from boarding a plane.

BRENNAN: The intelligence fell through the cracks.

OBAMA: When the system fails, it is my responsibility.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As you have heard the president said, the buck stops with him.

BRENNAN: I told the president today I let him down. I am the president's assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism, and I told him that I will do better and we will do better as a team.


BROWN: We're going to dig into the details of the White House terror report tonight. And President George W. Bush's director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, is going to join me to talk about the new front in the war on terror and how this battle has changed.

Turning now to Afghanistan and a new window into the mind of a double agent who killed seven CIA employees in a brazen suicide attack on an American military base.

CNN's Nic Robertson traveled to Amman, Jordan, and spoke with the bomber's brother.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: With two other journalists, we knock at the front door to see if others will talk.

Someone just opened the door, the brother of Humam Khalil Abu- Mulal al-Balawi, the alleged bomber.

You can't talk to us?

He doesn't want to be on camera, but after a little time shares his concerns.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's my brother and he was very good person. He suffers some huge pressures. We know this. We know there is something wrong since he was not in Turkey, so we say where has this guy gone? We thought he was in Gaza.

ROBERTSON: Then last week came the phone call no father wants to get the day after the explosion at the base in Afghanistan.

So they called and said he's made a big operation in the CIA base in Afghanistan?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is bad news but this is what happened, so you have to deal with that. That is exactly what they say.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They said it's bad news?


ROBERTSON: And they told you, you will have to deal with it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn't say congratulations?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, they said that this is what happened. He is a hero.


BROWN: An American intelligence official vows the U.S. will avenge the attack.

Here at home, an arctic blast continues to wreak havoc across the country -- 400 planes were grounded just at Chicago's O'Hare Airport today. And that was causing bottlenecks around the world, two-thirds of the country experiencing record low temperatures. Our affiliates have it covered from coast to coast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snow has been piling up from Kansas City to the Carolinas. And here in Memphis, at least three fatalities have been attributed to the bitter cold.

Kamikaze iguanas plummeting from their treetop perches. Scientists say these seemingly suicide lizards are a result of South Florida's record cold weather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is cold. It is snowy and it is terrible traveling here in the Midwest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The wind's picking up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will be dealing with windchills tonight of between zero and 15 degrees below zero. And while that is more commonplace up north, here in the Memphis area, it's not so common.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Word of the day, my friend, layers, gloves, lots of pants and ugly hats to stay warm here in Oklahoma. The bad news is, it's going to stay this way for several more days.


BROWN: Yes, indeed. Forecasters predict it is going to get worse before it gets better, even colder temperatures expected tomorrow and Saturday. But, apparently, there is hope on the horizon for Sunday evening.

Word tonight of a looming shakeup, a possible looming shakeup in the world of late-night TV. The Web site TMZ reporting NBC may cancel Jay Leno's 10:00 p.m. program and reinstall him as the host of "The Tonight Show." Word is he would replace current host, Conan O'Brien.

Now, according to "The New York Times," NBC officials met with both hosts today, but haven't yet reached a decision, the network, itself, being very tight-lipped. A spokeswoman released a statement saying -- quote -- "Jay Leno is one of the most compelling entertainers in the world today. As we have said all along, Jay's show has performed exactly as we anticipated on the network. It has, however, presented some issues for our affiliates. Both Jay and the show are committed to working closely with them to find ways to improve the performance." You will note there is no mention of O'Brien there. We have some big Conan fans on this show, and they are going to be devastated if Conan takes a hike.

Ed, Graham (ph), we are here for you.

And that brings us to tonight's "Punchline," direct from the warm and fuzzy world of cable TV and Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show" picking up on the criticism that when it comes to fighting terrorists, President Obama just doesn't get it. Take a look.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART": Yesterday, President Obama responded to concerns that he was too slow to address the Christmas terror plot.

OBAMA: I just concluded a meeting with members of my national security team.


STEWART: No! You're playing right into their hands.



BROWN: Jon Stewart, everybody. And that is the "Mash-Up."

Still ahead tonight: President Obama, today, orders new security measures after a series of government failures nearly lead to a disaster. In a moment, you're going to hear from two former top homeland security officials, as the president's national security team struggles to fix a broken system.


BRENNAN: this was not the failure of a single individual or a single organization. Yes, there were some human errors, but those errors were not the primary or fundamental cause of what happened on December 25. Rather, this was a systemic failure across agencies and across organizations.



BROWN: Some big new revelations from the White House -- this was just hours ago -- about the mistakes that led to the Christmas Day terror plot coming dangerously close to succeeding. What they are conceding now is there were a number of blunders tracking the suspected bomber. They didn't realize how big a threat the U.S. was facing from the small chapter of al Qaeda in Yemen believed to be involved in the plot. Listen.


BRENNAN: In the intelligence that we have acquired, over the past several years, it's been rather aspirational. It has said things. It has promoted a certain view, as far as bringing the fight to us.

But all of their activities, at least that we were focused on, were happening in Yemen.

In hindsight now -- and 20/20 hindsight always give you -- gives you much better opportunity to see it, we saw the plot was developing. But at the time, we did not know, in fact, that they were talking about sending Mr. Abdulmutallab to the United States.


BROWN: Underestimating al Qaeda in Yemen is one of the conclusions, but there are others. There was a failure to assign anybody to follow up on the threat, even with the information they had. Shortcomings on the watch list kept Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's name from causing anybody's radar to go up until he was already in the air headed for Detroit.

And on top of all of that, an initial search of the suspect's name used the wrong spelling. And that's just what we're learning from the unclassified version of the report available to the public.

And we're going to bring in two people right now who were part of the -- or who are very familiar with all of these details and in dealing with al Qaeda. Ambassador John Negroponte is a former director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush. Fawaz Gerges is a professor of international affairs and Middle Eastern studies at Sarah Lawrence University.

Welcome to you both.

Mr. Ambassador, administration officials had told us last night that the American public would find this report in its glory pretty shocking. What in it did you find most surprising?

JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, first of all, you used the phrase in the lead-up here that the system is broken.

And I don't think that's really true. And I think in the statement the White House issued today, they made clear that there have been a lot of successes since the reforms took place in 9/11. So, frankly, as John Brennan said with -- hindsight is 20/20 vision. We have had this terrorist now in custody for a couple of weeks' time. So, we have learned the narrative of what he was planning to do it.

So, sure, it looks a bit shocking looking retrospectively. But I didn't find it too surprising. And I think it's fortunate that, you know, we dodged this particular bullet.

BROWN: But I just want to -- obviously, we all feel that way. But I just want to clarify here, given all of the many, many sort of warning signs that were apparently there along the way, you don't find this to be...

NEGROPONTE: Well, there was noise in the system.

BROWN: ... concerning?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I think, concerning, of course. And it was a near miss.

But I think that, you know, there was noise in the system. There was the ratcheted-up threat from al Qaeda in the Gulf, and there was word of an effort to carry out some plot against the homeland. But I don't think there was anything that specifically would cause this man's name to automatically pop out as a terrorist.

BROWN: But noise in the system? The guy's father went to our embassy and warned. Isn't that a little more than just sort of like trying to decipher noise in the system?


NEGROPONTE: Right. That's probably the most disturbing part, although it's -- this is somebody who had no terrorist record in the past.

So, all I'm saying is, when you're looking at this kind of information in real time, there are always ambiguities and judgment calls that need to be made. And, you know, we missed this particular one. But I do believe there was a lot of ambiguous information.

BROWN: Fawaz, listening to the president today, what was your take? Do you think he gets it, that they're focused in the right direction and in the right place?

FAWAZ GERGES, EXPERT ON MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, SARAH LAWRENCE COLLEGE: He does. He's a president who's very reflective. He says, himself, there was a systemic failure in the system. He's willing to criticize his own appointments, his own administration.

But, at the end of the day, there is no absolute security. There is no absolute security. All systems break down. And I think I agree there are a great deal of ambiguities, contradictions, difficulties. But here, really, it is very refreshing, very reassuring, the president, the commander in chief, he says he expects security measures to be ironclad. He is willing to take responsibility for what has happened.

BROWN: But, Ambassador, let me ask you about some of the specifics. Obviously, the whole point of intelligence sharing after September 11 was the redundancy to stop things from falling through the cracks. And in this case, multiple agencies knew about the threat. Nobody took responsibility necessarily for following through.

I know you think that, you know, it could have been a lot worse, I guess. But the president did outline some additional steps that are going to be taken now. Do you think that that goes far enough to try to close these holes?

NEGROPONTE: Well, I would hope so.

I certainly think it's a good thing that he's announced these measures. I think that, clearly, there's going to be a tightening up of what's done. And I think that everybody up and down the system now is going to be more vigilant. And I suspect the president, himself, is going to become more engaged in overseeing this entire process. And I think that is to the good as well.

He's going to be more of a national security-oriented president. He's taking his role, I think, as commander in chief more intensely.

BROWN: Stand by for a second. I want to take a quick break.

But I do want to ask you about something, Ambassador, that you said this morning, that you think this possibly could be part of a larger plot still unfolding. We will talk about that when we come back.

And also, a possible major shakeup in late-night television that we're going to tell you more about, Jay Leno reportedly being looked at to take Conan O'Brien's spot on NBC. We will have the latest on that as well.

Stay with us. We will be right back.


BROWN: Tonight, President Obama is taking the blame and ordering changes after an internal review of mistakes in the U.S. intelligence relating to that Christmas Day terror plot. The president and his advisers focused on what they see as the need for a new strategy against what's proving to be very nimble adversary in al Qaeda. Take a listen.


OBAMA: It is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations, not just in the Middle East but in Africa and other places, to do their bidding.

That's why I have directed my national security team to develop a strategy that addresses the unique challenges posed by lone recruits. And that's why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death.


BROWN: We're going to go through just-released findings more now with former Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, Middle Eastern studies professor Fawaz Gerges joining us as well.

And, Ambassador, I just wanted to ask you. You had said earlier today that you thought this may have been part of a larger plot that could still be unfolding. Explain what you mean by that. And if that's the case, what do we need to be doing to stop it?


What I was referring to was, back in 1994, there was an incident on an airplane flying out of the Philippines where a bomb went off, and it turned out to be the precursor of a much larger plot to blow up 11 airliners over the Pacific in early 1995, a plot that ended up being successfully foiled. It was called the Bojinka plot.

So, it just occurred to me that one of the hypotheses that needs to be looked at here is, is this part of a larger plot? Is this just the first step in something broader? But, clearly, that's the kind of thing that in the interrogation of this individual and in the analysis of the intelligence, people are going to be looking into.

BROWN: One of the things the president said, you just heard in that sound bite, he talked a little bit about it, about the challenge of dealing with this lone terrorist attacker, seemingly lone terrorist attacker, depending on what we may learn in the future.

But it sort of seems like a new front or a different way of fighting this. We're not in the hills of Afghanistan going out going after members of al Qaeda, as we had been previously.


BROWN: It's now this kind of potential threat. How do you address that differently?

GERGES: You know, Campbell, the ability of al Qaeda to carry out multiple spectacular attacks along the 9/11 lines appears to have undermined greatly. Al Qaeda suffered major military setbacks. American security measures are much stronger than before 9/11.

So, al Qaeda can no longer send 19 bombers or suicide bombers. So, what you have now, you have al Qaeda traveling ideology, al Qaeda traveling ideology that resonates with some politically radicalized individual like Umar Abdulmutallab.

BROWN: But that can be just as deadly.

GERGES: Absolutely. And not only it's deadly. It's very difficult to deal with this particular trend that's taking place.

One particular politically radicalized individual who basically this particular traveling ideology of al Qaeda resonates, he gets radicalized, he goes to Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, he meets with radical clerics, he got training, ideological guidance, he gets bombs, arms, and he tries to infiltrate the American...


BROWN: And this isn't a one-off. We're seeing this repeatedly.

Ambassador, how do you think you address this, given this appears to be the new threat? NEGROPONTE: No, and I think the president's right. We have got to find ways to deal with that. And it is more difficult.

But, on the other hand, the incidents are not on the scale, as the professor was suggesting, of 9/11. One thing I would point out is, they seem to continue and have been interested in a long, long time in blowing up airliners. That seems to be one of their main objectives in life. And they keep trying. So, I wouldn't be surprised if they try that again, and we have got to be on the lookout for that.

BROWN: Fawaz.

GERGES: Campbell, the president said we need to appeal to Muslims worldwide.

I mean, think, militants in the last 10 years have used social networks to recruit, to mobilize. Here, you have the father, the father of the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab, go into the American Embassy. I would argue, Campbell, as the president said, the Muslim community could serve as the first line of defense against this particular type of lone bombers. Here, you have a father. And other incidents, we have other incidents where the Muslim communities, where the relatives, the neighbors...


BROWN: Is already playing that role.

GERGES: Absolutely.


GERGES: And this is why in a way that you really need to turn the table on the militants and as the president says, two major points. He said we must really make sure. We must really reach out to Muslims and also make sure we don't undermine America's open society.

If we undermine American open society, al Qaeda wins. And those are two critical points.

BROWN: Fawaz, appreciate your time tonight. Thank you.

Ambassador, also good to see you as well. Thank you.

NEGROPONTE: Thank you.

GERGES: Thanks.

BROWN: Coming up next: reports tonight that Jay Leno is going to replace Conan O'Brien in late-night TV. We're going to talk to the reporter who is plugged into the latest developments when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BROWN: Breaking news in the entertainment world tonight. According to report in "The New York Times," NBC is considering returning Jay Leno to his 11:35 time slot. The paper says network executives talked to both Leno and current host, Conan O'Brien, but no final decision has been made. But if the shakeup happens, it would be huge news.

And joining me now on the telephone is Bill Carter, the "Times" television reporter who is covering the story.

Bill, what do you know? What's the latest?

BILL CARTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, it looks like this is definitely a plan that's probably going to take place right after the Olympics are over, which is kind of a natural break for NBC, because they will have their shows off for two weeks.

And the interesting angle of this, is, of course, Jay moves out of prime time, where he has not been very successful, and he goes back to 11:30, where he was the dominant leader, but only in a half-hour show. And then they move Conan back a half-hour, and Conan has the show from 12:05 until 1:00, and then Jimmy Fallon comes on. So, essentially, they go into a three-headed late night mode, but with a half-hour show coming after the late local news.

And, by the way, that won't be called "The Tonight Show." "The Tonight Show" will still be the Conan O'Brien version. So, there's quite a bit of upheaval there.

BROWN: So, how close do you think this is to being a done deal?

CARTER: I think the only issues now are contractual issues, because, obviously, both of the hosts had contracts that stipulated they would be doing something different and they have to rework those contracts.

BROWN: Right.

CARTER: I think the big -- I think Jay is probably quite willing to do it. I think the question becomes, why would Conan want to do this? I think he might, you know, consider an offer from another network if he got that, but he might not be able to, because I believe this -- the fact that he's keeping "The Tonight Show" means they haven't changed his contract. They have changed just his time period.

BROWN: So, how did NBC get themselves into this position, Bill?

CARTER: It's interesting.


BROWN: This was supposed to be like the answer to all television's problems, doing live TV with Leno at 10:00.

CARTER: Yes. Five years ago, they decided that they couldn't afford to lose Conan, who was about to go to ABC at the time. So, they made an arrangement where he was guaranteed "The Tonight Show" five years later. But Jay never stopped being number one. So, that was a complicating factor. They were giving away the number-one guy in late night.

So, they came up with this plan to move Jay into prime time, rather than him jump to ABC.

BROWN: Right.

CARTER: It was all about having guys not jump to another network.


BROWN: But why didn't it work? Why do you think it didn't work at 10:00?

CARTER: Well, it wasn't that it didn't work entirely, because they didn't think it would get very big numbers.

But what really affected them was the fact that the show had so few -- so much -- many fewer viewers than these dramas have had, that the late local news on most NBC stations took a very big hit. And that's very important to local stations. That's where they make their most profit. So, they were up in arms. The affiliates were up in arms. They were obviously very unhappy. They wanted NBC to make a change and give them better lead-ins to their local news.

So, I think that drove the decision-making here.

BROWN: But what do they do if this does end up happening? These dramas that they would prefer having at 10:00 to lead into their local news are very expensive and take months to produce.

CARTER: Exactly. And there's none of them at the moment.


CARTER: And there's none of them ready to go on the air at the moment.

So, they're going to have to plug in -- I think they will plug in news magazines and things like that in the short run. And then in the fall, they've geared up a lot more development. But it's very hard to find hit shows as everybody knows. So to find five of them and plug them in at once is almost impossible.

I think what you'll see them do is use news magazine like "Dateline."

BROWN: Right.

CARTER: And probably move "Law and Order SVU" back to 10:00 where it was far more successful and things like that. I think they'll have a few short-term moves and then hope for things in the fall to be better.

BROWN: How do you think Conan O'Brien feels about this?

CARTER: I think he probably feels like he was given a really raw deal. I think when he thought he was getting "Tonight Show" five years ago, he thought he was getting it clean and he didn't because he was going to have to follow Jay anyway. I mean, Jay was on ahead of him even in prime time, so he never got a clean shot at the "Tonight Show." And, you know, the lead-ins were bad for the local news because they were bad from 10:00, so he didn't have the best situation either. Although his numbers versus David Letterman had fallen off quite a bit, and I know not everyone was very happy about that at NBC either.

BROWN: Well, Bill Carter, it will be interesting as we watch the story develop to see how it all plays out for sure. Appreciate your insight and your reporting on this. Bill Carter from "The New York Times."

CARTER: Nice to chat with you, Campbell.

BROWN: Thanks, Bill.


BROWN: And coming up, is a nationwide chain of yoga and wellness centers a cult? We've been reporting the story all week. Dahn Yoga says no. Some ex-employees say yes, and they claim it all comes down to money. Listen.


RYAN KENT, ATTORNEY: Basically they'll suck all of the money that the person has and can borrow without fail. They did it to every single one of my claimants.


BROWN: Tonight, hear both sides in our special investigation after the break.


BROWN: More must see news happening now. Erica Hill here with tonight's "Download." Hi.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Campbell, nice to see you. The Environmental Protection Agency today proposing the toughest smog limits in U.S. history. Now if these rules will replace more lenient standards imposed by the Bush administration, hundreds of U.S. counties will have to reduce pollution to meet the new limit. The cost estimated to reach tens of billions of dollars.

Near Dayton, Ohio, a tractor trailer jackknifed on an icy highway and swerved into a small bus carrying disabled adults. Four people in that bus were killed. Seven other including the truck driver are injured.

New Jersey State Senate today defeating a bill to legalize gay marriage. Hundreds of activists rallied at the statehouse. The bill, however, got only 14 of the 21 votes it needed to pass. Gay rights advocates say they will take their case back to court.

And how about a little something just to make you smile? This is called a baby to remember.

We found it on YouTube. The baby, as you can see, strapped in the car seat rocking it out on the stereo. Parents laughing in the background there. About 100,000 people at last check have watched the little guy. I have a feeling there will soon be more.

BROWN: No, actually we don't have time to show it. I've watched this video many times. I'm baby obsessed as are you.

HILL: I better be.

BROWN: But if you keep watching the baby, like, he exhausts himself rocking out and then he just like tilts, falls --

He's going like this and then he just --

HILL: So I should remember that with number two.


HILL: To get him to rock out in the car and he'll wear himself out.

BROWN: Exactly. Exactly, I love that.

All right, Erica Hill. Thanks, Erica.

HILL: Thanks.

BROWN: Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin may have cracked the glass ceiling when it comes to running for the White House, but next I'm going to talk to a reporter who says it's only a crack. We'll talk about the stereotypes that force women to campaign differently.


BROWN: When the 2012 race for the White House starts gearing up, will women candidates still face an uphill battle or will they be taken seriously? Who are they anyway when it comes to 2012? Who are the women who are going to jump into the race?

"Washington Post" White House correspondent Anne Kornblut made some surprising discoveries in her new book "Notes from the Cracked Ceiling: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and What It Will Take for a Woman to Win." Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BROWN: So, Anne, welcome. Full disclosure. We have known each other for a very long time. We've been friends for a long time, and I did get an early peek at the book. But it is an amazing read. And let's start with an overview.

The 2008 campaign, you had Hillary Clinton who came so close to getting her party's nomination. Sarah Palin, the GOP's first vice presidential nominee, and, yet, you argue 2008 was not a great year for women in politics. Explain.

ANNE KORNBLUT, AUTHOR, "NOTES FROM THE CRACKED CEILING": Well, look, we don't give points for second place in this country. We don't say, oh, John Kerry, he came in second place for the presidency. Hooray, that was historic. And so I think it was folly for some of us in the wake of 2008 to say it was the year of the woman because they both lost. And at the same time they also lost after undergoing a really rough time in first the primary for Hillary Clinton and in the general election for Sarah Palin. They exposed some of the problems that I think any woman who's going to run for president going forward is going to experience in terms of harsh treatment, being ridiculed, their credentials being dismissed right off the bat.

So I think although it was historic, yes, they both ran for a serious campaign for president, first woman on the GOP ticket. I think we shouldn't overstate the case, and I also don't think we should assume that there is a female president right around the corner.

BROWN: You've got a lot of nuggets in here. And I want to go through some of them. There's a moment where you reveal for the first time in the book of Hillary Clinton breaking down in tears when she's on the telephone on a conference call with some of her staff. Explain what happened.

KORNBLUT: Well, as you probably remember during the campaign there was a rival cable network. One of the anchors said that Chelsea Clinton had been pimped out. She was calling some of the big donors and some of the superdelegates and when that word got back to the candidate herself during a conference call within the campaign, she either broke down and cried or she got extremely angry. A couple of her aides told me different versions of the story. But in any event, she was very emotional in a way that none of her aides had really ever seen her be during the campaign.

And what it reflected to me was this difficulty that she had as a mother, as a woman running for office and how to use her daughter. Candidates all the time, male candidates bring their children out. They're part of the fabric. But she really struggled with whether to use Chelsea, whether to talk about the fact that she was a mother on the trail which some people thought, me included, could have helped her, shown her as a woman. And then in the end when she did and she was attacked for it, it made her very emotional. This is one of the sort of inherent problems of a woman running for higher office.

BROWN: And especially probably after being so protective of her as first lady in that role when she was in the White House. KORNBLUT: And yet she was a grown woman at this point, Chelsea Clinton was. And people said, well, hey, if she isn't going to submit to interviews, you know, she's in her late 20s. So what are you doing with her? So there was a real debate about what role show she can play and then what role Senator Clinton would play.

BROWN: Let's talk about the Republicans and Sarah Palin. And you write, this is so interesting, that not one female strategist was involved in choosing her, in selecting Sarah Palin to be John McCain's VP. And in many ways, the McCain campaign was caught off guard by some of the issues and some of the attacks, frankly, that she had to deal with as a woman. Explain sort of what was going on there.

KORNBLUT: Well, it was a very small circle of McCain aides who made the decision and they were all men. But some of the things that they later experienced such as the focus on her looks, for example, or the obsession with her young baby and whether it was hers, which turned out to be a ridiculous question. But some of that stuff if there had been a woman in the room, she might have been able to raise her hand and say, hey, wait a second, guys. We know from past experience that female candidates who look too perfect, who are too attractive, that can sometimes count against them with female voters.

The men didn't realize that sometimes female voters, they want somebody who's older, who seems a little more serious. Maybe doesn't look so perfect or so beautiful. That's something that female candidates in other races have experienced. So maybe if there had been a woman in the room, she could have raised her hand and alerted them to that.

BROWN: And you also talked to a lot of political strategists in the research and they explain how women actually need to campaign differently to address some of this stuff.

KORNBLUT: Look, it may not be fair and a lot of it I don't think is, but what they have found and we're talking to a lot of strategists who found is that voters don't necessarily want to see a woman all the time in her campaign ads.

Some advisers recommend that women drop the caliber of their voice. If they've got a very high voice, bring it down a notch so people can't accuse you of being shrill. And it's not fair and people say oh, that's a double standard, but all of that and the focus on looks it just happens. So you can deny it. You can say I don't like it. But when you're running for office, you have to appeal to people and that's sort of the frustrating game that a lot of strategists I've spoken to said that they've encountered.

BROWN: You said at the beginning when we first started talking that you don't think a female presidential candidate is right around the corner. So look into the crystal ball. I mean, you're painting kind of a bleak picture here. When is this going to happen?

KORNBLUT: I know. I hate to be a bummer, but look, theoretically people are ready for a female president. If you ask the generic question, is the country ready? Everyone says yes. But when you start asking, OK, well, then, who is it actually going to be?

You look to 2012, the only person whose name is even mentioned at this point is Sarah Palin, and she's obviously got hill to climb. You look to 2016, maybe some Democrats will run there. Janet Napolitano has been mentioned. Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Amy Klobuchar are a few names.

If Meg Whitman were to win in California, but that's also enough hill struggle, maybe she could. But there's maybe about six to eight names that would maybe even be on the horizon. None of them would be a front-runner the way Hillary Clinton had been. And even she lost. So I think it's a harder road than people think and it's something we're thinking about.

BROWN: Anne Kornblut, the book is called "Notes from the Cracked Ceiling." A fantastic read. Congratulations.

KORNBLUT: Thank you.


BROWN: And "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes. Larry, what do you have for us tonight?

LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Campbell, we're going to dig deeper into the terrorist story. The former counterterrorism chief Paul Bremer is our special guest, and we'll ask what he thinks of President Obama's action plan and his blunt words for Al Qaeda.

And we'll talk about another issue that affects billions of Americans. Weight. Carney Wilson, "The Biggest Loser" winner and others are going to get serious about getting fit all next on "LARRY KING LIVE," Campbell.

BROWN: All right, Larry. We'll see you in a few minutes.

Tonight, we continue our special investigation into a national chain of yoga centers that some former employees say are part of a cult. Dahn Yoga denies the accusation. You're going to hear more -- why more than two dozen of these former employees are now suing. Take a look.


LIZA MILLER, EX-DAHN YOGA EMPLOYEE: I feel it's my duty to come forward and to share my stories so that people are aware of the truth about the organization.



BROWN: Tonight, the final installment in our special investigation of Dahn Yoga. More than two dozen former employees claim the national chain of yoga and wellness centers is in their words a cult. They are suing Dahn Yoga and its founder. Dahn's representatives say the allegations are not true. We've received a flood of comments from people who support the founder, Mr. Lee, as well as comments from those who don't. And tonight, Kyra Phillips examines the ideas and philosophy behind Dahn Yoga.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His followers adore him. He says his writings are holy.

VOICE OF ILCHI LEE, DAHN YOGA FOUNDER (via telephone): Brain wave vibration is a scripture. It's a Holy Scripture. Do you all understand?

PHILLIPS: And this is the basis of his doctrine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Start by slowly and gently moving your head.


PHILLIPS: It's promoted as brain wave vibration, pouring energy into your brain with exercises like this. Its creator is a Korean businessman named Ilchi Lee, a savior to thousands of believers who have signed on to his franchise, Dahn Yoga.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people desire vibrant health --

PHILLIPS: These exercises, Dahn Yoga says, can lead to improved health and even control disease.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The practices that we practice are very helpful. They empower people to really use everything they have to become the best person they can be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming here for about three weeks.

PHILLIPS: Testimonials on the company Web site are impressive. His members claim that brain wave vibration has lowered blood pressure, corrected lazy eyes, even reduce symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

(on camera): Have you heard of brain education or brain wave vibration?


PHILLIPS (voice-over): CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is a practicing neurosurgeon who examined Dahn Yoga's claims.

GUPTA: That this idea that somehow using parts of your body you can cause the brain to vibrate, turned on or off certain parts of the brain, it's just not rooted in science. And there's pretty good science out there nowadays to really study the brain. This just isn't something that's out there.

PHILLIPS: However, Dahn Yoga claims its treatments are not, quote, "hocus-pocus" but based on what it calls ancient wisdom.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER, DAHN YOGA VP OF PUBLIC RELATIONS: We do not have scientific evidence, but we do have the anecdotal reports of our members that their pain has disappeared or diminished.

GUPTA: It's probably a little bit dangerous because people may not get their actual treatment that could work and could be beneficial.

PHILLIPS (on camera): So bottom line, this is sort of the placebo affect?

GUPTA: It very well could be a placebo effect. You've got hundreds of people in a room all wanting to believe in something, all wanting to be cured of ailments that they have otherwise been unable to be, you know, cured of. The problem is it's shoddy science.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): So if it's shoddy science, why do so many people believe in Ilchi Lee and his work?

Ryan Kent is a California attorney who's filed a lawsuit against Dahn Yoga on behalf of 27 former members who claim the organization is a cult. He says Lee has created such an image for himself that people will do and give anything to follow his path.

RYAN KENT, ATTORNEY: Basically they'll suck all of the money that the person has and can borrow without fail. They did it to every single one of my claimants.

PHILLIPS: Lee's lawyer says the claim that Dahn Yoga is a cult is hogwash, and Dahn officials say there's no pressure on its members to give money.

ALAN KAPLAN, ATTORNEY: Dahn Yoga is a business and Mr. Lee came up with the whole concept of Dahn Yoga 30 years ago. He is enjoying the fruits of his own labors as any businessman is entitled to.

PHILLIPS: If you listen to Ilchi Lee speak --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The one dollar (ph) enlightenment movement. We will witness the emergence of 100 million messengers of Mago.

PHILLIPS: It's pretty clear he is focused on dollars and cents. "Forbes" magazine estimates the organization made $34 million in 2009. Listen to this excerpt from an audiotape of a motivational session that he conducted in the spring of 2009.

LEE (through translator): And second, you have to be crazy about money. Only when you have that, are you a person who has the holy vision.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Ilchi Lee.

PHILLIPS: There's no question Ilchi Lee and Dahn Yoga have a devoted and loyal membership, and current members say it's not a cult.

If you look at the Dahn Yoga Web site, there are testimonials applauding Ilchi Lee, from the president of Costa Rica to a prominent New York scientist. Lee is also seen in photographs with Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Liza Miller says she was once a believer, too.

LIZA MILLER, EX-DAHN YOGA EMPLOYEE: When I found Dahn, I felt like, this is it.

PHILLIPS: Now Liza is one of the 27 former employees filing a lawsuit claiming Dahn Yoga is a cult. The pressure to make money just one reason she abandoned the leader she once followed.

MILLER: I feel it's my duty to come forward and to share my story so that people are aware of the truth about the organization because having been in the organization, you know, and people that are still in believe something completely different. They are being deceived.


PHILLIPS: Now Mr. Lee's attorney says the only deception involved is on the part of the former employees who have filed this lawsuit. He says they are all disgruntled and insists all they want is money.

Incidentally, the next legal step in the case comes toward the end of the month when the attorney for those former employees has to file a response in federal court opposing Dahn Yoga's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit. We'll, of course, keep you posted.

BROWN: And, Kyra, I know you tried to interview Lee. So what happened?

PHILLIPS: It began by making a phone call to the company, and they just said simply he's not available. So we caught up with him near Sedona, Arizona, at a dedication ceremony for something that Dahn Yoga calls Mago Earth Park. And take a look here. The first question was about an allegation contained in a complaint against him by 27 former employees who were accusing him of sexual assault. He said it was the first time that he heard about it and as you know his bodyguards knocked down our cameras.

Well, his lawyer later told us that there was no sexual assault and Dahn is convinced that allegations will be dismissed in court. And I apologize, we're actually supposed to see the video of that. But you remember it from yesterday.


BROWN: Yes. We did try to confront him.

PHILLIPS: We tried to talk to him and they just knocked down our cameras. And he told me this is the first time I'm hearing of this allegation. BROWN: So any reaction at all from overseas?

PHILLIPS: That's interesting. Because I ran into our photographer who speaks Korean, he actually translated the confrontation for me when Mr. Lee didn't answer in English. And he said that a 40-page expose on Ilchi Lee came out in a Korean magazine, and the name of the magazine is Shin-Dong-A (ph) and he showed it to me. It's actually online now. In addition to all these Korean blogs, they're talking about our investigation here on CNN.

BROWN: Wow. Kyra Phillips, that was really fascinating.

PHILLIPS: Thanks, Campbell.

BROWN: I appreciate the time and effort you put into this. Thanks very much.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes. But up next, "Guilty Pleasure," the video we just can't resist. It's all about geek love tonight. How nerds are bringing sexy back, when we come back.


BROWN: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few moments. But first, Jeanne Moos with tonight's Guilty Pleasure."


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whoever thought --


MOOS: That the country's budget director would become the poster boy for sexy nerds?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm a bit of a nerd myself. So I find that sexy.


MOOS: Budget director Peter Orszag never budgeted for this brouhaha, front page by the "New York Post." His former girlfriend, a shipping heiress, just had his baby a few weeks before his new fiancee, an ABC correspondent went on "Good Morning America."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's see the rock on that finger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. Bianna's engaged.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bianna got engaged yesterday. MOOS: Did we mention Orszag is divorced with two children from his first marriage? In the words of one blogger: But frankly I don't see how Orszag can balance three families and the national budget."

Until now he's been one of the most eligible bachelors in Washington. On blogs like "The Huffington Post," he's not just Mr. Hot, he's hot with nine O's. He's making nerdy sexy. Posted one admirer, "I'll take me some Orszag. Thank you very much. Delicious."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like the intelligent nerd. My husband's bald.

MOOS (on camera): He's considered one of the most eligible. You're shaking your head at me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He doesn't look overly masculine to me. He doesn't look like a man. He looks like, you know, a boy that was on the chess club.

MOOS (voice-over): Oh, yes. Well, just like the movie "Revenge of the Nerds."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're that nerd.


MOOS: This nerd gets the hot girl. Orszag is considered a brilliant economist. He discussed the budget on the "Daily Show."



STEWART: Do we need that?

MOOS: One person posted he looks like Stephen Colbert's cousin.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he's sexy nerdy. He looks like Anderson Cooper with dyed hair.

MOOS: Even the president has joked about him.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: TLC's got something called Jon & Kate plus Peter Orszag.

MOOS (on camera): The budget director is also a country music fan. Occasionally at congressional hearings you hear him quoting lyrics. Referring to the budget --

ORSZAG: But as the country music singer Toby Keith once put it, there ain't no right way to do the wrong thing. MOOS (voice-over): Does quoting a country western singer like Toby Keith make Peter Orszag a nerdy cowboy or nerdy playboy?

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BROWN: And with that, have a good night.

"LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.