Return to Transcripts main page

CAMPBELL BROWN

The Obama Terror Review; 6.5 Magnitude Quake Hits off California; Former Employees Called Dahn "Cult"; Hillary Clinton Teared Up During Conference Call

Aired January 9, 2010 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


CAMPBELL BROWN, CNN HOST: Tonight here are the questions we want answered.

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Intelligence fell through the cracks. What will it take to stop the next terrorist from striking here at home?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And is this American man the next Osama Bin Laden? A special investigation, the radical cleric born in the USA. Find out his connection to 9/11, the accused Fort Hood shooter and other terror suspects.

Also, tonight, our CNN special investigation. A nationwide chain of yoga and wellness centers, two-dozen former employees say it's a cult. They claim they were abused.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People were screaming. People are throwing up. People were running away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Dahn Yoga's lawyers say it is no cult. And no one was abused. Who is telling the truth?

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

BROWN: Hey, there, everybody. We're going to start tonight as always with the "Mash-Up." And let's get right to it.

The week's top story, a scathing White House report on the Christmas Day bomb plot. 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 are still fighting a war on terror.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OBAMA: For ultimately the buck stops with me.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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 sufficient information to disrupt the al Qaeda plot; two, the intelligence community leadership did not increase analytic resources working on the full threat; three, the watch listing system failed and needs to be strengthened and improved.

JUAN ZARATE, CBS NEWS, NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What's new here and what's important and dramatic is the fact that you have an al Qaeda affiliate trying to hit the homeland directly.

OBAMA: We are at war. We are at war against al Qaeda. A far reaching network of violence and hatred.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president issued 16 new reforms he want implemented at agencies, including: state, review how U.S. visas are issued and revoked; Homeland Security, pursue new technologies and procedures for screening airline passengers; CIA, strengthen procedure on terrorist watch listing review and distribution; FBI, conduct a thorough review of the terror screening database.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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

Moving to Afghanistan, and the suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents out in an American military base there. We learn this week that the terrorist was a double agent, and we found how he managed slip through security.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: This is a Jordanian doctor by the name of the Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi. One former senior U.S. intelligence official says he was providing very important information on some very high-level targets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The double agent was brought onto the CIA base in Afghanistan without first being given a polygraph test, one of the basic tools in establishing a spy's trustworthiness. He had provided bona fide information, including the location of al Qaeda leaders killed by CIA drone strikes. But a U.S. intelligence official says there were still questions about his reliability and the access he claimed to have to senior al Qaeda leaders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had already been to the base about half-a-dozen times, and because of the information he claimed he had, the CIA officers told the local guards not to search him as he went past three layers of security.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some 13 CIA officers and contractors from the company formerly known as Blackwater had gathered to hear the informant's report when the bomb went off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: American and Jordanian officials apparently believed the bomber had been rehabilitated. They hoped he would lead them to the top lieutenant of Osama bin Laden.

Over to the world. To politics now, and a big blow to Democrats' hopes of holding on to their supermajority in the United States Senate. Within hours of each other, two veteran lawmakers said that they are calling it quits.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: One of President Obama's closest and most powerful allies has essentially decided you won't have him to kick around anymore. We are talking about Chris Dodd. And he is not the only Democratic senator bowing out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the past 24 hours, two veteran Senate Democrats announced they are retiring. Chris Dodd who was facing a tough re-election battle in Connecticut and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC REPORTER: Dorgan for himself said he didn't even have a Republican opponent yet. He said he wants to do other things. His retirement will mean an uphill battle for Democrats to hold on to that seat.

KATIE COURIC, NBC REPORTER: That means the Democrats will be defending four open Senate seats this year. And it's increasing the pressure on them and the president to get their agenda, including health care approved this year.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Usually presidents in their first term lose seats in their midterm elections, OK. And that's clearly going to happen to Barack Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's enough to make Rush Limbaugh's day.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": They are running for the hills. These Democrats drank the Obama Kool-Aid, and they're committing political suicide.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: That's some perspective here. Yes, four democratic senators are retiring this year, but so are six Republicans.

On the weather front, an arctic blast caused havoc across the country this week. 2/3 of the nation experiencing record low temperatures.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: 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.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kamikaze iguanas plummeting from treetop perches. Scientist says these seemingly suicidal 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 is picking up.

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

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

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Yes, indeed. But there is hope on the horizon. Forecasters say temperatures in the south will be closer to normal next week, but there could be ten feet of snow in the northwest. Good news for the winter Olympics.

No official word yet on the late-night shake-up that has got the TV world buzzing. But "The New York Times" is reporting NBC plans to move Jay Leno back to his 11:30 slot and pushed Conan O'Brien to midnight. According to The Times, NBC officials met with both host on Thursday. The network's spokeswoman with tight lip phrasing both late-night host but refusing to comment on whatever is going on behind the scenes. But Leno himself made light of the situation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Well, I could tell, happy birthday to Katie Couric. It's Katie Couric's birthday today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wonderful.

LENO: And, you know, she left NBC for another network. I got to give her a call, and see how that's working out.

(LAUGHTER)

As you may have heard, there is a rumor floating around, we were canceled. I heard it coming in this morning on the radio.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard it, too.

LENO: So far nobody said anything to me, but, Kev, you know, if we did get canceled that would give us time to do some traveling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That would be wonderful, man.

LENO: In fact, I understand Fox is beautiful this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really is.

LENO: Hey, Kev, what does NBC stand for?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's that?

LENO: Never Believe your Contract. But, you know --

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BROWN: Leno's 10:00 p.m. show isn't giving network affiliates apparently the boost they need. And "The Tonight Show" ratings have fallen since he passed the baton to O'Brien.

And that brings us to tonight's punch line 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JON STEWART, 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 heads.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

Still ahead tonight, President Obama ordering new security measures after a series of government failures led up to Christmas Day's attempted bombing of a U.S. Airliner. In a moment, we're going to hear from two former top Homeland Security officials as the president's national security team struggles to fix the system.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BRENNAN, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISOR ON COUNTERTERRORISM: It 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 25th. Rather, this was a systemic failure across agencies and across organizations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Big new revelations from the White House this week about mistakes that led to the Christmas Day terror plot coming dangerously close to succeeding. There were a number of blunders tracking the suspected bomber. They also 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.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

And on top of all that, an initial search of the suspect's name used the wrong spelling. And that's just what we are learning from the unclassified version of the report available to the public. This week, I spoke with Ambassador John Negroponte, a former director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush and Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics, an international relations at the London School of Economics.

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.

AMBASSADOR JOHN NEGROPONTE, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE UNDER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: Well, first of all, you used the phrase here, 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've had this terrorist now in custody for a couple of weeks' time. So we've learned the narrative of what he was plotting to do. So, sure, it looks a bit shocking looking retrospectively. But I didn't find it too surprising. And I think it is fortunate that, you know, we dodged this particular bullet.

BROWN: Obviously, we all feel that way. But I just want to clarify here. Given all of the many, many sort of warnings signs that were apparently there along the way, you don't find this to be concerning?

NEGROPONTE: Well, there was noise in the system. Well, I think -- concerning, of course. 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 a 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.

NEGROPONTE: Right.

BROWN: I mean, isn't that a little more than just sort of like trying to decipher a noise in the system?

NEGROPONTE: Right. That's probably the most disturbing part. Although, 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.

Fawaz, listening to the president today, what was your take? Do you think he gets it that they are focus on the right direction and on the right place.

FAWAZ GERGES, PROF. OF MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS: He does. I mean, he is a president who is very reflective. He says himself, there was a systemic failure in the system. He is willing to criticize his 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 is -- really, it's very refreshing, very reassuring. The president, the commander-in- chief, he says he expect 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 11th was the redundancy to stop things from falling through the cracks. And in this case, multiple agencies knew about the threat. Nobody took responsibility enough fairly for following through. I know you think that 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 is 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 is going to be more of a national security oriented president. He is 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'll talk about that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: This week, President Obama took the blame and ordered changes after an internal review of mistakes in U.S. Intelligence in the 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 a nimble adversary in al Qaeda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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've 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 but a bankrupt vision of misery and death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: Once again John Negroponte and Fawaz Gerges.

Ambassador, I just want to ask you. You 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?

NEGROPONTE: Yes, 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 a 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. That was called the Bojinka Plot.

So it just occurred to me that one of the hypothesis 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 what we may learn in the future. But it sort of seems like a new front or a different way of fighting this. You know, we're not in the hills of Afghanistan going out -- going after members of al Qaeda as we have been previously. 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 great 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 tide, 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 plane.

BROWN: And this isn't a runoff. I mean, we were seeing this repeatedly, ambassador. How do you think you address this? I mean, given this appears to be the new threat.

I think the president is right. We've 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 got to be on the lookout for that.

BROWN: Fawaz?

GERGES: Even though, Campbell, the president said we need to appeal to Muslims worldwide. I mean, think, militants in the last ten years have used social networks to recruit, to mobilize. Here you have the father, the father of the Christmas Day bomber, Umar Abdulmutallab, going to 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. And this is why in a way, 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 do not undermine America's open society. If we undermine American open society, al Qaeda wins and those are two critical points.

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

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

BROWN: Coming up, an American-born cleric who is inspiring a new generation of terrorism.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Anwar Awlaki comes back into Britain. He is still getting his message out. Both sets of his DVDs are openly on sale, selling for about $100 each, and the storekeeper here says they are among his hottest-selling items because most people buying them believe Awlaki is mainstream.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BROWN: And our special investigation of a nationwide chain of yoga and wellness centers. Two dozen former employees of Dahn Yoga call it a dangerous cult. Dahn Yoga and its founder deny all allegations. You're going to hear from both sides.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KAYE: Hi, everyone. I'm Randi Kaye at the CNN Center in Atlanta. This just in to CNN. A 6.5 magnitude quake has struck off the coast of northern California. The USGS says it was about 25 miles from the City of Eureka. So far, there have been no reports of serious damage or any reports of injuries. Now a resident of Ferndale, California, describes it as a, quote, "rolling event." She says it rolled and rolled and then it slammed. Knocking pictures off the wall.

I can give you a little more information. The 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck off the northern California coast. That's about 27 miles or so from Eureka.

CNN is learning that the quake hit around 4:27 p.m. That's California Time. So that would be 7:27 on the East Coast here. No reports of any tsunami or anything like that as a result of this. But we want to talk to someone who actually just went through this. His name is Cole Machado. He is a resident of Eureka, about 10 or 15 minutes or so away from Ferndale.

And, Cole, good to have you with us. Glad you are safe and sound. Can you tell me what happened during this quake?

COLE MACHADO, EUREKA RESIDENT (via telephone): Yes, Randi. I was actually -- I'm watching CNN when it happened. I was talking on my cell phone. And all of a sudden, the house started shaking. And I was worried about my television. I didn't want it to fall over. And I went to go catch it in case it was going to fall. But it was just -- it really brought back a lot of memories from an earthquake we had that was 7.0 back in 1990.

KAYE: And Colt, you took these pictures that we are looking at on CNN right now?

MACHADO: Yes. One of them is a crack in my ceiling. And then the other one I think is some figurines that fell over.

KAYE: So what is the situation? Is this your apartment or your home?

MACHADO: Yes. This is my house. It was just really -- it was really scary. And the electricity went out for a few minutes. And then all of a sudden my neighbors started coming out into the street making sure that everyone was OK.

KAYE: How long did it last? How long did you feel the shake?

MACHADO: It probably lasted less than 30 seconds, I would think.

KAYE: And had you ever been through anything like this before?

MACHADO: Yes. It was back in 1990. There was a similar magnitude earthquake that happened. But I was 5 years old then. But I really do remember that. Even it was so long ago.

KAYE: And so, what's going on in your neighborhood right now? Is there chaos or does it seemed under control? Or are people concerned, or anybody that you've seen who has suffered any injuries.

MACHADO: I haven't talked to or seen anyone that has any injuries. Some people have reported to me property damage down in Ferndale where the earthquake was really close to. A lot of windows in the stores on Main Street shattered. That's one of the things I had heard.

KAYE: And your power is back on now? Yes. The power only went out for two or three seconds. And then as soon as the power and Internet came back on, I went online to see what the magnitude was and then I went on Twitter and started tweeting about it. And a lot of other people were tweeting about it.

KAYE: Amazing that you were calm enough to take those pictures. We certainly thank you for sharing those with us. Stay with us, Cole, if you can. We just want to check in with Jacqui Jeras here in the weather center to see what she's learned.

Jacqui? JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEROLOGIST: Yes, Randi as you've said, a 6.5 magnitude earthquake has occurred, that's been revised from earlier reports that we brought to you at the end of our last newscast of 6.1. I want to show you the area that we're talking about on Google earth. And 6.5 is what we would consider a strong earthquake on the magnitude scale. So, it can be destructive maybe up to 100 miles from where this occurred. And so, this big red dot that you see there in the center, that was the initial quake and then all these little red dots you see around it, we have had several aftershocks. There you can see, one 3.8, 3.7, and a little bit lesser than that.

So, aftershocks are going to be something that we will be watching as well. So, a strong earthquake, you generally don't see serious damage, but you can see significant damage and we are starting to get word of that. We will continue to watch the situation and let you know as things continue to unfold. So, this was offshore. You know, sometimes earthquakes can cause Tsunamis. The strength of this one probably not strong enough to do that. There are no Tsunami watches or warnings which have been issued at this time, either.

KAYE: And Jacqui, I understand this was felt all the way up in San Francisco. So, it does travel as you've said.

JERAS: Absolutely it does. You know, this is an area where we have a fault line. And if you look at that map, you can see dozens and dozens of dots all over the place, so it is an active area. We have been seeing minor ones as of late. But this is the strongest one we've seen in this area in quite some time. In fact, as a matter of fact, you usually see between about 100 to maybe 125 earthquakes this strong across the world.

KAYE: All right. Jacqui, we will continue to stay on top of this as I know you will have much more on this breaking news story at the top of the hour and we will continue to follow it through out the night. Campbell Brown continues after this quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

Campbell Brown, CNN ANCHOR: A nationwide chain of yoga and wellness center which promises its members, quote, "Healthier and Happier Lives" is under attack by more than two dozen of its former employees. They claim that the organization is a cult. The chain is called Dahn Yoga. Their lawyers and public relations representative denies all these assertions made by Federal Law suit filed by those ex employees.

Here now Kyra Phillips with a CNN Special Investigations Unit report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Most Americans have probably never heard of Dahn yoga nor its founder a Korean business man named Ilchi Lee. That is why this event is packed. It is the dedication of Dahn Yoga's Mago Earth Park. Mago meaning mother earth. And according to this video Ilchi Lee is the messenger of a new creation story.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ILCHI LEE, FOUNDER "DAHN YOGA": Knowing that all of humanity needed to hear earth's message, he set out for America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PHILLIPS: This was part of the spiritual message that drew in college students like Jade Harrelson and Liza Miller. They started out as members and soon became employees. But they began to question what they believed, what had been promised as the path to enlightenment began to look like a cult.

JESSICA JADE HARRELSON, EX-DAHN YOGA EMPLOYEE: They prey upon people like me who are ignorant the way money works.

PHILLIPS: What started out as a few hundred dollars grew into payments of thousands as their training advanced. And to pay the bills, they took out student loans giving the money straight to Dahn Yoga.

HARRELSON: My superiors and the masters of Dahn encouraged me and were actually the people who taught me how to take out these student loans.

PHILLIPS (on camera): How much money?

HARRELSON: I would say in total my expenses for Dahn came about $40,000.

PHILLIPS: Oh, my gosh!

HARRELSON: Yes.

PHILLIPS: And were you able to pay that back?

HARRELSON: Oh, no, I'm still paying it back and I will be paying it back for another for 20, 25 years.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): However, Dahn Yoga Head of Public Relations tells us, no one was ever coerced and to spending money they didn't have in order to advance in the organization.

JOSEPH ALEXANDER, DAHN YOGA VP OF PUBLIC RELATIONS: We make neither excuse nor apology for the fact we are a business. So, they have misinterpreted natural business cycles, natural business goals as some type of undue pressure.

RYAN KENT, ATTORNEY: As far as I can tell, the need for growth is designed and intended to provide more money to Mr. Lee rather than any spiritual goal.

PHILLIPS: Ryan Kent represents 27 former Dahn Yoga employees who are suing the organization. Calling it a "totalistic, high demand cult- group" which manipulates its members to serve Ilchi Lee's financial interests.

ALAN KAPLAN, ATTORNEY: They've injected allegations of cult-like activities.

PHILLIPS: Characterizations heatedly denied by Ilchi Lee's attorney who says the suit is little more than a money grab by disgruntled former employees.

KAPLAN: Let's make it clear, my client Mr. Lee is not a cult leader. Dahn Yoga is not a cult.

PHILLIPS (on camera): What is bow train?

LIZA MILLER, DAHN YOGA EX-EMPLOYEE: Bow training would be a series of repetitive motions to, over and over again.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Bowing over and over like this. Liza says it drove her to the brink of exhaustion just to reinforce her dedication to the group.

MILLER: We actually had to do 3,000 at one point which took about ten hours and we didn't eat or drink during that time.

PHILLIPS (on camera): Ten hours of bowing, no eating or drinking? Did people pass out? Did they get sick?

MILLER: People were rolling around moaning, crying, wailing. There was a lot of emotional distress.

PHILLIPS: And nobody at any time said this is crazy. This is ridiculous.

MILLER: If we were to come out and say things like that we would again be refocused to ourselves and our problems.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Alexander says that depiction is simply untrue.

ALEXANDER: Generally people do a smaller number of bows and build up to more. I know of no one who does 3,000 bows on a regular basis.

PHILLIPS: But allegations against Dahn Yoga and Ilchi Lee don't stop at money and abuse. There is much more.

PHILLIPS (on camera): We want your side of the story, sir.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Tonight, we're looking at a nationwide chain of Yoga and Wellness Centers run by a Korean national. It is under assault in the courts for being what some former members say is a cult. In a federal suit filed on behalf of 27 members of Dahn Yoga, one of the central allegations is that the chain's founder sexually assaulted a woman who devoted herself to the organization. Dahn Yoga and its founder vehemently deny all of the allegations. Here again, CNN's Kyra Phillips.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS (voice-over): Jade Harrelson says, she was honored by the extra attention paid to her by Ilchi Lee, the Founder of Dahn Yoga. He even gave her the spiritual name of Dahn Sue Lee.

HARRELSON: To me it was never right spoken, he was God like, that was never the message but that he was prophet like. And so, I took his word as holy almost.

PHILLIPS: And Lee encourages his followers to think of him as a prophet. Just listen to him in the spring of 2009 as he rallied his supporters comparing his book "Brain Wave Vibration" to the bible.

LEE (through a translator): "Brain wave vibration is scripture. It's a holy scripture. Do you all understand?"

PHILLIPS: Jade Harrelson says, she not only understood, she believed. Even following her new guru to Seoul, South Korea at his request and to his apartment every time he called for her.

(on camera) You trusted him?

HARRELSON: I trusted him.

PHILLIPS: Were you attracted to him at all?

HARRELSON: Absolutely not.

PHILLIPS (voice-over): But that trust she said, abruptly vanished after a night in 2006 at his Korean apartment propelling this devotee into a life changing world of doubt.

HARRELSON: He just slowly took my clothes off of me and pushed me where he wanted me to go and I numbly like a robot just responded.

PHILLIPS (on camera): Why didn't you tell him to stop?

HARRELSON: I had been so taught and trained that he was a holy person, a holy object and he was my connection to divinity and, again, just to say no to him and to refuse him was to refuse everything that I wanted for myself.

PHILLIPS: Harrelson concedes she never filed a police report and waited more than two years to file a civil suit. We asked for an on- camera interview with Ilchi Lee and were turned down so we followed him here, to the grand opening of Mago Earth Park near Sedona, Arizona, and this 39-foot statue representing what his followers call the soul of mother earth.

(on camera) Mr. Lee, I'm Kyra Phillips of CNN and we just want your response to the allegations of sexual assault against one of your former Dahn masters. We just want your side of the story sir.

(voice-over) So, our cnn photographer who speaks Korean translated. Lee tells me, "This is the first time I'm hearing of such accusation. Please don't touch me. Please don't touch me." PHILLIPS: And then his body guards knocked down our camera.

Lee's lawyer later told CNN all claims of sexual assaults are false.

KAPLAN: Mr. Lee has denied all of those allegations and we are confident that we will get those claims dismissed in court.

PHILLIPS: There is no question Ilchi Lee and Dahn Yoga have a devoted and loyal membership. And current members say, it is not a cult. If you look at the Dahn Yoga website 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.

MILLER: 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.

MILLER: I feel it is 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.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PHILLIPS (on camera): The attorney for Mr. Lee says, the only deception involved is on the part of the former employees who have filed the lawsuit. They are all disgruntled. He insists all they want is money. And the next legal step in this 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 will definitely keep you post with Campbell.

BROWN: And I will say, you struck a nerve. There has been an outpouring about this story on the internet, on the cnn.com and on our blog.

PHILLIPS: And I talked to you about that after the first night. It was incredible. We were inundated with e-mails and response pro and con. A lot of the acting members and employees of Dahn Yoga were saying, hey, this is not a cult. This organization has been fantastic for us. But then, we got inundated with other stories, look this has been destructive in my family. It has been destructive for me. It is a cult. We even found out that they were talking about our investigation on the Korean blogs, so it has actually gone overseas as well.

BROWN: Fascinating piece, great work, of course, Kyra Phillips for us tonight.

PHILLIPS: Thank you.

BROWN: Kyra, thank you. And coming up, a new book just out has new information about the 2008 campaign. Find out what brought Hillary Clinton to tears and later tonight's "Guilty Pleasure."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: A book worth reading. "Washington Post" White House Correspondent Ann 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?

So, Ann, welcome. Full disclosure, we have known each other for a very long time and have 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 starts with an overview. The 2008 campaign, we had Hillary Clinton 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. Please explain.

ANN KORNBLUT, WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: 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 is historic. 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 general election for Sarah Palin. They exposed some of the problems that I think, any woman who is going to run for president going forward, going to experience some sort of, harsh treatment, being ridicule, their credentials being dismissed, right off the bat.

BROWN: There was a moment where you revealed for the first time in the book of Hillary Clinton breaking down in tears when she is on the telephone, 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 super delegates. And when that word got back to the candidate herself during the conference call within the campaign, she both 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 never 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 are 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 in the end, when she did and she was attacked for it, it made her very emotional. This is sort of this inherent problem of a woman running for higher office. BROWN: Let's talk about the republicans and Sarah Palin. And you write, that is so interesting, not one female strategist with involved in choosing her, in selecting Sarah Palin to be John McCain's vp. 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 be a ridiculous question. But some of that stuff -- if there'd been woman in the room, she might have been able to raised 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 can sometimes count against them with female voters. The men didn't realize that sometimes female voters, they want somebody who is older and seems a little more serious and maybe doesn't look so perfect or so beautiful. And that is something that Sarah, candidates in other races have experienced. So, maybe if there had been a woman in the room, she could have raise 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, I had spoken to a lot of strategists and what I 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 got a very high voice, bring it down a notch so people can't accuse you of being shrill. And it is not fair. And people say, oh it is a double standard. But all of that and focus on looks, it just happens. So, you can deny it, you can say, I don't like it but when you are running for office you have to appeal to people and that is sort of the frustrating game that a lot of strategists I spoken to, said they'd encountered.

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

KORNBLUT: Thank you.

BROWN: Up next, tonight, 'Guilty Pleasures" politicians upstaged by their kids.

And check out the older daughter going gaga at the mention of her name.

These young children of mine, Grace who is eight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROWN: Politicians and celebrities have no trouble playing to the cameras. So, sometimes it is fun to watch what is happening over their shoulders and behind their backs. Senator Chris Dodd's kid this week stealing the moment as he announced, he won't run for re- election.

Has that and more in tonight "Guilty Pleasure."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

Jeanne Moos, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sure you can tell everyone where to stand but getting kids to stand still, good luck.

SEN. CHRIS DODD (D), CONNECTICUT: I'm still driven by the same passions.

MOOS: We were more interested in senator Chris Dodd's daughter was whispering.

DODD: So, many many years ago.

MOOS: Than we were in his speech, 4-year-old Christine had her hand on dad's shoulder. And on mom's nose.

DODD: Political shape of my career.

MOOS: And check out the older daughter going gaga at the mention of her name.

DODD: This young children Devine (ph), Grace who is eight.

MOOS: When her dad kissed her she wiped it off. Judging from a parting word, Grace would rather be saying Grace.

I'm starving, I'm starving.

MOOS: But be aware of what they eat. The man voters picked to be New Jersey's next governor wasn't the only thing picked at his acceptance speech.

DODD: The government to fix every problem, they just want to give a hand up.

MOOS: We've seen enough of the lieutenant governor elect son getting his hand up. Remember chief justice John Roberts' son? He made the papers for escaping his mom's clutches and crawling around as the president introduced his dad.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He was honor graduate of both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

MOOS: Young Jack graduated to hand signals and fancy footwork.

BUSH: After he was nominated for the court of appeals in 2001.

MOOS: Eventually Jack had to be marched off the stage.

BUSH: I received good advice from republicans and democrats.

MOOS: Even older kids can stand still, Letterman made this kid famous.

(INAUDIBLE)

DAVID LETTERMAN, CBS WORLDWIDE PANTS: We stand for the fair treatment of faith-based groups.

MOOS: Of course, there was Rudy Giuliani's son all grown up now. But will he ever live down his dad's swearing in as mayor, blowing kisses, joining in the oath.

(on camera): You know, it is up with thing when your kids steal a show, but how about when it is a couple of koalas. And we do mean a couple. Tennis Star Andy Roddick was talking to reporters at an Australian koala sanctuary.

ANDY RODDICK, TENNIS STAR: We were fighting a 35-mile-an-hour cross wind.

MOOS: Who cares about the tennis court when you can watch koalas courting?

Hold me in your arms

Jeannie Moos, CNN, New York.

BROWN: Thanks for joining us tonight everybody. We will see you back here on Monday. Among my guests Suze Orman some great money advice for the New Year. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.