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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Terror Plot Foiled; Interview With New York Congressman Peter King
Aired May 8, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And we begin tonight with breaking news, fascinating news, a dramatic new twist in the foiled al Qaeda plot in Yemen to bomb a plane bound for the United States. Word tonight that the would-be suicide bomber was actually a double agent under control of the CIA and Saudi intelligence.
An informant who infiltrated al Qaeda and handed over to the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies, not only the bomb, according to "The New York Times," but also the information that helped the CIA carry out a drone strike against a top al Qaeda operative.
Now, we don't have the name or nationality of the double agent and this, of course, is a highly sensitive situation. So we want to be careful about what we say, but some extraordinary details have already been leaked out to a number of publications.
"The New York Times" reports the bomb itself was sewn into underwear so that it would have been difficult to detect, even in a pat-down, and undoubtedly could have brought down a plane according to a senior American official.
Congressman Peter King of New York is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Again, there's a lot that cannot be discussed, so we're leaving it up to the experts to tell us what they can.
Congressman King joins us now.
Congressman King, the would-be suicide bomber is actually a double agent. What can you tell us about it and about him?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Anderson, I'm in a position I really can't tell you very much at all. I have been briefed on this. As far as I know this has not been in any way declassified by the CIA or by the administration. And it's really -- it's unfortunate that this has gotten out because this could really interfere with operations overseas.
And sorry to do this, I really cannot comment on any of those details. I know it's out there, I know it's being reported, and I also was at a briefing this afternoon with top officials, and there's a really great concern that this got out. This is -- my understanding is a major investigation is going to be launched because of this.
COOPER: You were -- you were also briefed yesterday -- we talked to you yesterday about what details you could say
COOPER: Are there any new details that you can say?
KING: I don't -- I don't believe so, Anderson. I hate to do this to you. I mean, yesterday I did say to you that I was told and I could say yesterday that the bomber, the alleged bomber, was no longer of any concern to us and now I guess a different interpretation can be put on that and everyone was, you know, reading into it last night.
But from what I understand, I will be surprised if you find anyone confirming this on the record. What you're reporting now and again by tomorrow or the next day could be a different story. I will say this is the most -- one of the most sophisticated and successful intelligence operations that I have been aware of.
I have never seen anything so tightly held. It was held as close -- as close as anything I have ever seen. And that's why the leak when it broke, I guess about a week ago, really put a lot -- put a lot of risk including human lives, and even now the fact that it's coming out can be dangerous.
COOPER: All right. Congressman King, I appreciate the position you're in and I appreciate you joining us tonight. Thank you.
KING: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: I'm joined also now by CNN contributor, former CIA officer Bob Baer, also national terror contributor, Fran Townsend, remember of the DHS and CIA External Adviser Committee, and Ali Soufan who's a former FBI supervisory special agent, also author of the book "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against Al Qaeda."
Fran, you've been talking to your sources. What are you hearing and what you do feel OK about saying?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, Congressman King is absolutely right.
The more tactical sort of operational details that come out, it makes it more difficult, Anderson, for intelligence and law enforcement then to determine, were there others besides the informant they did control who volunteered to take a bomb? And did the bomb maker in Yemen, presumably -- presumably it's al-Asiri, the bomb maker in the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Did he make more than one? Because of course those of us who work these cases know al Qaeda's M.O. is to go and to make -- to plan for a multiple simultaneous attacks.
So it would be very odd if they had just one bomber and one bomb. So when the congressman says to you, it puts things at risk, it puss the investigation at risk. It makes it harder for them to try and find out. Because sources have said to me, we don't know if there are more bombers or more bombs out there.
COOPER: The sources have been talking to "The New York Times" who broke the story just a few hours ago and also other news organizations which had the story days ago.
TOWNSEND: Right. The "L.A. Times."
COOPER: And have actually been holding on to it.
TOWNSEND: No, that's exactly right. And so once that -- once it began to come out, then sources are willing -- they don't feel as though they're betraying a secret, right? They figures they're just confirming something you already know. And so sources have said to us exactly as you reported, that the informant was the source of the information that led to the drone strike in al-Quso, the operational -- the head of external operations for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
And it's their way of being able to get their hands on because CIA, working with Saudi intelligence, controlled this informant. That's the reason we got the device. And the FBI is now able to use their bomb tech facility to go through it. I mean, they're going to look to see, is it PETN which is the same substance that al-Asiri has used in the past. Have they fixed the detonation device, right? Because that's the thing in the underwear bomber that failed and caused it not to detonate.
So those sorts of things will be incredibly important for them, one, to understand this plot, two, to understand the sophistication of the bomb maker, and three, to be able to try and release enough information to allow screeners to know what exactly are they looking for.
I'm told that there's a real debate now, whether or not they'll release the photos of the device, which you typically would consider doing so that screeners knew -- had a picture of what they were looking for.
COOPER: Right, "The New York Times" -- again, this has been reported by "L.A. Times," "Washington Post," "New York Times." "The New York Times" account I read said that this is a new type of underwear bomb with actually two types of detonators, that -- with the Detroit underwear bomber, there was only one type that failed and this now has two types for which would be basically showing that the enemy again is a learning enemy and learned from their mistakes in the past.
TOWNSEND: Absolutely. Absolutely.
COOPER: Bob Baer, talk about how the CIA works with a double agent like this? I mean, is it -- is it possible the agent didn't even know he was helping the United States?
ROBERT BAER, TIME. COM INTELLIGENCE COLUMNIST: No, you want to get control of these guys. What they did was recruited him and ran him back into the group, Asiri's group if indeed that was the group. This is a classic intelligence operation and frankly it's brilliant. You know, controlling one of these guys, getting them to the meeting, turning the bomb over, getting a copy of it.
And the guy will go in and figure out how many more are out there. And of course that's the big question. Was there just one? Are there multiple bombs? And this is why, you know, all these leaks is not the way you want to go. Because, you know, I can read between the lines, and the administration is worried there's more out there. And I think it's unfortunate this was leaked because this is a source and they're really, really hard to come by.
You know, I have seen a couple of these in my career. It's a brilliant operation and they did a great job.
COOPER: Is it possible also that they send somebody in rather than -- than turn somebody who was already there? BAER: Either way. You know, whether they found a cousin or somebody like that and ran them in to the group or he was already there and they intercepted them, you know, in sort of a cold meeting and pitched him. I can't tell you, the details aren't out there.
BAER: But the point is getting control of one of these people in a group that's committed, that are believers that are ready to commit, you know, suicide is really, really tough.
COOPER: Ali Soufan, you know a lot about Yemen, you investigated the USS Cole bombing. You've interrogates terror suspects from there.
What do you make of this? Are the details that are known that you can comment on.
ALI SOUFAN, CEO, THE SOUFAN GROUP: I think it's a phenomenal success. And we have to basically congratulate the CIA for doing it. I hope, to be honest with you, for many years from now, we don't know exactly what happened. Because there are sources and methods and these sources and methods are protecting American lives, saving airlines from being blown up. I think it is very amateurish for people to leak something --
COOPER: So why does somebody leak this? I mean, if this is -- assuming that people leak this, are people who have direct knowledge of the operation, people who are in the law enforcement community, or in the intelligence community, why would they leak it?
SOUFAN: Well, I agree with what Representative King said and I think they should have an investigation about this. I did undercover al Qaeda related cases and I know how dangerous it is when you are with a group and they can kill you in a second and they know that you're a federal agent, and you're a source on other government.
It is very dangerous and that you have to keep your eye on the ball and you have to go back to your family. So doing something like this for any reason, even if just to make the American people happy that we're winning against al Qaeda is very selfish in so many different ways.
COOPER: Because, Fran, to your point, these operations also have multiple arms to them and it's not just initially one attack?
TOWNSEND: No, that's right, and this is a -- this is a particularly poignant victory for the CIA. I must say. Remember it was the Coast bombing where there was a -- where there was a double agent used against them, goes on to a forward operating base in Afghanistan, the Coast base, and kills a whole bunch of CIA officers because a double agent was used against them. So the notion of using a success of a double agent against al Qaeda is a particularly satisfying victory for them. I think.
COOPER: Bob, you've actually said that in your career at the CIA, you actually worked on devices, on bombs. What can you talk about? What can you say about that?
BAER: Well, you know, we were -- this -- the CIA has got a long history of going after these airplane bombs, and frankly they're the best in the government. they have got a facility where they remake these things. And when I was in Beirut, we were coming across suitcases where groups there were putting inside -- in the walls of Samsonite suitcases PETN and using metal detonators at the time that were put in Walkmans.
COOPER: So PETN has been around for a long time.
BAER: It's been around and it's the most dangerous explosive to use against airplanes. So what we would do is locally we would get these guys to show us how they actually did it. Some of them were heroin smugglers and they were -- they had been putting heroin in the -- in the linings of suitcases but they had switched over for the terrorist groups and put PETN. And we actually tested there, and I can tell you, it's very complicated making these things, and the fact that these have been reintroduced into this milieu again is what's so dangerous. Because, you know, as we've said the other night, as Fran said, one of these things are going to get through. And unless we keep going the way we are with these operations.
COOPER: We've tried to be as responsible as we can in reporting this. That's why we wanted all three of you to have direct experience in these sorts of things. I appreciate the sensitivity of it and what you were able to say.
So, Fran, Ali Soufan, Bob Baer, thank you.
Coming up: voters in North Carolina today deciding the fate of an amendment banning same-sex marriage and all same-sex civil unions, domestic partnerships. A pastor in North Carolina, as you remember, has been encouraging members of his church to vote for the ban. And a fiery sermon a few weeks ago, he encouraged parents to -- quote -- "punch" their sons if they show effeminate behavior.
He also said dads should crack, his words, their sons' limp wrists. He's now backtracking on that but only somewhat in an interview with CNN's David Mattingly. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What would you have said differently?
SEAN HARRIS, PASTOR, BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH: I would say straighten. That's one thing I would say, straighten that wrist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He also claims that when he said to punch their sons, he didn't actually mean punch.
We'll hear more from that pastor when we continue.
COOPER: "Raw Politics" tonight: The polls are closed in primaries in three states. Mitt Romney is the projected winner in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, but there are other contests that are drawing the focus tonight.
The breaking news from Indiana: an end to Senator Dick Lugar's 36 years in the Senate. CNN projects his challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, wins. A short time ago, Senator Lugar urged both parties to come together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RICHARD LUGAR (R), INDIANA: We are experiencing deep political divisions in our society right. These divisions have stalemated progress in critical areas.
But these divisions are not insurmountable. I believe that people of goodwill, regardless of party, can work together for the benefit of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: There's a lot of "Raw Politics" to get to tonight. I'm joined by Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for President George W. Bush, also Cornell Belcher, pollster for President Obama's 2012 campaign, and Erick Erickson, editor in chief for RedState.com.
Erick, you're someone who came out last year supporting Senator Lugar's challenger at a time when he was down by 20 points or more. What happened? How did the senator lose?
ERICK ERICKSON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, there were a couple of things, remember, it wasn't just Tea Party activists go and asking Richard Mourdock to run. It was about 2/3 of the Indiana Republican Party asking him to run. County chairman, statewide committee had been asking him to run. And Richard Lugar got disqualified from voting in Indiana by his own county because he doesn't live there anymore. He just grew out of touch with Indiana. It's a problem that the politicians on both sides of the aisle have. Completely lost touch with Indiana. The Tea Party saw an opportunity to pick up a seat and move it to the right and they did with Richard Mourdock.
COOPER: Ari, what do you think? Are there any larger lessons in the Lugar defeat?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, I think Erick nailed it. You know, I'm married to a Hoosier, I go there regularly. And Erick is exactly right. This is the problem when you've been in Washington so long, you forget who elected you, and you forget your people back home. The residency issue is particular salient because defined is he really a Hoosier anymore, or has he forgotten about us?
He didn't return home often enough. And that sends a signal. And when 2/3 of the establishment Republicans Indiana turn against you from the very beginning of the campaign, it really shows you've been away to long. Less ideology, less Tea Party, much more with just an older statesmen who got out of touch.
COSTELLO: Cornell, is that how you see it as well?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's interesting that we might as well talk about being out of touch, the truth of the matter is this is more the sort of Tea Party, will it begin to take over the Republican Party. And you see, you know, from outside looking in, I think most Americans look at this and they say, you know, here's a party that increasingly moderate and people who want to compromise just aren't welcome in.
I mean, let's be clear. Lugar barely had a challenge last time in Indiana. He's been -- he's someone who's won that seat convincingly. I mean, that seat now moves from a seat that Democrats was not the top tier with Democrats to a seat that Democrats so certainly target now because you've moved a moderate, middle-of-the- road Republican out of that seat in a state like Indiana where all of a sudden Democrats on the Senate side probably have a fairly good shot of taking that Senate seat.
The Tea Party in this way is absolutely not helping the Republican Party.
COOPER: Erick, you said he lost touch with --
ERICKSON: Cornell --
COOPER: I'm sorry. Ari, go ahead. You said he had lost touch -- or Erick, you said he lost touch with Indiana, but is part of it he was willing to compromise with Democrats?
ERICKSON: You know for the Tea Party to a degree it was. It was on spending issues more than anything where he was willing to compromise too much for the Tea Party. But again, 2/3 of the establishment Republican Party, county chairman and state wide committee, in Indiana wanted someone new. Unfortunately, for politicians on both sides of the aisle, sometimes they don't know when it's time to retire.
But to Cornell's point of this being a moderate moving to a conservative and the Tea Party taking over and things like that, Richard Lugar couldn't vote in his own county for a while until he had to appeal the decision because he hasn't lived there. To say that the conservatives are taking over, this is what the Democrats were saying in 2010, that the American public wouldn't go along with the Tea Party and now they control the majority of statehouses, majority of the governor's mansions, and that helps.
BELCHER: And look at what we're getting from that. We're getting stuff like we're seeing in North Carolina where gay rights and abortion and attacks on health care is front and center, when you came into office talking about the economy --
ERICKSON: We have that in California.
BELCHER: The economy and deficit. And we haven't seen the Republicans act at all on the economy and deficit. We've seen all these social issues run front and center. And that's why the day the Tea Party has -- unfavorable the way it has. I mean, it was a false -- it was a false bill of goods.
COOPER: Ari --
FLEISCHER: This was just comical. He's saying all these social issues front and center? This is the same group that was attacking Republicans for trying to do something about pensions that were bankrupt in the nation in Wisconsin and Ohio.
Look, the Tea Party has been a healthy injection in the Republican Party. It's really brought Republicans back the meaning -- when we say we're fiscal conservatives. To do something to save this country and our children from debt. But don't over-read that that was the influence in Indiana. If it was I would be proud to say. I would be happy to say that. It just wasn't the case in Indiana. But I love Democrats to spend money in Indiana and waste it on trying to take that seat, it won't happen, not in Indiana.
COOPER: We got to leave it there. Ari, Cornell, Erick, thanks. Sorry, we got a lot to cover tonight.
The battle over a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in North Carolina has led to some strong rhetoric. Evangelist Billy Graham ran full page ads in newspapers throughout the states saying the bible's message is clear, that God's definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. But perhaps the most startling comments come from a pastor in Fayetteville.
You might remember we brought you this story last week. Pastor Sean Harris says he was trying to communicate the truth of the word of God concerning marriage when he said dads should give a -- quote -- "good punch," to their boys if they show signs of effeminate behavior and also -- quote -- "crack their limp wrists." Listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HARRIS: So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is 4 years old, and instead of squashing that like a cockroach, and saying, man up, son, get that dress off and get outside and dig a ditch because that's what boys do, you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female, and then you upload it to YouTube, and everybody laughs about it.
And next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.
Can I make it any clearer?
Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you rock over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. OK? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you're going to be a male.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: After Harris's sermon went viral online, he sort of apologized. Here's what he had to say then.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HARRIS: I should not have said what I said about cracking or punching and a particular bias toward outward attraction of girls, nor should I have used the words special dispensation. I did not say that children should be squashed. I have never suggested children or those in the LGBT lifestyle should be beaten, punched or abused either physically or psychologically in any form or fashion.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Harris says right there that he never suggested children in what he called the -- quote -- "LGBT lifestyle" be beaten or punched. That however is just not true. He not only suggested it, he said it flat out. You just heard it. He said give him a good punch.
He asked -- we asked Sean Harris to come on the program tonight, he said no, but he did agree to sit down with CNN's David Mattingly after delivering his sermon on Sunday.
MATTINGLY: Give him a good punch.
MATTINGLY: Squash like a cockroach, crack that wrist.
HARRIS: Right. MATTINGLY: What exactly were you telling your congregation to do here?
HARRIS: I was telling them in strong words that we're not careful. You know? What did I learn this week? Be more careful with your words.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Those words sparked a national barrage of harsh online criticism. Harris says he became the target of angry, hateful messages filled with profanity and multiple death threats after telling parents how to deal with children and effeminate behavior.
(on camera): What would you have said differently?
HARRIS: I would say straighten. That's one thing I would say. Straighten that wrist.
MATTINGLY: What about the punch remark?
HARRIS: Sure. The punch remark, you know, it's amazing how punch has been equated to inciting violence against gay youth. That's not what I meant.
MATTINGLY: When you said give him a good punch, what exactly did you mean?
HARRIS: A shove, an affirmation, you see coaches give their players a good punch, a good slug, it's away of affirming the gender distinctions between a male and a female.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Harris preaches a biblical interpretation at the Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville that homosexuality is a choice, a sinful behavior. Anyone looking for a sweeping apology will be disappointed.
HARRIS: I was apologizing for my failure to say the right thing. To be more careful, to make sure that no one thinks that Sean Harris is suggesting as was said, although I never said this, beat the gay out of children. Those weren't my words, I didn't even use that. I don't even believe there are such thing as gay children. So I wasn't saying that. I was dealing with effeminate behavior and instructing parents to affirm the manhood or the womanhood in their children.
MATTINGLY: Is there anything else that you'd like to apologize for?
HARRIS: No, I don't think that I need to apologize for preaching to my people what the word of God says. That's my responsibility.
MATTINGLY: On this Sunday police keep watch outside the church. Demonstrators are kept at a distance.
(on camera): The protesters are down here, over 100 yards away from the church. They were granted a permit to say what they need to say at this intersection. And the complaints they have are not just about the words that the pastor had in his service last Sunday, but about the reaction from the congregation as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct that wrist. Punch him if he's gay. I support -- I give you permission to do it. It's pretty much what he was saying, and they were laughing. Nobody once has said wait a minute, hold on.
MATTINGLY: There was laughter in the congregation.
HARRIS: That's right.
MATTINGLY: I heard a few amens on that recording.
HARRIS: Yes, because they knew what I meant. They knew that I wasn't advocating violence against gays, lesbians, youths.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): In the service before our interview, Pastor Harris got a standing ovation. These members tell me Harris has nothing to apologize for.
MARY BATTIE, MEMBER, BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH: He's always has a little levity, I guess you could say, into it. And that's why we all laugh because we know our pastor.
RICHARD LUCIANO, MEMBER, BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH: We know that there's no way that he was advocating violence. And that's why no one walked out.
ERNEST STEWART, MEMBER, BEREAN BAPTIST CHURCH: I don't think that he needs to change words at all.
MATTINGLY (on camera): And yet when your words go outside of this church on to the Internet they sound hateful to some people.
HARRIS: Absolutely, I know they did. I listened to myself and thought, is that what you meant? And I said, of course not. But I can understand how someone misunderstood that.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): But don't expect to see any changes at the Berean Baptist Church, or anymore apologies. Pastor Sean Harris's sermons will continue to go out to the worldwide Web as they always have only more carefully worded.
David Mattingly, CNN, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
COOPER: Well, again, a reminder, polls are now close in North Carolina where they voted on Amendment 1 which would constitutionally bar not only same-sex marriage in the state, but also civil unions, any form of domestic partnerships, any form of state recognition of same-sex relationships. It is expected to pass in the state of North Carolina.
Also tonight the lives of two young girls are hanging in the balance right now, 12-year-old Angela Bain and her 8-year-old sister, Kyliyah. Authorities in Tennessee and Mississippi are asking for help finding them and their kidnapper -- new developments in the case ahead.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight: new developments in the search for two young girls and their accused kidnapper, this man, Adam Mayes, shown here in a convenience store surveillance video, he's considered armed and dangerous. Twelve-year-old Alexandria Bain and her 8-year-old sister, Kyliyah, are believed to be with them. Take a close look at them. Authorities say Mayes may have cut their hair.
With their lives in the balance, the manhunt is now focused on Union County, Mississippi, where the girl's mother and sister were found dead on Saturday. The bodies of Jo Ann Bain and her oldest daughter, 14-year-old Adrienne, were discovered in a home linked to Mayes.
In one of the most disturbing pieces of this story, Mayes is said to be a long-time family friend of the Bains. And tonight, authorities say they have arrested his mother and his ex-wife. They're accused of helping him in the kidnapping.
Martin Savidge joins me now.
So Martin, what's the latest in the search for the two girls?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the biggest development has to be the arrests that have been made or at least that were announced today of the wife or ex-wife -- it depends who you talk to -- of Adam Mayes. He's the prime suspect in this particular case. She's 31-year-old Teresa. And she's being held on a half million dollars bond.
She apparently has confessed to authorities that she drove, in essence, the getaway car that transported the Bain family across state lines from Tennessee where they were abducted to Mississippi.
The other person who was arrested was Mayes' 65-year-old mother. And she has told authorities that on the day that the Bain family disappeared, she saw her son in her yard digging. And of course, it was in her yard over the weekend that the shallow graves and the bodies were found of Jo Ann Bain and her eldest daughter.
COOPER: And are they any leads as to where Adam is?
SAVIDGE: You know, there are a lot of questions as to where he could be, but right now it seems just by watching the actions of law enforcement, both on the federal and local level, that they are focused right around Guntown. That is where he lived in northern Mississippi. It appears they do not think at this point that he has gone far away.
Now, alerts have been spread across the country. But the primary focus and manpower -- and there are several hundred police officers and various federal and local agencies that are involved here, more than a dozen. And they all seem to be focused there in northern Mississippi, so perhaps he's gone to ground somewhere else.
COOPER: And the police believe the girls are with him? Two of the girls?
SAVIDGE: They do. And they believe that they're alive. They won't tell us why they think that the 8-year-old and the 12-year-old are still alive. They believe that their appearances have been altered. They say it's possible their hair has been cut short. It's also possible that their hair has been dyed.
And they also believe that Adam Mayes has done the same thing to himself. They have a photograph that authorities have put out that showed him in kind of an altered perspective. So they believe this is all part of his way to try to stay on the run.
COOPER: What do you know about the relationship between Adam Mayes and the Bain family?
SAVIDGE: This was a relationship, and this is what is so strange about this story. They had a relationship, meaning Mayes and the Bain family, for years. And a very close one. And from all appearances, a very good one. And you know, the girls would stay at his place, and he would go on trips with the family. It seemed that they got on very well.
But something happened in the realm of 11 days ago where this has gone from two close families to something very horrific.
COOPER: Martin Savidge, appreciate the latest. Thanks.
SAVIDGE: You're welcome.
COOPER: Bobbi Booth is Adam Mayes' sister-in-law. She agreed to talk to us exclusively. I spoke with her earlier right before the broadcast.
COOPER: So Bobbi, you say that your sister Teresa told you over the week -- over the phone last week that she knew Adam had killed Jo Ann Bain and her daughter and she knew where the bodies were buried?
BOBBI BOOTH, SISTER-IN-LAW OF ADAM MAYES: That's true. The investigators -- I actually called the investigators on Saturday. Because the statements she were making were concerning me.
Because my sister is -- I don't know how to put this. She's a slow learner, and she's very dependent. And I just felt like the comments she was making were scary. So I called the Hardeman (ph) County Sheriff's Department and they stated that they were already aware of everything she was saying. So it made no sense to me why it took so long to tell who the bodies were.
COOPER: What else did your sister tell you? BOOTH: The main thing she told me was just about the bodies, and she did say that Adam had threatened to kill her and she was scared to death.
COOPER: If Adam is guilty of these crimes, do you have any idea why he'd do this?
BOOTH: No, I don't. I've known Adam for at least 25 years. And he's always been weird and unusual. He's just a different type of person altogether. The whole family is. But I never dreamed he would do something like this.
COOPER: Adam -- Adam used to date Jo Ann Bain before he married your sister, Teresa, and you say that Teresa suspected the two were having an affair?
BOOTH: Yes, sir. She suspected that for quite a while. And there's actually question as to -- my sister has made numerous statements as to the paternity of those children.
COOPER: So according to the arrest warrant, your sister admitted to helping drive Jo Ann and her three daughters from Tennessee to Mississippi, where the two bodies were found. Any idea why your sister would do that?
BOOTH: Her attorney called me today, and my sister had already made the statement that Adam had threatened to kill her, as well.
COOPER: So you're saying that's why -- that's why she was involved, because she feared for her own life?
BOOTH: Right. He -- yes. He is a very aggressive -- he has beat her several times. Very aggressive person.
COOPER: I want to show our viewers a picture of your sister with the three daughters of Jo Ann Bain. Were the families close?
COOPER: What else can you tell us about Adam that -- I mean, authorities believe he still has the other two daughters.
BOOTH: He likes to drink a lot. He does a lot of drugs. He's just a loner. He's never had like a legitimate, steady job. He's never lived out on his own. He's never -- you know, he's always been with his mom and dad. Just -- you know, he didn't finish school. He's not trustworthy. But like I said, I just never pictured this.
COOPER: What do you -- what's in your gut? What do you think went on here?
BOOTH: I think there's an affair of some type going on. I just don't know what.
COOPER: So you think he was having an affair with Jo Ann Bain?
COOPER: Does it make any -- I mean, is there any explanation, though, why he would kill her or why he'd kill a daughter?
BOOTH: No. I have no clue why anybody would kill a person.
COOPER: Do you think Adam is the father of the children? Did your sister think that that Adam was the father of the children?
BOOTH: My sister has stated that she felt he was, and he had made those statements to her, yes.
COOPER: So if Adam or anyone that knows him or his whereabouts is watching this right now, what would you say to him?
BOOTH: Adam, do the right thing and just let the children go. This has gone on way too far. And we need to figure out what's going on, and it's not fair to the children.
COOPER: Well, Bobbi, I appreciate you coming forward. Thank you for talking to us.
BOOTH: Thank you. I hope I could help. And again, Adam, if you're watching or anybody who knows where Adam is, get those kids to safety.
COOPER: And the manhunt is underway.
Serious questions tonight about millions of dollars in donations to a clarity for disabled vets. And generous Americans learning the hard way their money never made it to those in need, but what the vets got instead -- instead of the cash, it is just baffling. We're "Keeping Them Honest" next.
COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, an update on a charity with a lot of explaining to do. Yesterday, we introduced you to Americans who felt duped after learning the money they donated in the name of helping disabled veterans never made it to those in need.
A charity collecting millions of dollars didn't use a penny of it to directly benefit the vets or cover the costs of much-need services. Instead, this group passed along a baffling array of items leaving veterans groups to figure out how to make use of those items, if at all.
Drew Griffin with CNN's investigations unit demanded answers. Here's part two of what he's uncovered.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (VOICE-OVER): Over the past three years, thanks to the generosity of Americans, a charity called the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has raised nearly $56 million. Yet, according to its own financial tax forms, not one dime of that money has been used for direct services to military veterans.
PRECILLA WILKEWITZ, PRESIDENT, DVNF: You're the one from CNN...
GRIFFIN (on camera): That's right.
(voice-over) Meet Precilla Wilkewitz, president of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, who we found at a small VFW office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
WILKEWITZ: This is a Veterans of Foreign Wars, and really, to think you'd do something like this, and we've agreed to talk to you and answer...
GRIFFIN (on camera): Nobody has agreed. So here's the questions raised over three years.
WILKEWITZ: Thank you so much.
GRIFFIN: And none of the money has gone to any veterans, ma'am.
(voice-over) While Wilkewitz is the former national legislative liaison for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, it's another veterans group she's president of that we wanted to discuss.
(on camera) OK, so the bottom line is you're not going to give me an interview.
(voice-over) CNN has been trying for two years to get an interview with the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, wince we began tracking its fundraising. We've gotten angry phone calls, angry e-mails, promises of written responses, and now a slammed door.
(on camera) Veterans, ma'am.
(voice-over) But no answers. And when you see just how this charity operates, you'll understand why.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're paying down our start-up costs.
GRIFFIN: Wilkewitz, now the organization's Web site, likes to boast about the charitable gifts that her group gives away. And DVNF does give away stuff. Stuff actual veterans groups say they really don't need.
It's called "gifts in kind" on tax forms. Instead of giving away some of the $56 million in cash raised over the past three years, DVNF gives away stuff it got for free.
In 2010, the group filed this tax form, claiming it provided more than $838,000 in gifts in kinds to U.S. Vets, a charity in Arizona. U.S. Vets showed us what actually was sent. Twenty pairs of men's football pants. More than 100 chef's coats, 125 chefs aprons. A needlepoint designed pillow case. Two pages worth of stuff the director told us "We don't need."
And take a look at what showed up at the St. Benedict's Veterans Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where J.D. Simpson takes homeless vets off the streets. Simpson says the modest shipment included some useful items: 2,300 disaster blankets, good for a couple of days' use. And some cleaning supplies. But it also included this.
J.D. SIMPSON, ST. BENEDICT'S VETERANS CENTER: They sent us 2,600 bags of cough drops and 2,200 little bottles of sanitizer, and the great thing, 11,520 bags of coconut M&Ms. And didn't have a lot of use for 11,520 bags of coconut M&Ms.
GRIFFIN: Here's what the DVNF posted on its Web site about the work they were doing in Alabama.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We send by the truckload items that these centers and shelters say they need desperately.
GRIFFIN (on camera): "For our veterans, who have given so much to our country and now need our help."
SIMPSON: Great sound bite.
GRIFFIN: Did they ever ask you what you wanted?
SIMPSON: No, no. They always call and say, "Hey, we've got a truckload coming."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody up here on the top is a lot of the stuff that came in on the last truck. The bandages, the lotion, the hand sanitizer.
GRIFFIN: It's unpacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unpacked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We really have no use for it. These shelves should be filled with this...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... not that.
GRIFFIN: Do you ask yourself, well, where's the money?
SIMPSON: I ask myself that after I ask myself what the heck are these people doing, stealing from our veterans? Because that's what they're doing.
I don't care how you look at it. These people have for our country, and there are some people out there that are raising money to abuse them, and that just makes me mad.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Executive director J.D. Simpson became even more angry when these showed up. More than 700 pairs of surplus Navy dress shoes.
SIMPSON: Not a lot of use for these unless you're going to stand in a personnel inspection.
GRIFFIN (on camera): Those shoes are now part of the yard sale that this group uses to raise real funds for the things they really need. Not shoes like these.
Here's the question.
(voice-over) Precilla Wilkewitz wouldn't tell us why she sent homeless vets in Alabama shiny new Navy surplus shoes.
WILKEWITZ: Hello. I'm Precilla Wilkewitz, president of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation.
GRIFFIN: And DVNF wouldn't really tell us anything. What the group and its president continue to tell you, the American public, is to keep sending in those donations.
COOPER: So Drew, all the money seems to be going directly to the company raising the funds. Is that their business model? Simply raise money for themselves?
GRIFFIN: The direct mail company that actually gets those donations is called Quadriga Arts, and on its Web site, Anderson, it says it raises funds for more than 500 charities and nonprofits.
We got an e-mail that says the company -- it says it will not discuss any specific client relationships. We could not even get a phone call from the company or its lawyers. We did get angry calls from -- e-mails from a P.R. guy they hired. In the end, we couldn't get any interviews or any real good answers.
COOPER: Drew Griffin, thanks. That's incredible.
We invite Precilla Wilkewitz any day, any time, to be on this show. We will come to you. You have some questions to answer.
Just before we went to air tonight, we received this statement from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation, as they call themselves. "Over the past four years, the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has changed the lives of more than 80,000 servicemen and women. We equip our veterans with the tools they need to find jobs. We help prevent evictions and homelessness, and we care for those suffering from the visible and invisible wounds of war, including post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. Our fundraising has one goal: to bring hope to the heroes who have bravely served our country."
Again, we offer an invitation to Precilla Wilkewitz. Any time, anywhere, we'll be there. We have some questions we'd like to ask you. A shocking videotape played in court. California police officers caught on tape, apparently beating a homeless man who later died. We'll tell you what is on the tape that could help decide whether two officers will stand trial.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Tom Foreman with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
We begin with breaking news from North Carolina. CNN projects a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage will pass. Amendment 1 also effectively bans civil unions. Same-sex marriage was already illegal in North Carolina. The measure will add an amendment to the constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
A graphic video of a California homeless man's violent arrest was played in court. Kelly Thomas could be heard yelling for help on the tape as two officers beat him. Thomas died five days later. A judge played the tape at the hearing to determine if the officers will stand trial for his death.
And Yahoo! CEO Scott Thompson apologized today for the resume- padding scandal that rocked the company. His resume claimed he held a computer science degree which he did not earn. Thompson and members of the staff did not address how that error occurred -- Anderson.
COOPER: Tom, thanks very much.
Now, our "Beat 360" winners, our daily chance to show up our staffers, coming up with a better caption to a photo that we put on our blog every day.
Tonight's picture, President Obama during a speech at a high school in Virginia.
Our staff winner is Eli. His caption: "Hey, Kimmel, I can hear everything with these."
(SOUND EFFECT: GROANS)
COOPER: Viewer winner was Guy. His caption: "Seriously, do these look like the ears of a guy who's not listening?"
(SOUND EFFECT: "OOOOH!")
COOPER: Guy, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way.
"The RidicuList" just ahead. A hot-dog lady who cops say offered something spicy to her customers.
COOPER: Ah, yes, time for "The RidicuList." And tonight, we're adding the alleged hot dog hooker. It all went down, so to speak, on Long Island. Authorities claim 45-year-old Catherine Scalia, seen here in this modest photograph, was engaged in the world's oldest profession: soliciting customers from the steamy perch of her -- well, from her hot-dog truck. Relax: I'm not going to say that she clearly enjoys a handful of wieners. That would be too easy.
Here's the way it worked. Ms. Scalia would allegedly charge customers to put relish on their foot-longs and later, for an additional payment, she would -- well, you can see where I'm going with that.
Today she was released from custody, posing for cameras and shouting, "I'm sexy and I know it" to waiting reporters.
According to our affiliate, WABC, Scalia pled guilty to a charge of prostitution, though that's apparently what she thinks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHERINE SCALIA, CHARGED WITH PROSTITUTION: I plead guilty to stripper, a stripper, not prostitution. Prostitution is sex. Listen, I was Sister Teresa over here, OK? Showing your cleavage is indecent exposure. Prostitution is sex. Sexual acts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Sister Teresa, stripper.
Law-enforcement officials allege Ms. Scalia got caught in a sex- for-cash deal with an undercover police officer, who visited her hot- dog stand and later went to her home.
So how did she find customers allegedly interested in more than a toasted bun, you ask? Well, apparently by handing out business cards advertising stripping services. I mean, what else would you expect to find at a hot-dog stand?
Scalia insists she's not a prostitute, but rather just your average hot-dog stand owner/stripper, and the whole thing is an overreaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCALIA: I gave them a little happiness and next thing you know, he asked me for a (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I had 20 cop cars there with handcuffs on me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Look, who knows. Condoms, condiments, maybe there was a misunderstanding.
According to WABC, now that she's out of jail, Scalia intends to resume business with her hot dog and lap dance business. She also tells "The New York Post," quote, "I'll be out there in a bikini top and a G-string this summer. I have a permit. It's going to be hot dogs and" blank. She then uses a word I'm not going to repeat on a family program.
All I can say is summer is fast approaching, so if you find yourself at a hot dog stand on Long Island, take a good look around. In addition to business cards for a lap dance, you might just see a sign that says, "As seen on 'The RidicuList'."
Hey, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Thursday, we hope you watch the "AC 360" Google Plus hangout. You can get more details and pose a question for all of us: Isha and Randi, also Jack Gray. Post your questions for us on our Google Plus page and on AC360.com.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.