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Friar Under Fire for Child-Sex Comments; Former Navy SEAL in Hot Water; Questions over Doctor-Patient Privilege in Holmes Case.
Aired August 31, 2012 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you so much, Carol Costello. I do appreciate it.
And hello everyone. I am Ashleigh Banfield. It is 11:00 on the East Coast. 8:00 a.m. on the West Coast. Good morning to you.
Mitt Romney's moment. There is really no other way to say it, is there? He achieved the goal that he has been seeking for years, the Republican nomination for the president of our United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: My fellow Americans, I am proud to introduce to you the next president of the united states of America, Mitt Romney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BANFIELD: In, at times, a rousing acceptance speech, Governor Romney vowed to lead this country from its economic troubles -- and he had running mate as well, Paul Ryan on the stage. The two of them absolutely wasting no time in getting that message out.
ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": In, at times, a rousing acceptance speech, Governor Romney vowed to lead this country from its economic troubles.
And he had a running mate as well, Paul Ryan, on the stage, the two of them absolutely wasting no time in getting that message out across the country.
Mr. Romney just finishing up speaking moments ago in Lakeland, Florida. Our Jim Acosta is there. In fact, I am told he's just been hustled onto Governor Romney's plane, so I'm just going to ask if you can hear me on the phone. You got me?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I got you, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: I'm looking at your plane right now. What's up?
ACOSTA: Well, we just got on the campaign plane a few moments ago and, basically, we're in a hurry, Ashleigh. We're on our way to Louisiana right now. Governor Romney is going to be meeting with the governor of that state, Bobby Jindal, and then taking a tour of some of the storm damage after Tropical Storm and Hurricane Isaac. We're going to be going to the town of Lafitte, Louisiana.
But, as you mentioned just a few moments ago, he and Paul Ryan, his running mate, wrapped up a rally here in Lakeland, Florida. And what they did, Ashleigh, is really just sort of continue some of the themes we heard during last night's convention speech from Mitt Romney.
You heard Mitt Romney say last night, and I'm paraphrasing here, that for a lot of voters out there the best moment they had when they voted for Barack Obama was when they actually went in the voting booth and pulled the lever for Barack Obama and he sort of continued that theme here this morning.
And he was using a theme of accountability, saying that you heard the last guy running for president laying out what he wanted to do. He couldn't do it. You got to hold us accountable.
He used that word accountable or accountability a few times during this speech. So, you do get the sense that the Romney/Ryan ticket has a new message coming out of last night's convention, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Jim, I want to be super clear here because I'm looking at the agenda that you were supposed to be following today and I didn't know you were going to be getting on the plane this quickly.
And, when you said you were in a hurry, I had you flying to Virginia and then Saturday in Ohio and Jacksonville, Florida. And I had no idea that the storm in the Gulf Coast was on this.
Is this a last-minute add? Did he just plan this with Governor Jindal? Is he landing somewhere in New Orleans? What's the plan or do you even know it? Is it too early?
ACOSTA: No. They did juggle the schedule here. They did make some changes here.
Basically, what's happening is we're going to Louisiana. The trip to Virginia for Mitt Romney has basically been scrapped.
Paul Ryan, his running mate, is still going to Virginia, will have a rally there and then both of these candidates will be going to Ohio. Mitt Romney has an event in Ohio and Paul Ryan will be going from what we understand to an Ohio state football game.
That is going to be interesting seeing how he is from Wisconsin. Watch that unfold.
But, you know, Ashleigh, it's two months to go. We're after the Republican convention. Expect the unexpected.
BANFIELD: And that is exactly what I wanted to ask you. I don't mean to get to "inside baseball" here, but when I flew with President Bush on then "Responsibility One," he was in the same boat.
The candidate and the advance teams for then Governor Bush were really intensive, so I just don't know how so quickly they are going to be able to get an advance team over to Louisiana to basically clear and secure the area for this flight and all you reporters and everybody to land.
Do you know what the logistics are?
ACOSTA: You know, I think, Ashleigh, they had this in the works last night. There were some rumblings about this last night and then they confirmed this event this morning.
But you're right. This is going to be a logistical challenge. We'll see how it all works out. But we're flying with the advance team for Mitt Romney and they have advance folks on the ground in Louisiana. Plus, they have the staff of Governor Jindal working with them, as well.
So, we'll see it all unfold in the next couple hours. We'll get back to you, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: OK, good luck. That's going to be a bit confusing, but it'll be fascinating, nonetheless. Jim, make sure you let us know what happens when you guys land.
In the meantime, listen, there's still a big moment that's playing out in the news and it's not exactly what Mitt Romney or the planners of the convention, that carefully orchestrated convention, expected or perhaps wanted. Really not too sure about this, in fact.
But if you didn't see this or you haven't heard about this, this is who we're talking about, Clint Eastwood and the performance on stage last night.
A lot of Republicans, the faithful in the crowd, found the mocking of President Obama all while talking to an empty chair was actually pretty funny, but in that crowd a lot of other people were visibly uncomfortable.
And our Dana Bash was inside the auditorium. She took it all in last night. She's live now from Tampa.
I want you to walk me through this. First of all, have you ever seen anything like this sort of a moment at a convention before?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. That's an easy answer.
BANFIELD: I'm not surprised ...
BASH: I've definitely not seen anything like that at all.
BANFIELD: And I thought it was just me, so I'm glad that you reinforced that.
Walk me through this, the fallout, because, I have to be honest with you, half of my team today said that it was funny and that it wasn't uncomfortable. Half of my team today said it was uncomfortable, so I want to know what the fallout is amongst everybody in the auditorium and what might actually extrapolate out into TV land and the rest of us America.
BASH: Well, I think inside the auditorium it seemed to have been kind of split just the way it has been among your team there in Atlanta.
I was standing with the New Jersey delegation. They all thought it was hilarious. There was definitely laughing around me and beyond the New Jersey delegation.
There were some cringe-worthy moments when he sort of alluded to some curse words, so to speak, but for the most part, there were people laughing around me.
Ann Romney and other Romneys, according to our Jim Acosta who was sitting right in front of them, watching their reactions, they sat stone silent. They didn't laugh at all and, apparently, they looked a little uncomfortable.
Let's play a little bit of that moment with Clint Eastwood.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINT EASTWOOD, ACTOR/DIRECTOR: So, I've got Mr. Obama sitting here and he is -- I just was going to ask him a couple questions.
I mean, what do you say to people? Do you just, you know, I know people are wondering -- you don't have anything? OK.
I wondered about, you know, when the -- what? What do you want me to tell Romney? I can't tell him to do that. He can't do that to himself. You're crazy. You're absolutely crazy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: That was that cringe-worthy moment I was talking about, Ashleigh, but I will tell you that, being in the hall, it felt like a Clint Eastwood performance. It felt like he was doing improv or maybe one of those moments at the Oscars where you come out and they have a little shtick.
The problem is this is not the Oscars and this is not a Clint Eastwood performance. The whole purpose of this convention, this night and that particular hour, the 10:00 primetime hour where everybody was tuning in, was to talk about Mitt Romney and to be a validator for Mitt Romney and that is the reason why they decided to pick Clint Eastwood because he reaches audiences that normally politicians don't reach.
BANFIELD: Well, and I wondered as I watched it live if this had been rehearsed, if the organizers of the convention had seen it and if they had planned for its length.
I had heard that there was only about five minutes allotted. I think this went on for about 15 and, at times, it did seem rambling. And then there was the big mention of Afghanistan, which kind of all of the sudden was the first time we had heard that.
Was this something that the organizers knew about, planned for, and had, essentially, scripted, even though it was unscripted?
BASH: It is a little bit difficult to track down the truth to that. I will just tell you what we are hearing and that is that somebody thought picking Clint Eastwood was a good idea, they did it and my understanding from a couple of Republican sources that I've talked to is that they didn't vet what he was going to say and just, I will tell you, just logistically, I was standing right in front of the teleprompter where you could see the big screen in the back where you could see the speeches rolling through for Rubio and Romney and everybody else through the week.
There was nothing there. It was blank for Clint Eastwood. They didn't have anything prepared for him to say. Whether or not they knew that he was going to do this kind of shtick? I mean, there was a chair there. Somebody had to put it there. So, somebody had to have known.
BANFIELD: OK. Not surprisingly, the president's team put out a tweet that directly referred to the chair and the talking to the chair. Walk me through that, Dana.
BASH: That's right. It was really kind of moments after -- I think we have it. We can put it up on the screen. Moments after Clint Eastwood finished talking about the chair.
He said, he put out a tweet with a photo of his back in his chair in the Oval Office saying, this seat is taken. It was pretty clever, pretty fast, you know, definitely kept the buzz on the twitter-verse and the Internet going, but I don't think that that needed to happen. There is a lot of buzz, not necessarily all the kind of buzz that Republicans wanted when they really want the memorable speech, the memorable moment to be from their candidate and the kind of performance and the message that he had.
BANFIELD: I'm wondering how long, Dana, it's going to take for the Republicans to put out another tweet, saying, yes, but for how much longer?
Dana Bash, thank you. Excellent work. I really need you to get some sleep.
BASH: Thank you.
BANFIELD : How about you get some sleep till next week?
BASH: Not going to happen.
BANFIELD: Thank you, Dana.
BASH: But thanks.
BANFIELD: All right. And the reason I say that to my colleague Dana Bash is because now, of course, it's the Democrats' turn, so all eyes and all reporters are going to turn their attention to the DNC in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Here is a brief lay of the land. I love these fly-ins. These two venues in Charlotte are where all the action is going to take place.
Wow, it sounds like it's already jammed in there, but there's only a couple of organizers. But you better bet that the Democrats are gearing up, big time, to unleash their counterattack against the Republicans who've had a big spotlight all week. The storm definitely affected that, but it's been a good spotlight.
Democratic National Convention is going to run three days, kicking off on Tuesday. That's when first lady Michelle Obama is going to take the spotlight and that also works out to, if you've done the math, exactly one week after Ann Romney delivered one heck of a speech.
So, then on Wednesday, another big one, former President Bill Clinton is going to rev up the crowd. He's always a lot of fun to watch.
And that leads to the big day on Thursday, the final convention day. That's when President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are going to deliver their acceptance speeches.
BANFIELD: Just a quick note for you. If you're heading out the door, you can continue to watch CNN. Don't worry about it. You can get us on your mobile phone. You can get us up on your P.C., if you're headed to the office.
Just go to CNN.com/TV and all the instructions are there for you and, I'm telling you, it's a great opportunity to stay in touch, especially on these busy political weeks.
And then, also, of course, we have Isaac. Now, it is weakened. It is not anywhere near what it was, but now, it's over Arkansas and it has left behind a really muddy mess in the Gulf states and the folks who there are going to have one heck of a time trying to fix the problems left behind.
And the storm isn't finished yet. Still more damage to come, possibly, because it could trigger tornadoes in the Mississippi area. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana are also still under flash flood watches.
Our Rob Marciano is live in New Orleans right now. So, obviously, Rob, the curfew may have lifted and it may seem as though the weather is changing, but things cannot be anywhere back to normal yet.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: No. Certainly not. Not even here in New Orleans where the levee system that they've built since Katrina and spent billions of dollars on, that worked perfectly for the most part. Floodgate, surge barriers, the whole thing worked well, so the city of New Orleans is dry, but there's debris all over the city, trees down, power out, still, hundreds of thousands of people without power.
And, earlier this morning, there were hundreds of utility crews that have converged on New Orleans and now have been spreading out across the southeast part of the state to try to repair that damage.
But, that said, there's still flooding in coastal areas along the lakes, all sides of the lakes and, of course, down southeast in Plaquemines Parish where they got the worst of it there with all the rescues having taken place over the past few days.
BANFIELD: So, Rob, as they try to deal with the aftermath and I know these are going to be stories that prevail over the coming days, what about right now, Arkansas? How much of a storm -- I know it's a depression, but how much of a problem is coming to the people of Arkansas?
MARCIANO: Well, it's a rainmaker, so they have flood watches and warnings out for part of that state. They needed some of this rain and the areas that it's going to need the rain.
As you know, we've been in this record drought, especially across the midsection of the Corn Belt and the Heartland, so they're going to get 4-, 5- 6-inches of rainfall, maybe more than that. New Orleans got 20 inches here.
So, there'll be some spotty areas of flooding but, you know, for the most part, the ground will take that and they'll say, thank you. It's too little too late for the corn crop, as we've been reporting, but at least it will start to relieve some of the drought.
BANFIELD: Twenty inches of rain and I know you felt every one of them.
Rob Marciano, thank you. Appreciate that.
Don't forget there's a boil water advisory for a lot of places in the Gulf and they're dealing with a lot of havoc.
So, if you want to help out, you can. You can help people who have been devastated by this storm. Just go to "Impact Your World." That's one of our pages. We're proud of it. We'd love you to help out. CNN.com/impact. Again, if you want to help out, CNN.com/impact.
BANFIELD: If you thought you could not be shocked anymore by the scandal of pedophile priests, prepare to be mistaken. Today, one of the most vocal and prominent priests in America is being roundly condemned for the views that he expressed in an interview with Catholic media.
His name is Father Benedict Groeschel. He's a 79-year-old friar, a prodigious author and he's a mainstay of EWTN, the Catholic cable TV network. You see him here in a video tribute to his 50 years in the priesthood.
But he is not just a priest. He's not just a media figure. Father Groeschel has a PhD in psychology and, until very recently, he taught pastoral counseling to seminarians. For decades he counseled troubled priests at a New York retreat house.
With all that in mind, here is what Father Groeschel told the National Catholic Register about priests who molest children and I hope you're sitting down.
Quote, "People have this picture in their minds of a person planning to -- a psychopath. But that's not the case. Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown and the youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster, 14, 16, 18, is the seducer."
He goes on. "It's not so hard to see a kid looking for a father and didn't have his own and they won't be planning to get into heavy- duty sex, but almost romantic, embracing, kissing, perhaps sleeping, but not having intercourse or anything like that."
Now, for the fallout. The National Catholic Register pulled that interview and apologized for posting it in the very first place.
Father Groeschel's own religious order, which he himself co- founded 25 years ago, has also apologized and suggested that Father Groeschel is not in his right mind.
The archdiocese of New York says this -- and I'm going to quote for you - "What Father Groeschel said cannot be allowed to stand unchallenged. The sexual abuse of a minor is a crime and whoever commits that crime deserves to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
And Father Benedict Groeschel, for his part, I want to read to you his statement in its entirety.
"I apologize for my comments. I did not intend to blame the victim. A priest or anyone else who abuses a minor is always wrong and is always responsible. My mind and my way of expressing myself are not as clear as they used to be. I have spent my life trying to help others the best that I could. I deeply regret any harm I have caused to anyone."
I don't even know where to begin, but I am joined right now by a psychologist and sexual behavior scientist at the University of Toronto. James Cantor is also an editor-in-chief of "Sexual Abuse - A Journal of Research and Treatment."
Dr. Cantor, thanks so much for joining me at this time. First of all, I can't believe that I'm having this interview with you. I can't believe what I read this morning. I can't believe that someone who has had so much involvement in the Catholic abuse tragedy that has transpired over the last decade would go anywhere near a comment like this. I'd like to get your initial reaction to hearing what I just reported.
JAMES CANTOR, PSYCHOLOGIST/SEXUAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCHER: Well, I can't say anything about this particular case, of course, but it is a statement that I've heard before and that there are some people who believe.
Usually when I hear this from psychologists and from other mental health professionals, it's because they tend to hear the point-of-view of the person who was accused or sometimes convicted of child molestation.
So, when one has that as a career and one sees large numbers of those people, it often becomes easy to start taking the stories that you hear at face value.
From the point of view of the abuser, there was something that, from the point of view of the abuser, felt like a flirtation or felt like a come-on and the abuser tended to see what they wanted to see and then the therapists sometimes tend to automatically agree or fail to challenge the beliefs or statements that come from the abusers themselves.
Again, I can't say that's what happened in this particular situation, but I've seen that happen before.
BANFIELD: I don't know if it happened in this situation either, but all I know is that the comments continue, Dr. Cantor, and let me just say before we go to break I want to ask you after the break about what I'm about to say.
He referred to the Jerry Sandusky incident and he actually referred to Jerry Sandusky as "that poor guy."
So, after the break I want to talk to you about a little bit about what you think that could possibly mean with your extensive background and research. We're back in a moment.
BANFIELD: We are back with sexual behavior scientist James Cantor who's trying to help us understand the comments of Father Benedict Groeschel. Father Groeschel is an author, a broadcaster, a counselor to fellow priests and seminarians.
Father Groeschel, today, is apologizing for suggesting in an interview that young victims of pedophile priests may have, in fact, asked for it, even as young as 14. And you can see him here in a video tribute to his 50 years in the priesthood.
Dr. Cantor, we went to break and I asked you to think through those comments about the sympathy for Jerry Sandusky and I want to be more specific about what I'm asking and that is his comments.
Here is a direct quote from the National Catholic Register. It reads, "Here is this poor guy, Sandusky. It went on for years. Interesting. Why didn't anyone say anything? Apparently, a number of kids knew about it and didn't break the ice. Well, you know, until recent years, people did not register in their minds that it was a crime."
Doctor, just the notion of sympathy for someone like Sandusky?
CANTOR: Well, when one has a great deal of experience working with many abusers who are in many, many different situations, some of whom were abused themselves and some of whom are themselves -- have their own psychological issues and are hungry for affection, when one is a therapist and sees such a person, over and over again, it can happen and I've seen some psychologists and other mental health professionals almost over-empathize or cease to be appropriately critical of what they're told.
And this sounds like that that's one of those possibilities.
Now, of course, it's good for a therapist to be able to muster sympathy and empathy for clients, but one can't have a mind that's so open that one's brain falls out.
BANFIELD: Well, and that's where I'm getting to with this. I'm just beyond understanding this.
You know, I should mention here that Father Groeschel was a chaplain at a boys' home for troubled boys for 14 years. It's called Children's Village. I also want to read for you what he said about what sort of punishment should be meted out to child -- or to pedophiles, predators, child predators, particularly in reference to the priest scandal.
He said this. And, again, this is in his interview.
"At this point when any priest, any clergyman, any social worker, any teacher, any responsible person in society would become involved in a single sexual act, not necessarily intercourse, they're done. And I'm inclined to think on their first offense they should not go to jail because their intention was not committing a crime."
Doctor, the only thing I could think about was this man has been in contact with young boys for a long time. If this is the thinking he has now, is it possible anyone can extrapolate that maybe there are some problems in his past?
CANTOR: I mean, one can make that kind of hypothesis but I don't think there is ever any way we can know. I've never met any of the people involved in this situation. They've never undergone a relevant assessment that would give us any meaningful kind of an answer.
But those kinds of trying very, very hard to look at things or see things or conclude that a situation is a certain way is something that can happen. We can fool ourselves into thinking many, many different things. It generally is not helpful to think of whether someone intended or didn't intend to commit a crime when they're becoming sexually involved with a very young person. We also have to remember that pedophilia technically is a sexual attraction to people either prepubescent or in the very early stages of puberty. At the time we're talking about 14, 16, and 8-year-old kids, these kids have somewhat -- if they have a sex drive they have a better idea of what sex drive is. And being attracted to people in that age is very often grossly inappropriate, especially from somebody involved with the kids in a professional manner. Technically, we wouldn't diagnose them as pedophiles.
BANFIELD: Legally, we do.
CANTOR: -- sometimes express -- I'm sorry?
BANFIELD: I was going to say legally -- I mean technically, maybe not, but certainly legally we do. Yes.
CANTOR: Yes. Oh, legally, we would be calling them child molesters but that is different from the psychological or psychiatric designation pedophilia. It is very important to distinguish between the sexual attraction to children and the actual acting on that sexual attraction, which --
BANFIELD: I think what is just standing out so glaringly is the apparent apologists here for the incidents of the past.
Dr. Cantor, I want to thank you for joining from us from Toronto with these insights.
There is something else to close with as well, one more comment from Father Groeschel's Order of the Community of Christian Friars of the Renewal. This is what they said, "In recent months, Father Groeschel's health, memory, and cognitive ability have been failing. He has been in and out of the hospital. Though these factors do not excuse his comments, they help us understand how such a compassionate man could have said something so wrong, so insensitive, and so out of character."
BANFIELD: Did you know there are about 1.3 million kids who are across this country right now caring for a grownup, a sick or disabled family member? The kids are doing this. There is someone who knows this. Her name is Connie Sitkowski, and she is a hero because she is doing something about it. Have a look.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You OK? Let me help you.
My mom has been sick for as long as I can remember.
You need more methadone. Helping her out is a bigger priority than going to school. Because I don't know what I would do if something happened to her, how I would be able to really live?
CONNIE SITKOWSKI, CNN HERO: In the United States, there are at least 1.3 million children caring for someone who is ill or injured or elderly or disabled. They can become isolated. There are physical effects, the stresses of it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, baby, so much.
SITKOWSKI: But these children suffer silently. People don't know they exist.
I'm Connie Sitkowski. I am bringing this precious population into the light to transform their lives so they can stay in school.
We offer each child a home visit.
(on camera): Has it been helpful?
(voice-over): We look at what we can provide to meet the need. We go into the schools with a support group. And we offer out-of- school activities that give the child a break.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is so relaxing.
SITKOWSKI: So they know they're not alone.
SITKOWSKI: We give them hope for their future.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now I'm getting as and B.S. and I feel more confident.
SITKOWSKI: But we have a long way to go. There are so many more children that really need this help and support.
BANFIELD: After writing an unauthorized book about the raid that killed bin Laden, a former Navy SEAL who was part of the operation could be in some pretty big trouble. The Defense Department's General Counsel has written a very terse letter and addressed it to Mark Owen, which is kind of weird because that's the pseudonym that the actual author, Matt Bissonnette, used on the book. They wrote it to the pseudonym. In that letter they said this, "You are in material breach and in violation of nondisclosure agreements you signed." They also said they're considering pursuing, quote, "all legal remedies available." That letter comes after a review of the book by the Defense Department.
And CNN's Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has the story behind the book.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Appearing in this CBS "60 Minutes" excerpt in disguise and under his fake name, Mark Owen, this is actually Matt Bissonnette, the former Navy SEAL who wrote the book "No Easy Day: a First-Hand Account of Being on the Raid that Killed Osama bin Laden."
MATT BISSONNETTE, FORMER NAVY SEAL & AUTHOR: My worry from the beginning is, you know, it's the political season. This book is not political whatsoever. It doesn't bad mouth either party.
STARR: Is there classified information in the book? Maybe. Military officials tell CNN photos like this one, of advance night- vision goggles the SEALs used, worry them.
Bissonnette's accounts of the secret mission have new details. He says as the team went up the stairs of the compound bin Laden poked his head out. Bissonnette heard other SEALs fire two shots. Bin Laden then disappeared back into the room. By the time Bissonnette got inside, bin Laden was on the floor. Not standing up, as was first reported. Bissonnette and another SEAL then fired into bin Laden's chest to ensure he was dead.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: People's recollections of these events are not perfect.
STARR: The White House still addressing skeptics.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: As more debriefings happen, the debriefings of special operators involved in the mission as well as others, some of the initial information turned out to be incomplete. We acknowledged that at the time.
BANFIELD: And Barbara Starr joins us live from the Pentagon now.
All right. What's the Pentagon saying in terms of that legal action at this point?
STARR: That letter, they say, is to notify him of that material breach. What happens next is going to remain up to the lawyers and probably the lawyers at the Justice Department to some extent. They could pursue legal action against him but they also put out there in the letter that they may decide to seize any moneys, royalties, profits, any of his earnings from this book. That could be problematic because he has already said he is going to donate a majority of the profits to charities for wounded groups and for warriors. But the Pentagon is making it pretty clear they're angry about all this -- Ashleigh?
BANFIELD: OK. My next question is two pronged. Why didn't he put it in for review and is he responding? I mean, he went on camera with "60 Minutes" to talk about it. Now this happened. Has he responded?
STARR: The Pentagon says so far they have not heard from him or from Penguin, his publisher. They sent the letter out last night. They haven't heard any word back. They say it's in his ball court. They have told him any dissemination of the book in their words, "will aggravate his breach of the confidentiality agreement," but are not saying whether they're asking the publisher to pull the book back or whatever. There are many copies out there. I've read it. A lot of copies circulating around.
Why didn't he put it through security review? He explains in the book that he hired someone with expertise in special operations to review it and that he was convinced there was no classified information in there. That, of course, isn't the issue. The issue, the legal issue for this author, is he signed nondisclosure agreements. He was compelled to put it through a security review. He didn't do that.
BANFIELD: And the SEALs all know that. It is not some fine print. They all know the deal about lifetime secrecy.
Barbara Starr, thank you. Appreciate it.
One quick note about Barbara's report was very cool. She said he showed up for the "60 Minutes" interview in disguise. That was makeup, like Hollywood-style makeup disguise. The correspondent said he didn't even recognize him when he walked into the room, which is a very cool little nugget.
The other thing is we should note that successful SEAL mission returned all of its members safely to base. But safely is one thing. What is going to happen to Bissonnette? What is his legal exposure? What could the Pentagon do? You'll find out in a moment.
BANFIELD: The former Navy SEAL who wrote the book without authorization from the Pentagon about the bin Laden raid has certainly ruffled a whole bunch of feathers over at the DOD, the DOD claiming he is in violation of something called a nondisclosure agreement. Now the Department of Defense is threatening to sue this guy.
Joining me now live is CNN's legal analyst, Paul Callan.
There are some chewy legal issues on this one. Let's start with what Barbara Starr said. She said he didn't submit this book to the Department of Defense for review because he had his own guy review it and thought there was nothing classified in there. Is that enough?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He took a very dangerous road. The rules are very clear. If you're in possession of classified documents as a Navy SEAL would be, you sign a nondisclosure agreement and that agreement says basically if you write a book, any kind of book, fiction, nonfiction, and you use information that might be even derived from classified information, you got to get preclearance from the Pentagon. And apparently, he didn't do that. BANFIELD: You must get free clearance.
CALLAN: Absolutely. He is coming in I suppose, this stuff is so clearly unclassified I don't have a problem.
BANFIELD: And you have to assume he is a reasonable person.
CALLAN: I guess. We have to assume he consulted a lawyer who should know the law in this area but somebody is going to be facing a judge in federal court about it, I'll tell you that.
BANFIELD: My next question, federal court or Uniform Court of Military Justice? What are we looking at talking about actual statutes they'll use to pursue action against him?
CALLAN: Two things. Number one, can they stop the book? Wouldn't they want to stop publication of the book? The answer to that is pretty much no under First Amendment. It is already out there. A lot of it has been published.
BANFIELD: Barbara's already got it. She's already read it.
CALLAN: Exactly. So the court isn't going to say we'll take the book back. It is already in the public domain. But he could be prosecuted criminally for violation of the Espionage Act. They also could do --
BANFIELD: No, no. Don't leave that. Espionage Act, and hero, SEAL, who helped to kill bin Laden. Espionage?
CALLAN: Espionage Act of 1917 --
BANFIELD: Come on.
CALLAN: It's technically a violation. I am not saying they'll do it. As a matter of fact, they probably won't do it. But --
BANFIELD: It would be political suicide.
CALLAN: It would be. What they are more like likely to do is to go after him civilly. That means he won't get any money for the book, and the U.S. government gets the money from the book. And they will go after the publishers in some way.
BANFIELD: He has told everybody that he does not want the money and he is going to dedicate the money to the charity of the fallen come raids and does that matter? Could the Pentagon say, it can go to the charity you want, but you are not the middleman here? CALLAN: Yes, this happened with a CIA agent. They set up what's called a constructive trust. They took the book away from him. It became a U.S. book and they will take him out of the picture. They're going to throw him right out of the picture. But the real question is, will they go after him criminally.
BANFIELD: I cannot -- it is bizarre to think that could happen, because he is exposed to potential jail time, right?
CALLAN: Absolutely. 20 years in prison is the maximum sentence under the Espionage Act that he would be likely to face. But the Obama administration has been very aggressive in prosecuting criminally people who leak classified information.
And I have to say on the other side of this, he is a hero, and I will admit that.
BANFIELD: Heck, yes. And say that again. He is a hero. No matter how you slice it, he is a hero. But there is a little ugly matter.
CALLAN: And talk about the Special Operations of the United States military forces. I think that his comrades at arms are probably pretty angry that he is disclosing information about secret Navy SEAL operations. I don't care if he is donating the book to charity. It doesn't matter. It is a violation I think of his obligation as a military member of the SEALs.
BANFIELD: I can't -- because we are out of time, I can't get into how about the people who helped him, are they in trouble, too? Short answer?
CALLAN: Exactly. Have they disclosed -- I have not read the book, but certainly his name is out there. He has been targeted himself apparently by terrorists. Will other Navy SEALs be targeted?
BANFIELD: You are so smart. Can you stick around for another block?
BANFIELD: I want to talk to you about James Holmes' issues, privileges, like when can I talk to my lawyers, my doctor, my spouse and know I'm never going to be outted?
I won't say it on TV, because this blows privilege.
And by the way, I want to note as well, regarding that nondisclosure agreement of the Pentagon, they are not saying what information could actually be classified at this point.
But we are back in a minute. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BANFIELD: All right. So what was accused murder James Holmes thinking in the weeks before he allegedly shot up the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado? The key to what he is thinking might be in a possible notebook that he sent to the psychiatrist just before the killings. The center of a pitched battle in court yesterday, specifically will anyone other than his psychiatrist be allowed to find out what was inside of a package that he sent to the psychiatrist. The defense says anything that is shared between James Holmes and his psychiatrist should remain privilege and a secret, and a secret shared only between the two. Prosecutors say forget about that, because, in Colorado, a psychiatrist is no different than a medical doctor when it comes to privilege. And that is important, because your privilege with the medical doctor is not quite as protected under the law, and not quite as secret. And ultimately, a judge has to decide, and did decide, in fact, what happened between Holmes and his psychiatrist will remain privileged.
But here is the catch. It will remain privileged as long as that relationship didn't end. But the date they stopped being doctor and patient is still yet to be decided. Hence, we don't know if we will get to know what is inside of the package and the alleged notebook.
So I don't have big reporting for you. But I can say this. Our CNN legal contributor, Paul Callan, is an expert when it comes to "shut your mouth."
And as they say that, because a lot of people think, that if you talk to the priest or the lawyer and you talk to the doctor, your psychiatrist, that is privileged, bar none. And that is not the case.
CALLAN: No, it is not the case. There are a lot of exceptions to the rule, and the biggest exception though that kind of applies to the priest, to the lawyer, to the spouse is if you reveal to somebody else what you told your lawyer, what you told your priest, what you told your spouse, you have wave waived the privilege.
BANFIELD: Because other people are not bound by the privilege.
CALLAN: And because they have revealed it to them, and you can haul the lawyer into court and testify against you, because once the privilege is waived and disclosed, it is fair to bring this the priest or the doctor or anybody else, but the priest has rules of the Catholic Church if it is a Roman Catholic that might bind him and he would not disclose, but a lawyer would be forced to disclose.
BANFIELD: And here, a guy walks into the confessional and he says to the priest, I'm sorry, father, I have sinned and I'm about to sin, and I really, really hate my ex-wife and my girlfriend and I'm going to kill her. What is the duty there of the priest?
CALLAN: Boy, you hit me with a hard one there. And that is the priest-penitent privilege. And he is saying that he is going to commit a future crime, and usually committing a future crime is no privilege, but in a repentant booth, yes, it is requirement of imminent dangerous, and the requirement of the priest is not so clear as to the duty.
BANFIELD: I walk into the office and I tell you I'm about to commit a deadly crime?
CALLAN: Well, that is going to differ from state to state as to the ked of professional responsibility if the lawyer has a duty to disclose.
BANFIELD: You are joking, that you don't have to go tell the police that somebody told you that they are going to kill somebody, because --
CALLAN: Well, if you are a lawyer, it is not so clear. And people get confused about this, because it is a crazy doctrine. You come into my office and say, I just killed somebody and I buried the body down the street and the family is looking for the body.
BANFIELD: And there is a search out there and Casey Anthony's daughter is missing.
CALLAN: Total attorney/client privilege. I'd like to rob a bank and what is a good defense I could use?
BANFIELD: Then what?
CALL: The prosecutor can haul you, the lawyer in, to testify against the client, because that is a future crime and a lawyer is not to give advice about how to the commit a future crime.
BANFIELD: But they can't haul you in until you know he did that. And I'm assuming you will say no, I have to go out the stop a crime, because I heard about it.
CALLAN: Well, it varies in state to state, but in many states, as a lawyer, you could report it. I'm not saying that a lawyer couldn't report it, but he may not have a legal obligation to report it. And he might get disbarred.
BANFIELD: And five seconds left. The spouse, same laws as everybody else for the spouse?
CALLAN: Similar, but less than doctors and lawyers. But the rule basically is, if it is very confidential and clearly something that would be revealed only in the marital relationship, they cannot force your spouse to testify against you.
BANFIELD: Bottom line on this segment, my friends, don't commit crimes. There. How's that?
CALLAN: Or as lawyers would say, be careful who you talk to after you commit the crime.
BANFIELD: Paul Callan, thank you so much.
CALLAN: All right. Thanks, Ashleigh.
BANFIELD: Thanks for watching, everybody. It's good to have you with us. Have a wonderful weekend, a nice long weekend, I hope for you.
CNN NEWSROOM with Suzanne Malveaux starts now.