Return to Transcripts main page


Republican Senate Candidate Under Fire for Controversial Rape Remarks; Libya Investigation Continues; Interview With Arizona Senator John McCain

Aired October 24, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight with breaking news you will only see here, new details about a man in custody who we are learning is the key suspect in the attack in America's consulate in Benghazi, Libya, a key suspect in the murder of four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

We know who he is. We know where he is, who's got him and whether American interrogators will be able to get at him. In addition tonight, we have got new insight into just how quickly the State Department knew about the military sophistication of the actual assault. Fran Townsend will join us shortly, along with former CIA officer Bob Baer. And you will hear as well from Senator John McCain.

But I want to start with the suspect and a 360 exclusive. Earlier reporting elsewhere said that access to the suspect was being blocked. Intelligence correspondent Suzanne Kelly has learned otherwise. She joins us now.

What have you heard?


We're hearing from a U.S. government official that the U.S. does fully intend and expect to get access to this individual. There's a little bit of negotiating going on as to how that's going to happen. There's a process in place. The FBI is expected to take the lead on this negotiation, though intelligence officials are also expected to be in the room when he's questioned.

COOPER: So it's not clear -- so FBI will take the lead on interrogation or interviews, and CIA, others, intelligence will be there?

KELLY: That's what's expected. Exactly. Now, obviously, you understand how this works with law enforcement, with FBI taking the lead vs. intelligence taking the lead. But we're told that right now FBI is expected to take the lead in this, so that they're gathering evidence for him that they would be able to down the road uphold in court, but that the intelligence agencies will be there as well, because they want to know who this guy knows, who he talked, how many other people that they can link to this attack in Benghazi. COOPER: His name is Ali Harzi, correct?

KELLY: Yes, Ali Ani al Harzi. That's right.

COOPER: What do we know about him?

KELLY: We know that he was apparently posting details of the attack in Benghazi as it was happening on his social media Web sites.

COOPER: As it was happening?

KELLY: As it was happening, which is just spectacular detail. But although when you do something like that it makes it a lot easier for people to track you down and find you.

We know he went from Libya into Turkey and that officials in Turkey then detained him and turned him over to Tunisia and now he's being held in Tunisia by Tunisian authorities.

COOPER: CNN has also obtained an e-mail that indicates that within eight hours of the attack on the main compound in Benghazi, a U.S. official there was telling the State Department and White House officials that the -- quote -- "shelter location" is under attack by mortar fire. Presumably, this is the second compound we're talking about where the Navy SEALs were eventually killed.

This appears to be more evidence the administration officials were in a position to know a lot about the attack in real time.

KELLY: I think this raises a really interesting point. They did know that there was mortars being used. So they knew there was a military-type attack.

However, if intelligence officials come out the day after the attack with a thread of information like that and that's only one piece of the picture and then they go public with it, and two days later they find out there's more to it, it really puts intelligence officials in a position of having to go back and forth with every new bit of information they get and they don't like to operate that way.

They like to get the big picture and come with an assessment, actually intelligence, as opposed to streams of information. So I think that's one of the reasons why it didn't come out a lot earlier.

COOPER: I still don't understand, and we don't have an answer to this, but -- is that I assume there were debriefings of those who survived the attacks. A number of people survived the attacks in Tripoli, maybe elsewhere where they were brought.

And I assume those would have taken place within 24, 48 hours or so after the attacks with the survivors. And why that information that in fact there wasn't a protest before the attacks, why that did not get disseminated quickly, and I don't think we know the answer to that.

KELLY: You have to remember that the U.S. was at a huge disadvantage because it didn't have its own people on the ground to actually interview these witnesses. So a lot of the information -- I mean, CNN was on the ground before the FBI was.

COOPER: Right. But they were in Benghazi and then taken to Tripoli, the survivors of the attack. So you would think those people would have known there wasn't a protest. But, again, we don't have the answer on that. That's one of the frustrating things.

Stay with us right now. I also want to bring in CNN contributor Bob Baer. He's a former director of CIA operations in the Middle East. Also on the phone, Fran Townsend, CNN national contributor and member of the CIA's external advisory committee. As you know, Fran recently visited Libya prior to this attack with her employer MacAndrews & Forbes and actually met with Ambassador Stevens.

Fran, what do you make of this e-mail that was sent to a number of State Department officials, as well as the National Security Council?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, Anderson, we shouldn't be surprised by this. Remember, we reported early on, law enforcement sources I had spoken to said the State Department had real-time access to the facts on the ground, because, of course, from the consulate, they called to the embassy in Tripoli, that was patched through to State Department headquarters.

So we knew they had real-time access to information. It is true that in the early going, there is conflicting information, but, Anderson, as you point out, the very same law enforcement officials said that they had interviewed in fact at Ramstein Air Force Base those individuals who survived the attack as they came out.

And so that information, interviews confirming what they would have heard from the reports on the ground as it was unfolding were confirmed very early on. And frankly we still don't know why is it that that information was what was communicated through Ambassador Susan Rice at the U.N., who went out the following Sunday and suggested that this was the result of a protest.

COOPER: Right, because if they're gathering of information within 24 or 48 hours, then the fog of war argument is harder to make because somebody at least in the pipeline had some of the information.

Bob, the suspect, this guy, you say it's significant that the suspect is in Tunisia, is a Tunisian. He's in Tunisian custody, but he's also of Tunisian descent. Why is that significant to you?

ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it indicates to me that we're dealing with a regional organization.

There's certain information that puts him inside al Qaeda in the Maghreb. So what we're talking about here of in fact he is a true Tunisian based out of Tunisia, he shows up in Libya, participates in a military assault on the U.S. Embassy, we are talking about a military- like terrorist group operating in North Africa. And the significance of that is, of course, that al Qaeda in a sense moved from Pakistan to Yemen and from Yemen to North Africa. So we have al Qaeda is spreading rather than, you know, being destroyed in another part of the world.

So it's going to be interesting to talk to this guy, if, in fact, he gives up details, if he admits to being a member of al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

COOPER: Bob, what do you make of whether the FBI or the CIA is the one who's interrogating or questioning this person?

BAER: Oh, I think it's a good idea. The FBI is good at this. They...


COOPER: You prefer the FBI do it?

BAER: Much better. I mean, I just -- I think that the renditions and interrogation tactics, rough interrogation tactics ultimately didn't work.

I disagree with a lot of my colleagues. The FBI does a good job on this. They have always taken primacy in investigations like this. American citizens were killed. Under American law, they're the ones that should be doing it.

COOPER: Suzanne, U.S. intelligence agencies now also believe another al Qaeda-affiliated group had a role in this. What have you learned?

KELLY: One we haven't heard of yet, and that's al Qaeda in Iraq. And that would be significant, Anderson.


COOPER: We haven't heard of them involved in this attack prior to this.

KELLY: In this attack, exactly.

We know that there are a core group of about a dozen of those people who launched the first attack. The bigger group is between 35 and 40 people. We know that about 12 of those had some sort of al Qaeda affiliation. And for for a long time, we have been hearing as Bob just mentioned that they were affiliated with al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

However, now we're also hearing that they may have affiliations with al Qaeda in Iraq. That's significant too because if you remember just over the weekend there was an attack in Amman, Jordan, in which they believe that al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for that. One of the targets in that attack was the U.S. Embassy.

COOPER: Would that -- again, I don't want to say what we don't know. But we know that a large number of the people who -- foreigner fighters who went to Iraq to fight and kill Americans and Iraqis were from Libya, particularly eastern Libya, east of Benghazi and that region.

Are those people who have just returned home, people involved in this attack? Do we know have they just returned home and are now living in Libya with this foreign terrorist experience or did they purposely come to Libya for this attack? We don't know.

KELLY: It's very possible that -- yes, we don't know, but it's very possible they went home, and it kind of fits in with what we're hearing from intelligence officials, that they believe this was kind of a group of loosely banded people with different loyalties and different affiliations.

You know, sometimes your cousin may be a member of al Qaeda in Iraq, for example, and they will pick up on that through phone calls or social media conversations or something like that. It's very possible that they just went home and that they then got together and found out, you know, hey, September 11 and said here's a great opportunity for us, let's go do it.

COOPER: Fran, what do you make of the fact that -- or the report that it's Libyans with al Qaeda experience from al Qaeda in Iraq that are involved?

TOWNSEND: Anderson, when I was still in the White House and traveling, I had gone to Libya and met with Gadhafi and the internal security services at the time, and it was one of our chief concerns. We were approaching them to say to them, we're concerned about this foreign fighter pipeline that you referred to.

And the fear there is not only at the time are you fighting these people that they're allowing to travel into the war zone that are, you know, harming our troops, but you worry about the bleed-off, that after the conflict these people will go back to their home countries. And it wasn't just Libya, mind you.

It was all across North Africa, Yemen and throughout the Middle East. And this is sort of coming home to roost, that original problem that we saw, the foreign fighter pipeline into Iraq years earlier. And so, while unfortunate, it's not surprising. These guys returned to their home communities with this sort of sense of prestige.

Having fought in a foreign conflict, they come home and they really take on these leadership roles in local extremist communities. And so in that respect it's not entirely surprising, but very unfortunate.

COOPER: And, Bob, we have seen this time and again, fighters who were trained in Chechnya ending up in Bosnia during the war there. Now it's folks who were trained on the battleground in Iraq ending up in Libya and elsewhere.

BAER: Well, Anderson, keep in mind these guys are getting military training in combat zones. It's the only place they can get it. Whether it's Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan, it doesn't matter. They need to pass through the crucible of combat.

They get very good. They learn how to lay mortars, they learn how to fire rocket-propelled grenades. They know how to ambush an embassy. These people are getting better and better all the time. I think what the intelligence community's problem is that they are also wary of our collection efforts, intercepts and the rest of it. And so we're seeing a tougher enemy after 10 years after 9/11. These guys are -- they're good.

COOPER: Suzanne Kelly, appreciate your reporting. Bob Baer, as always, Fran Townsend as well.

Few in the Senate have followed this story more closely than John McCain. He's been critical of security prior to the attack and the administration's handling of the aftermath. I spoke to him earlier today.


COOPER: CNN is now reporting that there were about 12 suspects with ties to al Qaeda involved in this attack. Have you heard anything more about it you can tell us?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Well, the thing I think of interesting news today is that e-mails were going back to the State Department and being distributed throughout the upper levels of government that this attack was taking place and it was probably by al Qaeda.

And so, again, that brings into question, what did the president know and when did he know it and what did he do about it, both before, during, and after? And that's why Senator Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte and I issued a letter today. The president needs to go and talk to the American people. He need talk to the American people and tell them exactly what happened. There's huge confusion and contradictions.

COOPER: Secretary Clinton talked about this today. I just want to play what she had to say.

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The independent accountability review board is already hard at work looking at everything, not cherry-picking, you know, one story here or one document there, but looking at everything, which I highly recommend as the appropriate approach to something as complex as an attack like this.

You know, posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence.

COOPER: And she's referencing that in one of these e-mails, one of the personnel in Libya said that this group Ansar al-Sharia was claiming responsibility on Facebook and on Twitter and later on they went on to deny responsibility. So your response to what she said?

MCCAIN: Well, first of all, on that particular issue, it is very clear that that organization, which is al Qaeda-affiliated, were the orchestrators of attack.

My only response is facts are stubborn things. There are certain facts that we know. We know that there were attacks on the consulate in April and June. We know the British ambassador was attacked. We know the British Consulate was closed. We know that there were warnings and there were requests for additional security.

Didn't the president know those things? And then, of course, the days after, the days after the attack, when the U.N. ambassador kept coming out and saying it was a hate-filled video that inspired the demonstrations, there was no demonstrations. In other words, facts are stubborn things. Everybody knows now there was no demonstration.

So I'm all for a thorough and complete investigation, but certain facts are known and there continues to be contradictions within the government. And we now find out, we members of Congress, rather than being briefed, we find out from the news media.

We went to a briefing, and with all due respect -- and I'm a great admirer of the secretary of state -- as you know, before we went out of session. And they told us nothing, absolutely nothing. And the very next day, the ticktock of the attack, which, by the way, lasted seven hours, was in both "The Wall Street Journal" and "The New York Times."

So they're not telling members of Congress who have some oversight responsibilities. And, again, there are certain facts which are indisputable. And so for us to all wait and reserve judgment is frankly -- and I will right now, Anderson, bet you a dollar to a donut that the results of this review board will not be made public, they will not be able to complete their assigned task until after November 6. What do you bet?

COOPER: Do you see this as an intelligence failure? Do you see it as a willful misleading of the American public? Do you see it as both or neither?

MCCAIN: I think it's either willfully misleading the American people, to interrupt the narrative we got bin Laden and al Qaeda's on the run -- by the way, al Qaeda is not on the run. They are all over North Africa and northern Mali. They're doubled in Iraq, et cetera.

And so it interfered with that rhetoric. So they're either misleading or the degree of incompetence and lack of acting on existing information such as the previous attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, for example, is absolute, total incompetence.

COOPER: Senator McCain, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

MCCAIN: Always good to be with you.


COOPER: We're also going to talk to Senator McCain in a little bit about the Indiana Republican Senate candidate's comments on rape and abortion that have caused a lot of controversy. Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting tonight.

The attack has become a campaign issue, of course. It seems to have resurfaced over and over. So have inflammatory statements regarding abortion and rape I just mentioned. Another candidate sets off a storm with his words. We will talk about that. And we have "Raw Politics" straight ahead.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" now.

Another politician has weighed in on rape and pregnancy and once again the country is talking about it. Another male Senate candidate making waves at precisely the moment when the presidential race has become a fight to win female votes.

So, with that as the backdrop, here's what Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said during a debate last night.


RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), INDIANA SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. And I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.


COOPER: Just moments later, the story went national. By today both political parties were fully involved on a presidential level, and Republicans, Mr. Mourdock included, were trying to do damage control.

However, he himself was not backing down.


MOURDOCK: I believe that life itself is the greatest gift that God can give us. And I know, because polling shows it, that at least 80 percent of all Americans, and I'm sure at least that many Hoosiers think that God is the author of all life. And I stand firmly on that belief.


COOPER: Well, he went on to say that those who twist his comments for partisan gain typify what's wrong with Washington. The Democratic National Committee did not twist his words today. They just played them in a new ad, tying them to Mitt Romney.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This fall, I'm supporting Richard Mourdock for Senate. MOURDOCK: Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.


COOPER: Well, for its part, the Romney campaign had this to say -- quote -- "Governor Mitt Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock and Mourdock's comments do not reflect Governor Romney's views. We disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest, but still support him."

The Romney campaign also said it's not pulling the pro-Mourdock ad that they made.

A short time ago, I talked with Senator John McCain about the controversy. Made some news, and we will bring that to you in just a moment.

First, though, Jim Acosta traveling with the Romney campaign. Dan Lothian is covering team Obama.

Jim, the governor seemed to have some momentum. Then the later debate sort of stalled some progress perhaps. We haven't really seen a lot of poll numbers. Now his team has spent a valuable campaign day on the defensive over this. Does this story concern them overall?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think it does, Anderson, and you can tell by the fact that senior Romney advisers were really out of sight all day long.

We did not see them at either of the big campaign events that he had today in Nevada and here in Iowa. And I think this is what happens when the Romney campaign has a narrative, a news cycle that sort of gets out of its control. And we saw that happen earlier today.

Before they put out that statement saying what they wanted to do with that pro-Richard Mourdock ad and whether or not they would continue to support him, one of their top surrogates, New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, who was on his vice presidential list of potential running mates, she already went out and said that she was not going to be joining Richard Mourdock out on the campaign trail today, and then shortly thereafter the Romney campaign put out that statement, basically saying they still support him, but they don't agree with his view on whether or not God intends for a woman to become pregnant after being raped.

And, Anderson, this is really sort of splitting -- or threading the needle for this campaign, trying to distance themselves from Richard Mourdock while at the same time not throwing him under the bus.

COOPER: And I'm going to ask Senator John McCain whether he still stands by Richard Mourdock, and you might be surprised what he says. Dan, we saw the Obama campaign jump on this pretty quickly. Do they plan to keep those attacks up beyond today? I mean, do they think this is something that has legs, that can help them?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, to the extent that this continues to be part of the news cycle, certainly.

They believe that this issue fits into the overall portrait that they have been trying to paint of Mitt Romney, that when it comes to women's issues, women's health issues, and them having control over their own bodies, that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party in general is really dangerous.

And, as you pointed out, the campaign jumping on this right away. The traveling campaign spokesperson, Jen Psaki, saying that the president thought that this was outrageous, these comments were outrageous and demeaning to women. But it was really the DNC that was pushing this very hard today, putting together a conference call where they were laying out and trying to make this argument that Mitt Romney and the Republican Party would be dangerous for women and that women should be concerned about this as they head to the polls because this is the kind of thing that you will see not only with the Republican Congress, but with the Republican president.

COOPER: Dan Lothian, appreciate your reporting, Jim Acosta as well.

Ahead, what new polling from Ohio shows and a shift in North Carolina as well. Could Richard Mourdock's comments about pregnancy and rape actually help decide the outcome? That's next.


COOPER: And welcome back.

More proof tonight just how dynamic the presidential race remains. A new "TIME" magazine poll shows President Obama with a five-point lead in the pivotal state of Ohio, 49 percent to 44 percent. Additionally, it shows Mr. Obama had a 2-1 lead among Ohioans who have already cast their ballots.

Meantime, CNN has moved North Carolina from the tossup column to lean Romney. The latest wild card, as you saw, the comments of Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock.

Senator John McCain made some news on this when I asked him earlier if he still has -- well, if he still supports Mourdock.


COOPER: Do you still count yourself in his corner?

MCCAIN: It depends on what he does.

I think it depends on what he does. If he apologizes and says he misspoke and he was wrong and he asks the people to forgive him, then obviously I would be the first -- you know, as I said, I'm not sure how big mistakes that I have made, but, you know, in the years I have -- I have made a few, Anderson, and I have asked for people's understanding and forgiveness when I own up to it.

It's when you don't own up to it, that people will not believe in you.


COOPER: The Romney campaign, as we said earlier, has not withdrawn its support for Mourdock or pulled the pro-Mourdock ads that they made.

Joining me is CNN political contributor Alex Castellanos. He was a campaign consultant in Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential run. Also, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, and women's rights advocate Sandra Fluke.

Gloria, you have been talking to the Romney officials today. What are they telling you? Are they concerned at all?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, of course, you are concerned about everything that happens at this point in the campaign. And obviously, they have an ad running in the state with Mitt Romney. They did not ask for it to be taken down.

But I spoke with a Romney senior adviser who said, you know, they did some testing on this after the whole Todd Akin case in Missouri, and what they say what they discovered is that, when somebody makes a stupid remark, they're not going to blame Mitt Romney for it. So they're feeling like this is a story that's not going to really have much of an impact on them.

COOPER: Alex, you looked into this kind of stuff in the past. You've done ads. Do you agree with that, that it doesn't really have much of an impact on Romney?

CASTELLANOS: This too shall pass. It's more of a distraction, and that's really the cost the campaign pays. Instead of talking about the economy and jobs, which is what Mitt Romney rather be talking about, he has to spend a few hours explaining this.

COOPER: But it's taken up a whole news cycle, basically. We've been talking about this all day.

CASTELLANOS: Not really. Not for the Romney campaign. They're going to try to stay focused on jobs, growth, and getting the economy going again. And, you know, it was fairly clear what Mourdock meant there. He meant that, you know, light he was talking about, not that God willed women to be raped. I mean, that's such a ridiculous comment, that I think it's going to be hard for anybody to embrace.

And right now, we're at the point of the campaign, Anderson, where all this hype is irritating voters, and overhype is turning them off. It's the quiet voice now that will cut through and get attention. I think this kind of thing will blow over in a just bit. COOPER: Sandra, what do you think? The Romney team is saying voters aren't going to hold their campaign responsible no what another guy said.

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATE: Well, I think the voters are going to hold Mr. Romney responsible for his own positions and for the positions of the members of the Republican Party like Mr. Mourdock.

COOPER: But Mitt Romney's position is different than Mourdock's position.

FLUKE: That's right. His position is that he would appoint justices to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe vs. Wade. And his position is that he chose a vice-presidential nominee who agrees with Mr. Mourdock. And Mr. Mourdock is running for the Senate, which has been the last stopgap between these radical policies in the House and these becoming law for women in this country.

COOPER: But just factually speaking, his position on abortion is different than Mourdock's, because he says in the case of rape or incest, or life of the mother, abortion should be allowed.

FLUKE: He has said that, but he's also said that if Mr. Mourdock's position were to take hold, he would be delighted to sign a bill that would ban access to all abortion.

COOPER: Gloria, the gender gap. I mean, it does cut both ways here. Romney's had a big advantage with men. Could he build up enough of an advantage with them that women voters are not as decisive here?

BORGER: Right. I mean, well, that's their hope, Anderson. Look, you know, the recent polls everywhere show that there is a gender gap, where women are much more geared towards the president. You look at this poll you just put up there about Ohio voters, and you see that Obama is plus 19 on women here, and Romney is only plus 9 on men.

So what he needs to do is to get his numbers up with men in a state like Ohio, so that the gender gap with women is balanced out. It's not that he has to beat President Obama when it comes to women. But he has to improve his numbers with women, you know, by a few points everywhere. And that's -- you know, that's proven difficult for him to do, which is why in the last debate, we saw a more moderate family. We've seen Romney talk more about his family and his faith and education. You know, talking more about issues that -- that women care about.

COOPER: Alex, we are seeing some Republican candidates distancing themselves from Mourdock. I talked to Senator McCain earlier today, who you know, said -- I asked him if he is still in Mourdock's corner. He said Mourdock should apologize and whether or not he's in his corner depends on whether he apologizes. If he doesn't apologize, I mean, does the story continue, does pressure on Mitt Romney grow? CASTELLANOS: If there was something substantive underneath it, then I think the story might continue, but it's again pretty clear what he meant. He was talking about a baby and, you know, life was God's will, not that God's will that a woman be raped.

You know, Anderson, looking at the survey, this survey is a little bit of an outlier. Mitt Romney actually has been closing the gender gap with women since the first debate.

I think one of the things that's happening here is the Obama campaign has had this very focused campaign of, you know, women are a collection of reproductive parts. That's the only thing they care about, are these kind of issues, as opposed to having enough perspective to understand that, guess what? They participate in the economy. They're the engine of economic growth. They're starting most small businesses in this country.

And I think it's a little bit demeaning to say that women only care about one thing and one thing only. And I think that's one of the reasons that Obama is having a problem, an increasing problem with the female vote right now.

BORGER: Let's be honest. Both of these -- both of these campaigns are talking about issues they think women care about right now. Because women are late deciders, women also go to the polls. And so, you know, both of these campaigns are talking about things they think women want to hear.

COOPER: Sandra, thanks for being on. Alex, as well. Gloria, thanks.

FLUKE: Thank you.

COOPER: You probably saw Felix Baumgartner jumping, breaking the free-fall record from the edge of space. He's going to reflect on that, coming up.


COOPER: Did it feel faster than -- time-wise, did it feel like -- did it go by really quickly or do you remember every sort of second?

FELIX BAUMGARTNER, SET RECORD FOR LONGEST FREE-FALL: I remember every second. You know? I was totally concentrated. I was focused, just -- just trying to do the right thing.



COOPER: Exclusive new information today on the hunt of a main suspect in the shooting of Malala, the young, teenage girl in Pakistan targeted by al Qaeda. That story, when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: New insight tonight into the man who set a new record, breaking the sound barrier by skydiving 24 miles, hitting speeds more than 830 miles an hour, from the edge of space. My interview with Felix Baumgartner in a moment. But first, a look at his historic jump.


BAUMGARTNER: Sometimes you have to get up really high to see how small you are. I'm going home now.


COOPER: And come home he did. We wanted to know what it was like up in the stratosphere, looking down at the earth, knowing there was only one way home. I spoke to Fearless Felix earlier for the "360 Interview."


COOPER: When you opened that capsule door, and you were standing on the edge, looking down, what -- what is going through your mind?

BAUMGARTNER: Well, it was a unique and outstanding moment, because I have been working so hard for five years to reach that point, you know.

And it was a beautiful view when you look out there, but at the same time, you realize that everything around you is hostile. Plus when I disconnect my oxygen hoses from the ship's system, I only bring oxygen from my bailout bottles, and I only had ten minutes. So there was not a lot of time to waste.

COOPER: I read that if you only had a tiny tear in your suit, that you could have died, that you could have been boiled alive. Is that true?

BAUMGARTNER: It's not true. I've been told if you have a hole the size of a dime, you know, it will still do the job.

COOPER: What does it feel like to be traveling at more than 800 miles per hour? Do you feel like you're traveling fast?

BAUMGARTNER: You feel you are fast, because you accelerate so fast, but it does not feel that you're traveling 830 miles an hour, and you don't feel like you are traveling at supersonic speed. Because all my scientists before, they told me that "You're going to have a shock wave going through your suit." And I never felt it, and that supersonic boom happens way behind you.

COOPER: That was behind you. Do you notice anything?

BAUMGARTNER: No, never. Until I hit -- until I opened my parachute, I did not know if I broke the speed of sound or not. When I touched the ground with my parachute, I was told by a lot of people on the ground they heard the supersonic boom. So that's the first and only supersonic boom created by a human person. Which is kind of cool.

COOPER: To say the least. And then there is this incredible moment where you're spinning and it seems like you're out of control. Were you actually out of control?

BAUMGARTNER: No. I knew from the beginning, or we knew from the beginning on that you cannot go off stable, because there's a loss...

COOPER: Off the air?

BAUMGARTNER: Off -- you cannot go off the capsule stable. So when you step off, you're going to -- you're going to spin. And it's a matter of fact. It's almost in a vacuum. There's no supportive air. As a well-trained skydiver, you use the air to stabilize yourself, but the first 30 seconds, you have no air, so the only way that you can do it is spin.

So now you have 50 seconds to control that spin, and you cannot practice this before, because either you go for supersonic speed or not. So while you constantly spin, you have to figure out the solution how to stop the spin. So I was moving my arms and legs but really gentle. Because still keep in mind, you're traveling 830 miles an hour. So you cannot stick your arm out like this, because then it becomes worse. So I was trying to figure out a way how to stop it. And once I had it, you know, I never lost it.

COOPER: And are you -- the entire time, are you just thinking -- I mean, are you thinking second by second? Or are you -- there's no time to really enjoy it, I guess, is there?

BAUMGARTNER: It was business, you know. As soon as you step off, it's business. You know you have been working so hard to accomplish what we have to accomplish, and there's no second thought about emotional stuff. You have to perform well.

COOPER: Time wise, did it feel like, did it go by really quickly? Or do you remember every sort of second?

BAUMGARTNER: I remember every second. I was totally concentrated, I was focused, just -- just trying to do the right thing.

COOPER: Is there ever a moment of fear or worry?

BAUMGARTNER: Well, it's not fear, because my life was never in danger. If it looks like that for regular people, we have been doing a lot of testing before, you know. We have developed a lot of safety equipment to make this as safe as possible. So my life has never been in danger. The only worry that I had was not breaking the speed of sound.

COOPER: Also, your landing seemed perfect. I mean, you've seen people doing regular sky jumps, sky dives, and you know, they collapse on the ground. You, like -- I mean, your landing was amazing.

BAUMGARTNER: I mean, I never thought about landing my whole life, because it's a natural thing on the skydive. But this time I was so worried about falling down, you know, because the whole world was watching. So you want to -- want to finish this, you know, with style.

COOPER: Stick the landing.

BAUMGARTNER: And that's why I was getting a little bit worried when I was 30 seconds prior to landing. I still didn't know where the wind was coming from, because you have no air, no nothing. And my helicopter guys were supposed to drop some flares, and 30 seconds before landing, I still didn't see flares. That's why I was yelling at the guys over my radio, drop some flares, because I want to know where the wind is coming from. Because I want to finish this in a perfect way.

They dropped some flares, and I saw the direction of the wind, and I landed on my feet.

COOPER: I love that, after all the stuff you've gone through, the last 30 seconds, you're worried about looking good on the landing -- that's -- you know, finishing it well.

I've read also that you had panic attacks or a sense of claustrophobia in the suit. What was that like? What was that feeling?

BAUMGARTNER: Well, it happened in the beginning. You every time when I was in the suit for almost an hour, I kind of felt anxious, but I was fighting my way through.

And then, after all the tests that we did, there was this big chamber test at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and I was supposed to spend five or six hours in the capsule. And we took the capsule, we put it in a chamber, cooled it down to what we experienced up there. They brought me all the way up to 129,000 feet inside the chamber. And I know this is a full dress rehearsal, and it goes on for six hours. And I knew that I could not do six hours in the suit. So I had to address that.

COOPER: Why? It's -- I mean, it's claustrophobic?

BAUMGARTNER: Yes. When you put that visor down, you know, you're trapped in your own little world. The only thing you hear is your breathing, for hours and hours and hours. And it's very stiff, so altitude becomes pressurized. It's very stiff. You have a lack of mobility. And if you have negative thoughts, it's getting worse inside that suit. So it's working with the psychiatrist to get over the problem.

COOPER: And how were you able to get over it?

BAUMGARTNER: Mostly by thinking positive and outside the suit. If you stay...

COOPER: That's interesting. BAUMGARTNER: ... with your problems inside the suit, like you know, when we work every day, and we are basically -- we do not think about stuff. You know? But when it's getting silent around you, you start thinking about a lot of things. Then this is where your worry starts.

COOPER: It sounds like being in prison almost.

BAUMGARTNER: It is. It's like -- it is like a prison, you know? I started skydiving years ago when I was 16 years old, because I love the freedom, and now I'm like a bird in a cage. That's what the suit did to me.

COOPER: What do you do next? I mean, are you done? Are you...

BAUMGARTNER: I'm going to break the speed of light. That's a joke. No, actually I think -- not I think, I know, I'm done, because it's time to move on.

So when I was young, when I was a little kid, I had two dreams. The one was -- the first one was becoming a skydiver. The second one was becoming a helicopter pilot. Never had time (ph) to take helicopter lessons. But I did, back in 2006 at Van Nuys Airport. So now I'm a commercial helicopter pilot, and I'm going to put my skills into public service when I work as a firefighter or a rescue helicopter.

COOPER: That's cool.

BAUMGARTNER: Yes. I'm still in the area, and that means this is where I want to be, and this is where I belong.

COOPER: Wow. I wish you the best. It's incredible what you did.

BAUMGARTNER: Good talking to you.

COOPER: Thanks.


COOPER: Amazing. Amazing stuff. You can see more of how Felix pulled this off on "Space Dive," a documentary five years in the making. It premieres on the National Geographic Channel Sunday, November 11 at 7 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.

A lot more happening tonight. Word of yet another proposed cease-fire in Syria coming as another deadly round of violence rocks Damascus. The latest developments on that, ahead.


COOPER: A "360" exclusive. New details on the search for the attackers of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani teen who was -- spoke out against the Taliban. Police have identified this man, 23- year-old Atta Ulla Khan, as the main suspect. He's still at large. If you're watching tonight from the region, and you know or have seen Khan, the Pakistani police are looking for any leads or tips on his whereabouts.

Nine people, including Khan's fiancee, mother and brother, have been arrested. According to police, Khan is from the Swa (ph) district, where Malala was shot point-blank in the head. The 14-year- old girl survived the attack. She's recovering in England. The Taliban, though, have vowed to kill her if she returns.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

A deadly car bomb attack, killing at least four people today in Syria was hit in a residential neighborhood of Damascus. And diplomats announced plans for a cease-fire agree starting Friday and marking a Muslim holiday. The last cease-fire in April lasted one day.

A troubling "360 Follow." George Cary, who spoke on the program about losing his wife Lilian to fungal meningitis, is now himself fighting the disease. He went into the hospital on Saturday. Both he and his wife apparently were infected from tainted steroid injections that were processed by a Massachusetts pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center. Those doses may have gone out to as many as 3,000 medical facilities nationwide and have now been blamed for 24 fatalities.

The Justice Department has filed suit against Bank of America, seeking to recover $1 billion lost by taxpayers. It alleges the bank sped through the processing of government-backed mortgages, resulting in thousands of fraudulent and defective loans.

We're getting word of one death as Hurricane Sandy bashes Jamaica. Seventy percent of the island is without power. Parts of Florida are under tropical storm warnings right now. Forecasts show Sandy heading north along the U.S. East Coast over the next few days.

And if you just can't drive 55, you may want to head toward a new stretch of highway just outside of Austin, Texas. It opened today with a speed limit of 85 miles per hour, the fastest in the nation -- Anderson.

COOPER: Isha, thanks.

You know the old showbiz saying, "Never work with children or animals?" One reporter learned the hard way that that includes fish, as well. A crazy carp makes "The RidicuList," straight ahead on 360.


COOPER: Time for "The RidicuList." And tonight we're adding crazy carp. Yes, that's right. They're carp, and they're crazy. Here's the thing. Invasive species of carp actually pose a big ecological problem in certain parts of the country. Journalists have been covering this for a while, and recently, a reporter for WSMV in Nashville decided to head out onto the water and grab the story by the tail.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And look, they are big. This one is about 12 pounds, but they can grow to be about -- whoa. Oh.




COOPER: Ouch, right? The poor guy she fell, as well.

Anyway, before you start tweeting me for making fun of her, you should know that the reporter herself thought it was funny. She's got a sense of humor about herself and tweeted out the video. No, I'm not going to make fun of her for wearing a dress on a fishing trip, because frankly, I'm not even wearing pants right now.

Now, we've actually had some experience with invasive carp right here on "360." A few years ago, CNN's David Mattingly did a story about them, including how they can jump out of the water and hurt people. How did David find that out? Take a look.




MATTINGLY: That hurt.


COOPER: Poor David. He was fine, though. But you can really get injured by those crazy carp, and believe it or not, we actually don't think it's funny when our colleagues get hurt.



Oh, yi, yi, oh! It hurts. It's painful. But no one is dead.


COOPER: All right. That still holds up.

Back to being a reporter, though, and working with wildlife. You have to be careful, not just with exotic species of fish, but with cuddly little friends, as well.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple is accused of throwing two cats like this one here, out of their car and killing them. Now, this little guy is having fun. But now as part of a sentence, the couple is going to have to come right here. Oh.


COOPER: I've seen that video so many times. I feel so bad for her. The reporter was fine, as well. She thought the whole thing was funny. I don't think she thought it was funny at that moment, but she came to think it was funny.

It really underscores my point. If you're going to get into the glitzy world of television, or tempted to work with animals, do what I do, and call upon a real star. Yes, that's right. We're talking about the horse that looks like Gary Busey. Just look at that calm face.

Now, there is a fellow who won't scratch you or knock you over in a boat. And yes, we will use any excuse, however flimsy, to work that split screen into our show.

As for those crazy carp, they remain a big problem, even when they're not knocking over reporters. We'd much rather see them out of the important waterways and living on "The RidicuList."

That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.