Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Pope Benedict Resigning; Bin Laden's Killer Interviewed; Carnival Cruise Ship Stranded; Obama Remembers Chicago Girl Killed in Gunfire

Aired February 11, 2013 - 12:00   ET

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


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. I'm Suzanne Malveaux. We're taking you around the world in 60 minutes. Here's what's going on right now.

From the Vatican, it is the resignation heard around the world. Pope Benedict XVI stepping down at the end of the month. He says because of his advanced age he's no longer able to handle the demands of being Pope. The last Pope to resign was way back in 1415. We're going to have much more of what happens next and what's ahead for the Catholic Church.

And the former Navy SEAL who reportedly fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden, well, he says he's got no pension, no medical insurance. According to an article in "Esquire" magazine, the man known only as "the shooter" had to train his wife to protect herself and the family from possible al Qaeda terrorists seeking revenge. We're going to talk with the investigative reporter who actually talked to that Navy SEAL in just a few minutes.

And the U.S. Coast Guard coming down to the rescue to help a cruise ship stranded in the Gulf of Mexico. More than 4,200 passengers and crew all stuck on a Carnival Cruise Line Triumph. That is right now. Things getting, as you can imagine, a little funky. A little uncomfortable. A woman on board tells us that the toilets, not working any more. They had a fire that broke out on the ship yesterday. It was headed back to Galveston, Texas. Well, that ship's going to be towed to the nearest port in Progresso, Mexico.

He is the leader, of course, of more than 1 billion Catholics worldwide. But Pope Benedict XVI says he no longer has the strength that the job requires, so he's resigning by the end of the month. He became the Pope in 2005 and he's had to deal with a string of scandals, including new allegations of sexual abuse by priests. I want to bring in our senior Vatican analyst, John Allen, and the Reverend James Martin, editor at large of "America," the national Catholic magazine that's based in New York.

John, let's start off with you. A lot of people saying this is historic. Haven't had a Pope resign in some 600 years. Do we think it's more -- more to it than the health and advancing age of this one?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SENIOR VATICAN ANALYST: Hi, Suzanne.

Well, we had a briefing with the Vatican spokesperson today, Father Federico Lombardi, who insisted that there is no specific health crisis around Benedict XVI. He's not suffering from any particular disease. Of course, we hadn't seen -- we didn't see anything like what we saw during the twilight of the John Paul years, with the series of hospitalizations at the Gemelli here in Rome, or sort of spectacular public collapses.

I think it's more simply that Benedict XVI's diagnosis is that he's going to be celebrating his 86th birthday in April. We have seen him pairing back his public commitments and so on. He believes that the energy required to lead the Catholic Church forward at this moment in its history is simply beyond his capacities. And I think he's decided, therefore, not to wait for a moment of crisis, but while he's still capable of doing so, to make the free decision to step aside and let somebody else take the baton.

MALVEAUX: Reverend Martin, people are using words like "shocking," "unprecedented." Why is this such a surprise? Why didn't anybody expect this except for his inner circle, the most inner circle?

REV. JAMES MARTIN, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "AMERICA" MAGAZINE: Well, it hasn't happened for centuries. And, you know, as John Allen was saying, there had been speculation. There was speculation about John Paul II. And people knew that Benedict was frail and, in a sense, diminishing physically. But I think the fact that it hadn't happened for so long, it means it was quite a shock for people.

I think what's interesting is that I think this is a very noble and selfless act that the Pope is doing. But you notice that the two Popes came to two very different decisions about what to do when they were ailing. John Paul decided to stay on and stick it out. Benedict decides to, you know, take a practical route and resign.

MALVEAUX: John, tell us the process of choosing a new Pope. We know that there's a college of cardinals that gets together, I guess, by mid-March. Hope to have a new Pope by Easter. Walk us through this.

ALLEN: Well, Suzanne, this is a very unique electoral college to pick a Pope because this isn't done by a plebiscite of the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world. It's the 118 cardinals who are under the age of 80 and therefore eligible to vote for the Pope. They will begin together in Rome probably if not before, certainly on that bewitching hour of 8:00 Rome time on February 28th, when Benedict formally steps down.

We don't yet have the actual date for the conclave, but, of course, they don't have to worry about a papal mass -- that is a funeral mass, and the prescribed nine days of mourning for a deceased Pope. So presumably they could begin the conclave quite quickly. Sometime in the early days of March.

Once that begins, the cardinals who are in Rome will, for a few days, meet on a daily basis in what are known as general congregation meetings. That's when they get together inside the Vatican, both to go over the procedure for the conclave, to make sure everyone's on the same page.

MALVEAUX: Right.

ALLEN: And also to talk in general terms about the issues facing the church. At the same time, smaller groups of cardinals, usually organized by language, will begin meeting in twos and threes and fours and fives and tens and 20s to talk about not only the issues facing the church, but the kind of man they think is need.

And then when the formal act begins, they will file into the Sistine Chapel and begin casting ballots. When Benedict was elected in 2005, it only took four ballots, basically a day and a half, for them to reach that two-thirds majority need to identify someone as the next Pope.

MALVEAUX: All right, I want to bring in the reverend, if we can.

ALLEN: As the Vatican said today, they hope to have that done by Easter.

MALVEAUX: OK. Great.

Reverend, weigh in here. I mean obviously Pope Benedict, very conservative on theology, church doctrine. This is a Pope who traveled to Africa, Angola, Cameroon to stress, to reiterate, that the church does not approve of men using condoms. He was against, of course, same sex marriage, women being ordained. Where is the future of the Catholic Church now that we are looking at this opening of a potential new Pope, who is very powerful, who could actually change the tone and tenure of the church?

MARTIN: Well, each Pope is different, of course. But I think that you're not going to see very much of a change in terms of the outlook. Remember that John Paul II and Benedict have appointed almost all of the cardinals in the conclave and so they will continue his policies.

I think in terms of the new outlook, you might see a cardinal from the developing world. The center of gravity of the Catholic Church has moved to the southern hemisphere. To Africa, to Asia, to Latin America. So I would not be surprised if you wouldn't see someone who would continue the policies of Benedict and of John Paul, but who would come from a very different part of the world.

MALVEAUX: All right. Reverend Martin, John Allen, thank you very much. We I appreciate it.

St. Patrick's Cathedral, of course, in New York, known as America's parish church, and the news of the Pope's resignation certainly on a lot of folks' minds there. Our Deborah Feyerick, she's outside St. Patrick's.

And, Deb, of course there was a huge turnout there when the Pope performed mass. That was back in 2008. And I know every time somebody meets the Pope, I'm roman Catholic, I know my mom, my sister, they were very excited when they had a chance to see him at Catholic University during his U.S. tour. Whether you agree with him or not and the positions of the church, they do see it as a special occasion. How are people responding? DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, it is fascinating. And as a matter of fact, I covered Pope John Paul II when he visited the United Nations, and you really feel like you're in the presence of someone extraordinarily special. But here at St. Patrick's Cathedral, you know, it's fascinating. I think like everybody, news of the 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI's resignation caught virtually the entire world by surprise. People were speculating on whether it was just health or whether there may have been other factors. Others were also speculating on the future of the Catholic Church. A future which definitely resides on who the new Pope is.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My grandparents and stuff I feel like think of the whole church like a little bit differently than my generation does and I feel like we could use somebody maybe a little more younger that, yes, has the generation of a new perspective.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: And even Catholic leaders, Suzanne, were caught completely off guard. The arch bishop of Washington said, quote, he "was totally unprepared." Here in New York, at St. Patrick's Cathedral, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said that he was startled. That, in fact, he had heard rumors of such a thing happening, but when he heard that in fact it was happening, he was startled. And he said that he's waiting for instructions like many others from the Vatican. Those are expected to come.

Pope Benedict XVI is a person who made Timothy Dolan a cardinal. And the cardinal spoke of him quite fondly, as well as about his health.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK: There was no secret that, you know, he himself had asked Blessed John Paul II if he could resign as when he was prefect (ph) to the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. And that Pope John Paul II said, "I really need you with me." And, of course, he did. He listened to John Paul. So he's been well aware of his own fragility of his health for a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FEYERICK: And, you know, the timing is also rather surprising. It is two days before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. A very holy day for Catholics. The cardinal said that, in facts, he's sure that people around him knew that this was going to happen and put a transition team in place. The cardinal says that a conclave will take about a month. But, right now, all that timing is being worked out.

Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: All right. Deb, thank you very much. Appreciate it. The former Navy SEAL who reportedly fired the shot that killed Osama bin Laden is said to be furious now with the U.S. military. He's got no pension or medical insurance. And according to an investigative piece in "Esquire" magazine called "The Man Who Shot and Killed Osama Bin Laden," the shooter who has not been named to protect his identity, he told a friend, now this is a quote here, he says, "if I get killed on this next deployment, I know my family will be taken care of. But if I come back and retire, I won't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of for the rest of my life. Sad to say it's better if I get killed."

Joining me now is the author of the revealing piece. This is Phil Bronstein.

And, Phil, I mean, you spent a year getting to know this guy known as "the shooter" here. Quite amazing that he would make that kind of statement. Why do you suppose he feels so abandoned by the military?

PHIL BRONSTEIN, CONTRIBUTOR, "ESQUIRE" MAGAZINE: Well, Suzanne, first of all, that statement was made by a friend of his, who's also a member of SEAL Team 6, just to clarify.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

BRONSTEIN: But it's a common feeling among the SEAL team members that I spoke with because they spend, in the case of the shooter, 16 years doing exactly what they're trained to do, which is going out on these missions, deployment after deployment, killing people on a regular basis, and they finally get to the point where they don't want to do that anymore. And if they're short of their 20 years, they get zero pension. There's some VA health care for just the vet himself and not for his family and it's somewhat limited. And there's very little else that they get. They don't get really much in the way of outsource services. And so they suddenly find themselves trying to translate into a civilian world that they're not used to and they haven't been used to for decades.

MALVEAUX: So, Phil, first of all, why did he talk to you? Why did he feel like he needed to get this message out? And what is his life like now?

BRONSTEIN: Well, he talks about his life is still kind of based, to some extent, to a large extent, on who he was. So because he was on the bin Laden raid and played a key role there, as did all the members of that team, he gets his wife, for instance, to put the kids in the bathtub if there's any sign of trouble -- this is the protection issue -- gets his wife propped on the bed, taught her how to get the shotgun propped against the wall on the back of the bed and shoot through the door if there's a problem. So, as you can tell from that -- and they have a bolt bag ready to go if something turns up. They offered him witness protection -- a witness protection program that doesn't even really exist in special services.

MALVEAUX: So, explain this to me, Phil, because I don't understand. So is he -- do you think he's paranoid or is there a real threat, I mean, of al Qaeda coming after him in the United States and his family, that he should have to train his wife to point a gun at the door?

BRONSTEIN: Well, another -- it's a good question, Suzanne. Another SEAL who wrote a book immediately went up on a jihadi Web site. The shooter told me -- and it's in the story -- that he thought 99 percent of what al Qaeda said was a lot of talk, but the 1 percent was pretty vicious and nasty. And so you want to protect your family.

MALVEAUX: And does he reveal any details about how it was that he actually got Osama bin Laden in his sights and shot him?

BRONSTEIN: Yes, he does. He talks in some detail about being the second man after the point man going up to the third floor, and the point man grabbed two women, who were from the bin Laden household in the hallway, pulled them aside. And the shooter rolled into the bedroom on the right-hand side and ultimately right there faced Osama bin Laden less than a foot away from his gun and shot him there. Three times in the forehead.

MALVEAUX: Does he think about that moment? Does he dream about that moment? Does he have nightmares every day?

BRONSTEIN: He has -- I think he has nightmares about how he's going to support his family and how he's going to feed his family. And, by the way, he's not alone. I work at the Center of Investigative Reporting and our reporter there in Glance (ph) has reported that average wait for VA disability adjudication is nine months. He's in no better shape than any other vet in that regard, except he's got, as you put it, the nightmares. But those are the nightmares, taking care of his family.

MALVEAUX: All right. Phil, it's a fascinating read.

BRONSTEIN: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Obviously we wish him the best in terms of taking care of his family and, of course, his safety as well. Thanks again, Phil. Appreciate it.

BRONSTEIN: Thanks, Suzanne.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, CNN has reached out to the military. Have not yet gotten a response on this article.

For more of what we're working on for this hour of NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL.

Trampled to death in India. Dozens of people killed at a stampede at a train station.

And in the Gulf of Mexico, you've got a cruise ship, catches fire, goes adrift. We're going to talk to the husband of one of those passengers who's still on board.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: Welcome back to NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL. Here's what we are following this hour. NATO forces in Afghanistan now have a new commander.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GENERAL JOSEPH DUNFORD, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE COMMANDER: Afghan forces defending Afghan people and enabling the government of this country to serve its citizens, this is victory, this is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using these words.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MALVEAUX: Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford replacing General John Allen, now, Dunford will oversee the final two years of military involvement in Afghanistan. Previously spent about two years commanding troops in Iraq.

In northern India, a terrifying scene, this is an overcrowded railway station. At least 36 people were crushed to death, dozens more hurt. Millions of Hindus were on a pilgrimage. The cause of the stampede is now under investigation. A local official in charge of security has now resigned.

So, suppose your infant is asleep in the next room. Suddenly, you hear him screaming. You rush in. You find your baby being dragged out of his bed by a fox. That's right. That's exactly what happened. That happened in London the other day.

Thank goodness, the mom, she was nearby to rescue him. He was rushed to the hospital with serious hand wounds.

You might be surprised to learn this is actually not an isolated incident. Fox attacks are increasingly common now, and the animals have become so plentiful that a lot of homeowners shoo them out of their houses.

In China, skies, celebrating, lighting up, celebration of new year, a long-standing tradition, the food, the festivities aimed at ensuring good health and good fortune. Good for them.

But if you are squeamish you might want to sit this out. We are talking about this. According to the Chinese calendar, this is the year of the snake.

All right. So, these folks are supposed to be celebrating, right? They're on a Carnival cruise ship. It's called Triumph. Instead, the ship is stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after this fire breaks out yesterday. And we found out the coast guard cutter has now arrived to try to tow the cruise liner to the closest port which is in Mexico.

Meanwhile, things getting pretty desperate, as you can imagine, on the ship, that's according to Bethany Nutt. You see her there.

She's on a girlfriends cruise, you know, a bunch of sisters-in-laws, getting together, hanging out without the guys, you know? So. she's been calling her husband, Brent. You see him there. They went -- well, there should be a picture. We should have a picture of both of them.

Her cell phone -- there they are. OK. So, her cell phone is not working, but we are checking in with Brent because, Brent, you heard from her, right? When was the last time you heard from your wife?

BRENT NUTT, HUSBAND OF WOMAN STUCK ON CRUISE SHIP (via telephone): I talked to her yesterday evening in between 6:30 and 7:00.

MALVEAUX: All right, Brent, and how is she doing? Describe the conditions on the ship because I understand it's getting pretty bad.

NUTT (via telephone): She is not doing too good at all. She was crying and all and everything, and she just wants off of the ship. And, I mean, it's horrible. There's no running water. There's no power. They are having to use the restroom in buckets and bags.

Whenever she called me, there was another ship, cruise ship, that had pulled up there beside them, and give them food, and up until that point yesterday, they had not eaten anything at all.

And she was able to get cell phone service off of the other ship's tower or reception or whatever.

MALVEAUX: Did she say she was going to be able to charge her phone in any way or do you expect to hear from her anytime soon?

NUTT (via telephone): No. She said that that would be the last phone call that I would get until she got into Progreso because, I mean, they have no power. There is no way to charge cell phones at all or anything.

MALVEAUX: How long has she been stranded?

NUTT (via telephone): Well, they woke them up yesterday morning about 5:30 and told all of the passengers about it and all and everything.

And since 5:30 yesterday morning, that's whenever that the fire had actually broke out, I'm assuming.

But they did not call and let none of their families know until 12:45 yesterday afternoon, was what time I finally got a phone call.

MALVEAUX: And, Brent, yeah, we know that they say that there is a tugboat that obviously is coming to help them out here.

You said that she was crying. What is the most frustrating thing she's experiencing now?

NUTT (via telephone): Well, I mean, you know, to hear your loved one crying and all and everything and saying, basically, that she just wants off of the ship and she wants it all to end.

And, I mean, you know, all of the other girls in her group were calling their family members, as well. And they were crying and all and everything.

Everybody wants off of this. I mean, it's a big mess. There's no power. There's no toilets. There's no food.

It's like a bunch of savages on there. If you get on the blogs, they're saying that people are fighting over food and stuff.

I mean, that's a bunch of savages. That's ridiculous, that Carnival has nothing at all in plan in case something like this happens.

MALVEAUX: Brent, did she tell you --did Bethany tell you whether she was getting any help or instructions about how to deal with all of this?

NUTT (via telephone): The only way -- the only help that they've gotten is that they told them that they need to stay on the decks or in common areas.

MALVEAUX: All right, Brent, thank you very much. If you would, get back to us. Let us know how Bethany is doing and the rest of the relatives there on the girlfriends' trip.

If she gets in touch with you, if the cell phone is working, if they get any kind of help, we'll get back to you, OK?

NUTT (via telephone): OK, thank you.

MALVEAUX: All right, you hang in there.

NUTT (via telephone): All right.

MALVEAUX: Sure.

She was a 15-year-old honor student, right, gunned down a week after performing at the president's inauguration.

Well, now, police are questioning two men about the murder. Going to take you live to Chicago, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MALVEAUX: President Obama is going to go to Chicago on Friday to address gun violence.

It has hit pretty close to home for him and the first lady. Hadiya Pendleton was shot and killed while trying to escape gunfire in a Chicago city park several blocks north of the Obama family home in the Winwood neighborhood.

I'm going to go to Ted Rowlands who is in Chicago. I know there's going to be a press conference, you will have a number of officials on this. This is disturbing all around.

It's not the first time. Chicago has a terrible problem with violence, with gang violence. You have the first lady weighing in at the funeral on Saturday. What are they going to do? TED ROWLANDS: Well, that's a great question, Suzanne. And there is, in the wake of Hadiya Pendleton's death -- there's a sense of urgency here.

As you mentioned, this is not the first time a youngster has been killed in the crossfire with the gang violence on the streets of Chicago, but this young woman has really struck a nerve.

This was a young, 15-year-old girl, who was doing all of the right things. She was a good student going to a great school here in Chicago. Her parents, great parents, who have encouraged her and her brother to do well in school.

She was in the band, doing extracurricular activities, really just the last person in the world, who you would think would get caught up in this, and the last person in the world you would want to get caught up in this.

And President Obama is coming here on the heels of her death, and as you mentioned, she died just a mile away from his home in Chicago.

He's expected to take the themes that he outlines in the State of the Union on Tuesday and expound on them further when he comes to Chicago.

There's a petition here with 45,000 signatures asking for the president to weigh in on this. Community activists have hoped he would come.

A lot of people of Chicago are pleased with the announcement he is coming. It's surrounded at least in recent weeks around this young girl's death who did strike a nerve.

Take a listen to Hadiya Pendleton on a YouTube video talking about staying out of gangs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HADIYA PENDLETON, KILLED BY GANG VIOLENCE: Hi. My name is Hadiya, this commercial is informational for you and your future children.

So many children out there are in gangs and it is your job to say no to gangs and yes to a great future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROWLANDS: In a press conference just getting underway in Chicago in the police headquarters behind me, the mayor is here. The superintendent, Garry McCarthy, is here, as well.

What they will do is announce proposed legislation on the gun laws in the city of Chicago, so that when they do catch somebody with an illegal gun they can put them away.

Let's listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARRY MCCARTHY, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE: I think what we want to start doing is tying this all together for everybody, and the goal at least my goal here today besides showcasing the weapons is talking a little bit about the criminal justice system and how it ties together on what that means.

So, we have talked and we talked for quite some time about gun laws in the state of Illinois.

In the city of Chicago and in -- and the points that we have made, and we will reiterate are our support for an assault weapons ban, a ban on extended magazines, background checks and critically two more components, which has to do with reporting a requirement to report the loss, theft or transfer of a firearm, which facilitates straw purchases.

Those are all issues that are on the front end of the criminal justice system impact on a number of firearms on our streets, OK?