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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Israeli Airstrikes on Gaza; Teen's Aunt Speaking Out over His Beating; Attention Shifts to Mother In Georgia Hot Car Death; Airport Security Switch; Leaked Video: Oscar Pistorius Re-Enacts When He Shoot and Killed Reeva Steenkamp
Aired July 7, 2014 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Wolf Blitzer. Sitting in for Anderson.
Tonight there's breaking news out of the Middle East. Air strikes over Gaza right now. Israeli troops getting called to action. The operation now has a name, Protective Edge, as more rockets fall, casualties rise, and tension between Israelis and Palestinians can't get a whole lot higher.
Also tonight, what is one of the devices that scared officials so much they amped up airport security for flights coming into the United States? The answer and the danger can fit in a pocket and is carried in billions of pockets worldwide.
Plus, he's charged with murder. Now she's under growing scrutiny in the hot car death of their toddler son. New and eye-opening details about what the father was allegedly doing while his son was dying.
We begin, though, with the breaking news. Fresh Israeli air strikes on Gaza, the government approving the call-up of 1500 troops. And as we said, a name for all of it right now, Operation Protective Edge.
The latest development in the growing cycle of kidnapping, murder, revenge, air strikes and rocket attacks. A cycle including these new rocket attacks that one Israeli official openly admits could soon grow even worse.
The idea of Spokesman Col. Peter Lerner telling the "New York Times," I'm quoting now, "If last week we were talking about calm being answered by calm, we are now talking about preparing for an escalation."
There's that, the killing of three Israelis, the fiery revenge killing of a young Palestinian, the beating of a Palestinian-American boy. And sadly, a whole lot more.
CNN's Ben Wedeman is covering all of it. He's joining us from Jerusalem.
Ben, I understand there's been a new round of Israeli air strikes over the past few hours. What's the latest? BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, just a
little while ago, Israel announced the name for this operation that's going, Operation Protective Edge. And immediately after that announcement was made, there were two air strikes on Gaza, one down near the Egyptian border and one on central Gaza.
Now our sources in Gaza tell us, these are houses probably belonging to militant leaders. And this represents something of a change of tactics. Until now, Israel has been striking areas where missiles were being launched from or facilities, training facilities and whatnot belonging to Hamas and other militant groups.
So really these are just the openings salvos. When Israel gives a name to an operation, it means that it's serious -- Wolf.
BLITZER: It's not a good sign clearly. So what is the country bracing for right now? You're right there in the middle of all of the action in Jerusalem.
WEDEMAN: Well, we understand that all schools and universities near Gaza in southern Israel have been ordered to be closed. The ambulance services are now on a 3 out of 4 alert level, which means that 75 percent of the ambulances are ready to go in case they're needed.
All of Israel's Iron Dome batteries for anti-missiles are up and working and ready to go. They've been in action this evening. So Israel, at least the southern part of the country, is definitely on a war footing. The situation in Gaza, very tense.
BLITZER: Ben, as you know the American teenager who was beaten by the Israeli Police, he's been released, he's out on bail. But he remains under house arrest. Is that right?
WEDEMAN: That's correct. He's moved to an adjacent neighborhood of Beit Hanina. Now he also -- his family had to pay a 3,000 shekel fine, that's about $900. Now we understood from the family that he was -- the family was planning to return to the United States in the middle of the month. His house arrest is for nine days beginning yesterday. So he may be able, if not charged by the Israeli Police to return to the United States in the middle of July -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Well, his cousin, as you know, he was murdered by what Israeli police now believe to be a reprisal killing by Israeli Jews and officials in Israel. They've arrested some suspects. They say the teen was likely burned alive. Is that right?
WEDEMAN: That's correct. An autopsy was performed, a joint autopsy by Palestinian and Israeli doctors. And what they found among other things was that he was severely beaten on the right side of his head. But in his lungs was soot and smoke. And the belief is that he was set on fire, some people say he was forced to drink petrol or gas beforehand. He was set on fire and basically died while still breathing and burning -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Ben. Thanks very much.
Ben Wedeman, reporting for us from Jerusalem.
More now on the beaten Palestinian-American teen, Tariq Khdeir. His violent encounter with Israeli police all caught on videotape. The Tampa, Florida, high school sophomore accused of attacking security officers and rioting, namely rock throwing.
Our senior White House -- senior White House officials, I should say, telling us, they were shocked by these scenes. And late today on "THE LEAD," Jake Tapper asked Prime Minister Netanyahu's spokesman about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, THE TAPPER: Do you agree with the U.S. State Department? Was there any excuse at all to beat this small teenager while he was handcuffed?
MARK REGEV, SPOKESMAN FOR ISRAELI PM NETANYAHU: That's exactly correct. There is no excuse for this sort of behavior. And we're currently investigating it. And it's not the police investigating themselves. We've initiated impartial objective, independent inquiry into exactly what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Another point of view now from Tariq's aunt, Suhad Abu Khdeir, and family attorney Hassan Shibly.
Suhad, I know this must be a very, very tough time for you and your family, what you're going through and I know your nephew Tariq continues on house arrest right now in a separate neighborhood not far from his parents. He's been able to see and spend time with his family, which obviously is good.
What more can you tell us about his physical condition? Are you confident he's safe right now?
SUHAD ABU KHDEIR, AUNT OF TARIQ KHDEIR: No, absolutely not. And as far as his physical condition, I'm still so scared. Because if you look at his pictures, the swelling, the bruising, and everybody knows after a concussion, it could take up to two months before we see any real injuries arise after this concussion. I mean, several blows to the head just like that.
If you notice on the video, the last blow, he was already limp when they hit him in the head that last blow. And that really, really worried me for knowing that this wasn't just to try to detain him and arrest him. This was trying to inflict lifelong injuries. It was trying to even possibly murder him. Little did they know he was a U.S. citizen.
BLITZER: Suhad, do you know if he's been to a hospital? Has seen doctors? Has he received medical attention? Because if he is suffering from the kind of injuries you're describing, a concussion, he needs -- obviously he needs to see some doctors. KHDEIR: I wish he got the appropriate medical care. As far as we
know now, as soon as they took him in his unconscious state, they put him in jail. And we had a lawyer immediately on the case. As soon as they found out he was a U.S. citizen, he was -- they finally took him to the hospital.
If he didn't -- if he wasn't a U.S. citizen, he would've died in jail and we never would've heard about this. Just like several other Palestinian children every single day.
BLITZER: Nothing justifies these kinds of beating especially when a 15-year-old has his hands tied behind his back.
I'm sure both of you have seen some of the comments from Israelis that Tariq may have -- not necessarily been an innocent bystander, may have been participating throwing petro bombs, Molotov cocktails. Does that sound like anything that Tariq would do?
KHDEIR: Absolutely not. He is nonviolent, regular rounded American teenager who, like we said, listens to hip hop music. He's never even been bullied or a bully before. He's never been exposed to any kind of violence in our home, in his school, in America. So for him to take a trip into a country with no diplomacy and be brutally beaten like that, he's definitely gang banged.
BLITZER: So, Hassan, when you hear Israelis say they're going to have their Justice Ministry investigate the police actions, what do you say to that?
HASSAN SHIBLY, ATTORNEY FOR ABU KHDEIR FAMILY: Well, look, we've already heard from Israel that they've sort of admitted that these actions are illegal. But we want to see those comments translate into action. I mean, right now, as far as we know, the officers are still on the street, maybe doing the same thing to other kids who aren't American citizens and won't create such a media backlash.
So what we need to see is those individuals prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law so that they cannot repeat that kind of terrorism against other young, innocent, young children.
BLITZER: Hassan Shibly, Suhad Abu Khdeir, thanks to both of you for joining us. And good luck.
SHIBLY: Thank you. And --
KHDEIR: Thank you for allowing us to utilize our freedom of speech because it made such a huge impact for my nephew.
BLITZER: And with a story like that, with rockets falling, air strikes happening, it's only natural to wonder where this is all heading and what can be done to try to reel things back.
For answers, we turn to Fareed Zakaria, he's the host of "FAREED ZAKARIA: GPS" right here on CNN.
Fareed, the fact that the teenager who was beaten by the Israeli Police, an American citizen, how much could that or should that change the U.S. posture on this unfolding very, very serious, potentially very deadly situation in the Middle East?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, FAREED ZAKARIA GPS: It changes it a lot, Wolf. As you know, the way in which the United States reacts varies very dramatically depending on whether the people involved, whether killed, wounded, hurt, are American citizens or not. Now this means that the American embassy has to be involved. It means the State Department has to be involved. It means that there is, you know, potentially congressman might get involved, senators might get involved.
And in general, there is going to be a heightened media scrutiny inevitably. Look, we're doing the segment. And all of that is going to make an already raw situation even more difficult to handle.
BLITZER: And now we see these rocket attacks from Hamas and Gaza. Israeli air strikes into Gaza. The more one side attacks the other side is inclined to hit back. How concerned are you that this escalation of rockets and air strikes will escalate into another all- out war, if you will?
ZAKARIA: Actually, Wolf, this is one of those cases where it is worth being word, by which I mean, you know, a lot of times you see these kind of flare-ups, you don't whether anything is going to happen, most of it doesn't flare up. In this case, what's happening is on both sides there is an internal compulsion and an internal dynamic which is pushing them to a confrontation that maybe they don't rationally want.
By that I mean if you look at Bibi Netanyahu, he has already lost his foreign minister and the support of a right-wing party. There's pressure for him to act from the right. If you look at Hamas, Hamas, as you know, has not been doing particularly well over the last few years losing out to more radical, more militant alternatives. So they feel the need to do something.
Neither side can try to do something cooperative at this moment. So it almost reminds you and on a very small microcosm of the events that led to World War I when nobody rationally wanted a conflict but nobody could find the way to back down because they were being pushed by the internal -- the dynamics. That seems exactly what's happening here. So it's difficult to see how this stops.
You know, at what point does one of the sides say, you know what, let's have a moment where we make a preemptive concession. We -- we do some kind of peace talks. That's not in the cards right now.
BLITZER: The U.S., as you know, doesn't deal with Hamas. The State Department regards Hamas as a terrorist organization. Last time, there was a war, if you will, between the Israelis and Hamas in Gaza. The Egyptians brokered a cease-fire. Who could do that now?
ZAKARIA: Well, it's more difficult now because General Sisi, the new Egyptian government, has very poor relations with Hamas. They've actually cut them off in various ways. So it's tough to imagine, you know, that dynamic playing itself out well, the United States has, of course, no contact with them. You know, perhaps you'd end up using somebody like Qatar or Saudi Arabia.
But again the dynamics on the ground are really what seems to be motivating people. Nobody really wants this confrontation, but nobody knows how you -- you have to show that you're tough. And you have to show that you're responding. And that's the dynamic we're in right now. I don't think an outside mediator is going to help.
BLITZER: The only one I can think of right now, maybe Qatar, as you point out, but maybe the Palestinian Authority itself. President Mahmoud Abbas maybe he can do something to stop this because like you I'm deeply, deeply worried that this could really, really escalate.
Fareed, thanks very much for joining us.
ZAKARIA: Pleasure, Wolf.
BLITZER: One programming note, CNN's Anthony Bourdain recently spent time in the region visiting with people on both sides of the camp that often seems so unbridgeable. It's a compelling hour of television. "PARTS UNKNOWN: JERUSALEM" and it airs tonight right after 360, 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
A quick reminder. Make sure to set your DVR so you can watch that and especially 360 whenever you'd like.
But up next, what new search warrants reveal about the father charged with murder in the death of his toddler son and why authorities are now focusing in on the mother, as well.
BLITZER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, newly released documents give the fullest picture yet of where the investigation of the death of 22-month-old Cooper Harris may be heading.
The Georgia toddler, as you may recall, was left in his car seat for seven hours in the sweltering heat. His father Justin Harris is now charged with murder and child cruelty. He's pleaded not guilty. He's being held without bond.
The documents released today include eight search warrants. More on that in just a moment. But first, though, the head-spinning revelations that came out at Harris' probably cause hearing. A hearing that was expected to last 90 minutes but stretched to nearly three hours.
Here's Martin Savidge.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The case surrounding the death of little Cooper Harris has gone from controversial to sensational.
DET. PHIL STODDARD, COB COUNTY POLICE: He's having up to six different conversations with different women. SAVIDGE: In a pretrial hearing, authorities shattered Justin Ross
Harris' images of faithful husband and loving father, portraying him, instead, as a man yearning to be single and involved in online relationships.
STODDARD: Evidence has shown us right now that he's got this whole second life that he's living with alternate personalities and alternate personas.
SAVIDGE: To the gasp of the courtroom, investigators said he was exchanging sexually charged texts and explicit photos with women as his son was dying, trapped in his car seat in the SUV parked just outside his office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were photos being sent back and forth between these women and the defendant during this day while the child was out in the car?
STODDARD: Yes, there are photos of his exposed penis -- erect penis being sent. There are also photos of women's breasts being sent back to him.
SAVIDGE: Several times Harris' attorney attempted to object, saying it had nothing to do with the boy's death.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're getting so off-field from the events of June 18th. This has got nothing to do with those events whatsoever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The -- the status of his marriage and his fantasy life has got nothing to do with the events of June 18th. We're just getting so far off-field , Judge. This is irrelevant to anything.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Judge, this goes to state of mind in the two weeks leading up to the death of his child.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So this occurred within two weeks?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overrule the objection.
SAVIDGE: Harris has said he is innocent and forgot to take 22-month- old Cooper to daycare as he usually did, instead leaving him trapped in his safety seat for close to seven hours in 90-plus-degree heat.
Investigators doubt his story since father and son had breakfast at a fast food restaurant just minutes before. Instead, they say on top of wanting a new life, the $27,000 worth of life insurance on his child was additional motive as police say the Harrises were in debt.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were they having any type of financial difficulty?
STODDARD: They were.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What type?
STODDARD: She was complaining about his purchasing, sporadic purchasing or overcharging the credit cards.
SAVIDGE: The hearing also cast a spotlight on Cooper's mother. Police testified she told daycare workers her husband must have left the baby in the car after she was told they never arrived that day. In warrants, investigators say both parents admit to online searches regarding children dying in hot vehicles.
Harris' defense attorney says the couple was simply researching a government program aimed at preventing such accidents. In a gut- wrenching moment, investigators hinted that the little boy's suffering in the sweltering vehicle.
STODDARD: There were several marks on the child's face. It would've come from the child or a scratch being made while the child was alive, and then not healing, not scabbing over or anything like that, and just soon after he passed away.
SAVIDGE: Several character witnesses said they had never seen Harris as anything but a devoted dad. And his attorney says police have it all wrong.
MADDOX KILGORE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It's not criminal negligence. It's a horrible tragedy and accident.
SAVIDGE: In the end, the charges against Harris were upheld and he remains in jail without bond.
BLITZER: And Martin Savidge is joining us now.
What a horrible, horrible story. What can you tell us about the search warrants, Martin, that were released today?
SAVIDGE: Yes, there were eight of them, Wolf. And there is more detail. It paints a picture of authorities that are casting an ever- widening net. They are looking for everything from light bulbs to life insurance to also the medical records of the little boy. Possibly looking to see if there's any previously overlooked indication of neglect against the child.
And we should point out that now that the judge has affirmed those charges, the prosecutors under no pressure, it could be months before they take all of their evidence to a grand jury, and there could be additional charges at that time -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Martin Savidge reporting for us. Thank you.
Let's bring in our legal analyst, former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin, Paul Callan, who's wearing both hats in the court room, he's a criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor. Also joining us, the criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos. Paul, you say that the wife's comment to her husband at the police
headquarters station, quote, "Did you say too much?" You say that's incriminating and very suspicious. Tell us why.
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I've got to say, Wolf. There's so many strange twists and turns to this case. And this is one of them. The wife comes to visit him at the police station, not knowing that the cops are watching, presumably through a two-way mirror. And he says -- he tells her what happened. And she says, do you think you told them too much?
Now if it's an accident, how can you tell somebody too much about an accident? But on the other hand, if this is a staged situation and you're trying to cover up, why would you say, did you say too much?
It sounds like the wife knows and that it was a deliberate act. So I think that's what prosecutors might eventually try to use that statement to prove.
BLITZER: Yes, sort of sounds suspicious.
Sunny, you say that if you were prosecuting this case, the wife might not be the target but you'd be looking at her. You say it's hard to ignore how odd her behavior has been. Explain that.
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we don't know yet whether or not she's the target. But we do know that investigators are asking her a lot of questions. And that is what prosecutors do. They widen their net. They widen the investigation. And let's face it. Her behavior is extremely odd. Not only what she said at the police department in the jail, when she said, do you -- you know, have you said too much?
Remember, at the funeral, she was asked or she said, you know, if I could have little Cooper back, I wouldn't bring him back. I wouldn't want him back in this cold, cruel world.
Who says that? Every mother, of course, every parent would say, I want my child back if I could.
So that along with the fact that she's also saying that she conducted these searches. And I think very incriminating, Wolf, is she basically says when she gets the daycare center and the child is not there, she says, oh, my goodness, he must have left him in the car.
Who jumps to that conclusion?
And so when you look at all of that evidence, I think it's safe to say that prosecutors are certainly looking at her. They're going to interview her.
And what's very interesting in Georgia, as is the case in some other states, when the victim is a child, when you're talking about the murder of a child, you can force the wife or the spouse on to the witness stand. So even if she isn't a target, even if she isn't charged, I bet my bottom dollar, she's going to be called to that witness stand and she's going to be asked to testify against her husband.
BLITZER: Mark, as you know, according to investigators, the father was exchanging these rather explicit messages with six women, including a minor while his son was dying in the car. Are those messages admissible in court?
MARK GERAGOS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they shouldn't be. They haven't alleged that this is an intentional crime yet, although listening to Paul and Sunny, they've already convicted him of an intentional crime.
HOSTIN: Come on.
GERAGOS: But if they continue on as a felony murder or if they continue on the way they've done -- the way they've charged it, none of those text messages should come in because none of it is relevant. None of it tells you anything to do as to whether or not he -- this was an accident or not.
CALLAN: They're not going to charge --
CALLAN: They're not going to charge it as a felony murder, Mark, you know.
GERAGOS: Even --
CALLAN: They're not going to charge this felony murder, you know that.
GERAGOS: They already have. They already have. As a felony murder.
HOSTIN: This is a death penalty case.
HOSTIN: This is a death penalty case. The judge said that at the hearing. The judge, you know, intimated --
GERAGOS: The judge did not. The judge said it was potentially.
HOSTIN: Yes, he did. Yes, he did.
GERAGOS: Sunny, he said potentially.
HOSTIN: Well, let's face it. The judge basically said --
GERAGOS: It is not currently charged.
HOSTIN: And the sexting coming in, Mark. It's all coming in.
BLITZER: Hold on. Hold on, one at a time.
HOSTIN: It came in -- it came in with the Scott Peterson case.
GERAGOS: Well, whether it's coming -- whether it's coming in --
BLITZER: Hold on, Sunny. Hold on.
GERAGOS: Sunny, just relax for a second. Scott Peterson was charged with first-degree murder with special circumstances. He is not as of yet. The judge at the preliminary hearing said, potentially, it is not presently charged as a death penalty case. Potentially.
HOSTIN: It will be.
GERAGOS: And yes, it -- OK, you can make a prediction all you want, save the tape, but it isn't as of right now. And as of right now, the stuff that comes in a preliminary hearing is different than what would come in as it's charged right now. And that kind of hearsay probably would not --
BLITZER: Hold on, hold on. Sunny, go ahead. Sunny, go ahead.
HOSTIN: Look, the sexting is coming in because if it is charged as a death penalty case, or even if it remains a felony murder case, the sexting comes in because that's what he was doing at the time that the child was in the car. And so that is relevant, it goes to state of mind, it goes to motive, and Mark knows all of that. So that is -- that information is coming in just like it comes in, in other cases.
GERAGOS: It does not come in. Doesn't come in on state of mind unless they're going to say this is what he was doing and that's why he's got a cruel and depraved heart for malice.
HOSTIN: That's exactly what that is saying.
GERAGOS: If they don't charge him as an intentional -- well, they haven't charged it yet, Sunny. Scream at the top of your lungs, it hasn't happened yet.
CALLAN: Well, tonight --
BLITZER: All right. Paul -- all right, let me bring Paul into this conversation.
CALLAN: Let me just --
BLITZER: Hold on for a second, Paul. I want you to answer this. The lead investigator in the case says that the husband's statements to police were strange, one sided, saying things like, I can't believe this is happening to me. Why am I being punished for this? What do you make of those comments?
CALLAN: Well, he's clearly a narcissist. He's lost his child, his 22-month-old baby. And all he can talk about is himself and how it's affecting him. And getting back to, you know, the issue of when the grand jury looks at this, they can say, hey, this is an intentional murder case. Now why intentional? He had $27,000 of life insurance on the kid. He's got a failing marriage because he's trying to set up a relationship with six other women through texting.
In addition to that, he's done research on the Internet on how a baby dies in a hot car. How animals do. What it's like to live child free and what prison is like.
HOSTIN: There you go.
CALLAN: Now I would say, Mark, that even in California, that makes out a motive for an intentional -- for an intentional crime.
GERAGOS: Which hasn't been charged yet.
CALLAN: Well, we'll see. We'll see.
GERAGOS: And that's great. I understand --
CALLAN: The grand jury --
GERAGOS: But what we're talking about -- and you can speculate all we want.
BLITZER: All right.
CALLAN: Well --
GERAGOS: Within reason.
BLITZER: We'll see what they do when all is said and done.
Sunny Hostin, Paul Callan, Mark Geragos, good discussion. Thanks very much.
Up next, more on the mother and, as Mark said it, it bears repeating, Leanna Harris has not been charged, is not named as a suspect, but some of the details emerging are truly eye-opening.
Jason Carroll goes up close.
BLITZER: More now on Leanna Harris. As you saw with her legal team, the behavior before and after the fact is hotly disputed and the couple's relationship is also coming under scrutiny. Details from Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Leanna Harris' demeanor in the days before and after her son's death was odd and raised potential red flags for authorities investigating the case. She's not been named a suspect in connection with Cooper Harris' death nor has she been charged with a crime. But still, authorities say she behaved strangely. Cobb County Police detective, Bill Stoddard, testified when Leanna Harris arrived to pick up the toddler from daycare on June 18th and found he wasn't there, she predicted what had happened.
DETECTIVE PHIL STODDARD, COBB COUNTY POLICE: They walked back out into the lobby and in front of several witnesses, all of a sudden she states -- Ross must have left him in the car, and they're like, what? There's no other explanation. Ross must have left him in the car.
CARROLL: Detective Stoddard had also questioned Harris' reaction to hearing her son had died after his husband, Ross, had left their 22- month-old strapped in the car's child seat on a sweltering hot day for seven hours.
STODDARD: She didn't show any emotion when they asked her, or when they notified her of Cooper's death.
CARROLL: Is this a sign of guilt?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: We all have a script in our head of what's the appropriate way for someone to react when confronted with the tragedy. People react all sorts of ways and that doesn't make them guilty of anything.
CARROLL: While in police custody, Leanna Harris seemed very concerned about her husband speaking with detectives, specifically what he had told them.
STODDARD: She looks at him and says, well, did you say too much?
CARROLL: Harris continues to standby her husband of eight years who told police they are happily married despite allegations he was sexting with six women while his son was dying inside their car. During funeral services, Harris referred to him as a wonderful father and began her eulogy by thanking him saying, quote, "First of all, Ross, I love you, I'm doing this for you."
She spoke of Cooper saying she was happy he will never have to face his first heartbreak or awkward middle school years. Saying, quote, "I miss him with all of my heart. Would I bring him back? No, to bring him back into this broken world would be selfish. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Whatever the truth turns out to be in the Harris case, it's a fact that every year, dozens of children across the United States die in hot cars. Sometimes parents simply do the unthinkable, they forget their own child is in the car. It happened to Lynn Balfour, she was tried for murder. She was acquitted after her 9-month-old son, Bryce died. She's joining us now.
Lynn, the details coming out about the father's behavior in this case, his computer searches, the messaging, six different women. You say it doesn't really matter what he might have been doing on the computer that it doesn't mean he deliberately left his son in the car on purpose. Explain that.
LYN BALFOUR, SON DIED WHILE LOCKED IN CAR: Because, in my particular case, I know personally what it's like when the police officers and the prosecuting attorney take the death of a child, in my opinion, personally, in my particular case, all the first responders and police officers on this initial scene were in a room waiting for him to show up, and he had not spoken to me, not spoken to my husband.
And he said, OK, I want all of you to write all your statements right now as much -- in as much detail as you can. We're going to charge her for everything we can. So basically, that set the tone for my guilt or innocence, and he had never even spoken to me. Whether we're perfect parents, or not, whether we act morally correct negates whether we accidentally left them in the car. I certainly was not a perfect mother.
Did I get upset? Did I get frustrated as a parent? Did I make mistakes as a parent? Was I always morally correct? No. I wasn't sexting or anything of that nature. But regardless of what he was doing, what if he was on the internet during his workday looking at NFL scores? Does that make it any different that his child was in a car and he accidentally forgot him?
And in respect to comments that are made, the one thing I learned after my son's death was it's hard to, in the first few days or weeks after your son or your child passes away, it was really hard for me to come to terms he was gone. I was in shock. I don't remember listening to the police in the hospital, I don't remember the first couple of days.
I had nightmares waking up thinking it was a nightmare. It wasn't real. Some say my reactions after my son's death were not normal. But who is -- who determines what normal is? I can only imagine Mrs. Harris' feelings of personal attacks and things that are being brought up by her husband when they just lost a child.
And if Mr. Harris truly accidentally forgot his child in the car, the thing that goes through your mind every single day after that moment when you're told your child is gone, you are responsible for their death. And I can only imagine whatever he was doing on his cell phone or his --
BLITZER: Sorry for interrupting, Lynn, but the whole notion of him researching, going on the web before obviously the death of his little boy, how long would it take for a little boy to die in the car? Doesn't that raise some suspicion in your mind?
BALFOUR: Well, here's the question there. There could have been another story at some point in time and we don't really know when those researches took place. I know that, for example, a month ago, there was a Facebook page -- a video up on my Facebook page about a veterinarian that was explaining how hot it is in a car for an animal. And I pull those things up and watch those videos people send me, and that comes up on my computer. I'm not saying he didn't research it, and she didn't research it. But from my personal experience, we need to wait until the facts come out of exactly when those researches happened, when they were and what the context is. They may know someone close to them or a distant friend. Every year on the anniversary of my son's death and on the anniversary of his birthday, I send out the story that was done about me to remind parents to review and -- the information and the safety tips in memory of my son.
I can only imagine how many friends and family members and colleagues that I have that I add to my Facebook page every year that continue to share and pass that on. So I just reserve judgment knowing that I want to wait until the facts come out of the case. And until I see something glaring that may be suspicious that he's innocent until proven guilty. This is a grieving father and grieving mother.
BLITZER: Thank you very much for sharing your personal story and your thoughts on this very, very sensitive subject. Lynn Balfour, thanks very much.
Up next, new security concerns about bombs coming into the United States prompting overseas airports to change how and what they're searching.
BLITZER: Some answers tonight to the question we all have had when we learned about those ramped up airport security measures for flights coming into the United States. Namely, when officials warned about new and potentially undetectable bombs, what precisely were they worried about? Tonight, the answer appears to be cell phones and other electronic gadgets. And now passengers need to prove they actually work or be grounded. More from Susan Candiotti.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ramped up security measures comes as new intelligence warns terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula are intent on developing new bombs capable of fooling airport security measures. The TSA is now asking airports in the Middle East, Europe and Africa to watch passengers turn their devices on before boarding U.S. direct flights.
If those devices don't power up, they won't be permitted on board the aircraft and if checks won't be in the regular security line. Passengers can expect their devices checked a second time by the airlines themselves just before boarding.
CHAD WOLF, FORMER TSA OFFICIAL: If they're coming into the U.S., they often times segregate you to a different part of the airport. And at that point, you'll get additional what TSA calls a gate screening done, again, by security personnel, this time contracted by the air carrier themselves.
CANDIOTTI: So if your device doesn't power up, and you can't bring it on the plane, do you get it back? That's not totally clear. Neither the Department of Homeland Security, nor the TSA will comment other than to say it's up to the foreign airport to decide. The current concerns center around this man, AQAP master bomb maker, Ibrahim Al- Asiri. U.S. officials say Asiri designed the underwear bomb that got through security and threatened to almost bring down a plane headed from Amsterdam to Detroit. They say he also built explosive devices hidden in printer cartridges and got them on several planes in plots that nearly worked in 2010.
WOLF: The issue here would be if you had multiple accomplices trying to board the same flight into the U.S., and the idea here would be to disassemble the electronics and pull those explosives together so you get a little bit bigger bang for the buck.
CANDIOTTI: A U.S. Homeland Security official tells CNN, some foreign airports are already enforcing the new measures. Susan Candiotti, CNN, New York.
BLITZER: Let's dig a little bit deeper now with Philip Mudd, a counterterrorism veteran with the FBI and the CIA. Philip, thanks very much for joining us. You know what effect a change like this will be have on airports because of that you say the TSA wouldn't make a move like this on speculation alone. Explain.
PHILIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICIAL, FBI AND CIA: I think when you're sitting in the chair after 13 years of this business with all the plots I saw at the FBI and the CIA, people sitting in the chair in Washington, D.C. don't sit around and speculate about how they can disrupt air travel for businessmen coming into the United States.
To put out this kind of warning, in my experience, you've got to have information that's so specific that you sit there and say, we really have no option, but to go to the French, the British and others in Europe and say we've got to shut down operational cell phones and laptops coming on aircraft.
BLITZER: You've also seen situations with bombs inserted into the casings of computers and cell phones. But isn't it possible for some kind of explosive to be inside of the device like that and actually still work when you power it on?
MUDD: I think it's possible but unlikely. There's got to be a balance all these years after 911 and this is what TSA is trying to do with the secure travel approach. There's got to be a balance between ensuring that the business of America is business and ensuring that we also protect against legitimate plots we find hatched by al Qaeda.
In this case, don't think of a cell phone as an electronic device. Don't think of a laptop as an electronic device. It's simply another means for a terrorist to hollow out something like a cell phone, put in liquid or paste, go on the aircraft and maybe go into the lavatory and create a bomb out of multiple cell phones and multiple terrorists bring on the airplane.
We stopped -- we stopped shoes coming on to aircraft, we stopped shampoo back in 2006. Now somebody's saying maybe there's a new way to bring liquids on to an aircraft, it's a hollowed out cell phone.
BLITZER: As you know, for now, the change is only happening in other countries flying directly into the United States. But you'd be surprised if this wasn't actually implemented at some point domestically as well, right?
MUDD: Yes, I think I would be. It's simple enough recollecting where I was in the summer of 2006. We were sitting on the biggest plot, the biggest post 9/11 plot I ever saw. That was a bunch of conspirators in the U.K. and the United Kingdom trying to drill out the bottoms of energy drinks that had seals at the top, so they could put them in liquids, bring them on the aircraft and create the device on the airplane.
Now we're looking at another potential option to bring liquids on to the aircraft. I don't know why you would say that is only applicable for people coming into the U.K. and France and Italy and not the passengers we have here in the United States every year. To my mind, it's almost inevitable, we would get this effort in the United States.
BLITZER: It's a chilling, chilling thought. Philip Mudd, thanks very much for joining us.
Up next, for the first time, we see Oscar Pistorius re-enacting how he says he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
BLITZER: Another crime and punishment report. Tonight, stunning video of Oscar Pistorius re-enacting what he says happened the night he shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. It comes with the defense expected to rest tomorrow. Robyn Curnow has the latest from South Africa.
ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the first time, you're listening to Oscar Pistorius re-enact the chilling screams many neighbors testified to hearing the night the athlete discovered he had shot and killed his model, girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Seven Network in Australia airing audio and footage shot months after Reeva's death.
In a play-by-play of Pistorius' version of events, he re-enacted how he ran to the bathroom door, he shot he shot through four times. Pistorius on his stumps with his hand outstretched, as if he's holding a gun. After finding Steenkamp, the athlete describes what he did next. The role of Steenkamp, played by Pistorius' sister, Emmy, hunched over the toilet just like Steenkamp allegedly was that fateful night.
Pistorius' spokesperson issued a statement explaining that in the run up to the trial, they hired a company to help the defense team visually map the events of that night, with the intention of assisting his legal team to prepare for the case. Airing the material, Pistorius' spokesperson says is a breach of trust and invasion of the family's privacy. It's unclear if this footage will impact Pistorius' ongoing murder trial.
GERRIE NEL, PROSECUTOR: He, with intention to kill, shot the person behind the door.
CURNOW: The special also re-airing surveillance video of Pistorius and Steenkamp kissing at a local convenience store. Footage captured ten days before she died and on the eve of her death on Valentine's Day, 2013, the Australian network showed surveillance videos of the athlete's girlfriend smiling when she arrived at the main gate of his estate before she was killed that night.
BLITZER: And Robin, Pistorius' spokesperson claims that many of the re-enactment was illegally obtained. Is that correct?
CURNOW: Absolutely. Very strong-worded statement coming from the Pistorius camp. Not only did they say it was illegally obtained, they say it's a breach of trust, a breach of privacy. Also, very, very importantly, they say it's a breach of client/attorney privilege. This was a re-enactment played out behind closed doors only for pre- trial preparation that they were filming all of this so animation could be made that would help people within Pistorius' legal team create some sort of visual map, the timing, how he got to somewhere, where he did it, his version of events in realtime.
The fact that it is now in the public's sphere worries them. It's edited. They don't like the way this is being released. However, they also acknowledge that they have no control over the way this has been handled. And also very importantly, it hasn't been put on the court records. So I think that is crucial for them, too.
BLITZER: All right, Robyn Curnow, thanks very much.
Up next, two jumbo jets come dangerously close to each other at the Barcelona airport.
BLITZER: There's a lot more happening tonight, Susan Hendricks has the "360" Bulletin.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, a welcome surprise. We start with this, 63 women and girls abducted by Boko Haram last month have escaped their captors. According to a source on the ground, the hostages got away when the Islamist terrorists left them alone to attack police and government forces. It is believed the militants are still holding 200 schoolgirls kidnapped back in April.
Pope Francis begged forgiveness in his first meeting with victims sexually abused by priests. The pope also vowed bishops will be held accountable for failing to protect children.
And at an airport, a near collision caught on video. A plane taxis on the runway, as you see, just as another is about to land. And the plane in the air aborts the landing. Luckily, Wolf, no one was hurt. Spanish aviation authorities are now investigating this incident.
BLITZER: Pretty scary stuff. Susan, thanks.
That does it for us. We'll see you again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern for another edition of 360. "ANTHONY BOURDAIN: PARTS UNKNOWN" starts right now.