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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
ISIS Video Shows Pilot's Murder; Dow Rallies More Than 300 Points; BP Posts Q4 Losses, Slashes Spending; Santander Q4 Profits Jump 70 Percent; Jordanian King to Meet Obama; Greek Minister Denies "Blackmailing" European Partners; Greek Stocks Recover Recent Losses; Greek Leaders on Anti- Austerity Tour; European Markets Up; S&P Downgrades European Banks
Aired February 3, 2015 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE CLOSING BELL)
RICHARD QUEST, HOST: One of those sessions on Wall Street where the bulls were out of the gate and they never looked back. The Dow up more than 300
points as trading draws to a close. The US stock markets significantly higher on the price of oil, which is also rising. It is today Tuesday, it
is the 3rd of February.
Terrorism at its most savage. King Abdullah of Jordan expresses outrage after a video shows the horrific murder of a Jordanian pilot.
And Greece's economics minister tells me, "We're not trying to blackmail our European partners." It's an exclusive interview, you'll hear it in the
I'm Richard Quest, we're live in New York.
Good evening. The world is coming to terms with savagery on a new level from the Islamist terrorists of ISIS. A Jordanian military pilot being
held by the militants has been murdered by being burned alive, and his killing has been shown in all its horror in a video that ISIS released
online a few hours ago.
The footage shows Moaz al-Kasasbeh being set alight while being confined in a cage. The US National Security Council says it's trying to confirm the
authenticity of the video. CNN believes it is too disturbing to be broadcast, and we're not showing any frames, any stills, any part of that
The Jordanian state TV says al-Kasasbeh was killed a month ago, January the 3rd. He fell into ISIS's hands when his jet crashed in Syria in December.
He was flying missions in the coalition air campaign against ISIS near its assumed capital in Raqqa.
In a prerecorded statement, King Abdullah of Jordan has called the murder "a tragedy for all Jordanians."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING ABDULLAH OF JORDAN (through translator): In those difficult moments, it is the duty of all the sons and daughters of Jordan to stand together in
one rank and show the true mettle of the Jordanian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Now, the Jordanian king was in Washington for meetings. He is, of course, returning back to Amman and cutting short that visit. CNN's Jomana
Karadsheh is with me live from Amman in Jordan.
The mood in Jordan tonight -- and we've heard there have been some minor demonstrations -- they must have sort of to some extent been prepared for a
grisly murder, but nothing would have prepared them for the atrocity that has taken place.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Richard. This is a nation in shock this evening, and a nation that is in mourning.
There was a bit of hope. Over the past week, we've been going out and talking to people here, and there had been some hope possibly that the
pilot, Moaz al-Kasasbeh, was still alive.
They had hoped that there was some sort of a deal that would have been struck between Jordan and ISIS. We know that there were indirect
negotiations going on between them to try and secure his release.
And the one issue here was the Jordanian government coming out at the end of last week, Richard, and saying that they so far have not had any proof
of life, no evidence since his capture that he was alive and well, and that was something they were demanding from the group and did not get it until
we saw these images in this video released this evening. Real shock and anger.
And this evening, Richard, although the issue of Jordan's participation in the coalition against ISIS has been a matter of debate in this country for
some time, with some believing that this is not Jordan's war, that it should not be taking part in the coalition, and others believing that
Jordan should defend itself and its borders. And this evening, we see that the anger is directed towards one party, and that's ISIS.
QUEST: Jomana, thank you, in Amman. Come back when there's more to report on that.
Now, the hostage crisis has left people on several continents sickened and grieving. Jordanian state TV is reporting that Moaz al-Kasasbeh was
murdered on January the 3rd. Despite that, at the end of last month, ISIS was keeping up the pretense he was still alive.
It said the Jordanian pilot would be killed unless a convicted terrorist, Sajida al-Rishawi, was released by Jordanian authorities. It made the same
threat over the life of the Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. Just a few days ago, it became clear that Goto had also been murdered. A video was
released that appeared to show him being beheaded.
The king of Jordan has cut short his visit to Washington. He's heading home. And Michael Weiss is the co-author of "ISIS: Inside the Army of
Terror" and joins me now. Good evening, sir.
MICHAEL WEISS, AUTHOR, "ISIS: INSIDE THE ARMY OF TERROR": Pleasure. Thank you very much.
QUEST: Well, what does one say? This -- this takes it to a new level. Or maybe you think not. Maybe in our naivete, we see a burning of somebody
caged, if you like, as being quantum leap. Is it?
WEISS: No, I don't think it is. The regimes of Syria and Iraq under Saddam Hussein did things just as barbaric and gruesome as this. The
difference, I would submit, is that ISIS's stock and trade, if you like, is publicity. They're very, very keen on propaganda.
If, indeed, the pilot was killed a month ago? What does that tell us? It tells us they took time and care producing this rather slickly-contstructed
snuff video. It tells us they sat on this evidence and this material even as they were losing the city of Kobani, which is in northern Syria. They
kept it even while they were engaged in this pantomime of negotiation with Jordan about not just the pilot --
QUEST: To what purpose?
WEISS: The purpose, I believe, is they are looking for some measure of legitimacy, to be considered an armed insurgency, to be considered some
entity that has to be negotiated and engaged with, not just a terror group.
And secondly, look, they're trying to drive a wedge between the United States and particularly our Arab partners in this coalition. Jordan on the
spectrum of countries that is most sympathetic -- that is sympathetic to the US objectives of counter-terrorism is the most sympathetic. So, this
is a particularly nasty attack against the state of Jordan.
QUEST: Right, but does this attack embolden the Jordanians or does it weaken their resolve?
WEISS: I think the short term it would probably embolden them. The king is -- he is a staunch American ally, he is very, very severe in confronting
The problem is the pilot comes from a very prominent family in Jordan -- actually, a very prominent tribe. His father has been outspoken in recent
weeks demanding the government do everything in its utmost to get him home. Going so far as to say I don't -- we don't care about the Japanese hostage,
just bring Moaz back.
In the long term, what happens if another pilot is downed? What happens if a terrorist spectacular is waged inside of Jordanian soil? In the long
term, this could, indeed, make Jordanian society turn against this war.
QUEST: I can hear viewers watching tonight who have nowhere near the expertise or knowledge of the region that someone like yourself has, but
they look at us, watching us discussing it, and they say what's it going to take, if anything, to defeat ISIS?
When we hear the president of the United States saying that this merely redoubles our efforts -- "redoubles" was the phrase he uses, doubling down
QUEST: -- on the ability.
WEISS: Well, it's a nice line, but look, the former defense secretary, Robert Gates, told CNN this week he does not see ISIS being degraded or
destroyed given the current strictures of the strategy.
Look, I'll give you a top line here. You cannot defeat Sunni terror without Sunnis on side. Right now in Iraq, the main force on the ground
that is waging the campaign against ISIS, whilst US planes are bombarding ISIS locations, these are mostly Shia militia groups controlled by the
state of Iran.
Sunnis see this as, well, why should we rise up against ISIS on behalf of Tehran? It doesn't make sense to them. So until you address the
sociopolitical problems in this region --
QUEST: But we can't.
WEISS: Well, exactly. I mean, look --
QUEST: I mean, I don't want to be naive about it.
QUEST: But you've had three or four beheadings -- you've had three beheadings since the beginning of the year --
QUEST: -- or something. And now, you've had a burning in a manner that can only --
WEISS: Look, Richard. The amount of blood and treasure that had to be expended in Iraq to put AQI, al Qaeda in Iraq, which is the predecessor
organization of ISIS, on the back foot -- and when I say on the back foot, not defeat it summarily, but merely degrade it to the point that they
didn't pose as clear and imminent a danger to the state of Iraq as they had done -- the amount of effort is simply not in the US electorate's stomach
QUEST: Right. Now, that's -- finally, on that point --
QUEST: David Cameron said after the British hostage was -- or the first British hostage was beheaded, he basically said, we're in this for decades.
WEISS: Yes, I agree. The former defense secretary after Gates, Leon Panetta, said he sees this as a 30-year war. Just a final point: this is
not a new war. We've been in this for 11 years. This is the same organization we were fighting under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Himself a
Jordanian national, by the way.
QUEST: We thank you, sir --
WEISS: Thank you.
QUEST: -- for coming in and helping us understand our way through this.
QUEST: I appreciate it very much, indeed.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS will be back.
QUEST: First comes stability, then comes the rally. The Dow Jones Industrials soared -- just look at that! They opened higher, they never
looked back. They climbed throughout the day. And when all was said and done --
QUEST: -- up 300 points. The cheering of investors, great confidence that oil prices have stopped falling. Brent's about $3 a barrel -- technically,
Brent is now in a bull market. And if you look also -- Brent and WTI, they -- one rose about 5 percent, the other rose about 6 percent over the course
of the day.
And the hopes of stability in the eurozone with Greece has also given lots of cheer. Paul La Monica is with us, too, from CNN Money. Is it as simple
as saying rising oil prices and a bit of Greece?
PAUL LA MONICA, CNN MONEY DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT: For now, that appears to be the case. When you look at the Dow, the companies that really led the
way, Exxon and Chevron.
I think we need to be careful when we talk about oil now being in a bull market. Yes, we may be 20 percent higher than the lows, but we're still
way below where we were a few months ago when we were talking about oil at over $100 a barrel.
QUEST: And we're going to hear later from Bob Dudley of BP, but he believes that oil at $100 is not going to happen anytime soon. That's the
LA MONICA: Yes, the most optimistic person that I've been speaking to in the past couple of weeks said oil may be at $80 by year's end, which is
clearly still below the peak price.
I think the hope is that all the companies are getting the bad news out of the way now. They're doing the layoffs, they're cutting their capital
expenditures, so they're doing the painful things that they have to do. They're not in denial. So that's one good thing, if you want to say.
QUEST: If we look -- there was a feeling as oil prices got down to the $40s, the mid-$40s, that that of itself was a destabilizing force for the
global economy. You want it -- it's classic, it's the Goldilocks. You want it not too hot and not too cold. And around $50 seems to be where
people are happy.
LA MONICA: That seems to be the case right now. And I think the other important thing that we have to hope for is that we've really been trying
to figure out if oil price has been plunging more because of demand concerns, Europe and China, or if it really is just a simple supply glut
with OPEC, the Saudis in particular, pumping a lot of oil, and the shale gas boom in the US.
If it's a supply issue, that's a little bit easier to correct than weak demand. That's the scary thing. 2008 was weak demand. We don't want to
go back there.
QUEST: Right. But that -- they are two sides of the same coin, the supply and the demand --
LA MONICA: Oh, without question.
QUEST: -- in that sense. On Greece -- we're going to be talking about that in a moment or two in more detail. There's a feeling out there that
the worst scenario of Syriza's election is not going to come about. And I don't know whether that's accurate or not, but the market seems to believe
LA MONICA: That's what they're believing right now. We obviously had many concerns about Greece leaving the eurozone as a result of the elections.
We've been talking about the possibility of Greece having to leave the eurozone since 2011, and they always avoided that worst-case scenario.
So, even though we've been discussing it for a while, no one actually wants it to happen, and I think the Greek government recognizes that as well, and
hopefully will take a -- a not-so-hard stance with their creditors on negotiating the debt terms.
QUEST: Greece and oil, two factors. Paul, thank you very much, indeed.,
LA MONICA: Thank you.
QUEST: I need to talk about the markets and the earnings that took place. If you have a look at the corporate earnings, very much -- well, it's not
surprising that one of the companies we've just been talking about with Paul La Monica, BP.
BP was in the red. BP has been slashing earnings, and you'll see why when you look at the numbers. The fourth quarter loss of the best part of a
billion, $969 million. We know that BP is delaying investments this year.
It's all a direct result, of course, of the fall in oil price. And when I spoke to the chief exec, Bob Dudley, at the Davos last month, he said these
moves, the cutbacks on cap ex, the restructuring, it's a response to the low price of oil.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOB DUDLEY, CEO, BP: We were already rebasing the company. We sold $40 billion of assets due to our problems in the Gulf of Mexico. So, our
overheads were already high, so we were in the process of doing that. It does lead to a lower workforce. It will lead a scrutiny over exploration.
We'll see some reduction in exploration. And we'll look very carefully over ever dollar of cap ex that we spend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: Bob Dudley of BP. Santander, the giant Spanish bank, which itself has had, of course, a change of chief exec and chairmanship and leadership
right at the top, saw earnings rising extremely sharply. If you look at the numbers, Santander has preformed remarkably well. Quarterly profits up
Now, Santander has been one of those banks that's had more than its fair share of problems, at $1.7 billion in Q4. What are the reasons, besides
its investment overseas in so many different countries? It is now clearly benefiting from the recovery in its home Spanish market, where the stock of
Santander rose more than 4 percent.
But you'll be well aware that Spain is now the fastest-growing economy in the eurozone. Its austerity seems to have pulled itself around. The
reforms are now taking place, and Spain and Santander benefiting as a result.
QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, live from New York. We'll have more after a very, very, very, very, very short break.
QUEST: Some news to bring you, breaking news at the moment. I told you that King Abdullah of Jordan was returning early to his country as a result
of the murder of the Jordanian pilot. Well, before he goes, he is going to the White House to see President Obama.
The two men, who are believed to get on extremely well, they were meant to have a meeting later in the week, but obviously, as a result of the events
of today -- and you heard earlier in the program, you'll hear again before the top of the hour, some of the comments from King Abdullah. And now he
said he is going to the White House before he returns to Amman.
As we continue to look at what has been a busy day around the world, the new Greek government is denying that it's trying to blackmail its European
partners. Officials are floating a plan to soften repayment -- and that's the key bit, to soften repayments -- of billions of dollars of bailout
funds. They're going to swap the loans for bonds where payments are linked to Greek economic growth.
Look at this number. You'll see Greek shares rose 11.2 percent. Now, why should there be such a robust response? Well, because comments from the
minister suggested that they would fulfill their international obligations. They seem to have stepped back from the brink, and the market likes the
fact that there's a plan on the table.
Well, in an exclusive interview, the economy minister told me earlier today, creditors will inevitably lose some money as a result of this deal.
He said the pain would be necessary. Greece is looking for growth, and as the hopes -- as you'll hear from him in a moment -- as the hopes for the
deal rise, the market went up like a rocket.
GIORGOS STATHAKIS, GREEK ECONOMY MINISTER: The basic idea is to have the repayment of the debt indexed by the rate of growth of the Greek economy,
which means in practical terms that those indexed bonds will be repaid at the time according to the rate of growth of the Greek economy.
That means a new rules of engagement obviously on the repayment of the debt. And at the same time, that austerity will not be the primary task.
Development and growth will be the primary task, and the repayment of the debt will follow.
QUEST: If this deal goes ahead, and one suspects it will because of the logic in it, that means that there have been write-offs of private debt to
Greece and cutbacks in public debt to Greece. That's correct, isn't it?
STATHAKIS: Well, look, the private debt to Greece was restructured, as you know. The private debtors agreed on having a loss. Nowadays, it's a
different case altogether. I think with our European partners, we can find the solution, but it will be probably less severe than the one the private
debtors had. But at the same time, a solution it will be that can work quite well.
QUEST: You're really saying to your European partners, you put us into this mess, you have to bear part of the cost of getting us out of it.
That's -- in crude terms, that's really your message.
STATHAKIS: No, no, it's not taxpayers' money that we are after, as you know. What we are looking for is minimize taxpayers' money, the losses of
taxpayers' money, minimize them as much as possible, and try to find financial solutions that do not affect taxpayers of the European economies.
QUEST: How would you explain this to Frau Schneider in Munich, or other people in Northern Europe that say we rode to Greece's rescue when they
were bankrupt. We lent them money, and now they don't want to pay it back. Whatever the niceties of this situation, that is how it will be portrayed
in large parts of Northern Europe.
STATHAKIS: Well, Northern Europe has realized that Greece has suffered a lot with the austerity package. It has lost 25 percent of its GDP. As you
may recall, this is the hardest-hit economy since 1929, losing 25 percent of your GDP within four years.
Everybody realizes that this is the situation that Greece is facing, the European partners are facing, so we have to get Greece back to work, and
this is the only solution available for everybody. Greece paid a huge penalty in terms of recession and unemployment. It's time to make a U-turn
in trying to find a way out of the recession and the crisis.
QUEST: The critics say you are effectively -- and I don't use this term lightly -- but that the new Greek government, yes you have a mandate, but
you're effectively blackmailing the rest of the eurozone. Do a deal with us or we'll bring the house down around everyone's ears. That's the long
and short of it.
STATHAKIS: No. The only mandate that we do have is getting Greece back to work and getting one out of the three Greek households that live below the
poverty line the soonest possible back into a better state of affairs.
We are not blackmailing the European partners. We are proposing the most logical solution, nowadays accepted by many headquarters around Europe.
So, we are talking sense, we are finding -- trying to find the most logical solution which is good for both sides. We're investing on mutual terms,
not only a the idea of conflict and blackmail.
QUEST: Minister, as you look forward, what structural reforms is Syriza prepared to accept to the Greek economy?
STATHAKIS: Well, we don't want to go to the state of affairs that existed prior to the crisis. Greece had many problems. Actually, we have argued
all along that Greece requires a whole range of reforms, and I think that there will be some agreement on the reform program that we propose, a
taxation system making wealthy people pay taxes, a large reform of state administration, so on and so forth.
So, there it is, the agenda. I think on this agenda, we'll have a quick agreement with the European partners. If we fail in this respect, getting
imposition, a just taxation system, making every Greek pay according to his income the proper taxation, that will be a huge failure for the government.
QUEST: Not often you hear a politician admitting that if something doesn't go according to plan, it'll be a huge failure. Look how Greek stocks have
been so volatile. This is since the election, you saw this very sharp sell-off. But with what we've seen in the last 48 hours with Tuesday's
rise, the Athens index has made up all the losses that it has suffered since the election nine days ago.
Throughout all of this week, as we've been talking, the Greek prime minister and the finance minister are taking their austerity message across
to European leaders. We know they've been to Nicosia, they've been in Paris and in London. They've still got Brussels, Berlin, and Frankfurt to
On Tuesday, both men were in Rome to meet with their counterparts, particularly, of course, Matteo Renzi, and the finance minister Padoan.
The Italian finance minister says Greece needs to be clear of plan, it needs a clear path of reforms. Growth is necessary if key -- if debt is to
be restructured and to become sustainable.
Speaking to Mr. Tsipras, the Italian prime minister said the world is calling on Europe to invest in growth, and they both -- both men referred
to the fact -- and this is, perhaps, fascinating of all -- both men referred to the fact that it was clearly a new generation, men of
contemporary age, who are leading countries in the austerity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTEO RENZI, PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY (through translator): I'm very convinced that we all need to view the results of the Greek election as a
message of hope coming from an entire generation of people who are asking for more attention, more care, and interest towards those who are enduring
I'm particularly thinking about our generation, Alexis's and mine. People who at our age can't find a job, people who've lost their jobs because of
the crisis, and of people who want to continue to believe in politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: The men may have found political bedfellows between Athens and Rome. The tour of the two men continues with Brussels, Berlin, and
Frankfurt ahead. Hopes for the negotiated solution to Greece gave stocks all over Europe a lift. It was the rise in oil prices that also restored
And after European markets closed, S&P said it was cutting credit ratings on a handful of European banks, including HSPC and Credit Suisse, because
the future European governments may be less likely to bail out banks in a crisis. Nothing like a downgrade on a very long-term reason, which doesn't
necessarily seem to be likely in the future.
As we continue on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS, there is anger tonight on the streets of Amman, and condemnation across the world. We're talking on the
question of if ISIS's brutal murder of a Jordanian pilot, has that actually altered the scenario in the battle to degrade and defeat ISIS?
QUEST: Hello, I'm Richard Quest. There's more "Quest Means Business" in just a moment. We'll talk about Standards & Poor's and a billion dollars
in penalties while the company insists it's done nothing wrong. You'll hear about the escalation in what Venezuela's president's calling an
economic war. But before any of that, this is CNN and on this network the news always comes first.
Jordan is promising what it's calling "an earthshaking response" to the murder of its pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh. ISIS supporters have released a
video that shows al-Kasasbeh being burned alive. CNN is not broadcasting any part of that video (ph) or showing any of the stills. Jordan's army
says al-Kasasbeh was killed a month ago even though ISIS subsequently tried to use him as a bargaining chip for the release of an imprisoned terrorist.
This crowd is gathering in Jordanian capital to express their anger. The Jordanian government issued a statement that says, quotes, "Those who
doubted the atrocities committed by ISIS now have the proof. Those who doubted Jordan's power will soon see the proof as well." President Obama
is due to meet the Jordanian king, King Abdullah, later on Tuesday.
Two soldiers have been assaulted by a man with a knife in Nice in Southern France. The soldiers received minor wounds. They were attacked while on
patrol near a Jewish community center. French authorities say the suspect attacker has been arrested.
The Argentine prosecutor who died last month had drafted an affidavit calling for the country's president to be arrested. That's the claim that
comes from an investigator now looking into the death of Alberto Nisman, found dead in his apartment from a gunshot wound to the head. He died one
day before he was due to testify about the government's role in covering up a bomb attack on a Jewish center in Buenos Aires.
Our top story and the top way around the world tonight and it's the murder of the Jordanian pilot. A video made by ISIS shows Moaz al-Kasasbeh being
burned alive in a cage. We know that Jordan's King Abdullah is going to the White House to meet with President Obama. He was due to meet him later
in the week, and the king has cut short his visit as you would expect - he's heading home to Amman. The President said the coalition would
redouble its efforts to destroy ISIS.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- should in fact the video be authentic, it's just one more indication of the viciousness and
barbarity of this organization. And it will I think redouble the vigilance and determination on the part of a global coalition to make sure that they
are degraded and ultimately defeated.
QUEST: We need help making sense of this atrocity - a sense or understanding or indeed just, well anything - from Fawaz Gerges, the
professor of Middle East and international relations at the London School of Economics. He's with me now from London. I misspoke there - we can't
make sense of it, can we? Because how does one -
FAWAZ GERGES, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: No.
QUEST: -- make sense of such an atrocity. So, in the absence of that, what do ISIS gain from merely - from doing this - and offending the world
GERGES: Richard, let's try to make sense of it because obviously there is some rationality, even though it's savage, even though it's barbaric. You
would have imagined that ISIS or the so-called Islamic State would have bargained with Moaz al-Kasasbeh. Why? The most important strategic assets
that ISIS has ever had. Basically it could have bargained dozens of radical jihadists, it could have extracted political concessions of Jordan
- millions of dollars. Yet it decided to kill him. Why? An act of defiance. This is a statement powerful message to its own rank and file.
Yes, there have been setbacks in Kobani, in Syria, yes there are some setbacks in Iraq, that we are still standing tall, we are defiant, we can
still bleed our enemies and in particular Jordan because Jordan is being a major ally of the United States and the Western countries.
QUEST: So the question I asked a guest earlier tonight - does this embolden Jordan or does it weaken them in their resolve? And I'm not
talking about the king as such. He's a Western ally through and through, but in terms of the people, does it - where do - where will this shift
GERGES: You're asking a very difficult question, Richard, and I mean it. Because Jordan is in a very difficult position. What ISIS has been able to
do in the last few days is to manufacture a domestic crisis for Jordan. Many Jordanians now basically are saying why are we in this opposition?
Even the family of the killed pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh is saying did we send our son to be killed for nothing? Why are we fighting with this coalition?
So there is a lot of opposition - domestic opposition inside Jordan -
GERGES: -- for the government decision to join the international coalition led by the United States.
QUEST: So what was the purpose of killing the man a month ago, negotiating - or at least pretense other than to the pretense of negotiation - why -
this is seemingly inexplicable - to kill so early on, but not reveal until now?
GERGES: It's an act of cynicism. This is vintage ISIS, a brutal - I mean - barbaric organiz-we keep saying barbaric and brutal but let me say again,
let's try to understand, Richard. We have to understand. I think what ISIS used - I mean, the idea of Moaz al-Kasasbeh again is to humble Jordan
and Japan. It's to create a crisis for both Japan and Jordan and if I were reading - if my reading is correct, --
QUEST: Let me interrupt you here. Let me just - if - let's just - let me just take your scenario to its logical conclusion. So Jordan says we're
not joining in, so Japan says we're not joining in. So everybody else starts the coalition fractures. The only people who will lose out in this
are the very people in the country, because at the end of the day, unless ISIS exports its terror to Paris, to London which in some cases it has
been, where does it gain from this?
GERGES: Richard, this is really a very, very critical point because ISIS does not really represent a threat to the Western countries. There's not
really a threat in America. There is not threat in Europe, even though you might say there is a kind of a nuisance. It could basically carry out an
attack here and there. The major threat that ISIS represents is to the social fabric in the region, to the state system in the region, to the
whole idea of civilization in the region, to coexistence in the region.
So you're absolutely correct. And that's why Jordan has made the decision that it has - that Jordan has to stand up, regional governments have to
stand up and basically try to take on this - I mean - nihilistic organization and might take on it even though that ISIS basically turned
many Jordanian in the last few days against participation in the coalition. This brutal act - this savage act - I would argue would convince many
Jordanians and many Arabs and many Muslims the only way to go is to basically confront ISIS once and for all. And not only to defeat it on the
battlefield, to basically - to basically - deny (ph) the social oxygen - the ideology that has given it the mileage that it has traveled so far.
QUEST: We're grateful that you came in this evening to discuss it with us, sir, and put into perspective. Thank you.
GERGES: Thanks, Richard.
QUEST: Around the world, around the clock, this is CNN.
QUEST: As we continue our evening conversation on business and economics, Standards & Poor's - S&P - has agreed to pay more than a billion dollars in
penalties - a billion to the U.S. authorities. Why are they paying this money? S&P is settling claims it defrauded investors by giving over-
generous ratings - that's being polite, over generous. Downright misleading rating on risky mortgage securities. S&P having denied that it
had basically cooked the books, paid the billion but said it still did nothing wrong.
It's accused of giving triple A ratings to bundles of subprime mortgages, many of which should have been way down in the basement, and they defaulted
and it was those subprime mortgages which eventually blew up leading to the 2008 financial crisis. S&P argued that the U.S. Department of Justice -
the DOJ - was acting out of pure revenge because it said Washington was angry over the decision to downgrade U.S. credit when it lost of course its
triple A to double A+. It's worth pointing out that in this report and in this agreement, S&P pretty much admits that there's no evidence that the
misfeasance of the Department of Justice or that anybody was attacking because of what they did.
Evan Perez is with us from Washington. All right, so the S&P's paid a billion, effectively said they did nothing wrong or if they did, they're
very - they're not sure about it. This is a hands-down win for the U.S. government.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well it is a hands-on win for the U.S. government, but it is also very important that S&P got the government
to accept that S&P essentially says it did nothing wrong - it did not violate the law. Now at a press conference here today in Washington, the
Justice Department insisted that what happened was fraud - that there was no doubt there was fraud.
QUEST: Hang, Evan, hang on, hang on. A technicality -
QUEST: I'm not talking about the fraud here. You don't pay a billion which is this equivalent of your entire annual profits of the previous year
QUEST: -- if there isn't something smelly under the bed.
PEREZ: There's very - there's something a lot smelly, Richard, and what - really what S&P is playing for is they don't want further litigation from
other - from some homeowners or from investors who lost a lot of money investing in these - in these securities. So that's really what they were
after. It's important, as you pointed out, that today also S&P retracted its claim that what the U.S. - the Justice Department - was doing was
trying to retaliate against S&P for - as you said - for downgrading the U.S. credit.
QUEST: Evan, thank you very much indeed and of course Moody's and all the other agencies are now watching to see when their -
PEREZ: They are -- well they're also now under investigation, Richard actually.
QUEST: Absolutely. So they'll be getting their checkbooks ready.
QUEST: If they haven't paid out money by Christmas, I'll buy you a meal.
QUEST: Thank you, Evan. Evan joining us from Washington.
PEREZ: U.S. airports are being accused of leaving a gaping hole in their security plans. The concern rose after an employee - an airport employee
you'll remember - we talked about it on this program - in December was arrested for smuggling guns between Atlanta in New York. Now a CNN
investigation's revealed most U.S. airport employees who have direct access to the tarmac and the planes - it's extraordinary, this - they do not go
through any kind of daily security screening. At a Homeland Security hearing on Capitol Hill, the deputy administrator for the TSA said the
airports are not as secure as we think.
Male: What did we learn in Atlanta?
MARK HATFIELD, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: We were reminded in Atlanta of the fact that our airports are open and to a degree knowingly
QUEST: Well, it doesn't get much more honest than that. CNN was recently given exclusive access to Miami International as the special investigations
unit reporter Drew Griffin found out - it is only one of two major U.S. airports that regularly screens all of its employees. Watch, this is
DREW GRIFFIN, CORRESPONDENT FOR THE INVESTIGATIVE UNIT OF CNN: At Miami International Airport this is the security you don't see standing in line.
CNN got exclusive access to the screening that takes place for what they call the back of the airport employees. These are the baggage handlers,
the mechanics, the cleaners - anyone you don't see going through screening with passengers. It's the same screening no matter what kind of security
badge or security clearance the employee holds.
LAUREN STOVER, SECURITY DIRECTOR, MIAMI AIRPORT: I.D.s are not enough to stop malicious intent. I mean, you can vet employees for basic information
on their backgrounds, but it doesn't - it's not going to necessarily prevent them from carrying out some kind of malicious activity against an
GRIFFIN: What may surprise you is what's happening at Miami's International Airport - the full screening of every airport employee - is
the exception not the rule. CNN contacted 20 of the major airports across the country and found screening of employees is random and partial at best
and no national standard exists. The only other major airport that does full screening is Orlando. Many airports like Seattle's Sea-Tac telling us
an extensive background check and an airport security badge is all that's needed for employees to get on the tarmac and gain access to airplanes.
It's a similar story we heard from Dallas, San Francisco, McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, even JFK in New York. Pass a background check,
get a badge and you have access to the inner workings of America's airports without going through the same screening passengers face up top. Airport
officials have told CNN the cost of screening all employees is simply too much for their budgets. Security expert Wayne Black says relying on badges
for security is stupid.
WAYNE BLACK, SECURITY EXPERT: You don't have to be a security expert - I mean, a fifth grader can tell you that if you're checking security at the
top end - at the front end at the airport, you ought to be checking the back end of the airport. We have a saying in our business, and that is
budget-driven security will always fail.
GRIFFIN: The TSA which sets standards for airport security says that in the wake of the gun-smuggling case in Atlanta, it is implementing or
considering a range of measures including additional requirements for airport and airline employee screening, but so far no national changes.
Restaurant employees and flight crews that go through terminals do pass through a checkpoint, those that work below do not.
STOVER: In the terminal we got to be careful with the bags -
GRIFFIN: In Miami, airport security director Lauren Stover says checking some but not all airport employees just isn't enough. The treats at her
airport are the same across the country - smuggling, guns, drugs, and the potential of terror.
STOVER: One of the greatest vulnerabilities for this airport and probably any other major airport like MIA is the insider threat - basically people
that are going to obtain their credentials and use their access to exploit the system.
GRIFFIN: Miami International has been screening like this ever since a drug-smuggling scandal in the late 90s. Every employee with access to
airplanes goes through metal detectors and screening. Going to work, coming back from break, every time, every one.
Male: In today's day and age we have to deal with terrorism.
GRIFFIN: If Miami is an example for how security should be done, the airport also has proof of why. Last year alone 209 employee I.D. badges
were confiscated due to security violations caught by screening.
STOVER: We have intercepted guns, drugs, large sums of money, weapons, knives.
Male: -- worked with a current Delta employee -
GRIFFIN: Employee screening is under new scrutiny after the arrest of a Delta baggage handler in Atlanta. The employee worked with a passenger to
smuggle guns to New York. The baggage handler, unscreened, was able to take backpacks of guns into the airport where he passed them on to a
passenger already cleared through security. Atlanta is now evaluating the cost of full employee screening.
STOVER: Put it this way - this is, you know - it's a costly program. It's really not that costly when you compare the costs versus the consequences
of not having a program like this.
QUEST: Drew Griffin reporting there. Venezuelan officials are accusing retailers of waging an economic war against the Venezuelan people and it's
making such a clang (ph) on what it's doing about it. We'll talk about it next.
QUEST: The economic situation in Venezuela gets worse and now the government has taken control of one of the country's largest supermarket
chains. The officials are accusing the company of holding back goods from sale, deliberately creating economic chaos and discontent which of course
breeds against the government. Shortages on rationing are now part of everyday life in Venezuela. Oil revenues have slumped, the government has
just basically limiting its attack to just one company. Rafael Romo has more.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT, MEXICO CITY: What's behind the long lines at stores belonging to one Venezuela's largest pharmacy chains? Venezuelan
President Nicolas Maduro accuses the owners of Farmatodo of committing acts of sabotage against his government and put them in jail. "We called
the owners and handcuffed them. They're in prison for inciting the people, for waging an economic war against the people." According to the
Federation of Venezuelan Chambers of Commerce, seven Farmatodo board members were detained over the weekend, and two top executives were held
for questioning by Venezuelan government intelligence officers. Maduro says Farmatodo managers deliberately failed to open enough registers in
order to create long lines and exasperate people so that perception of scarcity is created and the government gets blamed.
Male, INTERPRETED BY ROMO: All of those who use their businesses to harm the people will have to pay in jail!"
ROMO: In a statement, Farmatodo says it runs a transparent business and that in January it was inspected 60 times. The statement doesn't mention
any detentions but says executives were invited to make statements in front of the Venezuelan Intelligence Agency.
VICTOR MALDONADO, FEDERATION OF VENEZUELAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE, VIA INTERPRETER: It doesn't make sense. Conducting business in Venezuela has
become an endeavor that is so dangerous that it means jail threats to those who preside or are in charge of a business.
ROMO: Maldonado and other business leaders say the real reason why some registers remain closed has to do with government regulations that limit
work hours for their employees, not sabotage. They point to the fact that there are also long lines at government-run supermarkets. Meanwhile,
consumers are caught in the middle.
MARY GALAN, SHOPPER, VIA INTERPRETER: We see long lines in both private and government stores. These long lines are actually horrible.
ROMO: A situation analysts blame on socialist policies that have disrupted distribution networks and the ability to import products from abroad.
Rafael Romo, CNN Atlanta.
QUEST: And there's a "Profitable Moment" in just a moment.
QUEST: Tonight's "Profitable Moment." You know the old saying I owe the bank $1,000 - that's my problem. I owe the bank $10 million - that's the
bank's problem. We'll we have exactly that situation now with Greece and the rest of her creditors, both within the ECB, European Commission and the
IMF. The reality is $350 billion euros worth of debt means that everybody has to come to a deal and the deal has now been put on the table. Of
course it's this new debt swap - these bond swaps - where they'll be for growth index and perpetual bonds.
But does the deal make sense? To some extent that's irrelevant, because a deal has to be done. Everyone accepts Greece's debt is unsustainable. The
only issue of course is just how much the lenders are going to lose. Well put it this way, the private sector - the banks - have already lost over
$100 billion. And now it seems as if the governments are going to lose a similar amount if not more. Remember in this boat which may be sinking,
they're all in it together. Blackmail or not, it's a deal that's going to be done. And that's "Quest Means Business" for tonight. I'm Richard Quest
in New York. Whatever you're up to in the hours ahead, (RINGS BELL) I hope it's profitable. I'll see you tomorrow.