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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Defense Secretary's First In-Depth Interview; New Pictures of Kim Jong-un Raise More Questions; New Dash Cam Video Fills in Police Shooting Gaps. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired April 10, 2015 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:12] ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: And good evening from Seoul, South Korea. Special edition of OUTFRONT tonight. The U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter in his first in-depth interview as secretary. A new nuclear threat to America.
And breaking news tonight, a massive bomb built to take out Iran's most fortified nuke site ready to deploy the moment's notice.
Plus, breaking news on a major story we have been following in the U.S. New dash cam video just released in the South Carolina shooting. What happened in the seconds before Walter Scott was shot and killed. Let's go OUTFRONT.
ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of Erin Burnett OUTFRONT live from Korea.
And good evening to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Erin Burnett. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT tonight. It's 8:00 a.m. in Seoul, South Korea. A lot of news to get to in my interview with Ashton Carter. That's America's new secretary of defense here for his first in-depth interview since taking the job. The backdrop to our talk. The warship Cheonan, a ship in North Korea torpedoed five years ago killing 46 South Korean sailors. A stark reminder that North and South Korea are locked in a deadly war. I'm going to talk to Secretary Carter about a new nuclear threat to America and the spread of ISIS and al-Qaeda around the world.
But we begin tonight with that crucial nuclear deal with Iran. Could it be dead? The White House says tonight, it's sending Secretary of State John Kerry to Capitol Hill to seal the deal. And Iran's supreme leader is making a major new demand. Our breaking news tonight, Secretary Carter says that demand is a non-starter. Also, is the bunker busting bomb that the Pentagon has been testing actually capable Iran's nuclear facilities including its most fortified, a site believed to be buried nearly 300 feet below the ground.
ASHTON CARTER, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Yes, that's what it's designed to do. And the weapon you're talking about is one called the massive ordinance penetrator. And it is designed specifically for deep underground targets like that. We continue to improve it and upgrade it over time. So, that there is this alternative to --
BURNETT: Is it ready now if it had to be used?
CARTER: It is.
BURNETT: It is ready now. So, it could do that now. Because the U.S. Senator Tom Cotton also an army vet said this week that a campaign to take out Iran's nuclear facilities, if you needed to go ahead with that nuclear option would take in his words several days. That's it. Is that right?
CARTER: I really, I can't go into specific military plan. I will say this, that we have the capability to shut down, set back and destroy the Iranian nuclear program. And I believe the Iranians know that and understand that. Certainly everybody else in the region knows that and understands that. If we were to do that it's also important to think about what the next step would be. And as the president has indicated they could over time than recreate a nuclear program. They would then be free of sanctions of course because this whole arrangement would have blown up. And we would be in a worse position then.
BURNETT: So, just to follow up on your point, though, the negotiation would put them a year away from a bomb as opposed to two to three months. As we set the evaluation of the negotiators. You're saying that a military option wouldn't do any better than one year.
CARTER: One year objective principally that comparison came from. They could then reconstruct.
CARTER: And by that If we had taken that --
BURNETT: Strikes would put it back five years or something like that.
CARTER: They could do whatever they wanted.
BURNETT: I want to read a quote to you from someone who supported a preemptive strike against North Korea, here is the quote, "Intervening before mortal threats to U.S. security can develop is surely a prudent policy." You actually wrote back, back in 2006 in "The Washington Post." So, you have recommended preemptive strikes before against a nuclear program and it was North Korea. So, in Iran what would make you say we actually do need to do a preemptive strike?
CARTER: Well, in the case of North Korea then, we're beginning to have discussions with North Korea which didn't get anywhere about their ballistic missile program. We wanted to have a military option also. Because when you're protecting yourself from weapons of mass destruction you have to have military options. And that's what I was referring to in that article and the same principal applies today in the case of the negotiations with the Iranians. We obviously prefer negotiated outcome but we have to protect ourselves.
[19:05:07] BURNETT: So, in the past day the supreme leader of Iran has said he's not optimistic there would be a deal and he actually went further and said that he wouldn't allow inspections of military site. Which in the blue print at least that the United States provided those would have been a part of this deal. How big of a blow is that for you if all of a sudden there's no inspections of military sites? That gives you a big blind spot, doesn't it?
CARTER: Well, I think any agreement has to have verification provisions.
BURNETT: Of all sites? Right?
CARTER: They're based on verification. And so, of course these negotiations are ongoing and they have a few months to work these things out. But any successful agreement has to have adequate provision. It can't be based on trust, has an adequate provision --
BURNETT: Yes. And just to be clear, adequate would include military sites.
BURNETT: Military sites inspection.
CARTER: Well, it depends on what you mean by military sites but yes. Absolutely.
BURNETT: President Obama has referred to ISIS as a jayvee team. Of course now infamously in an interview with "The New York Times," how would you describe ISIS right now?
CARTER: Well, it's an organization that is extreme in its brutality and in fact, uses its barbarism in a perverse way as a recruiting tool that they sadly have appealed to these lost souls around the world who come over and want to join up with them. And they're oddly attracted to the kind of barbarism they represent. They'll be defeated. I'm confident of that.
BURNETT: During your confirmation hearing, you told Congress you wouldn't hesitate to consider all options when it comes to fighting ISIS. And specifically you were refrained of boots from the ground, let it be. You felt course that was appropriate, you would recommend that to the President. He has repeatedly, repeatedly said no to that. Do you think he would take your advice if you went in and said, Mr. President, we need to put American troops on the ground. Would he listen to you?
CARTER: One thing about President Obama is that he is very open to and accepting of cogent advice. And I think if we came to the conclusion that was necessary, boots on the ground, to use your phrase, in order to defeat ISIL and that seemed necessary and advisable then I'm confident he would listen to that. We're not at that point yet. I did indicate that I would not hesitate to give that advice. But we're not at that point yet. We have learned that it's not enough that they'd be defeated but they stay defeated. And the way you have them stay defeated is to have the people who live there need make sure that the peace is kept. That's why a lasting defeat requires other boots on the ground than American or coalition boots.
BURNETT: So, what's a bigger threat to the United States right now? Is it ISIS or al Qaeda?
CARTER: Well, al Qaeda has now suffered more than a decade of constant pounding by the United States. So, they are much reduced compared to what they were and their ambitions. However, they still have a serious preoccupation with direct attacks upon the United States particularly several branches of them like AQAP. And I think we have to remain worried about al Qaeda.
BURNETT: And you said AQAP is growing right now in strength, in Yemen?
CARTER: Well, AQAPs have opportunities right now in Yemen that it didn't have when there was a government. That in Yemen in the middle of the civil war now that obviously creates opportunities for terrorist groups.
BURNETT: And ISIS is growing right now?
CARTER: Well, ISIS is under a lot of pressure also in Iraq and Syria. We aim to keep them under that pressure and to make them so preoccupied with their own survival that they can't have any ambitions outside of that region. But they talked about launching attacks against the west, against Europe to recruit from the west and the United States. So, if you read their rhetoric it's extremely dangerous to us.
BURNETT: And joining me OUTFRONT now is the retired U.S. Army Major General James "Spider" Marks. And General Marks, good to have you with me. So, Secretary Carter absolute on the issue of military sites that the U.S. must have access to them. Obviously, that's a direct slap to the supreme leader of Iran but the defense secretary also said it depends on what you mean by military site. Is he trying to even expand that definition? How do you interpret that?
[19:10:05] MAJOR GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Erin, that's exactly what he was doing. A military site clearly could be something that you or I or anybody were to acknowledge is where you have military kid, it's where personal trained, it's where their barracks, et cetera. But when you marry up a technology with some transport, erector, launcher device, a military facility could in fact be a commercial production facility you then assemble a nuclear capability, you put it on a TEL, a transporter erector launcher and then you moved that someplace when you launch it. So, I think what he is saying, least what he is saying is, let's expand -- let's not narrowly defined what a military location is. Let's expand this and keep it very broad that allows us the option to have a full some inspection and to feel confident that we know what we're looking at.
BURNETT: That's pretty interesting. Because that sounds like what you say is he's trying to expand the definition by saying, it defends what you mean not to narrow it. So, actually that go even further against the Ayatollah. He also said general as you know that that bunker buster bomb is ready to go. And as you know they have been testing that, they've had problems with it. Just last week, they said it was further along but not quite ready. So, he was categorical. That is ready now. As you know, Senator Tom Cotton has said there should be military strikes on Iran. He said they could complete them in a couple of days. The defense secretary seems to say sure, I could, but that would set them back a year because they would rebuild the deal. Only does a year as well, so that strikes would seem to make sense. Do you think that strikes would make sense at this time?
MARKS: Strikes make sense as a part of a larger strategy that we have to put in place. Now, clearly, the diplomatic peace is this arrangement that maybe might be reach, we're not certain, I'm not saying when it is going to make it through in Congress. But this nuclear deal that's in place would give the United States, would give the international community maybe 15 years, maybe 20 years in terms of some very robust inspections. In terms of what the Iranians are doing. In terms of nuclear development. Were they at some time during that period to divert and break those conditions? Then the United States would have a very high bar that they have to cross over.
MARKS: But they have capability with the bunker buster go after this, to go after these facilities that they have. So, the capability exists.
MARKS: I completely acknowledge that the United States can go after it. But our threshold for engaging kinetically like that is pretty high. Now, what's important is Israel who lives in the neighborhood --
MARKS: They would have a much lower level of tolerance but they would have to get the bunker buster from us.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, General Marks. I appreciate that.
And next, the most heavily fortified border in the world. Barb wire here of sudden death. I'm going to take you inside Korea's DMZ and over the line actually into North Korea.
Plus, a top American commander warns that North Korea has a missile capable of striking the main land United States. More of my interview with the United States Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARTER: That's precisely why we have missile defense in Alaska capable of intercepting ballistic missiles coming from North Korea to the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And exclusively to a North Korean defector on the floor of her life and how she escaped the world's most feared dictator.
[19:17:16] BURNETT: And tonight we have new pictures of Kim Jong-un. The reclusive and erratic leader of North Korea. State run television releasing these photos of Kim. Now, he's wearing gauze and a bandage on his right wrist as you can see. It's not clear at this point what the injury might be. But it is a significant display of weakness in a country known for constantly flaunting an iron fist through its dictator. His country is in a bitter war with South Korea. And it's the DMZ or demilitarized zone which is that's about two-and-a-half miles wide. That's all that stands between the two enemies. Nearly 30,000 American troops are stationed here in Korea to protect the south from a northern invasion. A travel to the heart of the DMZ and over the line into North Korea in a strange and lonely place called Panyon Jiang (ph).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: For your protection. I want to make sure you guys are safe.
BURNETT: So, we're going here on the actual line to go into North Korea. And I actually have to walk this way. We can't shoot left or right. We can only shoot forward. There's a lot of restrictions on our cameras. But to get here, we have to go through three checkpoints, we pass some anti-tank explosives and now we're about to go into these blue rooms and into the North Korea line.
So, the North Koreans and the South Koreans still meet in these rooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. The last known visit was 2008.
BURNETT: Literally, these microphones on the table are what defines the line. So, North Korea on the side, South Korea on that side. And it seems too easy. It's just one step but when you think about all of the militarization and what you go through and the barbed wire it's certainly far from easy.
This concrete slab is literally the border. We're shooting it from northern side, 17 inches by five inches. Concrete. That's it. That marks the border. It's been here since 1953. And now the way that they've half messages is pretty amazing, they don't use e-mail. They don't actually even use a phone. There's a phone but it rings and rings and the North Koreans don't answer it. They actually by bullhorn communicate to the North Koreans by.
When we were inside the building, we could walk onto the North Korean side of it, but if I were to do that outside the building to actually step over that line, here, what would happen to me?
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What would happen is, all these soldiers here would make an attempt to stop you. Especially me. And once you get over there, there's no longer can be able to help you.
BURNETT: What would the North Koreans do? UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Probably grab you.
BURNETT: For the South Koreans soldiers this is the best prestigious assignment there is. To serve here in the DMZ, they have to be at least 5'9", which is taller than average and every single one of them has a black belt in tae kwon do.
So, North Koreans and South Koreans soldiers stand here every single day and stare at each other. The South Korean soldiers are right behind me, and then you can see that concrete building, that is where North Korean tourists can come to visit the DMZ. And apparently a lot of Chinese actually come to the North Korean side as well. And then there's that soldier, he stands there every single day. But the South Koreans and the Americans don't know his name so they just refer to him as Bob.
So, we're basically surrounded by North Korea now, right?
ANDREW ZELINER, U.S. ARMY: Yes. To give you an idea of that. All this tree line and around that road and back is all North Korea.
BURNETT: So, it's all North Korea and where we are is sort of one little safe spot but this is all mined as well, right?
ZELINER: Yes, there's a thousand mines within this area.
BURNETT: The mines field is a bridge and North Korea is on the other side. There's actually a cement wall to prevent defectors from coming over to the south. It's called the bridge of no return. And 62 years after the cease-fire it's still a lonely place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: It's pretty amazing, you know, how lonely it was and what a blast from the past, it was that you could still get grabbed over that border but a pretty powerful experience to visit it. And a top Pentagon official now is warning that North Korea has developed the ability to do something very significant. And that is to militarized a nuclear warhead and launch it at the mainland, United States. This comes after North Korea conducted new missile tests earlier this week, just in time for the defense secretary's visit. I asked Secretary Carter who is the man charged with defending the United States about the North Korean threat.
CARTER: So, as Secretary of Defense this is one of the places where we are most on tiptoes every single day. The slogan of U.S. forces Korea is be ready to fight tonight. And of course, nobody wants that to occur, but it's where we have the most ready forces.
BURNETT: The U.S. Homeland Security commander said the North Koreans now can load a nuclear missile, nuclear missile -- ballistic missile, which is obviously incredibly hard to do if they were actually able to do that operationally, it would be a significant breakthrough. What's your intelligence on that right now? CARTER: Well, I can't talk about intelligence. I will tell you this
though that we try to stay ahead of missile threats. And so, we have been thinking now for some years about the possibility of a North Korean missile that can reach the United States. That's the reason Erin why we just beefed up our missile defense which is located in Alaska.
[19:22:22] BURNETT: There's also of course reports and the homeland commander mentioned that North Korea now would have the ability to strike the continental United States. So, we're talking about cities like Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco. That's also something that would be significant. That's further. That's not just Alaska. That's the continental United States.
CARTER: Well, in terms of North Korea's capabilities, as I've said, we tried to stay ahead of that. And that's precisely why we have the missile defense in Alaska. That's intended to be capable of and is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles coming from North Korea to the United States. In terms of, not their capabilities but their intent, all you have to do is listen to what the North Koreans say. They threaten South Korea, they threaten Japan, they threaten the U.S. homeland. They have for years. I'll tell you a story, if I may. I went to North Korea way back with former Secretary of Defense Bill Perry. And we were meeting with the top military leader there and who said to Secretary Perry, we will turn Seoul into a sea of flames. We will turn Tokyo into a sea of flames. And then he said, Dr. Perry where are you from? And Bill Perry said, San Francisco. And he said, we will turn San Francisco into sea of flames.
BURNETT: You talk about sea of fire videos, Kim Jong-un, the new leader of North Korean has released several of those videos. Some of these images and threats are almost comic when you watch them. It's hard to believe that these is real life, that these are real threats. Is Kim Jong-un a greater threat than his father was in your view?
CARTER: It's a good question. It's really hard to say. I think we do need to be concerned about inexperience in a new leader. And whether a leader that's inexperienced takes risks or takes steps beyond what that which other countries will accept. So, we are concerned about his behavior. And we are concerned about him overreaching. And that's one of the reasons why I'm here.
BURNETT: So, Dennis Rodman said that Kim Jong-un was, quote, "awesome" and calls him a friend. He says, he's been misunderstood, and that all he wants to do is talk to President Obama. Here is Dennis Rodman.
CARTER: Just meet him or even give him call. That's all he wants. If he wants to bomb anybody in the world, anybody in the world, he would have done it. But it's amazing how you pull things back.
BURNETT: Do you think it's a problem that Dennis Rodman is the only one who seems to have a direct line to Kim Jong-un right now?
CARTER: Well, it does suggest inexperience and it suggest isolation and difficulty understanding what kind of impression he's leaving on people outside of North Korea. And it's just a reflection of the great isolation in which he has lived and his people and everyone around him has lived and that has to be worrying in today's world.
BURNETT: So, you're a physicist and you have worked on nuclear issue for a long time. North Korea, Iran and other places. In an interview with frontline all the way back in 2003, here is what you said when you're asked about Iran.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It wouldn't surprise you to find out that the North Koreans were helping the Iranians develop a nuclear bomb?
CARTER: No, it wouldn't surprise me.
BURNETT: Could the countries be working together now?
CARTER: They could be. They have worked together over time. And in fact, North Korea worked with Syria and helped build a reactor at one time. So, North Korea is a welcome all comers kind of proliferator. That's a pattern that's been going on for a long time for North Korea and is yet another reason why they're dangerous.
BURNETT: OUTFRONT next, my exclusive interview with the North Korean defector. Her life in the world's most oppressive country. How she escaped and why she would stay in North Korean if she have the choice again?
Plus, breaking news, never before seen dash cam video of that South Carolina shooting. It captures the last seconds before Walter Scott was shot and killed.
[19:30:28] ANNOUNCER: This is a special edition of ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT live from Korea.
BURNETT: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. We are live in Seoul, South Korea.
Much more of our special edition of OUTFRONT coming up, including our exclusive interview with the North Korean defector. She told me what life was like inside that brutal country and about her amazing escape.
But first, we've got breaking news on a major story we have been following all week in the United States, the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in South Carolina. New dash cam video just released to CNN shows officers arriving on the scene just moments after Walter Scott was fatally shot.
You can see what appears to be Officer Michael Slager. That's the man who fired those eight shots from behind. He's there standing over Scott's body and then a glimpse of the man who recorded the actual shooting. That shows Officer Slager firing at Scott in the back as he's running away. I want to warn you that the video you're about to see may be
disturbing and Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT from North Charleston with the latest.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Walter Scott's loved ones and supporters coming together for wake this evening as his family prepares for his funeral tomorrow. This as investigators at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division or SLED continue to gather evidence surrounding the shooting. North Charleston police called the state agency to the scene Saturday, minutes after Officer Michael Slager shot Scott following a traffic stop.
OFFICER MICHAEL SLAGER: Do you have your license, registration and insurance card?
CARROLL: Slager's dash cam shows Scott making a run for it. Amateur cell phone video capturing the shooting moments later.
CARROLL: Even before the video emerged, SLED investigators notice there were inconsistencies including what appeared to be gunshot wounds in Mr. Scott's back. SLED investigators have interviewed the passenger in Scott's car, hoping he can provide information.
Slager's attorney Andy Savage frustrated he is not getting information from law enforcement. A spokesman from the law firm saying, "Despite having made requests, he's not received the cooperation from law enforcement that the media has and he's yet to receive any investigative documents, audio or videotapes."
Todd Rutherford watched the video, unable to believe his eyes, remembering another shooting of another unarmed African-American by a member of South Carolina law enforcement.
J. TODD RUTHERFORD, ATTORNEY: When I first saw the video, I couldn't believe it. Here, again, for the second time in less than a year we had a situation in South Carolina where an officer took it upon himself to execute justice.
CARROLL: Rutherford is the attorney who represented Levar Jones. Jones shot by a state trooper Officer Sean Groubert after getting pulled over by a seat belt violation on September 4th of last year. The officer's dash cam captured what happened.
LEVAR JONES: Why did you shoot me?
OFFICER SEAN GROUBERT: Well, you dove head first back into your car.
JONES: I'm sorry.
CARROLL: Jones survived, the officer fired and charged with aggravated assault. He pleaded not guilty, his criminal case still underway. Jones filed a civil suit against the officer which was settled, the details confidential.
Scott's family plans to file a civil suit as well, but Rutherford says state law caps judgments in civil cases like this at $300,000. He warns that Scott's family like Jones could be capped as well.
RUTHERFORD: One of the things that I would encourage is the state of South Carolina, the city of North Charleston, to the mayor or whoever it is, to tell this family, to tell the world right now, where do you value Mr. Scott's life?
CARROLL: And, Erin, tonight here at city hall, a vigil for Walter Scott. Many people wearing shirts that say "black lives matter".
Tomorrow, Scott's family will say their final good-byes. His funeral scheduled for 11:00 a.m. -- Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much, in North Charleston.
And OUTFRONT now, Attorney Daryl Parks. He represents the family of Michael Brown. That, of course, was the black teenager shot and killed by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Along with our legal analyst, Paul Callan, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor.
Daryl, let me start with you because we have this new dash cam video from this shooting. Every piece of video is shocking and hard to watch, incredible to believe that it's true. And, in fact, we could get more video. We're waiting for more video.
The bottom line question to you, though, is all of this video coming in. It may disturb me. It may disturb you. It may disturb everyone watching.
[19:35:00] But can any of this new evidence change the case?
DARYL PARKS, ATTORNEY: Without question it can't, Erin. Simply put, I think that the additional footage that we're receiving is just additional footage to be considered. However, the main video is the video where we've all seen, with the officer squarely stands and shoots multiple shots at Mr. Scott, as he ran away, with his back to him. Those things speak for themselves.
BURNETT: And, Paul, a witness says there was a tussle. That's the word used, between Walter Scott and Officer Slager. And why don't we just look at this video again because there is a gap. There's a little bit of a gap, Paul, between the dash cam video of the traffic stop. That's where you see Scott run and the graphic cell phone video where Scott is shot and killed -- that now infamous video.
We know the traffic stop occurred about 200 yards away from where Scott shot. So, there's a 200-yard space gap, but there's a five- minute time gap. So, what -- how significant is that gap? Is there anything in that gap that the officer could use to justify what seems so unjustifiable? PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think from a criminal law
standpoint the most important moments are the last few seconds. That is from the time of what's described as a tussle until the fatal shots were fired. And it's clear in the video we see that no threat is posed to the officer because Mr. Scott is not turning or facing, the officer and the officer is just shooting him in the back.
Now, could there be something significant in the gap? Yes is the answer to that question, because the officer may claim his life was threatened in the tussle which we don't have film of yet, and that's going to be his entire defense in the case he felt his life was in danger and possibly that Mr. Scott had a weapon.
But I see no evidence of that in any video that I've seen so far.
Well, certainly. I mean, if you're standing there and walking slowly shooting someone in the back eight times, it's very hard to say you thought your life was at risk at that moment.
But, Daryl, here is the big question -- none of this means that Officer Slager is going to go to jail for the rest of his life for murder? None of this means that, right? This case is going to go before a grand jury and that's as soon as May 5th. But obviously, when you look at Michael Brown, when you look at Eric Garner, the unarmed black man who died from -- in part an officer's chokehold in New York. Juries didn't indict the white officer. He didn't get an indictment in either case.
Will you get one here?
PARKS: I think you will. I think you have other things that will be considered by a grand jury. For example, you have this officer goes back, picks something up off the ground and walks toward Mr. Scott's body and put it on the ground close to his body.
You also have his radio communication where he obviously calls in something that possibly could not be true. In fact, he said that the guy was reaching for his taser which we see clearly that, yes, he may be reaching the taser, not at the time he killed him. So, there are plenty of inconsistencies that we're seeing come out on the story, which had been pointed out by the law enforcement there in South Carolina. I'm sure there's plenty more we will learn as time goes on.
BURNETT: It seems impossible to imagine there wouldn't be an indictment in this case. One can only imagine what the response could be around the nation, frankly, around the world as people around the world watch this story.
Paul, Daryl, thank you.
And OUTFRONT next, my exclusive interview with a North Korean defector and why, if given the chance to escape again, she would choose to stay in North Korea. You heard me right. And Kim Jong-un, the North's eccentric, erratic leader, from the wild haircut, the shaved eyebrow, even a pleasure squad to serve him now -- tonight, we have new pictures of Kim. Is he injured?
[19:42:21] BURNETT: There are a few brave people who risk their lives to flee North Korea's brutal regime. If caught, they could be tortured and put in prison, even executed.
Hyeonseo Lee's journey begun famine struck North Korea, killing millions. Hyeonseo fled over the border to China as a teen. She didn't tell her mother because she thought she could return, but the decision was irreversible.
I met her at a restaurant here in Seoul. She didn't want us to film her in her home out of fear that North Korean agents could find her there.
HYEONSEE LEE, NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR: We learned from when we were young that Americans are our primary enemies, who kill many innocent North Korean citizens during the Korean War. So, we thought Americans are not as normal human beings, so they are the people we must kill them off.
BURNETT: And what did you learn? I know Kim Jung-il was the leader when you were in elementary school. What did you learn about him? Was he like god-like figure?
HYEONSEO LEE: We believed that they are God. Seriously for us, they were Gods. I didn't think they go to the bathrooms. It was not (INAUDIBLE) seriously I didn't know they do same thing as human being. And then when I was 14, which is the year Kim Il-sung died, after Kim Il-sung's funeral, I realized, God even could die? I didn't know he could die one day.
BURNETT: You started to change? You felt a little bit different?
HYEONSEO LEE: Yes, yes, of course, of course. And then that's pretty close from the famine or so, that period. So, slowly, you know, I realized that my country was not the best, not the best in the world because luckily my home was right next to the border with China and then we shred the border together. And then, I also learned that China was much worse than my country, but I can see, you know, China's economy was much developed than us.
BURNETT: I mean, you can physically see it right because it was so close. You can see they have lights?
BURNETT: So, you were 17. You wanted to find out the truth. And you -- it was so close. But you almost didn't plan it. I mean, you didn't even tell your mother that you were leaving, did you? HYEONSEO LEE: Yes, because, yes. I didn't know. As a teenage girl,
you know, I just wanted to find out the truth what it looked like, you know in China, but I didn't admit that I wanted to completely escape the country because I have all the family back in North Korea, all the relatives there.
[19:45:05] I don't want to make them in trouble, you know?
BURNETT: And now that you live in Seoul, and you were able to get your immediate family, your mother, your brother out eventually. You were looking back and saying that even though you have such a better life now, you don't know that you would do it again.
HYEONSEO LEE: If I had a chance at the time, whether if I can go, I can cross the border or stay in North Korea, I would stay in North Korea.
BURNETT: You would stay?
HYEONSEO LEE: Because, you know, all of that I've experienced over the years, you know, the painful feeling, the separating with the families and all the relatives and with the friends that I loved all together, all memories in there. So, actually, I have no identity after that.
BURNETT: Powerful interview. She said it was worth it to try to make a difference as a defector, but that she wouldn't do it again.
And joining me here in South Korea is Hahm Chaibong, a Korean studies expert. He's also president of the nonpartisan think tank, the Asian Institute.
Chaibong, thank you so much.
You just heard Hyeonseo Lee story, a very powerful story. She was lucky in she was able to defect. Many people try and are caught. What happens to them?
HAHM CHAIBONG, PRESIDENT, ASIAN INSTITUTE: Well, as far as we understand, of course, when you're caught, then many of them are executed. You are sent back to prison camps. We know they run a series of political gulags. So, horrible things happen to them. That's what we know.
BURNETT: I mean, it's terrifying when you think about the risks that they actually take.
Now, you know, four years ago, we heard there were about 3,000 people a year that managed to get out of there.
BURNETT: Kim Jong-un has taken power.
BURNETT: That number has dropped. We're talking about half.
BURNETT: Now, you have half the number of people defecting.
HAHM: Right, right.
BURNETT: You know, I asked the defense secretary is he worse than his father. In some ways, people are more afraid to leave. What do you think about that?
HAHM: Well, I think the reason we have so many defectors earlier was that the North Korean system was basically falling apart with the famine and everything. So, at a certain point, the regime just let things go because they couldn't feed them so just let them go. But now, what Kim Jong-un is trying to do is he's trying to fashion himself as a great leader with a powerful nation with nuclear arms. And now, he wants to say he has control over things and he can't have defectors running away and then showing up in South Korea, right.
BURNETT: Is he cracking down more and executing them or more people buying into his vision?
HAHM: No, it's simply beefing up more security on the border and asking the Chinese to cooperate in terms of catching whoever escapes to China and repatriate them.
BURNETT: Right, which is pretty incredible and important point. The Chinese do send them back.
HAHM: Yes, they do.
BURNETT: As North Korean vacation, they come to DMZ as tourists from the North Korean side.
All right. Thank you so much, Chaibong. I really appreciate your being here with us here live in Seoul.
BURNETT: And OUTFRONT next, new pictures of North Korea's bizarre and unpredictable leader, Kim Jong-un, with mysterious bandages.
[19:52:21] BURNETT: OUTFRONT tonight, live from Seoul. New photos just released by North Korean state media show Kim Jong-un with a white bandit on his right wrist. Now, we have no explanation for why, or what this injury might be. But it is the latest in a series of bizarre health mysteries surrounding the North Korean isolated and unstable young leader. He is one of the most reclusive people on earth, yet he has accumulated astonishing wealth, all right?
Just sit down here for this number. Kim is hoarding an estimated $5 billion in assets. The average North Korean earns over $600 a year and, of course, many of them go without food.
Paula Hancocks is OUTFRONT with tonight's money and power.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A man in his early 30s enjoys a fun day at the amusement park. Every photo highly choreographed. Every image analyzed around the world. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un must know every move is watched.
A six-week disappearing act last year had speculation spiraling out of control. Was he deposed? Was he dead? He reappeared with a cane. South Korean intelligence guess ankle surgery. And now, a bandage on his right wrist although it didn't stop him shaving or shaking hands.
He changes his hair. Mainstream reports it. Even his shrinking eyebrows get international attention.
But to counter the flippant, there's the sobering -- rocket launchers, a third nuclear test, brutal prison camps and purges. Including his uncle Jang Song-thaek, executed in 2013 for allegedly trying to overthrow the government.
Kang Myong-do was a member of the North Korean elite and he says he still have contacts within Pyongyang. He calls the young leader erratic and unpredictable.
"Kim Jong-un is much younger than Kim Jong-il was when he took power," he says. "He shows extreme behavior and is trying to show that he's fearless. He does things that put him in the way of danger and feels the need to show off."
Some tastes have been passed down from father to son. Although with Kim Jong-un, the skirts are shorter and the music funkier, but the entertainment doesn't start there, according to Kim Jong-il's former body guard. He says the father had (INAUDIBLE), who are pleasure squads of women who attend to his every need. He has no doubt the son has the same.
"There are usually six ladies in their early 20s," said Lee Young-guk. They were replaced every six months. They have to be a pretty, a certain height, well-spoken and charming.
[19:55:01] They're trained from a young age to sing and talk politics and economics.
BURNETT: Pleasure squads. A pretty astounding concept, right, when you think this is actually real life. Paula is actually here with me now, but she was saying defectors to tell her the reason for that eyebrow shave, he shaves his eyebrow in half is to show that he's, quote/unquote, "strong and mean". Mean for sure, strong perhaps not.
Paula, you know, it's interesting -- the Defense Secretary Ashton Carter was talking about Kim Jong-un. And he says, well, he's inexperienced and a leader that's inexperienced takes risks. And that's a big concern, that he has a lot to prove. Your report shows that, right? You know, you have to show this power.
HANCOCKS: Exactly. This is a man who's in early 30s, is in charge of one of the most isolated countries on Earth. He doesn't have the credibility that his father and his grandfather had. He doesn't have the years of experience, the years in the public eye. This is the heir apparent.
His ascension was fairly sudden. And so, he feels that he has to push the boundaries, he has to be more brutal, more cruel than he's father and his grandfather to prove his credentials, and the fact that his father never executed Jang Song-thaek, his uncle. He banished for a couple of few years because he was too ambitious. He didn't go as far as Kim Jong-un and actually execute him.
BURNETT: Yes, he did that, as you were saying, with the defectors. Now, they punish generations of a family.
HANCOCKS: Well, that's right. Yes, this is what some defectors have told us. If one person manages to escape, then three generations left back in North Korea will be sent to a prison camp. That is an incentive not to defect.
And the defectors I spoke to as well, they're very well-placed. They said something interesting that they believe that Kim Jong-un is not for this world. They say between three and five years, because everyone is so scared of him, that that loyalty is wavering.
BURNETT: All right. Paula Hancocks, thank you very much, live with me here in Seoul.
And we'll be right back with our special edition of OUTFRONT, live from Korea.
BURNETT: Thanks for joining us. Hope you'll catch more of our show on CNN International this weekend.
"AC360" starts now.