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Cuomo Prime Time

Zuckerberg Disputes Testimony By Facebook Whistleblower; Laundrie's Sister: My Brother Is A "Mediocre Survivalist"; Pence Claims He Parted "Amicably" With Trump. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 05, 2021 - 21:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The news continues. Let's hand it over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: All right, Anderson, thank you very much.

I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to PRIME TIME.

It's been an eye-opening 24 hours, for our collective social media existence. And we just got some new information.

Facebook has just fired back. The Zuck posted a note, on his Facebook page. It was supposed to be to employees. But he knew it would get out. And it is a long negation of the whistleblower. It starts out about the massive outage that he called "The worst," in years, and that they are debriefing, how to strengthen systems.

First, no accusations, but that outage sure came at a convenient time, didn't it? Got everybody talking about the outage, instead of what was being outed in Congress.

Second, it's interesting that the outage has Zuck searching for answers, to do better. But he doesn't say that about anything happening in Congress. Not really.

Other than admitting Congress does need to regulate social media more, he flatly rejects this central concern, from the whistleblower.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK PRODUCT MANAGER: They have put their astronomical profits before people.


CUOMO: Now, "Astronomical profits before people," of course, do you believe this would make Facebook different than many big companies? So, it's not a shocking suggestion.

But it is a window into the reality that we see Facebook as different, from just a huge company, because it doesn't make widgets. It's service isn't something like even managing your money, which is very important.

This is about the environment that is created, almost as if it were a kind of oxygen. And the nature of it, and the quality of it, and how it's tested, matters.

Now, Zuckerberg mentions an example, of why this is wrong, about profits over people. He says, "You know, we change newsfeed, to have less viral videos." It's proof that they're not about profits over people. Just one example? And that's the best one you can come up with?

Again, is that surprising about any company that profits, is the main driver? No. But we'll get to that in a second, because there is a more daunting contention.


HAUGEN: I believe Facebook's products harm children.


CUOMO: That they understand that they could be harming children, Zuckerberg flatly denies this, says he has taken steps to keep kids safe. But that there are some vexing questions that need to be answered, by Congress, culture and corporations.

I'll answer one of them, right now, as a parent of two teens, and one, who thinks that she's 35, but is only 12. Balancing the rights of the privacy of teens and parents? No. No right to privacy as a teen, unless they're emancipated.

There's an easy answer for you, Zuck. You got kids. They're going to get older. There is no right to privacy. It's your devices that they're going on. Things have to be monitored at that age. And you should know that.

Now, even in that, he never said, what should be obvious, and I know it is to you, and I know it is to us. In truth, it's been hard to watch the coverage, let alone Congress.

We all know there's a problem, and it has to be addressed. And part of the solution is that Facebook has to do better. Facebook has to do better, OK, whether forced by Congress, or by competition, or sere, just conscience.

What we and our kids take in, on social media, is central to modern life. Look, whether you like it or not, it's true, OK? So, the consideration to what is consumed should be central as well. And this doesn't mean censorship.

And none of this is new. The media may act otherwise. But even the ugliest accusations of lying, by Facebook, about what it does, it's not new. They've been accused of lying to Congress about everything, from what data it has on us, to how it gets it, and who it shares it with. The lies have run the gamut, from misleading business practices, to what it knew about people messing with our elections. Each time, we've seen more congressional hearings.

And look, maybe it's not fair to say lies. Maybe there is some gray area that we don't understand, because it's not explored as regulation. Look, we can't even fit all the different times that they've been before, called to the carpet, on the same screen.

Mark Zuckerberg himself has testified, five times, in the last decade. The central lie though, and this is, this is, just materially untrue, "It's just too hard to do anything about so-called bad actors."



MARK ZUCKERBERG, FACEBOOK CEO: Congressman, it would be difficult to ever guarantee that any single - that there would - that there are no bad actors.

Every problem around security is - is sort of an arms race, where you have people, who are trying to abuse systems. And our responsibility is to make that as hard as possible, and to take the - the necessary precautions, for a company of our scale.


CUOMO: "Necessary precautions for a company of our scale."

Even in that answer, which I believe was an honest one, is a big admission. It's not about what's good for you, as a company. It's not about what's appropriate, for you, simply, as a company.

These social media companies, again, are more than the makers of cars, or cigarettes, or financial services. They are creating the environment that we all live in that we consume as culture.

It's not just about what works for them. It cannot be. And it is time for the reflexive notion that it's too hard to die. How is it that if you and I are discussing, offshore fishing, all the sudden we start to get ads?

How is it that it just seems to be, in all of these disclaimers that none of us read, because we just want to get on, and click the button, that they let you know, they got lots of ways of finding out what's being said, and sent to you, and that you're sending out?

They can stop bad actors. Their own research says so. This is about what they choose to do. And it is telling where they choose to do it, namely places like India, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, the Philippines, and China.

Yesterday's outage showed just how much this company, this one company, matters, just Facebook. It's a big deal, when Facebook and Instagram went down. Now, I did think it was funny that so many of you, who had said you had gotten rid of it, were complaining about Instagram and Facebook being out. I guess you didn't hold to your convictions on that one.

But look, I'm not saying you should either. These are staples of our existence these days, like it or not. You don't have to do it. But everybody does.

3.5 billion people. That resonates everywhere on this planet.


HAUGEN: I have strong national security concerns about how Facebook operates.


CUOMO: Of course there are.

Look, this is not about Facebook being bad, OK? It's about it being symptomatic of a problem, all right? And they have to be part of the solution. The hope is that this time, it resonates, this time it matters, because the warnings aren't new.

It is an industry that stands at the nexus of so many of our biggest threats, domestic terror, the "Big lie," the growing political divisions. I'm not saying they're the reason for the division. But they're a magnifier. They're a multiplier. Drug cartels, sex trafficking, racism, hate speech, anti-Semitism.

The question is, Congress, are you too broken, to do what they actually agree needs to happen? I mean, look, this is a weird one, all right? You got Fox and CNN making the same arguments, largely about social media, OK?

For all the viral moments floating around, making this member, or that one, look out of touch, there are half a dozen active bills in the House. Did you know that? All with bipartisan support, designed to address many of these problems? Why aren't they going anywhere?

How many of you don't believe that you need help, in understanding what is allowed, to get to you, and what people seem to be basing their realities on?

For its part, even Facebook says that they need the help of regulation. Because here's the part that really needs to stand out. This isn't about demonizing them, or an industry, or any company. This is about understanding the competitive advantage that is right in front of all of us.

The last time we saw a Facebook whistleblower, testify before Congress, and that's another thing, "The whistleblower!" We've had him before.

Remember Cambridge Analytica?


CUOMO: A few months after this guy, Pew Research found that 44 percent of young users deleted Facebook from their phones.

Legislation? Good. Building trust? Better. And the two go hand-in- hand.


Now, companies, whether they're the giants, or a new competitor, they have the tools, to design platforms, where kids can be safe. Even though it's a new world, and it's new technology, the old rule still applies. It is possible to do well and still, to do good.

My next guest knows this reality. He was one of the earliest investors, in Facebook. He's also the Author of "Zucked," Roger McNamee.

It's good to have you. What did you think of his response?


CUOMO: Don't insult me! I'm at a low!

MCNAMEE: No, I'm really sorry. But that was, I mean, that was absolutely extraordinary. And the thing here is you've got to the essential issues.

So, the thing with Zuckerberg's post tonight, is that it follows a classic Facebook formula, which it uses rhetorical questions, to try to undermine an argument, against Facebook, where the rhetorical questions are either deflections, or just plain inaccurate.

So, for example, one of the core ones, in there, it's Facebook said, "Oh, we couldn't possibly be doing what the whistleblower accuses us of, because advertisers would not want to see their ads, next to inflammatory content."

What he elides, the really critical point here, is that some of the most profitable advertisers, to Facebook, are the very people, who are spreading that exact content that's causing all the trouble.

So, think about anti-vaxxers. They are huge advertisers, on Facebook. Even the "Stop the Steal" movement and the insurrection? Giant advertiser on Facebook. If you look at human trafficking, I mean, they're just a gazillion scams, on Facebook, on any given day.

So, the underlying argument is completely flawed. Frances--

CUOMO: Now, you used a very interesting word there, Roger. And I want to use the word to take us to the solution. You said, "He elides," which is a very nice way, of saying that he slips past the reality that it is not true, about all advertisers, that there are plenty, who are willing to pay, to spread poison. So, that takes us to the fix.

You have said on this show, and elsewhere before, you have no doubt that they can do things, to control content, misinformation, disinformation, pernicious and overt.

What is the fix that you would want to see first?

MCNAMEE: So, the critical thing I would point out here is that Frances Haugen, the whistleblower, she's courageous. She's authoritative. And she's utterly convincing. And Facebook's responses, by contrast, are completely unbelievable.

And the key thing here is Frances Haugen talks about the moral failure, of prioritizing profits, over public safety.

You made the essential point. In America, we tell our CEOs, "All you do, in your job, is maximize profits."

The result is companies have taken on business models that are dangerous. The business model of Facebook is designed to maximize attention at any cost. So, when you think about kids, young, say, teenage girls or younger?

CUOMO: Yes, I have one.

MCNAMEE: Exactly. Well the--

CUOMO: I have a kid, who is a case study in this. Thank god, she's healthy, and she's OK. But it's a struggle, brother. It's a struggle.

MCNAMEE: Instagram--

CUOMO: Because of what's coming at her.

MCNAMEE: Instagram was designed, from the beginning, with filters, to make people look better, than they are, in real life, which is designed to provoke envy, which causes people to spend money. That was the business model, from day one. This notion that they did not intend to hurt kids is completely unbelievable.

And so, what you have to have, is you have to address three things, Chris, safety, privacy, and competition. And if I may?

The safety thing, think about it this way, we've had really important industries that were unsafe in the past. Before the Pure Food and Drug Act, in 1906, food production was unsafe, medicines were unsafe. We created the FDA to make them safe. We need something like that here.

Secondly, you've got privacy. The big issue on all this stuff, it's not just that Facebook tracks you everywhere.

But that there's a giant economy, of third parties, who have all of your location data, from your cell phone, your - they have your prescriptions, and your medical tests, which tell you everything you need to know about a person's health. They have all your financial transactions. They know what apps you're using. They know what you do on the web.

All of that trace online, and they use it to create, first, a model that allows them to use artificial intelligence, to predict your behavior. But then also they use artificial intelligence to then go out with recommendation engines, to manipulate your behavior.

And that is a huge problem. And that is what's going on with "Stop the Steal," causing all of those people, to attack the Capitol, thinking that that was a patriotic act. Those people were manipulated. And so, those are huge issues.


The third issue is competition. We need to update the antitrust laws for the 21st Century. And we need to recognize that this is not about Facebook. Facebook is the worst offender, today.

But there is a long line of companies, trying to use artificial intelligence, or smart devices, or facial recognition, next-generation technologies, which will be every bit as harmful, in the future, as Facebook is today.

And we need to have safety, privacy and competition throughout the entire economy.

CUOMO: Hey? I'll tell you what.

MCNAMEE: It's what we need (ph).

CUOMO: If Zuckerberg's as smart, as we believe him to be, he should own the changes. Because even from a competitive standpoint, if he can do it at scale, nobody's going to come underneath, and say, "I have a safer Facebook."

Roger McNamee, I made the pledge. I'm not going to break it. We must continue to speak, not just when there's a congressional hearing, not just when it's obvious.

We have to keep talking about what the realities are, and why things aren't changing, because we're all living it. And we're starting to accept the problem, as just part of normal. And that is unacceptable.

Appreciate you being on.

MCNAMEE: My pleasure.

CUOMO: All right.

MCNAMEE: See you soon.

CUOMO: So, we'll keep talking about it, because we're all living it. I got the kids at home. You got the kids. We see it. How many times, on your phone, there's a pop-up, "Allow this. Don't allow that." You don't have any time to read these things, right? You trust, we trust, that, these companies are doing the right thing.

But more and more we learn? They're doing the right thing, all right, by their shareholders, and by what makes them more money. You got to balance it out. Capitalism is not without its checks, OK? And this is one of those situations.

Cigarettes, right? You think that this is any less pernicious than cigarettes? It's everywhere. It's everything. Look at your kids. Look at your life. Look at your screen time.

At least three weeks now, families are in agony. Why? Because of the Gabby Petito situation. Is Brian Laundrie alive? He's been gone. Now we know new information that he didn't just come home once.

Her family says, "Someone needs to start talking." Brian's sister just did. But will that put investigators any closer?

What we've learned, and what the likelihood is, here, of anything else being found out? FBI insider, next.









CUOMO: The Gabby Petito case, just a quick will and won't, all right?

Of course, the focus is going to be on finding the fiance. But this is not the Brian Laundrie story. You cannot lose sight of who was lost here, OK? You need to find him so that there can be a review, of what is justice here, what is fairness under law.

The consciousness of guilt, and making you flee, is damning, but not dispositive. So, it's not - and I'm not going to make it sound like that. And I'm not going to tantalize you with little details that really don't mean anything, just to keep the story going. It's about things that are formative of our understanding.

Now, is what we heard from Laundrie's sister, and from what we now know, about his movements, how do they help us?

And, in terms of the urgency, and of how odd this was, from jump, here is some of Gabby Petito's parents, all four of them, with Dr. Phil.


CASSIE LAUNDRIE, BRIAN LAUNDRIE'S SISTER: I'd say Brian is a mediocre survivalist. It wouldn't surprise me if he could last out there a very long time.

PHIL MCGRAW, AUTHOR & HOST, "DR. PHIL": Is he living off the land somewhere?


MCGRAW: Does he have that skill set?

SCHMIDT: I believe so.

MCGRAW: I mean, is he an environmentalist, survivalist type? I mean he knows camping, he knows--

SCHMIDT: I believe he bragged about that, like that he was good at that stuff.


CUOMO: That was the sister before, talking to CNN.

And then, obviously, you saw that was Gabby's mom, OK? Like many families, right, it's mixed. The mother and father, biologically, are now remarried to other people. But let me tell you something. These four are all in it together.

Now, Cassie Laundrie hasn't spoken with her parents, in about two weeks. Why? Once again, on the advice of the parents' lawyer.

Now, there's a long hate parade, for this lawyer, and for his advice. But again, remember, this isn't about PR, for a lawyer. This is about how to insulate their clients. It's not about doing what you or I may think is right. It's about how to secure their legal rights. Remember that.

Now, the sister says, the attorney, whom she describes, as being like an uncle to her, won't allow the parents to discuss the case with anyone, including her. Why? Because if they do, she no longer has, what they call, plausible deniability, of anything that they may have told her. That's why, legally, he's doing it that way.

Let's bring in an expert, about what we understand, and what we don't, here, retired FBI agent, Bobby Chacon.

Now, you've dealt with the lawyer side of this, many, many times, even though it's not your area of practice. This is frustrating. It's discomforting. It's weird. It's unusual.

But it is not weird for a lawyer to tell people who could be in trouble. "Shut up. Talk to nobody. Say nothing." BOBBY CHACON, RETIRED FBI AGENT, FORMER LEADER, FBI DIVE TEAM, WRITER & TECHNICAL ADVISER FOR CBS' "CRIMINAL MINDS": You're right, Chris. And this is the - this is where the hatred of defense attorneys always kind of comes in.

CUOMO: Yes, until you need one.

CHACON: But he's actually doing his job.

CUOMO: Yes, until you need one.

CHACON: Right, exactly. And he's actually--

CUOMO: And then you don't hate them.

CHACON: --he's - and he's doing his job. He's doing what he's paid to do.

He's advocating for his client, in every aspect. And he's trying to shield his clients, from legal liability. And that's what he gets paid for. And that's what he's charged with. Anything less? And it would be legal malpractice.


CUOMO: Now, I want to play the sister again, because I want to flip this point, and put it back into your wheelhouse, about reasonable suspicions here.

Here's another bite of the sister.


LAUNDRIE: No, I do not know where Brian is.

I'd turn him in.

I don't know if my parents are involved.

I am losing my parents, and my brother, and my children's aunt, and my future sister-in-law, on top of this, and you're not helping there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why your parents? Why? Why your parents? You talk about--

LAUNDRIE: Because they're not talking to us either.


CUOMO: All right, now family drama aside, we've heard, and we know as fact that when the parents of Gabby, were looking for her, and contacting the Laundrie family, they never got back to them, from jump, Bobby. As soon as their son got back, they refused to communicate.

How do you process that? CHACON: That's right. That's right.

And it's even goes further than that, Chris, because the entire time, say, from the - from the first, or late in August, when they - when they lost contact, with Gabby, to September 11th, is when the police said the van is back. That's the first time Gabby's parents, her mom, in New York, found out that the van was even back.

And that whole time, when they're reaching out for Laundrie's parents, Brian's parents, they thought both of the kids were missing. They didn't even know Brian was back. So, they even had a more of a grave sense because both kids are missing, and why aren't his parents responding to any of our calls and texts?

CUOMO: Right.

CHACON: So, it went beyond just trying to protect Brian. They didn't even know Brian was back.

CUOMO: Now, do you care that Brian Laundrie came back, once in August, I think it's 17th, supposedly he had to do some things, close down a storage unit, or something like that. And then he went back to Gabby.

And then there was, obviously, then the ultimate separation, so that they were apart, for about a week, after the police stop.

CHACON: I've been trying to think, since I heard this news, about what kind of nefarious motive, or intent, or purpose that that might have had that trip might have had. But the stated purpose was they decided to extend their trip.

They had all this stuff in storage, back in Florida, that they could sell most of it, and move into a smaller unit, not pay the larger unit fee, and actually convert some of those things, to cash, to help them extend their trip, which is it sounds like a reasonable explanation.

I can't, for the life of me, because Gabby is seen after he returns with her. So, we know that she - her demise didn't cause him to travel back to Florida. So, he goes back to Utah, and they're back together, and they're seen together again.

I don't - I can't think of a nefarious reason why he would have made that trip. And I tend to believe the stated reason that they were trying to liquidate some assets, so they could continue the trip.

CUOMO: It also changes what was a supposition about this being a straight-line sequence, of inflammatory events, that led a controlling person to maybe do something extreme, to someone they, were, supposed to have loved.

He had time to cool off. Did he?

CHACON: Well I--

CUOMO: Or why didn't he?

CHACON: Yes, absolutely.

CUOMO: And what did that mean?

CHACON: I think that - I think that ultimately that will be shown that this was not a planned thing. But this was a pattern of violence that would erupt, and then it would settle. And then it would erupt again, and then it would settle. And then, ultimately, an eruption that probably cost Gabby her life.

CUOMO: But I'll tell you this, that something that Bobby knows a lot better than I.

But in my 20-plus years, I've never seen a case, where somebody, who cares about somebody, had nothing to do with looking for them, when they went missing. It's the first time I've ever heard of it, let alone dealt with it.

Bobby, thank you very much. As we get the next relevant piece, I'll see if you can come back. Thank you very much.

CHACON: I'll be here, Chris. Thanks.

CUOMO: January 6, it is a date that must live in infamy, or not.

Maybe not, if you want to run for president, as a Republican, or shall I say, in the Trump party, because if anybody were going to carry that day, in their heart, in politics, it would be Mike Pence, because they came looking for him.

But not only does the former VP now want you to say, it was overblown, but that he and Trump, they are "Great." "It's all fine. It's just the media that's a problem."

Let's shine a light on a reality, next.


















CUOMO: This was just nine months ago, in fact, nine months ago, tomorrow. But to hear it from the former VP, Mike Pence, this was no biggie!

No biggie that Trumpers whipped, into a frenzy, in part, by the former president, in part by the mis- and dis-information, allowed to, propagate itself, on social media. In that frenzy, they attacked the Capitol, set up a gallows for Pence, chanted what you heard, and more, at Trump's suggestion.

Remember, he said "Mike failed them." And why? Because Pence didn't find a way. And it does seem that Pence willful (ph) is to change the fact that they had lost the election.

But now "No biggie," says the guy that they came for!


MIKE PENCE, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the President and I sat down, a few days later, and talked through all of it.

I can tell you that we parted amicably, at the end of the administration. And we've talked a number of times, since we both left office.

I know the media wants to distract from the Biden administration's failed agenda, by focusing on one day, in January. They want to use that one day, to try and demean the character, and intentions, of 74 million Americans.


CUOMO: Just a media distraction to demean Trump supporters? No, the men and women, who decided to attack the Capitol, demeaned themselves, and our democracy.

And Mr. Vice President, just because you say it with a straight face doesn't mean you're being straight.


You are demeaning yourself, by pandering to poison politics, and lies about January 6th. And you know it. You had to run and hide with your family from the insurrectionists, because Trump wouldn't help you. That's the fact. And we all know it.

But Trump still gets that fealty. Why? Because, for Pence, and many others, that is, the only way, to run in 2024, in his party. Pence, who stood silent, must now speak up, on Trump's behalf.

Then there's Nikki Haley, who once looked like she could stand apart, from the savagery of her party. Remember, for a fleeting second, after January 6, Trump's former ambassador, to the U.N., was willing to say the obvious?

Remember this? "He's fallen so far, we should not have followed him. And we should not have listened to him. And we can't let that happen ever again."

"Ever again," until this "Wall Street Journal?" Trump has a, quote, "Strong legacy from his administration. We need him in the Republican Party. I don't want us to go back to the days before Trump." Really?

Look, it is not notable that politicians will say whatever it takes to get power. I know these rules don't apply to your life. I know this is why you are so disgusted by politics, especially the politics, on the Right, right now. I got it. All of it is a problem. They are specifically a unique problem.

What matters is that Trump still carries this kind of weight.

The only time people seem to tell the truth about what should be obvious, to all of us, is when they're getting paid to, like his White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who now wants you to have clear eyes on Trump.


STEPHANIE GRISHAM, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY UNDER PRESIDENT TRUMP: The fact that he's the front-runner, right now, for if he were to run for office, is scaring me.

And that's because if he gets into office, he doesn't run for re- election again. He'll be able to do whatever he wants. And we all know, there's going to be retribution, there's going to be revenge.

If people think that the people in that Trump White House were bad, perhaps, I have a feeling the 1/6 crowd might be working, in the White House, in 2024.


CUOMO: Look, Grisham likely knows as much as who will be around Trump, as you do. She's not a Trump-insider. But she could be right about what another Trump presidency may mean to you, and your family.

So, what does this all mean for the GOP?

Let's take a break. And when we come back, you want to hear somebody speak truth, about that party? About what it means, that Grisham wants to come out now? What Pence is saying? What Haley is saying?

That is going to be the face of the straight-up truth! Next.









CUOMO: Nikki Haley and Mike Pence both groveling to get back into Trump's good graces, Stephanie Grisham saying now she's telling the truth, let's bring in Ana Navarro, for the straight deal on this.

So, I guess Pence and Haley are betting that Trump doesn't run again, because if he does, they just disqualified themselves, in the primary, because he'll run right over them.

What is Pence's play here, ignoring January 6th, when they came for him?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think one is what you just said that they're counting on Trump not running, and them being part of the big group of contestants, on Republican Survivor Island, for the 2024 Republican primary.

Another, Chris, is that Mike Pence, who apparently has no identity, other than being Donald Trump's Vice President, and wanting to stay in politics, thinks that if Trump does run again, he will be his VP nominee again. And I think Nikki Haley is also betting on that. So, I think, those are the two possibilities they see.

But frankly, I don't see either of those happening for Mike Pence. So, he's groveling. He is humiliating himself. He is showing complete lack of dignity, and self-respect, for nothing.

Because if he thinks that the people, who wanted to hang him, from gallows, OK, hang him, that, we all heard the chants, "Hang Mike Pence," if he thinks those people are ever going to believe that he did the right thing, in allowing and legitimizing the election result, he is grossly mistaken.

They're never going to forgive, and they're never going to forget. And Mike Pence is never going to be able to out-trump, somebody like Ron DeSantis, who doesn't have that kind of historical baggage that he brings. And, on the other side, there's the Republicans, like me, who are also never going to forgive, or forget, his complicity, for four years, in allowing the abuses of power, and sitting there, smiling, looking like a doting wife, at Donald Trump.

We're never going to forgive that. And we've got other candidates. We've got people like a Liz Cheney, or Adam Kinzinger, who are much more appealing to us. So, I see no space for him. And it's beyond pathetic.

And I'll tell you, to me, probably, what I think is the worst thing. It's not even, the lack of self-respect, to himself. If somebody should want to get to the truth of what happened, on January 6, it should be Mike Pence.

But it's the lack of respect to the Secret Service, and to the Capitol Police, who saved his skin that day. He was within hundreds of feet of the - of those protesters that wanted to hang him, from a noose they had built.


And he owes them. He owes them, wanting to get to the truth, and the bottom of what led to January 6th. So, shame on him!

CUOMO: That's a strong point. Let's end it there. That's enough for me. That's - I don't want to flood that point with anything else.

Ana Navarro, thank you, for giving us the straight-tell, and we'll see what your party does.

We'll see her soon. That's for sure.

All right, headline from a new report, it's not getting enough attention. "Captured, Killed or Compromised." That's the headline, about a disturbing number of CIA informants around the world. Why? This apparent top secret cable was sent out by the CIA about it.

Is U.S. Intelligence this jeopardized? Let's take it to a former CIA counterterror official, next.








CUOMO: This is not getting enough attention. And it does check out. And it's out of "The New York Times." The headline, dozens of CIA informants have been "Captured, Killed or Compromised," meaning possibly turned into double agents.


"Times" is basing their reporting on what? A top secret memo sent to all stations and bases around the world.

Let's bring in Phil Mudd to help assess the danger.

Now first, let's assess the basis. A CIA top secret memo, getting out, like this that was sent to all stations? Do you trust the sourcing on this?


I initially looked at this. And the first question I have, Chris, is the same question you would have is, is this legitimate? But if you look at the memo, and you look at the background, of where the CIA has been, in the past 20 years, let me give you a snapshot.

The CIA comes out of 20 years of saying, "We're going into a business of working with security services, in places like Pakistan, to hunt terrorists, maybe recruiting terrorists. We're paying less attention to Iranians, Chinese, Russians, North Koreans."

And now, I'm not surprised, people in the CIA, I can guarantee or, guarantee you are saying, "When we get back into the business of the real spy stuff, North Koreans," as I said, "Russians, Chinese, are we as good as we used to be?"

And I'm sure there's some people Chris, who are answering that question, with the simple answer, "No, we're not."

CUOMO: Well, saying that you're a little rusty is different than having your people picked off and killed. How is that - why is that happening?

MUDD: Well, there's one thing that's changing over the years.

One is, have you trained the people in the CIA, the same way you would have trained them, 20 years ago, 25 years ago, to be alert, to everything, from simple things, counter-surveillance, to the second piece, and this is what I want to focus on, that is the digital piece?

If you want to talk to somebody on email, if you want to talk to somebody on text, if you ask somebody to travel by a fake name, in the age of biometric passports, that is fingerprints, if you're doing that classic spy business, are you sure that you know how to face the Chinese, or the Russians, today, as opposed to what you would have done, 20 years ago?

The Digital Age, Chris, has changed in spy business. And one of the questions in the article is, "Is the CIA ready for that? Are they trained for that?" CUOMO: So, is it about the game changing, and maybe the United States not being up to snuff? Or is this about some type of targeted take-out of United States' assets?

MUDD: No, I'd say there's two things, I'd think about, from the CIA. First is "Them." And the second is "Us."

"Them" is what I just mentioned. If you look at the countries I mentioned, let's take Russia and China, in terms of digital capability, if you want to talk to somebody, over the internet, compared to 20 years ago, what do you think the Russians and the Chinese are good at?

Not only targeting at us, in terms of digital, but also numbers of people, you - look at the Chinese Security Service. That's hundreds of thousands of people, looking across the internet, saying, "What are we seeing, in terms of something that would allow us to pick up - pick up an agent?" So, they've gotten better.

But also, I've got to believe looking at us, and people talked about that - this, when I was in the business, looking at us, we had a lot of junior officers, who were out talking, to people, like the Pakistanis and the Saudis, help us find terrorists.

Those Junior CIA officers weren't trained in saying, "How do I prevent surveillance from the Russians and the Chinese?" There's a generation of CIA people, who maybe don't know the business, as well as they should, Chris. That's the message.

CUOMO: So, let me ask you this again. I asked you, when we left Afghanistan, "Are we going to be able to be as safe at home, after, as we were, when we had people on the ground?" You said "Yes, I think so."

Do you believe we are as safe at home now, with a CIA that's having its people picked off, as some type of evidence, of how they do the job?

MUDD: No. The simple reason is if you look at the basics of Intelligence, how do you prevent the threat to America?

Threat, in terms of, American elections, that's the Russians. Threat, in terms of, how you assess threats to places like Korea and Japan, that's the Chinese. Threats to the Middle East and Europe, in terms of missiles, that's Iranians.

If those places are getting better at picking off our agents, by looking at things, like how they communicate by email, and text, and we don't know what those places, like the Russians, are doing, in terms of American elections?

I don't know how you interpret this in another way, Chris, than saying, "If American spies are blind, we're weaker. We are weaker."

CUOMO: We also got to hope we're getting our best. And with the distrust in institutions now that's being fomented in our politics? MUDD: Yes, yes.

CUOMO: I wonder how recruiting's going.

Phil Mudd, I appreciate you. Thank you, brother.

MUDD: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, let's take a quick break. We'll come right back with the handoff!



CUOMO: All right, let's bring in the big star of "DON LEMON TONIGHT," D. Lemon, to discuss a little bit, of the 1,300-plus word response, by Zuckerberg, of Facebook, tonight.

Don, he used 1,300 words. I could use two, for what his message was. "Wasn't me!"

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Like Shaggy? Is that what you're trying to say, "It wasn't me?"

CUOMO: I'm telling you what, you go through the different situations, not literally, depicted in that song, but how obvious the things were?

LEMON: Yes. Look, everyone deserves a defense. So, I'll just say that. But let me just be honest. They have to know what's going on.

They, you know, they can - I can talk about, I want a "Pig in the blanket," for a party, on Saturday.