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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Mother of Slain State Department Worker Speaks; State Department Defends Response to Benghazi Attack; Romney Abortion Flip- Flop?
Aired October 10, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest," with a mother who is now asking the toughest question any mom ever can. Why is my son dead?
That is all Pat Smith wants to know. Her son, Sean Smith, was one of the four Americans killed on September 11th in that terror attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya. Sean Smith, who is one of the computer specialists at the American consulate there. A month later -- a month after she watched her son's casket come off a cargo plane, a month after she says everyone promised her answers, everyone all the way up to the president of the United States. She says she is still waiting to hear. Still waiting for answers. Waiting for a call.
Congress held hearings today. We'll talk about that shortly, but first, my conversation with Sean Smith's mom, Pat.
COOPER: Pat, I appreciate you being with us. And I'm just so sorry for your loss. What do you want people to know about your son, about Sean?
PAT SMITH, SON KILLED IN BENGHAZI ATTACK: Well, god. He was my only child. And he was good, he was goo at what he did, he'd loved it.
COOPER: He loved working with computers?
SMITH: Computers, radios. He was good at what he did.
COOPER: Was that something he had done as a kid? I mean how did -- did he always -- was he always good with computer?
SMITH: Well, when he was a kid, computers weren't out yet. And --
And then they were out and he -- I got a computer and he started playing with them and he started showing me how you could build a flame thrower and -- by just watching a computer and then told you how to do it. So that's how it started.
COOPER: He lived in the Netherlands. Were you able to communicate a lot? I mean he'd served in a lot of very dangerous places. Did you always know where he was?
SMITH: I always knew where he was when he told me. For example, this time he was in the Hague and that is where he was stationed. He was supposed to be there for about two years. And then he would transfer some place else. I did not know he was going to be in Libya.
COOPER: Did he ever talk about the dangers that came along with his job? I mean he -- he serve d in Iraq as well.
SMITH: Yes, in fact, he sent me -- I still have it on my computer where he sent me this thing. He was in working in the palace over there.
COOPER: In Baghdad.
SMITH: And they -- yes, in Baghdad, and he says, got to go, and suddenly he just disappeared and I said, well, what's happening over there. And he said listen. And I was listening, and suddenly I heard boom. Where they were shooting at him.
COOPER: You must have worried a lot.
SMITH: When that was over. I can't spend my life worrying about it. I accepted what he wanted to do.
COOPER: I want to play for our viewers some of what President Obama said about your son when he returned home. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sean Smith, it seems, lived to serve. First in the Air Force, then with you at the State Department. He knew the perils of this calling, from his time in Baghdad. There in Benghazi, far from home, he surely thought of Heather and Samantha and Nathan, and he laid down his life in service to us all.
Today, Sean is home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's mentioning his wife and his children. When you heard the president say that, what did you think?
SMITH: This is the first time I heard the president say that.
COOPER: It is really?
SMITH: Yes, he never told -- didn't tell me that. Sean knew he was in a bunch of scary places. I knew he was in security places. I didn't expect him to get blown up. I didn't expect him to die. COOPER: Do you feel that you know what happened or are you still searching for answers? Have you been in contact with the State Department? Have they reached out to you and given you details of what happened?
SMITH: That's a funny subject. I begged them to tell me what was -- what happened. I said I want to know all the details, all of the details no matter what it is, and I'll make up my own mind on it. And everyone of them, all the big shots over there told me that -- they promised me, they promised me that they would tell me what happened. As soon as they figure it out.
No one, not one person has ever, ever gotten back to me other than media people and the gaming people.
COOPER: Her son was a big video gamer.
We are going to have more of my conversation with Pat Smith after a quick break. She has some very tough words for this administration who she says has forgotten the promises they made to her the day Sean's body was returned.
Also tonight, the latest on today's congressional hearings into the attacks. Jill Dougherty and Fran Townsend join us next.
COOPER: We're talking tonight with Pat Smith whose son Sean Smith was killed in the Libya terror attack. Former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty was also killed. Today his mother Barbara asked Mitt Romney to stop invoking her son's name on the campaign stump, quote, "I don't trust Romney," she says. "He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda."
Pat Smith did not speak about anyone's political agenda tonight. She is, however, bitterly, bitterly disappointed with the State Department, the Defense Department and the White House tonight. You're going to hear shortly about how the State Department is going to respond to her charges.
But first, though, more of my conversation with Pat Smith starting with her as yet unfulfilled search for answers.
COOPER: Who told you that they would give you information?
SMITH: You'll love this. Obama told me. Hillary promised me. Joe Biden -- Joe Biden is a pressure. He was a real sweetheart. But he also told -- they all told me that -- they promised me. And I told them please, tell me what happened. Just tell me what happened.
COOPER: So you're still waiting to hear from somebody about what happened to your son? About what they know? Or even what they don't know.
SMITH: Right. Right. Officially yes. I told them, please don't give me any baloney that comes through with this political stuff. I don't want political stuff. You can keep your political, just tell me the truth. What happened. And I still don't know. In fact, today I just heard something more that he died of smoke inhalation.
COOPER: So you don't even know the cause of death?
SMITH: I don't even know if that's true or not. No, I don't. I don't know where. I look at TV and I see bloody hand prints on walls, thinking, my god, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies.
That Susan Rise, what -- she talked to me personally and she said, she said, this is the way it was. It was -- it was because of this film that came out.
COOPER: So she told you personally that she thought it was a result of that video of the protest?
SMITH: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact all of them did. All of them did. Leon Panetta actually took my face in his hands like this and he said, trust me. I will tell you what happened. And so far, he's told me nothing. Nothing at all. And I want to know.
COOPER: It's important for you to know all the details no matter how horrible.
COOPER: Or no matter how tough they are to hear.
SMITH: Exactly. I told him, if it's such a secret thing, fine, take me in another room, whisper in my ear what happened so that I know, and we'll go from there. But no. No, they -- you know, they treat me like -- at first I was so proud because they were treating me so nice when I went to that reception. They all came up to me and talked to me and everything. I cried on Obama's shoulder. And he -- then he'd kind of looked off into the distance.
So that was worthless to me. I want to know, for god's sakes. Or for Allah's sake or whoever's sake is there.
COOPER: You deserve -- you deserve answers.
SMITH: I think so. I believe I do. I believe it. It's my son. I had him for the first -- I told Obama personally, I said, look, I had him for his first 17 years and then he went into the service, then you got him. And -- I won't say it the way I said it. But I said you screwed up, you didn't do a good job, I lost my son. And they said, we'll get back to you. We -- I promise, I promise you. I will get back to you. COOPER: Some of the administration have said well, you know, we're investigating, we're still trying to find out answers. But you just want --
SMITH: They still are.
COOPER: You would still want them to contact you and at least keep you apprised of the investigation, of where things are. You would think that they would at least do that.
SMITH: That would be so nice. That would at least acknowledge that I have a right to know something, something other than, we're checking up on it, or trust me. I like that one the best of all. Trust me. I will let you know.
Well, I don't trust you anymore. I don't trust you anymore. You -- I'm not going to say lied to me, but you didn't tell me and you knew.
COOPER: Pat Smith, thank you.
COOPER: A grieving mother. We are joined now by two women who broke the news on the story right from the start. Former Bush homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, and foreign affairs correspondent, Jill Dougherty.
We should mention, Fran, as always -- as we always mention, serves on the CIA's external advisory committee. She recently traveled to Libya with her employer MacAndrews & Forbes. That was before the attack and actually had met with Ambassador Stevens.
Obviously Mrs. Smith is very upset and we -- you know, it's very understandable why she would be. What is the procedure, though, for keeping a family informed? I mean she says, they said we will let you know what happened. Is it -- do they wait until the investigation is over? Or you would think somebody would be in contact with her.
FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Right. So there's actually an office in the Justice Department because this is now obviously a criminal investigation, that's responsible. The Office of Victim Witness Assistance. They are supposed to be the advocates inside the apparatus of the U.S. government to get updates, to make sure that the families are kept apprised. But you would -- you also expect and every department has this. If it's an employee that's lost, or it's a member of one of our law enforcement or intelligence services that agency takes ownership of making sure to shepherd the person through the system and around the system to get information.
So in many respects, Anderson, it's sort of incomprehensible to me these are people, the family members were identified, they met with senior officials, including the president of the United States and the secretary of state. It's not as though they don't know where she is. She's got --
COOPER: Right. Initially I thought, well, maybe it's -- you know, it's -- maybe they're in contact with Sean Smith's wife who is I guess in the Netherlands. But she was at this reception. They clearly talked to her.
TOWNSEND: No, that's right. And the fact oftentimes, Anderson, with a family that's lost someone, there's more than one person, right? So you'll have the parents of the victim.
TOWNSEND: You may have a spouse or an extended family. And it becomes the government's responsibility to care for that family and keep them informed.
COOPER: Well, Jill, I know you reached out to the State Department tonight about the allegations that Pat Smith has made. What are they saying?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's three things they said to me. They're saying they, since the beginning, have made it a priority to be in touched with the families, maintain regular contact, as they say. They say that in the last 24 hours before the congressional hearing they've reached out by phone to at least one member of the family and told them what would be reported at that -- at that congressional hearing.
And then they also said we're going to make sure that the mother of Sean is contacted by us. So, they won't get into a lot of specifics but they maintain that they have been in contact with the families in some way or another since the beginning.
COOPER: So you're saying that they are now saying that they will contact Mrs. Smith?
DOUGHERTY: They'll make sure. Yes, they said, they will make sure that they are.
COOPER: At this point, though, I mean, a family member, who's -- who are they supposed to believe? I mean there have been so many different stories out there, Fran, and so many different -- and others, you know, lots of political allegations. We had this hearing today and, you know, some saw it as a political hearing. And politics motivating it.
What do you --
TOWNSEND: You know, look, this is really hard. In the first 48 to 72 hours, the first facts are often wrong.
TOWNSEND: And so I think the media and the American people understand that and sort of allowed for that. The problem is, tomorrow is a month since the attack. It is hard to imagine that no one has talked to this woman. The autopsy in which -- was done at Dover Air Force base for all of the victims with FBI agents present is a well known fact. The results of that are understood by investigators and there is no excuse for not sharing that information with this victim's mother.
COOPER: Right. Jill, the hearing -- let's talk about the hearing that happened today. Which the State Department defended the administration's handling the attack. You say it was highly political. Did it accomplish anything? Did it resolve anything? There's certainly a lot of allegations about the political --
DOUGHERTY: Anderson, you know, I didn't hear a lot of really new information at all. I mean I think, I and some others who were watching it at the time were really struck by the fact that it really turned into his sparring, and it was very, very personal between, you know, the Republicans and the Democrats.
And so it -- I don't think that it accomplished very much when you get down to the nuts and bolts of what was learned.
COOPER: One of the most contentious moments, Jill, was, I mean, the State Department said that they had -- I don't have the exact phrasing but basically the appropriate number of people on the ground, and there was -- there was a sharp rebuke from the panel saying, how can you say that when -- given four Americans are dead.
DOUGHERTY: Right. And that's the essential thing. But I think what -- and not to explain away what the State Department is doing, but their view would be based on the information that they had at that particular point which -- was coming from intelligence agencies and others on the ground. They believe that they had the adequate amount of staffing.
Now they also say that event was so extraordinary that basically nothing a few more people, a few more, let's say, protective measures could not have protected from something that they are describing, really, as combat -- military combat attack.
COOPER: There is an investigation underway. I mean, a -- at this point, Fran, who is responsible for giving the definitive account of what happened and what cables were sent in doing this investigation?
TOWNSEND: Well, as we've said and reported, Anderson, there are a number of -- there's accountability review board, there are these congressional hearings. In the end, the definitive version of the facts will come from the FBI who are responsible for putting together the investigation and a potential prosecution. They will be -- they will be the keepers of the evidence. But I must tell you ,you know, the answer on its face if we had adequate security kind of fails the common sense test. I mean, honestly, if you step back from the partisan politics of Washington, and you talk to average Americans who've got no dog in this fight, they sort of say, look, it's obvious we didn't have adequate security. This isn't -- if we're looking to assign blame, the terrorists are to blame for the death. But if we need -- we want accountability because we want to understand how can we make sure the State Department are working in dangerous places, we want to make sure, how do we assess threats, assign security, and --
COOPER: What the State Department has said today in this hearing was that no amount of sort of the usual security would have been able to deal with a -- dozens of attackers. They're saying, there were dozens of attackers who are heavily armed. You say?
TOWNSEND: I say we have forward operating bases in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the war. And we protected --
COOPER: And certainly -- and the facility itself was not very secured in terms of the actual technological security devices over there.
TOWNSEND: That's right. But if it's -- so if you're at a facility that you cannot protect, that it is not possible to protect from the threat that is present, then you shouldn't be there. If you are there and you believe you can protect, then you've got to give it adequate resources. It's -- this is less about to me about blame than it is about accountability. What we ought to care about is accountability to protect other diplomats.
COOPER: Sure. Because you don't want this to happen again.
COOPER: And there are other facilities that we have that are like this consulate. That's the bottom line here.
COOPER: And also getting answers for the families.
Jill Dougherty, I appreciate your reporting. Fran Townsend, as well.
Let us know what you think. We're on Twitter right now. Follow me @Andersoncooper. I'm tweeting about this tonight.
Just ahead. Mitt Romney seems to move to the middle on abortion then moves right back. It's not the first time. The question tonight, what does he believe and was it just a mistake what he said yesterday. We'll show you all sides. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, the man behind that video that set of protests in Egypt and elsewhere was in federal court today. We'll tell you why when 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight. A look at what Mitt Romney says about abortion. Not what he believes deep down or whether those beliefs have changed over time, but his statements and positions as a candidate past and present. His record as an elected official and how it all comes together right now.
Right now Mr. Romney needs swing voters, especially women, which may explain why beginning with the debate in Denver Mr. Romney seemed to be sounding more moderate or centrist on a range of issues. Just yesterday, comments he made about abortion were picked up by Democrats as yet another example of Governor Romney taking on a more centrist position. Now listen to his Q&A yesterday with a reporter from the "Des Moines Register."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I don't -- there's no legislation regarding -- with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that -- that would become part of my agenda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So right after he said that, however, his spokeswoman said this to the "National Review," quote, "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life." And then late today in Ohio Mr. Romney said -- gave one specific example of what he would do as president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I think I've said that time and again I'm a pro-life candidate, I'll be a pro-life president. The actions I'll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, would not be part of my budget.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's consistent with his position throughout these primaries. In the part Romney has said he supports extending 14th Amendment protections to unborn children, says that "Roe versus Wade," which legalized abortion should be overturned, and abortion law returns to the states.
So "Keeping Them Honest," was his statement to the "Des Moines Register," to the Des Moines paper in a moderate swing state an attempt to tailor the message to voters there or was it simply a misstatement, a mistake?
Romney's views on abortion have changed over time, often it seems coinciding with when he's running for office and where he's running for office. In 1994 he was running against Senator Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts and he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since "Roe v Wade" has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, he lost that election. Eight years later running for governor in Massachusetts, he said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: So when asked, will I preserve and protect a woman's right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer. Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In fact he promised during a debate with a Democratic opponent not to make any changes, quote, "which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself." Once elected, though, Mr. Romney changed his position. In 2005 he vetoed a bill expanding access to emergency contraception. Two years later he was running for president on a staunch pro-life platform.
Now on opponent, Fred Thompson, actually made an ad using that 1994 pro-choice clip against him. I asked the governor about it during a debate. Here's what he said back in 2007.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I don't know how many times I could tell it, I was wrong. All right? I was effectively pro-choice when I ran for office. If people in this country are looking for someone who has never made a mistake at a policy issue and is not willing to admit they're ever wrong, well, then they're going to have to find somebody else. Because on abortion, I was wrong. And I changed my mind as the governor. This didn't just happen in the last couple of weeks or the last year.
This happened when I was governor, the first time a bill came to my desk that related to life, I could not sign a bill that would take away human life. I came down to the side of life every single instance as governor of Massachusetts. I was awarded by the Massachusetts Citizens for Life with a leadership award for my record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tonight, it's exactly that. His record that has many on the left crying flip-flop. Folks on the right saying he was misunderstood or mistaken. Joining us now is Jen Psaki, the traveling press secretary for the Obama campaign and Kellyanne Conway, former senior advisor to the Newt Gingrich campaign.
Kellyanne, President Obama was asked about Mitt Romney's comments on abortion to the "Des Moines Register." I want to play a clip of what he just told ABC News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is another example of Governor Romney hiding positions he's been campaigning on for a year and a half.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kellyanne, do you dispute that -- that Mitt Romney seems to have moved to the center in that debate and sense that there is a different tone, maybe a more centrist approach?
CONWAY: Not on abortion because the campaign quickly said to go back and look at the "National Review" interview he gave in June of 2011 if you want to know how he would govern as president --
COOPER: So was that just a mistake to the "Des Moines Register" or -- an oversight?
CONWAY: I read his quote, Anderson, and I believe it was probably more of an oversight than a misstatement because I read his quote and he said there is no legislation that he can think of.
But he has already said that he would sign legislation if he it came to his desk on fetal pain, which of course, is probably the greatest challenge being legislative and litigating in the states --
COOPER: But do you see a move to the center on kind of a broader sense, on other issues certainly in the debate?
CONWAY: Not away that would put close any kind of day light between President Obama and Governor Romney. I think that he was talking about his health care plan last week. I don't believe it's an ideological shift. I believe that debates give everybody a 90-minute opportunity to be more expository on all the issues --
COOPER: I mean, on health care plan, he is saying pre-existing conditions are covered when in fact by most people's definition under his plan, pre-existing conditions are not covered.
I mean, he is talking about if you have health insurance and you lose your job, and you have a pre-existing condition, you can continue with coverage if you pay the premiums. That's not most people's definition.
CONWAY: That is right. And I read that Eric Fehrnstrom, his senior adviser did talk about that in the spin room after the debate and clarified. I do want to say that the whole abortion and contraception has been talked to death this year for the war on the women.
I noticed conspicuous by its absence in that debate. President Obama never uttered abortion or contraception in 90 minutes.
COOPER: But on the health care thing that we just talked about, I know his spokesman corrected him afterward. Why did he need to be corrected? You would think he would know what his position is saying that during the debate. Was that an attempt to kind of appeal to a wider range of people or is that also a misstatement?
CONWAY: You would have to ask Governor Romney why he said what he said. But I don't that there is any machination trying to appeal to a broader audience. I mean, I think we should ask President Obama why he tried to appeal to nobody.
COOPER: Jen, do you see machination here?
JEN PSAKI, OBAMA CAMPAIGN TRAVELING PRESS SECRETARY: Well look, I think we were reminded with this interview that Mitt Romney was willing to say and do anything to be president even if it means hiding to his own positions.
We're tying him to his -- what his positions are, which on issues like women's health care, on immigration, on his embrace of a $5 trillion tax cut. Those are positions that are the far right wing of the party.
And we are going to hold his feet to the fire for the next 27 days. It does amaze me that, you know, Mitt Romney had one good night. The president didn't have the best night.
He has been pretty straight forward about that. We are looking forward to the next debate, but we're running like we're five points behind him in these swing states.
I hope that the Romney team is doing the same things because there is a little bit of overconfidence I'm hearing from Kellyanne and from members on the Romney team.
CONWAY: Sorry, never. No overconfidence. I'm not part of the Romney team, but I certainly support him for president, but, Jen, no over confidence here. This race is not over and the late in the game deciders are female.
The only thing to them is when you talk about women's health, they think about cardiovascular issues, osteoporosis, obesity, nutrition and diabetes. They don't think about abortion.
I think that you've taken that word. It was once called abortion then it was choice and now it's all women's health. It's insulting to women --
COOPER: A lot of those are pre-existing conditions. I guess, I still don't understand why Governor Romney during that debate would be saying that this health care covers pre-existing conditions, when by most people's definition of what pre-existing condition is and how you get that covered, his plan doesn't cover that.
CONWAY: And there is another thing, Anderson, you just explained it better than President Obama did in his debate. What President Obama did --
COOPER: I appreciate the compliment, but I would like an answer.
CONWAY: Well, here's my answer. What President Obama did in that debate was thank Mitt Romney for essentially providing inspirational blue print and the political cover in his own advisers to the White House to help construct Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act --
COOPER: I just don't understand how any candidate who has been running for a long as Mitt Romney is and as smart as Mitt Romney is could get his own policy so wrong unless he was trying to appeal to a wider range of people by kind of painting with a very broad brush and the definition that not most people have about what a pre-existing condition is.
CONWAY: No, well, look, President Romney is not a liar. He is not going to go on national TV and talk in a debate and lie about his own health care plan. He got that part wrong according to his senior adviser, which I am not --
PSAKI: He did last week.
CONWAY: And in any event --
COOPER: So he got it wrong. So you are just saying it was a mistake.
CONWAY: That is what Eric Fehrnstrom said. He is his adviser so I assume they are correct.
COOPER: Jen, do you believe it was just a mistake?
PSAKI: Look, I have to say this is becoming pattern. So when something becomes a pattern, you have to wonder what is behind it and why Mitt Romney is so uncomfortable with his own positions.
COOPER: It's going to be a fascinating debate though, but tomorrow night the vice president and vice presidential candidate. Kellyanne Conway, appreciate it. Jen Psaki, thank.
CONWAY: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, the family of Lillian Cary is speaking out tonight. They want you to know she is more than just a statistic in the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak. You're going to hear from them ahead.
Plus Dr. Sanjay Gupta's important new details about the company at the center of the outbreak and even bigger company with ties to it that is next.
COOPER: The seven-time Tour De France winner, Lance Armstrong was the most "sophisticated and successful," that's a quote, doping program in cycling according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and they say they have more than 1,000 documents to back up the claim. We'll have the latest on that ahead.
COOPER: Keeping them honest, important new information tonight about the company at the center of the deadly meningitis outbreak that now involves 10 states, 137 people have been sick and 12 people have died.
As many as 13,000 may have been exposed to the tainted steroid injections linked to the outbreak. Injections made by a company called New England Compounding Center, a type of pharmacy that is regulated by state officials not the FDA.
Its owners are not taking questions from reporters. Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, got as far as their parking lot yesterday. He was told to leave.
He managed to take a look behind their facility though and what he found was pretty surprising, a recycling site filled with waste and garbage right next to the building where inside medications are being mixed.
It turns out the recycling center is owned by the same guy who owns the compounding center and that's not all. I will tell you Sanjay did some more digging. Here is what he found.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NECC, this is the place where the deadly meningitis outbreak started. We came here looking for answers, but we soon found out no one would talk.
(on camera): Is there someone that we can actually talk to? We've been leaving voice messages and --
(voice-over): I even went straight to the home of Barry Cadden. He is the owner of the facility. There was a car parked at the end of the driveway. No visitors allowed, but I was told they would call me back. They didn't.
But there was something else we noticed. Look closely at the name of this garbage facility connected to the NECC.
(on camera): Conigliaro, well, it turns out this is the maiden name of Barry Cadden's wife, Lisa. She is also listed as a pharmacist at NECC.
A little bit more digging and we found out that Barry Cadden, Gregory Conigliaro who is Lisa's brother are the owners of NECC, that recycling facility and also this medical facility called the Ameridose. They wouldn't let us on the parking lot here.
(voice-over): Now if NECC is big then Ameridose is the 800-pound gorilla. NECC has 21 employees and generated $8 million in revenue and Ameridose, 400 employees and generated $100 million a year.
Ameridose does drug manufacturing, which is regulated by the FDA, but they also do add mixing, that's a form of compounding and that's regulated by the State Pharmacy Board.
(on camera): And here is something else, there is a woman named Sophia Pasedis. She is the vice president of Compliance here at Ameridose. She was also appointed to the State Pharmacy Board back in 2008.
We asked them about that and they say she has recused herself of all matters related to the Ameridose and NECC.
(voice-over): Both companies have done business with the United States government. In fact, more than $800,000 worth of drug orders were placed with them by government agencies since 2007.
Together both these companies produce hundreds of thousands of medication doses and now both have shut down their operations.
GUPTA: And I'll tell you as well, Anderson, the Massachusetts Department of Health did not say there is evidence of contamination when it comes to products for Ameridose.
But we're still trying to find out what exactly is the connection between again this 800-pound gorilla, Ameridose and NECC and what that might mean for consumers sort of going forward, Anderson?
COOPER: And the bottom line is the federal officials, the FDA, is not responsible for overseeing the quality at these compounding pharmacies. It's up to state officials?
GUPTA: Well, Ameridose does two things. It does manufacture some medications that does come in the view of the FDA, but they also have this part where they do add mixing where they are mixing together different medicines. And again that's the same sort of thing that we talked about with NECC. That is a state regulated thing.
COOPER: All right, Sanjay, stay with us. Lillian Carrie is one of the 12 people who tragically died in this outbreak. She got a steroid injection in August, came down with fungal meningitis, and died two weeks ago.
She is more than a statistic, of course. She was a wife, a mom and a grandmother. Her family held a memorial service for her yesterday honoring her life. Their grief, of course, is mixed with fear and worry.
Lillian's husband also got a steroid shot made by NECC. George Cary joins me now along with his daughter, Heather Angus. George and Heather, I'm so sorry for your loss. And I guess I want to ask you what do you want people to know about Lillian?
GEORGE CARY, WIFE DIED OF FUNGAL MENINGITIS AFTER INJECTION: First of all, she was a wonderful woman that she had a love for life. She was part of our family, and that this should not have happened. This is a tragedy that goes beyond our family.
And from our standpoint, we wish to express our condolences to the other people who have also lost loved ones and those people who may also have been injected with this steroid, and are undergoing the same period of uncertainty that we are and our family.
COOPER: George, I mean, you not only dealing with a grief of losing Lillian, but you had injections from the same pain treatment center. What have you been told about your own risk of developing meningitis? How do you feel physically?
CARY: I was advised on Friday afternoon of the connection between Lillian and I, and the batch and lot number of the recalled FDA steroid. On Saturday afternoon I had a spinal tap. Those tests were sent out. I still haven't received any information regarding them.
I, like many other people, have steroid injections as a result of neck pain. Neck pain is one of the symptoms of meningitis. It is something that I live with. As a result, I'm watching other body function to try to keep on top of it.
COOPER: Heather, when you heard that these injections came from a pharmacy that is not regulated by the FDA what did you think? I mean, did you know that?
HEATHER ANGUS, MOTHER DIED OF FUNGAL MENINGITIS AFTER INJECTION: I was not aware of that at first. I can honestly say that shock, frustration, anger, and a little bit of disgust were definitely emotions that crossed my mind.
I think it is ridiculous that these companies in this day and age weren't mandated to have inspections and that this completely preventable death and tragedy had to happen due to these oversights.
COOPER: I want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, because there were a lot of folks, 13,000 who may have gotten and exposed to these shots, what are symptoms that people should look for? George mentioned neck pain
GUPTA: Yes, and again, let me add as well, George and Heather, you know, it was tough to hear. Your story of what happened to your mom and wife, you know, it is difficult especially with this type of meningitis, a fungal meningitis as you may know is more rare than bacterial and viral meningitis.
Viral is the most common. But George is absolutely right, I mean, neck pain is one of the symptoms. People can often develop significant what's called photophobia, so just not wanting to be out in the light at all, headache as well, sometimes fever. What George is describing is where they are actually now taking some of the fluid and examining it to see if they can see evidence of fungus actually within the fluid.
It doesn't mean, for sure, that if they don't find it that, you know, you still doesn't have to be vigilant about this. So George, I don't know if they told you this.
But up to 28 days or so, you know, if you have any other of these symptoms I am describing, you really do need to get checked it out and that's a message we've been giving to everybody who's concerned about this.
COOPER: George, have the answers you have gotten been satisfactory? What do you want to see happen? You have called this a wake-up call for the country.
CARY: Well, I think that the lobbyist and corporations have always been a part of the political process regarding important issues. And I think this is an example of how the process works.
COOPER: And Heather, what do you want to see happen? I mean, who do you think should be held accountable here?
ANGUS: I definitely think that the corporations themselves should be held accountable. I think that the federal government should step in at this point and enforce stricter guidelines. Obviously, the state was not vigilant with their oversight and ensuring that the American public is getting safe drugs.
COOPER: And Sanjay, when you were out of the facility, is the FDA now investigating? Where they the ones in charge of the investigation?
GUPTA: Yes, the FDA is now investigating both the NECC facility, which is at the heart of this and today, also Ameridose owned by the same people that own NECC.
But you know, they are absolutely right. It's interesting even at the state level, when a facility like this applies for a license. They have a process that they go through at that point.
But as far as we can tell, I'm talking to officials here on the ground, that unless there is a problem and that problem usually comes to light because something like this happens, not usually to this magnitude thankfully.
But something happens and then the organization, the licensing organization comes back in to sort of check things out. This particular facility back in 2002 as we have talked about was cited for unsterile practices. Ten years later, you see what is happening.
COOPER: Sanjay, is there preventive treatment for people maybe who received these injections, but who don't yet know whether or not it is going to give them the meningitis? GUPTA: Well, the one thing that doctors always sort of wrestle with this, you know, should we just go ahead and treat somebody as if they have the infection even if we haven't confirmed it.
And when it comes to this, and again, George, I don't know if they spoke to this with you, but the treatment is a longer course, of what are called anti-fungal medications.
And these are the types of medication that you really do want to have confirmed infection before you start using because it is a long course. Sometimes it involves being in the hospital for a few days. So I think there's really not a preventative sort of course here, but really just a real vigilance about any of these symptoms.
COOPER: Well, George and Heather, again, you know, speaking to us just one day after the memorial service for Lillian, I appreciate you being on again. We are so sorry for your loss.
CARY: Thank you for having us on your show.
ANGUS: Thank you. Our biggest concern was definitely putting a face to the statistics because this is more than just numbers. These are human beings and loved ones and people. Hopefully, by sharing our story, we're able to help bring more awareness to this to get stricter guidelines going forward.
COOPER: I think everyone is going to think about Lillian every time they hear about this and the others as well. And hopefully we'll learn more about them in the days ahead. Again, thank you so much. Stay strong.
CARY: Thank you.
ANGUS: Thank you.
COOPER: Another deadly day in Syria. At least 77 people killed in Damascus alone, 16 in Homs according to opposition groups. More on today's death toll when we continue.
COOPER: Following a number of stories, let's check in with Isha in the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, opposition groups in Syria say 197 people died in violence throughout the country today. Video posted in YouTube purports to show opposition fighters taking over the main security center south of Idlib where they say government forces detained and tortured anti-regime activists. CNN cannot confirm the video's authenticity.
In Pakistan, a rally in support of a 14-year-old girl, a blogger and activist for education of girls who was shot on her way home from school yesterday.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Surgeons worked for three hours today to take a bullet out of her neck. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban said if she survives this time she won't next time, quote, "we will certainly kill her."
The amateur filmmaker behind the online anti-Islam film clip that set off protests around the world was in federal courtroom in California today. Prosecutors are trying to revoke Nikoula Basseley Nikoula's probation from a 2010 bank fraud conviction. He is being held without bail.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is releasing a mountain of evidence against Lance Armstrong. The evidence includes sworn testimony from 11 of Armstrong's former teammates who say they saw him doping. Armstrong has repeatedly denied that. One of the lawyers called the case a one sided hatchet job.
Anderson, a zoo in Florida is offering an unusual attraction letting visitors swim with a tiger cub. Guests can also swim with an alligator whose mouth is taped shut. Maybe be something for you for Christmas.
COOPER: Maybe so. Isha, thanks very much. We will be right back.
COOPER: I ran out of time for the "RidicuList." Thanks for watching. We'll see you one hour from now. Another edition of 360, 10:00 Eastern. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.