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Erin Burnett Outfront
U.S. Prepares Strike Option Against Iraq; Interview with Sen. Jack Reed; Why Hasn't Bergdahl Spoken To His Parents?; Doctor Oz Under Fire; Outfront Special Report on Qatar; Interview with Rep. Michael McCaul; Gabby Giffords Throws Out First Pitch
Aired June 18, 2014 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, Iraq asks the U.S. for air strikes. Will President Obama give the green light?
Plus an exclusive OUTFRONT investigation. Is one of America's biggest allies the country that helps secure the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl also a haven for terror funding?
And the money and power of Dr. Oz. A celebrity doctor under fire tonight. Should he be held responsible for how people use his name? Let's go OUTFRONT.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the U.S. preparing strike options on Iraq. CNN has learned that military planners have assembled a draft list of possible terror targets in the country. Officials say this list is constantly being revised. That they haven't yet made final determinations.
In Iraq, militants celebrating after attacking the country's biggest oil refinery. Now both ISIS, the Islamic terror group, and the Iraqi government are saying they are in control of this crucial location.
At the White House, tonight the president just met with senior congressional leaders to talk about the violence on the ground and whether the United States will do anything about it. Short of boots on the ground, an amorphous term to begin with, the administration says all options are on the table.
Joe Johns is at the White House with what happened inside the meeting tonight.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Obama in the oval office with senior congressional leadership briefing them about U.S. options in Iraq. The big question -- possible military action already on the drawing board at the Pentagon, CNN has learned.
After the meeting, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell warned the president must learn the lessons of Iraq as troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, but publicly the White House continues to say the president does not want combat troops in Iraq. JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are not, as the president has made clear, contemplating a return of sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq.
JOHNS: Key word there "combat." Intelligence gathering, training, even targeting all could still be on the table with strikes from the air also a distinct possibility. Today sources say the U.S. ramped up its capabilities over Iraq beginning to fly manned surveillance missions along with drone flights that began days ago. Before the meeting, House Speaker John Boehner raised his concern that he sees no strategy for Iraq from the administration.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: The president's been watching what we've been watching for over a year as the situation in Iraq continued to be undermined. Yet, nothing, nothing has happened to try to reverse it.
JOHNS: With insurgents only 45 minutes from Baghdad, the Iraqi government of Nuri al Maliki officially requested U.S. air strikes, acknowledged by the Joint Chiefs chairman on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think it's in the national security interests to honor that requests?
GENERAL MARTIN DEMPSEY, CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: It is in our national security interests to counter ISIO wherever we find them.
JOHNS: Now the president met for an hour with the top two leaders of both parties in the House and the Senate to talk about Iraq. The administration essentially said it wants Shiites and Sunnis to get along. They also talked about more security for Iraq, and the president promised that he would consult closely with Congress this time around -- Erin.
BURNETT: Joe Johns, thank you. Joining me now Democratic Senator Jack Reed. He graduated from West Point, served in the Army for over a decade and now serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was one of the very few who voted against the Iraq war.
Senator, good to have you with us tonight. You voted against this war. What does the U.S. do now?
SEN. JACK REED (D-RI), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Well, first, I think the key issue is what Maliki does. Maliki has managed to militarize the politics and politicize the military. Unless he changes course dramatically, then there's serious danger ahead, even more serious danger ahead for Iraq. But the key is what the Iraqis do and the key right now is in his hands.
BURNETT: You know, you just heard a moment ago, Senator, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey saying and I'll quote him, "It's in our national interests to counter ISIS wherever we find them. There's execution video coming out of Iraq this week, members of ISIS executing Iraqis in cold blood. You voted against this war, but can this be stopped without American intervention?
REED: Well, it has to be stopped, but the key, again, I think is fundamental, it has to be stopped by the Iraqis. The ISIS forces, ISIS forces that attacked Mosul were several thousand perhaps against 15,000 equipped and trained Iraqi national security forces with armor, with artillery, and they just disintegrated. So an American involvement without real engagement on the ground by Iraqi forces and real political leadership will not be decisive.
We have an interest in protecting the United States. So if we can identify ISIS leaders, if we can go after them not on behalf of the Iraqis, but on our own self-interests and take them out, that's a different story. But simply -- I think David Petraeus said very well today in London, we can't be the air force for Maliki's Iraq.
BURNETT: Before your vote against the Iraq war to begin with, the "Boston Globe" quoted you as saying pre-emption is the only viable strategy against terrorism. If ISIS is a terrorist group and you believe in pre-emption, how do you pre-empt ISIS now from possible attacks on America? They've obviously gained control of cities, towns, possibly a country.
REED: Well, the same technique that we've used in places like Yemen, in other places around the world where we're not committing ground forces and we're not trying to be a surrogate for the local government. We've identified individuals with good intelligence that pose an intimate threat to the United States and we use every resource possible.
BURNETT: You're talking about drone strikes and things like that.
REED: Well, drone strikes, yes. Just within hours ago, we seized the purported ring leader of the attack on our Benghazi, Libya. We did that because that is a terror group and obviously they conduct an operation against us. So we have to be very careful. Pre-emption is the way to go with respect to terrorist group, but pre-emption in support of a government that's chosen or proven itself to be not inclusive. Not effective, that's not the right strategy.
BURNETT: Before we go, you've been to Iraq multiple times. You traveled with then-candidate Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel. You said that Saddam is a secular thug not a messianic leader. When you look back, would Iraq be in a better place right now if U.S. hadn't invaded. Yes, Saddam was a bad guy, but the Middle East was in balance.
REED: It would be a very different place. It's very hard to what if, et cetera. But clear that the invasion of Iraq triggered repercussion, some predictable, some unpredictable. But the notion that it would cause turmoil and generate this sectarian rivalry is something that became evident very quickly. In the chaos in the wake of our invasion, sectarian groups rose up.
And this would be different now, again, it's hard to replay history, but I know it would be a different situation not to justify anything that Saddam did. He was a secular thug. But there was a balance between the Shia/Sunni communities and that was completely thrown out of balance by our invasion of Iraq.
BURNETT: You know, there's been a lot of criticism over the past few days, criticism of the Bush administration and the president. Former Vice President Dick Cheney, one of the architects of the war wrote an op-ed about President Obama and said rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many. Your reaction?
REED: He could say much the same thing about himself and President Bush, so wrong about the reaction to Iraq and Saddam in 2003, 2002 based upon the assumption that they were developing or had weapons of mass destruction, which proved to be absolutely inaccurate. So I think ironic enough it's probably a good commentary on his own performance.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Senator Reed.
REED: Thank you.
BURNETT: Up next, new information about Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's recovery. He's been free for weeks. Why has he still not seen his parents?
Plus Dr. Oz under fire, accused of helping scammers sell phony cures.
Our special OUTFRONT investigation is one of America's biggest allies, a haven for terror funding?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: How big of a player is Qatar?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Qatar is at the center of this.
BURNETT: New outrage and blame over Bowe Bergdahl's capture and release. Today some of Bergdahl's former platoon members actually testified before Congress. What they said is the army sergeant deserted his post five years ago. They say that as a result six soldiers died searching for him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPC. CODY FULL (RETIRED), SERVED WITH SGT. BERGDAHL: The facts tell me that Bergdahl desertion was premeditated. He had a plan and was trying to justify it in his head. How long he had planned this, I do not know. But it is clear to me that he had a plan and executed it. Countless people looked for him when he went missing, putting their own lives on the line for his.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight we know Bergdahl is being exposed to some of the media coverage about him. This is part of the recovery process. It's been 18 days since his release. He's 28 years old. You remember his father, who grew that beard to wait for his son. They were waiting for him so eagerly. But he has yet to even speak about his family. Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After Taliban captors handed Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl over to a U.S. Special forces team in Afghanistan, it seemed like an emotional reunion five years in the making would happen quickly between Bergdahl and his parents.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love you, Bowe.
LAVANDERA: Looking back on the day after Bergdahl's release when his parents spoke publicly for the last time there were clues that Bergdahl's homecoming might be a bumpy ride.
BOB BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S FATHER: The recovery and reintegration of Bowe Bergdahl is a work in progress. I want to really convey that because it isn't over for us. In many ways just beginning for Jani and I and our family.
LAVANDERA: Bergdahl's mother hinted that her son would need time.
JANI BERGDAHL, BOWE BERGDAHL'S MOTHER: Give yourself all of the time you need to recover and decompress. There is no hurry. You have your life ahead of you.
LAVANDERA (on camera): Shortly after Sergeant Bergdahl was freed, various military officials suggested that a reunion with his parents would happen relatively quickly, but almost three weeks later, it still hasn't happened.
COL. BRADLEY POPPEN, U.S. ARMY: Five years for Sergeant Bergdahl he's been in captivity. A lot has changed in his life and his mind. A lot has changed in his family's lives. We need to give them time where they can all come together.
LAVANDERA: The medical team treating Bergdahl says he can call his parents at any moment and it's been his choice to delay the reunion. But those around Bergdahl aren't saying exactly why.
According to a "Washington Post" report, Bergdahl picked a family friend to receive his remains if he were killed in Afghanistan, not his parents. After Bergdahl's release, "the Washington Post" reported on a collection of journal entries Bergdahl wrote before his capture and sent to a friend. Bergdahl wrote that he was in an odd place like I'm pulling away from the human world. I want to pull my mind out and dropkick it into a deep gorge. It's a snapshot into the mind of a young soldier struggling to make sense of the world.
Bergdahl will have even more to deal with now that his psychologists are beginning to tell him about the media fire storm surrounding his release and the scathing criticism coming from his fellow soldiers like specialist Cody Full who served in Bergdahl's unit.
SPC. CODY FULL (RET.), SERVED WITH SERGEANT BERGDAHL: From what I gathered from him, it was always leave no honorable man behind, not leave no man behind. STEPHANIE O'NEIL, BERGDAHL'S FAMILY FRIEND: We are prepared to have
Bowe is back and just have one big great party and it is not going to happen.
LAVANDERA: The reality is any hope of a storybook homecoming evaporated long before Bowe Bergdahl even set foot in the United States.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
BURNETT: Roy Hallums is OUTFRONT. He is an American contractor who was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004. He spent 311 days in captivity, much of it in the dark in a small space in chains.
Roy, let me start by asking you this issue that Bowe Bergdahl may not want to -- he has chosen not to speak to his parents. He asked to have his remains, if he were to die, sent to a family friend, not to his parents. What do you make of that, of his decision to not want to talk to them now?
ROY HALLUMS, AMERICA HELD HOSTAGE IN IRAQ FOR 311 DAYS: Well, that's completely different from what I wanted. I wanted to be home with my family as soon as I could be. I suppose everyone is different. And meeting your family for the first time after you get out of that situation is really, really emotional. And maybe there's something bothering him about that.
BURNETT: Perhaps. And of course, we don't know what the situation was. Even if they were estranged, as some said may have been the case before he was captured. Some people would thing, well, God, in those five years you would still want your parents.
HALLUMS: Yes, I mean, I'm sure he's thought about the reunion while he was being held. I mean, when I was being held, I would think about things to get me out of that situation. And one of the things I thought about was when I would be able to be back with my family again. So I'm sure he's gone over that in his mind many, many times. But I guess actually doing it is difficult for him.
BURNETT: And you know, one of the things this reintegration process, they now say that he's able to hold a press conference, if he wants to. They are -- he is subject him to what the media has been saying, media coverage. And obviously, a lot of it regarding Bowe Bergdahl is negative and scathing. It would be hard to read.
In your situation, though, a psychologist actually had you Google yourself as part of the reintegration process. What was that like?
HALLUMS: Yes. The second day I was -- after my rescue, the psychiatrist knew I'd be coming back to the states the next day. And he took me and told me to sit down in front of a computer and Google it because I didn't know anything about the news for the previous year or anything about what had been said about me. And so he had me start reading because he said when you get back, there's going to be a lot of news coverage, there's going to be a lot of questions, and you need to look at this so you're familiar with what people have been saying while you've been gone.
BURNETT: And what was that like? Can you imagine, I guess, in the situation of Bowe Bergdahl when he Google and you hear things like that young man that he served with that you just heard the sound bite that he said today in Congress, I thought the maxim was no honorable man left behind, not no man left behind?
HALLUMS: Well, I'm sure hearing that kind of thing would be difficult for anybody. But for me reading it, it was -- you know, I was never in the news, never had anything about me in the news. So it was strange for me to sit down and start reading stories from my local paper here in Memphis plus the national news about covering my story, especially the story -- the video that was made -- that I was forced to make. So just sitting there reading the news and trying to catch up on the news was a surprise to me. I'm sure it will be to him.
BURNETT: All right. Well, thank you very much, Roy. It is always good to talk to you. We appreciate it.
HALLUMS: Thank you.
BURNETT: And still to come, the money and power of Dr. Oz. Did his endorsements really help con-artists help sell phony cures?
And tonight exclusive OUTFRONT investigation, is one of America's biggest allies the center of the terror funding world?
BURNETT: No exercise, no diet, no effort. Tonight, Dr. Oz is under fire for pushing those words on his popular TV show. The celebrity doctor fighting back against claims he promoted so-called miracle weight loss cures. Senators say scammers use his endorsements to sell their products. So how much of this scandal going to hurt his business?
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT with the money and power of Dr. Oz.
DOCTOR MEHMET OZ, CELEBRITY DOCTOR: This little bean -- and I've got the number one miracle. How can I burn fat?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's the TV doctor who knows how to sell America on what he prescribes.
OPRAH WINFREY, TV PERSONALITY: It's like my son grew up.
MARQUEZ: Oprah called Dr. Oz America's doctor in 2004. His empire and wealth have flourished. The daily TV show bringing in millions making Dr. Mehmet Oz a household name. He's the author of nine books including seven best sellers over a million sold. His Web site dedicated to good health has no shortage of advertisers.
OZ: These are fat cells.
MARQUEZ: And let's not forget, he's still a heart surgeon, a very successful one with a business degree. His power and influence now a tempting target in Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dr. Oz, I will have some tough questions for you today about your role.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did the deceptive practices then coming out of that change how you have conducted your shows?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why would you say that something is a miracle in a bottle?
OZ: My job, I feel, on the show is to be a cheerleader for the audience.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe there's a magic weight loss cure out there?
OZ: The word -- if you're selling something because it's magical, no.
MARQUEZ: Senators questioning why Dr. Oz calls some weight loss supplements miracles despite there are being no evidence that they're effective. Dr. Oz says he derives no money from the supplements industry and has addressed the language he uses to describe products on his show.
OZ: I'm very respectful. I've heard the message. I told my colleagues at the FDC, I get it.
MARQUEZ: Some say though, Dr. Oz in representing supplements as effective, has crossed an ethical line.
Is it so wrong that Dr. Oz takes a different look at some of these products?
ARTHUR CAPLAN, MEDICAL CENTER, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, LANGONE: I think his defense is let's look at the extreme, let's look outside the mainstream.
MARQUEZ: But you're saying it's how he does it?
CAPLAN: How he does it is wrong because he winds up blessing it, endorsing it, making it seem as if there's evidence for it.
MARQUEZ: America's doctor, his practice and empire now on the exam table.
BURNETT: And Miguel, a lot of the concern is about, you know, these weight loss products. Some you have here in this bag, these green coffee beans. He's called these a miracle weight loss cure.
MARQUEZ: Yes. This got him in trouble a couple of years ago. And the question is whether he's a charlatan or a shaman. He has toned down a lot of the language he uses to describe these sorts of things. He says that is now take give more seriously and understand that when he says things like this he has to tone it down. He says he is giving that up and using more reasonable language.
BURNETT: And you know, some people watch this and say, well, you know, he's a TV doctor, he must just be a charlatan, right? But here is the thing. The guy is incredibly gifted. He's a serious surgeon. He holds patents. This is not just some guy who parades out on TV.
MARQUEZ: And this is the exact problem that people have with him, is that he's so serious, that when he says something, he makes the claims about whether it is coffee beans or strawberry (ph), whatever it is, people believe it.
BURNETT: People believe it.
MARQUEZ: So he is trading basically on all that great will that he's built up in the medical field and then he's selling stuff on television. Although, he does say he doesn't get any money from any supplement industry, but still, they -- he says they take advantage of what he says on the show.
BURNETT: Watching the testimony that you were playing. You know, he keeps saying, I get the message. He's not trying to be confrontational. He is trying to be conciliatory, to say that he is sorry. But how much damage could this do to him?
MARQUEZ: It could do damage to his career. I think he is now backing off of that and trying to take it more reasonable approach. He realizes that every word he utters, no matter if it is about a green coffee beans or anything else, is going to be taken out of context. He now wants to perhaps have a more balanced approach. A little weight loss for the flowery language he uses.
BURNETT: Right. Although you think he would have realized a long time ago people will buy what he says. So, didn't need this to realize.
MARQUEZ: It is a big business he's running.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Miguel Marquez.
Still to come, new details about the alleged Benghazi mastermind. He is now on his way back to the United States. The chairman of the homeland security is OUTFRONT with the latest details from his briefings.
And our exclusive OUTFRONT investigation, is the country that was key in negotiating sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's release a major haven for terror funding?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: How big of a player is Qatar?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Qatar's at the center of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: The terror group ISIS is committing atrocities in Iraq. The Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki blames Saudi Arabia and Qatar for providing ISIS militants with money and weapons. And ISIS is one of the many groups loyal to the cause of Islamic extremism that are growing in influence right now. Growing because someone is paying the bills -- big bills. And some of those financial backers are welcome one of America's biggest allies in the Middle East.
We spent the past few months investigation this, and tonight, out OUTFRONT Special Report.
BURNETT (voice-over): The richest country on earth sitting on the third largest reserves of natural gas. There are only 250,000 citizens of Qatar, making it home to the world's largest concentration of millionaires.
General Jim Jones is a former U.S. national security advisor.
GEN. JIM JONES (RET.), FMR. U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Qatar has emerged from, under the previous emir, from being a relatively obscure minor player to a position of preeminence.
BURNETT (on camera): Doha's skyline is proof of Qatar's ambition -- it's big, it's modern, and it's new. 15 years ago, almost none of this was here. And that growth attracts some of America's biggest companies, energy giants like Exxon of course, but also companies like Boeing. The company just told 50 777s to a consortium including Qatar Airways.
(voice-over): Martin Reardon opened this FBI office in Doha. He says it isn't just corporate America benefiting from a relationship with Qatar.
MARTIN REARDON, VICE PRESIDENT, THE SOUFAN GROUP: One of the largest bases that the U.S. has outside the continent of the United States is here in Doha. It's huge.
BURNETT: It's so huge Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel signed a ten-year agreement to keep U.S. forces here. Qatar also was a key part of the negotiations with the Taliban to free American P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And earlier this week I was able to personally thank the emir of Qatar for his leadership in helping us get t done.
BURNETT: The five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay were welcomed in Doha with open arms. A local Qatari told me he has no problem with them. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): Qatar is open (INAUDIBLE). Even
BURNETT: This isn't a surprise. Qatar prides itself on its clout with the U.S. and extremists.
This YouTube video is one of several showing fighters in Syria thanking Qatari donors for weapons.
The Brothers of Madad al-Assam (ph) is the name of a fundraising campaign. It contributes to humanitarian relief in Syria, but this tweet last August from an al Qaeda-linked militia is one of several from al Qaeda supporters directing followers to donate to the campaign.
Juan Zarate is the former deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism --
JUAN ZARATE, AUTHOR, "TREASURY'S WAR: THE UNLEASHING OF A NEW ERA OF FINANCIAL WARFARE": What you have is the resurrection of charitable networks that had been suppressed post 9/11 but are being reborn in the context of Syria.
BURNETT (on camera): So how big of a player is Qatar?
ZARATE: Qatar is at the center of this. Qatar has now taken its place in the lead of countries that are supporting al Qaeda and al Qaeda-related groups.
BURNETT (voice-over): In April, a Kuwaiti cleric known to support al Qaeda-linked groups tweeted he was heading to Qatar to raise money for jihad. And just last week the cleric tweeted this poster, which says our jihad in Syria is financial jihad. It asks for donations in Qatari, Kuwaiti, or Saudi currencies.
(on-camera): Is this something you could conceal and would be very difficult? Because you have -- if you give a dollar -- if I give a dollar to you and you want to help somebody and then you also want to buy a gun, how do I know?
REARDON: That's an issue. And that's an issue worldwide when you're talking money laundering with cash.
BURNETT (voice-over): Saad bin saad al-Kaabi (ph) is a fundraiser are for the Madad al-Assam (ph) campaign in Doha. His current profile on Facebook's WhatsApp, a social media platform, requests donations equal to 1,500 U.S. dollars to prepare a fighter by arming, feeding and treating him.
We called al-Kaabi (ph) when we were in Doha. He wouldn't meet with us, but he denied the poster solicited money for weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): He mentions, there was no mention of weapons.
BURNETT (on camera): It's on there right now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): He says he has no knowledge of
BURNETT (voice-over): And when we asked why he used a picture of the planes hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11 in a tweet, he replied the picture is everywhere over the internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via translator): He says that photo is all over the internet.
BURNETT: Al-Qabbi (ph) told us we couldn't give to his campaign right now, but would have to give to another charity approved by the Qatari government. He also wouldn't tell us how much he raised, but in one tweet last summer, he asks Allah to bless the people of Qatar for donating the equivalent of $1.4 million.
We don't know where these funds went, but according to the Qatari newspaper, "Al Arab," at one point the Madad al-Assam (ph) campaign worked with Qatar's volunteer work center to raise money to help Syrian refugees. The work center was supervised by the Qatari government's Ministry of Culture. The minister declined our request for an interview.
(on-camera): So how high up in the government in Qatar does the support for Islamic extremism for these al Qaeda-linked groups go?
ZARATE: Well, these are decisions made at the top. So Qatar operates as a monarchy. Its officials, its activities follow the orders of the government. And to the extent that there's a policy of supporting extremists in the region, that's a policy that comes from the top.
BURNETT: This is the Taliban office in Doha behind me. Now, it just opened last year and no one responded to our many attempts to reach them. So it may just be a storefront. But the fact is this -- Qatar is the only country in the region with a diplomatic Taliban presence. And the emir, the ruler of this country, personally negotiated the release of five Taliban prisoners in exchange for American P.O.W. Bowe Bergdahl.
The emir, Sheikh Thani, is just 34 years old.
REARDON: He's the emir, he's very powerful. I mean, as President Truman said, the buck stops there.
BURNETT (voice-over): The al-Thani family has ruled Qatar for 150 years. They're celebrated internationally, getting top billing on this year's "Town & Country" global influence list, and appearing with the social elite at events like Britain's royal wedding.
The emir was unable to meet with us while we were in Doha, but we spoke with his sister, who is on the Time 100 list of most influential people, about the family's massive charity donations.
SHEIKHA MAYASSA BINT HAMAD AL THANI, CHAIRPERSON, QATAR MUSUEMS AUTHORITY: I remember, I was living in America when Katrina happened, and Qatar was one of the first countries to donate $100 million to the U.S. So it's definitely something that's embedded or engraved in our national strategy and development.
BURNETT: That generosity is part of why world leaders eagerly embrace the Qatari royal family.
OBAMA: I just want to welcome the emir of Qatar and thank him and the people of his country for the friendship they've shown towards the United States.
BURNETT: General Jim Jones says Qatar has passed some laws against terror finance, but it's not enough.
JONES: They probably are a little bit more towards, you know, supporting people that we are a little bit less than thrilled with.
BURNETT: Qatar continues to be a haven for financing extremists.
(on camera): The Treasury Department says Qatar is one the most permissive countries in the world when it comes to allowing funding for things like al Qaeda. Your family is so powerful here. Do you think there's more that you can do?
AL THANI: Well, Qatar is doing a lot, but the networks that you're discussing requires a group effort. And I think one country, whichever country it is, can't do it alone.
BURNETT (voice-over): It's no secret the government allows people like Ali al- Nuaimi, to live freely in Qatar. Nuaimi was the president of the Qatar Soccer Association which controversially won the bid for the 2022 World Cup. The United States treasury designated him a terrorist last year, saying he raised millions to fund terror.
Then there's Wagdy Ghoneim, a cleric who lived in Orange County, California. The U.S. suspected him of fundraising activities that could support activity. Ghoneim agreed to leave the U.S. and now lives in Doha, where earlier this year he appeared in a YouTube video soliciting money for Syria with Saad bin saad al-Kaabi.
(on camera): Why does the United States have to accept Qatar providing harbor to people the United States says are terrorists?
REARDON: Because going beyond that in the strategic sense, Qatar is a key ally of the United States.
BURNETT (voice-over): An ally Martin Reardon says the U.S. can't afford to lose.
REARDON: So that maxim that you keep your friends close but your enemies closer, it's very relevant to Qatar.
BURNETT: But will the trade-offs cost America?
ZARATE: There's no question that money going to al Qaeda affiliates and groups hurts the United States. Money coming out of Qatar not only allows these groups to grow in strength on the battlefield in Syria but allows them the possibility, the budget, to imagine plotting and to actually attack the United States and the west. (END VIDEOTAPE)
BURNETT (on camera): OUTFRONT next, the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security Michael McCaul in response the our investigation. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: Moments ago in our exclusive report, we showed you one place where terror groups in the Middle East are going to raise money: Qatar, a major American ally, the same country that helped negotiate Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl's release. Is the country now a haven for terror fund-raising.
Joining me Republican representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
Chairman, great to have you with us.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL, (R-TX), CHAIR, HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY COMMITTEE: Thanks, Erin.
BURNETT: What do you think?
MCCAUL: A very significant piece that you did. I think it's well known in national security circles, but not by the American people. The fact is when I ask, you know -- follow the money is the old adage. When asked about terrorist financing, where is the money coming from that's funding these Sunni extremists, terrorist organizations, al Qaeda every time, it's the Gulf. It comes out of the Gulf.
And the worst offender is Qatar. They give money indiscriminately. And I think it's a real problem. I just returned from the region. I was in the UAE and also Saudi, visited with the crown prince. They threatened to pull their diplomats out of Qatar because of the money that they're throwing into the Syrian rebels, which in turn are funding al Nusra and ISIS, which are the very enemies that we should be fighting in Iraq.
BURNETT: So what I'm trying to understand, Chairman -- and I -- and I wonder if you can help me a bit -- because, you know, we talked about the U.S. companies. They have obviously significant exposure in Qatar. There's also an air base there, which is a very significant base for this country.
You heard our guest talk about it in the piece, but the number one supply location for the military; 6,000 U.S. Air Force members are located there. It's a $400 million annual budget. Even Saudi Arabia, an ally of the United States, does not allow such a base to be in that country. Is this why the United States finds it OK to have these funding activities going on in an ally?
MCCAUL: Well, it's a very strange relationship. I think we want to keep them in the tent as much as we can. They do allow intelligence sharing like the Saudis do. But at the same time, you have these wealthy donors, these families that give money. And if you go back to the time of bin Laden and 9/11, the Qataris were giving to al Qaeda and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed directly.
So this concerns me when you look at the prisoner swap of the Taliban five, one of whom was involved with 9/11 with bin Laden and the other of the top five cabinets of Mullah Omar. We're going to send them to Qatar? That raises some really serious questions in terms of our national security.
BURNETT: And -- and -- and I want to play just a piece here because one of the people that we talked about in the piece, I mean, there are people of the United States has dubbed terror financers that are now living openly in Doha. And then there are some of the fund-raisers that we talked about in this piece. Let me just play the exchange with one of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He mentions, he says there was no mention of weapons.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's on there right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) He says he has no knowledge of that.
BURNETT (voice-over): And when we asked why he used a picture of the planes hitting the World Trade Center on 9/11 in a tweet, he replied the picture is everywhere on the internet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said that photo's all over the internet.
BURNETT: The question, Chairman, that I have for you -- actually, one of our other guests in the piece said, Juan Zarate, who formally was in charge of fighting (ph) counter-terrorism finance. He says that money out of Qatar could end up being used to fuel the ambition, the dream, of attacks against the United States directly. Do you agree?
MCCAUL: Well, I do agree with that, because if you look at the number one threat to the homeland, it's ISIS in Syria and Iraq. The biggest training ground surpassing Afghanistan and Pakistan, and who is funding ISIS? Who is funding Al Nusra? But more importantly, ISIS?
That money and the reason why the Saudis and the UAE cracked down on Qatar is because they're the ones throwing the money indiscriminately not caring who it goes to as long as it funds Sunni extremists fighting Assad in Syria.
So they really didn't care where the money and the weapons went to, and so the big debate was we're gonna -- the Saudis said we're going to pull our diplomats out until you better vet and send it to the moderates. But I'm not -- I'm not --
BURNETT: Chairman, what should --
MCCAUL: -- sure that's happening right now. BURNETT: Well, what should the United States government do, though?
Because I think when a lot of people watch that piece, you know, you think this is a country the U.S. should -- should have a lot of leverage. Why can't -- what can you do? What can the administration do?
MCCAUL: Well, it's very disturbing that all the money that's funding al Qaeda is coming out of this region. And yet, they're allies to some extent. It's a very confusing relationship. I think that we need to, I think, work with the Saudis and UAE to make sure that Qatar stops doing this, that if we are going to fund rebel forces, which is a risky proposition, by the way --
MCCAUL: -- because they're infiltrated by al Qaeda, that we are doing to vet moderates in the region. And don't forget Kuwait, either. Their banking laws are set so a lot of this money coming out of Qatar is routed through Kuwait, and Kuwait is equally responsible for a lot of this funding to what I consider to be our number one enemy, and that's al Qaeda.
BURNETT: And some -- before you go, Chairman, CBS News is reporting that Ahmed Abu Khattala, the alleged mastermind behind the attack on the Benghazi mission is being somewhat cooperative, has not been read his Miranda Rights. I know you've been briefed on the situation. Can you tell us anything?
MCCAUL: Yeah, he's on a Navy ship at sea. They can interrogate him for up to a month. I would argue they should do so before he's read his Miranda Rights. We want to find out who he is working with to attack Benghazi and kill our ambassador, who was responsible. There -- there is a lot of intelligence inside of his head that we need to get into.
BURNETT: All right. Chairman McCaul, thank you very much. Appreciate your time tonight.
MCCAUL: Thanks, Erin. I appreciate it.
BURNETT: And now, let's check in with Anderson with a look on what is coming up on "AC 360". Anderson?
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "AC 360": Hey, Erin. Yeah, we're gonna have all the latest from Iraq, the latest from the situation in Baghdad with ISIS forces and Sunni supporters, some 40 miles or so outside the capital. Also a major battle for one of the largest oil refineries in Iraq up in the town of Baiji, battles apparently continuing from all we can -- we can ascertain between Iraqi anti-terror forces who still maintain the position inside the refinery and ISIS forces who control the area outside. We'll have all the latest at the top of the hour.
BURNETT: All right, Anderson, look forward to seeing you in just a few moments.
And there's a big game in Washington tonight. It's the congressional women's softball game. Law makers facing off against members of the Washington media, including some of my colleagues at CNN.
Our chief congressional correspondent Dana Bash is hosting. Senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar, the team captain playing second base. And just moments ago, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords threw out the first pitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMLAE: Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And catching is, of course, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Gabby Giffords' great friend.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gabby Giffords, everybody!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Giffords played in the annual game before she was critically injured by a gunshot wound in 2011, and, of course, we're all thrilled to see her back there once again.
Well next, one man takes on the fast food chains to find out if you can really have it your way.
BURNETT: So have you ever noticed that your fast food order never quite matches the picture on the menu? You look and you salivate, and then it comes. Well, one man tried to do something about it.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Have you ever gazed at your bacon cheese burger deluxe and thought it doesn't add up to its own ad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This looks kinda scrawny small compared to this, especially for the bacon.
MOOS: Does your quarter pounder tend to look like an 1/8th of a pounder? Such thoughts drove Greg Benson to put on his hidden glasses and order from half a dozen fast food restaurants in L.A.
GREG BENSON, TOOK HIDDEN CAMERA INTO FAST FOOD RESTAURATNS: I'm just getting a Big Mac today.
MOOS: When his order didn't stack up to its image --
BENSON: I'm looking at this picture of the Big Mac, and it looks kind of sad and dry. And can you make one that looks like the picture? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, not a problem.
BENSON: OK, great.
MOOS: What do you know? They did it.
BENSON: Look at that. That's better, isn't it?
MOOS: Two pathetic tacos from Jack in the Box.
BENSON: Can you make them look like that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sure, no problem.
BENSON: Oh, great. Thank you.
MOOS: A half pound double with cheese from Wendy's.
BENSON: Not very high, and kinda flat, and not very attractive. Can you make one that looks like the picture?
MOOS (on-camera): So there was not a single place that said, get out of here buddy, we're not redoing it.
BENSON: No one turned me away. No, they were all willing to make it right, and I was very impressed by that.
MOOS (voice-over): And Greg didn't even have to act like a madman. Like Michael Douglas in "Falling Down" --
MICHAEL DOUGLAS, ACTOR: Look at this sorry, miserable squashed thing. Can anybody tell me what's wrong with this picture?
MOOS: McDonald's of Canada gave the public a peak how they took their pictures. A regular quarter pounder takes a minute or so to make. A food stylist spends an hour and a half prepping one for a close-up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just melting down the cheese with my knife.
MOOS: Same ingredients, just primped with missing poppy seeds retouched as if they were acne scars.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We actually took all the ingredients that are normally hidden under the bun, and we pulled them to the foreground so you can see them.
MOOS: Greg got a whopper of a surprise when he unwrapped his whopper.
BENSON: Damn, that looks pretty good.
MOOS (on-camera): As for the fast food, from the whopper to the Big Mac to the bacon cheese burger deluxe --
BENSON: Jeanne, did you see me eat any of that stuff?
MOOS: Greg says he gave it all away because he was on a juice fast, a guy on a fast running a fast food experiment?
BENSON: Did you ever hear people ask for that before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had never heard --
MOOS: Just don't expect your quarter pounder to be blow-dried.
Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: So many things to say, including if you're on a juice diet, well, I guess I would just never be capable to go on a juice diet anyway.
"AC 360" starts right now.