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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Saying Goodbye to Whitney Houston; Contraception Controversy; Bomb Plot Targets U.S. Capitol
Aired February 17, 2012 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: It's 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast.
Breaking news tonight: an alleged would-be suicide bomber arrested today in custody now, facing life in prison if convicted. His targets, authorities, the United States Capitol?
Also tonight, leaked video, what appears to be an exclusive look at the slaughter in Syria through the eyes and gun sights of the troops carrying it out. Syrian troops there apparently taking aim on the people of Homs. Remember, you're looking at this video one day after the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations said there's no armed conflict in Syria.
Remember what he said, no armed conflict. In that video, you can actually hear one of the men saying over the radio, the situation is good. As with almost all of the video coming out of Syria, CNN cannot independently confirm what it appears to show. Much more on the video and more on the story it tells just ahead.
We begin tonight though with the breaking news, the arrest, court appearance, and charges against the 29-year-old Moroccan man now accused of plotting a suicide bombing at the United States Capitol. His arrest the result of a sting operation.
Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, joins us to talk about that along with Tom Fuentes formerly of the FBI, but new details of the criminal charges emerging
Brian Todd has the latest on that.
Brianna, what new details have you learned tonight about the suspect and his alleged plot?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the details we're getting just indicate this man, this suspect identified as a 29-year- old Amine El Khalifi, a Moroccan national, seem to just escalate during the points in the operation when he was working with people he thought were al Qaeda operatives but who were really FBI and other law enforcement undercover agents.
One of the most extraordinary details we got was when he seemed to change his plans from first wanting to allegedly bomb a restaurant in Washington, D.C., to then possibly wanting to hit a military installation to by mid-January amending the plans to wanting to detonate a suicide bomb inside the United States Capitol or at least on the grounds of the Capitol, possibly in the visitors center. That was a detail that we read in these court documents.
J. KING: Brian, stay with us because a sting operation netted the guy, and such cases often raise questions of entrapment.
Let's bring in our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and also former FBI Assistant Director Tom Fuentes, who worked with the FBI team that investigated the Mumbai terror attacks 3.5 years ago.
Tom, let's start with you. The complaint says a confidential tip led to the FBI to the suspect. But you know this from your work. law enforcement and the FBI gets hundreds if not thousands of these tips every day and every year. How do they determine this one warrants serious attention?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's exactly right. You get thousands and they begin to look at every single one to see if there's any credibility or any possibility of truth in it.
And fortunately, they weed out 99.99 percent of those reports as being unfounded or made up by somebody to get somebody else in trouble. So but when they get into an area where the subject, where it takes on credibility, where they start to believe this guy really means it, he's going to try to do something, he's looking for people to help him either assemble an explosive or obtain the firearms, provide the assistance he needs to carry it out, then that's when it takes on the much more serious aspects of the investigation.
J. KING: And, Tom, you have still got great sources in the bureau. Are they convinced this is a lone wolf and there's nobody out there who is part of this operation?
FUENTES: Yes, and that's something that is a key factor for them to determine when to take the case down, when to allow the subject to finally be arrested, assuming that they have all of the evidence they're going to need to convict him and have him sentenced to life in prison and at the same time make sure there isn't some unidentified subject somewhere else, anywhere else out in the world that may be part of this thing that didn't get arrested.
J. KING: And, Jeffrey, anytime you have an operation like this, undercover FBI agents, posing allegedly trying to help the person, help him with his plan, help him get the explosive, entrapment will inevitably be raised as an issue. Your sense of what you have heard so far in this case, how will that come up?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's important to remember, entrapment is often tried, rarely successful. It's a very difficult defense to persuade a jury. Jurors don't like it. They feel often it's just sort of the last refuge of someone caught red- handed.
So most of the time, it doesn't work. What is interesting about this case is that it appears that he was dealing only with people under government control. According to the complaint, there was Yusuf, who was apparently a law enforcement officer, and Hussein, who is someone who is cooperating with law enforcement. This does seem to be something that was set up by the government, but the key issue with entrapment is always predisposition. Is someone predisposed to commit the crime? And if the allegations in the complaint are true, this guy was really initiating here. He was asking for bigger explosives. He was considering different sites. Again, this is only an accusation, but based on what I have seen, I think entrapment is going to be a very difficult defense to raise.
J. KING: Jeffrey, let's stay on this a second because this is one of several cases now post 9/11 where it seemed the FBI identify a suspect or suspects and essentially infiltrate and work with them, a similar case like this. How is this evolving, the law enforcement role?
TOOBIN: Law enforcement has decided after 9/11, there's no such thing as taking a case not seriously.
They are taking everything seriously. They're pushing every case, and sometimes jurors have been somewhat reluctant. The Miami case, there were convictions, but not on the big charges. Upstate New York, some of these cases were not -- as they played out, they didn't turn into as big a case as they turned out to be.
But none of these people walk out the door. And this case, where you have an actual test explosion, I think that's going to be incredibly incriminating here. That is well beyond just talk. The defenses that have worked is this is just a bunch of people talking, but if you have people going to a test explosion, that's a very damaging piece of evidence if it pans out.
J. KING: Brian Todd, what do the court papers say about why the Capitol and why today?
TODD: Well, John, it just seemed to indicate every step of the way this was an escalation. He first came under their radar more than a year ago in January of 2011 when he apparently was espousing some extremist views and some people got wind of this, human intelligence sources got wind of this and notified the FBI and other enforcement agencies.
Then I just they just started to monitor him, according to what they're telling us throughout the year. This really escalated starting in December when they started working him undercover, and then it escalated from there, where the point where he was wanting to bomb a restaurant and handling an AK-47 and possibly wanting to shoot people, to then wanting bomb a military installation and then to hitting the United States Capitol.
It seemed to escalate. Why today? That's not really been made clear in any of the documents or with the officials we have talked to, but it did escalate to the point where he now was a ready and willing suicide bomber inside the United States.
J. KING: And, Tom Fuentes, this is the third lone wolf, alleged lone wolf arrested in the last year for planning to hit targets in the D.C. area. What does that tell you? FUENTES: Well, it tells us that these lone wolves are incapable of doing it all by themselves, and that's the basic vulnerability they have for being apprehended. They reach out to try to get somebody that knows something more about explosives or firearms or can get the equipment they need or provide some type of logistical support.
That's where the breakdown is, and it's the old story of how many people can keep a secret, one can, two can't. And so as soon as they reach out, that creates the vulnerability for law enforcement to be notified and to try infiltrate into the plan.
TOOBIN: And, John, the FBI is just a lot better at this they than used to be.
TOOBIN: They know how to do this and they have enormous sources, and I think this kind of arrest should be a source of comfort to people, not alarm.
J. KING: That's an important point. Jeffrey Toobin, Tom Fuentes, Brian Todd, thanks for your help on this breaking news.
And let us know what you think, we're on Facebook and Google+, add us to your circles. Or you can follow me on Twitter @JohnKingCNN. I will be tweeting throughout the program tonight.
And up next, Rick Santorum's billionaire backer makes a tasteless joke about birth control, Rick Santorum attacks the media for asking about it and levels some serious charges. Do they stand up to a fact- check? We're "Keeping Them Honest."
And later, saying goodbye to Whitney Houston. We will have a live report from the church where music royalty is gathering and we will also hear from a Gospel great pastor, Marvin Winans, who harmonized with Whitney and was her friend through the highs and the lows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: You were there for her wedding and you're there for her coming home in a celebration of her life this weekend. What -- how do you even go about writing the words that you're going to say? Do you know what you're going to say?
MARVIN WINANS, PASTOR: Well, it's about praying and, you know, folk will talk about doing the eulogy. My job is not that of a eulogist. In technical terms, my job is a homilist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
J. KING: "Keeping Them Honest" now, politicians bellyaching about the tough and sometimes not so tough questions they face, complaining about gotcha questions and double standards. Working the ref, in this case the news media, instead of making the play.
The latest member of the gotcha gang is Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum, being asked about a billionaire supporter's controversial remarks on birth control, these remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER FRIESS, FOUNDER, FRIESS ASSOCIATES: I get such a chuckle when these things come out.
Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps set up in Central -- in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are.
And the contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's such inexpensive. Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptions. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Excuse me. I'm just trying to catch my breath from that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
J. KING: That's Foster Friess knocking -- MSNBC's breathless there Andrea Mitchell. He apologized today.
Before listening to Senator Santorum's reaction, when he was asked about it, you should know Mr. Friess is a major backer we're talking about here. He's given thousands of dollars to the pro- Santorum super PAC. A big deal, which is why CBS' Charlie Rose asked the senator today about his supporter's gaffe. Here's part of Santorum's reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you quote a supporter of mine who tells a bad off-color joke and somehow I'm responsible for that, that's gotcha.
CHARLIE ROSE, HOST, "THE CHARLIE ROSE SHOW": But nobody said you were responsible, Senator. Nobody said you were responsible.
ROSE: They said how would you characterize it and what had you said to him, not that you're responsible. It's to understand how you differ from what this person said. So let me quote you.
SANTORUM: Well, I'm not going to have to respond to every -- every supporter who says something now, I'm going to have to respond to it.
SANTORUM: Look, this is what you guys do. You don't do this -- you don't do this with President Obama.
In fact, in fact, with President Obama, what you did was you went out and defended him against someone who he sat in -- in a church for, for 20 years and defended him that, oh, he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years.
SANTORUM: This is a double standard. This is what you're pulling off. And I'm going to call you on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
J. KING: Later, online at "The National Review," Senator Santorum went a bit further, saying -- quote -- "You know, reporters sit there and they say nothing while for 20 years President Obama sits in a church with a guy who is a racist."
Senator Santorum went on to say, "And somehow or another, Foster Friess is now who I am. This is just crap."
So he's making two claims there, double standard and gotcha journalism. "Keeping Them Honest" though the first claim just doesn't stand up to the facts. We will get to that in a moment.
The gotcha claim, however, that's more subjective. You can decide for yourself what is fair game and what is not. One thing is clear, though. The candidates sure spend plenty of time complaining about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This isn't just some Mickey Mouse game of sitting around playing gotcha and being clever.
HERMAN CAIN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are some journalists who only play gotcha journalism.
GINGRICH: Gotcha questions that are just silly and that waste our time.
GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: We can sit here and, you know, play I got you questions.
GINGRICH: Gotcha kind of questions.
CAIN: I'm ready for the gotcha questions.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: It's a gotcha question.
GINGRICH: Gotcha questions.
SANTORUM: These gotcha questions. GINGRICH: And I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
J. KING: So, keeping ourselves honest, we tried hard to find some examples of Democrats making the gotcha complaint.
We only found one, retiring Congressman Barney Frank telling NBC's Savannah Guthrie that these days it's saying gotcha this, gotcha that, gotcha journalism and gotcha politics.
As for Senator Santorum's other complaint of a double standard, that reporters -- quote -- "sat there and said nothing" -- unquote -- about President Obama's controversial former pastor, well, judge for yourself.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We begin with a new controversy on the campaign trail. That's right, a new one, at issue, Barack Obama's pastor, this man, and the fiery remarks he's made.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Now Barack Obama is being questioned about racially charged remarks once made by his pastor.
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Tonight: Barack Obama on the defensive this week explaining his views on race and his former pastor.
CHARLES GIBSON, ABC NEWS: If you knew he got rough in sermons, why did it take you more than a year to publicly disassociate from his remarks?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Do you think Reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?
BILL O'REILLY, HOST, "THE O'REILLY FACTOR": So you never heard those comments?
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hadn't heard those comments.
O'REILLY: He was selling them in the lobby of the church.
OBAMA: What can I tell you?
O'REILLY: How many times did you go to church a month?
L. KING: Most people would be saying, why not just leave the church of Reverend Wright?
COOPER: He said that black people shouldn't sing God bless America, but say God damn America. There's a lot of folks in America right now who have heard that and want to ask you why you have been listening to this pastor and close to him for nearly 20 years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's a small sampling, actually a tiny sampling there of a lot of coverage. According to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, the Wright-Obama story at its peak made up 42 percent of political coverage.
The next biggest political story during that period time was the gasoline tax at just 7 percent.
A lot to talk about. Let's bring in Republican strategist Mary Matalin and also senior political analyst Ron Brownstein. He is also "The National Journal"'s editorial director.
Ron, to you first.
Senator Santorum turning this on the media, is this how a front- runner handles tough questions?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, we know -- and I guy you know as well as anybody that there's a lot of juice in the Republican primary at times for attacking the media.
And certainly the conservative base of the Republican Party -- it's not new, a longstanding way -- is suspicious of the mainstream media and believes they don't get a fair shake from them. There's nothing that is going to really shake that conviction, so there is always some opportunity there.
But I think we have reached a point in the Republican race where this is really secondary and not nearly as potentially combustible as it was in South Carolina with Newt Gingrich. We're down to, I think in the eyes of Republican voters, a real choice between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum primarily. And I actually think it's going to be much more kind of tangential than it was earlier in the contest.
KING: Mary, you have been involved in a lot of campaigns.
If a major supporter -- this is not a minor supporter -- if a major supporter says something outrageous, is it out of the realm just to ask the candidate, what do you think about this?
MARY MATALIN, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: No, and I think Santorum's frustration is he's right on the precipice of consolidating the not-Romney vote, and he's up in Michigan, more significantly, he's up in Ohio, and he's rightly frustrated by it.
And Ron is exactly right that it leverages a preexisting opinion of conservatives that there is a double standard. Yes, he should have been asked. Yes, he did distance -- not just distance from -- and it was despicable. Mr. Friess is an otherwise lovely man who said a really stupid thing.
But I know a lot of men who say a lot of stupid things about women, and Ron is exactly right, this isn't going to turn any votes, and no voter is going to otherwise not vote for Santorum because of his reaction to his supporter. KING: Well, let's get to the places and the issues where they might vote for him or against him.
Mary mentioned Michigan and Ohio. Ron, we know Mitt Romney has been doing better with white-collar voters, Santorum doing better with blue-collar voters in the polling. Does he have the blue-collar appeal or is there a potential downside?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, in terms of actual practice so far, the exit polls we have seen in the five states where we have had them, clearly there's a class skew of Mitt Romney support.
He's a stronger candidate for what I have called the managerial wing of the Republican Party, more upscale voters, better educated voters, less religious voters, non-evangelicals.
Santorum, we impute a blue-collar appeal. We all think it should be there because he has a blue-collar background. He grew up in a western Pennsylvania town, and he talks about rebuilding manufacturing. But so far, in fact, John, he has not run better downscale than upscale, he really hasn't run better among non-college than college or less affluent than more affluent.
So the question really becomes can he begin to consolidate those voters, because not only Michigan, but then Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma are all places where that portion of the Republican Party is the dominant part of the electorate. Those other three states vote on Super Tuesday and if he can win in Michigan, I think it would give him a lot of momentum going into those places and an opportunity to really change the dynamic of the race in a very significant way.
KING: Well, Mary, what happens, what happens? Senator Santorum if you look at the polls, he's leading in Michigan. That's where Mitt Romney was born, and that's where his dad was both governor and the CEO of the American Motors Corporation.
If Rick Santorum can beat Mitt Romney in Michigan, what happens in the Republican Party?
MATALIN: Well, Ron, and he wrote a really good piece on this today, he's exactly right. There's no -- so far, no electoral evidence of his attracting these voters, these downscale voters, if you will, or religious voters or whatever.
But in Michigan, he is -- he is culturally more like Michigan than Romney is. You and I worked there. Macomb County was the original Reagan Democrats. It's that sort of swing vote.
MATALIN: Santorum. Sorry. Pardon me.
So I think if he -- it would be like -- I mean, it is losing. Romney would be losing his home state. Then you go to Ohio. And he got a really significant endorsement today, Santorum, from senator, former Senator, current A.G. DeWine, a switch from Romney. So these are -- why this is significantly obviously are these are the swing states. Romney doesn't get any credit for winning states that we're never going to win in the general, and that is where he's winning. But that's where he -- Ohio and Michigan is where this race is going to be won or lost and other states, obviously, but if Santorum can do that, Ron is right again, big shift.
BROWNSTEIN: Hey, John?
KING: Yes, go ahead, Ron.
BROWNSTEIN: Real quick point. One of the reasons Barack Obama was nominated in 2008 was because of the composition of the Democratic electorate had changed.
It had grown more upscale over the years. And that's where he was strongest, better with those college-educated voters. Santorum's opportunity here is really rooted in the fundamental change in the Republican electorate over the last 20 years. There are lot more of the populist blue-collar voters than there used to be. The kind of voters who are more drawn toward Romney are less dominant than they once were.
And if you look at many of these places that are coming up on the calendar, if Santorum can plant that flag there and kind of fill the vacuum that Romney's difficulty with those voters creates, he has some real opportunities, because there are a lot of states now where that's a big portion, if not a majority portion of the Republican electorate.
KING: And those Midwestern industrial states, a lot of small rural states on the schedule as well.
Ron Brownstein, Mary Matalin, fasten your seat belts. Thanks for your time tonight.
KING: Still ahead here, saying goodbye to Whitney Houston. Family and friends will gather tomorrow for her funeral, among them, music royalty. A live report from Newark, New Jersey -- just ahead.
Also, remembering Anthony Shadid, one of the premier journalists of his generation. He died in Syria yesterday doing what he did so well and so bravely. His colleague Stephen Farrell shares his memories ahead.
Plus, new video. You won't want to miss this. It appears to show the Syrian military firing on the Baba Amr neighborhood of Homs. It's an angle we don't often see.
KING: In New Jersey today, flags flew at half staff to honor Whitney Houston, a local daughter who achieved so much, a musical legend who died too young.
There will be a private funeral for Houston tomorrow at her childhood church where she sang in the choir and developed her enormous talent. A private viewing of her body was held today for family members.
Outside the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, Houston's fans have been paying tribute, mourning the loss of an artist who once seemed unstoppable, the glamorous singer with the formidable voice who ruled the pop charts in the '80s and the '90s, who turned out hit after chart-topping hit, collected Grammy after Grammy, and shattered records as she made them.
But it's these pictures taken just two nights before Houston's death that many are looking at to find clues. They show Houston leaving a pre-Grammy party where she performed a duet with singer Kelly Price and where she also drank champagne, according to Price. Less than 48 hours later, Houston was dead.
And now almost a week later, with toxicology tests pending, investigators are focusing on prescription drugs found in Houston's hotel room. Who prescribed them? Where she got them? And how she's spent her final hours.
At Newark tonight, that is not the focus. Jason Carroll joins me now live.
Jason, we know a private viewing was held for the family today, what can you tell us about that?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Just incredibly sad, John. You know, I was out there a little earlier this evening, the funeral home located just about ten minutes from where I am right now.
During that time in private viewing , we saw people like Cissy Houston show up with Bobbi Kristina was there as well, Clive Davis showing up for the private viewing. This was only for close family, only for close friends. As I was standing out there, they tried to keep this as dignified as possible, John. So, they had the street blocked off in both directions. They were keeping the public across the streets. Even on the entrance of the funeral home on the side, they had a white sheet set up so people coming and going could just have as much privacy as possible during this very emotional time.
KING: And Jason, what's the latest that we can expect to see at tomorrow's funeral service?
CARROLL: Well, you know, you keep hearing about this list that just keeps growing about people who will be coming out to perform, people who knew Whitney Houston, who are close to her. People like Aretha Franklin. Stevie Wonder will be singing as well. Alicia Keys will be lending her voice to the service tomorrow. Kevin Costner will be coming out, he will be speaking here tomorrow when the funeral gets underway at noon. Bobby Brown will be here as well.
When I spoke to the pastor here at the New Hope Baptist church, he said there will definitely be a lot of tears here tomorrow, but he also said it will be a celebration of what Whitney Houston did best, and that is singing.
So, there will be hearing a lot of that tomorrow. Just as we have been standing out here from front of the church, we have been hearing the choir practice, hearing the echoes of the choir. People coming out and still gathering in front of the church, John, because you know. This is the last moment that people are really going to be able to get out, at least people from the public and pay their respects.
So, they are still coming out and bringing cards and letters. In fact, I heard from one man who said I came down, I came up with South Carolina. I wanted to be here. I know I can't come for the funeral, but I wanted to come out and pay my respects because Cissy Houston taught me to sing when I was in choir at the New Hope Baptist church. I just think that lends to what we have been hearing so much out here about how Whitney Houston really never lost her roots and her touch with the community here. But, unfortunately, so many people here in the community are not going to be able to attend here tomorrow. It's a private ceremony here tomorrow. It is going to be by invitation only.
That church seats about 1,500 people. Everyone else not on the invite list is going to be held at least two blocks away -- John.
KING: Jason Carroll live in Newark tonight. Jason, thanks.
As Jason noted, quite a scene outside the funeral home, let's give you a look at it in Newark. Whitney Houston's body was brought early this week.
Fans keep coming by, paying their respects, leaving flowers, candles, balloons, leaving messages in some cases. As we've said, gospel singer and pastor, Marvin Winans will deliver the eulogy. BeBe and CeCe Winans are his siblings.
The Houstons and the Winans have been close for decades. To the Winans, Whitney was family. That much is clear from Anderson's recent interview with Pastor Winans.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining me now, gospel singer and pastor of the New Perfecting Church of Detroit, Marvin Winans.
Reverend, I appreciate you being with us, Pastor. You and your family, obviously, so close to the Houston family. How is -- how is your family doing and how is -- how is Whitney's family doing? PASTOR MARVIN WINANS, FRIEND OF HOUSTON FAMILY: Well, my -- my mother, after we had heard it, she said she felt as if she had lost one of her children. And I said, "Mom, it's because you have."
And talking with Cissy, just you know, when I called, I said, "Mom, it's going to be all right."
Faith plays a great part in how we cope with uncertainties in life. It is not something that we run from in difficulty. It's something that we run to. So, by the grace of God, everyone is holding up pretty well.
COOPER: You were there for her wedding, and you're there for her coming home, and a celebration of her life this weekend. What -- how do you even go about writing the words that you're going to say? I mean, do you know what you're going to say?
WINANS: Well, it's -- it's about praying and, you know, folk will talk about doing the eulogy. My job is not that of a eulogist. In technical term, my job is the homilist. And my -- my job is to speak on behalf of God as it relates to where we are and how we go further.
So we pray, we speak from our heart, and we allow the holy spirit to lead us so we might begin to minister hope and healing to those who are there.
COOPER: And how do you give that? I mean, obviously, you said faith is extraordinarily important. But you know, in times like this, people -- people question their faith and say, you know, why would a young woman be taken from us with such talent and such potential and such life ahead of her?
WINANS: Well, the wonderful thing about salvation is that it is a choice. And as I was talking to some people the other day, I thought about an old gospel song that says, "We are our heavenly father's children, and he loves us one and all. Yet, there are times when we will answer to another's beck and call."
And so, salvation is constantly a choice. It is a constant vigil of doing the right things. It's not a blame game on God that somehow God just took Whitney from us. It is a fact that we have choices, and the choices that we make may not be the best choices. But just as a son or daughter may disappoint their father, doesn't mean that he doesn't love them.
COOPER: You and I were talking right before the show, and I was asking what you want to get across. And one of the things you said to me was really important, which is that the importance of praising people and telling them how much you care about them and love them in their life, not just after they've passed.
WINANS: It is amazing. And we take life and love for granted so often. As you play that video of Bebe and CeCe, Whitney was actually supposed to sing with the Winans first. But we ran into some contractual problems, and she ended up with Bebe and CeCe. But just as a family, we lost our brother Ronald, and Whitney came and sat with us and rode with us to the cemetery. And that's what families do. We rally around each other when someone is hurting. We lay aside what we do professionally, and we find the time to be there. The power of presence is so great.
And so, people need to learn how to say, "I love you" and "I miss you."
Last week, Whitney was alive. I was here preaching. There were no cameras. No one was calling me.
But since her death, you know, we're fighting off news agencies, simply because they don't understand that we lost a sister. This is not a break or an opportunity. We are really hurting and seriously grieving. And it amazes me the -- the insensitivity of the media when it comes to things like this.
COOPER: I think, you know, the -- often people see this as -- you know, reporters see this as a news story, and there's facts to get out for family in the epicenter of this. In a family of friends, it is -- it's not a story; it is life and death. It is heart break.
COOPER: And a heart break that never heals.
WINANS: It's -- it's someone that was there, and now you can no longer speak to them. And maybe you didn't tell them that you loved them. Maybe you -- if you had known, you would have did some things differently. And so, there's a lot of questions, a lot of things that go through minds: "Why wasn't I there? Why didn't I help? What if I had picked up the phone? What if I went and got her?"
And you have to reconcile all of that within yourself, and you miss that person so greatly.
COOPER: TI think a lot of her fans, you know, wanted some sort of public service that they could take part in. For you, the importance of it being private and of it being family is -- is clear, no?
WINANS: I don't think, knowing Cissy and the Houston family, I don't think it was a matter of public or private, as it was "This is my daughter. This is my sister. This is my mother. This is my friend. And we want to do this with dignity. We don't want to have a parade."
We loved her when she was Nippy in New Jersey. The world loves her because of her voice. But if Nippy could not sing, the Houston family would love her.
And I knew that Momma Houston would do it the way she wanted it done. We're going to church, and we're not going to be worried about if the world can get in. We are going to lay our daughter to rest in the confines and the tradition of what we do. COOPER: There's so many people around the world listening to her music and sadly now who weren't listening to it last week, and -- but I hope you know that there are -- and I hope the family knows that there are just countless people around the world who are sending them their prayers.
And I wish you the best. And it's going to be a difficult weekend for you.
WINANS: It will be difficult, but God answers prayer, and prayer changes things, people and circumstances.
COOPER: Pastor Winans, I really appreciate you being on tonight. Thank you, sir.
WINANS: Thank you.
KING: This quick programming note: CNN will have complete coverage of the funeral tomorrow on CNN and CNN.com. Whitney Houston, her life, her music, starting at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
And coming up, remembering Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Anthony Shadid, who has died at almost 43 years old. Today, I spoke with a friend and colleague who was held captive in Libya along with Shadid and two other journalists last year. His memories of Anthony Shadid.
And next, a 360 exclusive: stunning video that apparently shows Syria's violent crackdown from a whole new point of view. That from the armed gunmen the Assad government insists don't exist. And a live report from inside Syria, next.
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KING: Tonight, a 360 exclusive, a chilling new perspective on the bloody government crackdown in Syria.
New video has been leaked, and it appears to show the violence from the point of view of the snipers, opening fire on an already devastated city of Homs. Remember, the Syrian government has said time and time and time again there is no armed conflict. Really? Take a look.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (speaking foreign language)
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KING: We don't know exactly who leaked this video, and CNN has not confirmed what it shows, but the pictures, again, you can tell a very different story than Syria's official line. Just yesterday, remember, Syrian's ambassador to the United Nations insisted there is no war, he said, no armed conflict. The opposition tells a different story, saying at least 61 more people killed just today, and sadly, it could be about to get even worse.
CNN's Arwa Damon joins us on the phone now. She is near Homs tonight.
Arwa, there are reports a major new onslaught could be coming. What are you hearing about that?
ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it certainly seems, at least from what we have been hearing from various sources, that the Syrian military is trying to beef up its presence, especially around that flashpoint neighborhood of Abba Amad (ph). Residents are bracing themselves for the worse.
And you have to remember that when we say they're bracing themselves for the worse, they have also just entered the 14th day straight of intense shelling by Syrian security forces.
The intensity, the level of the shelling that was taking place throughout the day today was quite simply some of the heaviest that we have seen since we were actually inside the city just a few days ago. Numbers of casualties have been rushed to the field hospital, and most of the residents are trying to keep themselves safe, but they're struggling just to be able to do that.
Inside bunkers, you know, women, children, men. All of them, they grab at you, wanting to tell you some sort of story about a loved one who died.
Food supplies are running incredibly low. We met with the head of the humanitarian office there. This, again, newly set up in the last few months trying to deal with this ongoing crisis. And he was saying that they have not received food supplies for three weeks. In another week, he said, people are going to begin to starve to death. And everyone is concerned.
As you mentioned, there's that potentially imminent military operation. They've already suffered 14 days of constant shelling, and now they are dreading the moment that Syrian security forces are going to come through in a full-force, sweep the entire neighborhood, and effectively knock over everybody.
KING: And Arwa, you mentioned food is in short supply, medical supplies are almost nonexistent, and there's this threat of an onslaught. If the Syrian military comes through, how deep of a humanitarian crisis? And is there anything to fight back? Is there any organized force to fight back?
DAMON: You know, John, the humanitarian crisis, I mean, it is on the verge of being a complete and total disaster. Food supplies are running down, medical supplies incredibly hard to come by. Getting those types of things in involves a fairly elaborate smuggling network to try to bypass government checkpoints. But even when they do try to bring those sorts of things in via those routes, they're not able to bring in the quantities that they need. There are consistently, on a regular basis, people at these makeshift medical clinics inside the city, especially in (UNINTELLIGIBLE), who are dying, quite simply because they are unable to get the care that they need.
When it comes to the capabilities of the Free Syrian Army, this is very much a one-sided war. What they have at their disposal -- AK- 47s, rocket-propelled grenades and a lot of courage and determination -- but one faces what the Syrian government has in terms of artillery, tanks, the armor. They're really absolutely no match whatsoever, which is exactly why we've been hearing this consistent call for international intervention.
And people are quite simply unable to fathom how it is that the international community has been watching what they're going through and is somehow unable to unite and take concrete action.
You know, as female medic put it as we were speaking to her in the hospital when she was standing at the foot of a bed of a colleague who later on died, she said, "These are human beings. We're not talking about stone. This is flesh and blood. How many Syrians have to die? What is that magic number that's going to force people to do something to stop this bloodshed?"
KING: Arwa Damon, breathtakingly brave, reporting from inside Syria tonight. Arwa, thank you. Stay safe.
Another correspondent who defied the Syrian regime to bring back the truth has paid for it with his life. "New York Times" reporter Anthony Shadid died of an apparent asthma attack while reporting in Syria. He was just 43 years old with a wife and two children.
Shadid covered the Middle East for nearly two decades for the "Times," "The Washington Post," and the Associated Press. Last year, he and three other "New York Times" journalists were held captive in Libya for nearly a week.
"New York Times" foreign correspondent Stephen Farrell was one of them. Earlier, I spoke with him about his memories of his friend and colleague.
KING: Stephen Farrell, you knew and worked with Anthony for nearly a decade in some very dangerous situations together, including being held by Libyan forces back in 2011. What stands out about your friend and this journalist? What do you want people watching to know about him?
STEPHEN FARRELL, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": I think of Anthony Shadid, you have to say he had a very rare combination of gifts. A journalist is gifted in different ways, but with Anthony, he had not only the courage to go to places that needed to be gone to. But when he was there, he had the language skills, the Arabic, and he was steeped in the culture, the religion, the society, the people. And so he could gather, he could collect a vast amount of information, much more than many -- many other correspondents.
But many correspondents speak Arabic, many can gather. His extra rare talent was to condense that, to crystallize it, and to write it in a way that magnified the import of what he was reporting on. And to bring to people in a very poetic way what was happening in these areas.
So really, the full range: the ability to get there, the ability to understand what was going on, the ability to express that in words that could be matched by few, and almost a unique ability to put it in context, to see the microcosm, and the regional microcosm.
KING: And so many risks, Stephen, Anthony took, and you know this first hand. Kidnapped, beaten by Gadhafi's forces, he was shot in Ramallah. He was in Syria dying on an assignment, coming out of Syria. What drove him to keep going back into danger?
FARRELL: Anthony was a foreign correspondent. I think that he would have described himself as a war correspondent. He was a foreign correspondent.
When you're a foreign correspondent and as passionate and committed as he was, certainly to the region in which he was working, you know, he was driven by a desire. We talked about it after Libya. We sat down. We had conversations. He was driven by a desire to report people's stories, to be there, to tell people what was happening on the front line or in places that you can't just report sitting in your office or in your bedroom, 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 miles away.
And I was actually looking at a piece, an excerpt from his book on Iraq, earlier on today, and he described his decision to stay in Baghdad in early 2003, when the bombing was going on.
And he said he wanted to be there because he didn't want to be part of some media-managed embedded, if you like, operation. He wanted to be where the bombs were falling, where the human cost was being felt, and he wanted to report that and tell people the cost of war. That's what drove him.
KING: And yet, someone who was so often in danger, so much around chaos, around the bombs falling, as you say it, you talk to friends and colleagues, and the word they use over and over again describing him is "gentle." Would you describe him that way?
FARRELL: He was, certainly. He had his drive; he had his ambition. He did have a passion.
But yes, there was no sense of competition or meanness or desire to squeeze people out. He was very generous with his time, very generous with his language skills. Very generous with his knowledge. Yes, he was -- he was not a person who flapped, who was flustered in a crisis. Yes, he was -- I think that is a fair description of him.
KING: And Anthony Shadid was with Tyler Hicks when he died, and you've worked with both of them. What made them such a good team, good partners in the field?
FARRELL: Well, I mean, I was with them in Libya and with our colleague Lynsey Addario when we were captured a year ago. And Tyler is utterly unflappable. I mean, my heart goes out to him. He had to bring Anthony's -- Anthony's body out of Syria. And if there's anybody you would want to be in a crisis with, it's Tyler.
And Anthony had the knowledge of a region, the ability to know what was going on around him, the -- I would say the empathy to deal with people, and the street smarts. So yes, they were a team. And it's so hard to talk about them as were, was.
KING: Stephen Farrell, thank you so much for your time on this difficult day.
KING: A lot more happening tonight. We'll bring it to you next, including this: for a place that's 10,000 degrees hot, well, it's pretty cool. NASA's new images of the surface of the sun.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Susan Hendricks with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
In Pakistan, at least 19 people died in an explosion at a market. Forty-two people were injured in that blast, which happened in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
Congress today passed a deal to extend the payroll tax cut. The bipartisan deal also extends unemployment benefits. Now, President Obama has promised to sign the bill as soon as he gets back from his trip to the West Coast.
And you have to see this. NASA has released pretty cool satellite images of the surface of the sun, complete with what looks like solar tornados. They are actually competing magnetic forces that create swirls that you see here, each of which would be big enough to engulf the whole planet Earth.
Pretty neat. John, back to you.
KING: Thank you, Susan. I'm such a geek, I think I'm going to watch more of that when I get home.
We'll be right back.
KING: That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.