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Funeral for Chris Kyle Today; $1 Million Reward Offered for Christopher Dorner; Pope Benedict Tenders His Resignation; 42 Million Credit Report Mistakes.

Aired February 11, 2013 - 11:30   ET



ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Sacrifice and service defined Chris Kyle's life. Kyle was a Navy SEAL, a decorated sniper, gunned down by a fellow Iraq veteran at a Texas shooting range earlier this month. Today, thousands are packing into Cowboy Stadium to remember him. And if you wonder why so many people called Kyle a hero, you are about to find out.

Here is Ed Lavandera.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friends describe Chris Kyle as a larger-than-life Texan. He was considered the most lethal sniper in United States military history. He had at least 160 confirmed kills during four tours of duty in the Iraq war.

CHRIS KYLE, NAVY SEAL & SNIPER: My only regrets are the guys I couldn't save. That's what keeps me up at night. But every shot I took, I felt extremely justified.

LAVANDERA: He wrote in his autobiography, "American Sniper," that killing so many people never bothered him. You do it, he wrote, so the enemy won't kill you or your countrymen. You do it until there's no one left for you to kill. That's what war is, and I loved what I did.

PAT KILBANE, HOST, INSIDE THE TEAM ROOM: He was a guardian of the Marines when he was deployed. And when he came home, he remained a guardian.

LAVANDERA: Chris Kyle's military career almost never happened. A Texas kid, who dreamed of ranching and rodeos, he was seriously injured when a bucking bronco flipped on top of him. Doctors had to put screws in his wrist. So the first time he tried to join the Navy, he failed the physical. But eventually, the Navy changed its mind, and Kyle was on the way to becoming a Navy SEAL.

Kyle's battlefield conquests are legendary. His book tells the story of looking through the crosshairs of his rifle, seeing an Iraqi insurgent preparing to fire a rocket on an American convoy. Kyle shot and killed the insurgent from 2100 yards away.

He joked with comedian, Conan O'Brien, that it was a lucky shot.


KYLE: I definitely cheated. I used a ballistic computer that tells me everything to do, so I'm just a monkey on a gun.



LAVANDERA: But war taught Kyle that he was not invincible. He wrote about sneaking into Sadr city, shot twice, his life saved by his helmet and a plate of body armor.

The intensity of war made transitioning to civilian life difficult.

KYLE: It's tough. You go from being military to civilian. Our job identified who we are. It's heroic, it's honorable, you're doing it for the greater good and, all of a sudden, you don't have an identity. You have to learn a whole new way to act, because you can't act the same way we do at work out in public. People think you're a savage or something.

LAVANDERA: Chris Kyle left the Navy and started a security business, but his most important work was helping fellow war veteran's battle post-traumatic stress disorder. And that's what apparently brought him to a gun range with his alleged killer, Eddie Ray Routh.

UNIDENTIFIED FRIEND OF KYLE: He was going there to get this kid to hang out with him, to get his mind off of whatever it was on and just have a good time, just on get him out of the house. He was there to hang out with him as a fellow veteran.

LAVANDERA: Chris Kyle saw his life duty as watching over fellow soldiers in harm's way. He proved, toward the end of his life, that he didn't always need a sniper's rifle to do that.


LAVANDERA: And, Ashleigh, as his friends described him, a larger- than-life Texan. The funeral services will be held at the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in just a few hours. And interestingly enough, the eulogies will take place on the 50 yard line right there on the Dallas Cowboys star in the middle of the field. And all of this will end tomorrow. His body will then be taken for burial in Austin, a 200-mile drive. And friends and family are asking that people to turn out and line the roads of the interstates all the way down to Austin, more than 200 miles away -- Ashleigh?


BANFIELD: Oh, wow. That would be so remarkable. I'm glad they chose a venue that big, Ed. He's a hero to them and the rest of us.

Ed Lavandera, live for us at Texas stadium in Arlington. Thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: More now on the massive manhunt in southern California for Christopher Dorner, the fired L.A. policeman accused of killing three people. Los Angeles is now offering $1 million for his capture. And the police chief has decided to reopen the case that led to Dorner's firing in the first place back in 2007.

Joining us now, our legal team of experts on this story, CNN legal contributor, Paul Callan; CNN legal analyst, Sunni Hostin; and in Atlanta, TV Judge Glenda Hatchet, who was the first African-American woman to be named a chief presiding judge of the juvenile court in Georgia.

Paul, let me start with you.

Police offices seen taking about 10 grocery bagged-sized bags of evidence out of his mother's house. Weigh in on what they might have been able to retrieve from her house and why it would matter in the search for where he is now.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, anytime police are looking for a fugitive, they're looking for clues as to whether he might travel next. And certainly, you know, people have a tendency to reach out to their relatives. Maybe not his mother, it would be too obvious. Maybe cousins or people who live in other states. So certainly you might find clues in the mother's house. That's part one, tracking him down. Part two is maybe he was planning the crime using the computer or other things at the home. There may be evidence gathering going on there as well.

BANFIELD: Planning for a prosecution possibly.

CALLAN: Yes, planning for a prosecution.

BANFIELD: Sunny Hostin, weight in, if you would, jump in on this.

The idea that the L.A. police chief is calling this technically a domestic act of terrorism, we're already seeing the $1 million reward being offered. Does this change the dynamics of the game at this point in the hunt for this suspect?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I certainly think it's possible. Now you will have the resources perhaps of the federal government coming to bear and not only the LAPD. So framing it in that way can be helpful to law enforcement.

And I also think, sort of piggybacking on what Paul said, I think at this point it's a desperate manhunt, yes, but they need to get into the mind of this guy and understand what his motivations are. And you have the FBI profilers that can help with that. I think they're probably the best in the world at that.

And the evidence that they took out of his mother's home is likely to help frame what motivates this guy to do it. Yes, we've learned a lot from the manifesto, but I don't think that's enough because they still haven't found him.

BANFIELD: And, Glenda Hatchett, in all your years of going what you do, I suppose this won't surprise you, but there are support groups for Dorner popping up online, Facebook pages. One person saying, "I propose electing a man for president actually who could no longer sit idly by and watch his malicious tyrants abuse the innocent." Again, this is someone supporting Dorner, who allegedly killed family members of police to make his case. Does anything like this surprise you when you see people like this showing up?

JUDGE GLENDA HATCHETT, TV JUDGE: It doesn't surprise me. I've been on the bench for years and years and it doesn't surprise me. But I do think it will be very interesting because this million-dollar reward may well flush out some people who might have otherwise been sympathetic to him. We know the L.A. Police Department has had a history of some questionable incidents. So it doesn't surprise me that there are people on the fringe who really are sympathetic and these sites are popping up.

BANFIELD: I want the three of to you hold on because I have more questions for you coming up.

A quick programming note, as well. You can go inside the mind of an ex-cop and accused killer. "The Manhunt for Christopher Dorner," tonight on "A.C. 360." That begins at 8:00 eastern on CNN.


BANFIELD: Prepare the smoke. We're going to have a new pope. The current pope, Benedict, has tendered his resignation. He did so this morning. He says it's because of his age and his health. The pope's brother tells CNN that the two of them have actually been discussing the resignation for some time now. Pope Benedict turns 86 years old this coming April.

And joining me now is Miguel Diaz, the former U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, who recently, in fact as recently as November, was with the pope observing his holiness firsthand. He is now professor of faith and culture at the University of Dayton. And also, joining us from the Miami bureau, is our guest, Father Albert Cutier, who is an Episcopal priest and a former Roman Catholic. He's also the author of "Dilemma, A Priest's Struggle with Faith and Love." Father Cutier struggled with the faith after falling in love and leaving the church to be with his now wife.

Let me begin with you, Professor.

Boy, the cardinal here in New York, Cardinal Dolan, was astounded by this. Found out from Matt Lauer, essentially, on the "Today" show. Phil Donahue, the head of the Catholic League, astonished by this. You're not so surprised. Why?

MIGUEL DIAZ, PROFESSOR OF FAITH AND CULTURE, UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON & FORMER AMBASSADOR TO THE VATICAN: I woke up this morning with the news. But for a number of years, in fact, the last couple of years, there's been speculation about this possibility. The pope himself spoke about this in his book, "Light of the World," in which he was asked whether it was asked whether it was possible for a pope to step down, and he said surely for a number of reasons, including the reasons that he has named and stated for stepping down. A pope should, in fact, sometimes has the obligation to step down. So I do -- I'm not surprised that Pope Benedict has decided to step down.

And, Father Cutier, I want you to weigh in on the timing of all of this. We are right before Easter and Lent. Is there anything to that? I think some people are curious that there might be something more going on than just ill health, time to go.

FATHER ALBERT CUTIER, EPISCOPAL PRIEST, FORMER ROMAN CATHOLIC & AUTHOR: Well, Lent is a time of conversion and change, so the timing is interesting, because obviously we're all in this process of conversion together.

I want to tell you that Pope Benedict, who I had the pleasure to meet on several occasions, always struck me as a man that was more of an intellectual, more of an academic person than a pastoral person or a person who wanted to do this type of work. He wasn't much of a media person, wasn't much of a big communicator. But he is a man of ideas. So maybe what he's trying to tell the world is I'm stepping down because my time has come. And it hasn't happened since the 1400s, but there's no reason why it can't happen.


CUTIER: What's strange about it for me is there's a provision in Canon Law that most bishops use when there is a reason to step down. That's what's odd about the way the announcement came about. Why resign for health reasons if the pope looks to be in perfectly good health and even the spokesperson hasn't identified a specific illness. There's something that seems strange about it.

BANFIELD: Miguel Diaz, maybe you can weigh in on that. Since you were with him in November, what was your take on his health, on his capabilities? We're going from a penultimate pope being incapable of speaking and thinking that was a good reason to step down, and he didn't, to this pope who seems to be in good health. What's your take?

DIAZ: I think this is a moment of -- an action of great grace that has in many ways given permission for future popes to recognize, especially in this modern era that we live in, where we live longer. It's giving a wonderful gesture and a wonderful example to recognize both as transcendence of the human spirit as well as the limitations of the human body. And for the past few years, we've seen how the pope has -- his fatigue in terms of his engagements around the world and in Rome. And so any one of us in our 40s or 50s begin already to feel some weight of activity. Imagine the pope, who travels so much and who has so much of a -- such a busy schedule on his plate.

BANFIELD: Sure, sure. Of course.

DIAZ: So in that sense -- yes. BANFIELD: And I've always been surprised as a layperson that it's taken 600 years for people to come to that logistics realization, the pragmatism.

Miguel Diaz and Father Cutier, thank you both for weighing in on this and joining us as our guests today. Do appreciate that.

And for more on Benedict's resignation and his history and, of course, his legacy, check out CNN com.


BANFIELD: If you are one of those people who lives in fear of a cyber thug stealing your identity, running up bills, running down your credit, you are not alone. But as it turns out, you now have one more thing to worry about. The people responsible for collecting your credit information and assessing it, that ends up determining your credit score, they are often doing as much damage to your good name as the identity thieves themselves. The government has come out with a study of the big credit rating agencies and discovered those agencies have botched the credit reports for more than 40 million of us.

Christine Romans is here to talk about what to do about this.

Do we have recourse, if we discover they have done this?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. The fact is there are a lot of mistakes out there, but most of them are meaningless mistakes, mistakes like a different address on your account, a misspelling. Divorce is a fodder for mistakes, because suddenly you think you split up credit cards with your ex-spouse, but if they are not paying for it, it ends up on your report. There are a lot of different reasons.

Well, the FTC found 42 million people have errors on their credit history. And 4.4 million have errors that lead to more expensive credit when they borrow money to buy a house or to -- and that's the Fair Credit Reporting Act you just saw. That's the law --


BANFIELD: This is huge. Listen, this is huge because anybody who wants to get a refinance right now and take advantage of these low interest rates, because they are starting to go up, if they don't know that a credit agency has botched their credit score --

ROMANS: It's your responsibility to make sure you have all of the right information. Why? It's not necessarily the credit agency that botched the score. It is quite possibly the vendor made a mistake. For example, the lender, maybe a credit card you had that you forgot about, or maybe it's an identity thief. Every year you can go to I'll say it again, By law, you can get your credit history. If you are going to borrow money, the FTC says -- this is also the credit rating agencies. This morning, I spoke to a spokesman, the president of the trade association for these groups. You check, and then, if there is a mistake at, then you go through line by line, and you dispute what is wrong.

BANFIELD: I hear it's an absolute nightmare, just like trying to fix what an identity thief does to you, to get these credit agencies to fix what they may have actually --


ROMANS: I don't want to dissuade anybody. Sometimes it's simple to fix it. You should try to fix it. Sometimes it's not easy. That's when you go through the Fair Credit Reporting Act, go through this process. Because it's the law they have to clean it up.

BANFIELD: Speaking of the law, I want to bring in Paul Callan, who works with the two of us.

ROMANS: Great.

BANFIELD: He's our CNN legal contributor.

Paul, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as Christine was alluding to, states this. And I will read it verbatim. "That a credit agency must conduct a reasonable investigation to determine whether the disputed information is inaccurate." And the Ohio attorney general, Mike DeWine, went even further, saying that that is not happening. He says that there is some criminal stuff going on. Have a listen.


MIKE DEWINE, OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think they are breaking the law. There's no doubt in my mind, they are breaking the law.


BANFIELD: Paul Callan, breaking the law? These big agencies and -- and we are not talking small agencies. We are talking about Equifax -- breaking the law? What does that mean for them? Can I sue them if they botched my report?

CALLAN: Of course, the attorney general is saying something that I think everybody knows. And that is it's hard for consumers to get the attention of these agencies to fix their credit ratings. Why would that be? Because consumers aren't paying them. Their customers are the credit card companies, the banks, the people who prepare credit. So you have to get their attention.

This law, the law that currently is on the books now, the fair credit law, has got some real teeth to it in some areas. One area is you can walk into a lawyer's office and get a lawyer to take that case for you, even if you only have a small amount of damages, because he can collect his attorney's fees back and make thousands of dollars on a $100 case. So there's a possibility of class action lawsuits as well.

BANFIELD: And I shouldn't single out just Equifax. Experian and TransUnion are two other major agencies noted as well.

I have to cut it off. Just sheer time. Paul Callan, there are so many questions. Thank you to you.

Thank you to Christine Romans as well.

We are back right after this.


BANFIELD: If you didn't catch the Grammys last night, Carrie Underwood's electric dress was awesome. Here is what was terrific. British folk rock band, Mumford & Sons, winning album of the year. And then song of the year going to "We Are Young" by New York trio, Fun., who were also named best new artist. Who were adorably saying, yes, we are young, the lyrics. Look at us in H.D. We're not young. Adorable.

Thanks for watching, everybody. NEWSROOM INTERNATIONAL starts now.