Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
IRS Under Fire; Oscar Pistorius Back in Court
Aired June 4, 2013 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.
And we have breaking news tonight. We'll take you where the floodwaters have been rising and the levees failing, also new word that Friday's tornado set a terrifying record.
Also in this hour, the mystery hero of the Boston Marathon bombing. Who is the woman in that photograph? A victim who says she saved her life wants to know, wants to thank her personally. Well, tonight, thanks to our viewers, we can tell you who she is and how she was found.
And say what?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL ARMSTRONG, NASA ASTRONAUT: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: And one giant mystery since 1969. What exactly did Neil Armstrong really say as the first man to step on the moon? Now, for years, we thought he botched the line, that he meant to say one small step for a man, but that static swallowed the A. Well, tonight, new research may have an answer that really no one expected.
We begin though where Missouri meets the Mississippi, where the water's breaching levees, drowning crops and threatening homes. People have been pitching in all day, filling sandbags, trying to fight back, but it may not be enough. And the weather could make things even worse over the next few days.
Martin Savidge joins us now from the flood zones north of Saint Louis.
Martin, I understand the authorities are bracing themselves for another breach.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Anderson, this is just outside of West Alton. This area has literally been all day long kind of the focus of a battle with the floodwaters here.
They have had two breaches in the last 24 hours. Now the fear is for a third breach. And this one could be the most serious of all. The Mississippi River is just beyond here. You might see that smokestack in the background there. If it gives way, and there is some real fear there's a slide occurring on one of the levees there.
If that happens, all that water's going to come right this way; 94 here, the state highway, it is the main way out. They have to keep this roadway open because for a lot of people it's going to be the way they get out of the water's way. They're erecting right now a stone kind of levee very quickly to try to prevent that from happening.
In essence, it's going to be a watery Alamo. They have to hold it here. If they don't, they will be in serious trouble. That power plant would be in trouble as well, Anderson.
COOPER: Why West Alton in particular is so affected?
SAVIDGE: Two very big reasons. Two-and-a-half miles just off in this direction is the Missouri River. A mile-and-a-half in that direction is the Mississippi River.
And both of those rivers right now are struggling to try to contain an awful lot of storm surge that has been coming from the heavy weather that's essentially been up north. Right now, the Mississippi River is seeing levels it hasn't seen in close to two decades.
For the most part, the flood protection system has been working. But right here, even though the water's starting to recede, that system is showing the wear and tear. And quite frankly, right here on this stretch of roadway, the next 24 hours are going to be crucial.
COOPER: I have been actually in Alton on the Illinois side. I have friends there. I know they have had flooding over the years. Are conditions -- they're supposed to get worse before they get better in West Alton?
SAVIDGE: Yes, because the next thing that's going to happen is even though the water is going down, the weather is going to move in. Tomorrow, more rain is anticipated. What's going to be crucial is how much rain, where will that rain fall, especially to the north, and is there going to be wind as well?
Because, you see, the water is at the top of a lot of these levees. If you get the wind, if you get the wave action, it's going to have more of a kind of corrosive effect. It will erode even more and weaken the structures that right now are already showing signs of weakness. So it is really going to be a time when people are going to watch the water and watch the sky, Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Martin, we will continue to check in with you throughout this hour.
The death toll climbed again today in the tornado that struck El Reno, Oklahoma, on Friday night. It now stands at 19. As for that tornado itself, it now has the terrible distinction of being the widest on record and one of the most powerful as well.
Chad Myers is in El Reno, joins us now.
So, the tornado was upgraded today from an EF-3 to an EF-5. That really caught me by surprise. Does that mean in terms of power? Why was it upgraded?
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Because Doppler on wheels, scientists, storm chasers that we talk so much about, two teams of scientists with Doppler on the back of pickup trucks spinning around found wind speeds of almost 300 miles per hour.
Now, those winds never hit anything. So we don't have houses that are missing because there's so much empty space here. But what we know, Anderson -- think about this. Think about, about a two-mile- wide carousel with horses going around and around, going around at 185 miles per hour.
And then take those horses and spin them at 110 miles per hour. That's what this storm was doing, had multiple vortices, or multiple horses, going around a two-mile, two-and-a-half-mile circulation moving right toward El Reno. And they know that some of those vortices had winds of 295. Remember, Moore was only 210. This was stronger than Moore. The good news is, there wasn't a lot to hit. It hit this building right back here.
This is EF-3 damage, not EF-5, the EF-5 out in the field with nothing to hit.
COOPER: Yes. I saw one figure that said it was 2.6-miles-wide at one point. In perspective, Manhattan, the island of Manhattan is 2.3 miles wide. What could this have done in a more populated area?
MYERS: It would have taken out -- everything would have looked just like Moore, except it would have been twice as wide and even stronger damage because at 295, there was much more in there. At 210, 220, 230, 240, where Moore stopped at 210, the damage would have been worse than Moore and it would have been wider than Moore and pretty much longer than Moore.
Sixteen or so miles long, that is longer than Manhattan is wide -- 2.6 is wider than Manhattan is wide. It would have covered the entire island. It would have taken it all out.
COOPER: That's just incredible. Chad, appreciate it. Thanks for the update.
"Keeping Them Honest" now: tax collectors spending your money, taxpayer money, on themselves, namely, feel-good conferences and morale-boosting retreats held in feel-good locations with morale- boosting weather and free drinks, the IRS spending nearly, get ready, $50 million of your money on travel, hotels, seminars, cheesy videos, even arts and crafts.
And that's not all. This was happening while the IRS was claiming it didn't have enough money to properly do its job. An inspector general's report that came out today that we have been previewing now for several days, Dana Bash took a look at it. She's "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Paintings of Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, Abraham Lincoln and even Bono from U2, all made on-site at an IRS conference by an artist hired to perform leadership through art and paid $17,000, taxpayer dollars. It's just one example of IRS excess detailed in this new inspector general report which zeros in on a 2010 IRS conference in Anaheim, California, which cost taxpayers a whopping $4 million.
Nearly 2,700 IRS employees stayed at three hotels with no attempt to negotiate lower rates. The problem? Instead of using in-house IRS planners, the IRS hired outside organizers with no incentive to bargain because they got a 5 percent commission from the hotels. In fact, each event organizer got paid $66,500 by Uncle Sam from this one conference.
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: They didn't negotiate. They didn't bid it. This was 2,700 folks. So they could have gotten a considerable reduction. Instead, what they said is, we will pay full boat, but we want some perks.
BASH: The hotels threw in 24 tickets to the Los Angeles Angels games, free drinks, and upgrades like this lavish presidential suite. An IRS division head stayed here.
(on camera): The IRS even made swag for its employees to take home, like this tote bag with a special logo made just for the conference. This bag was made in China, by the way. So was this leather folio. They also got notebooks like this, even bottle openers. All of these gifts and trinkets added up to 64,000 taxer dollars. But may be just as outrageous as wasting this money is the fact that the IRS did not appear to follow the very rules it requires each and every taxpayer to follow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attempting to modulate the frequency now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry about the uniforms, Captain. The dry cleaner gave me the wrong order.
BASH (voice-over): For example, this "Star Trek" spoof. The inspector general said this and other videos made for the conference cost $50,100. But the I.G. says no one know if that cost is accurate because the IRS, the agency that requires taxpayers to keep receipts, did not save its own documents to show what it spent. The new acting commissioner says the IRS has already made changes.
DANNY WERFEL, ACTING INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE COMMISSIONER: We must ensure that we continue to have the right controls and oversight in place to prevent wasteful or inappropriate spending.
BASH: One conference workshop should have helped. It was entitled "Political Savvy: How Not to Shoot Yourself in the Foot."
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, they certainly didn't do that.
Dana joins me now live from Washington.
So, I have got to go back to something you said. The IRS facing this audit actually said they couldn't find some of their own receipts? Is that for real?
BASH: That is for real, Anderson. It really is hard to believe.
But the I.G. report explicitly says -- quote -- "IRS management could not provide any documentation dealing how this money was -- detailing how this money was spent."
At the time, three years ago -- this is also hard to believe -- keeping track of and reporting costs of conferences wasn't required at the IRS. So, shoddy record-keeping wasn't limited to just these videos. The I.G. couldn't even verify the overall cost of the conference. They say that the IRS says the cost was $4.1 million, but the I.G. also says explicitly that they were unable to provide documentation to support all costs associated with the conference.
COOPER: And we're talking about the spring of 2010. So they're spending all this money. At the same time, they're saying they didn't have enough people to process those Tea Party tax-exempt applications, right?
BASH: That's right. It is the same time period. These conference costs were paid with unused funds intended for hiring enforcement employees.
Now, it's unclear if that money really could have gone to help sift through the applications for tax-exempt status that has really caused this controversy, has caused these long delays that many of these tax -- Tea Party groups have endured.
But, regardless, the fact that tens of millions of dollars were being spent on spoof videos and swag at a time taxpayers were not being served well at all makes the black eye on the IRS even darker for sure.
COOPER: It's just unbelievable.
Dana, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
Let us know what you think about this. Let's talk about it on Twitter right now @AndersonCooper during the break.
A lot more happening, though, tonight. The blade runner, Oscar Pistorius, facing murder charges in the shooting death of his girlfriend, he's back in court. We will tell you why his trial is being delayed and why some who knew him say he turned into a monster.
Later, we asked you to help reunite this Boston Marathon bombing victim with the anonymous woman who helped her, helped her so much on that terrible day. In fact, the victim says she saved her life. Only on 360, we will have a progress report we think you will like a lot.
COOPER: Welcome back.
He's perhaps the world's best-known alleged murderer, South Africa's Olympic medallist Oscar Pistorius, the Blade Runner. Hundreds of millions watched him compete. Tens of millions are following him through the legal process. Well, today, we learned that process may take longer than expected to unfold.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here he comes.
COOPER (voice-over): After three months of hiding from the public, Oscar Pistorius steps back into the glare of the cameras as he arrives for a pretrial hearing, his first court appearance since he was granted bail in February.
Inside, Pistorius faces even more cameras, media from all over the world here to cover this high-profile criminal case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, hello, hello, hello.
COOPER: The Olympic track star, a double amputee, is charged with the premeditated murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
REEVA STEENKAMP, MODEL: Hi. I'm Reeva.
COOPER: Steenkamp, 29 years old, was a model and law school student who was shot and killed by Pistorius inside the bathroom of his home on February 14. Pistorius says it was a tragic mistake. He heard noises from the bathroom and thought Steenkamp was an intruder. But the state says Pistorius intentionally shot her after an argument they had that night.
During today's hearing, the judge granted a two-month delay in the case in order to give the state more time to investigate.
KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL EXPERT: Will either be an indication that the prosecutors are losing a bit of confidence in the basis of their case. Alternatively, it could be an indication that the strength with which they came out of the gate at the bail hearing was actually a strategic ploy.
COOPER: The judge also cautioned the media during the hearing, saying the relentless coverage of this case could result in a charge of contempt of court. Just last week, photos from the bloody crime scene were leaked to the media. This photo was shown on a South African news Web site. The judge warned the police to take these leaks seriously.
Today's hearing lasted only 10 minutes. The next court date is set for August 19, the day Pistorius is expected to plead to the charges, August 19 also the day Reeva Steenkamp would have celebrated her 30th birthday.
COOPER: Want to talk about these developments, digging deeper with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and "Vanity Fair" contributing editor Mark Seal, who writes about the case and especially the defendant in the current issue of the magazine. He paints a pretty dark picture. We should also mention that Jeff's inside look at the Roberts Supreme Court, "The Oath," is just out in paperback.
Jeff, is this delay to give the prosecution more time to investigate, is it a signal that the prosecution doesn't have a strong case here?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Not necessarily.
There is a big piece of evidence that is not yet publicly available, that we don't know about, which is the ballistics evidence. Where -- what angle were the shots fired? How close was Pistorius to his victim? Did the shots go through the door? Or were they directly into her body? Those questions are going to be enormously important. They're complicated. They're difficult to discern from the evidence.
That's the evidence that the government needs to get together. And the timing doesn't matter as much as actually getting the evidence.
COOPER: Mark, you have spent time in South Africa reporting on this. What's your sense of the prosecution's case and also the way the police have been investigating this?
MARK SEAL, "VANITY FAIR": Well, you know, the first officer was taken off the case, Hilton Botha, who I was able to interview in Johannesburg.
And, you know, he felt it was an open-and-closed case, that he shot her, that's it. And now, you know, it just seems to be taking, you know, the normal amount of time that I think these South African cases take, which are like in the U.S., where you know, it takes a bit of time.
COOPER: Jeff, the photos that leaked from the crime scene, I mean, there's one in particular from this Web site, Talk Radio 702, in South Africa, which shows a bloody bathroom, marks on the door where the bullet holes were believed to be. How much of an impact do you believe that could have, and the fact that leaked out, does that surprise you?
TOOBIN: It does surprise me. But I don't think it will have that big an impact, because, remember, in South Africa, there are no jury trials. This will be up to a judge.
So judges are used to seeing crime scene photos. They are unlikely to be swayed by this, especially months in advance of a trial. So I think, unlike in the United States, where you might have a jury, where the jurors, prospective jurors might see it, here, that's not an issue. So I don't think it's going to matter in the result of the case.
COOPER: Mark, we also heard from the judge today urging that this case not be tried in the media. How is this being covered in South Africa's press? Has -- what do South Africans -- what is their opinion of Pistorius in this case?
SEAL: Well, when I was there, it was being covered 24/7 every day, you know, so it was the story to say.
And as far as the people, what people thought, it seems to be divided. The friends and family say it was a terrible accident, that he's the same old Oscar he's always been, it was a horrible tragedy. And then there's the other side who say after the Olympics Oscar came back, he was no longer the humble Oscar, he was Oscar the invincible.
And also the sportswriters who covered him throughout the years felt that they needed to reexamine their coverage, that they had given him so much slack over the years and all of these incidents had happened, that they kind of just looked the other way.
COOPER: Interesting. Mark Seal, Jeff Toobin, thank you.
SEAL: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, for more on the story, you can go to CNN.com.
Just ahead tonight, last night, we asked for your help in finding that woman there in the middle of the picture taken minutes after the Boston bombing. That photo was. Tonight, we can tell you who she is and how we tracked her down and how she helped save the life of a bombing victim.
Also ahead, the Carnival Triumph's slow sewage-sloshing journey back to shore, it was just one disaster in a string of recent cruise ship mishaps. What is going on with all these cruise ships? We're investigating, "Keeping Them Honest."
COOPER: Tonight, a 360 "Follow": a mystery related to the Boston Marathon bombings.
Now, in the last 24 hours, we have been trying to find the hero who Erika Brannock says so desperately helped save her life. We told you about Erika last night. She left Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center yesterday, the last of the Boston Marathon bombing victims to go home.
She had 11 surgeries. She still has a long recovery ahead.
Randi Kaye spent the day with Erika yesterday and in her report last night, she described what happened to Erika in those critical minutes right after the bombs went off and a good Samaritan appeared at her side. Listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Erika was also screaming for help. The lower part of her left leg had been blown off, and her right leg was broken.
ERIKA BRANNOCK, BOSTON MARATHON SURVIVOR: I had a conversation in my head with God and told him I wasn't ready to go. And it was almost instantaneously she heard my thoughts. This woman kind of crawled over to me.
And she grabbed my hand, and she could hear -- she had heard me screaming for help, and she said, "My name is Joan. I'm from California, and I'm not going to let you go." And she stayed with me the whole time.
KAYE: Joan used her belt as a tourniquet on Erika's leg. Erika never got Joan's last name or contact but swears the woman in the yellow jacket with brown hair saved her life. She desperately wants to find her and thank her.
BRANNOCK: Yes, that's her.
KAYE: We showed her a picture of Joan helping her from "The Boston Globe."
BRANNOCK: That's Joan right there. She's holding my hand right there. And this is my right leg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, last night, we asked for your help in finding Joan.
Randi Kaye joins me now. You put out the alert on this woman named Joan last night on the program. You have got an update tonight. You actually found her, right?
KAYE: We did, Anderson. We found her with lots of help from our viewers.
We put out the APB last night on this program, and our viewers responded, not only through a special e-mail address that we set up, which was findjoan@CNN.com, but also through postings on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, our viewers, Anderson, shared this story more than 1,500 times to help us out.
And it turns out her name isn't Joan after all. It's Amanda. And we want to show you a couple of photos here side by side. Her full name is Amanda North. So, take a look at the photo. The professional photo is her from her LinkedIn profile. And then just compare that to the photos of her that you see here helping Erika at the marathon.
You can certainly see it's the same woman. She's there in the yellow, but she has a very similar face, similar eyes. Even you can tell that from the different angles, Anderson.
COOPER: So who identified her and what do we know about her?
KAYE: Well, she's from California. So Erika did have that part right.
But, as you know, the explosion was so loud, they both had perforated eardrums and trouble hearing. So it's actually pretty understandable that Erika thought the woman said her name was Joan and the woman that she called Joan thought Erika's name actually was Irene this whole time.
But it was Amanda, Anderson, who identified herself first to us. She sent me an e-mail late last night. The subject line read simply, "That's me." It turns out some friends had texted her saying that they'd seen her picture on A.C. 360 last night. Her niece also e- mailed saying it was Amanda. Her son posted our story on his Facebook page.
But what we do know about her is that she's in her 50s. She graduated Princeton University. And she got her MBA from Stanford University.
COOPER: And do we know why she was in Boston for the race?
KAYE: For her daughter. She went to the marathon to see her daughter run. Her daughter's a student at Harvard. We have a picture of her with her daughter actually that she sent us today. This is before the marathon, before her daughter had gone out for the run. Now, Amanda was hurt, though. She had to go to the hospital that day for some pretty severe cuts and lacerations on her leg.
She had that hearing loss I mentioned. But other than that, she checked out OK. She actually said she was so busy helping Erika that she didn't even know she was hurt. But her hair was really badly singed, Anderson. So she had to have it cut. In this family photo you can see with her son and her daughter, it was taken some time after the marathon, you can see her hair there is a bit shorter.
COOPER: So you called her up about a reunion with Erika. How did she react?
KAYE: She was so emotional. She was so choked up on the phone. She said that she has been thinking about Erika since the marathon. She had no idea what happened to her. She didn't even know if she had survived, because Erika did end up losing her lower left leg.
And Amanda saw those injuries. But she did want us to give her a message today, to Erika, saying that she never stopped holding her hand. And we did deliver that message. As I mentioned last night, Anderson, Erika had started that rehab here in Baltimore, which is why we're here. And Amanda is on her way here tonight.
COOPER: Oh, wow.
KAYE: She's going to meet Erika for the first -- for the second time really at the facility tomorrow morning. We will have that reunion for you tomorrow night on 360.
And we're also going to tell you something very interesting that Amanda told us today, why she thinks Erika really saved her that day too.
COOPER: Wow. I look forward to that. It's going to be a great, great reunion tomorrow.
COOPER: Randi, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
COOPER: "Crime & Punishment" tonight: For the first time, tonight, we have the answer straight from the alleged mass murderer's mouth to why this happened, one of the deadliest mass killings at a U.S. military base, the shooting rampage that claimed 13 lives three- and-a-half years ago at Fort Hood, Texas.
Well, today, the man facing court-martial for the massacre told the judge he did it for the Taliban. Army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan, now representing himself in court, wants more time to prepare a new defense. And his defense is that he was acting in defense of others.
And when the judge asked whom he was defending, Major Hasan replied -- quote -- "the leadership of the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban." He specifically named Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.
The question is, is that really a defense?
A busy night for CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, who joins me once again.
So, what do you make of what Hasan is now saying in court, is that his defense is that he was killing -- he was killing troops at Fort Hood as a defense to protect the Taliban?
TOOBIN: No, I don't think this is a legal defense.
This is really, I think, a form of suicide by judge. He is trying to become a martyr, trying to be executed for this crime as the culmination of this insane, horrible series of acts. And -- but I don't think this has any -- any connection to what we would think of as a legal or factual defense.
COOPER: So is it even appropriate for the judge to let him do this, or are the judge's hands tied?
TOOBIN: You know, this is a really tough call. Especially because if he's the lawyer, if Hasan is the lawyer, he will be cross- examining victims, people that he shot, which is a really appalling prospect. But as I understand the law, if he can prove that he's sane, and he has to the judge's satisfaction, the judge more or less has to let him do this with standby counsel sitting by his side. So it's an awful scenario, especially for those victims. But I think the judge's hands really are tied.
COOPER: And this is a death penalty case, right?
TOOBIN: It is. And Hasan really does seem bent on getting the death penalty. His defense is not something that's going to persuade anyone. A military jury like this case or a civilian jury, obviously, that he's not guilty. It's more likely to make them give the death penalty, not less.
COOPER: Interesting. Jeff Toobin, appreciate it. Thanks.
Just ahead, last week's fire on board that ship, the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, has joined the list of cruises from hell. After a string of recent mishaps, a lot of people wondering who's watching the high seas? And the cruise lines that profit from them, who's actually kind of in charge and watching over them? We're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight. You might be surprised by the answer.
Also, what exactly did Neil Armstrong really say as the first man to step on the Moon? Tonight we may actually finally have an answer.
COOPER: Tonight, "Keeping Them Honest" on the high seas. Just last month another fire disabled another cruise ship, and we all saw some familiar images: thousands of vacationers stranded, strapped into life preservers, the cruise cancelled, and happy cruisers not so happy.
Cruises are the fastest growing vacation segment in the industry that brings in billions of dollars a year. But a string of high- profile mishaps is raising some troubling questions about regulations for cruise ships. How safe are they? And who do the cruise lines actually answer to when things go wrong? Special investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has been looking into it.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Deadly crashes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a smoke situation.
GRIFFIN: Stalls. Fires.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a drill. Not a joke.
GRIFFIN: What is going on with cruise ships? What is going wrong?
According to critics of the cruise industry like maritime attorney Jim Walker, we may never know, because companies register most of their ships in small countries across the globe. They are, he says, very reluctant to tell the public or the U.S. government much of anything.
JIM WALKER, MARITIME ATTORNEY: So it's a secretive industry. It's an industry that doesn't like to reveal the number of fires or collisions or disabled incidences like that. They like to keep that information secret.
It's all offshored. It's all foreign-owned. It's in foreign- incorporated and foreign-registered ships that are flying flags of convenience that are issued by foreign countries that really don't care much about overseeing the U.S. cruising public.
GRIFFIN: Just take a look at three recent fires.
2010, the Carnival Splendor, registered in Panama. The incident report done jointly by the Panamanians and the U.S. Coast Guard. It's still not published.
The Carnival Triumph, now famous for what became known as the "poop cruise," is registered in the Bahamas. And while the U.S. Coast Guard and the NTSB are involved in the investigation, the Bahamas' maritime authority is taking the lead.
The same applies to Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas, damaged by fire just last week.
Walker says don't expect much.
WALKER: There's no legal obligation to comply with any of the recommendations made by the flag state, first and foremost. And that's why the cruise industry incorporates itself outside the United States and registers its ships in foreign countries.
The overseeing body, the international overseeing body called the International Maritime Organization, the IMO, can issue only recommendations.
GRIFFIN: U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller has lobbied for tougher monitoring of the cruise industry and has essentially gotten little for his efforts.
SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D), WEST VIRGINIA: They're kind of in a world of their own. And when you're in a world of your own, you can do what you want. And that's exactly what they do.
GRIFFIN: He says because the companies fly those foreign flags, they don't have to abide by strict U.S. regulations, even though they operate out of U.S. ports and carry mainly U.S. passengers.
Rockefeller says cruise lines register outside the U.S. to avoid taxes. Cruise Lines International Association, CLIA, insists its members pay the taxes and dues they owe but agrees there are tax benefits in not being incorporated in the U.S.
The association group CLIA declined CNN's request for an interview, as did Royal Caribbean.
Commander Brad Clair heads a specialized unit in the U.S. Coast Guard that inspects every cruise ship that comes to a U.S. port not once but twice a year.
COMMANDER BRAD CLAIR, U.S. COAST GUARD: The examinations are very thorough, and they cover all the different safety systems, environmental systems, and the security system on board the ships.
GRIFFIN: But the inspections are announced in advance, and they last just one eight-hour day.
So does all this mean you and your family aren't safe at sea?
CLIA, the industry lobbying group, says there were just 28 fatalities among passengers and crew. That's from 2002 to 2011, a period when more than 220 million people went on a cruise. That was before last year's horrific Costa Concordia accident that killed 32.
But even if you combined all the major mishaps that cripple or damage ships, it comes to just about 30 incidents a year. Not many.
But Kathy Notoriani, who heads the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, says fires, accidents, mishaps way out here on the high seas are just so much more dangerous.
KATHY NOTORIANI, DEPARTMENT OF FIRE PROTECTION ENGINEERING, WORCESTER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE: It's really hard, because the cruise ship is, you know, very much of a contained environment. So if I'm in a car crash, my car can be totaled. I might be a bit upset, but I hitch a ride home, and I'm back to my normal life. It's much more difficult on a cruise ship, because where are you going to go?
GRIFFIN: Notoriani is especially concerned about fire. She says the industry just doesn't put enough research into developing new engineering systems so that, if a fire breaks out there won't be a domino effect, shutting down everything from plumbing to backup generators and propulsion.
But don't expect new engineering systems unless cruise companies do it voluntarily. There's no regulatory body to force that sort of change.
ROCKEFELLER: They always say safety is their emphasis. I've never quite believed that. I think the bottom line is their emphasis.
GRIFFIN: On May 22, the Cruise Lines International Association did approve its own bill of rights for passengers, guaranteeing a change in the way refunds are handled, proper emergency training for crews, and an emergency power source if a main generator fails.
Five days after they voted that in, the Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas caught fire. No one was injured. But it became the latest crippled boat to be towed into port. The cause of that fire? Under investigation.
COOPER: Drew joins me now. So I can't imagine all these accidents have been good for this industry. The bottom line, what's the industry doing to try to regain confidence of people booking a cruise?
GRIFFIN: You know, I think this passing of the bill of rights is part of the public relations step, Anderson. But again, it's really only voluntary. There's no governing body that's going to say, "Hey, you cruise ship company that signed this bill of rights, you're going to have to live up to it."
But I will tell you Carnival, which really has been hammered, involved in several of these incidents including the "poop cruise," is responding with a big upgrade. The company says $300 million spread across 24 of its ships, specifically, Anderson, to improve fire safety and, in the event of an emergency, a much better backup power system so you won't see the air-conditioners going off or the toilets not flushing.
COOPER: But if you listen to Senator Rockefeller for your piece, he charges the industry is really only motivated by profit and that they make certainly a lot of profit. I've heard they don't pay taxes on all that money they make. Is that true?
GRIFFIN: They make a lot of money. Billions of dollars. And they don't appear to pay a lot of taxes. I'll give you an example.
Carnival, they're the biggest. From 2004 to 2012 they made $11.3 billion. Over that time they had an effective tax rate of about 1.1 percent. So that's pretty good on Carnival's end and kind of stands up to what Senator Rockefeller's saying.
COOPER: All right. Drew, appreciate it. Thanks. We'll continue to keep on it.
Coming up, is Neil Armstrong's iconic Moon landing quote, is it off by one word?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL ARMSTRONG, FIRST ASTRONAUT TO LAND ON MOON: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We all know that phrase. It's one small step for a mystery that's actually plagued NASA for more than 40 years. It may be solved, next.
COOPER: It's one of the most iconic quotes in all of American history. When Neil Armstrong landed on the Moon, he said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Or did he? For more than 40 years NASA's maintained the quote was actually just ever so slightly different. And now researchers in the Midwest may have solved an enduring lunar and linguistic mystery. Tom Foreman reports.
ARMSTRONG: The Eagle has landed.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Neil Armstrong stepped out to become the first man on the Moon, not a soul on Earth could have guessed he would land in the middle of a cosmic controversy.
ARMSTRONG: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
FOREMAN: The problem? The first part of his historic sentence, "that's one small step for man," is grammatically incorrect. It should have been "one small step for a man." And that missing "a" has been setting off grammarians ever since.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lift-off. The final lift-off of "Atlantis."
FOREMAN: Through all the years NASA has insisted that he did say the "a," and modern microphones would have picked it up. Instead, the word was lost on scratchy old equipment operating nearly a quarter million miles away. And Armstrong, though he rarely gave interviews, throughout his life agreed with NASA.
ARMSTRONG: Thank you so much.
FOREMAN (on camera): Many scientists have tried to analyze the recordings and break down the sound waves with inconclusive results. But now researchers from Michigan State and Ohio State believe they have evidence that Armstrong's utterance may have been shaped less by space than by something very down to Earth.
(voice-over): The famous astronaut was an Ohio boy, and these researchers studied hundreds of recordings of natives saying the words "for" and "a," and they found almost 200 times the words were pushed together, making a sound like "frrruh." So listen again.
ARMSTRONG: That's one small step for man.
FOREMAN: Like the Moon trip itself, the theory may be a long shot, but it could also prove the final word on the words of the man on the Moon.
ARMSTRONG: Beautiful. Just beautiful.
FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, there's a lot more happening tonight. Isha's here with a "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: Anderson, jury selection is under way in the trial of reputed Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger. He was arrested in California in 2011 after 16 years on the run. Now 83 years old, he's charged with racketeering and 19 counts of murder.
A Colorado judge today accepted James Holmes's plea of "not guilty by reason of insanity." Holmes is accused of killing 12 people and wounding dozens at a movie theater last July. His defense team said Holmes's earlier "not guilty" plea was entered by a judge over his objection.
Two armed men, one of them wearing a FedEx uniform, were caught on this surveillance video entering a Brooklyn house. Minutes later a 10-year-old boy inside the house scared off the intruders by firing a gun that one of them dropped.
And Anderson, the fisherman who landed this 11-foot shortfin mako shark are waiting to see if they set a new world record. It tipped the scales at -- wait for it -- more than 1,300 pounds. They caught it 15 miles off the coast of Huntington Beach, California. It took more than two hours and a quarter mile of line to reel in that whopper of a shark.
COOPER: I feel bad for that shark. By the way, do they call it a "mah-ko" shark in England? Because here it's called a "may-ko."
SESAY: Mah-ko, may-ko.
COOPER: Is that one of those aluminium things? "The mah-ko sharks."
SESAY: The aluminium thing is absolutely correct. It is actually aluminium.
COOPER: "The mah-ko shark. Henceforth shall always be known as the mah-ko shark."
SESAY: Henceforth, I do declare it.
COOPER: That's how everyone in England talks, I think.
SESAY: It is.
COOPER: Isha -- hey, Isha, have you ever heard of Prancercise? Take a look.
SESAY: I haven't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOANNA ROHRBACK, CREATOR OF PRANCERCISE: I have my ankle weights in place, and my music's ready. So let's stop talking and do some walking.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: About to happen.
SESAY: Oh, no. Say it ain't so.
COOPER: It's a whole new -- whole new exercise routine. It's on the "RidicuList" next. You've got to stick around for this.
COOPER: Time now for "The RidicuList." And tonight we offer "The RidicuList" tips to get in shape this summer. It's a course called Prancercise. So ridiculous.
Prancercise is -- it's described as "a springy rhythmic way of moving forward similar to a horse's gait and ideally induced by elation." And elation is exactly what one feels when watching one Ms. Joanna Rohrback demonstrate the proper way to Prancercise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROHRBACK: I've got my ankle weights in place, and my music's ready. So let's stop talking and do some walking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I mean, I really -- I thought this was a "Saturday Night Live" skit. It's not.
You can Prancercise, apparently, anywhere, if you dare. The sidewalk, at the mall, on a serene path in the woods, even on "The Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROHRBACK: You're going to go forward rhythmically.
AL ROKER, METEOROLOGIST, "THE TODAY SHOW": Uh-huh. Wow. This is spectacular. You know, I'm surprised I never came up with this myself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Since the Prancercise video started getting popular online, there have been a lot of comments. And here's a shocker. Not all of them have been kind. You know how people are.
But Joanna is doing what she does best. She's taking it all in springy, rhythmic stride. Here's what she told CNN's Jeanne Moos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROHRBACK: You know what? I'll take all of it. The harsh, the goof, everything, because hey, that's what getting famous is about. Right?
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Don't I know it. The harsh, the goof. One big ball of fame.
I happen to think Joanna is way ahead of her time. She actually developed Prancercise in the '80s. Need I remind you what else was happening in the fitness scene in the 1980s?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I had my hair really long in that video.
One other point I'd like to make about Prancercise, as viewers of "The RidicuList" are well aware, a horse-based fitness routine is already popular in other parts of the world. Oh, we're going to show this again, are we really? The Korean fitness machine. Have you ever seen it? Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I watch that daily. But with Prancercise, you don't need any fancy equipment. All need is a string in your step and Muzak in your heart.
I don't care what anyone says. Prancercise rocks. I like Prancercise.
That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.