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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Syrian Troops Taking on People at Homs; Rick Santorum's Reaction to Supporter's Comment on Contraceptives; Whitney Houston's Funeral Will Be Held in Newark, New Jersey Tomorrow
Aired February 17, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Thanks Tom. Breaking news tonight, an alleged would be suicide bomber arrested today, in custody now, facing life in prison if convicted. His target authorities say the United States capitol.
Also tonight, leaked video what appears to be an exclusive look at the slaughter in Syria through the eyes and the gun sights of the troops carrying it out.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
KING: Syrian troops there, apparently taking aim on people's Homs. Remember, you're looking at this video one day after the Syrian ambassador to the United Nations said there is no armed conflict in Syria. Remember when he said no armed conflict.
In that video you can actually hear one man saying over the radio, the situation is good. As with all of the other video coming out of Syria, CNN cannot independently confirm for it appears to show. Much more of that video and more of the story to tell just ahead.
We begin tonight though, with the breaking news.
The arrest court appearance in charges against a 20-year-old Moroccan man, now accused of planning a suicide bombing at the United States capital. His arrest the result of a sting operation.
Our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, joins us to talks about that. While we talk on Fuentes, formerly of the FBI. The new details of the criminal charges just emerging and Brian Todd got new details tonight.
Brian, what new details have you learned tonight about this suspect and his alleged plot?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the details that we're getting just indicate that this man, this suspect, identified as 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi, a Moroccan national, seem to just escalate during the points on this operation when he was working with people he thought were Al Qaeda operators but were really were FBI and other law enforcement undercover agents.
One of the most extraordinary details we got 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 those plans to wanting to detonate a suicide bomb inside the United States capitol, or on the grounds of the capitol, possibly in the visitor's center. That was the details we read in these court documents.
They say that when he amended those plans to want to hit the capitol, he went to a quarry in West Virginia, and tested out a bomb. Dialed a cell phone number that he thought would detonate the bomb, the bomb detonated. He then expressed to his contacts that we wanted a larger explosion and he set today, February 17 as the day that he wanted to hit the U.S. capitol.
According to these documents, he wanted to go in and possibly hit the visitor's center and that he had arranged with one of his contacts to detonate the bomb remotely if he encountered problems with law enforcement officers. He also thought he was getting a gun to operate if he encountered problems if any of the law enforcement officers tried to stop him. But the gun that was given to him end the suicide vest given to him worked inoperable. It rendered inoperable by law enforcement authorities which all came down today, John.
KING: Brian, stay with us. Because the sting operation then at this guy in such case if often raise questions of entrapment.
Let's bring in our senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, also former FBI assistant director, Tom Fuentes, who worked with the FBI team and investigated the Bombay terror attacks three and a half years ago.
Tom, let's start with you. The complaint said a confidential tip led the FBI to the suspect. But you know, this from your work, law enforcer, the FBI gets hundreds, in fact thousands of these tips every day and every year, how do they know that this one warrants serious attention?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's exactly right, John. They get thousands and they begin look at every single 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 with a subject where it takes on credible, where they start to believe this guy really means it, he's going to try to do something. He is looking for people to help him, either assemble an explosive or obtain the firearms, provides the assistance that he needs to carry it out. And that's what it takes out in the much more serious aspect of the investigation.
And Tom, you still got great sources in the bureau. Are they convinced that this is a lone wolf and there's nobody out there that's part of this operation?
FUENTES: Yes. And that's something that's a key factor for them to determine when to take the case down, when to allow the suspect to finally be arrested. Assuming that they have all the evidence they need to convict him and have him sentenced to life in prison. And at the same time make sure that there's some unidentified subject somewhere else, anywhere else out in the world that may be part of this thing that didn't get arrested.
KING: And Jeffrey, any time you have an operation like this, undercover FBI agents posing allegedly trying to help this person, help him with his plan, help him get the explosive, entrapment will inevitably raises and issue, how do you - what your sense - what you have heard so far in this case, how would that come up?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it is important to remember, entrapment is often tried, rarely successful. It is 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, you know, most of the time it doesn't work.
What's interesting about this case is that it appears that he was dealing only with people under government control. According to the complaint. There was USEF who was apparently a law enforcement officer and Hussein who is someone who cooperating with law enforcement.
So, this does seem to be something that was set up by the government. But the key issue with entrapment is always predisposition, is the person predisposed to do 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.
So, you know, 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.
KING: And Jeffrey, let's stay on this for a second because this is one of several cases now post 911 where we have seen the FBI identify a suspect or suspects and essentially infiltrate and work with them. The similar case like this. How is this all evolving in the law enforcement role?
TOOBIN: Well, you know. Law enforcement has decided after 911, there is no such thing as taking a case not seriously. I mean, they're taking everything seriously. They're pushing every case. And sometimes jurors have somewhat reluctant. I mean, in the Miami case, there were convictions, but not, 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 ought the door. And this case, where you have an actual test explosion, I think that's going to be incredibly incriminating here. You know, that is well beyond just talk. The defenses that have worked, oh, this is just a bunch of people talking. But if you have people going into a test explosion, that's very damaging piece of evidence if it pans out. KING: Brian Todd, what are the court paper say about why the capitol and why today.
TODD: Well, John. It just seemed to indicate every step of the way that 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 hot wind of this and notified the FBI and other law enforcement agencies.
Then, I guess 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 under cover and then it escalated from there, from the point where was wanting to bomb a restaurant, when the AK47 possibly wanting to shoot people, to then wanting to bomb a military installation and then to hitting the United States capitol.
So, it seemed to escalate why today? That is not proving to make 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.
KING: And Tom Fuentes, this is the third lone Wolf, alleged lone wolf arrested last year for plotting to hit targets in the D.C. area. What does that tell you?
FUENTES: It tells us that this lone wolves are incapable of doing it all by themselves. And that's - that's the basic vulnerability they have for being an apprehended. They reach out to try to get somebody that knows something more about explosives or firearms or can get the equipment that they need or provide some type of logistical support. That's where the breakdown is, it's the old story of how many can keep a secret. One can, two can't.
And so, as soon as they reach out, that creates the vulnerability for the law enforcement to be notified and to try to infiltrate into the plan.
TOOBIN: And John, the FBI's just a lot better at this than they used to be. I mean, 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.
KING: That's an important point. Jeffrey Toobin, Tom Fuentes, Brian Todd, thanks for helping this breaking news.
Let us know what you think. We are on facebook and Google plus. Add us to your circles or you can follow me on twitter @Johnking/CNN. I'll be tweeting throughout the program tonight.
Up next, Rick Santorum's billionaire back up makes a tasteless joke about birth control. Rick Santorum attacks the media for asking about it and level some serious charges.
Do they stand for a back check? We are "Keeping them Honest." And later, saying goodbye to Whitney Houston, we'll have a live report from the church where music royalty is gathering. We will also hear from a Gospel great pastor, Marvin Line, as you harmonize with Whitney and with her friends through the highest and the lowest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You were there for her wedding and you're there for her coming home, the celebration of her life this weekend, 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?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it's about praying and, you know, folk would talk about doing the eulogy, my job is not that of a eulogist. In technical term, my job is a homilist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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's supporter's controversial remarks on birth control. His remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOSTER FRIESS, RICK SANTORUM'S SUPPORTER: I get such a chuckle when these things come out. Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed. We have jobs as camp scene set up in central in Latin America which Rick has been working about and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so that we can concentrate on what the real issues are.
In this contraceptive thing, my God, it so - it's such an expensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: That's Foster Friess talking with MSNBC's Breathless there Andrea Mitchell. He apologized today before listening senator Santorum's reaction when he was asked about. You should know Mr. Friess is a major backer we are talking about here. He's given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the pro-Santorum's super PAC. A big deal which is why CBS' Charlie Rose asked the senator today about his supporter's gap. 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, ABC NEWS: But nobody said you were responsible, senator. They said how would you characterize it and what have 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: I don't have to respond to -- every reporter who says something, now I'm going to have to respond to it.
Look. This is what you guys do. I mean, I don't -- you don't do this with president Obama, in fact with president Obama, what you did was, you went out and defended him against somebody who he had in a church for, for 20 years and defended him that he can't possibly believe what he listened to for 20 years. This is a double standard. This is what you're pulling off and I'm going to call you on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Later online at the national review, senator Santorum went a little bit further saying, quote, "you know reporters sit and go nothing while for 20 years, president Obama sits in a church with a guy who's a racist." Senator Santorum went on to say, "and somehow or another Foster Fries is now who I am. This is just crap. "
So, he is 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 in that in a moment. The gotcha claim however, that's more subjective. You can decide for yourself what's fair game and what's not. One thing that is clear though, the candidates sure spent plenty of time complaining about it.
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 who only play gotcha journalism.
GINGRICH: Gotcha questions that are so - it's a waste of time.
RICK PERRY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can sit here and, you know, play gotcha questions.
GINGRICH: Gotcha kind of questions.
CAIN: I'm ready for the gotcha question.
MICHELE BACHMANN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a gotcha question.
GINGRICH: Gotcha question.
SANTORUM: Gotcha question.
GINGRICH: I wish you would put aside the gotcha questions.
KING: So, keeping ourselves on us, 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 gotcha this, gotcha that, and gotcha journalism and gotcha politics.
As for senator Santorum's other complaint of a double standard that reporters quote :sat there and said nothing" about president Obama's controversial former pastor, well, judge for yourself.
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 marks he's made.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Now Barack Obama is being questioned about racially charged remarks once made by his pastor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight Barack Obama on the defense this week explaining his views on race and his former pastor.
COOPER: If you knew that he got rough in sermons, why did it take you more than a year to separate yourself from him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think reverend Wright loves America as much as you do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I haven't heard those comments.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE: What can I tell you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times did you go to church a month?
LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: 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 of America but should sing god damn America. There is a lot of folks in America right now who have heard that and I want to ask you why have you been listening to this pastor and close to him for nearly 20 years?
KING: That's the small sampling. Actually a tiny sampling. There were a lot of coverage. According to the nonpartisan pew research center's project "for excels in journalism" the Wright-Obama story, at its peak, made up 42 percent of political coverage. The next biggest figure political story during that period of time was the gasoline tax, it was just 87 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 journalist, editorial director.
Ron, to you first. Senator Santorum turning this on the media, is that how a front runner handles tough questions?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, we know. And I guess you know as well as anybody that there's a lot of juice in the Republican primary at times for attacking the media. I mean, that certainly the conservative base of the Republican party, and it's not new in a long standing way is suspicious of the media and believe they don't get a fair share from them. There is nothing that is going through 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, not nearly as potentially combustible as it was in South Carolina with Newt Gingrich. We are down to I think in the eyes of Republican voters a real choice between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum primarily and actually this is being much more kind of congenital than it was earlier in the contest.
KING: Mary, you have been involved to a lot of campaign. If a major supporters, and this not a minor supporter, from major supporter says something outrageous, it is out of the realm to just ask a candidate what he thinks about this?
MARY MATALIN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: No, and I think Santorum's frustration is he's right on the precipice of consolidating the not Romney vote. He's up in Michigan. He is more significantly he's up in Ohio and he's rightly frustrated by it. And Ron's exactly right that it leverages a preexisting opinion of conservatives that there's a double standard.
So, yes. He should been asked. Yes, he did distance - and not just distance, if it was despicable. Mr. Friess is in otherwise lovely man who said a really stupid thing. But I know a lot of men say a lot of stupid things about women and Ron is exactly right, this is not going to turn any votes and no voters is going to otherwise not vote for Santorum because of his reaction to the reporter.
KING: Well, let's get to the places and in the issues where they might have vote for him or against him.
Mary mentioned Michigan and Ohio, Ron. And we know that Mitt Romney is been doing better with blue collar voters. Santorum is 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 that we have seen in the five states where we have had them, clearly there is a class queue of Mitt Romney support. He is a stronger candidate for what I call the managerial wing of the Republican party, more upscale voters, better educated voters, less religious voters, non-evangelicals.
Santorum, we repute a blue collar appeal. To him, we all think it should be there because he a blue collar - he grew up in a western Pennsylvania town. 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 and college are less affluent than more affluent.
So, the question really becomes, can he begin to console date those voters, because not only in Michigan, but then in Ohio, Tennessee and Oklahoma are all place where is the Republican party is a dominant part of the electorate. There's other three state votes on super Tuesday. And if he can win in Michigan, I think it would give him a lot of momentum going in to those places and an opportunity to really change the dynamic of this race in a very significant way.
KING: 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. 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 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 the latest voters. But in Michigan, he is culturally more like Michigan than Romney is. You and I worked there. McCollum Coney (ph) was the original Reagan Democrat. It's that sort of swing vote. Santorum start, pardon me.
So, I think it would be like - I mean, it is losing - Romney would be losing his home state and you to Ohio and he got a really significant endorsement today, Santorum from senator - former senator, current E.G. (inaudible), a switch from Romney.
So, this are - why this is significant obviously? Are these are the swing states. Romney doesn't get any credit for winning states that will never going to win in the general. And that is where he is winning. But that's where - Ohio and Michigan, that's where this race is going to be water lost that other state obviously. But if Santorum can do that, Ron is right again, big shift.
BROWNSTEIN: Hey, John.
KING: Go ahead, Ron.
BROWNSTEIN: Real quick point. One of the reasons Barack Obama was nominated in 2008 was because the composition of the Democrat electorate changed. It had grown more upscale over the years and that's where he was strong as 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 a lot more of these populist blue collar voters that 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, Santorum can plant that flag there and try to fill that vacuum that Romney's difficulty with those voters creates, he has some real opportunity because there are a lot of states now where that is a big portion, if not a majority portion of the Republican electorate.
KING: A lot of those big Midwestern industrial states. A lot of smaller rural states scheduled as well.
Ron Brownstein and Mary Matalin, fasten your seatbelts. Thanks for your time now.
Still ahead here, saying goodbye to Whitney Houston. Family and friends will gather tomorrow for her funeral. Among them, music royalty. 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 that Syrian military firing on Ababahamar, neighborhood of Homs. It's an angle we don't often see.
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KING: In New Jersey today, flags flown after half staff to honor Whitney Houston, a local daughter who achieve 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 a choir and developed her enormous talent. A private viewing here for Bobby 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 permutable voice who rules the pop chart in the '80s, 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. BB and CC 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 Winan.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now, gospel singer and pastor of the New Perfecting Church in Detroit, Marvin Winans.
Reverend, I appreciate you being with us, Pastor. You and your family obviously are so close to the Houston family. How is your family doing and how is Whitney's family doing?
PASTOR MARVIN WINANS, PERFECTING CHURCH, DETROIT: Well, my mother, after we heard it said she felt as if she had lost one of her children. I said mom, it's because you have.
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 are there for her coming home, a celebration of her life this weekend. How do you even go about writing the words that you are going to say? I mean, do you know what you are 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 a homilist and 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 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. 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 beckon call. 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. 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 passed.
WINANS: It is amazing. We take life and love for granted so often. As you play that video of BB and Cissy, Whitney was actually supposed to sing with the Winans first. But we ran into contractual problems and she ended up with BB and Cissy.
But just as a family, we felt our brother, Ronald and Whitney came and sat with us and rolled with us to the cemetery. 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. 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 are 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. It amazes me the insensitivity of the media when it comes to things like this.
COOPER: I think, you know, 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, and family and friends, it's not a story. It is life and death. It's heart break.
COOPER: A heart break that never heals. WINANS: It's someone that was there and now you can no longer speak to them. Maybe you didn't tell them that you loved them. Maybe if you had known, you would have did some things differently.
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 picked up the phone? What if I went and got her?
You have to reconcile all of that within yourself and you miss that person so greatly.
COOPER: There had been some discussion, I understand or talk publicly about a public service. Obviously, this is going to be a private service now.
I 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 clear?
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. I knew that Momma Houston would do it the way she wanted it done.
We are going to church and we are 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: Well, there are so many people around the world listening to her music and sadly now who weren't listening to it last week, but I hope you know that -- and I hope the family knows that there are countless people around the world sending their prayers. I wish you the best. 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: Just a 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 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
And coming up, remembering Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Anthony Shadid who has died at 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 new video that apparently shows Syria's violent crackdown from a whole new point of view. That of the armed gunmen, the Assad government insist don't exist. We have a live report from inside Syria next.
KING: Tonight, a 360 exclusive, a chilling new perspective on the bloody government crackdown in Syria. New video has been leaked down, appears to show the violence from the point of view of the snipers, opening fire on the 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.
We don't know exactly who leaked this video and CNN has not confirmed what it's showing. But the pictures again seemed to tell a very different story than Syrian official line.
Just yesterday remember, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations insisted this is now 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 of a major new onslaught could be coming. What are you hearing about that?
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, most certainly it seems this is what we have been hearing from various sources that the Syrian military is trying (inaudible) especially on the flashpoint neighborhood of Baba Amir.
I can tell you residents inside are bracing themselves for the worst. Also I like to remember, that when we see them bracing themselves for the worst, they also 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, quite simply some of the heaviest that we have seen inside the city. There are number of the casualties are being to the field hospital and most of the residents are trying to keep themselves safe, as they keep struggling to try to be able to do that.
Inside bunkers, you have women, children, men, all of them that 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 to try to deal with this ongoing crisis.
They were saying that they have not received food supplies for three weeks into the neighborhood, John, and another neighborhood is going to begin to starve to death and that imminent military operation.
They've already suffered as I was saying 14 days of constant shelling and now they are dreading the moment that Syrian security forces are going to come through in full force, sweep the entire neighborhood and effectively massacre 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 will be the humanitarian crisis and is there any -- 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 are incredibly hard to come by and getting those types of things in and getting a fairly elaborate smuggling and network to try to bypass government checkpoints.
And then even when they do try to bring those sorts of things via those routes, they are not able to bring in the quality that they need. They are consistently on the regular basis people at this makeshift medical clinics inside the city especially in Baba Amir who were 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 that they're faced with what the Syrian government has in terms of artillery, tanks, and armor.
They're really absolutely no match whatsoever, which is exactly why we have been hearing this consistent call for international intervention. And people are unable to fathom how it is that the international community have been watching what they're going through and somehow unable to unite and take concrete action.
As one female medic put it as we were speaking to her at the hospital as she was standing at the foot of a colleague who later on died. She said, look, these are human beings, we're not talking about stone here, this is flesh and blood. How many Syrians have to die? What is that magic number that's going to get people to do something to stop this bloodshed?
KING: Arwa Damon, breathtakingly brave reporting from Arwa Damon 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's 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 with Anthony Shadid, you have to say he had a very rare combination of gifts. Journalists are 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 steep in the culture and 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. He's 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.
So 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 unique ability to put it in context, to see the microchasm and the regional macrochasm.
KING: And so many risks, Stephen, Anthony took and you know this firsthand, 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 don't think he would have described himself as a war correspondent. He was a foreign correspondent and 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 desire. We talked about it in 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 two, three, four, thousand miles away.
I was actually looking at a piece, an expert from his book on Iraq earlier on today. 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 endangered, so much around chaos, around the bombs falling as you say it. You talked to friends and colleagues and a word they use over and over again to describe 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 designed 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 not a person who flapped, who was flustered in a crisis. 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 them. What made them such a good team, good partners in the field?
FARRELL: Well, I mean, I was with them in Libya and a colleague Lindsay Dario when we were captured a year ago. Tyler is utterly unflappable. My heart goes out to him. He had to bring Anthony's and his body out of Syria.
And if there's anybody you would want to be in a crisis with is Tyler and Anthony had the knowledge of the region, the ability to know what was going on around him, the empathy to deal with people and the street smarts.
So, yes, they were -- they were a team and it's so hard to talk about him 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? It's pretty cool. Masses new images of the surface of the sun.
KING: Let's check some other stories we're following tonight. Susan Hendricks has the "360 News and Business Bulletin." Hi, there.
SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, John. In Pakistan, at least 90 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 that explosion is under investigation.
Congress today passed a deal to extend the payroll tax cut. The bipartisan deal also extends unemployment benefits. President Obama has promised to sign the bill as soon as he gets back from his trip to the west coast.
And check this out, NASA has released some critical satellite images of the surface of the sun. Take a look. Complete with what looks like solar tornadoes, they are actually competing magnetic forces that create hot plasma swirls that you're seeing, each of which would be big enough to engulf the whole planet earth. Pretty interesting -- John.
KING: That's amazing. I'm geek enough to go home and watch some more. Susan, thanks. We'll be right back.
KING: That does it for this edition of 360. We'll see you again at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.