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Congress Investigates Libya Killings; Romney's Shifting Abortion Position

Aired October 10, 2012 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It's 10:00 here on the East Coast.

And we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with a mother who is now asking the toughest question any mom ever can: Why is my son dead? That is all Pat Smith wants to know.

Her son, Sean Smith, was one of the four Americans killed on September 11 in terror attack on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya, Sean Smith, who was one of the computer specialists at the American Consulate there. A month later, a month she watched her son's casket come off a cargo plane, a month after she says everyone promised her answers, everyone all the way up to the president of the United States, she says she is still waiting to hear, still waiting for answers, waiting for a call.

Congress held hearings today. We will talk about that shortly, but, first, my conversation with Sean Smith's mom, Pat.


COOPER: Pat, I appreciate you being with us. And I'm just so sorry for your loss.

What do you want people to know about your son, about Sean?


He was my only child. And he was good. He was good at what he did, and he loved it.

COOPER: He loved working with computers?

SMITH: Computers, radios. He was good at what he did.

COOPER: Was that something he had one as a kid? Was he always good with computers?

SMITH: Well, when he was a kid, computers weren't out yet. And then they were out and I got a computer, and he started playing with them and he started showing me how you could build a flamethrower and just by watching the computer and it told you how to do it. So that is how it started.

COOPER: He lived in the Netherlands. Were you able to communicate a lot? He served in a lot of very dangerous places. Did you all ways know where he was?

SMITH: I always knew where he was when he told me.

For example, this time, he was in The Hague. And that is where he was stationed. He was supposed to be there for about two years. And then he would transfer someplace else. I did not know he was going to be in Libya.

COOPER: Did he ever talk about the dangers that came along with his job? He served in Iraq as well.

SMITH: Yes. In fact, he sent me -- and I still have it on my computer where he sent me this thing -- he was in working in the palace over there.

COOPER: In Baghdad?

SMITH: Yes, in Baghdad.

And he says, got to go, and suddenly he just disappeared, and I said, what is happening over there? He says, listen. And I was listening. And suddenly I heard boom, where they were shooting at him.

COOPER: You must have worried a lot.

SMITH: And when that was over -- I can't spend my life worrying about it. I accepted what he wanted to do.

COOPER: I want to play for our viewers some of what President Obama said about your son when he returned home. Let's watch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Sean Smith it seems lived to serve, first in the Air Force and then with you at the State Department. He knew the perils of this calling from his time in Baghdad.

And there in Benghazi, far from home, he surely thought of Heather and Samantha and Nathan, and he laid down his life in service to us all. Today, Sean is home.


COOPER: He was mentioning his wife and his children. When you heard the president say that, what did you think?

SMITH: This is the first time I heard the president say that.

COOPER: It is, really?

SMITH: Yes, he never told -- didn't tell me that. Sean knew he was in a bunch of scary places. I knew he was in scary places. I didn't expect him to get blown up. I didn't expect him to die. COOPER: Do you feel that you know what happened or are you still searching for answers? Have you been in contact with the State Department? Have they reached out to you and given you details of what happened?

SMITH: That is a funny subject.

I begged them to tell me what would happen. I said I want to know all the details, all of the details, no matter what it is, and I'll make up my own mind on it. And every one of them, the big shots over there, told me that they promised me, they promised me that they would tell me what happened as soon as they figure it out. No one, not one person has ever, ever gotten back to me, other than media people and the gaming people.


COOPER: Her son was a big video gamer.

We are going to have more of my conversation with Pat Smith after a quick break. She has some very tough words for this administration, who she says has forgotten the promises they made to her the day Sean's body was returned.

Also tonight, the latest on today's congressional hearings into the attacks. Jill Dougherty and Fran Townsend join us next.


COOPER: We're talking tonight with Pat Smith whose son Sean Smith was killed in the Benghazi attack. Former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty was also killed. Today, his mother, Barbara, asked Mitt Romney to stop invoking her son's name on the campaign trump.

"I don't trust Romney," she says. "He shouldn't make my son's death part of his political agenda."

Pat Smith did not speak about anyone's political agenda tonight. She is, however, bitterly disappointed with the State Department, the Defense Department and the White House tonight. You're going to hear shortly about how the State Department is going to respond to her charges.

First, though, more of my conversation with Pat Smith, starting with her as yet unfulfilled search for answers.


COOPER: Who told you that they would give you information?

SMITH: Oh, you will love this.

Obama told me. Hillary promised me. Joe Biden. Joe Biden is a treasure. He was a real sweetheart. But he also told me -- they all told me that they promised me.

I told them, please, tell me what happened. Just tell me what happened.

COOPER: So you are still waiting to hear from somebody out what happened to your son, about what they know, or even what they don't know.

SMITH: Right. Right, officially, yes. I told them, please don't give me any baloney that comes through with this political stuff.

I don't want political stuff. You can keep your political -- just tell me the truth, what happened. And I still don't know. In fact, today, I just heard something more, that he died of smoke inhalation.

COOPER: So you don't even know the cause of death?

SMITH: I don't even know if that is true or not. No, I don't. I don't know where -- I look at TV and I see bloody handprints on walls, thinking, my God, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot.

I don't know. I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies. That Susan Rice, she talked to me personally and she said, this is the way it was. It was -- it was because of this film that came out.

COOPER: So she told you personally that she thought it was a result of that video, the protest?

SMITH: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. In fact, all of them did. All of them did.

Leon Panetta actually took my face in his hands like this and he says, trust me. I will tell you what happened.

And so far, he's told me nothing, nothing at all. And I want to know.

COOPER: It is important for you to know all of the details, no matter how horrible, no matter how tough they are to hear?

SMITH: Exactly.

I told them, if it is such a secret thing, fine, take me in another room and whisper in my ear what happened so that I know, and we will go from there. But, no. No, they treat me like -- at first, I was so proud because they were treating me so nice when I went to that reception.

They all came up to me and talked to me and everything. I cried on Obama's shoulder. And then he kind of looked off into the distance. So, that was worthless to me. I want to know, for God's sakes, or for Allah's sake or for whoever's sake is there.

COOPER: You deserve answers. SMITH: I think so. I believe I do.

I believe it. It is my son. I had him for the first -- I told Obama personally, I said, look, I had him for his first 17 years, and then he went into the service. Then you got him.

And I won't say it the way I said it. But I said, you screwed up. You didn't do a good job. I lost my son. And they said, we will get back to you. I promise. I promise you I will get back to you.

COOPER: Some in the administration have said we are investigating and still trying to find out answers.


SMITH: They still are.

COOPER: You would still want them to contact you and at least keep you apprised of the investigation, of where things are. You would think that they would at least do that.

SMITH: That would be so nice. That would be so nice.

They would at least acknowledge that I have a right to know something, something, other than, oh, we are checking up on it or trust me. I like that one the best of all. Trust me, I will let you know.

Well, I don't trust you anymore. I don't trust you anymore. You -- I'm not going to say lied to me, but you didn't tell me and you knew.

COOPER: Pat Smith, thank you.



COOPER: A grieving mother.

We are joined now by two women who have broken news on this story right from the start, former Bush homeland security adviser Fran Townsend and foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.

COOPER: We should mention, Fran, as always, as we always mention, serves on the CIA's External Advisory Committee. She recently traveled to Libya with her employer, MacAndrews & Forbes. That was before the attack and actually met with Ambassador Stevens.

Obviously, Mrs. Smith is very upset. It's very understandable why she would be.

What is the procedure though for keeping a family informed? She said they said we will let you know what happened. Do they wait until the investigation is over? You would think somebody would be in contact with her. FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Right.

There is actually an office in the Justice Department, because this is now obviously a criminal investigation that is responsible. The Office of Victim Witness Assistance, they are supposed to be the advocates inside the apparatus of the U.S. government to get updates and to make sure that the families are kept apprised.

But you also expect -- and every department has this. If it is an employee that is lost or it's a member of one of our law enforcement or intelligence services, that agency takes ownership of making sure to shepherd the person through the system and around the system to get information.

In many respects, Anderson, it is sort of incomprehensible to me. These are people -- the family members were identified and they met with senior officials, including the president of the United States and the secretary of state. It is not as though they don't know where she is.


COOPER: Initially, I thought maybe they are in contact with Sean Smith's wife, who is I guess in the Netherlands.

But she was at this reception. They clearly talked to her.

TOWNSEND: No, that is right.

The fact, oftentimes with a family that has lost someone, there is more than one person. You will have the parents of a victim. You may have a spouse or an extended family. And it becomes the government's responsibility to care for that family and keep them informed.

COOPER: Jill, I know you reached out to the State Department tonight about the allegations that Pat Smith has made. What are they saying?


They are saying they since the beginning have made it a priority to be in touch with the families, maintain regular contact, as they say. They say in the last 24 hours before the congressional hearing, they reached out by phone to at least one member of the family and told them what would be reported at the congressional hearing.

And then they also said we're going to make sure that the mother of Sean is contacted by us. So, they won't get into a lot of specifics, but they maintain that they have been in contact with the families in some way or another since the beginning.

COOPER: You're saying they are now saying they will contact Mrs. Smith?


DOUGHERTY: Yes, they said they will make sure that they are.

COOPER: At this point, a family member, who are they supposed to believe? There have been so many different stories out there, Fran, and now there's lots of political allegations. And we had this hearing today and some saw it as a political hearing, politics motivating it.

TOWNSEND: You know, look, this is really hard.

In the first 48 to 72 hours, the first facts are often wrong. I think the media and the American people understand that and sort of allow for that. The problem is tomorrow is a month since the attack. It is hard to imagine that no one has talked to this woman. The autopsy, which was done at Dover Air Force Base for all of the victims, with FBI agents present, is a well-known fact. The results of that are understood by investigators and there is no excuse for not sharing that information with this victim's mother.

COOPER: Right.

Jill, let's talk about the hearing that happened today, in which the State Department defended the administration's handling of the attack. You say it was highly political. Did it accomplish anything? Did it resolve anything? There are certainly a lot of allegations about political...

DOUGHERTY: Anderson, you know, I didn't hear a lot of really new information at all.

I think I and some others who were watching it at the time were really struck by the fact that it really turned into his sparring and it was very, very personal between the Republicans and the Democrats. And so I don't think that it accomplished very much when you get down to the nuts and bolts of what was learned.

COOPER: One of the most contentious moments, Jill, was the State Department said that they had -- I don't have the exact phrasing, but basically the appropriate number of people on the ground and there was a sharp rebuke from the panel saying how can you say given four Americans are dead?


And that's the essential thing. Not to explain away what the State Department is doing, but their view would be based on the information that they had at that particular point which was coming from intelligence agencies and others on the ground, they believe that they had the adequate amount of staffing.

Now, they also say that that event was so extraordinary that basically nothing, a few more people, a few more let's say protective measures could not have protected from something that they are describing really as combat, military combat attack.

COOPER: There is an investigation under way.

At this point, Fran, who is responsible for giving the definitive account of what happened and what cables were sent and doing this investigation?

TOWNSEND: Well, as we have said and reported, Anderson, there are a number of -- there is an accountability review board and there are these congressional hearings.

In the end, the definitive version of the facts will come from the FBI, who are responsible for putting together the investigation and a potential prosecution. They will be the keepers of the evidence.

But I must tell you the answer on its face that we had adequate security kind of fails the commonsense test. Honestly, if you step back from the partisan politics of Washington, and you talk to average Americans who have got no dog in this fight, they sort of say, look, it's obvious we didn't have adequate security.

If we are looking to assign blame, the terrorists are to assign blame for the deaths. But we want accountability because we want to understand how can we make sure? The State Department are working in dangerous places. We want to make sure -- how do we assess threats, assign security responsibility?

COOPER: What the State Department said today in this hearing was that no amount of sort of the usual security would have been able to deal with dozens of attackers -- there were dozens of attackers who were heavily armed.

You say?

TOWNSEND: I say we had forward operating bases in Iraq and Afghanistan during the height of the war and we protected them.


COOPER: The facility itself was not very secure in terms of the actual technological security devices that were there.

TOWNSEND: That's right.

If you're at a facility that you cannot protect, that it is not possible to protect from the threat that is present, then you shouldn't be there. If you're there, and you believe you can protect it, then you have got to give it adequate resources. This is less to me about blame than it is about accountability. What we ought to care about is accountability to protect other diplomats.

COOPER: Right, because you don't want this to happen again and are there other facilities that we have that are like consulate? That's the bottom line here and also getting answers for the families.

Jill Dougherty, I appreciate your reporting tonight, Fran Townsend as well. Let us know what you think. We're on Twitter right now. Follow me @AndersonCooper. I'm tweeting about this tonight.

Just ahead, Mitt Romney seems to move to the middle on abortion and then moves right back. It's not the first time. The question tonight, what does he believe and was just it a mistake what he said yesterday? We will show you all sides. We will be right back.


COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight, a look at what Mitt Romney says about abortion, not what he believes deep down or whether those beliefs have changed over time, but his statements and positions as a candidate past and present, his record as an elected official and how it all comes together right now.

Right now, Mr. Romney needs swing voters, especially women, which may explain why beginning with the debate in Denver Mr. Romney seemed to be sounding more moderate or centrist on a range of issues.

Just yesterday, comments he made about abortion were picked up by Democrats as yet another of Governor Romney taking on a more centrist position. Now listen to this Q&A yesterday with a reporter from "The Des Moines Register."


QUESTION: Do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda.


COOPER: Right after he said that, however, his spokeswoman said this to "The National Review" -- quote -- "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

And then late today in Ohio, Mr. Romney gave one specific example of what he would do as president.


ROMNEY: I think I have said time and again I'm a pro-life candidate and I will be a pro-life president. The actions I will take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget.


COOPER: Well, that's consistent with his position throughout these primaries. In the past, Romney said he supports extending 14th Amendment protections to unborn children, says that Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion, should be overturned and abortion law returned to the states.

"Keeping Them Honest" WAS his statement to "The Des Moines Register," to the Des Moines paper in a moderate swing state an attempt to tailor the message to voters there? Or was it simply a misstatement, a mistake?

Romney's views on abortion have changed over time, often it seems coinciding with when he is running for office and where He's running for office. In 1994, he was running against Senator Kennedy in Massachusetts and he said this.


ROMNEY: I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate.

I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.


COOPER: He lost that election. Eight years later running for governor of Massachusetts he said this.


ROMNEY: So when asked will I preserve a woman's right to choose, I make an unequivocal answer. Yes.


COOPER: In fact, he promised during a debate with his Democratic opponent not to make any changes "which would make it more difficult for a woman to make that choice herself."

Once elected, though, Mr. Romney changed his position. In 2005, he vetoed a bill expanding access to emergency contraception. Two years later, he was running for president on a staunch pro-life platform.

One opponent, Fred Thompson, actually made an add using that 1994 pro-choice clip against him. I asked the governor about it during a debate. Here's what he said back in 2007.


ROMNEY: I don't know how many times I can tell it. I was wrong. I was effectively pro-choice when I ran for office.

If people in this country are looking for someone who's never made a mistake on a policy issue and is not willing to admit they're ever wrong, why then they're going to have to find somebody else, because on abortion I was wrong. And I changed my mind as the governor. This didn't just happen the last couple of weeks or the last year. This happened when I was governor the first time a bill came to my desk that related to life. I could not sign a bill that would take away human life.

I came down on the side of life every single instance as governor of Massachusetts. I was awarded by the Massachusetts Citizens for Life with their leadership award for my record.


COOPER: Tonight, it is exactly that, his record that has many on the left crying flip-flop, folks on the right saying he was misunderstood or mistaken.

Joining us now is Jen Psaki, who is the traveling press secretary for the Obama campaign, and Kellyanne Conway, former senior adviser to the Newt Gingrich campaign.

Kellyanne, President Obama was asked about Mitt Romney's comments on abortion to "The Des Moines Register." I want to play a clip of what he just told ABC News.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is another example of Governor Romney hiding positions he has been campaigning on for a year-and-a-half.


COOPER: Kellyanne, do you dispute that Mitt Romney seems to have moved to the center in that debate and since, that there's a different tone, maybe a more centrist approach?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: Well, not on abortion, because the campaign quickly said to go back and look at the "National Review" interview he gave in June of 2011 if you want to know how he would govern as president on life.

COOPER: So, was that just a mistake to "The Des Moines Register," or an oversight?

CONWAY: I read his quote, Anderson, and I believe it was probably more of an oversight than a misstatement, because I read his quote and he said there is no legislation he can think of.

But he has already said that he would sign legislation if it came to his desk on fetal pain, which of course is probably the greatest challenge to Roe being legislated and litigated in the states now.

COOPER: Do you see a move to the center on kind of a broader sense on other issues, certainly in the debate?

CONWAY: Not -- not in a way that would close any -- not in a way that would close any kind of daylight between President Obama and Governor Romney. I think that he was talking about his health-care plan last week, and I don't believe it's an ideological shift. I believe the debate gives everybody a 90-minute opportunity to be more expository on all the issues.

COOPER: He's saying, I mean, on his health-care plan, he's saying preexisting conditions are covered, when in fact, most people's definition, under his plan, preexisting conditions are not covered. I mean, he's talking about if you have health insurance and you lose your job and you have a preexisting condition, you can continue with coverage if you pay the premiums.

CONWAY: Right.

COOPER: That's not most people's definition.

CONWAY: That's right. And I read that Erin Fehrnstrom, his senior adviser, did talk about that in the spin room after the debate and clarified.

But I do want to say that the whole abortion and contraception issue has been talked to death this year for the war on the women. And I noticed conspicuous by its absence in that debate, President Obama never uttered abortion or contraception.

COOPER: OK, but -- OK, but -- I know, but on the health care thing we just talked about, I know his spokesman corrected him afterward, but why did he need to be corrected? You would think he would know what his position is. Saying that during the debate, was that an attempt to kind of appeal to a wider range of people? Or was that also a misstatement?

CONWAY: You'd have to ask Governor Romney why he said what he said. But I don't think that there is machination in trying to appeal to a broader audience. I mean, I think we should ask President Obama why he tried to appeal to nobody. He was despondent and listless for 22 minutes.

COOPER: Jen, do you see a machination here?

PSAKI: Well, look, I think we were reminded with this interview that Mitt Romney is willing to say and do anything to be president, even if it means hiding from his own positions. We're tying him to what his positions are, which on issues like women's health care, on immigration, on his embrace of a $5 trillion tax cut, those are positions that are the far right wing of the party. And we're going to hold his feet to the fire for the next 27 days.

It does amaze me that, you know, Mitt Romney had one good night. The president didn't have the best night. He's been pretty straightforward about that. We're looking forward to the next debate. But we're running like we're five points behind in these swing states. And I hope that the Romney team is doing the same thing. There's a little bit of overconfidence I'm hearing from Kellyanne. And from the Romney team.

CONWAY: Sorry. Never. No overconfidence. I'm not part of the Romney team, but I certainly support him for president.

But Jen, no overconfidence here. This race is not over, and there's late in the game deciders are female. The only thing to them is, when you talk about women's health, they think about cardiovascular issues, osteoporosis, obesity, nutrition, diabetes. They don't think about abortion. I think that you taking the word -- it was once called abortion, then it was choice; now it's all women's health -- is insulting to women.

COOPER: But again...

CONWAY: Let them make the decision.

COOPER: Those are preexisting conditions you're talking about. A lot of those are preexisting conditions. And I guess I still don't understand why Governor Romney during that debate would be saying his health care coverage covers preexisting conditions when, by most people's definition of what preexisting condition is and how you get that covered, his plan doesn't cover that.

CONWAY: And there's another thing, Anderson. You just explained it better than President Obama did in his debate. President Obama...

COOPER: OK. I -- I appreciate the compliment, but I'd like an answer.

CONWAY: Well, here is my answer. What President Obama did in that debate was thank Mitt Romney for essentially providing an inspirational blueprint and a political cover for his own advisers to the White House to help construct Obama care, the Affordable Care Act.

COOPER: I just don't get it. I don't understand how any candidate who's running for as long as Mitt Romney is and as smart is could get his own policies so wrong, unless he was trying to appeal to a wider range of people by kind of -- kind of painting with a very broad brush and a definition that not most people have about what a preexisting condition is.

CONWAY: No. Well, look, President [SIC] Romney is not a liar. He's not going to go on national TV and talk in a debate and lie about his own health-care plan. He got that part wrong, according to his senior adviser, which I am not -- Erin Fehrnstrom.


PSAKI: He just did last week.

CONWAY: And -- and in any event, President Obama...

COOPER: So he got it wrong? So you're just saying it was a mistake?

CONWAY: That's what Eric Fehrnstrom said. He's his advisor, so I assume they're correct.

COOPER: Jen, do you believe it was just a mistake? PSAKI: Look, I have to say this is becoming a pattern. So when something becomes a pattern, you have to wonder what's behind it and why Mitt Romney is so uncomfortable with his own positions.

COOPER: It's going to be a fascinating debate.

PSAKI: It will be.

COOPER: Both tomorrow night, the vice presidents and next week the presidential candidates.

Kellyanne Conway, appreciate it.

Jen Psaki, thanks.

PSAKI: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, the family of Lilian Cary is speaking out tonight. They want you to know she is more than just a statistic in the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak. You're going to hear from them ahead. Plus, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has important new details about the company at the center of the outbreak and an even bigger company with ties to it. That's next.


COOPER: Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong was part of the most sophisticated and successful -- that's a quote -- doping program in cycling, according to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. And they say they have more than 1,000 documents to back up the claim. We'll have the latest on that ahead.


COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest," important new information tonight about the company at the center of the deadly meningitis outbreak that now involves ten states. A hundred and thirty-seen people have been sickened. Twelve people have died.

As many as 13,000 may have been exposed to the tainted steroid injections linked to the outbreak, injections made by a company called New England Compounding Center, the type of pharmacy that's regulated by state officials, not the FDA. Its owners are not taking questions from reporters.

Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta got as far as their parking lot yesterday. He was told to leave. He managed to take a look behind their facility, though. And what he found was a pretty surprising: a recycling site filled with waste and garbage right next to the building where, inside, medications are being mixed. Turns out the recycling center is owned by the same guy who owns the compounding center, and that's not all. Today, Sanjay did some more digging. Here's what he found.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): NECC, this is the place where the deadly meningitis outbreak started. We came here looking for answers. But we soon found out no one would talk.

(on camera) Is there someone that we can actually talk to? We've been leaving voice messages and...

(voice-over) I even went straight to the home of Barry Cadden. He's the owner of the facility. There was a car parked at the end of the driveway. No visitors allowed. But I was told they would call me back. They didn't.

(on camera) I'm trying to get some information.

(voice-over) There was something else we noticed. Look closely at the name of this garbage facility connected to the NECC: Conigliaro. Well, it turns out this is the maiden name of Barry Cadden's wife, Lisa. She's also listed as a pharmacist at NECC.

(on camera) I did a little bit more digging, and we found out that Barry Cadden, Gregory Conigliaro, who is Lisa's brother, are the owners of NECC, that recycling facility, and also this medical facility, called Ameridose.

(voice-over) They wouldn't even let us on the parking lot here.

Now, if NECC is big, then Ameridose is the 800-pound gorilla. NECC has 21 employees and generated $8 million in revenue. Ameridose, 400 employees; generated $100 million a year.

Ameridose does drug manufacturing, which is regulated by the FDA, but they also do add-mixing. That's a form of compounding, and that's regulated by the state pharmacy board.

(on camera) And here's something else. There's a woman named Sophia Pasedis. She's a vice president of compliance here at Ameridose. Well, she was also appointed to the state pharmacy board back in 2008. We asked them about that, and they say she's recused herself of all matters related to Ameridose and NECC.

(voice-over) Both companies have done business with the United States government. In fact, more than $800,000 worth of drug orders were placed with them by government agencies since 2007.

Together, both these companies produce hundreds of thousands of medication doses, and now both have shut down their operations.


GUPTA: And I'll tell you, as well, Anderson, the Massachusetts Department of Health did not say there's any evidence of contamination when it comes to products for Ameridose.

But we're still trying to find out, what exactly is the connection between, again, this 800-pound gorilla, Ameridose, and NECC, and what that might mean for consumers going forward, Anderson? COOPER: And the bottom line is the federal officials, the FDA, does not -- is not responsible for overseeing the quality at these compounding pharmacies? It's up to state officials?

GUPTA: Well, Ameridose does two things. It does manufacture some medications. That does come under the purview of the FDA. But they also have this part where they do add-mixing, where really mixing together different medicine. And again, that's the same sort of thing we talked about with NECC. That is a state-regulated thing.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay. Stay with us.

Lilian Cary is one of the 12 people who tragically died in this outbreak. She got a steroid injection in August, came down with fungal meningitis, died two weeks ago. She's more than a statistic, of course. She's a wife, a mom, a grandmother.

Her family held a memorial service for her yesterday, honoring her life. The grief is mixed with fear and worry. Lilian's husband also got a steroid shot made by NECC. George Cary joins me now, along with his daughter, Heather Andrus.

George and Heather, I'm so sorry for your loss. And I guess I want to start by asking you what do you want people to know about Lilian?

GEORGE CARY, WIDOWER: First of all, she was a wonderful woman that she had a love for life. She was part of our family, and that this should not have happened. This is a tragedy that goes beyond our family, and from our standpoint, we wish to express our condolences to the other people. And those people who may have been injected with the steroid and are undergoing the same period of uncertainty that we are in our family.

COOPER: And George, I mean, you're not only dealing with the grief of losing Lilian, but you had injections from the same pain treatment center. What have you been told about your own risk of developing meningitis? How do you feel physically?

CARY: I was advised on Friday afternoon of the connection between Lilian and I and the batch and lot number of the recalled FDA steroid. On Saturday afternoon I had a spinal tap. Those tests were sent out. I still haven't received any information regarding them.

I, like many other people, have steroid injections as a result of neck pain. Neck pain is one of the symptoms of meningitis. It's something that I live with. As a result, I'm watching other body functions to try to keep on top of it.

COOPER: And Heather, when you heard that these injections came from a type of pharmacy that's not regulated by the FDA what did you think? I mean, did you -- did you know that?

HEATHER ANDRUS, DAUGHTER OF LILIAN: I was not aware of that at first. And I can honestly say that shock, frustration, anger, and a little bit of disgust were definitely emotions that crossed my mind. I think it's ridiculous that these companies in this day and age aren't mandated to have inspections and that this completely preventable death and tragedy had to happen due to these oversights.

COOPER: I want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, because there are a lot of folks, 13,000, who may have been gotten exposed to -- to these shots. What are symptoms that people should look for? George mentioned neck pain.

GUPTA: Yes. And again, let me just add, as well, George and Heather, you know, it's so tough to hear your story, what happened to your mom and wife.

You know, it is difficult, especially with this type of meningitis, you know. A fungal meningitis, as you may know, is more rare than bacterial or viral meningitis. Viral is the most common. But George is absolutely right. Neck pain is one of the symptoms. People can often develop significant what's called photophobia, so just not wanting to be out in the light at all. Headache, as well, sometimes fever.

What George is describing is where they're actually now taking some of the fluid and examining it to see if they can see any evidence of fungus actually within the fluid. It doesn't mean for sure that, if they don't find it, that he still doesn't have to be vigilant about this.

So George, I don't know if they told you this, but up to 28 days or so, if you have any other of these symptoms I'm describing, you really do need to get it checked out. That's a message we've been giving to everybody who's concerned about this.

COOPER: George, have the answers you've gotten been satisfactory? I mean, what do you want to see happen? You've called this a wakeup call for the country.

CARY: Well, I think that the lobbyists and corporations have always been a part of the political process regarding important issues. And I think this is an example of how that process works.

COOPER: And Heather, what do you want to see happen? I mean, who do you think should be held accountable here?

ANDRUS: I definitely think that the corporations themselves should be held accountable. I think that the federal government should step in at this point and enforce stricter guidelines. Obviously, the state was not vigilant with their oversight in ensuring that the American public is getting safe drugs.

COOPER: And Sanjay, when you were out at the facility, is the FDA now investigating? Are they the ones in charge of the investigation?

GUPTA: Yes. The FDA is now investigating both the NECC facility, which is at the heart of this, and today also Ameridose, owned by the same people that own NECC. But you know, they're absolutely right. It's interesting. Even at the state level, when a facility like this applies for a license, they have a process they go through at that point. But as far as we can tell, in talking to officials here on the ground, that unless there's a problem -- and that problem usually comes to light because something like this happens, not usually to this magnitude, thankfully. But something happens and then the organization, the licensing organization comes back in to sort of check things out.

This particular facility back in 2002, as we've talked about, was cited for unsterile practices. Ten years later, you see what's happening.

COOPER: And Sanjay, is there preventive treatment for people, maybe who received these injections but who don't yet know whether or not it's going to give them the meningitis?

GUPTA: Well, the one thing that doctors always sort of wrestle with is, you know, should we just go ahead and treat somebody as if they have the infection, even if we haven't confirmed it?

And when it comes to this -- and George, I don't know if they spoke to this with you. But the treatment is a longer course of what are called anti-fungal medications, and these are types of medications that you do want to have confirmed infection before you start using. Because it is a long course that sometimes involves being in the hospital for a few days. So I think there's really not a preventative sort of course here, but just a real vigilance about any of these symptoms.

COOPER: Well, George and Heather, again, you know, speaking to us just one day after the memorial service. And I appreciate you being on. Again, we are so sorry for your loss.

CARY: Thank you for having us on your show.

ANDRUS: Thank you. Our -- our biggest concern was definitely putting a face to these statistics, because this is more than just numbers. These are human beings and loved ones and people. And hopefully by sharing our story, we're able to help bring more awareness to this, to get stricter guidelines going forward.

COOPER: I think everyone is going to think about Lilian every time they hear about this and the others, as well. And hopefully, we'll learn more about them in the days ahead. Again, thank you so much. Stay strong.

CARY: Thank you.

ANDRUS: Thank you.

COOPER: Another deadly day in Syria. At least 77 people killed in Damascus alone, 16 in Homs, according to opposition groups. More on today's death toll when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ISHA SESAY, HLN ANCHOR: I'm Isha Sesay with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."

Opposition groups in Syria say 197 people died in violence throughout the country today. Video posted on YouTube appears to show opposition fighters taking over the main security center south of Itlin (ph), where they say government forces detained and tortured anti-regime activists. CNN cannot confirm the video's authenticity.

In Pakistan, a rally in support of a 14-year-old girl, a blogger and activist for the education of girls, who was shot on her way home from school yesterday. The Taliban has claimed responsibility. Surgeons worked today to take a bullet out of her neck. Meanwhile, chilling words from a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, who said if she survives this time she won't next time. Quote, "We will certainly kill her."

The amateur filmmaker behind the online anti-Islam film clip that set off protests around the world was in a federal courtroom in California today. Prosecutors are trying to revoke Nakoula Basseley Nakoula's probation for a 2010 bank fraud conviction. He's being held without bail.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is releasing a mountain of evidence against Lance Armstrong. The evidence includes sworn testimony from 11 of Armstrong's former teammates who say they saw him doping. Armstrong has repeatedly denied that. One of his lawyers calls the case a one-sided hatchet job.

Google has awarded $60,000 to a teenager who has discovered a potential security hole in its Chrome browser. A growing number of companies are offering money to hackers to find security issues in their products.

And a zoo in Florida is offering an unusual attraction: letting visitors swim with a tiger cub. Guests can also swim with an alligator, whose mouth is taped shut.

Time now for "The Connection."

A font designed to help people with dyslexia read material on line has been picked up as an option on a growing number of applications. The font is called Open Dyslexic. The letters are evenly spaced and thicker at the bottom, which the creator says can help prevent the brain from flipping and swapping them.

There hasn't been a scientific study to show whether it really works, but the designer says people have e-mailed him, saying it's the first time they could read without the words looking wiggly.

Anderson will be right back.


COOPER: OK. That's it for us. Thanks for watching. "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.