tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN July 11, 2012 1:00am-2:00am EDT
swiss bank accounts and tax haves and shelters and also set up the secret company, shell company in bermuda. >> -- about why he opened a corporation off shore in bermuda. why he keeps his finances offshore in the cayman islands. why he opened a swiss bank account. >> did you ever think you'd have a nominee of a major political party running for president who has significant investments in the cayman islands? >> americans need to ask themselves, why does an american businessman need a swiss bank account and secretive investments like that. >> this is a guy whose slogan is believe in america. and it should be business in bermuda. >> bermuda refers to a series of hedge funds run by bain capital, mr. romney's former company. we know about it from a tax return from 2010. he's also put out an estimated tax return from 2011 but he didn't want to release anymore. we should point out he's not legally required to at all. no candidate is. he kept his taxes private in
1994 when he ran for the senate. during his run for governor and during his 2008 presidential campaign. this time under pressure from republican primary opponents, he did this limited disclosure. the returns and other campaign filings revealed those overseas investments which are detailed in this month's "vanity fair" magazine. the title, "where the money lives." the article says mr. romney has a perm stake in at least a dozen cayman companies worth at least $0 million. -- $30 million. in addition "vanity fair" and the associated press detailed that hedge fund, the one established in bermuda, that managed more than $100 million. for his part, mr. romney himself has said he pays all the law demands in terms of taxes and not a penny more, same as anybody. his investments he says are in a blind trust. >> my investments have been held by a blind trust, have been managed by a trustee. i don't manage them. don't even know where they are. those, that trustee follows all u.s. laws, all the taxes are paid, as appropriate, all of them have been reported to the
government. there's nothing hidden there. >> experts say there's no real way to know that precisely or how precisely some of these investments work without more data which the candidate obviously is not supplying. when asked whether he should release his tax returns, congressman chavetz says he already has. governor romney has been very successful, the congressman said, get over it. joining me now is the author who wrote that "vanity fair" piece. he also wrote "treasure island, off shore banking and tax havens." you say mitt romney pushes into what you call some fuzzy gray zones. what do you mean by that? >> well, at the end of the day, it has been repeated by the romney campaign many times that mitt romney, he may have been something of a financial gymnast doing all sorts of back flips to avoid taxes but he's never actually broken the law. i kind of question that.
is that actually true? and the answer to that question is not completely straight forward. i don't find, you know, examples of outright tax evasion which is by definition illegal. but at the end of the day, between the illegal tax evasion and tax avoidance, there is a gray area, and especially when you start dealing with off shore tax havens. quite a large gray area. financial players and various other players go into this gray area. it's an often an area where you can make a lot of money. >> kevin madden told fox news sunday that romney hasn't paid a penny less in taxes by virtue of where these funds are domiciled. his liability is exactly the same as if he held them directly in the u.s. as a u.s. citizen, he is accountable for u.s. taxes. some investments in foreign countries can be tax havens. but mitt romney does not hold any such investments. is all that accurate according to your reporting? can you say that definitively? >> well, no, not quite.
this claim that, you know, he pays exactly the same taxes as if he'd invested in the united states, his investments through the cayman islands, exactly the same tax rate. it's not quite true. or at least it appears not to be. again this is one of the questions where we don't have clarity but there are strong indications. on your earlier point about, you know, saying it has been said by the romney campaign and others that these are not tax havens. we're not investing through tax havens. that is something that has been repeated. that is something i've seen, you know, i've been researching tax havens for many years and it's one of the commonest things in places like the cayman islands, switzerland, all sorts of traditional well-named tax havens. we are a responsible international financial center, all this. these places are tax havens. when you hear them say that, that is simply not true, these are tax havens. >> when the romney adviser yesterday said he doesn't have foreign accounts, he has foreign investments, assuming the swiss
account is no longer active, is that true, that he doesn't have foreign account, he just has foreign investments? >> it is generally foreign investments, yes. yeah. that's the -- that's right. >> so bottom line when it comes down to it, to you, does it look like romney's done anything illegal here or is he just a savvy businessman taking advantage of loopholes or less than an airtight system? >> well, again, the question comes back to these gray areas. more often than not, though, these gray areas stay gray. romney has definitely been very comfortable in these areas. you know, not in most cases -- the fuzzy edges of the law and stepping around those areas. he seems very confident in going into these areas. does seem to be a pattern. >> do we know why he invested in the cayman islands? is there any reason to invest in the cayman islands other than a tax advantage?
>> generally you would -- if it's private equity company, it would generally be a tax advantage, yes, that would be the reason. the cayman islands does have a very strong secrecy. it has a law, confidential relationships protection law. under which you can go to jail for not just revealing information but for asking for it. but i think fundamentally, if mitt romney has been having, you know, routine investments through the cayman islands, i think fundamentally it is about tax. it is about helping -- not only helping yourself potentially avoid tax but also attracting foreign money that could be tax evading money. it could be just tax avoiding money. we don't know. >> nicholas saction, appreciate it, thank you. let's dig deeper into this with mary matalin and chief business correspondent ali velshi. ali, what do you make of this? beyond some potential tax advantages or privacy advantages, is there any
legitimate reason to have investments in the cayman islands? >> i've been making phone calls on this. i've been trying to investigate. generally speaking not. there are legitimate reasons why you would have off shore accounts and off shore investments and blind trusts. none seem to suit the profile of a guy like mitt romney. now can't not declare your holders. you can't not declare your income. does seem to be when he was establishing these things being rich wasn't public enemy number one in america. this is probably the worst time to disclose all the money he's got. so they're trying to keep this under the radar. no valid reason. no savings of money or tax. >> it's not just floating above the radar. the obama campaign is trying to paint mitt romney as a ruthless rich guy who's got something to hide. the romney campaign is saying, look, we don't have anything to hide. if that's true and it certainly seems to be, why not just release more tax returns and short circuit the obama attack? >> well, first let's make it clear that there is no legal requirement.
there's possibly, possibly, a political requirement. but i would -- my opinion is it would be very, very bad politics for mitt romney to do this. the obama strategy, which they've made very clear is their strategy, is just to attack, attack, attack. but what they're also trying to do is just make a distraction. to the extend that romney says anything other than, yes, i've been a success, you can be a success in america. he should stay on his message, which is to say, as long as obama's president, your chances of becoming a success in america are limited. i think it's much ado about nothing. not to mention these trust funds are out of his control and have been for many decades. >> i tweeted this to people, say, do you think it's relevant or not? some people said it's absolutely not relevant. it's coming off as an attack against success. that's what a lot of republicans hope it comes off as. there are others who say how a person invests their money or spends their money tells what kind of person they are.
if they're betting against the u.s. dollar by investing overseas, people should know that. >> i think you'd be pretty stupid to not hedge against an american dollar in this obama economy. what tells more about a person -- and i would hope romney people could get this out somehow -- is not what he's paying in taxes, which is exponential. it's equivalent to the success he's made. what he contributes in charity, there's never been a candidate or a governor or anybody in public office that i know of that contributes the percentage of his income to charity and other foundations that he supports. that's unprecedented. that says more about -- >> you're talking about tithing through his church. >> i'm talking about -- well, which counts. i'm also talking about his other charitable contributions and foundations that he supports. and far exceeding any tax benefits that would accrue from them.
that's what is the measure of a person to me. or one of the many measures of a person. >> right. >> what they pay in legal taxes says to me nothing. >> ali, the romney people are saying, look, he has paid absolutely all the taxes that he is legally expected to pay. there's no evidence that is not true. is it -- i mean, is there any tax advantage really to having these overseas investments? you still have to pay the taxes. >> i would love to have an answer to that. we don't know enough information to do so. the issue is there was a time -- and it was not -- it was as recently as 10 or 15 years ago when there were specific advantages to having these off shore accounts. usually there's secrecy, avoidance of certain types of taxes. all of that stuff is now not legal. it may than some of these accounts are legacy. some of these holdings and investments are legacy investments. there are some reasons why you would do this. the reason it's not gained much traction is because it's complicated and a lot of us are not accountants. it starts to become more of a
distraction than it need to be. the best policy would probably be to come forward. if romney is hedging against the u.s. dollar, nothing illegal about that, you can actually do that with all your accounts in the united states. if you like to invest in swiss francs because you think they're more stable, you can do that in the united states. so there's no valid reason why this is happening. there's no valid reason why mitt romney isn't explaining why it's happening. in this economic environment, the concept, the idea of sec secrecy, starts to become hard to deal with. >> thank you. let us know what you think about this. >> we're talking about it right now on twitter, @andersoncooper. a closer look at the obama campaign strategy of talking about mitt romney, attacking mitt romney on his finances and how he ran bain capital, instead of talking about how obama is
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ago, that could be very, very good news for him. but that's the underlying. i think these attacks are raising questions about mitt romney's finances, and i think it's going to increase the pressure on him to release more of his tax returns. >> james carville and stan greenberg formerly worked for president clinton, worried that obama was going to get beat saying things were better. should be focusing on how things are going to get better in the next four years, if in fact they are. do you think they have a point with that? >> i think they have a point. i think that's really the only place that the president can go. the last four years have been very, very difficult for a lot of people. even though it's better for some people, maybe the unemployment rate has come down a little bit. it's ticked down. a lot people are still struggling so much. so many people have dropped out of this economy. he really doesn't want to talk
about this. you have to say, i know it doesn't feel good, but it's going to get better. i'm the person to do it. then you see the person pivoting immediately to mitt romney. that's what all these bain attacks are about. you can't trust mitt romney to do it any better. he's going to offshore those jobs. if you look at what he's doing, his personal finances, this is what he's going to do to the country's finances. anything for a buck. i think the president doesn't want to look back. i don't think americans are going to let him off the hook that easily. the only way to let him know how he's perform in the future is how he's performed in the past. >> has opened himself up to the criticism. he's attacking success. someone who's successful. >> absolutely. i happen to think the attacks on bain capital are way off base. i know something about that company. i've done some work with them in the past. i was on a board. we sold out to bain capital, corporate board. we had big questions about who -- whether bain was going to be a good steward of the childcare company. they've been terrific stewards. i think a lot of these attacks are ill founded.
they're an attempt to paint romney as something other -- top 1%, top 001% of the country. out of touch, elite, all the rest. going back to patricia's point. taking the vacation i think was ill-timed. fundamentally, think the country really wants to know which of these guys can bring growth or jobs. i don't think either of them yet has persuaded the country they can do that. >> david gergen, patricia murphy, thanks. >> thanks so much. coming up tonight, chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. he's on the front lines of this really horrific medical emergency. disease detectives are racing the clock to try to figure out what is killing young children. 64 children have died so far. the question are they any closer tonight to solving the deadly mystery. sanjay will join frus -- us from the front lines. i bought the car because of its efficiency. i bought the car because i could eliminate gas from my budget. i don't spend money on gasoline.
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up close tonight, the latest on the search for a killer that's striking down children in cambodia. disease detectives are working around the clock now to try to identify the culprit. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta's there. so far, 64 children, most younger than 3, have died from an unknown illness. it began three months ago, this outbreak. it kills quickly. often within 24 hours. it's happening in cambodia. health officials there are getting help from the world
health organization, as well as the cdc. you can imagine the sense of urgency. our chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta is there tonight in cambodia. a country with one of the highest rates of child mortality in southeast asia. >> reporter: so many people getting sick here in the thousands. and if they do, what happens next? oftentimes, they have to rally their neighbor, gather a little money, maybe hire a took took like this one over here to get them to a hospital as quickly as possible. >> now an unknown enemy. a new outbreak that remains a mystery. sanjay joins me now live. i think what must be so frustrating and alarming for people there is not knowing what causes this mystery illness. they don't really know how to protect themselves. when do we expect any sort of an update on what the cause may be? >> i think there's a leading theory now in all this, anderson, talking to the doctors here. this enterovirus 71, something we talked about last night. it's something that's showed up positive in several of the patients. most of the doctors here seem to think that's not the only thing
that could be causing this. a lot of focus is on is there any pathogen, virus or bacteria, or a medication of some sort that's doing this? so that's where they're sort of focusing attention now. in terms of protecting themselves, the messages that are going out, alerts going out, telling parents of children who may be getting sick to just simply bring the kids to the hospital right away. don't try and take any of these medications out in private clinics beforehand because they think if that's the problem, that's -- they're having a hard time controlling that. so the kids are coming into the hospital. the hospitals are already full. but they think that's the best course of action, anderson. >> so that virus, the number you mentioned, that's foot and mouth disease, right? how is that spread? >> yeah, hand, foot and mouth disease. typically, it's fairly contagious. it's an enterovirus so it's something that the body excretes and people who have not washed their hands properly can subsequently ingest it. i will tell you, if there's any
good news in all this, it doesn't appear to be very contagious. we don't know why because you'd expect it to be contagious to your point. it doesn't appear to be clustering within communities. they don't know why. it's a little bit of good news, it doesn't seem to be spreading. >> who exactly is in charge of testing? the world health organization running things? cambodian health officials? >> this is a confusing point. i'll tell you, anderson, you've traveled to this part of the world. you've seen a lot of these systems work. the hospitals here, they're underfunded, underresourced. also for most part private. in a situation like this arises, typically it's the hospital who's first alerting people. they see increased number of cases. they let the ministry of health know about that. the ministry of health has to decide if they're going to involve the world health organization. here in phnom penh in cambodia it's the minister of health calling the shots so to speak. the world health organization
and the hospital where many of these kids are being treated, they're not even really communicating. you may have heard some numbers for example on how many cases there were exactly. that's because these two organizations really aren't communicating. it's the ministry of health now doing the test. doing these investigations. going into the villages. trying to figure out if there's a bad batch of medications out there. it's falling on their shoulders. >> the bottom line is they don't know how this is being spread from person to person? you say it's not clustering in communities. it's not being spread within households. so i mean, that's one of the big mysteries, is why one child gets it and another child in another village gets it? >> yeah, so, you know, these are called sporadic cases. and exactly, you know, the bacteria seems to catch hold of infection. and in some children, and not in others. or it could be something else. that is some kids are much more susceptible to it. some doctors made the theory there's more cases out there
than we realize but they're so mild in other kids and maybe even in adults they're not recognizing them. obviously the kids we're talking about, 64 of 66, as you know, who have died, they were the most serious cases of all. >> sanjay, i'm glad you're there. appreciate you talking to us. isha's here with a "360" bulletin. >> the result of an investigation into penn state's handling of the jerry sandusky scandal will be released on thursday. meanwhile, lawyers for penn state's former president spannier says their client told investigators he was never informed of sexual abuse allegations against sandusky. lance armstrong headed back to court today. he refiled his lawsuit against the u.s. anti-doping agency. trying to halt its case against him. the agency has accused armstrong of using performance enhancing drugs. he first filed the suit yesterday but a judge dismissed it. in florida, officials tracked down and killed an alligator that attacked a boy yesterday,
bight off his arm. he said he knew if he didn't give the gator his arm, the animal probably would have killed him. take a look at. this it might give you the chills. it's an airport x-ray screening image of a 5-month-old baby boy hidden inside a bag. an egyptian couple tried to enter the united arab emirates but didn't have a visa for the infant, so they tried to sneak him in. the child is fine. the parents have been charged. >> i'm not sure what to say about this. you're just going to have to watch it. >> ow. will you quit? i'm ready for some "hannah montana" coon repellant. bite me now. i don't think so.
>> i don't even know what to say about that. i don't even know what's going on. >> ow, ow. >> he sprayed himself with something. >> well, yeah. >> yeah, i don't know. >> yeah, you know what, sometimes -- >> yeah. >> yeah. >> let's move on, shall we? >> uh-huh, yeah. >> okay. a number of high-profile hollywood stars have embraced the church of scientology over the years. has scientology's pursuit of big celebrities helped or hurt the church? an accident doesn't have to slow you down. with better car replacement available only with liberty mutual auto insurance, if your car's totaled, we give you the money for a car one model year newer.
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tonight, a new report in our "ungodly discipline" series. gary has been investigating a school facing allegations of abuse. this time, there's another layer to the story entirely. there's evidence this school has been fleecing tax payers at the same time and, as if that weren't bad enough, its students are also allegedly being forced to panhandle when they should be studying. here's gary's report. >> reporter: walk down the sidewalk and turn the corner at this b.a.r.t. station, one of the bay area subway stations, and you'll see him. a little boy, 6 years old or 7 years old at most, panhandling, begging for money. it's not for him or his family. it's for his school. in fact this begging is, in a way, part of the curriculum at
the missionary baptist church school in oakland, california. this child, whose identity we're protecting, looks like a modern day version of "oliver twist." standing nearby, an adult companion who's not happy we're there. can you just tell me your name? >> who are you? >> reporter: my name's gary tuchman with cnn. we want to know why you have children out here begging for money at this subway. >> we're not answering any questions. >> reporter: but we found out who the man is. he's reverend robert lacy jr. he and his father are the people who run st. andrews. the school whose children are regularly spotted hustling for money at subway stations. why are they doing it? where is the money going? >> if you have any questions, you can give them to us in writing. >> reporter: why can't you answer that question now, sir? i think children should be home during their school work during the year not begging commuters for money. this poor little boy should be doing homework. >> yolanda bailey had three children at st. andrews and she pulled them out. >> to me, it's just like a big
slave camp. >> reporter: bailey said she was told her kids were doing fund-raising. she says no one told her they were begging. >> me and my little bear went with the pastor. he told us if we didn't make $50, we would stay there till we did. >> reporter: catherine says she pulled her son out of the school where she paid $3,000 a year in tuition. charlos says he was required to panhandle for hours nearly every evening. you got hungry. you got thirsty. they didn't bring food or water with them? >> i couldn't even sit. >> reporter: those are not the only unseemly allegations against the father and son ministers. yolanda says her older child was struck by the reverend lacy jr. >> he hit my son on the top of the head with a book. >> reporter: her younger son says he was hit several times. and what did he hit you with? >> belt and spoons. >> reporter: a belt and spoons? meanwhile, charlos says he was locked in a second floor classroom because he had talked in class and wasn't allowed to
use the bathroom so he says he climbed out on this second story window ledge to escape. >> i didn't want to do it so i tried to come in and i slipped on the ledge, and i fell, and i broke my foot in five places. >> reporter: this is a picture shortly after charlos went to the hospital and these are the medical reports. his mother says the school denied he fell out of the window. >> i just thank god that he landed on his feet. he could have -- there's no doubt he would have been dead, had he fallen head first. >> reporter: and there's more to say about the school. st. andrews has declared it has 195 students. the more students, the more federal taxpayer money received. the school has cashed in more than $220,000 taxpayer dollars over the last five years. will evans is a reporter with california watch. a nonprofit media organization that has been investigating the school. they say in official filings they have 195 students.
your finding is how many students go to that school? >> they definitely -- under 30 at any given time. sometimes much fewer. as few as 10. >> reporter: is there anyone who carefully looks at the form schools fill out saying the number of students they have? >> no. >> reporter: the oakland unified school district is the entity dolling out the money. it admits it has blindly trusted schools like st. andrus. this man has been on the board for 19 years. >> it's very difficult for me to stand here and make excuses because it happened. >> reporter: is there a chance that st. andrews will receive more taxpayer money -- >> absolutely not. >> reporter: zero? >> zero funds. >> reporter: back at the b.a.r.t. station -- so let them take the picture of the transaction taking place. you have no right to put that up there. this is a public place. put that down. >> we're not public. >> reporter: sir, this is a public place. if people are giving money to
your children, we're allowed to film it. he told me at the subway station if i e-mailed him questions, he'd provide me with answers. so i did. but he didn't. which means the next stop was coming to the church. i knocked on the locked door. i know there are people inside. but no one wanted to say hello. just as we were about to leave, we ran into reverend lacy on the street. regarding these allegations about children in the subway station, about the abuse allegations, about you taking too much tax money, what's your response to all that? >> we're honest people. we're law abiding citizens. we have committed ourselves to do god's service here in this community. and that's what we've been doing it and that's all we have to comment at this time. >> reporter: but no specific answers to those allegations? >> no, no, no answers to that. we're praying people. if you don't mind, we'd like to say a prayer with you here right now. >> reporter: and his prayers were the last words he said.
>> gary, why would officials with the b.a.r.t. transit system allow little kids to panhandle in the subway system? watched over by an adult? >> b.a.r.t. celebrates the first amendment and likes to give permits to fund-raising groups. that being said, there appears to be momentum now to change their policy so groups like st. andrews can no longer do this. what we found out from one board member, through our partners at california watch, the nonprofit journalistic group who's done a great job exposing this church. one board said "we don't want them to be in a position to enjoy child exploitation anymore." >> what's amazing to me about this report and also what drew griffin did on these charities that, you know, the money's not going to where they say it's going. as if these people had nothing to hide, they -- you would think they would invite you in and explain what was going on, explain their philosophy. yet they're standing in a public place and trying to block your camera and refusing to answer questions.
i mean, is this church being investigated by the authorities? because they're certainly not giving any answers about why they're having these kids do this. >> right. i mean, first of all, that's what was so funny about this. the reverend lacy said, this isn't a public place. there's no more public place than a subway station. that being said, there is an investigation taking place. lots of scrutiny. the oakland school board has told the state about it. the state is investigating these federal tax allegations. they've also given the file to the d.a.'s office in the county. to child welfare experts to investigate two different things. the abuse allegations. also, what we know is the panhandling at the subway station. >> we'll continue to stay on it. thank you. in other news, the divorce of tom cruise and katie holmes. a public relations challenge for the church of scientology. we're going to look into connections to hollywood and the church when "360" continues. and deposits at the same time. for paying your friend back for lunch...from your tablet.
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the tom cruise and katie holmes divorce has put the spotlight on the church of scientology. it's unknown if katie had ever joined the church of scientology, tom cruise has been one of the biggest box office draws in hollywood, is also one of scientology's high-profile members. turns out, since the earliest days of the church, scientology has always had hollywood stars in its sites. karina winter reports. >> being a scientologist, you look at someone and you know absolutely you can help them. >> reporter: the church of
scientology's close connection to celebrities like tom cruise is no accident. founder l. ron hubbard believed celebrities could boost the church's fortunes. >> hubbard wrote a policy years ago back in the '70s that the way to reinvigorate the church was to recruit big names. the purpose of it is to add credibility to the church's beliefs and get more people to join. >> reporter: ex-scientologist karen presley ran the church's celebrity center in hollywood in the late 1980s before quitting scientology in 1998. she says priority one was to pull in stars. >> we lived and died over it. >> reporter: presley told us in the '80s her team courted demi moore and brad pitt to no avail. they had better luck with another rising star. how big a fish was it to reel in tom cruise? >> it was huge. i mean, there is no -- is there a bigger name than tom? than t.c.? we called him t.c.
>> reporter: t.c. became a vip in scientology. casting a glow with his star wattage. that earned him a salute from scientology's leader in this video that leaked online. aligning itself so closely with celebrities has come at a price for the church of scientology. for every plug from another scientologist like john travolta -- >> i think it's the most important movement on the planet. >> reporter: has come an unflattering headline. and for every shout out from tom cruise -- >> i think it's a privilege to call yourself a scientologist. >> reporter: there has been a cringe worthy moment. >> do you know what aderoll is? do you know ritalin? do you know now ritalin is a street drug? do you understand that? >> the difference is -- >> matt, matt -- >> this one -- >> matt, i'm asking you a question. >> reporter: a haggard cruise appeared on "today" show in 2005 famously debating matt lauer over psychiatric drugs. an issue important to scientologists. >> clearly, you've done the homework and you know the subject. >> and you should.
and you should do that also. because just knowing people who are on ritalin isn't enough. you should be a little bit more responsible. >> reporter: and the couch jumping episode on oprah in which cruise proclaimed his love for katie holmes made the actor, to many people, an object of ridicule. now, the sudden implosion of his marriage to holmes has created another public relations problem for the church. >> it's without a doubt a pr nightmare. i mean, to have their top two celebrities having marital problems to the extent that katie wants this divorce is huge. >> reporter: scientology prides itself on providing couples with communication tools to succeed a marriage. the church's celebrity center website states, whether applied to marital or personal relationships, to one's family or career or simply one's personal peace of mind, scientology changes conditions for the better. pressley says the cruise/holmes split pokes a hole in that claim.
>> this is tom's third divorce. what does that say about a scientologist, a senior level scientologist, like tom, t.c., what does it say about his ability to succeed in relationships? i think it's a huge statement. >> reporter: spokeswoman careen powell told cnn with respect to tom cruise and katie holmes divorce, the church has no comment. please direct any questions to their representatives. this is and always was a private family matter and the church will continue to respect their privacy. the end of the cruise/holmes divorce drama may come as a relief to the church but it's facing other challenges. several former prominent scientologists have taken to waging a vigorous online campaign against the church. pressley says these high-level defections have pushed scientology to a crisis point. >> i think it's probably the most fragile that it's ever been. i think that the church is hanging by a thread. >> reporter: the church spokeswoman begs to differ,
telling cnn, quote, every church has its detractors and these stories come at a time of tremendous church growth. kareen wynter, cnn, los angeles. >> in response to our questions about the relationship of the church and celebrities, just before we went on air tonight, the spokeswoman sent us a statement. saying in part the church does not speak about the beliefs and practice of parishioners, add, quote, scientology appeals to men and women in all walks of life. the perception that it uniquely appeals to those in the arts is a misperception conveyed by the media. there are as many reasons people turn to scientology, but generally scientology offers answers to age-old questions, spiritual awareness and greater ability because it provides tools they can use in life. apparently, jonesing for junk food is a major news story now in canada. just how far do these barbecue bandits go to satisfy a chip craving? coming up next. ♪ i want to go ♪ i want to win [ breathes deeply ] ♪ this is where the dream begins ♪ ♪ i want to grow
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time now for the ridiculous, and tonight we're adding the barbecue chip bandits. they allegedly struck in canada last month. the local news was all over the case at the time, but it's only now going viral in the u.s. i should warn you, the depth of reporting on this story is rivalled only by woodward and bernstein, so we should probably start at the beginning. >> reporter: in this quiet neighborhood, people like their chips. >> all kinds. we like the lime flavored ones, potato chips, taco chips, cheesies. >> oh yeah, the cheese yis. it only gets better from there, because it wasn't just the local news that got involved.
>> these are very specific and hard to obtain barbecue chips. >> that's right. police officers responded to an emergency call from a resident, who, to be fair, likely thought something sinister was afoot. >> apparently she lives alone and was awoken by her growling chihuahua. >> look, i have said it before, nothing gets by a chihuahua. it turns out it wasn't a dangerous intruder, but two drunk college girls. >> the women were walking home from a night of drinking when something caught their eye, an open garage just like this one. what did they see inside? barbecue potato chips. >> mmm. what's the big deal about zeller's brand chips? actually, forget it. surely the reporter has better things to do than to explain that. >> you can find them at zeller's, but only for a limited time. in october, zeller's is closing its doors for good, meaning it's in-house potato chip brand truly could become harder to find, perhaps making it somewhat of a hot commodity. >> i don't know, that sounds like a lot of speculation.
can we check in with the officer? >> i haven't tried these for myself. but my understanding is that particular brand of barbecue is quite tasty. >> okay. then i stand corrected. wait, what is that? what is that? i'm told we're getting more information on what the bandits did inside the garage. >> it appears that the effervescent chip package in the open garage just appeared too yummy to pass up for two highly intoxicated young ladies. >> you had me at effervescent. i'm now fully committed to this story. i just wish the reporter could give us a better understanding, a better look really at what exactly happened. >> reporter: so they took the chips and started walking, but they didn't get far. the barbecue bandits were busted by the homeowner. >> i love the eating demonstration. but look, i'll be honest this is getting a little too tense for me. i'm afraid to even ask how it all turns out. >> apparently the chips have been accessed and there have been some illicit chip tastings. >> damn you, chip bandits.
what are we going to do with you? should we really cut you some slack? >> these are first-time chip offenders. >> glad he has a sense of humor about it, because frankly, my nerves are fried. consider yourself on notice. for now, the trail of crumbs leads right to the ridiculous. that does it for us. out front next, president obama versus romney in a war over who is more transparent. we'll tell you what both carveds are hiding. russia sends a flotilla of warships towards syria but says it's no big deal. and your cell phone as an informant. how police are using your smartphone to spy on you. let's go "outfront." good evening, i'm tom foreman in for erin burnett.
"outfront" tonight, the transparency tornado. president obama's team is ripping into mitt romney for what they call an appalling lack of transparency. they say he's hiding things about his past, his businesses, his finances, and they're hitting hard with a new web video on a tax attacks from the vice president himself. >> he wants you to show your papers, but he won't show us his. >> democrats have been demanding more financial disclosure from romney for weeks, and suggesting that he's got secrets he's keeping from voters. listen. >> this is the most secretive candidate since richard nixon. >> mitt romney plays by a different set of rules and keeps secrets like other things he keeps secret. >> governor romney has released his tax return for only one full year. critics say even his father release 12 years of returns when he was running for president in 1968. romney also holds off-shore bank accounts in switzerland, the