Sean Penn Feels 'Terrible Regret' Over 'El Chapo' Interview

Friday, January 15, 2016
Sean Penn Feels 'Terrible Regret' Over 'El Chapo' Interview
Sean Penn is seen here during an interview on "60 Minutes."

Actor Sean Penn, who penned a lengthy and detailed account of his covert meeting with drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman for Rolling Stone magazine, said feels "a terrible regret" about the incident and subsequent interview.

"Yes, I had a terrible regret," Penn told Charlie Rose for Sunday's upcoming episode of "60 Minutes." "I have a regret that the entire discussion about this article ignores its purpose, which was to try to contribute to this discussion about the policy in the war on drugs."

"We all want this drug problem to stop," Penn continued. "We all want them -- the killings in Chicago to stop. We are the consumer. Whether you agree with Sean Penn or not, there is a complicity there. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs ... And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article [has] come out, talking about that? One percent? I think that'd be generous.

"My article failed," Penn added emphatically.

Guzman, the reputed leader of the Sinaloa cartel, which was once described by the U.S. Treasury as "the most powerful drug trafficker in the world," was recaptured last week after six months on the run following his escape from a Mexican prison.

Penn, 55, said he believes his meeting with Guzman and subsequent video interview -- which was delivered to Penn via intermediaries, including a courier for Guzman -- did not contribute to his recapture.

"There is this myth about the visit that we made, my colleagues and I with El Chapo, that it was -- as the Attorney General of Mexico is quoted -- 'essential' to his capture. We had met with him many weeks earlier ... on October 2nd, in a place nowhere near where he was captured," he explained, adding, "We know that the Mexican government ... they were clearly very humiliated by the notion that someone found him before they did. Well, nobody found him before they did. We're not smarter than the DEA or the Mexican intelligence. We had a contact upon which we were able to facilitate an invitation."

When asked by Rose whether he feared for his life following Guzman's recapture, Penn said, "No."

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