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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Is Bin Laden Back? Bush: Al Qaeda is Still a Threat; Violence Escalates in Middle East

Aired September 10, 2003 - 19:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR (voice-over): Analyzing the tape: is bin Laden back?

The air at Ground Zero: did the EPA mislead New York?

A bride to be, killed by terrorists on the eve of her wedding.

ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN broadcast center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And a good evening to you tonight. Thanks for joining us. A lot to cover. Let's get right to it.

Tonight the media, intelligence officers and much of the world is watching, poring over, analyzing, what may be the latest words and images of Osama bin Laden.

The Arabic news network Al Jazeera played what it says is a new video of the al Qaeda leader and his top lieutenant. An audiotape was also played. On it, praise for 9/11 murderers and warnings of more violence. Is bin Laden back?

First we turn to Mike Boettcher in Atlanta -- Mike.

MIKE BOETTCHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, terrorism experts fully expected some sort of message from al Qaeda around the 9/11 anniversary, and today it came in the form of audio and video.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BOETTCHER (voice-over): There's no telling when this footage of Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri, was shot.

In the tape, which was aired first on Al Jazeera, both men look in good health, bin Laden showing no obvious signs of the injuries intelligence sources say he suffered in the siege of Tora Bora in December 2001.

Bin Laden also had an audio message, which offered no clues as to when it was recorded, either. In it, he praised the 9/11 hijackers and called for a continued Jihad against the west.

OSAMA BIN LADEN, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): Those who don't agree with killing, then let them step out of the way.

BOETTCHER: In his audio message, al Zawahiri noted the second anniversary of 9/11. But his most fiery rhetoric was about Iraq. He said if the Americans stayed in Iraq, they would be devoured there.

AYMAN AL ZAWAHIRI, AL QAEDA LEADER (through translator): We recommend to the mothers of the soldiers, if you love to see your sons, then hasten to ask your government to return them, rather than coming back to you in coffins.

BOETTCHER: Al Zawahiri's message was, in many ways, a repeat of what he said on a tape from several months ago, as he specifically mentioned Afghanistan and Palestine, alongside Iraq.

AL ZAWAHITI (through translator): But we would like to let you know also and emphasize that what you have seen so far is just -- are just the first skirmishes, and the real battle has not started yet.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOETTCHER: What worries security officials in the coalition is that, in the past -- and many times in the past, but not every time -- when such a tape and a message has been released, it precedes a major attack -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ominous thought right there. Mike Boettcher, thanks very much.

Now, as Mike Boettcher noted, no word on when or where the tape said to be Osama bin Laden was shot. Al Jazeera guesses it could have been in April or may. The key word there is "guess." They don't know. What we do know is Al Qaeda is still out there.

We're going to go check in with John King -- actually we're going to go first to David Ensor, our national security correspondent. He joins us.

David, how long is it going to take the intelligence community to figure out if these tapes are authentic?

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, not very long, Anderson. They are going to look first at the audiotape. They're looking at that now. And within about a day or so they'll be able to say whether the voices are, indeed, that of Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri. The supposition is that they probably are.

Now, officials here are saying that the video looks older to them. They don't think it's recent. It may even be older than some of the other tapes of bin Laden that have been released since. One official was calling this tape clearly a P.R. ploy, a chance to put their standard rhetoric out and get attention as we approach the anniversary -- Anderson.

COOPER: President Bush mentioned three days ago that al Qaeda's leadership had been decapitated. Did these tapes catch the intelligence community by surprise at all? I mean, I suppose with the anniversary coming up, my guts are saying, you know, it's a P.R. move. Some might say it was expected.

ENSOR: It was expected, and, you know, the talk that the two- thirds of the leadership has been taken in from the administration is firm. They say, for example, yesterday the CIA put out a document that was actually for the benefit of another official who was appearing before Congress, that said the central leadership of al Qaeda is at growing risk of breaking apart as our blows against the group create a level of disarray and confusion throughout the organization that we have not seen since the collapse of the Taliban in late 2001.

So the view at the CIA is that the U.S. has had a lot of victories lately and these people are in trouble. Still, they seem to be able to put out a tape, and officials do note that in the past, tapes have sometimes been followed by attacks -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. David Ensor, thanks for the update.

Now, even before he heard the new bin Laden tape, President Bush said al Qaeda still plots against our people. He said that in a speech in an FBI laboratory in Quantico, Virginia, today. He also pointed out that the hunt for the forces of global terror continues.

John King joins us now from the White House.

John, to many it looks like Osama bin Laden is thumbing his nose at the U.S., obviously right next to the anniversary of 9/11. How is the White House reacting?

JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're reacting, No. 1, Anderson, by saying they'll await the CIA analysis David just spoke of before they say whether this is authentic. The president told reporters in Quantico just before his speech that he hadn't heard the tape just yet.

In his speech there was a reminder of the unfinished business. This report put out by the White House today says that they've made progress against al Qaeda but it also says that only two-thirds of the leadership has been captured or killed. Mr. Bin Laden and his top deputy, of course, among the two chiefs still unaccounted for.

At the White House they say this is proof that the war on terrorism must continue unabated. Of course, the president's critics tonight, Anderson, are saying this is why the president should have focused on Afghanistan and al Qaeda first and put Iraq on the back burner.

COOPER: Interesting. John King, thanks very much for that.

Now an alarming prospect we want to talk about for the moment, the question, could these or could there be coded messages hidden in these tapes? Either audio or video?

For that we turn to justice correspondent Kelli Arena.

Kelli, how seriously is the threat of coded messages being taken by law enforcement?

KELLI ARENA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very seriously, Anderson. But law enforcement officials so far say that they have no intelligence to suggest that this tape will trigger an attack or that any attack is imminent.

However, they do not rule out, as David Ensor pointed out earlier, attacks have followed the release of tapes like these before. And this comes on top of a whole volumes of information coming in from a variety of intelligence sources suggesting that al Qaeda could be planning multiple attacks against the U.S. and U.S. interests overseas.

So all of that taken together makes for a very concerned law enforcement entity right now.

COOPER: And no doubt a lot of intelligence officials right now are pouring over these tapes analyzing it, both the sound and the video. Kelli Arena covering that angle.

Thanks very much, Kelli.

Now, you might remember last year CNN obtained an enormous archive of al Qaeda videotapes, dating back more than 10 years. They detailed terrorist training. They showed previously unseen images of bin Laden and his top aides.

Nobody knows those tapes better than our senior international correspondent, Nic Robertson. He joins us tonight from Baghdad to see how this latest tape compares to tapes that he obtained in the deserts of Afghanistan.

Nic, when you compare this tapes with the tapes you found in Kandahar a year ago, what can you tell us about the location and perhaps, even, when this tape was shot?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, very difficult to say when. Perhaps Al Jazeera has the best estimate. It seems to be, perhaps, spring. The grass is green; it's long. It's an indication of perhaps water or snow that's recently fallen in the mountains.

The tapes we found in Kandahar, when they did show Osama bin Laden out in the countryside, out in the mountains, the mountains were a reddish color. The vegetation was different from this tape. It was much smaller. Smaller shrubs, perhaps. The area around Khost (ph), the sort of lower land southeastern Afghanistan.

These pictures appear to be, perhaps, the land and terrain around Tora Bora, perhaps to the north, to Qunar (ph) province. That's right next to Pakistan's northwest frontier province. The tall pine trees, the quite ride ravines, and clearly dried up riverbeds. That type of mountain site perhaps farther north. We haven't seen him in this type of terrain before, Anderson.

COOPER: Right now what we're watching on the screen -- I know you can't see it -- on the left hand side of the screen, we're seeing some of the tapes that CNN exclusively got, that you got from Afghanistan. On the right-hand side these newly released tapes.

What's amazing when you contrast those two is this new tape or this allegedly new tape, how well shot, how produced it is, in effect, whereas the older tapes, I mean, it's shaky. It's grainy. It looks like it's videotaped by an Afghan wedding cameraman. It looks very amateurish.

Were you surprised by the production values of this allegedly new tape?

ROBERTSON: The production values are improved. There really seems to be a progression in the level of professionalism that's been applied to producing this tape. It's been sent, we understand, and edited inside Pakistan. Perhaps, again, an indication of where the tape was sourced, perhaps the northwest frontier province.

But it does seem to be improved. Many of those tapes in the collection we got in Afghanistan last year were, as you say, grainy, were shaky. Some of them were a little bit produced, the promotional types of tapes, but not apparently to this degree. Osama bin Laden, apparently, on this tape taking his time. The cameraman changes the angle.

And you notice, on some of those tapes, as well, the tree line is quite close. Perhaps an indication that if he wanted to run away and hide quickly, that he could get back into that tree line -- Anderson.

COOPER: Fascinating. Nic Robertson, thanks very much in Baghdad.

Now, Nic's going to have more on the terror threat and the problem of suspected terrorists being drawn into Iraq. That's just a little later on on 360.

We're also going to talk to two other terrorism experts, one an expert analyzing tape. We're going to take this thing frame by frame.

Now, the tapes, of course, are our top story tonight. We want to let you know what's happening elsewhere in America and for that we go cross-country.

Police in Miami have released the sketch of a suspect wanted in a string of attacks on women. Investigators say six rapes and two attempted rapes are linked by the same DNA. Now there is also a $20,000 reward leading to his capture.

AAA is settling a lawsuit filed by the family of a young woman murdered four years ago -- we talked about this a lot last night -- after she accepted a ride from a stranger. The family says their daughter died because the auto service didn't provide emergency service quickly enough. The terms of the deal are not been disclosed.

Former Enron treasurer Ben Glisan today became the first Enron executive sentenced to prison for his role in the company's collapse. He pleaded guilty to a single federal charge of conspiracy and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He is the first. And a Colorado prosecutor says the woman accusing Kobe Bryant of sexual assault should not have to testify at a preliminary hearing next month. Bryant's defense attorney served the alleged victim with a subpoena. Stay tuned for that.

Still ahead tonight: analyzing the tapes, as we said, frame by frame. Is it him? Where was he and what, if anything is he trying to tell us?

Also, the federal government said he air around Ground Zero was safe, but was it? Tonight, new questions being raised.

And death in the desert. Was it a mercy killing or was it murder? We're going to have that story.

As we go to break, here's a lot at some of the top stories on tonight's network evening newscast.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Let's check the uplink to see what's happening around the world tonight.

Five pilots who fly for Saudi Arabian airlines have been forbidden from flying in U.S. air space. The U.S. intelligence officials say the men were not believed to have been involved in any attack plot, but they were judged to be security risks after new extensive background checks on foreign pilots.

To Sweden now. A foreign minister is said to be in serious condition after he was stabbed in the stomach and hand. That's file footage of her. Anna Lindh was attacked as she shopped in Stockholm today. Her attacker fled. It's still unclear what the motive of the attack was.

Indonesia. An Indonesian court has sentenced to death the mastermind of the Bali nightclub bombings. Imam Samudra is to be executed by a firing squad. During his trial he denied planning last October's attacks, which killed more than 200 people.

And the militant group Hamas has been issuing threatening leaflets after an Israeli missile strike hit the home of a senior Hamas leader in Gaza. Hamas no says it will target civilian homes in addition to public targets in Israel. They claimed responsibility for those two bombings yesterday.

And it was another bloody day in the Middle East. Palestinian sources say Israeli troops killed two teenagers near the West Bank. Israel denies it.

And as we mentioned, Israeli forces dropped a bomb on the home of Hamas co-founder, Mahmoud Zahar, in Gaza. Zahar survived, but his 20- year-old son and his bodyguard were killed.

The strike comes a day after twin suicide bombings killed 15 Israelis. Among those killed, a father and his daughter on the eve of her wedding. They were buried today.

CNN's Matthew Chance has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shrouded in white, the body of Nava Applebaum (ph) is carried by loved ones and laid to rest. This was meant to be her wedding Day, not her funeral, at just 20 years old.

The man she was to marry, Hannan (ph), tossed a ring into the grave. Beyond words himself, his father spoke instead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People of Israel went through time for three and a half thousand years struggling. This is not going to break us. This is just going to make us stronger.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was supposed to go out and dance at this girl's wedding tonight. This is an invitation to the wedding: Nava and Hannan (ph). They were supposed to be getting married. Instead, we buried her.

CHANCE: At her side in death, her father, who gave his life to saving others. Dr. David Applebaum (ph) ran the emergency room at a Jerusalem hospital and was all too familiar with attacks like this, in which he and Nava were killed. He had been lecturing in New York on treating the victims of emergencies like 9/11 just days before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A tremendous humanist. Tremendous caring for people of all sorts. He saved thousands of Jewish people. He saved thousands of Arab people.

CHANCE (on camera): This Israeli-Palestinian conflict has claimed thousands of other lives. But this was one man who had saved many and his daughter who had hurt no one. For many here and elsewhere, their loss is a sad and painful tragedy.

(voice-over) And one which Israel now mourns with all the rest.

Matthew Chance, CNN, Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Just a brief news note. The grief of numbers. The death toll keeps rising, the violence plaguing the Middle East. At last count, since the second intifadeh (ph), or uprising, began in September 2000, 2,567 Palestinians have died and 798 Israelis have died, as well.

Still to come this evening: the war on terror and Iraq. Why do the terrorists seem to be drawn to Iraq?

Also tonight, speaking out as the secretary of defense speaks: heckling Donald Rumsfeld when 360 returns.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Our terror watch now. Since the major combat in Iraq war ended, attacks against American soldiers have increased. You all know that. And the new Iraq continues to look like fertile ground for all kinds of terrorists.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson looks now at the tough challenges in Iraq and what's being done about it.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTSON (voice-over): In the sights of this U.S. soldier, a figure in a distant field, trying to cross illegally from Syria to Iraq. These soldiers, turned border lookouts, not shooting to kill but to deter foreign fighters from joining anti-U.S. forces in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's reduced it significantly. I don't think that it's stopped it completely, because I don't think that no matter what you do you'll stop it completely.

ROBERTSON: Helicopter patrols support the 200 or so ground troops over the 140 kilometers, about 90 miles, of border they control. All have good reason to succeed.

But attacks on troops in some areas are so common, they are barely reported. For the coalition, the foreign fighters are terrorists.

GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ, COMMANDER, COALITION FORCES: This is another battle in the global war on terrorism. We've stated that over and over again. This is a crucial battle that we have to win because the next battleground will be America.

ROBERTSON: Last month was the bloodiest in Iraq since the war ended, with an estimate of more than 100 killed in terrorist attacks, for which it is still unclear who is responsible.

Although Osama bin Laden had no publicly proven ties to Saddam before the war, few analysts doubt al Qaeda are among the foreign fighters crossing Iraq's borders now.

KEN POLLACK, IRAQ ANALYST: Al Qaeda is looking at Iraq as an opportunity. It is a place where the United States is heavily engaged. It is a place where the security situation remains very fluid. These conditions create perfect operating circumstances for al Qaeda.

ROBERTSON: In solitary confinement in a Kurdish jail in northern Iraq since before the war, one of bin Laden's supporters. He claims membership of the Iraq-based Ansar al Islam terror group and says he received al Qaeda training and knows their thinking.

ISAAD AL FAGIN, SAUDI DISSIDENT (through translator): There are foreign Arabs here. There are some Iraqis, individuals who will carry out attacks. However, there aren't many, but they will continue to do so. ROBERTSON: The U.S. says attacks on coalition troops have caused more than 70 deaths and hundreds of casualties since the end of major combat, straining relations between U.S. troops and Iraqi people.

POLLACK: If they continue to see their economy faltering and unable to pick up steam, if they continue it see a political situation that remains paralyzed, under those circumstances, they will increasingly turn against the United States.

ROBERTSON: That more troops are being deployed to the borders, an indication they are now the key areas in this battlefield of the war on terrorism.

Major border crossings are now effectively blocked for foreign fighters.

(on camera) At some points in the border, however, there are gaps in the barbed wire border fence. Crossing over here is as simple as walking from one side to the other.

(voice-over) A strategic flank in the war on terrorism, it seems, has still to be secured.

Nic Robertson, CNN, on the Iraqi border.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, federal prosecutors have decided they'd rather see accused 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui go free than let two top al Qaeda captives testify in his case. Moussaoui contends their testimony could help clear him, and the judge in the case has ordered the government to make the two available.

The prosecutors say they can't comply because national security would be jeopardized, even if it means the case is dismissed. We're going to have to watch that one closely.

And Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld credited the U.S. for Iraqis' newfound freedom of speech today, just after getting an unexpected taste of that freedom here at home.

In Washington, Rumsfeld was speaking to the National Press Club on progress and problems in rebuilding Iraq when two women began heckling him from the balcony, dangling a banner and shouting, "You're fired" and "bring the troops home."

Well, the death penalty still looms for Washington area sniper suspect John Mohammed. In Manassas, Virginia, today a judge rejected a defense motion to strike down the state's capital punishment law.

Mohammed and teenager Lee Boyd Malvo are accused in a series of sniper attacks, you'll remember, that killed 10 people and wounded four last fall.

A lot ahead tonight. Coming up: the new tapes of Osama bin Laden. Are they really new? When 360 returns, an expert takes a hard look at what's really on the tape.

Also live pictures of a protest going on at the site of the World Trade Center. Bringing that to you live, a vigil held by those unhappy about what's being done with the site. We'll explain. Live picture coming back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. It's 7:30. Let's reset the day's top stories.

On the eve of the second anniversary of 9/11, the world is seeing and hearing tapes said to be from Osama bin Laden again.

The Arabic network Al Jazeera has aired an audio and videotape -- Here's part of the videotape -- purportedly from the al Qaeda chief and his number two man, Ayman al Zawahiri.

U.S. intelligence officials are analyzing the new tape to determine its authenticity. One intelligence official calls it a P.R. ploy to get some attention and take advantage of tomorrow's anniversary.

Israel bombed the home of a Hamas leader, killing his son and a bodyguard. Twenty-five other people were injured. Now Israel calls it retaliation for yesterday's deadly suicide bombings. It says it still considers an even harsher response.

NASA is thinking of going crewless. The agency's chief says they are considering unmanned shuttle flights as Congress examines the safety of the space program.

And in Utah, the parents of a 12-year-old boy diagnosed with a rare form of cancer have surrendered to authorities. We've been following this story for about a week now. They've been charged with kidnapping after fleeing to Idaho with their son to avoid his chemotherapy treatment.

Well, our top story -- on the eve of the second anniversary of the September 11, attacks we are following the story of some newly released video and audio, purportedly to be of 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and his top deputy.

Our terrorism analyst, Peter Bergen, has been studying the tape. He joins us now in Washington.

Peter, good to see you.

You met with bin Laden back in 1997. We're going to put a picture of how he looked back then, back in 1997, also a picture of how he looks in this new tape. How does he appear to you? What differences do you note?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, certainly bin Laden is only 47. I mean, obviously you can see here on the screen, he has -- his beard is whitened. He's aged considerably in the last five years -- or the last five or six years. Obviously, you know, he's under a lot of stress. I mean, he's on the run.

He does look better in this new tape than he did in the tape that came out in December of 2001. On that tape, he looked really pretty ill.

COOPER: Well, let me ask you about that, because in this new tape, I mean, he seems, spry, I think, perhaps is not too big an exaggeration. He's walking over rocks . He's got a cane, but he's using both hands. I mean, we had heard back in that videotape in 2001 that you just reference, he was supposedly injured in the attack on Tora Bora. You know...

BERGEN: Correct.

COOPER: ..there was talk about his left arm being injured. In the new tape you don't see evidence of that.

BERGEN: No, that's right. I mean, in December 2001, he apparently -- he was wounded injured in the shoulder in the Tora Bora battle. And that was in the December 2001 tape that came out, it was pretty clear that his left side was immobilized.

In this tape, that's not the case. Either the shoulder has healed since Tora Bora or perhaps this was, in fact, shot even before Tora Bora. We don't know when this was shot. Al Jazeera is saying that they believe it was shot in April of this year, which was quite possible. But it's possible -- there's nothing on the tape, they don't talk on the tape. We hear audio, but it's from a different -- taken at a different time. So it's really not clear when exactly this footage was shot.

COOPER: Does it surprise you -- I mean, first of all, Al Jazeera saying April. But, you know, there -- that's basically a guess on their part. They're just kind of estimating that. They don't -- you know, when you actually try to pin them down on it, they don't really have any figures on that or any evidence.

When you look at this new tape, though, or this allegedly new tape, two things struck me. He doesn't have an entourage, and a lot of the tapes we've seen before he had a big entourage. And this tape is very well produced. I mean, just from a TV production standpoint, they were clearly cooperating in the production of the tape. Sometimes the cameraman is behind them. Clearly sometimes they pause to allow the cameraman to get ahead of them. It seems well-produced. Did that strike you?

BERGEN: Yes, I'm -- not so surprising to me because they have -- you know, they have a sort of propaganda arm. It's called the Clouds. And they have put out a number of videotapes in the past.

And we knew, in fact, Anderson, that something was coming down the pipe. We expected this. We -- what -- I think the only thing that's surprising to me is that we're seeing videotape. You know, bin Laden has not been seen on videotape since December of 2001. To do this is a certain -- almost an chutzpah in a way, of sort of saying, Hey, we're here. You haven't got us. But, you know, showing this videotape isn't necessarily so smart because U.S. government analysts can look at this and sort of say, OK, we believe it's in a certain area. I myself, looking at this, -- if we accept that bin Laden is in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border area, I would say we're looking at this -- and knowing that region myself -- that this is likely to be in the northern section of that border, not -- the further south, you see these trees here, this grass. The farther south you get, the more deserty the border becomes is. And Balujistan (ph) in the south is totally desert. Even the northwest frontier, which is the other province, almost certainly where they're in, much of the southern part of that is very scrubby and doesn't look as green as the footage we're seeing here.

COOPER: It certainly provides a lot of intel for intelligence. This tape was very long.

I just briefly want to play -- there were also audiotapes associated with this. Want to play one excerpt from it, allegedly of Ayman Al Zawahiri. Let's listen in.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

AYMAN AL ZAWAHIRI (through translator): Those fighters in Iraq. We greet them and salute them and support them and ask God to bless their efforts and their bravery in fighting the crusaders, and we tell them God is with you and the nation is supporting you. Depend and rely on God and attack and devour the Americans and bury them in the graveyard of Iraq.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

COOPER: You and I have pointed out in the past -- you've pointed out to me in the past -- they are very quick to sort of latch on to whatever issue is in the news that might give them some legs. Obviously now they're focusing on Iraq.

BERGEN: Yes, well, Iraq is, you know -- Baghdad was the center of the Califa (ph). This is something -- something very recent for bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, even though the Califa disappeared in Baghdad in 1258.

But I think that the -- you know, they're focusing on Iraq because in their mind, infidels are again occupying another country in the Middle East. Not this time Saudi Arabia, which was their previous beef, but Iraq. And as we saw in Nic Robertson's excellent piece just before this segment, that Jihadists are coming from around the Middle East to attack American troops in Iraq, which is hardly surprising. If your mission statement is to attack Americans, you've got 140, 000 of them in one place in the middle of the Middle East. Members of al Qaeda blend in very well in Iraq in a way that wouldn't be true in Afghanistan, where they would stick out. So unsurprising that al Qaeda's main theater of operations is now going to be Iraq.

COOPER: All right. Peter Bergen, good to talk to you, as always. Thanks very much.

BERGEN: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: U.S. intelligence experts are poring over this tape as we speak. No doubt about it, they're scrambling to determine whether it really is bin Laden and Al Zawahiri.

And they're looking for clues to the al Qaeda leader's whereabouts in the grass and shrubbery -- the trees visible behind the two men as they walk, the mini-bridge they carefully pick their way across and the cliff overlook, all geographic features that could turn up on satellite imaging.

And they're looking for clues the al Qaeda leaders' whereabouts in the grass and shrubbery, the trees, anything they can really find.

We're joined now by Paul Ginsberg, electronics expert.

Paul, appreciate you coming in, talking about analyzing very closely both this videotape and the audiotape.

There's nothing too -- excuse me -- specific. How is the U.S. -- I mean, we know right now intelligence officers are no doubt poring over these tapes very closely. What are they looking for and how are they doing it?

PAUL GINSBERG, ELECTRONICS EVIDENCE EXPERT: I'm sure that this tape has been distributed to a certain number of teams within the CIA and NSA. One group would be doing the spectrographic analysis -- that is, analyzing the frequencies of the voice. Another group would be looking at the actual wording, the phrases, the cadence, the speed of the speech. Another group looking at the content to see whether there are any hidden messages, any...

COOPER: And, I mean, as we look at this tape right now, we see bin Laden walking around. You see a -- really a wide swathe of territory. Are they actually able to sort of basically make a map?

GINSBERG: Well, I think what they probably are doing is comparing the terrain and making a sort of a -- the pieces of the puzzle fit together as a teenager would when playing one of these computer games, going from room to room. They'll make a map and then they'll compare it to sort of different footprints of the Earth from satellite.

COOPER: And can you get a sense of scale? I mean, if you know how tall bin Laden is...

GINSBERG: Exactly. That -- he is a walking measurement tool for them.

COOPER: And that gives you what? That allows you to make a sense of how high the mountains are he's near?

GINSBERG: Yes, indeed.

COOPER: Interesting. How long...

GINSBERG: Geometry.

COOPER: How long a process -- I mean, is this reconstruction, both the audio and visual?

GINSBERG: Well, they could spend weeks on this one, going frame- by-frame, like this is a prototype (ph), or a film I should say. But I have a feeling that they're going to be, as I say, putting this to bed in parallel. That is, everybody working on in different rooms of the basement of the CIA.

COOPER: Yes.

GINSBERG: And so they will try to come up with some determination as to the identity quickly, and the other intelligence we may not even hear about because they wouldn't want to divulge the fact that they know where this was shot.

COOPER: Right. It's actionable intelligence. They don't want to reveal it.

Paul Ginsberg, I wish we had more time, but I appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

GINSBERG: My pleasure.

COOPER: All right.

Still a lot to -- still a lot ahead this evening. The destruction of the World Trade Center may have left a lingering threat for weeks after the buildings fell. The story of a new scientific report and charges the government lied.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. A new report says the ruins of the World Trade Center burned for weeks after 9/11, spewing poisonous gas. Now, this after last month's charge that the White House pressured the EPA to say the air was safe. We get more now from Jason Carroll.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Just how safe was the air around ground zero in the weeks following the terrorist attacks? Scientists studied the air a mile away from the site and found what they called a chemical factory.

THOMAS CAHILL, UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA: The stuff we saw in those plumes was truly nasty.

CARROLL: The study is the latest at odds with Environmental Protection Agency statements, the air around ground zero was safe. Note the EPA's inspector general's report, which said the agency, under White House influence, added reassuring statements to a press release and deleted cautionary ones to restore public confidence. And one of the EPA's own engineers said the agency's testing was flawed.

HUGH KAUFMAN, EPA ENGINEER: That EPA was lying to the public about the potential or risks to them from all the hazardous materials.

CARROLL: Three Democratic hopefuls and other Congress members have called for a federal investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, it's worse than a cover-up. What we know now says that the people were not told the truth.

CARROLL: But Christie Todd Whitman, who headed EPA at the time, stands by her statement two days after 9/11, saying the air was safe.

CHRISTIE TODD WHITMAN, FRM. EPA ADMINISTRATOR: The extent the scientists felt comfortable with the data and what it was telling them, that's what we put out.

CARROLL: And the White House official who says he worked with the EPA to change press releases after 9/11 says those change were based on science, not politics.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Jason, it's fascinating reporting. There's so much conflicting information. Are the scientists or public ever going to know, really, how safe the air was around ground zero?

CARROLL: Well, that's a good question, Anderson. Some scientists say we may never know. There are other scientists are more optimistic, who say, long-term health studies may ultimately prove if the air around ground zero was safe.

COOPER: All right, Jason Carroll, thanks for the update.

Now, at this hour, Muslims are holding a 9/11 vigil in Washington to promote interfaith relations. We're showing you a live event at the White Capital reflecting pool, include speeches, a children's choir, an award's presentation and a candle light ceremony in memory of those who died in the terror attacks. That a live picture from our nation's capital.

And hundreds of people related to 9/11 victims held a protest rally at the World Trade Center site in New York earlier today. They say the city is betraying a promise about the monument to their loved ones. Maria Hinojosa joins us live from Union Square in downtown New York. Maria, what has family members been saying to you?

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, the official commemoration of the two year anniversary will be tomorrow. But for a lot of people there's a sense that perhaps, they're perspectives may not be included.

So where we are right now, Anderson, is at Union Square. This is a demonstration by hundreds and hundreds of people. And this is going to be called -- this is called by an organization called September 11 families for peaceful tomorrows. Their whole idea is they say they don't want their grief to be turned into actions for war, but rather they are asking for peace. They will be marching in a silent candle light vigil and then encircle the World Trade Center tonight asking for peace.

Now, earlier today, Anderson, you referred to another group. It's the coalition for 9/11 families. They say that they don't want to have anything built on what is considered the footprints of the World Trade Center. They want to preserve that space. They say it's sacred space. They held a protest there this morning. This is what some of the family members there had to say today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHLEEN HAGERMAN, DAUGHTER DIED ON 9/11: The first year I believed my life was -- I was living life with an opaque curtain around my face, body. The fear may be realistically, I've become more aware of what's going on, and I don't ever think the people could ever forget about the 2,000 people that were killed. We need to preserve and have our rights to have a sacred burial ground.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HINOJOSA: Now, Anderson, earlier this afternoon another commemorative event, this one for undocumented workers who were in the World Trade Center. One last thought, St. Paul's chapel that didn't receive not even one broken window when the trade center fell, literally half a block from where they are. They will be open, we have heard, all night for people to go and sit vigil -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, sacred space. Maria Hinojosa, thank you very much. Stay tuned to CNN tomorrow for special coverage of the memorials in New York and in Washington. America rebuilds, that's tomorrow on CNN.

And still to come this evening, lost in the desert, no way home, no water and no way to know whether a fatal stabbing was mercy or murder in disguise. A remarkable tale when we return.

And tomorrow, September 11, 2003, al Qaeda not only continues to operate, they are recruiting new members. We'll show you how. Plus an interview with the visionary responsible for rebuilding ground zero, architect Daniel Libeskind.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: So why would a 25-year-old man stab his best friend in the heart? Murder motivated by jealousy? Or was it a mercy killer brought on by an agonizing ordeal that almost killed them both?

Raffi Kodikian and David Coughlin, seen here with Kodikian's ex- girlfriend, Kristin Swan, had known each other for five years when they headed off for an overnight trip in New Mexico's desert. But the trip lasted four days and only Kodikian would return.

He told his rescuers that Coughlin had begged for death, less than 10 hours before. Why to end the agony of extreme dehydration. Kodikian plunged a knife twice into Coughlin's heart. Prosecuted charged him with murder, claiming jealousy over Swan had driven him to kill. Kodikian pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and served 16 months. But a new book about the killing "journal of the dead" doesn't paint such a clear-cut picture.

Author Jason Kersten is here. Jason thanks for being with us. It's a fascinating case. Raffi, basicly, his story was what -- his friend David begged him to kill him?

JASON KERSTEN, AUTHOR, "JOURNAL OF DEATH": Yes, after four days of being lost and dehydrated in the back of country of Carlsbad Caverns that Coughlin was suffering immensely.

COOPER: They only had very limited war. They didn't have any water at that point.

KERSTEN: They ran out of water on the morning of the second day they were there.

COOPER: A good full two days without water? Three days actually.

KERSTEN: Three days. So while suffering, they had lost, given up all hope, and they were convinced the rangers were not going to come. And this is according to Kodikian and a journal that they kept and wrote in while they were in the canyon, that they both wrote in. And so he...

COOPER: Yes, there's a chilling picture in it of this journal in the book, where he is sort of -- somebody has scrawled, we're not going to let the buzzards get us?

KERSTEN: We won't let the buzzards get us alive .

COOPER: Unbelievable. What is the other case. I mean, the case against Raffi, that it wasn't a mercy killing. Make that argument.

KERSTEN: The other side is that this kind of murder, this kind of killing, mercy killing is just extremely rare, and almost nonexistent. We have euthanasia cases, but this case where a guy wings it in the back country with a buck knife is unheard of. People die in the desert all the time but not at the hands of their friends being stabbed twice in the heart.

COOPER: And you go into in the book about the effects of dehydration on someone. I mean three days without water. I mean, I've gone without food for four days, but without water -- three days, I mean, that's a long time. I mean, your mind sort of goes doesn't?

KERSTEN: In that environment. Especially, when you are deal with 100-degree heat, one of the first symptoms is headaches, profound thirst, irritation. So you can imagine three days.

COOPER: And you can hallucinate.

KERSTEN: Absolutely. COOPER: People think they see things.

KERSTEN: Although the rangers who found him said he was completely aware of where he was. He answered all their questions coherently.

COOPER: And that is the remarkable thing. He killed -- now doubt about it, Raffi did stab his friend David and they were found just 10 hours later or something.

KERSTEN: About seven hours later, yes the rangers did, indeed, show up and found Raffi lying next to the body of his friend.

COOPER: Did the rangers say what they thought went on? I mean to man did everyone think, this guy was guilty of this?

KERSTEN: The rangers initially were very skeptical because he did answer their questions correctly. They said he didn't show much remorse. But at the same time, later on, they kind of went back in their mind, a few of them, not all of them, and had second thoughts because he was showing some symptoms.

COOPER: Now in the book you don't really take a stand. Is that because you simply don't know or you just wanted to leave it up to readers to decide?

KERSTEN: I think it's important for everybody to decide for themselves. Because this is such a divisive case. Because when people see all the evidence before them, most people feel strongly one way or the other. And I didn't want to color it with my opinion.

COOPER: It's a fascinating case, a fascinating book. Jason Kersten, appreciate you joining us.

KERSTEN: Thanks a lot.

Time for a quick check of the current. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck say they are postponing their wedding, which has been scheduled for this Sunday. In a statement released by Affleck's representative, they said the delay was due to "excessive media attention." I suppose talking about it would be part of that media attention. The (UNINTELLIGIBLE) said they had been contemplating hiring decoy brides and felt the begun to comprise the event. They did not reveal details on whatever new plans have been made instead.

New York City signed a deal with Snapple. A $166 million deal calls for Snapple to promote the city over the next five years in return, Snapple will be the only product sold in the city property in -- in city property vending machines, including city schools. How do you like them apples.

Actor and former teen idol Tab Hunter tells a life-long secret in his upcoming memoir. Now 72 years old, Hunter say the book will discuss what it was like to be a gay actor and heartthrob in the '50s and '60s. He starred in "Damn Yankees" and "Battle Cry." Sharon Osbourne left her real life and TV husband Ozzy Osbourne earlier this year. She told ABC News she walk out in the spring over his use of alcohol and drugs. She returned a few days later and that he's been sober ever since.

Coming up next on 360, when Osama bin Laden goes on camera is he wielding a double-edged sword? We'll explain right after this. "The Nth Degree" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, tonight in "The Nth Degree," I was going to poke fun at myself for the clinched things TV news anchors often do or say. But then we saw the tape, Osama bin Laden, a day short of two years after September 11. This new videotape of Osama bin Laden got us thinking about the power of television. Because it's one thing to know the man who murdered your child or friend or local cop is still free. It's another thing to see him, to see him walking freely, apparently healthy. To hear him promising to kill someone else's sister or co-worker or firefighter. I couldn't take my eyes off the tape today and it's no sin to admit if he succeeds in scaring you a little bit. He knows, bin Laden knows that one power television gives him, the power of fear.

But television's power to engage emotions works against bin Laden as well. How? After September 11, some people asked whether getting bin laden was even necessary. Seeing him on television, the feeling in your gut when you see him walking free should be answer enough. No killer should remain free. If justice isn't sufficient reason, remember the mysteries about Adolph Hitler's fate helped fuel his legacy decades after he died. We need to see bin Laden taken down. The sooner we close the lid on him, the better. So when we show you these pictures of bin Laden, fear may be one result, but another may be to remind people there's a job left undone and justice must be served.

Thanks it for us this evening. Coming up next "PAULA ZAHN NOW."

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com



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