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Aerial Attacks in Fallujah Pound Weapons Caches; Supreme Court to Review Cheney's Energy Task Force Meetings

Aired April 27, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper.
Aerial attacks in Fallujah pound weapons caches. That's next on 360.


COOPER (voice-over): Fierce fighting in Fallujah, U.S. Marines battling Iraqi insurgents. Fires and explosions light up the night sky.

The Supreme Court and Cheney, will they force the vice president to disclose his confidential meeting?

And, why are so many young men who don't need Viagra trying to get their hands on that little blue pill?


ANNOUNCER: Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Good evening.

Just hours ago U.S. warplanes unleashed their power in the city of Fallujah. The attack lit up the night sky. Secondary explosions rocked the city, just the latest violence in this city where Marines have been locked in a standoff with Iraqi insurgents ever since the killing and desecration of four U.S. contractors two weeks ago.

U.S. pool reporter Karl Penhaul saw the offensive firsthand. He joins us live from Fallujah where he witnessed the offensive.

We're having some problems establishing contact with Karl. We'll try to get back to him. What you are looking at -- let's try to see if we can hear Karl. Clearly we're having...

KARL PENHAUL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're talking to you from the northwest edge of Fallujah. We're talking to you through a night vision scope. We're in a U.S. Marine position and they've imposed a strict nighttime blackout here. This northwest edge of Fallujah is a front line combat position about 200 yards from where we are standing (unintelligible) from insurgent positions.

Right now, 3:00, 3:02 local time here in Fallujah but four hours ago the position here was very, very different. A U.S. and coalition AC-130 Specter gunship was in operation, in fact Pentagon sources tell us two of those highly sophisticated aircraft were in operation.

They flew over our small Marine base here and then proceeded to pound two suspected insurgent positions about three-quarters of a mile south of us. Initially what we heard was the thump of 105mm cannons being fired from that aircraft and then we saw showers of sparks as those cannon rounds hit the ground, flames leaping up into the night sky and then plumes of black, black smoke drifting over the night sky.

Now, Pentagon sources tell us that the targets there were two separate targets both suspected insurgent positions. They haven't given us any further details of those. What they do say though was that that air strike was in response to a specific threat from those positions. They say it wasn't the start of an all out offensive to seize back the city of Fallujah from the control of insurgents.

Marine commanders here on the ground haven't been able to tell us much more about those air strikes but we do know that this position, this Marine base where we are now, has received mortar rocket and sniper fire throughout the day. In fact, almost every other day during the course of a two-week-old cease-fire it has also received fire from the insurgents. We suspect that that may be what the Pentagon is talking about when it's talking about the threat, a specific threat from insurgent positions.

At this time of night impossible to tell what kind of damage those AC-130 Specter gunships have done but nevertheless we did hear in the region of 20 to 25 cannon rounds going in on each of those targets, so in total I would estimate that we've heard about 50 cannon rounds going in.

More or less at the time that those attacks were going on we heard chants and songs coming up from some of the many mosques here in Fallujah. We understand that those were probably the religious leaders reciting verses from the holy Quran but I do also understand some of the Marines here will be analyzing those sounds to see if possibly they were a call to arms to some of the insurgent fighters.

Marine commanders have accused some of the religious leaders of backing the insurgents and allowing them to use mosques for sniper positions and other ways to organize the resistance against the coalition.

This air strike comes a day after a very heavy gun battle between coalition forces and insurgents. Those gun battles yesterday, Monday, left one Marine dead and nine others injured. Three of those we're told were seriously wounded.

Now, as I say, there has been in the course of the last hour or so sporadic gunfire. We've heard the Marines setting up and firing off heavy machine guns towards those insurgent positions but certainly now the AC-130 gunships do seem to be calm and it only remains to wait until daybreak to see what kind of damage those aircraft have done.

This is Karl Penhaul reporting with the camera of John Templeton (ph) for the U.S. network's pool in the northwest edge of Fallujah, Iraq.

COOPER: Well, as Karl mentioned, Pentagon officials said today a strike was not an offensive. Instead, they call it a defensive tactic, a response to ongoing insurgent attacks.

CNN's Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the latest -- Jamie.


The Pentagon says that these air strikes were in self defense and not the beginning of a major offensive at least not yet.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): These are the sights and sounds of a cease-fire in Fallujah. For Marines who come under constant attack from the insurgents, the cease-fire is about ten percent cease and 90 percent fire.

Here in video shots by pool journalists accompanying U.S. forces into combat, the Marines go after enemy fighters holed up in a mosque. One Marine was killed, several wounded in the fierce engagement and a tank took out the mosque's minaret the U.S. says was being used as a sniper's nest.

The use of a place of worship to conduct military operations violates the Geneva Conventions and prompted Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to offer some advice and criticism to headline writers.

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Terrorists attack coalition forces from mosques. That would be one way to present the information. Another might be to say mosques targeted in Fallujah. That was the "Los Angeles Times" headline this morning.

MCINTYRE: The Pentagon says the Marines are holding off on the final push into Fallujah to give the failing negotiations with go- betweens one more chance.

RUMSFELD: But they believe what they're doing and the pace at which they're doing it is net in the interest of their goals.


RUMSFELD: It's worth a try.


MCINTYRE: Leaflets dropped over Fallujah today urge the insurgents to give up telling them they're surrounded. It doesn't give any deadline but the warning is ominous. It says if you are a terrorist, your last day was yesterday -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jamie covering the action thanks very much from the Pentagon.

Today's battle in Fallujah followed a fierce fight near the southern city of Najaf where American troops killed 64 gunmen. In Fallujah now, military commanders say they are ready for the prospect of all out fighting though urban combat is one of the most difficult kinds of warfare.

Let's talk U.S. strategy with former Special Operations Commander Mario Mancuso. He joins us live from Washington. Thanks for being on the program, Mario. If an offensive does begin, what's it going to look like?

MARIO MANCUSO, FMR. SPECIAL OPS COMMANDER: Well, Anderson, it will be ugly but your viewers need to be reassured that before an offensive begins it will likely be very targeted. The commanders will be very, very careful and civilians will be spared as much as possible.

COOPER: But it boils down to Marines on the ground on patrol, no?

MANCUSO: Absolutely, Anderson, and what I'd like to emphasize is that every Marine, every soldier in that environment is a strategic player. One stray round from one M-16 can change the dynamics, not just in Fallujah or Najaf but really throughout the region.

COOPER: Militarily it's going to be a tough battle, politically a tough battle as well.

MANCUSO: Well, if the politics piece were not there, militarily it would be easier certainly in Fallujah, much less so in Najaf but because the politics piece is really the most significant constraint in both places but specifically in Najaf, it is made far more difficult.

COOPER: Especially when you have insurgents using mosques as cover to fire from. How battle hardened are these insurgents? Who are we fighting against there?

MANCUSO: Well, the insurgents are different in Najaf as compared with -- as compared with Fallujah. One thing that I would point out, it seems as if the insurgents in Fallujah are relatively well trained to the extent that they include ex-Ba'athist senior army officers. They're sophisticated. They know how to employ weapons systems.

In Najaf it's different. What you have Mehdi's Army although the numbers, their estimates really varying, they don't seem to be well trained. I can tell you from my personal experience I didn't think that they were well trained and they seem to recruit from the poorer, uneducated, you know, individuals in Kufa, which is an adjacent community to Najaf.

COOPER: Mario Mancuso we appreciate you being on the program. Thanks for your perspective.

MANCUSO: My pleasure. COOPER: A quick news note now on Iraq. Today the U.S.-led coalition lost an ally there. Spain's new prime minister announced that most of the 1,430 Spanish troops have left.

Here's what it looked like as they left Najaf today. U.S. forces have now taken their place. The only Spanish forces left in country are helping ship military equipment back to Spain and they should be leaving within the month.

We're going to have more on the battle in Fallujah later on in the program.

Back here at home before the U.S. Supreme Court today, presidential privacy versus public scrutiny. Vice President Dick Cheney on one side, watchdog groups on the other, at issue whether records from Cheney's energy task force should be made public or kept secret.

CNN National Correspondent Bob Franken reports.


BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Vice President Cheney wants the justices to decide what he and the Bush administration say is a fundamental constitutional question.

TED OLSON, U.S. SOLICITOR GENERAL: This is a case about the separation of powers.

FRANKEN: U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson argued no judge, no other branch of government has the power to force Cheney to release records of his energy advisory board.

OLSON: Congress may neither intrude on the president's ability to perform these functions nor authorize private litigants to use the courts to do so.

FRANKEN: Justice Antonin Scalia had refused to remove himself from the case even after disclosures he had gone duck hunting in January with Cheney. He did challenge the solicitor general. What was the harm in just releasing who actually voted on energy policy?

ANTONIN SCALIA, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Why would that be such an intrusion upon the executives?

FRANKEN: Why not, several justices asked Olson, just claim executive privilege?

OLSON: Executive privilege may not have covered every scrap of paper.

FRANKEN: The Sierra Club's attorney argued the law requires the administration to reveal whether corporate energy executives had voted in meetings on administration energy policy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is what happened at those meetings and that's what we seek discovered.

FRANKEN (on camera): The justices are expected to make their ruling by the end of June just as the election campaign begins to really heat up and this is a political issue as well as a legal issue.

Bob Franken, CNN, the Supreme Court.


COOPER: We're going to have more about politics and Vice President Dick Cheney later on in the program.

California's prison crisis tops our look at news "Cross Country" right now. In Sacramento, the state prison system under a state of emergency tonight in response to a new surge of violent inmates. Now this means prison officials can enact emergency overcrowding measures such as bunking three inmates in two person cells.

Florence, South Carolina, Black Hawk missing. Right now the search is on for an Army helicopter with three soldiers onboard. The Black Hawk went missing during bad weather while on a routine training flight from Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In New York, a legal win for Condit. A federal judge rules that former Congressman Gary Condit's slander suit against columnist Dominick Dunn can go forward. Condit says Dunn made statements wrongfully connecting him with the disappearance and murder of intern Chandra Levy. Condit is seeking at least $11 million in damages.

And in Los Angeles, (unintelligible), Oscar-winning actress Holly Berry filed for divorce from her second husband singer Eric Benet. The couple have been separated for the last six months.

Well, family ties and a brutal murder, a teenager fights to divorce himself from his jailed father. Find out why ahead.

Also tonight our special series "Pill-popping Nation," tonight Viagra. Why are so many young people who don't need it popping those little blue pills and where are they getting them? That's ahead.

And a birthday behind bars, Saddam Hussein gets a special visit for his 67th, all that ahead.

But first your picks, the most popular stories on right now.


COOPER: Well, it is difficult to imagine the pain a child must feel when his mother is murdered, even worse when the killer is his own father. That's what happened to 14-year-old Patrick Holland who is now trying to legally cut all ties with his father.

Boston Bureau Chief Dan Lothian is covering the family struggle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAN LOTHIAN, CNN BOSTON BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): It's an unusual divorce case not between a couple but between a father and son. In a Massachusetts courtroom, a judge has finally agreed to hear a request from 14-year-old Patrick Holland who wants to cut off all ties to his biological father.

Daniel Holland is a convicted murderer, serving a life sentence for killing his estranged wife, Elizabeth, Patrick's mother.

PATRICK HOLLAND, WANTS TO CUT LEGAL TIES TO HIS FATHER: I just want him out of my life. I just -- I don't want anything to do with him. He's nothing to me anymore.

LOTHIAN (on camera): Patrick hasn't been face-to-face with his father since his mother was murdered. A New Hampshire couple and long time family friends are his legal guardians. He refers to them as his mom and dad.

RON LAZISKY, LEGAL GUARDIAN: He's been a joy for us and, you know, he's a great kid.

LOTHIAN (voice-over): A Web site the 14-year-old has dedicated to his mother details an abusive father who "locked me in a closet for hours with no food/water."

Elizabeth had started divorce proceedings before her death in 1998, had even taken out a restraining order but that didn't stop Holland from kicking in her bedroom door, shooting her eight times, then beating her with the gun. Patrick, then just eight years old, witnessed the aftermath and lives with the nightmare.

HOLLAND: Well, I mean, isn't it obvious? I mean he murdered my mother.

LOTHIAN: Patrick began his crusade after his father tried to exercise his parental rights from prison three years ago inquiring about his son's life, wanting to see his report card.

Daniel Holland's lawyer could not be reached for comment. Patrick continues to meet with a psychotherapist and is confident that when he heads to court in three months the law will acknowledge what's in his heart that he and that man in prison are no longer father and son.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Boston.


COOPER: Well, Saddam Hussein gets some visitors the day before his birthday. That story tops our look at global stories in the "Up Link."

In Baghdad, officials from the International Red Cross said they visited Saddam Hussein today on the eve of his 67th birthday at an undisclosed location in Iraq. As a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention, Saddam is entitled to visits and correspondence. It is the Red Cross' second visit with Hussein.

Damascus, Syria, gun battle, a gun battle between Syrian police and an unidentified group broke out in the middle of the capital. Witnesses say there were at least six explosions before the gunfire started in an area near the Iranian and Canadian embassies. At least one bystander, one policeman and two attackers were killed.

Athens, Greece, an Olympic first, international Olympic officials take out a $170 million insurance policy in case this summer's games in Athens are called off because of terrorism, war or natural disaster. The insurance is to make sure the Olympic Committee would have enough money to keep running.

Brussels, Belgium, Gadhafi makes a promise. On his first visit to Europe in 15 years, Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi pledged to turn Libya into a leader for world peace. Gadhafi tells the European commission that while Libya once "did its duty" and it shot down American planes, he says it's now ready to cooperate with the United States and Europe.

Beijing, SARS quarantine, China has quarantined more than 600 people as it works to contain a flare-up of SARS. International health experts are going to China to investigate a lab accident that is blamed for the most recent case, two confirmed and six suspected. That's a quick look at stories in the "Up Link."

Flashpoint Fallujah, fierce fighting in Iraq, will the U.S. be drawn into all out urban combat? We're going to take a closer look in some dramatic video we'll show you a little bit later on.

Also tonight our special series "Pill-popping Nation," tonight Viagra. It has worked wonders for people with sexual problems. Why are so many without problems popping it also?

And ahead, Dick Cheney catching heat, a Supreme Court case and the Democrats hitting hard, how will both those things affect the campaign?

And a little later, she was held as a slave, then locked in prison for 18 years and now she's facing deportation. Has justice been served? We'll take a closer look.


COOPER: Well, tonight we continue our series "Pill-popping Nation," a look at the dark side of sex drugs.

In the past six years, Viagra, the now famous little blue pill, has helped about 16 million men around the world improve their sex lives. The drug's maker says nine tablets are dispensed every second somewhere around the world.

But as CNN's Adaora Udoji reports, Viagra is now attracting a far different crowd than makers ever expected.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ADAORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Along with the music, experts say Viagra is becoming a big hit on the club scene and in bedrooms of young men across the country. They say that teenagers and 20-somethings are not using it to treat erectile dysfunction. They take it with hopes of improving their sex lives, sometimes to counteract drugs as this former user explained.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you're using drugs and you can't get an erection you take it to offset that so the party can continue.

UDOJI: Drugs like ecstasy or alcohol or methamphetamines but doctors say Viagra will not necessarily enhance performance for healthy men and...

DR. JOHN MULHALL, NEW YORK PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL: For the uncommon young man who has hidden cardiac problems this will be a potential concern.

UDOJI: Also, a San Francisco study revealed other concerns about risky behavior.

(on camera): A survey of 850 gay and bisexual men found that those who combined Viagra, had more partners, often practice unsafe sex increasing their risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

DR. JEFFREY KLAUSNER, SAN FRANCISCO DEPT. OF HEALTH: We've seen that methamphetamine and Viagra users are at about a six-fold or 600 percent increased risk of acquiring HIV versus non-users.

UDOJI (voice-over): It's not just gay men. Heterosexuals are also at risk. Both are trying out Viagra without prescription. Pfizer, the maker of Viagra, declined an interview but released a statement saying:

"It concerns us that men are using it inappropriately. However, sexual activity is a personal issue and it is up to each individual to be responsible for their sexual behavior."

Medical experts re not sure how many young men are experimenting with Viagra but they are urging them to check with their doctors first.

Adaora Udoji, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, some doctors are concerned about the psychological effects of young people using Viagra recreationally. Earlier I talked with Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, a urologist and author of "The Viagra Myth."


COOPER: Dr. Morgentaler, are you seeing more and more men, especially young men who don't have erectile dysfunction asking you for Viagra? DR. ABRAHAM MORGENTALER, AUTHOR, "THE VIAGRA MYTH": Yes, I am. There's an incredible fascination for men of all ages, but especially the younger guys in any kind of medicine or any kind of treatment whatsoever that may help them sexually and Viagra really and its competitors have fit this bill very nicely and it's captured the imagination of guys who now expect it to do all sorts of things for them.

COOPER: You've written about it. You call it the Viagra myth that these people are buying into.

MORGENTALER: Right. The Viagra myth is this idea that a little pill, a little blue pill specifically, can be taken and solve all of man's personal and relationship problems. You know we've come to this idea that everything is sexual and a man's appeal and his ability to interact with his partners has to do with his sexual performance.

You know we see these ads for the baseball players and the racing car drivers and the guys want to be like those guys and they think that taking a pill that those men are taking at least in the ads is going to make them into the cat's meow.

COOPER: It amazes me that you have teenagers now using Viagra recreationally not just in combination with drugs but just separately because they want to enhance their performance.

MORGENTALER: Right. One of the issues is that we can get Viagra or these other medications off the Internet now, so it's easy access to them and the problem is especially for 18-year-olds, 22-year-olds, it's an age where socially guys are worried already about are they good enough, do they meet up with their contemporaries, the competition?

And, if there's something that can make them feel better, give them an edge, give them confidence then I think they want to do it and my concern about it is, is that these guys will take a pill, feel like this is what they need in order to just be OK and then are going to on some level feel dependent on it for many years to come.

COOPER: So not addicted in any way but actually psychologically dependent. They think that in order to have sex they have to use the pill.

MORGENTALER: A lot of the guys who are coming out they don't really know what this is all about and my fear is that they don't allow the possibility that who they are is actually good enough.

COOPER: So do you end up I mean trying to dissuade some of your patients from trying Viagra?

MORGENTALER: I do. You know if a guy comes into the office and he says doctor how about some of those Viagra pills or, you know, the new competition, I've seen the ads on TV, do you think maybe I can have some?

If I ask him and he says that his function is normal I will dissuade him and the real question is what does he want it for? Because, you know, these pills don't create love, intimacy or desire and oftentimes we mix them all in together. And, for instance, if a guy is struggling with his wife, taking that pill isn't going to make a difference in his sexual relationship.

COOPER: That's really interesting stuff. Dr. Abraham Morgentaler, appreciate you joining us, thank you.

MORGENTALER: My pleasure. Thanks for (unintelligible).


COOPER: Our series "Pill-popping Nation" continues tomorrow with Mother's Little Helper. In the '60s that's what the Rolling Stones called Valium. Times have certainly changed. Now there's Xanax, OxyContin and many other drugs to keep you going. We'll look at what's out there and why they've become so popular.

On Thursday, weight loss drugs, a lot of people desperate to be thin but can hope really be found in a pill?

And Friday, medicating our kids, over-medicating say some. Is the Prozac nation giving rise to the Prozac nursery?

Coming up later tonight, fierce fighting in Fallujah. We continue to cover this developing story. U.S. gunships pounding the city. So what happens when the bombs stop falling? Is urban warfare next? We'll take a closer look.

Plus, targeting Dick Cheney. The Democrats go on the offense as the vice president plays defense in the Supreme Court. That is definitely raw politics.

All ahead. We'll be right back.



COOPER: Let's bring you up to speed on our top stories tonight in "The Reset." Fallujah, Iraq, heavily armed U.S. gunships attack two locations near where Marines have been locked in a standoff with insurgents. There were multiple explosions as you can see here, as AC-130 aircraft pounded the two targets. The attacks followed intense firefights during the day. We're going to talk about this in depth in just a few moments.

Madison, Wisconsin now, the sisters will stay home. Rachel and Charity Witmer have asked the army to redeploy them stateside instead of shipping them back to their units in Iraq. The Witmer sister Michelle was killed in ambush in Baghdad on April 9th.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Republican Senator Arlen Specter is fighting for his political life today in a primary election against a conservative opponent. The senator is considered one of the few remaining moderate Republicans in the Senate. Specter went into today's election with a small lead in the polls and those polls close in about half an hour.

Washington, D.C., the president and vice president will answer questions privately from the 9/11 Commission on Thursday morning. Before they agreed to meet with the commission, the White House insisted that there be no audio or video recordings made. Members of the commission will be able to take notes. But there will be no transcript of the questions or answers made available to the public.

Damascus, Syria, four people are dead after a group of terrorists, that's how they're described, set off a bomb under a parked car in the city's diplomatic district, and then got into a shoot-out with security forces. That all according to a source in Syria's Interior Ministry. Two of the four killed were militants. The others killed a Syrian woman and a member of the security force.

Well, let's go back to the situation in Fallujah we've been following for the last couple hours. Pentagon officials say today's U.S. strikes were in response to a threat to Marines by insurgent forces. The gunships began hitting targets, you're seeing it happening right here, hitting targets in Fallujah a day after a major clash between the Marines and insurgents. One marine was killed in that, nine others wounded. CNN national security analyst Ken Robinson joins us from Washington.

Ken, good evening. We've got some remarkable video that was taken yesterday of Marines in action in Fallujah. I want to play the video for those at home who haven't seen it and let's just talk through it a little bit. Tell us a little bit about what we're seeing. Let's roll that tape.

KEN ROBINSON, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, we're looking at a squad doing what's known as a movement to contact. The squad here has divided itself up into two fire teams. The two fire teams are communicating with each other, and one fire team covers as another fire team moves in case they take contact from the sniper positions. Earlier today there were -- yesterday there were snipers coming from a minaret near here.

COOPER: Now this team that we are looking and we're going to see some of the contact that happened in just a couple of seconds. This team, how many people are in this team? Is this one platoon?

ROBINSON: This looks like a platoon size element that has sent a few squads forward that are moving. One squad providing cove, another squad moving. And they leapfrog back and forth until they get to an objective.

COOPER: And obviously there are insurgent snipers all around. This is a mosque where apparently insurgents had been using mosques to shoot from, obviously knowing the political significance if the U.S. hits those mosques.

ROBINSON: I think that's their intent. Their intent is to draw fire to these mosques to inflame the Arab street, both at home and within Fallujah, to gain more -- a sense of more support. There's decent command and control going on by the squad leader. COOPER: Let's listen as this contact is made. Let's just watch this.

Now from that vantage point it looks very difficult to find any targets.

ROBINSON: This is the hardest job available for the U.S. Marines, is fighting house-to-house. The command and control is nightmarish. The ability to find cover from direct fire weapons, like you just saw, and to be able to return fire and make sure they do it in a focused way is the biggest challenge of fighting in the city. That's why casualties are always so high on both sides.

COOPER: And staying calm and controlled in a situation like this, I can't even imagine how hard that is.

ROBINSON: Well, they do it through training. I mean these marines are showing remarkable resolve as they are communicating back and forth with each other and staying focused on the threats around them. I was impressed when I viewed the video earlier today.

COOPER: It is -- it's an impressive sight, indeed. Ken Robinson, national security analyst, appreciate you being with us. Thanks, Ken.


COOPER: Along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, the other big battle, the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his followers. U.S.-led forces are banking on a hammer and anvil strategy, no doubt you've heard about that with the Pakistani Army, turns out it's not going as planned.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson reports.


NIC ROBERTSON, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. Troops under fire, now increasingly common on the Afghan/Pakistan border. This ambush earlier in the month resulting in the attackers fleeing into Pakistan.

CAPT. JON CHUNG, U.S. ARMY: It's difficult. It makes the fight and the challenge of defeating the enemy a little more difficult.

ROBERTSON: Insurgents hit and hide in Pakistan tactics, worry commanders.

LT. COL. HARRY GLENN, U.S. ARMY: It is certainly frustrating for our soldiers. And we constantly work to defeat that. And we work hard with the Pakistanis to do that.

ROBERTSON: But that cooperation, the so-called hammer and anvil, where Pakistani troops force al Qaeda out of hiding, towards U.S. troops waiting on the border, is now slipping beyond U.S. control. LT. COL. MATTHEW REEVERS, COALITION SPOKESMAN: They're moving along in the political process and some dialogue now; I think clearly they have left the door open there to continue operations in the south Waziristan and (UNINTELLIGIBLE). We'll wait and see how that goes, and what the pack (ph) timetable is.

ROBERTSON: In the meantime, U.S. troop strength here is at an all-time high, with 13,500 American soldiers in Afghanistan.

CAPT. ANTHONY GIBBS, U.S. ARMY: Osama bin Laden and his top dogs, I think those guys have -- I think they're far enough removed from the guys who are actually down on the ground, or ground soldiers, that information is going to be hard to come by.

ROBERTSON (on camera): U.S. forces are so short of good intelligence on Osama bin Laden that on occasion troops are used as bait. As one officer put it to me, we're playing our D game here, using our poorest battlefield techniques and tactics.

(voice-over): It seems the much vaunted spring offensive could be slipping into a protracted summer campaign.


ROBERTSON: One other thing we're hearing from Afghan forces working with the U.S. troops is they're getting frustrated, they're getting attacked more, and they blame the war, the situation in Iraq at this time for sapping resources that they think could be helping them on the border right now, Anderson.

COOPER: Nic, if the Pakistanis aren't doing their part, aren't acting as the hammer against the U.S. anvil, how is Osama bin Laden ever going to get caught?

ROBERTSON: Right now, it looks really tough. The situation on the border -- there's a lack of intelligence, a lack of good, actionable intelligence. And nobody pushing up and helping the U.S. troops. It makes it very difficult. Soldiers we ask say -- when we say, are you getting any closer to him, just say, look, we don't have any idea. I can't answer that. Pass it higher up the chain of command -- Anderson.

COOPER: Got to be frustrating. All right, Nic Robertson, thanks from Kabul.

The battle over documents relating to Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force has reached the Supreme Court. Perhaps not coincidentally, the vice president is attracting a lot of attention from Democrats this week, as well. All part of "Raw Politics."


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I oftentimes say Dick Cheney is the finest vice president our country has ever had.

COOPER (voice-over): Republicans and Democrats both seem happy Dick Cheney remains on the ticket. In Cheney, Republicans see a principled conservative. Democrats see a potentially vulnerable target.

TERRY MCAULIFFE, DNC CHAIRMAN: You remember Dick Cheney. When John Kerry was risking his life for his country in Vietnam, Dick Cheney was getting deferments, because, in his own words, he had "other priorities" than military service.

JAMES CARVILLE, CO-HOST, "CROSSFIRE": Dick Cheney was the architect of this disaster in Iraq. He is the architect of our policy of unilateralism, which is causing us to be hated around the world.

COOPER: The Democrats' decision to turn their fire on the vice president is risky, since running mates have rarely affected the outcome of elections.

(UNINTELLIGIBLE) attacked vice presidential nominee Dan Quayle, in the hope of derailing the elder George Bush's candidacy. It didn't work then. Now, Democrats point to a recent Harris poll, which shows Cheney with just 36 percent favorable ratings, and 52 percent negative.

JOHN MERCURIO, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: He's sort of an ideological lightning rod. And in an election year, when Bush is trying to appeal to suburban voters in swing states, Democrats can attack Cheney, can look to Cheney as sort of the effective -- or sort of the bogeyman, the conservative bogeyman, who scares away some of these soccer moms.

COOPER: But keep in mind, come November, it's George Bush's name on the top of the ballot. And in the world of raw politics, top billing counts.


COOPER: And today's "Buzz" is this: should Vice President Cheney's private records on a national energy task force be made public? What do you think? Log on to to vote. I'll have the results at the end of the program.

Coming up, a woman held as a sexual slave. Jailed for killing her torturer. Now she faces deportation. Her legal battle just ahead.

Plus, day two of the Kobe Bryant hearing. Will his accuser's sexual history play a part in the trial? We'll have that. Plus, the Elton John buzz on the Internet. Find out why he's the most popular story on right now.


COOPER: From California tonight, a story that is simply hard to believe. A young immigrant woman, forced to become a sexual slave during her teens. Jailed for 22 years for her role in killing the man who tortured her. Now she's paroled, but still not a U.S. citizen, and tonight she faces a new fight. Frank Buckley has her harrowing story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRANK BUCKLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): 44-year-old Maria Suarez can see freedom just outside of a window. But it continues to pass her by, as it has for 23 years.

MARIA SUAREZ: This is my mother.

BUCKLEY: Maria came to the U.S. legally from Mexico when she was 16. But just a few years later, she was incarcerated, for hiding the murder weapon that a neighbor used to kill the man who advocates say terrorized her for five years. Now she awaits deportation. Because while California's Board of Prison Terms determined she suffered from battered women syndrome at the time of her crime, Maria still has the conviction on her record. And immigration officials have ruled she must be deported.

SUAREZ: It's been a long, long wait (ph) for me, and I just need help.

BUCKLEY: She is asking federal officials to allow her to stay in the U.S. Her entire family, including her aging mother, is in America.

SUAREZ: She's 85. I don't know how many years I'm going to have my mom. And my biggest dream is to spend the rest of her life by her.

BUCKLEY: Maria's advocates include 34 members of Congress, who've signed letters to homeland security officials, asking them to consider Maria as a trafficking victim and a domestic violence survivor, entitling her to special visas that would permit her to stay.

Maria says despite the hardships she's endured in the U.S., she wants to remain here, and help other victims of domestic violence and trafficking.

SUAREZ: You might think it's kind of silly, but all what I learn, I want to give it to this country.


BUCKLEY: Maria is appealing the deportation order, and immigration officials say she will not be deported while her appeal is being heard. But Anderson, she remains confined to that detention center, awaiting her freedom -- Anderson.

COOPER: Unbelievable. All right, Frank Buckley, thanks very much.

Kobe Bryant is back in court, day two of a pretrial hearing. The legal tactics in the works just ahead.


COOPER: Time for "Justice Served. The second day of closed-door hearings in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case. The judge hears arguments about whether the sexual history of the NBA star's accuser can be used at his trial. Three young men and a nurse who examined the alleged victim were on the stand today. Joining me now covering the case Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom. Lisa, good to see you. They're talking about 72 hours before and after, or around this incident on June 30. Why?

LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, COURT TV: Well, exactly. Because she claims certain physical injuries that she says was caused by Kobe Bryant raping her. The defense says no, those injuries may have been caused by other sexual partners. And they want to find out who they are and exactly what went on.

COOPER: Now at this hearing her entire sexual history is fair game. They're talking about it in court.

BLOOM: You're right but the sole purpose of this pretrial hearing the judge has ruled that we can talk about anything in her sexual history. So the defense can go back through her entire life if she were sexually abused as a young child. They could ask about that at this pretrial hearing in front of Kobe Bryant and his attorneys and she has to come and answer those questions.

COOPER: But if it does get to a jury under the rape shield laws, that will not be the case?

BLOOM: That's what this whole hearing is about. The judge has to hear what the facts are and then he will decide what's going to come in at trial. The rape shield law does exist in Colorado. I'm surprised that anything more than about three days before this incident is even being asked about at pre-trial hearing. But the judge, I think, is a very thorough judge. I've read his recent rulings. He's very careful. He wants to get all the facts before he rules.

COOPER: Now Kobe Bryant's sexual history in the 72-hour timeframe doesn't matter.

BLOOM: 72 hours and from his entire life that is never going to come in. It's protected by the right of privacy. But I'll tell you something very interesting I saw in the court papers filed yesterday by the prosecutors, buried down on page 17 there's a reference to a number of tips the prosecution has gotten from people about Kobe Bryant's contacts with other women. And prosecution does not want to turn that over to the defense, even though the defense has asked about it.

COOPER: Interesting. All right, Lisa Bloom, Court TV. Thanks very much.

Time to check on some lighter news in tonight's current. Let's take a look. The $50 bill is getting a face-lift to reduce the chance of counterfeiting. The Treasury Department is updating Ulysses S. Grant. We're glad they didn't go with the nose ring and pierced tongue version. That would not have been very good. Gene Simmons will make a guest appearance on NBC's the "Third Watch" this Friday. The Kiss bassist will play a ruthless drug kingpin out for revenge perhaps on underpaid roadies who made off with his makeup kit and platform shoes.

And Anna Kournikova is countersuing her parents over Miami beaches. We should have gotten Lisa to talk about this one. Seems the two are feuding over who owns the house. Her parents say they do. But Kournikova insists it is all hers according to the numerous endorsement labels plastered across the home. No, that's not real.

Coming up. Water not only can quench your thirst. We can do much more. We take that to the Nth Degree coming up. Plus tomorrow, our series, "Pill-Popping Nation" continues with mother's little helper. It is no longer just Valium. Now there are plenty of other drugs to keep you going. Take a look at the controversy on that. First today's buzz. "Should Vice President Cheney's private records on a national energy task force be made public?" Log on to Cast your vote. Results in just a few moments.


COOPER: Earlier we showed you the most popular stories from Now a closer look at the top story on the net. Elton John is complaining about the outcome of last week's "American Idol" saying he found the voting by viewers to be, quote, "incredibly racist." There was a chorus of dissent after Jennifer Hudson was voted off last week. John was a guest judge this month and says the three contestants he was impressed with, all African-American females, seem to be landing in the bottom three. The most popular story on the net.

Time now for the buzz. Earlier we asked you, "should Vice President Cheney's private records on a national energy task force be made public?" More than 183,000 of you voted. 74 percent said yes, 26 percent no. Not a scientific poll, but your buzz. Thank you.

Tonight, taking (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to the Nth Degree. Have you seen this stuff? Vitamin Water it's called. For the excellent reason that it consists of vitamins and water. Aimed, we guess, at people who haven't got time to sit down for a bite and who also don't want anything superfluous, just the basics. The way things are speeding up today we figure it's only a matter of time before somebody comes up with bottled meals to chug in the taxi between appointment.

Meat water, chicken water, Caesar salad water if you feel like something more substantial. There's pasta water and a little something to top it all off creme brulee water. Evidently even fast food is too slow these days. After all chewing takes time and who's got any of that? Welcome to the age of gulp and go. I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching. Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW."


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