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Filipino Hostage Released; Berger Admits Removing Sensitive Documents; Republicans Push to Get Nader on Ballot

Aired July 20, 2004 - 19:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Good evening, I'm Anderson Cooper.
Tonight, a hostage celebrates his freedom, but the U.S. says the cost may be high.

360 starts now.

A former top Clinton official admits removing sensitive documents linked to terror threats. What was Sandy Berger up to?

On trial for torture and running a private prison in Afghanistan. But who were the three Americans really working for? Real-life terrorist hunters, or rogue vigilantes?

Republicans push to get Nader on the ballot. But could they be taking votes from their own candidate? The raw politics of Ralph Nader.

KFC caught in a flap over chicken abuse. What did the colonel know, and when did he know it?

And our special series, the Start Treatment. Tonight, water worship. Why are so many celebrities sipping high-priced designer water?

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

COOPER: We begin tonight in Iraq and the release of a hostage. Today, Angelo de la Cruz of the Philippines won his freedom. The Philippines government gave in to his captors' demands, pulling their small contingent of troops out of Iraq. About that, there is unhappiness in some official circles. But for de la Cruz's family in the Philippines, as you can see, there was only happiness today. Geopolitics and antiterrorist strategies clearly did not matter to them. What mattered, all that mattered, was that they had their relative back.

CNN's Matthew Chance reports on the ordeal of Angelo de la Cruz.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For two weeks, he had the threat of brutal execution hanging over him. Now this Filipino truck driver, looking tired and worn, is in safe hands, delivered by his captors to the embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Baghdad.

HAMID AL-SHAMISI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ (through translator): At 10:30 this morning, we were surprised with the handing over of the Filipino hostage, and the kidnappers ran away. He is in good health, and we've agreed to move him to Abu Dabi for medical checks.

CHANCE: But this is freedom at a price. Angelo de la Cruz was abducted on July the 7th, one of many kidnapping of foreigners in recent months. His captors vowed to behead him unless Filipino troops in Iraq were withdrawn early. Few believed they would accept.

At first, the government in Manila resisted, but on Monday, the last of their small contingent of 51 soldiers on a humanitarian mission was pulled out.

It was a blow for the U.S.-led coalition, the setback for the Iraqi government it supports.

HOSHYAR ZEBARI, INTERIM IRAQI FOREIGN MINISTER: This could be, could repeat itself.

CHANCE: It is a bad precedent, said Iraq's interim foreign minister, and it sends the wrong message and rewards the terrorists. It's not the first time, though, that meeting kidnappers' demands has secured a release in Iraq. Earlier this week, an Egyptian worker was set free after the company that employs him, a Saudi Arabian transport firm, ended its operations in the country. Others have done the same.


CHANCE: Insurgents and kidnappers are already making new threats. Web sites link to the Jordanian-born militants Abu Musab Zarqawi are calling on Arab countries to make sure their governments don't send their armed forces into Iraq in any kind of peacekeeping role. Those Web sites also singling out Japan, a country with its own small humanitarian force here in Iraq, to do the same thing as the Philippines, and to withdraw those forces from Iraq, Anderson.

COOPER: Of course, we have already seen some Japanese citizens being taken hostage and released. Matthew Chance, thanks very much, live from Baghdad.

We have some breaking news to report right now. There has been a major (UNINTELLIGIBLE) shoot-out in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, between suspected militants and Saudi security forces. It is part of a major operation, we understand.

Joining us on the phone from Riyadh with the latest details, CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson. Nic, what do you know?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on phone): Anderson, this operation has been going on for about the last three hours. When we arrived on the scene (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hours ago, tracer rounds were still flying through the sky. Police have expanded a cordon from about a mile-square area to two miles square. Hundreds of police vehicle, hundreds of policemen are involved in the operation.

Heavy antiterrorist vehicles, armored antiterrorist vehicles, have been brought into the operation, busloads of troops and police, the national guard, part of Saudi Arabia's elite armed force also involved in the operation. The police believe that they chased a number -- they are saying a significant number of militants into this mixed residential and housing area on the northern side of Riyadh, chased them into the area.

They have now secured the area. There is no gunfire going on at this time. And the police and armed forces are beginning to search some of the streets in this particular neighborhood, Anderson.

COOPER: Nic, I had read one account of a vehicle, possibly a Jeep, with some armed people in it getting away. Have you heard any reports about that?

ROBERTSON: Security sources do indicate that a vehicle may have left the area with armed militants in it, driving away from the area, shooting as they were leaving the area. We believe from security sources close to Saudi security officials that there may be now two areas of operation that the Saudi authorities are involved in here, that they are now operating in two different areas in Riyadh, Anderson.

COOPER: I've also read some speculation that this operation may be a result of some interrogations that have taken place of some of the 60 or 61 or so people who have handed themselves over after this offer of leniency of some sort of limited amnesty was extended. Do you know anything about that?

ROBERTSON: Well, certainly in the last few days, Saudi officials have announced that 27 members of al Qaeda have had -- from outside of Saudi Arabia have turned themselves in. Thirty al Qaeda recruits inside Saudi Arabia turned themselves into two authorities under the government's active leniency. There aren't many more days left on that offer of leniency, and we've been told that these members of al Qaeda have been taken in, they've been detained, they are being interrogated.

And it is to get precisely this type of information, the location and whereabouts of al Qaeda operatives to try and get as much information from them as they can. So possibly the information has come from that. It's absolutely not clear at this stage.

We also understand from Saudi security, sources close to Saudi security that one of the objectives of the operation tonight may have been a building that they believe contained a large number of weapons. Certainly, those types of buildings have been at the center of shootouts and standoffs over event weeks with al Qaeda militants inside Riyadh, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Nic Robertson reporting live from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Nic, thanks very much. This is a breaking story. Just we are getting information just now. Major shootout in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Nic Robertson will continue to keep us apprised throughout this hour.

One inquiry ends and another begins. We're going to get to the 9/11 commission's report in just a moment.

But first, the new investigation, this one criminal, into whether President Clinton's national security adviser, this man, forgetfully walked away with some classified documents he'd been studying, as he contends, or whether, as the charges have it, he made off with them.

Some of the details sound comical, almost, allegation of paper stuffed into socks. But the situation is serious enough to have caused the man at the center of the controversy to step down as national security adviser to the Kerry campaign.

CNN's justice correspondent Kelli Arena reports.


KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sandy Berger said he inadvertently removed highly classified documents from this National Archives building and says he may have even thrown some out. As a result, sources say, his house and office were searched, and he's been under criminal investigation since last fall.

His lawyer, Lanny Breuer, tells CNN it was an honest mistake.

LANNY BREUER, BERGER'S ATTORNEY: At some point when he leaves, the memorandum got caught with his business papers. And he walked out. It was inadvertent...

ARENA: But Berger admits to knowingly removing handwritten notes he took at the time without following procedure and first getting them cleared by archive staff. Justice Department officials would not comment directly, but in general had this to say.

JAMES COMEY, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: We take issues of classified information very seriously.

ARENA: Former president Clinton had asked Berger to review thousands of pages of documents housed at the archives for submission to the September 11 commission. Government sources say he visited the archives three times. They say archive staff noticed documents were missing, and when confronted, Berger voluntarily returned some documents, but not all.

At that point, archive staff marked additional documents to track them. Law enforcement sources say archive staff told FBI agents they saw Berger placing items in his jacket and pants. There was no camera in the room. Those sources also say one archive staffer told agents Berger placed something in his socks, which Berger associates heatedly deny.

LANNY DAVIS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE SPECIAL COUNSEL: I suggest that person is lying. And if that person has the guts, let's see who it is who made the comment that Sandy Berger stuffed something into his socks.

ARENA: Officials say two drafts of what they call a highly critical review of the Clinton administration's handling of the millennium terror plot are still missing.

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: As a member of the Intelligence Committee, I deal with classified documents every single day. We know better, and Sandy Berger knew better.


ARENA: Sources say the investigation is still active, but there has been no decision on whether to pursue criminal charges, Anderson.

COOPER: Kelli Arena live in Washington, thanks, Kelli.

Late this afternoon, a member, or a number of House Republican leaders and committee chairman were briefed for about an hour by the co-chairs of the 9/11 committee.

CNN's congressional correspondent Joe Johns is with us in Washington. Tell us what those House leaders say they learned, Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, nothing immediately shocking. No bombshells. No big news that came out of this briefing, at least this evening. However, we did get a sense of things. And that sense is that this will be a factual recounting, a retelling of what is already known, apparently with some bipartisan conclusions.

But what is particularly interesting is that the top House leadership had expressed reservations about this report coming out a week before the Democratic National Convention. Now, let's listen to what they have to say, the speaker of the House and the majority leader.


REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R), SPEAKER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) is that, you know, we knew that there were Khobar Towers, and we knew there was a World Trade Tower, and we knew about Osama bin Laden, and we knew about all these happenings around the world. I guess it really comes down to nobody thought that anybody would be as audacious as those people who bombed this (UNINTELLIGIBLE) who used our airplanes as weapons. We never -- it hadn't had a hijacking in 10 years.

And even though there were pieces of this, nobody ever put all those pieces together, because I don't think anybody presumed that somebody would be as monstrous as those people were.

REP. TOM DELAY (R), MAJORITY LEADER: They stressed that the report is not a blame game, that there was failures on all fronts. And but what I heard was what most of us already knew. I'm sure the report will give the details substantiating what we've all already known, that basically security is not something that can be 100 percent. JOHNS: Now, a similar meeting is planned with top House Democrats tomorrow, also a bipartisan group of senators is expected to meet with the top members of the commission.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: All right, Joe Johns live on Capitol Hill. Thanks, Joe.

An update now on anthrax. That tops our look at what is happening cross-country right now. Fort Detrick, Maryland, a section of an Army research lab is shut down. FBI agents are back combing through part of the lab that deals with infectious diseases. FBI agents have speculated that the deadly spores used in the 2001 (UNINTELLIGIBLE) anthrax attacks or the person sent them may in some way be connected to Fort Detrick.

Washington, D.C., campaign cash. For the fourth month in a row, President Bush has raised less money than John Kerry. Mr. Bush raised about $13 million last month, compared to $32 million for Kerry. Yet when crunching the overall fund-raising figures, Bush raised a record $230 million versus about $180 million for Kerry.

Roxahatchie (ph), Florida, now, the story that will never end. More trouble, apparently, for Bobo's owner, Bobo the tiger, that is. The home of Tarzan actor Steve Sipek caught fire last night, less than a week after his tiger, Bobo, escaped and was later killed by wildlife officers. That's Sipek there.

Investigators say that Sipek's newly installed air conditioner sparked the blaze. The fire and smoke ruined most of the home. Crews had a hard time getting to the fire because Sipek had (UNINTELLIGIBLE), had (UNINTELLIGIBLE), put up electrical fencing to keep his other exotic animals caged in.

And Glyndon, Maryland. Take a look. Mystery animal on the loose. This is a home video here. What exactly is that? Neighbors in Glyndon say it has been lurking in their woods. Local wildlife officials are kind of scratching their heads about it. Some are calling it a hyote, a combination of a hyena and a coyote. Course, there's aren't hyenas here in America. But until they're able to actually trap the animal, no one will really know for sure.

And that's a quick look at what is happening cross-country tonight.

360 next, animal cruelty caught on tape. What is going on at KFC's poultry supplier? A bucket of shame you will not believe.

Plus, rescued against all odds. Find out how this police officer saved a woman with one hand and a lot of luck and strength.

Also, Americans on trial in Afghanistan. Are they rogue vigilantes or patriots on the hunt for Osama bin Laden? We'll take you inside this international mystery.

First, let's take a look at your picks, the most popular stories right now on


COOPER: It is enough to make a carnivore turn vegetarian, enough even to make Ozzy Osbourne from his bat-eating days gag. Caught on videotape, workers at a chicken-slaughtering plant in West Virginia torturing live birds for sport. It's the Pilgrim's Pride slaughterhouse, and right now the company is anything but proud. Both Pilgrim's Pride and the company it supplies, Kentucky Fried Chicken, say they are appalled. You'll quickly see why.

Jen Rogers reports.


JEN ROGERS, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For a company that sells food, this unappetizing video can't be good for business. Shot secretly by PETA at a poultry supplier for KFC, it's the latest salvo in a long-running battle between the animal rights group and the nation's number one fast-food chicken chain, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken.

DAN SHANNON, PETA: On their suppliers' farms, animals are being stomped on while they're still fully conscious. They're being thrown into walls as if there's nothing more than a nerf ball. You know, these animals are being abused, and KFC isn't doing enough to stop it.

ROGERS: KFC, which does not own or operate any poultry farms, buys hundreds of millions of chickens from suppliers every year. In a statement, the company says it "finds the actions in the videotape appalling, wherever they have occurred. We do not tolerate animal abuse by any of our suppliers under any circumstance."

KFC says it has placed an inspector at the facility in question to monitor the activity.

For its part, the supplier, Pilgrim's Pride, said, quote, "The practices portrayed in this video are not in any way condoned by management and are not routine, normal ongoing incidents."

PETA, while applauding the company's responses Tuesday, called it a Band-Aid approach and repeated the need for a comprehensive animal welfare plan that includes unannounced visits from inspectors.

(on camera): KFC and its suppliers aren't the first to face off against animal rights activists. Other major fast-food chains, including McDonald's and Burger King, have tangled with PETA before. The result, PETA claims improvements have been made.

Jen Rogers, CNN FINANCIAL NEWS, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Well, no (UNINTELLIGIBLE) how it gets to the table, Americans do love the chicken. Here's a fast fact for you. The Department of Agriculture says 8.5 billion chickens, that's right, billion, are killed and eaten in the United States each year. It's estimated the average American will consume 84 pounds of chicken in 2004.

Tonight, a story of despair and hope. A woman desperate to take her own life and a cop equally desperate to stop her. It began yesterday with a call from the woman's husband, who was told police that he was worried his wife was suicidal. A state trooper responded, and the video system in his squad car shows what happened next.

CNN's Keith Oppenheim has the story.


LES BOLDT, WISCONSIN STATE TROOPER: You know, I just happened to be in the area that I was.

KEITH OPPENHEIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Wisconsin State Trooper Les Boldt is as modest as he is cool under pressure. In this videotape pursuit, the trooper knows the woman he's following could be suicidal.

SGT. DAVID CATALANO, WISCONSIN STATE PATROL: He notices that this white vehicle cuts literally at the very last second to the exit ramp to 43, cutting a couple of vehicles off. Continued to accelerate, speed up to about 105 miles per hour at this point.

OPPENHEIM: As the driver races up to the top of a bridge, she nearly hits a truck, then pulls to a stop.

BOLDT: I had the subject stopped right on top of Telegraph Bridge.

OPPENHEIM: Trooper Boldt then has to make a tough call.

BOLDT: So I saw her going around the front of her car, and it's, like, she's going for the edge. It's either I don't go up to her, thinking that she is going to go over the bridge, or I've got to get there before she gets there. So I just made the decision, and once I committed myself, I just kept going.

OPPENHEIM: In a flash, the woman goes over the rail, her fall broken slightly by a bridge support. Trooper Boldt pulls her back at the risk of falling 200 feet.

BOLDT: Well, my feet first slipped, it was, you know, Oh, get down lower, otherwise you're going to go with her.

OPPENHEIM: Other help arrives, and the suicidal woman is taken to a hospital.

BOLDT: Hopefully she can get the help she needs, and she'll be back to, you know, her good old self before.

OPPENHEIM: Hopefully, all that will happen. But recovery wouldn't even be a possibility if not for the quick thinking of one trooper on patrol. Keith Oppenheim, CNN, Chicago.


COOPER: Well, new problems with the Palestinian Authority. That tops our look at global stories right now in the uplink. Prime Minister Ahmed Qorei insists in front of the Palestinian cabinet today he has resigned. He's angry that Yasser Arafat won't give him more power over security forces in the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat says he refuses to accept Qorei's resignation.

In France today, American cyclist Lance Armstrong vaulted into the lead in the Tour de France. He is trying to win the event for what would be a record sixth year in a row, and it's looking pretty good for him.

In China, the opening of the Asian Cup soccer matches. The head of soccer's world governing body said that China, not Britain, invented the sport. Apparently documents show soccer dates back 2,000 years in China. long before the game was played in Europe. That, of course, will spark a little controversy.

That's tonight's uplink for you.

360 next, star treatment, celebs paying big bucks for designer water. Designer water. Does it really make them look younger, healthier, and more beautiful? Or are they just wasting their money? Take a closer look, part of our special series, the Star Treatment.

Also tonight, the Nader factor. Could the Republicans' push to get him on the ballot actually backfire on the president? That's raw politics.

And a little later, Linda Ronstadt booted from a Vegas casino. Are celebrities being unfairly blacklisted for challenging the president, or just getting their just desserts? We'll hear from both sides.


COOPER: Mmm, water. If all that water makes you a little thirsty, listen to this. Americans drank over 6 billion gallons of bottled water last year. In fact, bottled water consumption has surpassed beer, coffee, milk, and is second only to soft drinks. Some of the biggest drinkers of bottled H2O, of course, are celebrities, who are sparking the trend to water worship.

CNN's Jason Bellini reports, part of our week-long series, Star Treatment.


JASON BELLINI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Word leaked from Madonna's wedding, Voss Water was served. Quickly, the sleek Norwegian beauty, which boasts of its purity, went A-list. It acquired "Sex in the City" sass and MTV star power. Not to be outdone, Penta says it molecularly restructures tap water. It uses a seven-step reverse osmosis process. It claims to make its water more easily absorbed.

DIANE IRONS, AUTHOR, "AGE-DEFYING BEAUTY SECRETS": Ellen DeGeneres loves it, and Sting says that it's so good, it's like a finely tuned instrument.

BELLINI: Some establishments have become celebrations of designer waters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very gentle bubbles.

BELLINI: The Abigail Stoneman Inn in Newport, Rhode Island, offers more than 20 different waters from around the world. It's called a water bar.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, let's try that.

BELLINI (on camera): Do guests ever look at you funny when you tell them, We have a water bar?

WIN BAKER, OWNER, ABIGAIL STONEMAN INN: Yes, they do sometimes. And usually the reason they'll ask that is they'll say, Oh, the waters can't really be all that different, are they? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Well, why don't you find out?



BELLINI (voice-over): Jason Rubin wants to make this a special occasion for his girlfriend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we first started looking for places to come, you know, this is probably the biggest selling point (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

BELLINI (on camera): Water?


THEODORA POLLUCK, INNKEEPER, ABIGAIL STONEMAN INN: She doesn't know it, but he is asking her to marry him this evening.

BELLINI: Do you have just the right water for this occasion?

POLLUCK: I think so, I think Voss is just the right water. One of our guests described it this way. He said, Voss is like you are being enveloped in a cloud.

BELLINI (voice-over): She said yes.

There's such a thirst for sophisticated H2O, there is even a Web site devoted to it. offers advice on marrying appropriate stemware and temperature, depending on the food. Bottled water is an $8.3 billion a year industry. Store shelves cascade with vitamin waters, fruit-flavored waters, even smart waters infused with electrolytes.

BAKER: Even among distilled waters, you can really taste some of them have a, you know, more mineral contents.

BELLINI (on camera): Distilled waters run deep?

BAKER: They do, not as deep as sparkling water.

BELLINI (voice-over): Unless you know better, even the very best tastes like water.

Jason Bellini, CNN, Newport, Rhode Island.


COOPER: All right. Here to talk more about water worship and celebrities, Robin Vitetta-Miller, a contributor to "Health" magazine.

Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: All right, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) all these different kinds of water. This is Voss Water...


COOPER: ... which has an amazingly cool package.


COOPER: They call themselves, they say it's from a virgin aquifer. It's artesian water from Norway, shielded for centuries in ice and rock. It, isn't all water shielded for centuries?

VITETTA-MILLER: Exactly. All water is shielded for centuries in ice and rock. It's a beautiful package, though.

COOPER: Right, it's a great package.

VITETTA-MILLER: And if that's what it's going to take for you to drink water, then that's the way you should go.

COOPER: Is a lot of this stuff packaging?

VITETTA-MILLER: A lot of it is packaging and hype. And you saw in the package that, you know, Madonna had it. So, I mean, it really is, who is drinking what water? How is it packaged? But I'll tell you what, if it is going to help you stay hydrated, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

COOPER: There's another water, Penta, advertises a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) -- I can't even say it, molecularly restructured water...

VITETTA-MILLER: They restructure the molecules.

COOPER: ... with smaller molecular clusters. Is this, A, even possible, and B, does that really matter?

VITETTA-MILLER: Well, it is possible. And what they did, the reason they did it is so that the, that the, these little molecular clusters can enter your cells more quickly. Do we need that? Well, our bodies are pretty smart. You know, we're 90 percent water anyway. That's the water kind of gets in and out of the cells on its own. However...

COOPER: If you drink enough water...

VITETTA-MILLER: ... this is the...

COOPER: ... you are going to be hydrated.

VITETTA-MILLER: You're going to be hydrated. But that's their claim is that it gets into your cells more quickly so you get hydrated faster, which is better for your looks and your athletic performance and your smarts. So that's the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

COOPER: All right, so packaging aside, I mean, is drinking tap water so much worse than drinking some of this expensive bottled water?

VITETTA-MILLER: No, you know, what? I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what, that -- well, there's two -- there's some pros and con, I mean, tap water is certainly with the EPA regulations, tap water's great. And there are minerals in tap water, like fluoride, for example, that your kids need that you don't find in a lot of these bottled waters.

However, tap water's not portable. So if you need to drink the six to eight glasses that we're supposed to get every day, eight-ounce glasses, and you're going to carry a bottle around to get that, that, that...

COOPER: Or you can take...


COOPER: ... the cool package and just fill it up with tap water.

VITETTA-MILLER: (UNINTELLIGIBLE), right, use the package once, and then nobody will know you are drinking right out of your tap.

COOPER: Water's never going to advertise on this show ever after this. Let me ask you, though, I mean, it can be pretty pricey, this Voss thing I, apparently is $4 in stores, but can be, like, $10, $15 bucks in hotels and stuff.

VITETTA-MILLER: Yes, it's (UNINTELLIGIBLE), oh, absolutely in hotels, for sure. It's very expensive. And I'll tell you what I think is a good plan is to buy. And, you know, you pay sometimes for the vitamins and the minerals and the nutrients that are added, which is not necessarily a bad thing either. Some of these that we mentioned, the vitamin waters and the smart waters...

COOPER: Right.

VITETTA-MILLER: ... it's not bad you're paying for some of that. However, you don't need it as your sole source of water. Tap water is certainly fine too.

COOPER: All right, a good message to end it on. Robin Vitetta- (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Miller, thanks very much.


COOPER: So our special series, Star Treatment, continues tomorrow night with Hollywood beauty secrets revealed. Ohh, what works, what doesn't? Thursday, Hollywood healing for the body, soul, and mind. Some cup, I'm not sure what that is, some burned candles. I think I know what it is. Some wear rocks. Are these just celebrity trends? Yes. And on Friday, the pampered life. Ah, yes, celebrities who get freebies the rest of us can only dream about, designer jewels, first-class trips. What really happens behind the scenes. And why can't they just pay for it?

On trial for torture and running a private prison in Afghanistan. But who were the three Americans really working for? Real-life terrorist hunters, or rogue vigilantes?

And Republicans' push to get Nader on the ballot, but could they be taking votes from their own candidate? The raw politics of Ralph Nader.

360 continues.


COOPER: On trial for torture and running a private prison in Afghanistan. But who were the three Americans really working for? Real life terrorist hunters or rogue vigilantes.

And Republicans push to get Nader on the ballot. But could they be taking vote from their own candidate? The raw politics of Ralph Nader.

360 continues.


COOPER: And we're continuing our breaking news coverage of an update on a story we brought you near the top of the newscast. We have more details on a major shoot-out in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Joining us again by phone from Riyadh, CNN's senior international correspondent Nic Robertson. Nic, what's the latest?

ROBERTSON: Anderson, sources close to Saudi intelligence tell us there are two al Qaeda militants dead, three wounded. Also some very significant information coming from those sources. They say they have arrested a woman they describe as the wife of Ssali Alofi (ph).

Ssali Alofi is currently head of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. He took over from -- that position about a month ago from al-Muqrin, the man who was responsible for the death of Paul Johnson. Sources close to Saudi intelligence also say that among the two dead and three wounded may well be Ssali Alofi himself, the head of al Qaeda, the sources here are saying may be among the dead and injured. That's not clear, but they do say they have arrested the head of al Qaeda, the wife of the head of al Qaeda in Saudi Arabia -- Anderson.

COOPER: And Nic, this is the man who really just took over for al Qaeda just recently in the wake of the death of the man who had previously run it in Saudi Arabia, correct?

ROBERTSON: Correct. Saudi security forces here have killed and captured a number of al Qaeda members particularly some of them on the most wanted list about a month ago killing al-Muqrin, the head of al Qaeda at that time.

Within days al Qaeda announced the leader that was Ssali Alofi. Tonight it appears he may be dead, injured certainly according to the (UNINTELLIGIBLE). His wife has been arrested.

Again a potential blow according to the sources for al Qaeda at this time. The security forces here seemingly having considerable success in locating, tracking down, arresting and killing and wounding members of al Qaeda here at this time, Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Nic Robertson live in Riyadh following a major shooting in the Saudi capital. Nic, thanks very much.

If you've ever watched the bar scene in the original "Star Wars" movie you have a rough idea what it's like in Kabul, Afghanistan these days. There are all sorts of characters running around and no one really knows who is whom.

Case in point, three Americans under arrest for running a private prison. Tomorrow they face an Afghan judge. They are going on trial. The three men who'll be back in court include a well-known freelance cameraman and a special forces soldier who is no stranger to the limelight.


COOPER (voice-over): Was this house in central Kabul a torture chamber run by rogue vigilantes or a sanctioned prison used by patriotic Americans fighting the war on terror?

That question will now have to be answered by an Afghan judge. On trial the man in the middle, Keith Jack Idema, a former U.S. special forces soldier and self-proclaimed adviser to the northern alliance. Shown here in what CNN was told was part of a documentary he helped produce. Jack Idema along with independent photo journalist Ed Caraballo, and a third U.S. citizen, Brent Bennett had been charged with kidnapping, torture, and running a private jail.

MICHAEL SKIBBIE, CARABALLO'S ATTORNEY: The talk by the prosecutor and by the judge according to press reports has been that they are facing 20 years.

COOPER: For the past several months dressed as a special forces soldier Idema has been in Afghanistan claiming to hunt terrorists with the full knowledge and approval of the U.S. government says his lawyer. But the U.S. military in Afghanistan and the State Department both say he is not working for them.

MICHAEL BOUCHER, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: So I'm afraid we don't -- have no connection with these individuals. The U.S. government has no connection with these individuals.

COOPER: Three times international peacekeepers in Afghanistan say they aided Idema on raids. But they now say they were fooled by Idema's uniform and say helping him was, quote, "a mistake." Jack Idema is no stranger to controversy. He's done jail time in the U.S. for fraud, and has appeared several times on television as a counterterrorism expert. He was the subject of a CBS "60 Minutes II" report.

ANNOUNCER: He is brash and controversial.

COOPER: And was prominently featured in Robin Moore's book, "The Hunt For bin Laden."


COOPER: Well what is Idema's defense? Earlier today I spoke with his attorney Jonathan Tiffany.


COOPER: There are some who claim your client was basically a weekend warrior. He was over there in Afghanistan just kind of running around, doing his own thing, arresting Afghans, torturing them. The charges are kidnapping, torture, running a private jail. What is your defense?

JOHN TIFFANY, IDEMA'S ATTORNEY: Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the defense we are putting together and have been putting together since the story first broke doesn't begin in Afghanistan. It begins prior to my client making arrangements to go to Afghanistan. He was meeting with officials from various intelligence agencies here in the United States. He was meeting with officials in the Department of Defense. All of these officials were aware of my client's counterterrorism efforts and information that was being conveyed to them prior to his departure.

COOPER: So you're saying your client, Jack Idema, was having formal meetings with people from the Pentagon, from the CIA, from other intelligence agencies.

TIFFANY: At least we can document that in terms of meetings what was going on. He was meeting with FBI officials, he met with CIA officials. He was having direct communications with high levels of the Department of Defense.

COOPER: Why was he bringing a cameraman with him? I mean, he has this guy Ed Caraballo who I know personally. He used to be a cameraman of mine at ABC. Do secret warriors, people working in black ops, do they usually have cameramen following them?

TIFFANY: With respect to Ed Caraballo who is a journalist, and I want to make sure everybody knows that, there seems to be some questions over in Afghanistan that maybe he isn't or maybe he is. I can tell you without any hesitation that Ed Caraballo is a journalist.

Keith brought Ed over to film a documentary which was being put together not only on -- for this trip but the trip that occurred in 2001. So there was a real reason and purpose to have Eddie there who is an accomplished cameraman to document his efforts.

COOPER: You feel you really know what your client was doing in Afghanistan?

TIFFANY: Yes, I do. I say that -- I mean, listen, we don't always know exactly what our clients are doing 100 percent. I have been doing criminal defense for 15 years.

COOPER: Sometimes you don't want to know.

TIFFANY: Absolutely. I think it's important. You know, there are people that I have spoken to who have been friends with Keith for a number of years. And they have told me about his commitment to counterterrorism. I've not only spoken to people within the FBI who worked with him at times when he was working with the FBI, I've talked to former special services people that served with him. I've talked to friends and families and based upon my conversations and the information that I have at my disposal, no, I don't think that the allegations are true. I don't think Keith Idema was doing anything wrong than necessarily what he was doing 18 months ago when he was being held up and installed as a hero.

COOPER: Because you know the allegations are floating around Kabul a lot of people say is that your client is sort of a weekend warrior. Kind of wannabe Rambo who is out there for self-promotion. He brought Ed Caraballo, a cameraman with him to make these videos. Maybe sell these videos. Your response to that?

TIFFANY: My response is that first of all that ignores the dangerous nature of the business of operating and hunting down terrorists. Yes, there are some people that are out there, bounty hunters and I have heard that sort of bandied back around. I would say that that may be the case if for example my client doesn't have any connection with Afghanistan, never been there.

In 2001 he was there for humanitarian reasons. He ended up working with the northern alliance which (UNINTELLIGIBLE) indicated. He appears on the front cover of Robin Moore's bestseller, "The Hunt For bin Laden" and he's referenced several times in the book.

This was a guy that was held up as an individual that was making a serious headway in the war against terrorism. He was providing information. And so for people to say he was a weekend warrior. Was Jack colorful? Absolutely. He was brash, he was colorful, he was confident of himself. But when he strapped on weapons and went out to hunt down terrorists that was dangerous business.

COOPER: The hearing is tomorrow. We'll be watching. Jonathan Tiffany, thanks very much.

TIFFANY: Thanks.

COOPER: We should also mention that we asked the Pentagon for a comment and they said this. "U.S. citizen Jonathan K. Idema has allegedly represented himself as an American government and/or military official. The public should be aware that Idema does not represent the American government and we do not employ him."

The trial begins tomorrow.

If politics is war, then Ralph Nader finds himself with a unique plan. And to help him carry it out, it seems one of his enemies wants to be a friend and it could backfire. CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider tonight with the "Raw Politics" of the Nader effect.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): Michigan Republicans have submitted 43,000 signatures on a petition to get Ralph Nader's name on the ballot. It's a gesture of pure civic mindedness, they say, with a straight face.

GREG MCNEILLY, MICHIGAN GOP EXEC. DIRECTOR: We think it's important for minority voices to be heard and for voters to have an option and a choice.

SCHNEIDER: Yeah, right, say Democrats. They know full well that Nader cost Al Gore the election last time. They suspect Republicans are helping Nader so he can do it again. Oh, my, Republicans say. We never thought of that.

MCNEILLY: Nobody knows how Nader's presence on the ballot will impact the election. If it helps Bush, that obviously pleases us.

SCHNEIDER: He's right. You can't be sure what Nader's name on the ballot will do. Nader says he's aiming for discontented Republicans.

RALPH NADER (I), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, we're trying to get conservative and Republican votes who are fed up with Bush. Why? Because they don't like his huge deficits, the betrayal of conservative principles. SCHNEIDER: Could that happen? Right now, it's not clear what effect Nader might have. The latest national CNN-"USA Today" Gallup poll shows Kerry leading Bush by 4 points if Nader's name is not on the ballot, and by 5 points if Nader's name is included. Nader could end up hurting Bush if Democrats close ranks around Kerry to prevent a repeat of 2000.

Or, if some Republicans get fed up with Bush, like they did with his father in 1992. A lot of Republicans blame Ross Perot for the first President Bush's defeat.

The word to Republicans helping Nader is -- beware of what you ask for. You just might get it. The law of unintended consequences could turn around and bite you.

That's "Raw Politics."


COOPER: It certainly is.

Today's buzz is this -- who do you think Ralph Nader will take more votes away from in November? George Bush or John Kerry? Log on to, cast your vote. We'll have results at the end of the program tonight.

Is an innocent man serving a life sentence for murder? Next, he's been in prison for 15 years. But will new evidence spell freedom for a convicted killer? "Justice Served" next.

And a little later, uproar over Linda Ronstadt's onstage political rant, a rant that had her booed offstage and removed from the hotel. 360 next.


COOPER: He's been behind bars since 1989, but freedom may be around the corner for a New York man convicted of murdering his parents. This week, defense lawyers are trying to convince a judge he wasn't a killer, and a metal pipe may be the smoking gun, if you will, to prove it. CNN's Maria Hinojosa reports.


MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 16 years, Martin Tankleff has maintained his innocence. Insists that he didn't slit his father's throat, didn't bludgeon his mother to death. Why would a suburban teen from wealthy Beltaire (ph), Long Island want to murder his parents?

That question was never answered, but Martin Tankleff, who was adopted, was convicted of the killings and has spent 15 years behind bars. He was found guilty, says Tankleff, because of a coerced confession given to police soon after the attack, when he was just 17 years old. MARTIN TANKLEFF, JAILED FOR KILLING HIS PARENTS: The officers kept saying, listen, we know you did it, just tell us what we want to hear, we know you did it.

HINOJOSA: This week, a possible second chance.

HOWARD ASNESS, RELATIVE: It's almost frightening to think that the system could have broken down this way. Marty is an innocent young man who has spent 15 years paying the price for someone else's misdeeds.

HINOJOSA: The latest motion for a new trial was set off by a letter for a convicted criminal who says he drove the getaway car for two other men the night of the murders, and now new evidence, a rusty three-foot pipe dug up near the Tankleff home. Defense attorneys say it might be the real murder weapon.

BRUCE SARKET, TANKLEFF'S ATTORNEY: The totality of the circumstances here clearly indicate that Marty Tankleff did not commit the crime.

RUTHIE TANKLEFF, RELATIVE: He is such a lovely human being. He never could have done anything like that.

HINOJOSA: Members of the Tankleff family have been going to this week's Long Island court hearing on whether Martin should get a new trial.

JOYCE FALBEE, RELATIVE: I think the investigation was very sloppy in the beginning. I have always believed that Marty has been innocent.

HINOJOSA (on camera): This is as close to a new trial as it's come for Martin Tankleff. Previous requests had been denied all the way up to the Supreme Court. On this case, prosecutors said they had no comment. A judge is expected to rule sometime this summer.

Maria Hinojosa, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Covering the case for us tonight in "Justice Served," Court TV anchor Lisa Bloom. Lisa, good to see you tonight.


COOPER: You know, the star witness at this hearing has a little bit of a credibility problem, to say the least. He's described himself -- I think I want to get it right -- as a drug-addicted psycho.

BLOOM: And that's on a good day.

COOPER: Well, there you go.

BLOOM: But he has some corroboration for his story. He says he was the getaway driver of a car, and he says one of the hitmen threw this three-foot long pipe out into the woods. He was able to take investigators to that portion of the woods. And they, in fact, found a three-foot long, rusty pipe that apparently had been there for sometime. So he's got some physical evidence to corroborate his story.

COOPER: But now, Tankleff, who now says that he confessed to the crime because it was a coerced confession, you know, a lot of people hear that and think, how is it possible that someone could have their confession coerced out of them?

BLOOM: Well, in fact, we know that a lot of confessions are coerced, they are false confessions, especially amongst teenagers. Think of it from his point of view. If he's innocent, both of his parents brutally murdered. He's in a state of shock and grief. He goes into a police department. They trick him, they give him a phony story that his father's come out of the coma and pointed to him as the killer. And they tell him he will get out of here quickly if he just confesses. And that's exactly what he does.

COOPER: They pointed to a man, he, Tankleff, and his lawyers have pointed to a man they believe committed the crime who fled to California shortly after all this happened.

BLOOM: That's right.

COOPER: Does it surprise you the police didn't take this guy more seriously as a suspect early on?

BLOOM: It does, but police frequently do this. They will zero in on one suspect, to the exclusion of others. This rival business competitor owed $500,000 to Marty's parents. He seemed to have a motive. He did flee, as you said. And Tankleff says that's the real killer. Of course, this guy denies it.

COOPER: Interesting. All right, Lisa Bloom, we'll be watching. Thanks very much.

Well, a singer shakes up the crowd with a very political performance. Next on 360, Linda Ronstadt takes on President Bush in a show that stunned the crowd and left many heading for the doors. And she was sent to the door. That story next.


COOPER: This just in to CNN. The U.N. General Assembly has adopted a resolution against Israel's barrier sealing off the West Bank. Israel has argued the fence is needed to protect its citizens from Palestinian terrorists. The General Assembly voted 150 in favor of the resolution while six countries voted against it. There were 10 abstentions.

Well, if you didn't catch Linda Ronstadt's performance Saturday night at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, apparently you missed quite a show. Ronstadt used the stage as a political platform by calling "Fahrenheit 9/11" Michael Moore a great patriot who is quote spreading the truth. Ronstadt's gesture was not warmly received. She was booed off the stage by many in the crowd who left the show. As for Ronstadt the casino had her out and vowed never to let her in.

Joining us from Washington, Armstrong Williams and San Francisco radio talk show host Bernie Ward. Gentleman thanks for being with us tonight.

Armstrong, let me start off with you, what is going on here?

Was it really necessary to escort Linda Ronstadt out of this hotel, not only boo her off the stage and escort her out and send her her belonging's later.

ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: If you have members of the audience tearing down posters and being out of control, they may have felt her life was threatened, that she could be in danger, someone could attack her. So in her best interest the hotel did not want anything to happen to its artist.

COOPER: So you mean, you think not letting her go back to her room was in her own best interest?

WILLIAMS: You know, we are not there. You have to use the judgment of those that were. And they made a decision that they had to escort her out. I think that the audience, you know, when someone is invited to entertain, that's exactly what they want them to do. They want them to sing, dance, whatever. They will make their own political decisions. They don't need Linda Ronstadt or any other entertainer do that. It doesn't necessarily mean they were all Republicans and they were supporting George Bush. It doesn't mean that at all. But at that moment in their lives they wanted to have a nice concert, some family time, have some fun. And she began to make these political statements and the audience just did not like it.

COOPER: Bernie, I think I heard you chuckling on as the notion of Linda Ronstadt being escorted out of the own good.

BERNIE WARD, RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST: I love that, because your bus is always more secure as the hotel rooms, where they can close off the elevators, nobody can get off the floor. Yes, we grabbed her off the stage, put her onto her bus and then went upstairs, took all her clothes and threw it on to the bus as well, and it was all for her own good.

COOPER: So, what do you think is really going on here?

WARD: As Yakov Smirnoff, says "what a country." What was going on here was that you had an owner who didn't like what she did. You had some of the crowd that didn't like what she did. What did she do, she dedicated one song to Michael Moore, "Desperado." She said she dedicated it to him, because she thought he was a patriot telling the truth. Who is Michael Moore, a criminal, drug dealer, pedophile, child molester? Now, just he made a movie that now broke $100 million. And that people over the country are watching in military bases in North Carolina and here in San Francisco. That's who Michael Moore is and she gets thrown out of the hotel into her bus, clothes thrown after her. Come on, I have to go -- I like country music. I have to go to country concerts where you have to bring your own sheet -- I have to sit there and listen to every kind of form and red neck right fascist patriotism, and I have to sit there nobody says anything about that.

How many times do we have to hear Lee Greenwood sing "God Bless the USA?"

COOPER: Armstrong what about it?

WILLIAMS: Well, you can try to put it on the owners all you like to, but there are many people who walked out, they booed her. They had disdain for what she was doing, it was the fact they did not want at that moment in their lives to have someone making a political statement for them. They can make up their own minds what they think about "Fahrenheit 9/11," what they think about President George Bush, but that was not the place or time. And I think this a message whether it is Whoopi Goldberg or Linda Ronstadt, the public is tired of consuming this kind of dialogue.

COOPER: We are going to have to leave it there.

WILLIAMS: And they do not want.

WARD: All have you to say if she said something nice about Bush would she have gotten thrown off the stage?

WILLIAMS: I don't know the answer to that. They don't want any political statements on any front, whether it's for or against Bush.

WARD: And by the way they were throwing people off the stage because people walked out. I can tell you some people


COOPER: We are going to leave it there gentlemen. We'll agree to disagree on this one again.

WARD: Free speech is live and well.

WILLIAMS: And they did speak, the people.

COOPER: Bernie Ward -- Bernie Ward, thanks very much. Armstrong Williams, thanks very much.

It's a night of breaking news. I'm going to go to another story, right now, breaking news.

Former Clinton aide Sander Berger spoke moments ago. He's the subject of an investigation, of course, into allegations he took secret documents from the National Archive, we'll review records from the 9/11 Commission. He said he took the documents inadvertently. Let's take a look.


QUESTION: Hi, Mr. Berger, how are you doing?

SANDY BERGER, FMR. NATL. SECURITY ADVISER: I have just a brief statement. Last year when I was in the archives -- reviewing documents, I made an honest mistake. It is one that I deeply regret. I dealt with this issue and in October of 2003, fully and completely. Everything that I have done all long in this process has been for the purpose of aiding and supporting the work of the 9/11 Commission. And any suggestion to the contrary is simply absolutely wrong. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Mr. Berger.


COOPER: That statement made just moments ago by former national security adviser under President Clinton, Sandy Berger. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time now for "The Buzz." Earlier we asked you who do you think Ralph Nader will take more votes away from in November, 16 percent of you said George Bush, 84 percent of you said John Kerry. Not a scientific poll, of course but it is your "Buzz," and we appreciate your voting.

Tonight taking coincidence to "The Nth Degree." You know what happened on this day in 1969, the moon became something it had never been before, a destination. The landing of Apollo 11 was really one of the great triumphs in the history of human kind. How odd, that one of humankind's greatest failures happened on the very same day, 25 years early. A briefcase bomb placed under a table in a conference room in East Prussia did not accomplish what it was supposed to accomplish. Adolf Hitler survived the attempt on his life mounted by a few high ranking German military men who had come to despise him. And because he did not die that day, millions of others did in the 10 months more that the second World War went on.

So in 1944, a few bold men did not stop humanity's descent into hell, while in 1969 a few bold others conquered the heavens all on this very day in July. History is full of ups and downs, very few like these.

I'm Anderson Cooper, thanks very much for watching "360" tonight. See you tomorrow night.

Coming up next, "PAULA ZAHN NOW"


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