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Winter Arrives Early; Saddam on Trial; Ramsey Clark, Newest Member of Saddam's Defense Team; Battling the Insurgency; Finally, DNA Testing to Begin; Face Transplant; Transsexuals Work To Raise Awareness; Woman's Relentless Search Reveals Bodies of Children Killed Two Years Ago; Research Proves Dogs Do Laugh, Respond To Laughter Of Other Dogs

Aired December 5, 2005 - 23:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining us. We've got a lot ahead tonight, but first, some of the stories we're following at this moment.

Sixteen months after issuing its urgent national security recommendations, the Bipartisan 9/11 Commission today released a report calling the current state of affairs scandalous in several areas. The committee's Republican Chairman Thomas Kean put it this way, quote, "A lot of the things we need to do really to prevent another 9/11 just simply aren't being done by the president or by the Congress."

Still on the subject of the war against terror, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, prepping for a trip to Europe, said that this country has in fact captured and held terrorists through so called renditions, and European governments have cooperated, but denied detainees are transferred from one country to another for torture.

And the war about Iraq also continues to rage. In a radio interview today, Democratic Party Leader Howard Dean said, quote, "The idea that we are going to win this war is an idea, unfortunately, that is just plain wrong." That elicited a counter shot from RNC Chairman Ken Melman, who said Dean's, quote, "outrageous prediction sends the wrong message to our troops, the enemy and the Iraqi people." Just 10 days before historic elections.

A split decision in Texas today, where a judge upheld money laundering charges against Congressman Tom DeLay, but dismissed a conspiracy indictment against the former house majority leader. Because the case against him is continuing, Mr. DeLay will not resume his leadership position.

Well it is rough-going tonight if you've been up there. Up and down the east coast there is rain, there are heavy thunderstorms, even some tornados down south. In the mid-Atlantic northern and plain states there is snow -- lots and lots of snow. And winter has yet to officially begin. Take a look at all those images. Many are wondering if it is a sign maybe of what's to come this winter. CNN Meteorologist Rob Marciano is in Atlantic City, New Jersey, with the latest -- Rob.

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Hi Anderson. It's been snowing here all night long. The boardwalk itself, you know, just a handful of people walking up and down it. They still have the music playing, but business, as you would imagine with the snow coming down is pretty low. We're into December now, but this -- at least in the northeast -- is already the second snowfall of the season. Some would say we're off to a pretty fast start.


MARCIANO (voice-over): It's December 5 and already much of the East Coast is seeing the second snowfall of the season. And, unlike yesterday's dusting, this one's turning into an all out storm. From North Carolina to Massachusetts, advisories are up and the warnings are out. And the snow accumulations could be substantial. One to three inches in Boston, two to four inches in New York, three to five inches in Philadelphia, and up to seven inches here in Atlantic City, with heavier snows expected in Delaware and Maryland.

If this seemingly early snowfall has you asking, what's up with this wacky weather? Well, the truth is, not much. This is an East Coast winter -- the way winter is supposed to be. We may be getting what feels like an early start to the snow, but according to the National Weather Service, we can expect a winter snowfall that's, well, average.

The southwest and the plains may get a bit of a break with above normal temperatures, but for the rest of the country, there's as much chance of a cold winter as there is of a warm one. And because there's no big climate pattern in the picture, like an El Nino, or a La Nina, snowfall should be about average as well.

Tis the season for bundling up and digging out. But it's also a time when visions of high home heating bills may be dancing in your head. And the energy traders say they're outlook for winter is cold and grim.

PAUL FLYNN, ALARON.COM OIL TRADER: Earlier in the year, you know, we had one of the warmest Novembers on record. Everybody was talking global warming. Winter was not going to happen. Oil prices fell down, heating oil prices came back down, crude oil prices came back down, but then all of a sudden we have this first big cold blast come through. Now everybody's talking about a colder than normal winter.

MARCIANO: Everybody in the energy business, anyway. And if they're right, that we're heading for a long cold winter, oil prices could rise to about $70 a barrel, sending home heating costs soaring in the northeast. The rest of the country uses mostly natural gas to heat their homes. And they won't get a break either, since natural gas prices are expected to rise even higher than oil.

FLYNN: I would suggest that we're going to probably see heating bills 30 to 50 percent higher in most of the country.

MARCIANO: So throw another log on the fire, throw on an extra sweater and get ready. Winter has arrived.


MARCIANO: December 1, a lot of people don't know, that's really the beginning of winter -- at least in the world of weather. December, January, February, so today being the 5th day of December, it's (inaudible). As far as what this snowfall's been doing, just about two inches here. But it's pretty wet. I mean, it's really compact and that's for one of two reasons. One, we're pretty close to the freezing mark and we're pretty close to the Atlantic Ocean. And that's the story with this storm, Anderson, is that the closer you are to the ocean, that's where you're going to see the higher accumulations. We could see by tomorrow morning as much as seven or eight inches here, even more possibly. Down in Delaware and Maryland, New York City might only get two or three inches and then off and to the eastern shores of Long Island, they could see even more. The farther away you are from the ocean -- kind of like hurricanes -- the better off you'll be with this storm. Anderson, that's the latest from Atlantic City. Back to you.

COOPER: Rob, what's the mood music they're playing?

MARCIANO: It's some nice house music, actually. Some neat tracks. Sounds pretty good. Really, hang out and kick you for a little bit.

COOPER: All right, you go do that. Rob, thanks very much.

As we heard earlier, the trial of Saddam Hussein got pretty heated today. Among the highlights, Saddam's half brother accused a witness of being a liar, and Saddam got into a shouting match with the judge. Take a look.


SADDAM HUSSEIN: Your honor, may I speak? I'm your brother in the brotherhood of Iraq. I'm not scared of being executed. Nobody can explain my history from '59 until now.

JUDGE RIZGAR AMIN: Please get to the question -- the time is tight.

HUSSEIN: Oh, now the time is tight?

AMIN: We are addressing a specific issue...

HUSSEIN: It's not for me, it's for the sake of Iraq. Give me time to talk. This is my right. I served you for 30 years, give me a chance. Don't interrupt me. I'm defending myself. I am not only defending myself, I'm defending you all.


COOPER: It is just after 7:00 a.m. in Baghdad. The courtroom opens in just a few hours. Nic Robertson was in the courtroom yesterday. He's going back in. He joins us live. Nic, what are you expecting today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESONDENT: I think, Anderson, we can expect more of those sort of theatrics from Saddam Hussein and his brother, half brother, Barzan Hasan al-Tikriti, that both sort of being much larger than life in the courtroom, both standing up and shouting. But I think one of the things that we won't see -- the trial -- there was a moment when Ramsey Clark essentially called all the other defense lawyers out of the court. I talked to his defense team last night. They told me they're not planning that sort of tactic again. It's on a deal with the judge. The judge wants to push things forward. They've told him, we won't get in your way if you don't get in our way. So, I don't think we're going to see anybody walking out of the courtroom, but again this is Baghdad. This is Iraq. And in this trial, we've already seen just about anything can happen -- Anderson.

COOPER: Nic Robertson, thanks very much. Live from Baghdad. The job of defending Saddam Hussein is probably not one that lawyers are rushing to apply for. So far, two of his lawyers have been killed. A third, has left the country in fear. Newest member of the defense team, Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, today asked the judge for his team. Clark took on Saddam's case last week. This isn't the first controversial client he's had. CNN's Tom Foreman takes a look at his career.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than 30 years he's stood by the world's most outcast offenders, people implicated in attacks on America, terrorism in the Middle East, war crimes in the Balkans, genocide in Africa, and now Ramsey Clark is lending legal aid to Saddam Hussein.

RAMSEY CLARK, FORMER U.S. ATTORENY GENERAL: The passions in the country are, you know, fever pitched. And it'll take effort at every turn by the court, and everyone participating to be fair and to show that you're being fair.

FOREMAN: The Texas born son of a Supreme Court Justice, Clark was Lyndon Johnson's attorney general during the Civil Rights struggle. But after failing to be elected to the Senate, his full attention landed on American Foreign Policy -- with a crash. Time and again, he has offered advice to those doing legal battle with the U.S. government, arguing often venomously, that America's economic, political and military power must be contained by the world's courts.

CLARK: Because I think if you don't protect the rights in the hardest cases, you don't have rights.

FOREMAN: Clark was criticized for meeting Saddam Hussein shortly before the war. He's being attacked again now for insisting the dictator deserves a vigorous defense.

BASAM RIDHA, ADVISOR TO IRAQI PRIME MINISTER: Mr. Clark has no business to be interfering. This is an Iraqi trial, run by the Iraqi people and for the Iraqi people. FOREMAN: Still, Clark's eagerness to travel the globe, criticizing America has earned him an international reputation. At a George Washington University Law School, Jonathan Turley says in this case, Clark may have a point.

JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: There's no question Saddam Hussein deserves a fair trial. He's not going to get one. There's no question he deserves good lawyers. And I don't think he's going to get those either. I'm not too sure he deserves Ramsey Clark.

FOREMAN (on camera): Well that's a curious way of putting it. What do you mean by that?

TURLEY: Ramsey Clark will often go into a case as an attorney and use the case as a vehicle to criticize the United States. That's not necessarily representing your client.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Clark has never apologized for using people accused of terrible crimes to promote his views. Indeed, he has defended his actions and often theirs too, by saying the greatest crime since World War II has been American Foreign Policy. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Last week President Bush promised what he called, complete victory over the Iraqi insurgency. But when we talk about the insurgency, what exactly do we mean? Joining me now to talk about how it's evolving is Michael Ware of "Time Magazine."

Michael, good to see you again. You wrote there's a struggle within the insurgency in Iraq. Talk about the possible shifts of leadership.

MICHAEL WARE, "TIME MAGAZINE": It's been strange bed fellows from the beginning, Anderson, out there in the insurgency. As we've seen, a number of groups coming together in a rough alliance to fight a common enemy; that being U.S. soldiers here in Iraq. One of the leading divisions within the insurgency has been the secularists, the nationalists, who see themselves fighting a war of liberation. They consider themselves freedom fighters. Here they are going out there on operations with Zarqawi's fighters. These are people who are using the extreme form of tactics, who are hoping to bring about a holy war that will deliver an Islamic state. There is great friction between these groups.

Now a year ago, Zarqawi's people very much, through money and through the momentum of this fight, had the leading hand. We're now seeing that shift. More and more Zarqawi's people, mostly foreigners, were killed or captured or disbursed. They've been replaced by Iraqis. And these Iraqis have a much greater connection to their old comrades, still fighting for the Baathists or the nationalist insurgency. So we're seeing a recalibration within the insurgency right now. COOPER: You've been reporting from Baghdad for a long time, taking a lot of risks. I want to read you something that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said today about the media and how they are portraying what is happening in Iraq. He said, and I quote, "One of the reasons that views of Iraq are so divergent is that we may be looking at Iraq through different prisms of experience or expectation. For starters, it must be jarring for reporters to leave the United States, arrive in a country that is so different, where they have to worry about their personal safety and then being rushed to a scene of a bomb, car bomb or a shooting and have little opportunity to see the rest of the country." The implication being, we in America are not getting the full picture because of what you and everyone else who is reporting there are only showing us the bombs.

WARE: Well, I'd personally like to invite Secretary Rumsfeld to come and spend some time here on the ground in Baghdad in what he would refer to as the Red Zone. Whenever Secretary Rumsfeld himself has visited Iraq, it's been well within the embrace of the U.S. military. He has been encased in the Green Zone. Let him come out and taste what life is like for the ordinary Iraqis. For the ordinary Iraqi, a few soccer balls, a painted school means nothing. When you cannot have confidence in sending your children to elementary school and that they won't be blown up, that government-sponsored death squads won't kick in your door at night, that you won't be caught in the crossfire of some awful battle. Let Secretary Rumsfeld come and live that life for a day and then let him talk about the positives that are being unreported. If -- it would be an insult to the Iraqi experience to have it any other way.

COOPER: Because in your mind, security is the number one concern you hear from Iraqis on a daily basis?

WARE: It's not in my mind. This is their life. Security right now is all that matters to the. I mean, it's got to the point where security is well and truly above democracy or deliverable justice. These people just want to be safe. They just want the war to stop. And I have to say I've got a growing sensation that this is the feeling in which they are in accord with the American people. The American people, as the polling is showing, are caring less and less about indoctrinating the Middle East with democracy and they're caring more and more with just seeing the place stable, seeing it stop producing more and more Al Qaida terrorists, instead of creating fewer.

COOPER: Of course, the question then is what to do. There has, of course, been talk in the United States of a pullout. Secretary Rumsfeld today said, quote, "In my view, quitting is not a strategy. Quitting is an invitation to more attacks and more terrorist violence here at home. This is not just a hypothesis. The U.S. withdrawal from Somalia emboldened Osama bin Laden in the 1990s. We know this: He said so." Do you think a U.S. pullout or setting a timetable for a pullout would be a victory for insurgents?

WARE: Well, a pullout right now is simply impossible, Anderson. There's no way that U.S. forces can withdraw. They've gone too far. The implosion that would happen in this country would have regional consequences and would erode American power. So what's the alternative? U.S. military intelligence tells me that there's been a long and painful evolution in their thinking. They realize that militarily, they cannot win this war in the time available, in the time that American public opinion will give them. So they're looking for a political solution, which is always the answer to an insurgency. What are they doing? America is looking to bring back the Baath party, the old Baath party -- not of Saddam, but the Baath party of Iraq. These are the former allies in the 1980s. They share America's concerns about Al Qaida and Islamic extremism. The Baaths never had Al Qaida here and they also share America's concerns about Iran. So -- Ambassador Khalilzad has said let's roll back the Baathification. It's gone too far. Let's bring back the army. Let's talk to these insurgents, these nationalists, and get them in the political process and back into government.

COOPER: Michael Ware, always good to talk to you. Thank you, Michael.

WARE: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: A daring and radical operation. One woman receives the face of another. Tonight, we are seeing the first images of what that surgery accomplished. Take a look. We'll show you a fuller picture, coming up.

Plus, a woman's determination to help a mother she didn't even know. Hear how she found this mother's two children, buried, abandoned in the woods.

And this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For 20 odd years, I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone about this and didn't tell -- just like my mother didn't tell her best friend. I never even told my best friend.


COOPER: Imagine having a secret like that for 20 some years. What would make a person have to hold a secret that long? Well, you won't believe it, what he had to hide. We'll talk with him, ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back to 360. Sophia Choi from "Headline News," joins us with the latest stories we're following tonight. Hi Sophia.


The militant Palestinian group, Islamic Jihad, is claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing in northern Israel that killed at least five people and wounded dozens of others. It happened outside a shopping mall. That was the target of another suicide bombing back in July. In Florida, a hearing that could have put Lionel Tate back in prison was postponed after the teenager sent a letter to the judge, threatening to kill himself. Tate was just 13 when he was convicted of killing a 6-year old girl. Hew as sentenced to life, but last year an appeals court threw out that conviction. Now 18, Tate is accused of violating his probation. A competency hearing has been set for December 19.

And a new study shows that coffee and tea might reduce the risk of serious liver damage in people who drank too much alcohol, are overweight, or have had too much iron in their blood. In the study, those who drank more than two cups of coffee or tea developed chronic liver disease at half the rate of those who drank less than one cup each day.

And her catwalk days are now over. Model Tyra Banks has taken her final cruise down the runway. The 32-year old is retiring from modeling, she says because she wants to go out on top. She also has two television shows to keep her pretty busy these days -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ah, yes, well, what can you do? Sophia, thanks very much. I didn't know what to say about that story.

Tonight, the word out in New Orleans is finally -- as in finally after weeks and in some cases months, DNA testing is set to begin on hundreds of unidentified victims of Katrina. Now we've been reporting on this night after night. The finger pointing, the red tape, the family members demanding answers in "Keeping them Honest." Today, after all that, a spokesman for the State Police said the funding is there, the contracts have been signed and several companies will get started with the DNA testing immediately. That's what they said -- immediately. We will be watching.

Two hundred and sixty-three bodies remain unidentified. Examiners say they have good leads on about 140 of them. We've been watching this all unfold with Lynda Hymel, who lost her brother, Darrell, in the storm. Finally, Darrell was identified over the weekend. Even that turned out to be more of an ordeal than it should have been. Ms. Hymel is with us again in New Orleans.

Lynda, thanks for joining us. You got the call the yesterday afternoon that identified your brother. Where did they find him?

LYNDA HYMEL, BORTHER'S BODY IDENTIFIED: Dr. Cataldi called me around 3:00 o'clock. It's a strange situation. They found my brother floating in Lake Pontchartrain, which is right outside of Highway 11. A team called Highway 11 Rescue people picked him up, brought him to a morgue in Slidell. Had no idea there was a morgue in Slidell. Then they brought him to a morgue in St. Tammany Parrish. Then, on November the 18th, they brought him to St. Gabriel. So all this time, we were thinking he was in St. Gabriel, and he was not. And Dr. Cataldi called me and said he started working on Darrell's case November 19, which is what two -- maybe three weeks ago. And he called me right after our last airing, which was November 30, and promised me -- he called me at work and said I promise, I will help you find your brother. I saw you on CNN. And I thanked him. And he called yesterday, it was Sunday, and he said --

COOPER: Well, that is nice that he called personally. When will you be able -- have you received Darrell's body yet?

HYMEL: No. Those arrangements have to be made with a funeral home of our choice, which we will have an appointment tomorrow morning at 9:00. They pick up Darrell and they will arrange everything.

COOPER: You know, if --

HYMEL: You know, the ironic part was, he was not identified by DNA. He was identified by his dental record, by seven dentists today.

COOPER: And those are dental records that you provided them quite a while back.

HYMEL: That's right.

COOPER: So that's nice that that finally --

HYMEL: Yes, when I first went.

COOPER: Yes. That finally bore some fruit. You know, there are still so many families out there --

HYMEL: Yes, when I first went.

COOPER: Still so many families out there. And I know you have had resolution on this, but you still feel for those families, don't you?

HYMEL: Absolutely, because I have to say one thing to everybody out there that has loved ones that are still missing: Don't give up. Press in and call people. Don't stop the phone calls because if you think they're at St. Gabriel, who knows, they could be in St. Tammany Parish, St. Charles Parish, Slidell. You know, we did not know that these other morgues were even in operation as far as Katrina was concerned. We thought all Katrina, you know, victims were sent to St. Gabriel, and that wasn't the case.

COOPER: Well, Lynda, I --

HYMEL: And I just want to thank Dr. Cataldi and you, Anderson, thank you, very much.

COOPER: Well, you know, I'm glad you have resolution. Our hearts go out to all the others who haven't. And, you know, some people at the coroner's office, I think were upset -- the last week we kept kind of focusing on not only your case, but on all the other cases, and this is not to attack people who are working around the clock, you know, doing God only knows how difficult work it is, you know, identifying these victims, but, you know, it's -- what outraged us this week and last week is that it's taken so long just to get DNA testing begun. And that's not the people working in the morgues, that's the bureaucrats above them.

HYMEL: That's right.

COOPER: So, Lynda, I appreciate you joining us and I'm glad you got some resolution.

HYMEL: Thank you so much.

COOPER: All right, you take care now.

HYMEL: Thank you.

COOPER: We should know, we asked the Governor Kathleen Blanco to come on the program and explain why it's taken so long to initiate DNA testing. She again declined. We've been asking now all week last week. We'll try again tomorrow. We're here for two hours every night, you know, we're not going anywhere, yet.

Eight days after her surgeon made history, a first look at the world's first famous transplant. Our Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta gives us his read on what this pictures shows and what it might say about the patient's prognosis.

Also ahead, he was raised as a girl and only learned the shocking truth decades later, when medical records revealed the secret he had shaped his life.

Across America and around the world, this is 360.


COOPER: Well, it has been eight days now since surgeons in France performed the world's first partial face transplant. And now we're finally seeing the first post-surgery pictures of the patient. Still unclear what the final outcome will be for 38-year old Isabelle DeMure (ph), who was mauled by her dog last spring. Tonight, we can see for ourselves what the radical operation accomplished. I spoke to our Senior Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta a short time ago.


COOPER: Sonjay, I find this case just so fascinating. This is the first post-op pic that we have -- that we've seen of this woman's face. What can you tell, looking at the picture about the surgery?

DR. SONJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, first of all, I find this fascinating as well. And you talk to most plastic surgeons, they'll say that this particular operation probably was way ahead of the game. I mean, there were several different operations that this woman might have been able to try before going straight to a face transplant. But take a look at the image here. Let me point out a couple of things to you. First of all, you can obviously see the scars here, the scars coming all the way down the side of her face. It's interesting, the just chose to show the left side of her face. She obviously had significant damage to the right side of her face as well. The scars actually go all the way down here, Anderson. This is all tissue from the cadaver. And actually goes all the way around the other side of her face, too, and comes all the way up over the bridge of her nose.

Couple of things -- and you may not be able to appreciate this just looking at this, but there's actually different colors to the skin. It's a little bit different up here, versus down here; a little bit different colors. And that's just the skin tissue itself, probably hasn't taken as well in some areas. It's hard to say.

These pictures are actually very quickly done after the operation, so it's hard to say exactly how she will do based on looking at this picture alone. But those are some of the things you notice right off the top.

All of this area in between here, sort of in the middle is the cadaveric (ph) skin, nerves and probably some muscle as well, that has all been transplanted right here from her nose down to her chin. Pretty remarkably really, Anderson, there.

COOPER: How do they attach these skin, I mean, around the mouth and in the nostrils. I mean, what do they do for that?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, this basically transplanted skin and nerve. So they're actually taking some of that same areas, in this case from the brain-dead woman and actually sewing in some of the nerves so the face actually has animation, someone can smile. Someone can smile, someone can frown, most importantly, they should be able to chew as well and swallow.

You know, have all the things that you normally would be able to do with your mouth. And the nerves, actually, the hardest part, probably, actually sewing in some of those nerves so you can actually animate the face. They also have some blood vessels that, you know, make sure that that skin and those muscles and those nerves all survive.

COOPER: And when you look at that picture, they seemed to have matched the color of her skin pretty well. Is -- I guess, there is some discoloration, is that permanent? Will that change?

GUPTA: It's hard to say. I talked to some colleagues who are plastic surgeons as well. It is hard to say right now. And you're pointing out this area, in here, again, a little different than some of the areas down here. Some may look at that and say, well, that could be a sign that maybe the skin isn't healing so well in those areas. It is just a little bit early to tell.

Most likely, Anderson, though, you can see some of the significant scaring here. And some of that just may be permanent. You know, this is something that she may be able to cover up with makeup and things like that. But as far as actually going away, in the long run, some of that she may just have to live with, Anderson.

COOPER: It's amazing that they've done this. And I know they're trying -- they're planning on doing it in the United States. We'll be following that.

Doctor Sanjay Gupta, thanks. GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Much different kind of story coming up. Meet the man who calls himself an inter-sexual. The extraordinary story of Max Beck.

And the sad end of a terrible mystery. The bodies of two missing children found because one woman, a stranger, would not stop searching for them. Her story, next on 360.


COOPER: Hidden secret, a girl who really wasn't a girl. We'll explain that story coming up. But first, here's what' happening at this moment.

Former members of the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission say the White House and Congress have not done enough to prevent another terror attack here in the U.S. They say ongoing communication problems between first responders like firefighters and police are scandalous. And they criticize the way Congress has spent money on security.

The White House and FBI say they've made progress since the panel's original report, but admit more needs to be done.

In New Orleans threats have been made against federal relief workers helping out in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Some involve nasty e-mails, but in one instance a man approached workers at the site of the levee breech and told them he was going to get his gun. No arrest was made in that case, though authorities have apprehended six people connected to threats.

Meanwhile, some good news on the victims of Hurricanes Rita, Katrina, and Wilma. The federal housing authority is going to pay the mortgages of up to 20,000 victims for as long as a year. The unprecedented step is going to help people in parts of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, whose mortgages were insured by the FHA.

It's not uncommon for a person to seek out an identity; to find out who you really are. But imagine having to do more than just soul search. Imagine spending life trying to figure out whether you're a man or a woman and then coming to grips with the fact that you're really somewhere in between. That's what happened to Max Beck. His story and the stories of others like him are told in a new documentary called, "Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She". It was narrated by writer Gore Vidal and premiers tomorrow night on our sister network HBO. Take a look.


MAX BECK, BORN INTERSEXUAL: When I was born doctors couldn't determine if I was a boy or a girl. I had what are described as ambiguous genitalia. My parents were confused, scared, they weren't able to tell anyone who knew they'd had a child if it was a boy or a girl. GORE VIDAL, NARRATOR, "MIDDLE SEXES": Max was just a year old when his phallus was surgically reduced. He was brought up as a girl, Judy, who underwent a whole series of operations until the age of 15, never once being told what they were for.

BECK: For 20 odd years I wasn't allowed to talk to anyone about this and didn't tell -- just like my mother didn't tell -- her best friend. I never even told my best friend.

VIDAL: By her late teens Judy felt confused. She tried a relationship with a boy -- and a girl.

BECK: Whereas my male partner, boyfriend, had not commented on the difference in my genital anatomy -- which incidentally I wasn't even aware of at the time -- my female partner did. She said something. She said, boy, Judy you sure are weird.

I came away from that thinking of myself as a monster or a freak. And so I decided that I would avoid that upset by being with men. So I quite literally settled down with the next guy to come along.

VIDAL: Judy simply married a male friend from college. But the relationship was short-lived. Judy had met Tamara.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was really excited. It was definitely a case of love at first sight. Sparks just flew. It was magic.

BECK: I looked at her and fell in love with her. It was love at first sight. She was breathtakingly beautiful.

VIDAL: Then a bombshell. I needed my childhood immunization records. So I contacted my childhood pediatrician and found that he had retired. And the woman who had taken over his practice had someone photocopy my records and mail them. And I opened my mail in a diner in a Center City, Philadelphia.

And right after my name, which at the time was Judy Elizabeth Beck, were the words "male pseudo hermaphrodite". And I was devastated and dumbfounded. At the same time it was almost a relief because I had a label. Not only did I know that was monster, but I could point in a textbook at exactly what kind of monster I was.

VIDAL: The couple lived in an open lesbian relationship, but Judy's knowledge of her own medical history was gnawing at her. I began to question how valid a lesbian identity was; if I'm not female, can I be a lesbian? I'm thinking in those vicious circles and undermining this precious shred of identity that I had finally obtained through Tamara (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) depression and I was hospitalized.

VIDAL: What emerged from this turmoil was a man. Judy became Max. The full transition took four years and incredibly the loving bond with Tamara survived. They live as man and wife with a child conceived by Tamara.

BECK: I don't have a male identity. And I don't know that I ever had a female identity, but I certainly don't have one now. And if pressed I supposed I would say I have an inter-sexed identity.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been together more than 10 years now and we're still together. This is the same person that I fell in love with. You know over the next 50 years his hair is going to fall out and he's going to get wrinkles and he's still going to be my Max.


COOPER: It is a remarkable story and joining me now from Atlanta is Max Beck.

Max, thanks for being with us.


COOPER: Was it difficult for you to agree to do this?

BECK: No, not at all.

COOPER: What went into the decision? I mean, did you want -- what do you want people to know?

BECK: Well, it's very important to me and other folks who are involved with ISNA, the Intersex Society of North America, to increase public awareness. Let people know about intersexuality, the various conditions, and also call their attention to the fact that these surgeries in early childhood often -- harmful surgeries, obviously emotionally very harmful later in life, but also potentially physically harmful surgeries are still happening.

COOPER: What do you think parents should do? I mean, you're parents decided -- how did they make that decision, by the way, to have surgery to try to make you a girl?

BECK: This what the doctors told them. This was 1966. My parents had never heard of any such thing as intersexuality; had no idea that this was a possibility. And here they were with a brand new infant and the doctors couldn't tell them if that infant was a boy or a girl. The prevailing treatment paradigm at the time was to surgically intervene and create normal appearing female genitalia and raise that child female. And that was the doctors very strong recommendation.

COOPER: And what do you think parents -- what -- as you look back on that, what do you think your parents should have done? Or do you wish they had done?

BECK: Well, clearly, there needed to be a gender of assignment. And be it male or female. We are understanding now a great deal more about certain biological markers that can give the doctors a better understanding as to whether a male or female gender identity is likely to develop. But avoiding the early childhood surgeries, leaving the anatomy intact until the individual can actually be part of informed consent.

COOPER: Do you think there was an age when it became clear to you, that something was different?

BECK: I think that -- yes, I think from my earliest recollections, my earliest memories I was aware of the fact that there was something different. My life was a series of visits to doctors, specialists, men poking around between my legs with no explanation as to what was going on. I knew --

COOPER: What would they tell you about those doctor visits? Because you continued to have surgeries and without any explanation of why you were having surgeries?

BECK: Well, when I reached an age that I think at around 11 or 12, I needed to have some major surgery. It was explained to me that I was a girl, but I wasn't finished yet. And that was the doctor's explanation. That was the extent of the explanation.

COOPER: Did that make sense to you? I mean, it sounds --

BECK: No, it didn't. I certainly didn't question. I mean, so much of it was tied in with my parents and my family. It was emotionally devastating for my mother to talk about it. It was impossible for her to talk about it. The doctors had told her not to talk about it with me. And, you know, she was able to comply because she couldn't talk about it without just falling to pieces. And so I learned from a very early age not to ask those questions, certainly not of my parents.

COOPER: Well, it's great that you are talking about it now. The documentary is called "Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She". It premieres on our sister network, HBO, tomorrow night, 9:30 Eastern. We'll definitely be watching.

Thanks so much. It's good to meet you.

BECK: My pleasure. Same here.

COOPER: A terrible puzzle, coming up, a puzzle a woman couldn't ignore; a stranger, a search that became an obsession for her. But what made her go to such great lengths to help someone she had never even met?

Also, tonight, it that wet-nosed pet of yours laughing at you? What do you think? You say dog don't laugh? Well, stay tuned you'll see; 360 next.


COOPER: It's tough, but it's better knowing where they are. Those are the words, this past weekend, spoken by Teri Knight, upon learning that the remains of her two young children were found in northern Ohio, more than two years after their father, apparently killed them.

Knight says she's relieved now, but that relief might not have come if it were not for a woman named Stephanie Dietrich, the woman who found the children's remains. She kept on the search with a determination so strong friends and family members, and even herself, called it an obsession.


COOPER (voice over): For Stephanie Dietrich the question of what happened to two missing children became a mystery she was determined to solve.

STEPHANIE DIETRICH: I was obsessed, obsessed. I was not going to be wrong.

COOPER: Eleven-year old Philip Gehring, and his 14 year old sister, Sarah, had been missing since July 2002. Their father confessed to killing and burying them somewhere in the Midwest. But in a police interview he said he couldn't remember precisely where. He did provide some vague clues and a crude map.

MANUEL GEHRING: It was like abandoned property. It was like a dumping ground ... there is a large building fairly close to it.

COOPER: Police narrowed the search to a 600 miles stretch along Interstate-80 between Iowa and Pennsylvania. But they never found the kids and their father took any additional clues with him when committed suicide.

TERI KNIGHT, CHILDREN WERE MURDERED: Hi, I'm Teri Knight. And two years ago my children Sarah and Philip Gehring, I don't know if you remember the case.

COOPER: Teri Knight, the children's mother asked the public for help.

KNIGHT: I don't deserve to have them buried on the side of the road. And we need to find them and bring them home.

COOPER: Stephanie Dietrich didn't know Teri Knight, but she heard her plea and was determined to help. She became fascinated by the case, fixated on the father's interview with police.

DIETRICH: I just kept reading over the transcript and reading and re-reading it and waking up in the middle of the night and reading it and highlighting.

COOPER: For six months Dietrich, a mother of two, studied the crude map and with a trunk full of shovels and her dog drove to possible burial sites.

DIETRICH: There were times when I stayed overnight digging, like out on Copley Road, because when you have a dog as big as Rico you can go anywhere you want.

COOPER: Her hard work paid off. Here, in a remote wooded area, just 15 miles from her home in Akron, Ohio, Stephanie's dog suddenly lay down in the snow and refused to move. Stephanie began to dig and in the frozen earth found a tiny cross.

DIETRICH: When I knocked that little cross loose, as soon as I picked it up, I was like, Rico, come on we're going to get our cell phone. And it just -- I knew, it was enough for me that I wasn't going to dig anymore and I was -- if I had to jump straight up and down I was going to get help out here.

COOPER: She called police, who determined this was the grave of Philip and Sarah Gehring.

Why would Stephanie Dietrich give so much for so long to help a mother she'd never met? Her only explanation, she wanted to finish what had become a very personal mission.

DIETRICH: I'm satisfied that I started out on a mission to do something and I finished it.


COOPER: It is simply hard to believe. Unbelievable.

Sophia Choi from Headline News joins us for some of the other stories we're following tonight.

Hey, Sophia.


And begin in the Natanya, Israel. A suicide bomber killed five people and injured 35 others, 14 of them seriously, in an attack outside a shopping mall. The bomber had just been pulled from a security screening line outside of that mall by police and a security guard when he detonated.

A judge in Texas today dismissed a conspiracy count in the indictment against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, but let a count of money laundering stand. Now that means Mr. DeLay will not be able to resume his leadership post until the case against him is resolved.

And the 26th named storm of this record breaking season, Hurricane Epsilon, continues to linger in the open Atlantic, refusing to weaken despite the fact that its in cooler waters now. The odd situation has prompted once specialists to say, we still have a lot to learn about hurricanes.

But, Anderson, we all learned that they can be awfully power, huh?

COOPER: Yes, certainly that. Sophia, thanks. Have a good night.

You've heard it said, it's a dog's life. Up next on 360, it is a dog's laugh. What does it sound like? Why does it almost have supernatural power over other dogs? Intriguing, no? That's why we call it a tease. From across American and around the world, this is 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: So often it looks as though dogs smiling, but do you ever wonder if dogs are laugh? In fact researchers have taken this question one step beyond that. CNN's Jeanne Moos now on the sound and the effect of one dog laughing. Listen.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If you think dogs don't laugh, maybe you're just not in on the joke.

(on camera): Buster, did you hear the one about the two dogs?

Did you hear the one about the two dogs that are passing a parking meter?

Don't you want to hear the joke, Goldie?

(Voice over): Dogs may not appreciate jokes, but they probably do laugh. We hear it as panting, exhaling. But the exhalation, seen here on the top line of this spectrograph, show a broad range of frequency than the plan ol' panting you see underneath. Here's a dog yucking it up.

This is how animal behaviorist interpret dog laughter.

PATRICIA SIMONET, ANIMAL BEHAVIOR RESEARCHER: The sound that means friendly greetings and, you know, I come in peace.

MOOS: Patricia Simonet's findings were first published in the journal, "Science News" a few years back. What's new is now they're testing dog laughter on dogs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And 84 decibels of --

MOOS: They've been playing dog laughter over loudspeakers here at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, a shelter. And when they play it, yapping dogs get quiet, really quiet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I very surprised at the results. It was like, am I in the right place? Is this the wrong kennel? It was so quiet; it was almost night-and-day difference.

MOOS: The researchers themselves even managed to calm down dogs by imitating special panting. For some dog owners this only confirms what they already knew.

(On camera): Do you think your dog laughs?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Totally -- my dog totally laughs. It's like -- ha-uh-ha.

MOOS: Does he pant a lot? Does he make any --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a much of a laugh as you're going to get.

MOOS (voice over): But dogs wouldn't be laughing over another piece of unrelated news. The New York City health department warns second hands smoke is giving pets cancer. See spot develop a spot on his lungs.

Pets living with smokers don't just inhale the smoke, it gets trapped on their fur and ingested when they lick themselves. What's next? Warnings on cigarettes packs? Your smoking may be dangerous to Fido's health?

If dogs do laugh, how do we get a chuckle out of them?

(On camera): Maybe if I tickle, we could get a laugh? Did you hear about the one about the two dogs going past the parking meters? The one dog says to the other dog, "Hey, look! Pay toilets."

Now, every time pant, we're going to have to worry they're laughing at us.

(On camera): This is pathetic, I'm having to pay dogs to laugh at my jokes. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


COOPER: My dog definitely laughs. More 360 in a moment, stay with us.


COOPER: Thanks for watching 360. See tomorrow. Larry King is next.


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