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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Airline Passenger Killed in Miami; President Bush Touts Progress in Iraq;
Aired December 7, 2005 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone.
It barely took a heartbeat, from chilling threat to deadly consequences -- in a hair-trigger age of terror, life and death at gate D-42.
ANNOUNCER: Terror in Miami's airport. On board an American Airlines flight, he claimed he had a bomb. Now he is dead, shot by air marshals.
JAMES BAUER, FEDERAL AIR MARSHAL SERVICE: He was attempting to evade them. His actions caused the FAMS to fire shots. And, in fact, he is deceased.
ANNOUNCER: Tonight, the latest on the bizarre incident -- new details about the mysterious passenger and the inner demons that pushed him over the edge.
President Bush touts his Iraq policy, saying, in two-and-a-half years, Iraqis have made amazing progress.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are not going to yield the future of Iraq to men like Zarqawi, and we are not going to yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden.
ANNOUNCER: But a prominent Democrat says the White House is selling a lie.
And, if you smoke anywhere, even away from the office, this boss would fire you. He gives employees random Breathalyzer and urine tests. You fail, you're out. But is that even legal?
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.
COOPER: And good evening again. Thanks very much for joining us.
What happened on a jetway at the airport in Miami today was terrifying, but not terrorism. There were guns drawn. There were shots fired. People and plans swung into action. Millions of Americans watched it all play out today. Millions held their breath as the bomb squad did their work out there on the ramp. Not a bomb this time, but what if? And what about the next time when it isn't an apparently deranged man, but a real terrorist? Will the system work then? The implications in a moment.
First, the dramatic story today.
Here's CNN's John Zarrella.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Nearly 2:00 in the afternoon and just minutes before American Airlines Flight 924 is scheduled to take off from Miami en route to Orlando. Forty-four- year-old Rigoberto Alpizar grows agitated, and, according to one witness, begins running frantically down the aisle of the plane, flailing his arms. His actions are alarming.
But what he says turns this incident into a major security concern. Federal marshals say Alpizar led them to believe he had a bomb in his backpack. And that got the attention of the two federal air marshals assigned to the flight.
BAUER: There were federal air marshals on board the aircraft. They came out of their cover, confronted him. And he remained noncompliant with their instructions.
ZARRELLA: Alpizar fled the plane and ran on to the walkway between the plane and the terminal, as the air marshals chased after him, telling him to put down his backpack. According to federal officials, Alpizar refused, approached the marshals aggressively, and appeared to be reaching into his bag.
That's when the marshals opened fire, hitting Alpizar two or three times. He died on the jetway. Officials say it was the first time since 9/11 that an air marshal shot anyone. People inside the terminal described the chaos that followed. Some even thought a gunman had entered the airport.
KARLINA GRIFFITH, GRANDDAUGHTER OF WITNESS: She said that she heard three gunshots and then everyone was running. Like, everyone was going crazy. They got up and started running. The police came and everything, and from what I heard was that the they captured the man, but they shot him and that he's dead.
ZARRELLA: Soon, we began to learn more about Alpizar.
A family member says he was bipolar. Another family member says he wasn't. And a person who said they were a witness says his wife was on the plane, screaming for him and saying he had not taken his medication.
After the shooting, all luggage was removed from the plane and examined. And law enforcement officials used what are called disrupters to check out Alpizar's bags, exploding the bags with water. No explosives were found, but FBI and local officials are not done yet.
BOBBY PARKER, MIAMI DADE POLICE DIRECTOR: We know enough to know that the airline is secure, the bags are all secure, and there really is no bomb at this point. The investigation will take a while in completing.
ZARRELLA: As of now, investigators say it appears to be an isolated incident.
ZARRELLA: Now, new details -- new details continue to emerge this evening, very slowly, but they are coming out.
We have been told by sources here that one of the things that concerned the air marshals when they confronted Alpizar was that, while we know he was wearing a backpack, he was actually wearing that backpack around his front, and he was also wearing a fanny pack.
We have also been told that the plane, Flight 924, is still here in Miami, did not go on to Orlando. It's being kept here as evidence. And, another witness, a passenger on the plane, has said late this evening that they heard Alpizar talking to his wife, saying he had to get off the airplane -- Anderson.
COOPER: John, I know there's a lot things we don't know at this point. It -- it is a story that is changing, really, minute by minute.
Do we know how long this entire incident took, from the time he got up from his seat to the time he was shot?
ZARRELLA: Not an exact time frame on it, Anderson, but it was literally, as you pointed out, just minutes from the point that he got up, was going up and down the hall -- up and down the airplane. At that point, air marshals identified themselves, got him to get off of the airplane.
So, it was literally just minutes, but an exact ticktock, we're not clear on yet.
COOPER: All right. Maybe by tomorrow, we will. John Zarrella, thanks. Appreciate it.
Whatever else happens from here on out, the story now involves hundreds, if not thousands, of investigators and lawmakers and security personnel. It began, however, with a man. And perhaps we don't yet know for sure the demons or the illness that drove him.
So, who is Rigoberto Alpizar?
CNN's Deborah Feyerick has been looking into that. And she joins us now -- Deborah.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, here is what we know. Rigoberto Alpizar is 44 years old. He's a naturalized U.S. citizen and he's been in America since 1986, after arriving from Costa Rica. Now, Alpizar lives in the Orlando area. And he and his wife, Anne, have no children.
His brother-in-law tells CNN that Alpizar works for Home Depot, though a spokesman for that company has yet to confirm that. Now, the reason Alpizar was traveling is that, according to his brother-in-law, Alpizar and his wife left the day after Thanksgiving. They went to South America to help her uncle, who was there working as a volunteer dentist.
And authorities say that Alpizar flew back today on a plane from Quito, Ecuador, along with his wife. He was catching a flight to Orlando, a connecting flight, and that's when he was killed.
Now, the local police department in his hometown says that they have no criminal record on Mr. Alpizar, nor have there ever been any incidents or disturbances at the residence. We did call an address listed as his home. And a woman there, her voice very shaky said that she was trying to get in touch with her daughter. And then she politely hung up on us.
Now, Alpizar's mother-in-law tells CNN -- or tells a CNN affiliate -- that Alpizar suffers from bipolar disorder. His brother- in-law, who we also spoke to, though, says that he himself is unaware of mental health issues that Alpizar may have.
I did speak to a woman earlier this evening. And she says that she believes he was the same man on her flight in -- from Quito, Ecuador, and that he was behaving very, very erratically, and that his wife was trying everything she could to try to keep him calm -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, if that is the case, then it's going to be interesting to see what sort of security checkpoints he went through before he was allowed to board the aircraft. That's one of the considerations now people are kind of looking at, is, you know, can anyone just get on a plane as long as they don't have any kind of device with them? Is there anyone actually checking how they are behaving?
We will be looking into that again more tomorrow.
Deborah Feyerick, thanks for that.
With us now at the Alpizar home in Maitland, Florida, is reporter Erik von Ancken of CNN affiliate WKMG in Orlando.
Erik, what have you learned?
ERIK VON ANCKEN, WKMG REPORTER: Hi, Anderson.
Well, we have learned that his name is Rigo, at least according to the neighbors here in the area, very affectionately, apparently. They liked him a lot. And, as Deborah said, behind me, he lived with his wife and also his mother-in-law. And, initially, when we first got here and we spoke with her, she didn't know anything about this. So, what we did is, we sat her down. Very politely, very kindly, we explained to her what we knew at that point. And, as we say, she did confirm to us that he is bipolar, but she didn't want to say anymore. The first thing she wanted to do was try and get ahold of her daughter, Anne.
We actually gave her our cell phone to try and make that phone call, because she wasn't able to get through immediately.
We also spoke with plenty of the neighbors around here. They had no clue if in fact Rigo was bipolar. They say the family kept it to themselves, as you can imagine. They say they were very private in that respect, but also very trusting. They fit in here. And they were also very kind to everyone, Anderson.
COOPER: Well, it -- it is just a tragedy for the -- for the neighborhood and for this man's family and, obviously, for this man, any way you look at it.
Erik von Ancken, appreciate it, from our affiliate over there at WKM -- KMG in Orlando.
We are going to have more on the mental disorder that may have caused this man's disturbed behavior.
But, first, let's get you up to speed on the other headlines at this moment.
President Bush today said the U.S. is making slow, steady progress in Iraq. He says reconstruction efforts in Najaf and Mosul show the mission is succeeding. He admits, however, problems do remain, including insurgent attacks, corruption and power outages. We will have more on the speech and reaction from Democrats coming up.
In Baghdad, Saddam Hussein was a no-show at his own trial today -- not a surprise, really. He told the judge yesterday he wasn't going to come, right after he told the young to go to hell. Court is now adjourned until December 21.
London tonight, Margaret Thatcher is in the hospital. The former British prime minister fell ill today. She has had a number of minor strokes in recent years. She led Britain for 11 years. And she is now 80 years old.
And fulfilling a promise from two former presidents -- today, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton distributed $90 million raised in relief money. Thirty million will go to more than 30 colleges and schools in Louisiana -- Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. Twenty million will be given to a minister's fund to help communities and congregations. The rest will go to a variety of organizations.
So, we have now been told that the man killed today in Miami's airport was manic depressive, technically called bipolar disorder. When we come back, you are going to be meet another man who knows all about the manic highs and lows firsthand.
Also ahead, we will take you inside the training of air marshals. Are they getting the training they need to protect passengers in these very, very complicated times?
Across America and around the world, this is 360.
COOPER: So, we have already heard that the man killed by air marshals today in Miami's airport, the man who claimed he had a bomb, also suffered from bipolar disorder and had stopped taking his medication. Two million Americans suffer from the disease, but, as long as they take that medication, most can lead healthy, productive lives.
We thought taking a few minutes to learn more about the strange illness might actually give us some insight into what happened at the airport today.
Earlier, I spoke with Andy Behrman, author of the book "Electroboy" about his experiences with bipolar disorder, and medical commentator Dr. Drew Pinsky.
COOPER: Dr. Pinsky, what exactly is bipolar disorder?
DR. DREW PINSKY, AUTHOR, "CRACKED": Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder characterized by -- characterized by wide fluctuations in moods.
There's two types of bipolar disorder, type one, where people have frank manic states, and type two, where they have lower levels of mania called hypomania, where they're still kind of connected to reality, but they're very active; they don't need to sleep very much. They're hypersexual, hyperverbal, may -- may do lots of -- spends lots of money, this sort of thing. And that can escalate, again, into acute mania in type one, where they really become disconnected from reality. They become irritable. They can be doing irrational things, speaking in tongues. And it sounds like that is what was going on down in Miami.
COOPER: And, Andy, you started experiencing bipolar disorder really as a kid. You weren't diagnosed until much later. When you were taking medication, before you were diagnosed, what did it feel like? What did that mania feel like?
ANDY BEHRMAN, AUTHOR, "ELECTROBOY": Well, it felt like a proverbial roller-coaster ride. I mean, one minute I was on a plane from New York to Tokyo to Paris. I took tremendous risks. As Dr. Drew said, I was -- I was just out of control. I was...
COOPER: You mean, you would just hop on a plane just for the heck of it?
BEHRMAN: Well, it was the first flight from JFK, so, yes, I would hop on a plane and go to Tokyo.
I mean, none of the things I did, in retrospect, were logical.
COOPER: But, at the time, in your mind, they -- they -- they seemed -- I mean, what -- was there a logic to them? Did it make sense to you at the time?
BEHRMAN: Sure. I could piece it together and it made sense.
But all of the decisions I made were highly irrational and risky and caused me lots of trouble. I mean, I ended up in prison.
COOPER: You wrote about this in -- in "Electroboy," which is a really great boy. The writing is very sharp. And you really vividly described...
BEHRMAN: Thank you.
COOPER: ... the mania. I mean, what are the kinds of things you would hallucinate about?
BEHRMAN: I mean, my hallucinations were visual hallucinations, not audio hallucinations.
And you have to understand, in -- in Latin, the word hallucinations means wanderings. I would imagine other people in the room who were not there. I would imagine, for example, a button on my shirt, a small button, becoming very, very large and chasing me down the street. Often, I would look at people and their flesh would be melting off their face.
COOPER: And -- and did that all stop with medication?
BEHRMAN: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Also -- and I write about it in "Electroboy" -- I underwent 19 rounds of electroshock therapy. But, ultimately, it was medication that stabilized my bipolar disorder.
PINSKY: And, Anderson, one of the treacherous things about bipolar disorder, in some cases, people are reluctant to take the medication.
They sort of like the highs of mania and hypomania. So, that's one the more difficult features of treating this condition, is getting people to comply with their medicine.
COOPER: Also, it seems like, a lot of times, people around the -- the -- the person, you know, they kind of like them up when they're ebullient and up and... PINSKY: Yes.
COOPER: And they're kind of fun to be around.
BEHRMAN: Oh, absolutely.
PINSKY: There's a lot of -- yes.
And I have to say that my bipolar disorder was encouraged by people that I worked with, with my friends, because everybody loved the Andy Behrman who worked 22 hours a day...
BEHRMAN: ... and could party the other two hours and never slept. People love bipolar people because they're fun and they're very productive and efficient.
COOPER: But there's very much -- I mean, Dr. Pinsky, you have seen, there is very much the -- the -- the downside. The -- the dark side is very dark indeed.
PINSKY: Oh, it's -- it's horrible.
I mean, obviously, the depressions are severe. Twenty percent of people with untreated bipolar will kill themselves, either in an agitated state or in a depressed state. They're miserable. They're disabled. When it gets completely out of control, it is -- it is a disaster.
And be aware, too, that roughly 60 percent of bipolar patients use drugs and alcohol. And that influences this disease rather terribly.
COOPER: There -- I mean, there is hope for people who are out there and listening to this. And -- and, I mean, you live a -- I guess what everyone would term a normal life now. You -- you no longer have these hallucinations. There is hope out there.
PINSKY: Oh, yes.
BEHRMAN: And sticking to a medication regimen is the most important thing for somebody who's bipolar.
I mean, yes, I live a very stable life. I have for several years. I'm married. I have a child. And it is all possible because of medication.
COOPER: Dr. Pinsky, thanks very much, And -- and, Andy Behrman.
The book is "Electroboy." It's -- it's a great read. Thank you so much. BEHRMAN: Thank you so much for having me.
COOPER: A number of other stories we are following tonight. Let's check in with Christi Paul from Headline News.
CHRISTI PAUL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
And we actually have to start with a pretty awful story out of Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana. A 18-year-old woman is charged with murder, after police say she put her 3-month-old son in a clothes drier and turned it on. The young mother's other child, a 1-year-old, has been placed in state custody.
San Diego, California, was draped in black smoke today, after a fuel tanker overturned in front of Qualcomm stadium. Four thousands gallons of gasoline were spilled, starting a dramatic fire, as you see there. Police say the smoke and fire did not, though, pose a threat to residents.
The same cannot be said for people living near a volcano in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. Mount Manaro has been erupting for about 10 days. And geologists say it's possible a much more massive explosion could occur. And, just in case, ships are lying offshore to ferry residents to safety, if need be.
And, in Ohio, a grandmother is suing police who used a Taser on her. This was back in April of 2004 -- that incident, of course, caught on tape. Sixty-eight-year-old Beverly Kidwell says she got tired of waiting to talk to officers at the Franklin, Ohio, police station. When she tried to leave, an officer used a Taser to stop her. That's her story.
The police report says she was resisting arrest for hitting her granddaughter.
That's the latest from Atlanta right now.
Anderson, we will toss it back to you.
COOPER: All right. Thanks very much, Christi.
When we come back, kick the habit or get kicked outside. Two more major American cities have approved smoking bans. You're about to meet a boss who has taken matters into his own hands. He is not -- he doesn't allow his employees to smoke even at their own homes. He gives them random urine tests and Breathalyzers. Is that illegal? We will look into that.
Plus, selling the war in Iraq. More than two-and-a-half years after it began, President Bush points to progress. One key Democrat questions his credibility. We will take you inside the debate when 360 continues. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Selling the war in Iraq, tangible progress or growing problems? Two very different views. Whose side do you believe? The debate -- 360 next.
COOPER: It was the second of a four-tier effort to win you back. President Bush this morning spoke once again about his administration's plan to win the war in Iraq, a war that has become increasingly unpopular with a majority of Americans.
Key word today from the president, progress, not just in the big things, he said, like the upcoming Iraq election, but in the less noticeable things as well.
CNN White House correspondent Dana Bash reports.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This time, the president's focus was post-Saddam reconstruction. He told Americans soured by daily images of violence Iraq is taking significant strides toward recovery.
BUSH: It doesn't always make the headlines in the evening news, but it's real. And it's important. And it is unmistakable to those who see it close up.
BASH: His big examples, two cities where bloody battles are now replaced by what he called tangible progress because of lessons learned the hard way.
In Mosul, he talked of an increasingly stable government, upgraded roads, bridges and schools. And, in Najaf, 90 miles south of Baghdad, the president touted new businesses, markets, pilgrims returning to holy sites.
Experts agree, there is progress, but also still significant economic paralysis and frustration, especially in Baghdad.
MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: What's happening in Najaf and Mosul is not really representative of -- of overall Iraqi trends right now. And, so, I think the president gave a slightly too rosy picture.
BUSH: Like most of Iraq, the reconstruction in Najaf is preceded with fits and starts since liberation.
BASH: The president did concede, kidnappings, armed gangs and terrorism are causing what he called uneven advances, forcing a change in tactics to address urgent visible needs, like sewer lines and city roads first, instead of large-scale repairs.
BUSH: Reconstruction has not always gone as well as we had hoped.
BASH: Like last week's speech about the military effort, the more sober assessment of the challenges now stand in stark contrast to the administration's pre-war optimism.
PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: We're dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.
BASH: Instead, Congress has approved $250 billion of American taxpayer money for Iraq, including nearly $21 billion for reconstruction, a fair amount of it, the White House concedes, lost to corruption.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: There are mistakes that were made. There's no doubt that some American taxpayers' money spent inappropriately in the reconstruction projects.
BASH: And the word mistake does not flow easily from this president's lips. Yet, he did utter it today, quoting somebody else. And that was Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman's recent statement that mistakes have been made in Iraq, but a bigger mistake would be to pull the American troops back too soon. On both counts, Anderson, the president said he agrees with the senator.
COOPER: Dana Bash, thanks.
No -- no politician likes to use that M-word, that mistake word.
BASH: That's for sure.
COOPER: Yes. Thanks very much.
The president's speech today, like the one last week, was quickly followed by a Democratic response, this time by none other than Congressman John Murtha, the Marine vet who ignited the latest round of debate over Iraq with his controversial call to withdraw the troops.
CNN congressional reporter Ed Henry has that side of the story.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Murtha challenged the president, armed with charts showing Iraq has water shortages, electricity problems, and oil production is down.
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: We didn't get up to pre-war level in oil production. Today, they say we're making progress. I mean, I can only measure progress by what I see in the things that I can actually measure.
HENRY: Murtha renewed his call for a quick pullout of U.S. troops, which has put pressure on the president, but also helps split Democrats.
SEN. JACK REED (D), RHODE ISLAND: I think what we're trying to do is to articulate our views. And we have different views.
HENRY: Moderate Democrats worry the anti-war comments of party Chairman Howard Dean, who said he does not think the U.S. can win in Iraq, will backfire with swing voters. And liberals grit their teeth as the president cites the support of moderate Democrat Joe Lieberman.
BUSH: Here's what Senator Lieberman wrote -- Senator Lieberman wrote about the Iraq he saw. "Progress is visible and practical."
HENRY: House Democrats huddled behind closed doors amid a rift between Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has endorsed Murtha's plan, and her second in command, Steny Hoyer, who says a hasty withdrawal would help terrorists. Some Democrats worry, her move may position Democrats too far to the left. But Pelosi has no regrets.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: I'm so very proud of endorsing Mr. Murtha's proposal. I think that he has kicked open a door in our country to let in some fresh air and some sunlight into the debate.
HENRY: Democrats point out, Republicans are not exactly united, with Chuck Hagel saying last week, "We've shed a lot of blood, spent a lot of money, invested heavily in Iraq, and it's still uncertain as to the outcome."
REED: Does that mean the Republicans are having problems with the -- themselves with a coherent, consistent message?
HENRY (on camera): John Murtha says 34 House Democrats have now co-sponsored his resolution, a minority of Democrats, but a slowly growing minority.
Ed Henry, CNN, Capitol Hill.
COOPER: Well, apparently, most Americans want some sort of timetable to end the war, though there are signs the president's efforts to win back support are working.
A new CBS/"New York Times" poll taken before today's speech shows that 58 percent of Americans believe the U.S. should set time -- set a timetable for troop withdrawal. Thirty-nine percent say no.
When it comes to how much longer troops will have to stay in Iraq, only 6 percent agree with those who say troops should be out in less than a year. The largest chunk, 37 percent, say troops will have to stay two to five years. And more people are feeling better about President Bush. Forty percent of those polled now approve of the way he's handling his job. That is up from 35 percent in October.
Today's shooting at the Miami Airport got us thinking, what training do air marshals go through? How do they deal with unruly passengers? We are going to take you inside a plane to show you how it all works.
Also ahead, kick the habit or else -- two more cities have approved smoking bans. You're about to meet one boss who says that's not enough. He's on a mission against smoking. If workers, even at home smoke, they could be out of a job. You are going to hear from him and another man, who says the approach is dead wrong.
This is 360.
COOPER: We're about to have a lot more on the disturbing shooting incident in Miami today. But first, here's a look at what's happening at this moment.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice winds up her European tour at a NATO meeting in Brussels tomorrow, where at least one diplomat expects a, quote, "lively discussion" about so-called renditions, secret CIA prisons, and torture. Some have said that the secretary's previous statements on those contentious issues have been inadequate and that more explanation is needed.
Army officials tonight announced the award of a multi-million- dollar advertising contract to develop a campaign to improve recruiting over the next five years. With extensions, the contract might come to as much as $1.35 billion.
Seniors and disabled Americans receiving Social Security benefits got some chilling news from the Supreme Court today, which ruled the federal government can withhold money from their monthly checks -- up to 15 percent -- to settle delinquent student loans. The court's decision applies to loans that date back more than 10 years and covers both disability and retirement benefits.
And it happened 64 years ago today at 7:55 a.m. which is when, on this anniversary morning, some 2,000 sailors, veterans, community leaders, and guests bowed their heads in remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor that hurled the U.S. into the Second World War. Hawaii Air National Guard flew F-15s, flew in formation overhead, and survivors laid wreaths in honor of the ships that were destroyed in the Japanese attack.
So when federal air marshals shot and killed an alleged bomber this afternoon in Miami, the incident happened in the airport. But what if the bomber had revealed himself in midair, say? How would an air marshal have reacted? How do you detect a potentially dangerous passenger? And who do you look to for help?
CNN's Jeanne Meserve went along as federal marshals trained for their job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police officer! Drop the gun!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll help. I'll help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sit down.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a mock aircraft, Tom practices for the day he hopes will never come, the day when he, a federal air marshal, has to deal with a terrorist.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
"TOM," FEDERAL AIR MARSHAL: Let me say this: Nobody wants to use a firearm on board an aircraft. It's not going to be a good day for anybody. There's a lot of downside to it. But, if that's what's needed, that's what you need.
MESERVE: Because he works undercover, we cannot show you his face or tell you his full name. Though he may look like any other traveler, Tom carries a loaded .357 magnum. At Washington's Dulles Airport, he boards his JetBlue flight to Ft. Lauderdale before other passengers to search for weapons and explosives and to meet and brief the flight crew.
"TOM": There are no specific threats against this airline or any others at this time.
MESERVE: Though air marshals never fly without at least one partner, as passengers board, Tom scans for potential allies.
"TOM": I just size people up. And I guess, in a nutshell, I'm looking for help, worse-case scenario who I think I can count on. You look for a face and what you see in that, in the eyes. And I'm looking for, perhaps, military uniform. I'm looking for things of that nature, somebody with a military hair cut possibly, maybe somebody with a NYPD t-shirt on.
MESERVE: He is also on the lookout for terrorists.
"TOM": We're looking for any suspicious behavior, anybody who's acting irregular, abnormal.
MESERVE: Tom notices a restroom right next to the cockpit has been occupied an unusually long time. At Tom's suggestion, a flight attendant knocks. A man comes out; Tom goes in to see if weapons or explosives have been hidden. He finds nothing.
Tom has never arrested a suspected terrorist, but wonders if he has seen them rehearsing.
"TOM": Certainly, yes, there's been times where I've been uncomfortable, had a not-so-comfortable feeling, and wondered if it was perhaps a test-run. That's rare, very rare. MESERVE: Though their exact number is classified, there are not enough air marshals for the 27,000 flights made every day by U.S. carriers, so they pick their flights.
(on-screen): This Airbus A320 is exactly the kind of aircraft an air marshals might be on. It's pretty big, carries a lot of fuel, and it's flying in and out of New York, a known terrorist target.
(voice-over): It is hard to know if air marshals are as effective as Tom believes, whether it's because the presence of air marshals has been a deterrent to terrorists or because of other layers of security, there hasn't been a hijacking since 9/11.
Jeanne Meserve, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, we don't know where Tom was today, but this is the first time an air marshal has shot a passenger on an airline.
This just in to CNN. For the first time, we are hearing from people who were on American Airlines Flight 924, who saw air marshals confront the man, Rigoberto Alpizar, who was shot and killed after he allegedly said he had a bomb. We just got this sound in. Let's play it.
MIKE IRIZARRY, EYEWITNESS: He was OK, when he first came in and sat down. And then, after a few minutes, he had become agitated. He was talking to his wife. He had gotten agitated and then just ran out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you understand anything he was saying?
IRIZARRY: No. They really didn't -- you know, they weren't arguing very loudly. They were talking about going home originally. And then, just out of nowhere, he jumped up and ran out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And you didn't hear what he was saying either?
IRIZARRY: No. He just kept saying, "I got to get off. I got to get off." And he ran off the plane.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's when you heard the gunshots?
IRIZARRY: That's -- yes, a few minutes, you know, like two seconds after he ran off the plane. His wife ran after him. And then, as the wife kept coming back, you heard the gunshots. And everybody, you know, was telling everybody to get down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What was the wife saying?
IRIZARRY: Oh, she was saying, "Don't get off. Don't get off. Come back." And that was it. MARY GARDNER, EYEWITNESS: There was some kind of mayhem happening. And then, all of a sudden, this man ran through the cabin. And she ran after him. And then people were like, "What's going on?"
And then we heard the shots. Bang, bang, bang, bang. And then everybody hit the deck. And we heard some loud noise and things like that. And I've heard that he had said there was a bomb on-board. And that's how he got shot, but I did not hear that. So that's what happened. It was intense.
COOPER: Oh, one question -- the first man just answered the question about how long all this took. It's a question I asked John Zarrella earlier in the program. We didn't have an answer. We've just learned now. According to him, it was just really a matter of seconds from the time he got off the aircraft to the time the shots rang out.
We'll have more on the shooting ahead tonight.
Plus, a boss who forbids his employees to smoke anywhere, any time. We're not talking about in the office. We're talking about in their homes, as well. Is it any of his business? Is it even legal? A 360 look at how we live our lives and how much privacy we really have.
Also, she survived the tsunami, just barely. Her boyfriend did not. Almost a year later, supermodel Petra Nemcova talks about the killer wave that changed her life and almost took her life, as well. All that ahead on 360.
COOPER: In the past two days, two more major cities, Chicago and Washington, D.C., have approved smoking bans for nearly all public places. More than ten states and dozens of cities and counties around the country have banned smoking in restaurant and bars or both.
Now, we're used to hearing those stories. What you're about to hear, however, takes the issue a step further, a whole lot further, some would say a step too far. A boss, he's banned smoking, not just in public places but in private lives, as well. CNN's Gary Tuchman investigates.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): His personal life mirrors his professional life. Howard Weyers likes to keep himself in shape and is quite adamant about his employees doing the same.
(on-screen): Why is that important?
HOWARD WEYERS, PRESIDENT, WEYCO, INC.: Well, they're going to be more productive. TUCHMAN (voice-over): And he adds it lowers health insurance rates. That being said, it caused quite a stir when the 71-year-old owner of a company that administers employee benefit plans told his workers they're not allowed to use tobacco, even at home.
(on-screen): Some people might say this is lifestyle discrimination.
WEYERS: Life-style assistance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good afternoon, Weyco.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Howard Weyers's Weyco Company in East Lansing, Michigan, smoking has serious career consequences. Daily random breathalyzer and urine tobacco tests leaves you suspended for a month. Fail again, you're gone forever.
WEYERS: I think it's good for people. They eliminate that habit because eventually it's going to kill them.
TUCHMAN: New Weyco employees are told about the policy before they start. Workers hired before it began were given 15 months to quit smoking. Veteran employees Cara Stiffler, Anita Epolito and Angie Curvitz (ph) learned that Weyers meant business. All three lost their jobs.
(on-screen): How angry were you when you found out you were gone?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, incredibly. I felt violated.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very angry.
TUCHMAN: Do you believe it happened?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I still don't.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Did Howard Weyers do anything illegal? Not in Michigan, nor in 19 other states, where there is no law preventing an employer from firing employees who smoke, even when they're off the job. Stiffler has smoked for 20 years and wants to quit, but as much as she liked working at Weyco, she wasn't willing to quit under force.
CARA STIFFLER, FORMER WEYCO EMPLOYEE: I was called into the H.R. manager's office, and I had to sign a paper admitting that I was a smoker. I refused to be tested. I signed it, and at that time I was terminated.
TUCHMAN (on-screen): There are other companies that have similar policies, but the rules are often not enforced. Case in point, my employer, Turner Broadcasting, which years ago had a widely ignored no-smoking policy. But here at Weyco, similar ignorance comes at your professional peril. (voice-over): Many believe such a policy is a slippery slope.
JEREMY GRUBER, LEGAL DIRECTOR, NATIONAL WORK RIGHTS INSTITUTE: I'm sure that an employer could make a very good argument, and has made a very good argument, about not hiring someone who is disabled because they may cost them money.
TUCHMAN: A Michigan state senator says the policy is ridiculous. He's drafted a bill that has so far gone nowhere which would protect employees who want to participate in any legal activity off the job.
VIRG BERNERO, MICHIGAN STATE SENATOR: I think it's a basic American right that, when you leave the workplace, when you punch out, you're on your own time.
TUCHMAN: But Howard Weyers and many other employers say they have the basic American right not to be told how to run their businesses.
WEYERS: Smokers are discriminating against the other employees because of whatever health problems it creates. We all have to pay for it.
TUCHMAN: Weyers says at least 20 employees quit smoking rather than leave his 190-employee company. One of them is Chris Boyd (ph), who had smoked for 10 years when she learned of the new policy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was very emotional when I first heard about the policy. Then after things sank in, I thought about it, my job, smoking? Not a real tough decision.
TUCHMAN (on-screen): So how did you quit?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Weyco offered smoking cessation programs.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Weyco also gives money to employees who reach physical fitness goals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ready, catch the beat and go. Up, up, down, down.
TUCHMAN: A lifestyle challenge director is on staff who leads an on-site exercise program.
PAM HARB, WEYCO LIFESTYLE CHALLENGE COORDINATOR: When they go through the lifestyle challenge, they can earn up to $110 per month by testing on a six-month basis.
TUCHMAN: Howard Weyers says he won't fire users of alcohol, overweight people, or others who can potentially spend a lot of time at the doctor, but...
(on-screen): If you're worried about healthcare costs, why don't you test the spouses of your employees for tobacco?
WEYERS: We will. We will in December. TUCHMAN: You're actually going to do that?
TUCHMAN: Test the spouses of people who don't even work for you?
TUCHMAN: And what happens if they smoke?
WEYERS: They can continue, but it's going to cost their spouse a thousand dollars a year.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Spoken like a man who won't accept any ifs, ands or butts.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, East Lansing, Michigan.
COOPER: Wow, he's going to test the spouses of his employees. Wow. Well, let's talk to him about that coming up. Has he gone too far? What do you think? Even if his company's smoking policy is legal, should it be? What's to stop him from firing employees who don't measure up to his health and fitness standards in other ways, say, overweight people? Coming up, we will talk to him and to one of his critics, as well.
Plus, the latest in the story that has stunned a plane full of passengers in Miami today. A man killed by air marshals after claiming he had a bomb. We have a live report from the airport and a live report from someone who was onboard that plane and saw it all go down, coming up on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): He was the teenager who sparked a cultural revolution. At the age of 18, Sean Fanning, in 1999, created a software program so popular he would be dubbed the king of file sharing. He called his online program Napster, after his own high-school nickname. Fanning's idea made it easier to find and download music files.
SHAWN FANNING, NAPSTER INVENTOR: I had somewhat of a limited view of the world. I had grown up in Massachusetts, you know, barely left the state. And so -- but I was able to affect peoples lives all over the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Within months, millions of music lovers worldwide were swapping billions of songs for free. The music industry called it piracy. Recording artists were not collecting royalties and some screamed foul.
LARS ULRICH, METALLICA BANDMATE: Napster hijacked our music without asking.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A series of lawsuits, headlined by the rock group Metallica, forced him to shut down the original Napster.
FANNING: The judge ruled against us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now, Sean Fanning has gone legit. His new company, Snowcap Inc. (ph), promises to work with record companies to give music junkies what they crave most: a broader catalog of authorized digital music, including previously unreleased, acoustic and live tracks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're going to pick up where we left off before the break, whether your boss should be able to tell you how to live your private life. Employees at Weyco, a company in Michigan, are not allowed to smoke anywhere, any time, even in their own homes after hours. If they do and they're caught, they can be fired.
The policy has raised hackles, as well as questions, about privacy and more. Howard Weyers is the president of Weyco and the man who made the rule. He joins us now from Lansing, Michigan. And in Buffalo, New York, we are joined by Jonathan Pinard, executive director of the New York Coalition of Social Smokers.
Jonathan, just to start off with you, what are you -- you saw the piece. What do you think of Howard's no-smoking policy?
JONATHAN PINARD, NY COALITION OF SOCIAL SMOKERS: Well, I think it's a bit over the top. I mean, there's a difference between encouraging somebody to do something and then forcing them to do something. And holding the job over their head doesn't seem like a good alternative.
COOPER: Well, Howard, what about this? First of all, how effective do you think the plan has been in the last year? How much money has it saved?
WEYERS: We've really haven't had a chance to evaluate any cost savings, but the policy has been very positive. I mean, we've accomplished what we set out to do. And so we're very pleased with it. And the people -- since we put the policy in place a couple of years ago, we've hired 35 or 40 employees, and they welcomed the opportunity to come into that type of environment.
COOPER: You say you're doing it for their health and, you know, obviously for the benefit to your company. Why not ban fat people?
WEYERS: Well, in Michigan, people -- you know, height and weight is protected in this state. I believe we might be the only state that protects height and weight. So, I...
COOPER: I mean, would you ban people who were overweight if you could?
WEYERS: I would think about it. But that isn't what we can do here. So what we're trying, working hard at, is doing it through education and incentives to get people to work, whether their underweight or overweight, you know?
COOPER: And I understand you're actually going to start testing the spouses of your employees to see if they smoke. How is that going to work?
WEYERS: That will happen here in the next week. Any spouse that wants to enroll in our medical plan will be tested for tobacco. And if they're positive, they're allowed to be on the plan. But there will be an $80-a-month assessment.
If they test positive, but they'll go to enter a smoking cessation program, which we'll pay for, we'll waive the $80 fee while they're doing that. But if they refuse, then the assessment stands.
COOPER: Jonathan, does that make any sense to you?
PINARD: Well, what doesn't make sense is that the -- what was set out to be accomplished was to save money on health care costs, and there's no evidence, obviously, that any money has been saved on health care costs. So I don't know how Mr. Weyers can say he achieved his goals.
COOPER: But I mean -- Howard, is there something just -- you know, there are a lot of people who are going to hear this and think, you know what, you're just going too far, that, you know, sure, it's understandable you'd want to save some money, and it's understandable you want your employees to stay healthy, but is it really right that you're kind of controlling their private behavior?
And basically, you would go farther. I mean, you would try to -- you know, you would consider not hiring -- you know, firing fat people if they didn't lose weight, if you could, you know, if it wasn't illegal?
WEYERS: Well, the policy -- you know, we put the policy in place. And, you know, we're not going to bend from the policy. Employees know exactly -- they had plenty of notice when we put the policy in place. Everybody at our place is very aware of it.
And anybody that comes to work for us -- you know, we haven't forced anybody to come to work for us. We give them the opportunity to come. They understand the environment they're coming into. We want to improve the health status of our employees, their spouses, and their families.
COOPER: We'll see if this catches on with other companies. Howard Weyers, appreciate you join us, and Jonathan Pinard, as well. Thank you.
We also want to thank our international viewers for watching 360 tonight. For everyone else, there's a lot more ahead. We're going to talk live with the passenger on board the American Airlines flight today where another passenger was killed by air marshals after allegedly saying he had a bomb. Also tonight, reducing the risk of a fatal encounter. How a new technique is giving police officers a new approach to confronting the mentally ill.
And supermodel Petra Nemcova, she survived the tsunami. Her boyfriend did not. Tonight, nearing the one-year anniversary of the wave, we'll find out how her life has changed. Across America and around the world, you're watching 360.
COOPER: Terror on the tarmac. In the blink of an eye, a disturbed passenger makes a lethal threat and pays with his life.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Terror at Miami airport. A deranged man says he has a bomb onboard an American Airlines flight. Moments later, he ends up dead, shot by air marshals. Tonight, the latest on the fatal shooting in the slain passenger who mental disorder may have led to today's tarmac terror.
Police respond to a suspicious man. Is he dangerous or just mentally disturbed? How can they tell the difference? Tonight, new ways cops deal with the mentally ill in hostile situations and new questions about whether their methods could have prevented a death today.
And tsunami survivor supermodel Petra Nemcova. Nearly one year since she lost her boyfriend and nearly died in the killer wave, she sits down with Anderson to talk about life, death and her determination to never forget the wave that changed her forever.
From across the U.S. and around the world
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