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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Rumsfeld Under Fire; Moussaoui Jurors Hear 9/11 Cockpit Tapes; Inside BTK; Delaware Introduces Bill to Ban Salvia Divinorum Herb; KIPP Offers Learning with a Twist; Profile of BTK Serial Killer Dennis Rader

Aired April 12, 2006 - 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: Good evening again, everyone.
With a confessed al Qaeda terrorist sitting right there in the courtroom, a jury listens to a cockpit voice recording of the first real fight in the war on terror.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Words of terror and courage the battle for Flight 93, the way a jury heard it, as they decide whether an al Qaeda terrorist should live or die.

Cheap, deadly and legal -- an ancient high making a new comeback. Could it be making a victim out of your child?

He made victims of 10 people, BTK -- new details about the life of a serial killer next door.

And:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girl, please. Like, you're really going to become a plastic surgeon. You're dumber than a bump on a log.

ANNOUNCER: A teacher told her that, but not at her new school, where teachers expect greatness, and the kids deliver.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: Whoomp. There it is.

ANNOUNCER: Oprah's on the case. So is Bill Gates. And so are we.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, here's Anderson cooper.

COOPER: Well, until today, they have never been heard in public, cockpit voice recordings from United Flight 93, including the final battle for control of the plane.

Now, they were played today in a Virginia courtroom, and you will hear the transcripts in a moment, the cockpit struggle. It began at 9:57 on the morning of September 11. By then, three other airliners had hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the passengers aboard United Flight 93, they knew all about it. They decided to take action.

Five minutes later, it was over. Flight 93 never reached its target, the U.S. Capitol. Jurors today heard it all, as they decide whether the al Qaeda terrorist sitting right there across from them in the courtroom deserves to die.

Here's CNN's Kelli Arena.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Zacarias Moussaoui sat quietly in the courtroom, prosecutors played the cockpit voice recording from United Flight 93, the fourth plain hijacked on September 11.

When the flight took off from Newark Airport, all of the hijackers had seats in first class. Ziad Jarrah, who was to be the pilot, was in 1-B, closest to the cockpit. Ahmed al-Nami was in 3-C. Saeed al-Ghamdi was in 3-D. And Ahmed al-Haznawi was in 6-B.

Forty-five minutes after takeoff, Jarrah, now at the controls, made this announcement.

"Ladies and gentlemen," he said, "hear the captain. Please, sit down. Keep remaining seating. We have a bomb on board, so sit." We know how the story ends, 40 innocent lives lost, fighting to stop Flight 93 from crashing into the U.S. Capitol, and, instead, crashing into a deserted field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The flight recorder tape played in court and the transcript released to the public reveal the struggle that took place on board.

Hamilton Peterson's father, Donald, and stepmother, Jean, were among the casualties. And he was in the courtroom today.

HAMILTON PETERSON, SON OF FLIGHT 93 PASSENGER: What I heard was at least two people in what are likely their final moments pleading for their lives, recognizing they were going to die.

ARENA: The tape reveals that, just a few minutes into the hijacking, the terrorists killed a woman prosecutors have identified as a flight attendant who begged for her life.

"Down, down," you could hear hijackers saying.

"I don't want to die," she cries.

"No, no, down, down."

"I don't want to die. I don't want to die. No, no, please."

Two minutes later, in Arabic, a hijacker said: "Everything is fine. I finished."

Hijacker Ziad Jarrah turned the San Francisco-bound plane around and made this announcement.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

ZIAD JARRAH, AL QAEDA MEMBER: Hi, this is the captain. I would like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board and are going back to the airport, and to have our demands (INAUDIBLE) Please remain quiet.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

ARENA: But the passengers never heard that, because he mistakenly radioed air traffic controllers.

By this time, 10 passengers and crew made phone calls, reporting the hijacking and finding out about the other attacks on the Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Lisa Jefferson, a phone operator with GTE, was on the phone with passenger Todd Beamer.

LISA JEFFERSON, GTE OPERATOR: He told me there were three people that had taken over the plane. Two had knives. They had locked themselves into the cockpit. One had a bomb, and he had the bomb strapped around his waist with a red belt. He said that there were two people lying on the floor in first class that appeared to be hurt. He couldn't tell if they were dead or alive.

ARENA: Beamer, like the rest of the passengers, had been forced from his seat to the back of the plane.

JEFFERSON: The plane started to fly erratic. And he raised his voice. And he said: "We're going down. We're going down."

And you could hear the screams and hollering and commotion going on. And he said: "Well, we're coming back up. We're turning around. We're heading north."

ARENA: Passengers struggled to understand what was happening, and hijackers struggled maintained to control the plane. Heard on the recording, one of them asked: "This green knob?"

"Yes, that's the one."

"In the name of Allah, I bear witness that there is no other God but Allah."

They also struggled to maintain control over the passengers. One of the hijackers could be heard saying: "The best thing, the guys will go in, lift up the -- and they put the ax up to it, so everyone will be scared. Yes, the ax."

Passengers like Beamer prepared to rush the cockpit. JEFFERSON: He told me that a couple of them were getting together, and they were going to jump the guy with the bomb, the person with the bomb. He turned to talk to someone else, while the phone was still open, and he said, "You ready?"

They must have responded to him. I did not hear the response.

He said: "OK. Let's roll."

ARENA: You could hear passengers yelling, "In the cockpit, in the cockpit," and hijackers responding: "They want to get in there. Hold. Hold from the inside. Hold from the inside. Hold."

Responding to the assault, Jarrah jerked the plane from side to side. The recording captures the noise of breaking glasses and plates, the drink cart possibly being used to break open the door.

You hear one passenger saying, "I'm injured."

The hijackers: "Oh, Allah, oh, Allah, oh, gracious."

The passengers: "In the cockpit. If we don't, we will die."

ALICE HOAGLAND, MOTHER OF SEPTEMBER 11 VICTIM: You could hear now the voices in English of a rising cry of people rallying each other, encouraging each other, and running forward.

ARENA: Jarrah gives an order to another hijacker with him in the cockpit: "Saeed, cut off the oxygen. Cut off the oxygen."

It's not clear whether the passengers ever got inside that cockpit, or, if they did, what happened. But the passenger uprising led hijackers to force the plane down before hitting their target. You could hear them on the tape, saying: "Down. Down. Pull it down. Pull it down."

The tape ends with hijackers repeatedly saying, "Allah is the greatest. Allah is the greatest," and then silence.

Like many others who have heard the tape, Hamilton Peterson admits it's hard to listen to, but is proud of how Flight 93 fought back.

PETERSON: I think it captures the American spirit. It is truly remarkable that, when one appreciates the brutality and the complexity of the conspiracy, that, in a matter of moments, these brave Americans overcame a horrific challenge.

ARENA: Kelli Arena, CNN, Alexandria, Virginia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It is so horrible to hear that transcript.

The Bush administration used the attacks against this country on September 11 to justify going to war in Iraq, and repeatedly said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and planned to use them against us. The president has since said there were no WMD in Iraq, but a report in today's "Washington Post" raises questions about what was said after the invasion about what were believed to be mobile weapons laboratories.

Did the administration say that -- that's what they were, even when they had information that it just wasn't true?

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On May 29, 2003, several months after the U.S. invaded Iraq, President Bush declared the U.S. was justified in going to war.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We found the weapons of mass destruction.

MALVEAUX: The evidence, two trailers seized in northern Iraq that U.S. intelligence claimed were mobile weapons factories. At it turns out, the trailers were not being used to make biological weapons, but, rather, to fill weather balloons, a conclusion reached by the U.S. government's Iraq Survey Group 15 months later.

But today, "The Washington Post" reported that experts on a Pentagon-sponsored mission concluded, the trailers were not biological weapons labs two days before President Bush made his declaration and that they sent their findings to Washington in a classified report.

But the White House says the president did not get that assessment until much later, and took strong exception to any suggestion that Mr. Bush knowingly was giving out inaccurate information.

SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That is absolutely false, and it is irresponsible. The president was saying what the intelligence community assessed to be right, that they had discovered a -- quote -- "mobile biological production plant."

MALVEAUX: The debate comes at a time when polls show Mr. Bush has lost ground in one of his strongest areas, trustworthiness. More than half of Americans say they believe the president is not honest.

And, last week, the White House faced more questions when it was revealed that President Bush declassified portions of a highly sensitive intelligence document regarding Iraq to defend his rationale for going to war.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: There's a drip, drip, drip that's occurred, that's worn away his -- his credibility for much of the public. And that's -- I think it's terribly unfortunate, from his standpoint, because it's very hard to govern.

MALVEAUX: Three years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the president continues to aggressively make the case that the war was justified. The White House says it's not Mr. Bush who faces a credibility gap, but those who continue to accuse the administration of deliberately leading the country into war.

MCCLELLAN: The credibility of those who are making these wild accusations has been affected.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Suzanne, either -- they either knew that the information was wrong, which would, of course, be of great concern, or they -- they didn't know that it was wrong two days after this report had -- had surfaced, which should concern people that it took two days for this information, you know, it still wasn't filtered down to the administration.

How is the White House handling this? I mean, there has been a lot of bad news for them in the last couple weeks. How are they handling it internally?

MALVEAUX: Well, the White House is saying that they're being consistent here on the fact that the one thing that they say is that the president, the White House did not know that this was incorrect information.

The one thing that the White House does agree with "The Washington Post" article -- there are a lot of things they disagree, but the one thing they agree on is that, at the time that this information, intelligence, it was flawed, it was -- they were having problems in how to process and share that. That is one thing the White House says it has since been working on to correct.

COOPER: Working on to correct. Let's hope so.

Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.

More criticism for the Bush administration. Another retired general brings out the big guns against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, criticizing the way he has handled the war. This is a general who has been serving in Iraq. We are going to list the reasons why he won't resign.

Also, a far different kind of story -- it is a hallucinogenic drug. It is entirely legal, but it can be deadly legally. And it's easier for underage kids to buy underaged than beer. What is being done about it? We will look into that.

Also:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I just give into once, I will purge myself of it and I won't have to do it again. It probably did relieve the -- the tension in him for a period of time, but then it came back.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Came back again and again and again -- tonight, information you have never heard before about the serial killer known as BTK -- coming up on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Almost from the day he took the job, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has had his share of critics. But now, with Iraq in slow-motion chaos, and new questions almost daily about the entire U.S. involvement, those critics include generals, retired generals, who say their old boss should step down. Today, another one joined the crowd, but this one is different.

Reporting from the Pentagon for us tonight, here's CNN's Barbara Starr.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Bush always says he relies on his generals to give him the straight scoop.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have told you I have got good confidence in these generals and the people that report to them.

STARR: But now four retired generals in as many weeks say they don't have the confidence in how the administration is handling the war, and they think Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should go.

Major General John Batiste commanded the 1st Infantry Division's combat troops in Iraq.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, OCTOBER 2004)

MAJOR GENERAL JOHN BATISTE, COMMANDER, 1ST INFANTRY DIVISION: The enemy will not stop short of the indiscriminate killing of children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: In an interview with CNN's "AMERICAN MORNING," he became the first combat commander from Iraq to call for Rumsfeld to step down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICAN MORNING")

BATISTE: I believe that we need a fresh start in the Pentagon. We need a leader who understands teamwork, a leader who knows how to build teams, a leader that does it without intimidation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STARR: Another critic, Retired Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold, wrote, "The commitment of our forces to this fight was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions or bury the result"

All of the criticism forced the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to go public with his dismay.

GENERAL PETER PACE, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: We had then and have now every opportunity to speak our minds. And, if we do not, shame on us, because the opportunity is there.

STARR (on camera): But the reality is, a top officer who wants to stay on the job and get promoted doesn't complain. The question now: In these hallways, are there generals out there who feel so strongly about the war, they may decide to resign and then go public?

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, that's the reality for generals.

As for Secretary Rumsfeld, the reality is just as simple. He serves at the pleasure of the president, and the president says he's doing fine.

As for how he's taking the heat, CNN's Tom Foreman went looking for some answers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The honorable secretary of defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Friends and foes all know Donald Rumsfeld does not easily bend. So, here are some reasons they suggest why he's unlikely to bow under the current battering. Number one, it is not the Rumsfeld way. Rumsfeld takes his critics head on.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I just can't imagine someone looking at the United States armed forces today and suggesting that they're close to breaking. That's just not the case.

FOREMAN: His political life was built on toughness. Richard Nixon saw it 30 years ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, MARCH 9, 1971)

RICHARD NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At least Rummy is tough enough. He's a ruthless little bastard. You can be sure of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

FOREMAN: Rumsfeld sees it, too. RUMSFELD: You know, if you do something, somebody is not going to like it. Therefore, you have got a choice. You can go do nothing, or you can go do something, and live with the fact that somebody's not going to like it.

FOREMAN: Number two, the impact on the military. The future of Iraq is uncertain. Osama bin Laden is still free, and Iran is rattling its saber. Some military analysts say Rumsfeld bears some blame. But others say, letting the defense secretary be forced out would send a dangerous signal of weakness to enemies.

Number three, politics -- through Afghanistan and Iraq, Rumsfeld has led this administration's signature initiative, the battle against global terrorism. The White House stands by him and expects the same in return.

MCCLELLAN: Secretary Rumsfeld is doing a great job, having overseen two fronts in the global war on terrorism.

FOREMAN: Number four, the opposition -- critics want Rumsfeld out.

SEN. JOSEPH BIDEN (D), DELAWARE: It would energize American forces. It would energize the political environment. Yes, he should step down.

FOREMAN: Political analysts say, attacks on the White House will grow bolder if Rumsfeld blinks.

And number five, personal conviction.

(on camera): Rumsfeld has said many times, this war is difficult, it will take a long time, but it is going well.

(voice-over): He sees newsmakers and news reporters who focus on the negative as mistaken and defeatist.

RUMSFELD: A steady stream of errors all seem to be in -- of a nature to inflame the situation and to give heart to the terrorists.

FOREMAN: Simply put, Don Rumsfeld has lost political battles, but it is not his nature to ever go down without a fight.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: The 1st Cavalry.

If Rumsfeld sticks with his job through September 2, 2007, he will become the longest serving secretary of defense.

Here's the raw data. Currently, Rumsfeld is third on the list, serving more than six years. When you combine his duty during the Ford years and this Bush administration, that's behind number two, Vietnam War-era Pentagon chief Robert McNamara, who held office for a little more than seven years, and the current record-holder, Caspar Weinberger, who served for nearly eight years during the Reagan administration, who just recently passed away, of course.

Coming up, we hear another former defense secretary, William Cohen. He weighs in on the criticism of Rumsfeld.

But, first, Sophia Choi from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following -- Sophia.

SOPHIA CHOI, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown has -- has bowed to Defense Secretary William Cohen -- actually, to public criticism, rather, and backed down from taking a consulting job in Saint Bernard Parish, a suburb of New Orleans. Brown resigned from FEMA after a barrage of public outrage over the way the agency responded to Hurricane Katrina.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, Iran's nuclear agenda is -- quote -- "unacceptable" to the international community. And she has told the International Atomic Energy Agency to emphasize to Iran that it must comply with its non-proliferation requirements. Iran announced yesterday that it had enriched uranium.

Mexican authorities have seized 5.5 tons of cocaine off a plane from Venezuela. The haul, worth about $100 million, was packed in suitcases in a DC-9 jet registered to a U.S. company.

And a Missouri couple has admitted that they faked a story about giving birth to sextuplets so they could collect money from well- wishers to pay their debts. Sarah and Kris Everson said they had given birth to four boys and two girls earlier this month. Now, a friend persuaded them to confess. They have been released, but prosecutors say, charges will be filed.

And, Anderson, apparently, this isn't the first time that this woman has tried this kind of stunt. Friends say she has pretended to be pregnant before.

COOPER: Bizarre. I mean, we are -- she didn't have any babies there. So, what?

CHOI: No, just the T-shirts.

COOPER: She was going to show little -- little booties forever?

(LAUGHTER)

CHOI: Yes.

COOPER: Bizarre.

CHOI: Baby T-shirts and booties.

COOPER: Didn't really think that one through.

Sophia, thanks. We are going to a special look tonight into a very dark corner of the human condition -- a look inside the mind of the serial killer known as BTK, some of it provided by the murderer himself, details you have never heard before. That's coming up.

But, first, this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The teachers here, they push us hard and they, like -- and give us really good encouragement. They tell us every day that we're climbing the mountain to college.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: With public schools failing our kids left and right, we will show you one that is doing just the opposite -- the opposite. Oprah's getting involved. So is Bill Gates. And, tonight, so are we -- more -- more 360 in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: There is obviously concern about Iran. It's a country that is -- supports terrorists. It's a country that has indicated an interest in having weapons of mass destruction. So, obviously, the president has indicated his concern about the country. But it -- it is just simply not useful to -- to get into a fantasy land.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, a moment ago, you heard a top retired general weigh in against Secretary Rumsfeld. The secretary likes to deflect criticism by saying it's just the inside-the-beltway game of gotcha that the media and politicians often play, a game he famously says he has got no time for.

But is what we are seeing in fact business as usual, or is something else going on?

We asked William Cohen, secretary of defense during the Clinton administration.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Does it surprise you that -- that so many, it seems, former generals, top Pentagon officials, seem to be coming forward and -- and saying these very public statements, calling for Rumsfeld to get out?

WILLIAM COHEN, CNN WORLD AFFAIRS ANALYST: It's somewhat unusual. I don't recall a situation in the past. Obviously, it's tied to the situation in Iraq itself. It hasn't been going as well as either Secretary Rumsfeld or the -- the country would like to see it go. And, no doubt, that's the basis of -- of the -- the criticism to date.

COOPER: Lieutenant General Gregory Newbold wrote in "TIME" magazine this -- this week. He said -- quote -- "I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat, al Qaeda."

What is it about this secretary of defense's management style or leadership style that -- that might cause a general to hesitate about speaking his mind?

COHEN: Well, generals basically, I think, by training and by doctrine and discipline, they give their best advice to their -- their superior commander, in this case, the secretary of defense. And then they either -- they try to make their case in private. If they can't make the case, and it's overruled or rejected, then they have an obligation to either carry out that order, or, if they feel so strongly about it, to step down.

In this particular case, none of the generals felt apparently so strongly that they were prepared to step down, because it does take a good deal of thought on their part. They would be jeopardizing a career that they -- they have really worked long and hard for.

COOPER: It's interesting, because this administration -- and I have heard the secretary of defense say this, and many officials -- they always say, well, look, we're listening to our military commanders on the ground for how many troops they need, for information, tactical information, and we're listening to them. It's coming from them.

But then you read, you know, "Cobra II..."

COHEN: Right.

COOPER: ... and -- and you hear that, actually, Rumsfeld kind of wears generals down and -- and kind of keeps suggesting lower figures and lower figures. It doesn't sound like some of this information is coming from the bottom up. It sounds like it's coming from the top down.

COHEN: It's really the responsibility of the general to say, Mr. Secretary, you are wrong on this issue, and if you proceed in this fashion, we are going to inherit the wind on this or meet catastrophe.

COOPER: Secretary Cohen, thanks very much for your expertise. Appreciate it.

COHEN: Pleasure.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, from geopolitics to your child's well-being, a psychedelic drug that is legal for anybody to buy. It's called salvia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In the states where salvia is legal, it is very easy to buy. We walked into this smoke shop here in Georgia, and, $20 later, we bought a package of salvia.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: You ever heard of it? Salvia, it is increasingly popular, but it may also be deadly.

Plus, reinventing education -- we join forces with Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey and show you a school that actually works -- and quite a school it is.

Before we hit the break, however, someone is quick with a quip, and that has made all the difference. She is tonight's focus of "On the Rise."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "This better be the only wedding card I ever give you." That kind of biting humor has success written all over it for Bridget Hobson and her four-year-old greeting card company, Quiplip.

BRIDGET HOBSON, FOUNDER, QUIPLIP: My cards are unique, because they say what you have always wanted to write, but never quite had the guts to do it. I came up with the name Quiplip because quip is a witty retort, and lip is kind of sarcastic back talk.

I was inspired to create Quiplip cards after my local card stores left me feeling pretty empty-handed, because they didn't really express my personality.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: The former copyrighter has since penned five different card lines, and they're now available online.

HOBSON: Quiplip has been extremely successful. Our revenue has doubled every year. Our first year we started off in 100 stores, and now we're in over a thousand.

ASHLEY UYEDA, GENERAL MANAGER, THERAPY: They sell extremely fast. People are constantly in the corner of the story laughing, having a good time reading all the cards.

REPORTER: Congratulations, Bridget Hobson. I owe you some help fitting your head through the door.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KATHY CHIDESTER, MOTHER: I thought I would wake up, and it would be a mistake. Because there was no way that he would ever do anything like that. Not the son that I knew. Not the boy that we raised.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Grieving mother haunted by the tragic death of her son. And it's very possible others are at risk as well. That's because some people are blaming the young man's death on a legal drug that kids can buy as easily as a pack of gum. CNN's Gary Tuchman investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kathy and Dennis Chidester had one child. His name, Brett.

KATHY CHIDESTER: And there he wanted to go to San Francisco, and he says, "I got to see the Rice-A-Roni treat." And there was the cable car with Rice-A-Roni on the back.

TUCHMAN: Memories are all they're left with. Earlier this year, Dennis found his 17-year-old son in the garage of his Delaware home.

DENNIS CHIDESTER, FATHER: He was laying in the fetal position on his jacket. And right away, I felt his body was cold. And so I called 911 and said, "My son's committed suicide."

KATHY CHIDESTER: I thought I would wake up, and it would be a mistake. There was no way that he would ever do anything like that. Not the son that I knew. Not the boy that we raised.

TUCHMAN: At first, the Chidesters had no idea why Brett, the straight "A" student killed himself with carbon monoxide. But they remembered, he had experimented with a drug they had never heard of before, an herb called salvia divinorum, the world's most potent natural hallucinogen. A drug that is not against the law in most of the U.S.

KATHY CHIDESTER: He said, "Mom, it's legal. You know, there's nothing wrong with it. I can get it, and there's no problem with it."

TUCHMAN: Kathy says her son did agree to stop using salvia. But after reading his suicide note, she doesn't think he stopped.

KATHY CHIDESTER: He wrote, "How could I go on living after I knew the secret of life. It's taken me 17 years, but I figured it out. I can't tell it to you here, of course."

TUCHMAN: The Chidesters believe salvia contributed to their son's death. And the Delaware state legislature took notice.

KAREN PETERSON, (D) DELAWARE STATE SENATOR: You have kids think they can fly and start jumping out windows, that's a public safety concern to me.

TUCHMAN: State Senator Karen Peterson introduced legislation to have Delaware follow in the footsteps of Louisiana and Missouri and criminalize salvia distribution and possession. In every other state, it's legal.

PETERSON: The bill by the way is named after Brett, it's called Brett's Law.

TUCHMAN: In the states where salvia is legal, it is very easy to buy. We walked into this smoke shop here in Georgia and $20 later, we bought a package of salvia. And the courteous salesman inside gave us this informational sheet talking about salvia. It says that when used in small doses, the user feels a relaxing state of mind, uncontrolled fits of laughing. When used in larger amounts, it continues, intense laughter and meditational epiphanies can occur.

Salvia is smoked and chewed and has been used by indigenous people in Mexico for perhaps hundreds of years, but there's limited scientific knowledge about it. The number of users in the U.S. is small but growing. The co-director of the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies, says many in law enforcement and law-making have also not heard of salvia, despite the fact that it's readily available on the internet.

PROF. STEVEN MARTIN, UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE: It's been particularly found that heavy doses of salvia can lead to depression, particularly after use of the drug that it leads to a sort of an after aftereffect of depression.

TUCHMAN: Many who advocate salvia use believe it should be regulated but not criminalized. Daniel Siebert is a California botanist who studies medicinal plants and sells salvia on a website. He believes it's a meditative tool that can actually help depression.

DANIEL SIEBERT, BOTANIST: To me, I see it as a gift from nature. And to legislate some little piece of nature as being out of bounds for human beings just seems illogical to me.

TUCHMAN: Early this month, Brett's Law came to the Delaware senate floor. What was the vote in the state senate to make it illegal?

PETERSON: It was 21-0.

TUCHMAN: The state house is expected to soon follow suit. The law would allow salvia to be medically researched. These are things you never forget.

KATHY CHIDESTER: No.

TUCHMAN: The Chidesters look at Brett's Law as their son's legacy, even as they look at Brett's videotapes and wonder what they could have or should have done differently.

KATHY CHIDESTER: We both lost our dads. And we thought that was the worst thing that could ever happen. But, you know, you expect to lose your parents. You don't ever expect to bury a 17-year-old son and your only child.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Wilmington, Delaware.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A terrible loss.

This week Oprah Winfrey has been looking at America's public schools, schools that are failing an awful lot of kids. I went for Oprah to a D.C. school that is bucking the trend however. Tonight, I'll show you the groundbreaking school where kids really seem to love learning.

Also, a new book detailing the crimes of a killer who devastated families and shocked an entire nation. Coming up, new and chilling details about the serial killer known as BTK and what he's doing right now when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well it looks like too much fun to be school, but it is school. Last night we looked at the crisis facing our nation's schools, a problem hiding in plain sight. How an alarming number of kids' lives are being doomed because the education system is failing them. We reported Bill and Melinda Gates are working to stop kids from dropping out of high school. "Time Magazine" put the story on its cover this week, and Oprah Winfrey devoted two shows this week to looking at not just the problem, but some of the solutions, which brings me back to these fun loving kids.

I was invited by Oprah to check out a radical new type of schooling, it's called KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, and it just might change the way you think about education. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TEACHER: KIPP, KIPP, good as gold. Let me see your fingers roll.

STUDENTS: Nine, 18, 27, 36, 45, 54 --

COOPER: You'd never know by looking at them, but most of these kids were two grades behind when they transferred here from some of the lowest-performing schools in the country. Now they're outscoring every public middle school in Washington, D.C.

So do you think it's that you guys are smarter than other kids in the city?

STUDENT: I had a friend. He was real, real smart. Like way smarter than me. Right now, I think -- no, I know that I'm way smarter than him right now. I'm not going to lie. I like being smarter than everybody else.

COOPER: It's called KIPP, short for Knowledge Is Power Program, and it's the brainchild of Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin.

SOT: What's going on?

COOPER: Two ivy league grads who thought they could do a better job than the public school system. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was like a switch, like a light bulb just went boom. This can be done, right? You can really do this. We felt like we could make learning fun. And we would get kids coming to school, and they would not want to go home.

COOPER: When you spend the day at a KIPP school, it's easy to see why.

Austin.

Texas.

New Mexico.

Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma where the wind blows --

COOPER: The KIPP style of teaching sets facts and figures to music. The three "R's" here are repetition, rhythm and rap.

99 whoop there it is.

Count by sixes.

Yes.

Do it.

Six, 18, 24, 30, 36

COOPER: Mike and Dave got the idea from a teacher they met in an inner city public school where they were teaching fifth grade.

You got to read --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- was kind of like a rock star teacher. In the elementary school I was in. She came into my room. And one day, in 45 minutes, taught what I had failed to teach in three months.

92.

Round up being.

Back it up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My teaching style has been described as very different. Exhilarating. Loud. But effective.

36.

That's it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Harriet is God's gift to the classroom clearly. She showed us there was a way to both motivate and educate at the highest possible levels. And she taught us how. COOPER: Dave and Mike changed the rules and set high expectations. At KIPP, the school day starts at 7:00 and doesn't end until 5:00. Every night, there's at least three hours of homework. Then half days on Saturdays and summer school is mandatory.

Do you have friends at other schools who don't have to work all those hours?

STUDENT: Oh yes.

COOPER: What do they say? Do they think it's weird that you have to work so much?

STUDENT: They tease me all the time because I stay at school so late. I tell them, it makes me feel like I'm getting smarter by the minute.

COOPER: Just a year ago, 11-year-old Paulette was struggling in her old school.

STUDENT: At my old school, my teacher asked everyone what they wanted to be when they grew up. I told her that I wanted to be a plastic surgeon. And after our teacher heard this she said, "Girl, please, like you're really become a become a plastic surgeon. You're dumber than a bump on a log."

COOPER: That teacher was wrong. At KIPP, Paulette's on the honor roll.

STUDENT: The teachers here they push us hard, and they give us really good encouragement. They tell us every day that we're climbing the mountain to college.

COOPER: You're already thinking about college? What, you're in fifth grade?

STUDENT: Yes. That's what they teach us, to think ahead about college. And how you can get a good education.

COOPER: So what year are you going to go to college?

STUDENT: 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard not to look at what's happening at KIPP and then say well, why isn't this happening everywhere? I mean, that's, like, the follow-up question, right, that's what everyone ends up getting around to asking us. If you guys are doing this, why isn't everyone else doing this?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Amazing kids.

A very, very different world when we come back. We are spending our next hour or so really on the trail of a monster. And you're going to hear his story in his own sick and sometimes shocking words. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DENNIS RADER, BTK KILLER: They trusted me. I was willing to tie them up, take their money, and leave. And then I killed them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, a new book details just how Dennis Rader betrayed everyone's trust, he was the serial killer known as BTK. He was hiding in plain sight. How did he get away with it for so long, and what drove him to do the terrible things he did? We'll investigate that when "360" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Over the next hour, we have a special "360" report. BTK, hiding in plain sight. Dennis Rader, he was a husband, a father, and a church leader. He was also something else. BTK, a serial killer who terrorized Wichita, Kansas, for two decades. In all, he bound, tortured and killed ten people. Tonight, we're going to cover all the angles of the BTK case with new insight from the author of a new book about Rader. We'll talk to the survivors of his victims. We'll also explore his background and how his twisted mind games finally caught up with him. But we begin with Rader's chilling confession told so calmly, it may just send shivers down your spine. Here's Dennis Rader, the BTK killer, in his own words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RADER: The atrocious crimes I've committed, and it's all self- centered. It's what I would call a sexual predator. Today is my final judgment. They trusted me I was going to tie them up, take their money, and leave. And then I killed them. Pride and responsibility? Yes, I had pride back then. In some degree, I tried to drop down to that, but that's immediate. I seemed to crave the attention of the media. I don't know why I chose it. But I thought I'd share some things.

Stephanie Bright, she spent time on her grandparents' farm, well I did, too, as a kid. I had many, many, many -- a lot of memories of that, and I took that from her. Dolores Davis, she loved animals. I worked at animal control. I read somewhere she had her last Christmas with her family. And I did, too. That was a wonderful time. I took that from her. Nancy Box, she was a wonderful person, and I did track her just like a predator. She was a wonderful young lady. Real organized, hard worker, and I took her life. Mary Hedge, she was a neighbor. One I walked by and waved to. A gardener, I loved to garden flowers. Jesse Charles, was in the air force, I was in the air force. He was a husband, I was a husband. Julie Otero, was a lot like my wife, loving mother. Raised kids, and she also worked at Coleman. (INAUDIBLE) she would have been a lot like my daughter at that age. Played with her Barbie dolls.

(INAUDIBLE) He was just like me at one time, avoided (INAUDIBLE). Shirley, she was choir mother, probably a very beloved mother. And I took her life. And I think honestly, people will say, I'm not a Christian, but -- so anyway. I faced up to the man himself now. I lost. I think that all points to accountability and full responsibility now and my remorse. I knew, after I talked to the police, and the evidence, there wasn't any way I was really going to get out of this.

Even though I'm a criminal, I think you have to appreciate the police department. They've done a lot of work. Even though it took a long time, they gathered evidence. They had that evidence. (INAUDIBLE) she was trying to stay out of harm's way. Since my kids are away, I don't get much letters or anything, they're basically supportive. I got this (INAUDIBLE). The other day I was working out, this comes in a daily devotion -- like refreshing rain in the summer, the gentle breeze in spring, just a little gift of kindness, joys of life. Now that I've confessed, put myself out, do I really know what's going on? I expect to heal and have life. And then hopefully some day God will accept me. Finally, I finally apologize to the victims' families. There's no way that I can ever repay them. That's all, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Of course, there's no way. Throughout this next hour or so, we'll be talking to Steven Singular, author of the new book "Unholy Messenger, The Life and Crimes of the BTK Serial Killer." He spent the last year going through research and interviews to get an amazing perspective on Dennis Rader.

You really immersed yourself in not only the crimes of Dennis Rader but also his life. Over the next hour, what should we be keeping in mind? What should we be looking for?

STEVEN SINGULAR, AUTHOR: I think what's unique about this case is it's a study of pure evil. It's not complicated by someone going after money or personal passions. These crimes are all about Dennis Rader's relationship with himself. We tend to look at evil as a person or a place or a thing, but I look at it as a process. And this case lends itself to that very well. You can see the process from childhood on that led him into evil and caused him to sort of up the ante on his criminal behavior. As a child, then as an adolescent, then as a teenager, then as a young adult. And it went from hurting animals and having odd sexual encounters to stealing a few things and then ratcheted right on up to murder.

COOPER: And you can see that progression?

SINGULAR: Yes, you can see that he had problems very early on, and he could have done a number of other things throughout his life. For example, he could have talked to somebody. He might have talked to a teacher or a minister, anybody. But he stayed inside of himself. And he never came out of himself at all. And he just kept shoving this aside. Eventually, he gave the place that he was shoving to a name. He called it a demon, or he thought of it as a frog that looked like a demented reptile. And eventually, he had morphed into it, evolved into BTK. That was the name that he eventually gave his other self.

COOPER: We'll watch that over the next hour. SINGULAR: Yes.

COOPER: Well coming up over the next hour why couldn't the police stop him or even find him, especially when he left a trail of letters, clues and outright taunts? Hear more of Dennis Rader in his own words. There's so much you don't know. So much that will shock you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well he was the guy next door, Dennis Rader, he was also BTK, a serial killer hiding in plain sight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: A new look at what was really happening inside the mind of the serial killer known as BTK.

RADER: It shows these crimes I've committed, (INAUDIBLE) as a monster. It brought the community, my family, the victims, dishonor.

ANNOUNCER: He calls himself a monster. But tonight, a new book examines one of the most chilling stories in recent memory.

RADER: They trusted me that I was going to tie them up, take their money, and leave. And then I killed them.

ANNOUNCER: We may now have some answers to the many mysteries left in this case.

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

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