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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Lifeline in Iraq; United Nations Ponders Iran's Fate; FBI Hunts Polygamist Preacher
Aired May 9, 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, everyone. We have a lot to tell you about tonight, pictures you don't often get to see from Iraq, pictures of lives on the line and lives being saved.
ANNOUNCER: On the line around the clock -- a rare inside look at the men and women fighting, so that American sons and daughters come home from Iraq alive.
Dear Mr. President -- he says he wants to wipe Israel off the face of the Earth. We say he wants nuclear weapons. Who is this guy? And how does President Bush respond to his letter?
Polygamist on the run -- America's most wanted. Now his nephew is speaking out against the uncle he calls a child molester.
And remember those bridges to nowhere in Alaska, budgeted for millions of dollars of your money?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How should the state justify spending so much government money, when it's sort of flushed with oil revenues?
ANNOUNCER: That's right. You still could be paying for it. But we're "Keeping Them Honest."
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: Hey, thanks for joining us on this Tuesday night.
By now, we have seen thousands, maybe millions, of images of the fighting and the killing and dying in Iraq, of lives being lost. Well, tonight, it is a privilege, instead, to show you at least a few pictures of lives being saved, not every life, not all the time. War doesn't work that way. But to the families who get their sons and daughters back, it is a blessing -- all the angles tonight, a never- before-seen day in the life of the staff of the busiest U.S. combat hospital in Iraq, the Army's 10th Casualty Hospital in Baghdad, part of the long and sometimes difficult lifeline from the battlefield back home. And with images like that on the table, what about the hot spot next door? Iran's leader writing President Bush a strange letter, as the U.N. Security Council decides what to do about his nuclear plans and the administration keeps the military option open. One way or another, it seems, American lives will be at risk in the region for a long time to come.
But, as CNN's Ryan Chilcote found out, American lifesavers, well, they will be ready, too.
RYAN CHILCOTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Baghdad's combat support hospital is about to get busy.
LIEUTENANT COLONEL DAVID STEINBRUNNER, U.S. ARMY: There was some nervousness in the voice of the people calling it in originally.
CHILCOTE: Colonel David Steinbrunner is the on-duty doctor.
STEINBRUNNER: We won't really know until they get to the door.
CHILCOTE: And, in a war zone, even the most seasoned doctor can be surprised at what comes through that door.
STEINBRUNNER: Holy crap!
CHILCOTE: The triage begins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks.
CHILCOTE: The walking wounded goes to a nurse.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't have a medic.
CHILCOTE: Next door, in the E.R., Steinbrunner is beginning his initial check on the soldier brought in on the stretcher. At first glance, things aren't looking good.
STEINBRUNNER: He's real pale, guys.
CHILCOTE: Through an oxygen mask, though, the soldier manages to mumble a message. The doctor relays it to the team.
STEINBRUNNER: He said, "Please don't let me die."
CHILCOTE: In return, he gets the doctor's word.
STEINBRUNNER: I promise. I wouldn't lie to you. Don't you dare try to die on me, OK? I didn't give you permission.
CHILCOTE: He's just as honest when the soldier asks if he can save his leg.
STEINBRUNNER: I don't know. That, I don't know. OK? We will try to save it if we can, OK? I just don't know. I -- I can't give you an answer to that yet.
CHILCOTE: Also at the soldier's side, a chaplain. The anesthesia is administered, but the soldier still stirs.
STEINBRUNNER: We got to put him down. The poor guy is waking up through all this.
CHILCOTE: Then, another call rings out: More are on the way.
UNIDENTIFIED SOLDIER: Two more inbound. Two minutes.
CHILCOTE: But for this soldier, it's too late. They have been doing CPR on him for a half-hour. Five minutes later, he's pronounced dead.
In all, four soldiers were brought to the hospital after a bomb hit their vehicle. Private 1st Class Victor Vicente (ph) was behind the wheel. He's on the phone home. He doesn't tell his wife what happened to the others. That's the military's job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have a cut on my head. But it's not a big problem.
CHILCOTE: But he won't be going home.
STEINBRUNNER: Hey, I hate to tell you this, but, basically, you're RTD, return to duty.
CHILCOTE: The casualties are separated only by curtains. There's little privacy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... really not going to be able to smoke for a little while.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that guy over there is getting a needle in his back.
CHILCOTE: Take this day and turn it into every day, and you have Doctor Steinbrunner's routine since he arrived in Iraq.
STEINBRUNNER: It seems like it's been a long time, but it's only been, you know, six or seven months.
CHILCOTE: With this system of medical care, U.S. service men and women are now twice as likely to survive wounds that would have killed in Vietnam.
STEINBRUNNER: What did you push so far? You put a little (INAUDIBLE)? You put...
CHILCOTE: Today, that soldier is in the E.R. The X-rays are back.
STEINBRUNNER: There's no free air?
CHILCOTE: And they're looking good.
STEINBRUNNER: Sweet. Sweet.
CHILCOTE: He's stabilized and ready for the operating room.
Dr. Steinbrunner's job is finished, for now.
STEINBRUNNER: He may lose an arm or a leg. He may save it. I don't know.
CHILCOTE: But Steinbrunner kept his promise.
STEINBRUNNER: He lost a lot of blood in the field, so -- but he's a young, healthy guy. So, he was -- he was compensating. And that's why he could talk and (INAUDIBLE) and everything like that. But you could see the color of his skin. I mean, he was pale. He was -- he was definitely looking very, very sick. So -- and now I'm going to take care of his buddy.
COOPER: And that is every day, day in and day out, for the hardworking men and women in that unit.
That was CNN's Ryan Chilcote.
We move now to Iran. President Bush made it a founding member of the axis of evil and accuses it of working to build the bomb. International inspectors won't go that far, but do say that Iran is not playing it entirely straight. The U.N. Security Council is trying to decide what to do next -- and hanging over it all, one of the strangest letters ever written by one president to another.
The details on that letter from CNN's John King.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Tehran's English-language newspapers, it was portrayed as an historic diplomatic overture, a new chance for old adversaries to open a dialogue.
But, at the White House, the letter is viewed as a gimmick, its tone, in the view of U.S. senior officials, more in your face than friendly. "Can one be a follower of Jesus Christ and make war on terror his slogan?" the Iranian leader asks, repeatedly saying, Mr. Bush's policies do not match his talk of being a devout Christian.
ED DJEREJIAN, RICE UNIVERSITY'S BAKER INSTITUTE: I think, in that respect, the Iranian president's letter is quite provocative, and I think it's meant to be provocative.
KING: The letter only briefly touches on the source of the current standoff, Iran's nuclear program. "Why is it that any technological and scientific achievement reached in the Middle East regions is translated into and portrayed as a threat to the Zionist regime?" Mr. Ahmadinejad wrote. "Is not scientific R&D one of the basic rights of nations?"
And while it was addressed to Mr. Bush, the intended audience might well have been critics here in the United States and in countries key to the Security Council debate about whether to sanction Iran.
"Lies were told in the Iraqi matter," the letter said. "Many people around the world feel insecure and oppose the spreading of insecurity and war, and do not approve of and accept dubious policies."
DJEREJIAN: This letter to me is a deflection at -- at many different levels, propagandistic, ideological, but also very cunningly tactical, to buy time and to try to divide the international community.
KING: For all Mr. Ahmadinejad's blustery rhetoric, two straightforward lines near the end are viewed by many as the most troubling.
"Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today, these two concepts have failed."
ELLEN LAIPSON, FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: That does suggest that Iran has a -- you know, a revolutionary agenda, globally, saying that there's a -- a religious form of governance that is superior. To me, that was the most disturbing and ominous language.
KING: Just that President Ahmadinejad sent the letter is significant. The United States has not had diplomatic relations or president-to-president communications with Iran since the hostage crisis, nearly 30 years ago.
But, if the Iranian leader truly wanted a breakthrough, national security experts, like Laipson, say he would not have publicly discussed his letter before Mr. Bush had received it. Still:
LAIPSON: I think it's a challenge for the Bush administration, because, for better or worse, Iran has now one-upped us.
KING (on camera): But the White House says there will be no response letter and that, even if Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear program, Mr. Bush is in no mood to deal directly with an Iranian leader he considers a threat to peace.
John King, CNN, Washington.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, he calls the -- the Holocaust a myth. He wants Israel destroyed, and may be on the verge of building nuclear bombs.
Not too long ago, only a few outside Iran had heard of their president. Now the whole world is listening.
COOPER (voice-over): He's been described as fearless, fanatical and a genius, but who is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?
The son of a blacksmith, he was born in Tehran in 1956. After earning a Ph.D. in civil engineering, he joined Iran's elite military, the Revolutionary Guard, who were formed during the 1979 revolution. That same year, Iranian students took 52 Americans hostage. Some believe Ahmadinejad was involved.
Here's what he told CNN's Christiane Amanpour. It's the first and only interview he's ever given to a Western journalist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 17, 2005)
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As you know, there are a number of former American hostages who were held hostage in Iran during the late '70s who accuse you as have been one of the hostage-takers and an interrogator during that time. Is that true?
MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): You see, I heard the same news after I was elected. And, you know, quite frankly, I laughed at it. Either their memories have been erased and then replaced anew. I don't know how they reached such conclusion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: In 2003, he became the mayor of Tehran. He was elected the country's president last year, reaching out to fundamentalists and pushing back years of reforms. In no time, he made a name for himself, and his country, as a force to deal with.
JIM WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: He is on the hard-line edge and is strident in his views. I mean, the comments he's made about Israel and the Holocaust are horrific. He's not crazy. He's not dumb. But the question is, can he survive in a system in which he is continuing to alienate different parts of Iranian society? That's the big question.
AHMADINEJAD (through translator): A new wave of Palestinian attacks would destroy the Jewish state. They are actively involved in their fight against the regime, and I thank the great God for this.
COOPER: Ahmadinejad's rhetoric is alarming, but it's his nuclear ambitions that may pose the greatest threat. The subject was front and center during Christiane Amanpour's interview with the Iranian president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, SEPTEMBER 17, 2005)
AMANPOUR: So, are you saying you're determined to pursue enrichment?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator): This is the right of a country.
AMANPOUR: But we're talking about the words now. Are you determined to pursue enrichment? And you say it's your right. I want to know whether that is your -- your policy?
AHMADINEJAD (through translator): There use of nuclear cycle for civilian peaceful purposes is the right of our country, and our country will pursue it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Peaceful intentions just to make electricity? The White House doesn't buy it, thinking he wants a nuclear bomb.
But what is clear is that Iran has a determined and dangerous leader, who continues to raise the stakes by refusing to back down.
COOPER: Well, Iran's president's letter to President Bush may have fallen on deaf ears at the White House, but it could hit you in the wallet. Here's the "Raw Data."
The letter has raised fears that Iran will continue on its nuclear path. That had a direct effect on oil prices. Today, the cost of a barrel soared 92 cents, finishing at $70.69 a barrel. Iran is the second biggest producer of oil in OPEC.
Well, coming, he's the fugitive who calls himself a prophet. Some of his former followers now say he's just evil. Tonight, we will hear from some of those former followers of Warren Jeffs, the so- called lost boys. They were kicked out from the sect. Hear what they have to say about the case against Jeffs.
Plus, the young man who knows Warren Jeffs like few others, his own nephew, who says this alleged man of God doesn't just molest girls. He molest boys as well. His own nephew says he himself was molested by Jeffs. We will talk with him ahead.
And, in Washington, the battle over pork.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I think every state that gets more than what they send to Washington in the form of taxes should only get their fair share.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Just ahead, the state that seems to be getting more than their fair share. We're "Keeping Them Honest" -- all that and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, he's on the same list as Osama bin Laden, America's most wanted. His name is Warren Jeffs, the fugitive leader of a fundamentalist offshoot of the Mormon Church. He's wanted for marrying and having sex with a number of underage girls. He's also accused of molesting boys.
He and his thousands of followers believe in polygamy, and, tonight, we take you inside this sect. In a moment, we will talk with a nephew of Warren Jeffs, a young man who says he himself was molested by his uncle. Also, we hear from the authorities now hot on his trail.
But we begin with a look at the young men who dissented from the teachings of Warren Jeffs. And they have been cast out, literally cut off from family and friends, and forced to begin their lives all over again.
Their stories now from CNN's Sean Callebs.
SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the edge of the desert, straddling the Utah and Arizona border, a community of breakaway Mormon fundamentalists lives in shuttered houses behind walls and gates, miles from other towns. In Utah, it's called Hildale, and, in Arizona, Colorado City.
For generations, this group of about 7,000 people has shunned the rest of America and the opinions of outsiders.
GARY ENGELS, MOHAVE COUNTY INVESTIGATOR: They put these walls up for privacy.
CALLEBS (voice-over): County investigator Gary Engels has come to know a lot about this secretive group.
(on camera): Do they really believe they're the chosen ones?
CALLEBS: When judgment day comes, what happens to these chosen people?
ENGELS: These chosen people believe that they will be lifted up, while God sweeps the Earth clean of the wicked people. And then they will be set back down to rebuild the Earth and replenish it.
CALLEBS: Engels has been sent to this town to investigate a variety of disturbing allegations and criminal charges, ranging from child neglect to rape and theft.
ENGELS: And I came to be here because of all of the different types of accusations and rumors that have been coming out of this place for some time.
CALLEBS: The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, has been here since the 1930s. It broke away from the mainstream Mormon Church more than a century ago. The breakaway sect wanted to pursue polygamy, a practice renounced by mainstream Mormons for more than 100 years and outlawed in every state.
The group considers its leader, Warren Jeffs, a prophet, to be obeyed without question. Former members say Jeffs has several dozen wives. He selects multiple wives for other church elders, sometimes reassigning wives from one man to another, and imposes rigid rules.
SAM BROWARD, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Warren Jeffs does need to be stopped. He has to be reined in and stopped.
CALLEBS: Sam Broward is a local private investigator.
BROWARD: If they argue with him or voice any dissension, they're -- they're -- they're kicked out.
CALLEBS: Broward has been hired by some of those who have been kicked out, a group of adolescent boys. Over the last seven years, investigators like Sam and Gary estimate, as many 400 boys, some as young as 13 years old, have been banished by Warren Jeffs for seemingly trivial infractions.
RICHARD GILBERT, RAISED BY POLYGAMISTS: I was excommunicated by the prophet Warren Jeffs at the age of 16, because I decided that I wanted to go to public school.
TOMMY STEED, EXCOMMUNICATED TEEN: I had nowhere to go, no food to eat.
CALLEBS: Tommy Steed committed the crime, he says, of watching movies.
Each of these boys has his own story, having a girlfriend, using curse words, going to beer parties, refusing religious instruction, all causes for excommunication for these and so many other boys.
CALLEBS (on camera): There's also speculation that the boys are kind of drummed out because they're competition for these young brides.
BROWARD: Right. And then that's -- I mean, that can't help but be true. Mathematics alone would dictate that there has to be a lot more hens than roosters in the community.
CALLEBS (voice-over): The prophet, who investigators say created this situation, Warren Jeffs, is now on the run. He faces an arrest warrant issued by the state of Arizona, which alleges a series of abuses, including engaging in sex with a minor.
(on camera): Where is Warren Jeffs today?
ENGELS: I have no idea. CALLEBS: Is he dangerous?
ENGELS: Well, when you have a radical person like he is that has the control over the people he has, I think he's unstable.
CALLEBS: As for what the FLDS community in Colorado City has to say about all of this, it's hard to tell. We spoke with the mayor of Colorado City, David Zitting, and he says people in his community are content, and that they don't want to speak with the media.
He says people in Colorado City have had dealings with the press in the past, and it has been a bad experience -- that from the mayor of Colorado City.
Sean Callebs, CNN.
COOPER: Well, remember, this is happening right now, in this country, thousands of people living under the rule of one man, a prophet, they say. We are going to have more on the hunt for fugitive church leader Warren Jeffs and a rare window into his troubled teachings. The FBI says he's a criminal. His followers, as I said, think he is a man of God.
In his polygamist sect, his word is final. And what he preaches is chilling -- coming up, the people on his trail, plus the roots of his beliefs.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The people who practice polygamy in Utah today see themselves as continuing a practice that was urged upon Latter Day Saints by their earlier prophets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We will talk to the nephew of Warren Jeffs, who says that he himself was abused by his uncle. And we will also look at what came before Warren Jeffs and his followers, and why it matters today -- next on 360.
COOPER: He's a polygamist preacher wanted by the FBI who had a tight grip on his followers, to say the least. Tonight, you will hear for yourself the sermons of Warren Jeffs, now wanted by the FBI.
But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of the other stories we're following -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is recommending caution when dealing with Iran. Rumsfeld says intelligence mistakes made in the run-up to the Iraq war -- quote -- "give one pause." And he believes Americans have reason to question intelligence information now coming out of Iran, especially since it is a closed society. The U.S. has accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.
Meantime, on Capitol Hill, President Bush's pick to run the CIA is making the rounds. General Michael Hayden met with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and other lawmakers, in hopes of easing any concerns they may have about a military person heading up civilian intelligence. The Senate could start hearings into the nomination as early as next Tuesday.
In Durham, North Carolina, Duke University is taking some heat for its response to rape allegations involving members of its lacrosse team. Two Duke students have been charged in the incident. A report commissioned by the university says its response came too slowly, and that it relied too heavily on secondhand information.
And, after weeks of speculation in the tabloids, the truth is out, the information you have been dying for -- tonight, in a surprise visit to David Letterman's show, Britney Spears announcing she and husband Kevin Federline are, indeed, expecting their second child. I mean...
HILL: ... reeling in the news.
HILL: I know.
COOPER: I'm gobsmacked.
HILL: Sean Preston going to have a little brother or sister.
By the way, in case you don't know who Kevin Federline is, he goes by K-Fed. So, that may clear up the confusion.
COOPER: Well, it's K-Fed to you and me. That is true.
HILL: No. He's one of our peeps.
COOPER: Yes. I'm glad you're keeping it real there, Erica Hill.
COOPER: Does -- is he the most fertile man in America? Because it seems like there -- there are -- there's a spawn of babies...
COOPER: ... with -- with his -- his distinctive cornrow signature hair...
HILL: This will be number four, right? COOPER: ... across this country. I don't know how many -- how many babies does this guy have?
HILL: I believe this is -- well, this will be -- make two for -- for -- for Britney and K-Fed. And then, Shar Jackson, his ex, he has two with her. So...
COOPER: There are couples who wait years to have a kid. This guy is having kids left and right.
HILL: Maybe they should ask him for his secrets -- or not.
COOPER: Maybe he could -- that could be his job.
COOPER: Anyway, he needs something.
HILL: The rap didn't work for you?
COOPER: No. No. It didn't, no. I'm not -- I'm not down with K-Fed, not yet. But...
COOPER: All right. Out.
HILL: Catch you later.
COOPER: Well, coming up, new troubles for fugitive polygamist Warren Jeffs. He and his church are now the targets of an organized crime investigation. We will talk to Utah's attorney general.
COOPER: More now on Warren Jeffs, who is on the FBI's most wanted list, recently added to that list. The fugitive leader of a polygamist sect, he's facing criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor.
Michael Watkiss, investigative reporter, has been reporting on Jeffs and his fundamentalist sect for years now. He joins me from Phoenix.
Michael, thanks for being with us.
How does this guy, who, I mean, in all his pictures, you know, looks like this sort of meek guy -- you -- you wouldn't, you know, think twice about him if you saw him in a mall. How does he maintain such command of thousands of people?
MICHAEL WATKISS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Because he inherited a whole belief system that -- from his father and prophets before him.
And the bottom line, this culture -- America is waking up to the fact that there are now polygamists in our midst. But those of us here in Arizona and Utah realize that there have -- polygamists honeycombed throughout the American Southwest, and have been for more than 100 years.
Warren Jeffs has inherited the mantle of great power, this largest, most sinister and darkest community, about 10,000 strong, centered on the Utah/Arizona border. He's a Svengali-like personality. And the bottom line, he is now an extremist among extremists, and he has taken his people from sort of abhorrent behavior to what all of you are now reporting, the forced marriages of these young girls, the young boys being driven out, rampant welfare fraud to support these large families.
It is now a sort of an investigation into organized crime, because there are now so many layers. We have a federal grand jury operating here in Arizona. You need a scorecard to now follow all of the various law enforcement agencies. But the bottom line, he's now on the FBI's 10 most wanted. That's a very significant step. We have been fighting for 10 years to make that happen.
COOPER: And -- and he has got -- he has got, basically, sort of two communities that straddle Arizona and -- and Utah; is that correct?
WATKISS: That's exactly right, and -- and for good reason.
When the -- they splintered off the Mormon Church, and Utah became a state and outlawed polygamy, these people went down there very intentionally, and found the most remote spot on the American geography.
It's separated from most of Arizona by the Grand Canyon. It's separated for most of Utah by these towering mountains. They went there and literally put themselves right on the border, because if cops came and bugged them in Utah, they could walk across the street and be in Arizona.
There have been interactions with law enforcement over the years -- nothing to the extent we're seeing now. But they -- it's basically a culture that has thrived in secrecy in this secret garden. These terrible fruits have -- now coming to bear. And, finally, finally, after much pushing by activists and a few reporters, we're getting some action.
COOPER: In -- in your documentary, you show just how really intertwined polygamy is in Colorado City, one of their cities. Let's watch this clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WATKISS: Ruth Stubbs knows all about being placed into a polygamist marriage. At the age of 16, Ruth was given as a so-called plural wife to a 32-year-old polygamist man who already had two wives and nearly 20 children, a man by the name of Rodney Holm, a guy who also just happens to be a sworn officer on Colorado City's police force.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, I mean, this isn't just some religious group. I mean, they have -- they have a police force. They have all the sort of mechanisms of -- of power. Is there complete complicity between local law enforcement in that city and Jeffs?
WATKISS: Complete complicity. They are all card-carrying followers of Warren Jeffs. We have now got a couple of these law officers decertified, which has been a huge step. But the bottom line, they have acted as sort of a Gestapo. A young girl doesn't want to get married. The cops will go, if she run as way, they'll chase her down and bring her back. They're the guys who drive the young men out of the communities. If the prophet says he's got to go, these guys will start pulling these poor kids over and giving them traffic tickets. They don't have money for that. The cop says, you want this to go away, you leave town. This is what's led to the lost boys.
The police force is a Gestapo. That case you're talking about, Rod Holm, is really what set all this in motion. His brave young wife came forward, helped prosecutors throw her polygamist cop husband into jail. Warren went underground because he knew it could happen to him.
COOPER: I listen to you talk and it just boggles my mind that we are talking about something that is happening in the United States of America, and you can see these places on a map. It boggles the mind that this is happening. You know, you've been on this story for a long time. We're just kind of waking up to it. We're going to talk more about it in this hour. We'd like to talk to you again, Michael Watkiss, appreciate you joining us. It's fascinating.
WATKISS: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Coming up, the world of Warren Jeffs and his followers. We know it's secretive and according to the FBI, downright abusive. Could it also be a form of organized crime? We're going to talk to Utah's attorney general who thinks so. We're going to find out why ahead.
Also, family secrets uncovered. We'll talk to Warren Jeffs' nephew, his own flesh and blood, about the allegations he has made about his uncle coming up next on 360.
COOPER: Well, we've been reporting tonight on Warren Jeffs who landed on the FBI's 10 most wanted list three days ago. Today his troubles got worse. Utah's Attorney General Mark Shurtleff is now targeting Jeffs and his polygamist church in an organized crime investigation. He joins me now. Thanks very much for being with us. Organized crime, how?
MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, look, this is an organization where he has absolute control over the assets of every single person. Every company is owned by a trust where he has been, until recently, the only trustee of that trust. He's been able to control people through fear, through intimidation tactics, holding not only their mortal lives but their eternal lives in the palm of his hand. And he's reigned with terror and threats and fear to allow him to continue his criminal enterprises.
COOPER: Do you believe he believes what he is preaching, or do you think he's just a charlatan or does it not matter for the purposes of your investigation?
SHURTLEFF: You know, I don't think it matters. I've tried to -- never make this about religion, but about a man who, because of the closed nature of the society, because quite frankly the states of Arizona and Utah for 50 years Anderson did nothing. They turned a blind eye to what was going on in these communities. And because he closed down the ability of people to communicate with the outside world and outlawed TV and radio and any other communication, it allowed him to become a tyrant to commit these crimes with impunity, to feel that he's above the law, and now finally we're trying to bring him to justice, but he doesn't want to come in. He's a coward. I'm sure he loves the sex, the power and the money that he has, and so for that reason, unfortunately, we're going to have to arrest him. And I hope with programs like yours, we'll be able to do that.
COOPER: At this point, what exactly has he been charged with and what else do you think is out there?
SHURTLEFF: He's been charged in both the states of Arizona and California with sex crimes related to children. In Utah he's been charged with first degree felony child rape. And in addition, the Feds have charged him with Federal felonies, Federal crimes, flight to avoid prosecution, the fact that he's a fugitive. Now, we began four years ago meeting with the joint task force, Federal, state and local officers to say, look, he's obviously -- we've been receiving information that this is a criminal enterprise. That there are separate sets of books, that they're committing tax evasion, tax fraud, welfare fraud, all these things that affect the taxpayers who are being victimized because of this man and because of the way he's been abusing the system.
COOPER: It's also incredible when you think, he is the leader of thousands of people in this country, and yet finding him seems very difficult. Is he -- I mean, is he hiding? Is he just hiding in plain sight? I mean, sort of embraced by this community?
SHURTLEFF: Well, he is. And he's unique among fugitives who most are out there on their own trying to evade law enforcement. Warren Jeffs has an empire. He has an army. He has security people who are behind him, who are armed. He has safe houses. He has the ability to move around at night. Until recently, he had an airplane to be able to move around. He's got all the cash he needs. He's got credit cards and aliases. And so because of that, because of that organization and help, it's been very difficult to find him. That's why we're so pleased that the FBI's put him on their 10 most wanted list because it mobilizes the resources across this country to try and find him.
COOPER: How concerned are you about the potential for violence in apprehending him? SHURTLEFF: I'm very concerned. The FBI is very concerned. People say that Warren Jeffs himself is not a violent man, but I'll tell you what, we've had women come out and say that he forced little children in school to kill animals, to slit their throats to get blood on their hands. I know his security guards, his goons, what they call God squad. I know that they will do everything they can to protect him. We know they're armed. It's really in Warren's hands. If we approach him and are ready to arrest him, if he says OK, let it go, let's do this peacefully, it will happen. Otherwise we are afraid that there will be violence. We don't want that to happen. Warren, turn yourself in.
COOPER: Do you think he watches television?
SHURTLEFF: I think he does. I don't believe that he follows the strictures that he has on his people. He moves around. He doesn't obey the same rules that he imposes on his folks, so yes, I believe he does watch television. I hope he's watching this program. You know, he says that God is fighting his battles, that God is protecting him. If that's true, you have no fear then. Warren, turn yourself in, let God defend you in court. Your people have done that, the ones that we've charged. Why are you better than that? Turn yourself in.
COOPER: Mark Shurtleff, the attorney general from Utah, appreciate you joining us. Thank you.
SHURTLEFF: Anderson, thanks for getting the word out. We do appreciate it.
COOPER: All right, you take care. Charges of organized crime as the attorney general was just talking about, arranging marriages of under aged girls. That is not all. Coming up, we'll also hear the allegations leveled at Warren Jeffs by a member of his own family. The young man who says that terrible things were done to him.
Plus, a bridge to nowhere. Remember that? Maybe you thought it was gone. But the funding is not. You may be surprised by what Washington is doing with your tax dollars. We are definitely "keeping them honest" tonight.
And Britney Spears, she makes it official. More on her surprise announcement on "The Late Show with David Letterman" coming up on "360."
COOPER: Well, one of the main stories that we are covering tonight is the FBI hunt for the fundamentalist sect leader, Warren Jeffs, who faces criminal charges of sexual conduct with a minor. He's become a lot more popular over the past few days since he got onto the Fed's top 10 most wanted list. Investigators also want to talk to him about organized crime and arranging the marriages of underage girls. One of those who knows firsthand what life is like in Warren Jeff's (INAUDIBLE) sect and what he is capable of is his nephew, Brent Jeffs. Two years ago he leveled some very serious charges as well. He joins us now live from Salt Lake City. Brent, thanks for being with us.
BRENT JEFFS, NEPHEW OF WARREN JEFFS: Thank you.
COOPER: You filed a lawsuit against your uncle, Warren Jeffs, alleging that he had sexually abused you. How did that happen? How old were you? What happened?
JEFFS: I was around five to six years old. And we were attending our usual Jeffs meeting, which would be one of the elite Jeffs meetings. And --
COOPER: Because your grandfather was a prophet.
JEFFS: Yes. And we were the Jeffs, so we were considered the higher, you know, a little bit higher than everybody else for some reason. And during that meeting, they would separate, and we would go downstairs into a little playroom, the kids. He would come down there, escort me out of the room down the hall into the bathroom. There he would sodomize and rape me.
COOPER: And how long did that go on for?
JEFFS: About a year and a half. It didn't happen every single time, but it randomly happened to me.
COOPER: And did he -- did he explain it? I mean, what did he say about it?
JEFFS: He said that this was God's will, and this is my way of becoming a man and that I have to do -- basically he says that if I don't do what he says, I will burn in hell. And I better not tell anybody. And so I pretty much had kept it to myself my whole life pretty much.
COOPER: To your knowledge, were there other young boys who were abused in this way?
JEFFS: I don't know of other boys, per se. My oldest brother, Kloehn (ph), he was a victim, one of the first in our family. But other people, I'm not sure.
COOPER: And Kloehn took his life?
JEFFS: He did.
COOPER: What do you want people to know about Warren Jeffs?
JEFFS: He puts on a front like he's a very nice man, a very giving man, very happy. But underneath all that, he's very dark and very evil. And he will do anything to hide himself and, you know, get away from all these charges. And so all I can say to everyone out there is just keep your eye out open for him because, you know, he's very sly.
COOPER: And what is the appeal for those who believe in him? I mean, I guess a lot of people grew up with him. And so it's just all they know. But what is the attraction, the belief system? What is it that you feel, when you're in that, that makes, you know, one better than people who aren't in it?
JEFFS: Well, basically, what we are taught since we were little is that we were the true church and always the true church. And we got taught over and over and over, kind of like you'd, you know, brainwashing somebody, that perfect obedience to them is what you do no matter what, and you do not question anything they say. And so growing up, you just -- you just believed it, and that was the way it was.
COOPER: You know, and I've said this a couple times, but I just find it shocking that this has gone on in the United States of America in this day and age, you know, in a place that's clearly visible on a map and now that everyone knows about it -- Brent if you would just stick around with us, we're going to talk to you again early on in the next hour. We're also, tomorrow night's show, actually I'll be in Salt Lake City, Utah. We're going to look deeper into the secretive world of Warren Jeffs' sect and see what we can find out. Coming up, we'll talk more with Brent.
And also, another story, keeping them honest tonight, not every state is equal in the eyes of Washington. Coming up, we're going to look at one state that may be getting more than its fair share of your tax dollars.
And for a more ridiculous item tonight, Britney Spears drops a bombshell on "David Letterman," her big news coming up on 360.
COOPER: So it wasn't too long ago that Alaska senators were getting some heat for a $223 million piece of pork tucked into a transportation bill. An earmark, they call it had, money set aside for a bridge to link a remote town to an even, well, more remote island, a bridge critics began calling the bridge to nowhere. It was so embarrassing the senators took the earmark out, end of story, right? Nope. Wrong. Millions of your tax dollars are still heading to a not so needy Alaska, and you might be surprised at just how much and how it's being done. "keeping them honest" for us tonight, CNN's Joe Johns.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's boom time on the last frontier. Thanks to the trans-Alaska pipeline, the state is awash in oil money. And thanks to you. Why? Those high prices you're paying at the pump. Alaska takes a cut of every barrel of oil that flows out of the state. And with gas prices so high, that's adding up to big bucks, $4 billion this year, so much that the state budget is expected to run a huge $1.4 billion surplus. And get this. Some of the oil money goes into a special fund, now worth $35 billion. They use the interest alone on that to send a check to every person in Alaska, $855 each last year.
With all that money, you might think Alaska wouldn't ask as much of Federal taxpayers, but you'd be wrong. Despite its own huge cash surplus, Alaska gets more per person than any other state in the nation, $12,038 Federal dollars per Alaskan in 2004. So, they profit not only from today's high gas prices, but also from the Federal treasury. In fact, remember those symbols of Washington waste, the bridges to nowhere? Alaska wanted hundreds of millions in Federal money for them, and you'll recall Congress killed them, right? Well, yes, but Congress did give Alaska a lot of money for its highways, and there's little to prevent the state from using that. Keeping them honest, we asked, why a state like this, flush with money, is still cashing in on the Federal fast buck, and we're not the only ones.
SEN. JOHN McCAIN (R) ARIZONA: I think every state that gets more than what they send to Washington in the form of taxes should only get their fair share. It happens that Alaska is the most egregious example, but it's all related to members of the Appropriations Committee.
JOHNS: Translation -- talk to Ted Stevens, Alaska's senior senator, former chairman of the Appropriations Committee which controls the Federal purse strings. We caught up with Stevens in the crowded halls of the Congress.
Alaska gets a lot of money from the Federal government. Given the fact that the oil revenues now are so high and so much money's coming into the state from oil, doesn't it make sense to cut back on the amount of Federal money?
SEN. TED STEVENS (R) ALASKA: Well, that would be nice if we could increase the production of oil. You've got to remember, oil production is declining. Even though the price is going up, the amount we're producing is going down.
JOHNS: Senator Lisa Murkowski says Federal dollars are still needed because Alaska is so huge and connecting those communities costs a fortune. But with the U.S. taxpayer now feeling a double squeeze from Federal spending and at the gas pump, the notion that Alaska is undeveloped and needs the cash is likely to meet even more resistance. Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Coming up, the shot day, the video that caught our eye. And just to give you a little bit of hint, just a little bit of a taste, it has something to do with Britney Spears and K-fed. But first, Erica Hill from headline news joins us with some of the business stories we're following. Erica.
HILL: I wonder if you got your hands on the ultrasound of the new baby. But before we can get to that, we start off on Wall Street, a bit of a mixed day. Thanks to a rally in General Motors shares, the Dow pressing toward that all-time high, closing up 55 points today. The Nasdaq slipped nearly seven, mostly due to a profit warning by Dell Computers. As for the S&P, basically flat, up just a half point.
The CDC says two-thirds of contact lens wearers with a rare eye infection used Renu with moisture lock. The solution is made by Bausch & Lomb which pulled the product off store shelves last month. The CDC says the number of confirmed infections is now up to 106. A spokeswoman says it's still too early to say what caused the infections.
And here's a hot pick for investors, gold. Today the precious metal hit a 25-year high, up almost $22 to settle at $701.50 an ounce, getting pricey.
COOPER: You know who hoards gold?
COOPER:K-Fed and from what I've heard, I don't know if that's true. And time now for the shot of the day, which we would like to include you in on, Erica Hill.
HILL: Which I appreciate.
COOPER: And today's shot is really in honor of Britney and K- Fed's soon to be bundle of joy. It's his new dance video. Have you seen his new dance video?
HILL: No, I haven't. I didn't know there was one.
COOPER: Yeah. It's K-Fed. Let's play that.
HILL: Did he just choreograph it?
COOPER: Oh, no, no, he's in it. He plays all the dancers.
HILL: I could see that. Well, he is talented. That's how they met, right? Wasn't he a dancer or something for her?
COOPER: He was a background dancer, but now he's taken the foreground with his new video "Seamanship for Peace."
HILL: I like it. That is good stuff. I could see him promoting a cause like peace too, couldn't you?
COOPER: He's all about peace. Erica Hill, peace out. Here's a look at that big news that Britney Spears shared with the world tonight on "The Late Show with David Letterman," or I guess is about to. It's not on yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID LETTERMAN: So we have established now that you are, in fact, pregnant, right?
BRITNEY SPEARS: Yes.
LETTERMAN: Well there you go, see, Paul?
SPEARS: Don't worry, Dave, it's not yours.
LETTERMAN: I think that's good news for both of us. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: All right. Enough frivolity.
More ahead on fugitive Warren Jeffs and the world his followers live in. We've been asking anyone we can how does this ordinary looking guy exert such a hold on people? Coming up, part of the answer, in his own words caught on tape.
Also tonight, the killer who conned a cop into letting him walk. New information on -- on his possible whereabouts.
And boycotting the "Da Vinci Code," how the Vatican sees it and the burning debate here at home, across the country and around the world. You're watching "360."
COOPER: Good evening. He is the fugitive leader of a polygamist church. He was wanted for marrying underage girls, accused by insiders of that and much more. Tonight the insiders are risking it all and speaking out.
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