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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
London Subway Bomber Speaks; Homegrown Terror in America?
Aired July 6, 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 tonight.
New threats from North Korea, new problems for the president, and, tonight, a new terror tape. A London suicide bomber speaks from beyond the grave.
ANNOUNCER: Ready to kill and die -- a fanatic's final promise.
SHEHZAD TANWEER, LONDON SUICIDE BOMBER: What you have witnessed now is only the beginning.
ANNOUNCER: One of the London subway bombers, the killer next door, says get ready for more homegrown killers and more terror.
The United States under fire from all corners of the globe -- can the president get us out of it? Did the president get us into it?
And remember him?
CARL BORDELON, BALL, LOUISIANA POLICE OFFICER: You know the bad thing about it? You're matching up to him.
ANNOUNCER: A fugitive killer caught in the act of not getting caught, think that's outrageous? There's much more to the story than just smart cook meets trusting cop.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Tonight, reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: Thanks for joining us tonight.
You're about to hear a mass murderer speak, a London suicide bomber personally responsible for the deaths of six people. Tomorrow marks exactly one year since the terror attacks on London's transit system on what is known as 7/7. Four suicide bombers killed 52 people in all, injuring 700.
Tonight, in a new al Qaeda tape, one of the London bombers is speaking from the grave and causing more suffering, more fear -- all the angles tonight behind the terror tape. We will play you the recording and examine the new warning from the dead terrorist. Does it mean al Qaeda is planning another attack?
On this anniversary, much has changed in London, and not all for the best. We will talk to an extremist there who agrees with al Qaeda and may be a ticking time bomb.
And here at home, there have been several high-profile terror arrests, but how much of a threat did they really pose? We will take a close look at the facts.
We begin with the terror tape and a dead man talking.
COOPER (voice-over): The video, like so many others from al Qaeda, first appeared on Al-Jazeera. Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London suicide bombers, seems to appear from beyond the grave, a dead man talking on a video recorded months before he detonated his bomb on a crowded subway train a year ago.
SHEHZAD TANWEER, LONDON SUICIDE BOMBER: What you have witnessed now is only the beginning.
COOPER: He is the second bomber to send such a message. The first, from suspected ringleader Mohammad Sidique Khan, was released just before 9/11 last year.
MOHAMMAD SIDIQUE KHAN, LONDON SUICIDE BOMBER: Until we feel secured, you will be our targets.
COOPER: Tanweer, like Khan, threatened more attacks.
This latest video was designed, says a senior Scotland Yard officer, to cause maximum hurt to the families and friends of those who died last July 7, also, says a terrorism expert, to win new recruits to al Qaeda.
ASSAF MOGHADAM, RESEARCH FELLOW, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: What the video footage does, it -- it helps empower the organization. It actually helps portray the organization as more important and more powerful than it actually is. And that, then, has an -- an effect on -- on people who potentially will join the -- the group.
COOPER: The slick half-hour video from al Qaeda's production company includes an animation of a subway racing into a tunnel and exploding, shots of chemicals being poured, a small explosion, someone circling areas of a London map, even what appears to be jihadis celebrating, possibly after learning of the attack.
But the origin of this footage is unclear. There's also al Qaeda's number two, Ayman Al-Zawahri, praising Tanweer. But Tanweer was the centerpiece. British officials suspect Tanweer and Khan recorded the videos when they visited Pakistan together in 2004.
Recording such a videotape last will and testament is a critical way of committing a suicide bomber to his murderous mission. MOGHADAM: He reaches sort of a point of no return. And that is a -- a point where, psychologically, it's very, very difficult to reverse from that stance, because he has -- he has, for himself, decided that he has -- that he -- he is going to -- to die, and he has promised the group that he's going to die.
COOPER: It seems to have worked. Just five months after they returned from Pakistan, Tanweer and Khan set off with their two co- conspirators, bombs in their backpacks, to bring their holy war to London.
COOPER: Well, taking a close look at this tape for us is CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen. I spoke to him earlier.
COOPER: Peter, what's so interesting about this video is, I think, if you had asked a lot of people, even a couple weeks ago, if al Qaeda had a direct role in the London bombings, most people would have said no. This video seems to indicate pretty clearly they did.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: I think it's one more piece of evidence that this is a classic al Qaeda operation. There was a lot of talk in the British media about these were homegrown, self- starting terrorists.
Yes, they're homegrown, but I don't think they were self- starting. We have had tapes now, a lot of tapes from Ayman Al- Zawahri, averaging one a week. We have had three or four from Osama bin Laden in the last three months. These guys don't seem to be feeling the heat of the war on terrorism nearly five years after 9/11.
I think the London attack indicates that the al Qaeda organization, despite the tremendous hits it's taken since 9/11, is able to conduct operations thousands of miles from its home base on the Afghan-Pakistan border.
COOPER: Who was the intended audience, do you think, of this tape, and what was the message?
BERGEN: You know, basically taking credit, crowing, trying to inspire fear. I think the message is -- is us. It's also like-minded jihadists around the world. It's to the London -- to the English people.
And they're -- they're milking it for as much as they can. Clearly, this was -- I mean, if you think about it, Anderson, this is quite a -- they obviously had a -- a fair amount of planning went into all this, not just the attack, but also the whole media production around this, A, that they would record these wills in the first place, but, B, that they would have the -- kind of the patience to wait around for the first anniversary to release another round of tapes and basically induce this, you know, horrible action in London yet again, and -- and make people relive the whole thing again. COOPER: We have -- we have been told repeatedly by this administration, by Donald Rumsfeld, that al Qaeda, you know, is on the run. I think Condoleezza Rice used those terms as well. The president used the term decimated, I believe.
You pointed out in "The Washington Post" recently in an editorial that it's not just traditional al Qaeda. You also have this homegrown jihadis, but it's sort of this perfect storm of both of them, really, now feeding off each other.
BERGEN: Yes. Certainly in the London case, it was the perfect storm, because you had, you know, these -- this group of guys from the North of England who were, you know, undistinguished, except for the fact that they were so ordinary, two of whom, it appears now very strongly, managed to hook up with al Qaeda in Pakistan, make these videotape wills.
COOPER: Do -- I mean, does it seem to you that al Qaeda, then, therefore, is strengthening? I mean, are -- are they on the run at all?
BERGEN: Well, they are certainly on -- they have been on the run, but I -- my view is that they -- they are reconstituting rather well on the Afghan-Pakistan border, not only able to do these attacks that we saw in London a year ago, but a -- you know, a blizzard of suicide operations in Afghanistan.
We have seen the situation there really deteriorate rapidly. I think some of that is al Qaeda -- and, of course, a very active media production schedule. We have seen constant messages from their leaders, a very sophisticated videotape with -- with this London confession, pictures of people mixing chemicals and other things.
I don't think that -- that doesn't seem to me like an organization that's on the ropes. That seems like an organization that's reconstituting itself.
COOPER: Do you find it surprising that, at this time, with -- with al Qaeda reconstituting, as you say, or at least reconstituting some parts, that the CIA would disband its bin Laden unit?
BERGEN: That blew me away, Anderson. I mean, I -- you know, even -- you know, I'm sure there are good bureaucratic reasons for that, but I find it very -- I find it hard to understand that decision.
I mean, here is bin Laden now suddenly popping up with annoying regularity on these audiotapes, Ayman Al-Zawahri releasing more videotapes than Britney Spears, and they're closing down, you know, the bin Laden unit. I don't know -- I think, psychologically, that sends a terrible message.
COOPER: It is certainly strange timing, at the very least.
Peter Bergen, appreciate you joining us. Thanks.
BERGEN: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: As we mentioned earlier, the new videotape came from al Qaeda's TV production company, if you can believe it, which is top secret, location, of course, unknown. Here's the "Raw Data" on Al- Sahab.
The name means "The Clouds" in Arabic. It's been in business since June of 2001, when it released it first tape on the Internet, a two-hour al Qaeda infomercial, basically, suggesting a major attack against the U.S. was in the works.
Since then, Al-Sahab has released at least 20 audio and video tapes featuring al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahri, and others, as well as videos of various terrorist attacks in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Well, after the London terror attacks, you will remember, the British government said it would reach out to Muslim communities and root out extremism, trying to prevent another attack.
But, as you're about to hear, there are still people in England who support al Qaeda and don't appear to be afraid to say so.
CNN's Nic Robertson reports.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Policeman, go to hell.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTER: Policeman, go to hell.
UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Policeman, go to hell.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Khalid Kelly is not your typical Muslim. He was born a Catholic in Ireland, converted to hard-line Islam in a Saudi Arabian jail. Since moving to Britain five years ago, he has radicalized, but, in the past year, has become outraged at the British government's response to last July 7's London bombings.
KHALID KELLY, MUSLIM CONVERT: We consider Tony Blair, you know, a terrorist and anybody who supports the British government. That's why we actually don't consider people here as innocent.
ROBERTSON: These are loaded words. It is about as close to a direct threat against British civilians he can legally give.
KELLY: I don't like going into Central London. Only as a matter of necessity will I enter Central London.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Because you think it's going to be attacked?
KELLY: I think, if the mujahedeen are going to attack anywhere, it will be Central London, of course, or the center of any city.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): The majority of Muslims Kelly mixes with are not mainstream. They exist on the fringe of their religion. Some, like the speaker at this meeting Kelly attends, belong to the now banned Al-Muhajiroun group, suspected of inspiring two suicide bombers to go to Israel in 2003, one of whom killed three people in an attack in Tel Aviv.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a great honor to kill one of these people.
ROBERTSON: Most in these meetings feel threatened by new British laws meant to stop radical Muslims killing innocents.
KELLY: There's a lot of fear among some Muslims, you know, in that people don't want to be branded extremists. They have seen many Muslims that have spoken out being arrested.
ROBERTSON: As he talks, Kelly is very matter of fact. But what he says is incendiary: The London bombing attacks on the 7th of July last summer were justifiable.
KELLY: What happened on 7/7 is a direct consequence of British foreign policy.
ROBERTSON: Kelly subscribes to al Qaeda ideology: American, Spanish and British presence in Iraq justifies killing their civilians, he says.
KELLY: As long as there's occupation of any handspan of Muslim land, there will always be attacks like 9/11, 3/11, 7/7. And, you know, I think people in England have to wake up, and they can't go on living their lives as ordinary people anymore.
ROBERTSON: Perhaps Kelly's most troubling insight a year on from the London bombing is that, for Muslims like him, Prime Minister Tony Blair has only increased the likelihood of another attack.
KELLY: He hasn't learned the lesson of 7/7. If there -- if there is any lesson of 7/7, he hasn't learned it. In fact, he -- he has sent more troops to Afghanistan. He's arrested more Muslims and scared more Muslims out of the country.
ROBERTSON: It's not welcome news to Kelly, who says his time for talking may soon be over. He may be compelled to take direct action.
Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
COOPER: Well, coming up: Could it happen here? A lot of headlines about terrorists in America, but how dangerous is the threat, really? We will check the record so far.
First, Erica Hill from Headline News has some of the other stories we're following tonight -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Bush says the North Korea missile dilemma should be resolved with diplomacy. And he says one way to do that is by sending a strong message to North Korea through the U.N. The president has been in discussions with world leaders ever since North Korea test-fired several missiles over a 14-hour period that ended yesterday.
In Mexico, we have a winner -- for now, at least. After an election recount, conservative candidate Felipe Calderon was declared Mexico's president-elect, but he won by less than one-sixth of a percentage point. His leftist opponent, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, plans to challenge those results in court.
Above the Earth, the International Space Station is hosting some guests. The shuttle Discovery successfully docked after it rolled over, so that the station's crew could photograph its belly -- now, so far, no signs of damage. German astronaut Thomas Reiter, who arrived on Discovery, will remain on the station, making it fully staffed for the first time in three years.
And back down here on Earth, you no longer have to be afraid to call him a himbo, if he is a himbo, or call an empty suit an empty suit. They're actual words now, according to Webster. In fact, they're among the 100 or so words being added to the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.
And, of course, if you are not sure what they mean, you could just Google them. Google was added as a verb -- other words making the book, drama queen, soul patch, bling, and the infamous unibrow, Anderson, which I'm happy, for your sake, you don't have.
COOPER: I was going to say, why are you looking at me like that when you say unibrow?
HILL: No, no, not at all.
COOPER: All right. Erica, thanks.
Coming up: more on North Korea, new threats and new responses from the White House. We will also look at how President Bush suddenly finds himself facing more trouble around the globe than perhaps any president since FDR.
Also, homegrown terror here at home, how likely is it? Are we safer, say, than people in London or Madrid? We will check the facts.
And John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" on the search for one of America's most daring escape artists, a killer who conned his way right past a cop, all caught on tape.
That's ahead on 360.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: We learn more tonight about the North Korean missile test and what happened to that ICBM believed capable of hitting the Western United States.
Yesterday, it reported that the missile malfunctioned about 40 or so seconds after launch. Today, a U.S. official with direct access to the intelligence said the missile went haywire just seconds after launch, broke apart so fast, in fact, he says, that American analysts could not even determine where it was aimed.
Meantime today, North Korea promised more testing, while Russia and China put the kibosh on U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang. It was the latest in a string of foreign policy challenges of the Bush administration.
And, tonight, even some big-name conservatives are voicing concern.
Here's CNN's John Roberts.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At the White House, President Bush burned up the phone lines to North Korea's neighbors, China, Russia, Japan and South Korea, an attempt to orchestrate a united front against Pyongyang's defiance.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And my message was that we want to solve this problem diplomatically, and the best way to solve the problem diplomatically is for all of us to be working in concert.
ROBERTS: But not all the band members are playing from the same sheet music. Despite American claims of broad and deep support for a U.N. resolution to sanction North Korea, China and Russia are opposed to punitive measures. President Bush acknowledged, diplomacy will take time, particularly since North Korea's real intentions are unknown.
BUSH: And, so, I think we have got to plan for the worst and hope for the best.
ROBERTS: The missile showdown is the latest in an almost unbroken string of grave foreign policy challenges for President Bush, the 9/11 attacks, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, the Iranian nuclear standoff, Islamic militants in control of Somalia. Analysts say the White House is at least partly to blame for the current crisis by turning attention away from North Korea and toward Iraq.
MICHAEL O'HANLON, SENIOR FELLOW IN FOREIGN POLICY STUDIES, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It's not incompetence, per se, that led to this, but the Bush administration made a choice. And the choice resulted in a situation where it did not spend nearly as much time on North Korea as it might have and probably should have.
ROBERTS: Critics are even harsher, claiming the White House is distracted, spread too thin, consumed by the Iraq war. State Department officials reject the notion they can only fight one fire at a time.
NICHOLAS BURNS, UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Well, I can assure you that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. We have got a very powerful diplomatic apparatus and national security apparatus.
ROBERTS: For his part, President Bush is unapologetic about the way he deals with the world.
BUSH: And it's just really important for -- for the American president to see the world the way it is, not the way we would hope it would be, and to deal with threats and to do so in a way that will achieve results.
ROBERTS: There has been foreign policy successes. Libya, for example, gave up its nuclear weapons program. And analysts say, while tensions exist, relations with major powers China and Russia are still better than they were in past decades.
O'HANLON: I know that some people recently have been saying that this looks as bad as it's been. But I would still much prefer today's world to, say, the Cold War.
ROBERTS (on camera): It's nothing new for any administration to face multiple foreign crises. And this White House believes, on balance, it has handled them well. But even the most objective analysts say serious mistakes have been made and that the world is probably more troubled now than at any time since the Berlin Wall fell.
John Roberts, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, that's the premise -- now some perspective from a woman who, over the past three decades, has covered just about every global hot spot and met with virtually every world leader there is. Currently, she reports for "The Washington Post."
I spoke with Robin Wright earlier today.
COOPER: Robin, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called all these crises a perfect storm. Is what the president is facing unprecedented in foreign policy?
ROBIN WRIGHT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It's not unprecedented, but it's clear that, since the end of the Cold War, there hasn't been this many crises in -- of this scope. When you look at it, there's one on almost every continent, including in our neighboring Mexico. With election results very close, there are worries about instability because of the disputes over the -- of the vote tally. COOPER: In -- in the piece today in "The Washington Post," you quote William Kristol, the editor of the conservative "Weekly Standard.
COOPER: And he says -- quote -- "North Korea is firing missiles. Iran is going nuclear. Somalia is controlled by radical Islamists. Iraq isn't getting better, and Afghanistan is getting worse. I give the president a lot of credit for hanging tough on Iraq, but I am worried that it has made them too passive in confronting the other threats."
I mean, it's one to hear something like that from Madeleine Albright, but from a conservative supporter of the president -- how concerned is the White House?
WRIGHT: Well, I think that one of the striking things about the array of crises at the moment is the fact that there are many conservatives, including a lot of the neoconservatives, who are the most supportive of Iraq, who are very concerned about whether it's North Korea beginning to take the place of Iraq, in terms of the priorities, that things begin to slip, that the list is just so long.
The White House is putting up a very strong front and saying, this is -- you know, that they can deal with a lot of things; this is an enormous government with a lot of capabilities.
And, to a certain extent, that's true, except that there are very few who make the decisions, and there are very few who can make those calls to other chiefs of state or foreign ministers to try to get them on our side. And you can only ask for so much from any array of countries. And a lot of it has to play out among the major powers.
So, that kind of limits the kind of leverage you have and -- to deal with all of them at the same time.
COOPER: Is there a Bush doctrine, a coherent set of guidelines dictating this administration's foreign policy? I mean, with Iraq, international coalitions were kind of scoffed at. North Korea, they're -- they're embraced.
WRIGHT: Well, there is a great inconsistency in how you deal with any of the great axis of evil, as the president called them, Iraq, Iran and North Korea.
The fact is, you want to invade one. You offer incentives to another. And you try to do a deal with the third and threaten the United Nations sanctions on, if they don't cooperate. So, there is -- there is a diversity. Now, that's always the case.
You can't deal with every crisis or every situation in the same way, even if they sometimes seem to mirror each other. But the fact is, there isn't a defined policy, as there was in the case with the Powell doctrine, where you saw, you know, the use of force in enough -- with enough force to actually win a war rather quickly or effectively.
And this administration has been using kind of aggressive -- its aggressive outreach, or using its aggressive leverage, to try to solve a lot of these conflicts. At the end of the day, the aggression has gotten it -- has actually weakened it. And we -- we're in a very precarious kind of situation.
There's a psychology to foreign policy. And the momentum is now running against us.
COOPER: How much bitterness still exists within the international community toward the U.S. over Iraq?
WRIGHT: It's bitterness, but it's also suspicion about what our intentions are and what force we might use. So, that plays out with Iran particularly, to a lesser degree with North Korea, because we have worked with the group of six nations , trying to find some kind of diplomatic alternative.
But there is bitterness and suspicion that clearly make it more difficult for the Bush administration.
COOPER: That was Robin Wright from "The Washington Post."
Of course, there is much more to the terror threat. Some experts say a serious terror attack could happen in the U.S. this year, and it might not even come from abroad -- a look at possible homegrown terror, the facts, not the hype -- coming up.
Plus: A con fools a cop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORDELON: What color eyes you got?
RICHARD LEE MCNAIR, ESCAPED CONVICT: Blue. Well, kind of a turquoise blue.
BORDELON: Turquoise blue? You want to give me some more?
BORDELON: You know the bad thing about it?
MCNAIR: What's that?
BORDELON: You're matching up to him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This escaped killer is still on the run, a master deceiver. We will expose how he makes his moves. John Walsh from "America's Most Wanted" joins us as well. He's on the case.
And call him a court jester, see what he did at Wimbledon. This guy -- well not that. That's -- that's not a guy there.
One hint -- there he is, the naked guy -- one hint, those aren't exactly tennis balls you're looking at -- coming up tonight on 360.
COOPER: Some experts say a terror strike could happen soon right here in the U.S. -- in a moment, separating facts from hype. We investigate the threats -- next on 360.
COOPER: On this eve of the first anniversary of the London terror attacks, an alarming new survey of America's foreign policy experts is out. More than half believe that a similar strike is likely to occur in the U.S. within the next 12 months.
Worse, most of the experts see a 9/11-scale attack repeating within five years. That survey was produced by "Foreign Policy" magazine and the Center For American Progress.
There is certainly reason to be concerned. But we asked CNN's Kelli Arena tonight to check the facts and see just how serious the threat here at home really is.
KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If this is your idea of where all terrorists come from, think again. Several recent cases show, U.S. citizens who have never been to terror training camps could pose just as much of a threat.
Pat D'Amuro led the FBI's counterterrorism unit.
PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: We know there's been recruitment by radical fundamentalists in the prisons, in various radical religious centers.
ARENA: Last month, five Americans were part of this group charged with planning to attack the Sears Tower in Chicago and other targets. In April, two U.S. citizens living in Atlanta were charged with planning to strike U.S. military bases.
And, last August, a plot directed from this prison ended with four Americans charged with planning to attack synagogues and military targets in California. U.S. officials say none of these individuals had any direct affiliation with al Qaeda or any other terror group. Instead, they shared an al Qaeda-inspired ideology.
MIKE HEIMBACH, FBI COUNTERTERRORISM OFFICIAL: The trends we will see is individuals within the U.S. that are sympathetic to the overall extremist cause. They're homegrown. They have the same beliefs. They have the same mission to potentially cause harm to Americans or others.
ARENA: While the exact number is classified, counterterrorism sources say the FBI has at least 300 individuals currently identified as persons of interest.
Those sources say these people have either communicated with known terrorists, or their names have surfaced in terrorism investigations. But some experts say, while the homegrown threat is serious, extremism is unlikely to take hold here like it has in Europe. So, the threat from terrorists overseas remains the greater concern.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: You know, if we have another attack in the United States, which I'm sure we will at some point, it is more likely to come from people coming into this country. That's been a patent in the past, I think that will be the patent in the future.
ARENA: One thing that's really telling, there hasn't been a suicide bombing in the United States. Now experts say if someone really wanted to do it, there's not much standing in the way. Kelli Arena, CNN, Washington.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, from an air force sergeant now to a killer on the run. The fugitive who fooled his way out of capture. And it was all caught on tape. That is just the beginning of a real-life escape artist. "America's Most Wanted" John Walsh is closely following the case. He'll join us coming up.
Also, tonight, polygamists on trial, as the search for their fugitive leader, Warren Jeffs intensifies, police are putting the pressure on his followers. All that and more ahead on 360.
COOPER: Tonight a killer who escaped twice from prison is on the run, although he came incredibly close to getting caught. Take a look at this. It's from a police car's dashboard camera, it was taken back in April, when a Louisiana police officer encountered Richard McNair, a murderer, a fugitive who had just broken out of prison. Listen to what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER: What it is, we've got an escapee.
MCNAIR: Where from?
OFFICER: The prison.
MCNAIR: There's a prison here?
OFFICER: Yeah. What color eyes you got?
MCNAIR: Green. Well kind of a turquoise blue.
OFFICER: Turquoise blue? You want to give me some more? You know the bad thing about it?
MCNAIR: What's that?
OFFICER: You're matching up to him.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well even though the cop told McNair that he fit the description of the escaped convict, the officer let him go just like that. Since then McNair has been sighted in a lot of places including the FBI's most-wanted list. McNair seems to be taunting his pursuers with new photographs. We're going to show you them in just a moment. But first a profile of this escape artist. CNN's Susan Roesgen investigates.
SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The story begins with a burglary at a grain elevator in Minot, North Dakota. It was at night and the burglar snuck through the storage facility. He was carrying a revolver but didn't plan to use it because no one was supposed to be there. Inside the company office, he was stopped briefly by a metal gate. But he fiddled with the wiring, got the gate to go up, and headed for the office safe. It was November of '87, and the burglar was Richard McNair, a 28-year-old sergeant at the air force base nearby. Friendly, good-looking, no one suspected that McNair was the one who had been burglarizing Minot businesses for weeks, until that night at the grain elevator when McNair was startled to see the manager who had come in to handle a late shipment.
This is where he shot me.
ROESGEN: McNair's first shot was aimed to kill.
RICHARD KITZMAN, VICTIM: I think it took me down like this to my back. I ended up -- I don't know if I hit these drawers. I ended up just missing the drawers, I guess, right in here.
ROESGEN: And then he came and stood over you?
KITZMAN: He stood right there in front of the window.
ROESGEN: McNair shot Richard Kitzman four more times. And Kitzman who still works at the grain elevator today, is alive only because he fooled McNair into thinking he was dead. With McNair still on the property, Kitzman crawled to a phone and called police.
We have shots fired. Man's been shot at the farmer's union elevator on County Road 19.
ROESGEN: But McNair wasn't finished, because there was another potential witness. A truck driver was waiting for his shipment of grain outside the office and hadn't heard the shots. Minot Sheriff, Vern Erck, says the trucker, Jerry Theis, never had a chance.
SHERIFF VERN ERCK, WARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: He shot five more shots right at the truck driver, point blank and kills Mr. Theis. One of them was a head shot. Poor guy didn't know what hit him.
ROESGEN: Sheriff Erck cracked the case. He had McNair come to the police station, and that's when McNair pulled off his first escape. When the detectives brought him in for questioning, they handcuffed one of his hands to a chair, leaving his other hand free. While he casually chatted with the detectives, he reached for a tube of lip balm on the desk, smeared some of it on his wrist, and slipped out. McNair ran from police across town, racing into this house and onto the roof as the cops closed in, he jumped onto a tree branch that broke and fell to the ground. The police had him again, but not for long.
ERCK: When we had him in custody he was awaiting trial, he would have been in this cell block. And he took the very top two cinder blocks out of his cell, kept chipping away at them.
ROESGEN: McNair didn't get away that time, but he was successful four years later in 1992, escaping from the state prison in Bismarck where he had been sent for the murder. When he was caught, he was transferred through a series of prisons and late last year wound up at the federal penitentiary in Pollack, Louisiana. That's where he pulled off his best escape yet. How did he get out of a maximum- security prison? The answer is amazing.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: It's unbelievable, this guy. From one prison break to another desperate and cunning, Richard McNair breaks free from prison and chronicles his life on the lam in photographs believe it or not. We'll show you all the photos.
Also on the hunt for McNair, "America's Most Wanted" John Walsh, he joins us to talk about this elusive criminal next on 360.
COOPER: So before the break we told you about a killer fugitive, a con man literally who has managed to con his way out of getting captured. Despite escaping from prison he convinced a cop to let him go. That encounter was caught on tape, you're seeing it right there. It's not the only time he's appeared before the camera. CNN's Susan Roesgen continues now with her report on the elusive Richard McNair.
ROESGEN: This is Duncan, Oklahoma, population 23,000, Richard McNair's hometown. It's a small town. Everybody seems to know everything about everybody else. But nobody could tell us much of anything about Richard McNair.
VICKI VRIONES, DUNCAN, OKLAHOMA: You've got to understand small town people live different than large people. We're close. We care about each other. And we just -- there's no point making a big issue out of it because we don't want to hurt each other.
ROESGEN: Since we couldn't find anyone on the street to talk about McNair, we went to the library and looked him up in the high school yearbook. There he was, Rick McNair, graduating in 1977. Even back in high school, Rick was in trouble. A report from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reveals that when he was still a student he was arrested for stealing a car. Investigators say McNair's family in Duncan is embarrassed and hurt by McNair's crimes. And when I tried to talk to his mother, she wouldn't open the door. She knows her son is on the run now after his most dramatic escape yet.
In April, McNair slipped out of the maximum-security federal prison in Pollack, Louisiana. McNair worked at the prison repairing mail bags, similar to these. He used those mail bags to make an ingenious escape. Prison officials won't say exactly how he did it, but somehow McNair made an enclosure inside a stack of mail bags sort of like a beaver dam, crawled inside it, had more mail bags on top, shrink wrapped, and then he was wheeled on a pallet right outside the prison walls. And the chase was on. While law enforcement combed the woods around the prison, one small town police officer stopped a man who fit McNair's description.
OFFICER: What it is, we've got an escapee.
MCNAIR: Oh. Where from?
OFFICER: The prison.
MCNAIR: From the prison here?
ROESGEN: The officer wouldn't talk to us about it, but his dashboard camera caught the encounter on tape.
OFFICER: What color eyes you got?
MCNAIR: Green, well kind of a turquoise blue.
OFFICER: Turquoise blue? You want to give me some more? You know the bad thing about it?
MCNAIR: What's that?
OFFICER: You're matching up to him.
ROESGEN: The similarities were obvious, but McNair was so smooth, he talked his way out of an arrest. And two weeks later, despite a massive manhunt, he was 1,000 miles away across the border in Canada. McNair was spotted in a stolen car but got away before the Mounties could catch him. Inside the car were pictures McNair had taken of himself to make fake IDs. That was on April 28th, the last time law enforcement found a trace. Once again, McNair has vanished. GLEN BELLGUARD, U.S. MARSHAL: I am living Richard McNair's life right now. This case, getting him, putting him back in prison, is what I'm about right now.
ROESGEN: U.S. Marshal Glen Bellguard has been chasing McNair every step of the way. He's gotten thousands of tips, and he thinks McNair is still in Canada. But where and when McNair might be caught is anybody's guess.
BELLGUARD: He'll eventually make another mistake, and we're going to be there waiting for him.
ROESGEN: A fugitive who's smart, but maybe not smart enough to get away for good.
OFFICER: Be careful, buddy.
ROESGEN: Susan Roesgen, CNN, Alexandria, Louisiana.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Richard McNair is no stranger to John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted" joined me earlier.
COOPER: John, Richard McNair, this guy's a former soldier, trained in martial arts. How dangerous is he?
JOHN WALSH, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: He's really, really extremely dangerous. You know he escaped -- he was a flight risk, so they put him in a maximum-security prison because he had escaped from three other prisons. So they knew how dangerous he is. We all saw the video of that poor cop in Louisiana that, you know, McNair talked his way out of it. He said, "No, I'm down here to work on roofs for the hurricane Katrina victims."
So he's charming and smart. Then he makes it to Canada, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who are really excellent, I've done many, many cases with them. They pull him over and don't realize that he's wanted and let him go. So he's talked his way out of two confrontations with police, two potential captures, so he's a very dangerous, dangerous nut case, and I hope people don't forget that he's a convicted murderer. And again, as you mentioned, that he's a martial arts expert. He's a weapons expert. He's a survivalist. I think he'll be hard to catch, but I hope people remember one thing, just what you said, he's a dangerous, dangerous fugitive.
COOPER: It's also interesting, he used the Freedom of Information Act to get the FBI records on his last escape to learn exactly how they tracked him down. I've never heard of that before.
WALSH: No. I mean, we have a lot of freedoms in this country that our young men and women are dying for to protect. But I don't know how a guy in prison, who had escaped successfully three times, is allowed to get FBI closed files through the Freedom of Information Act to plan his next escape. That's exactly what he did. He used a local defense attorney. He used the books in the law library. Here's a murderer who has escaped from three prisons. He gets those files and he pores over them meticulously. We looked at his journal and all his plans. He looked at all the mistakes he made and made sure he didn't make those mistakes on this escape. That's how he got out by getting the FBI confidential files. It's mind boggling. I don't think it's right.
COOPER: It's unbelievable. In 1992, I guess to escape he dyed his hair blond, he grew it longer. I guess no doubt, he'd try that again if it worked.
WALSH: Well, it did work. It worked three times. And unfortunately, he got caught. And it worked very well the last time. I mean, he's been out there for months now, and I just hope that people continue looking for him before he hurts somebody, before he kills somebody. But he's a very smart guy, and he gets in those prison cells, and he has nothing but time on his hands, and he meticulously planned this escape by using those FBI files. He's a real danger to society.
COOPER: John Walsh, thanks.
(END OF VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: And we'll continue to follow the progress in trying to capture Richard McNair.
Straight ahead, how people are getting involved in another way, saving the orphaned pets of Katrina. We showed you some incredibly cute puppies just last night. Tonight, we will tell you about the outpouring of support from around the country for these animals including one celebrity who is adopting one of these guys. A hint, the puppy's name is Kelly. So who might the celebrity be?
Plus what happened at Wimbledon that nobody expected, the sight nobody really expected to see or perhaps wanted to see. Not during a women's match that's for sure. It is tonight's shot. And a heck of a shot it is next.
COOPER: Coming up, a real Wimbledon ball boy. That's right, the puns -- well, they're just endless on this story. That's coming up. But first, Erica Hill from "Headline News" joins us with some of the business stories we're following tonight. Erica?
HILL: Anderson, stocks on Wall Street posted moderate gains today ahead of tomorrow's Labor Department employment report. The Dow gaining 73 to finish at 11,225, almost gaining back the losses stemming from yesterday's news of North Korean missile tests. The S&P 500 rose 3 points, the NASDAQ also eked out a positive close gaining just under 2. The Dow actually got some help today from Altria, that's the company that owns Philip Morris. After the Florida Supreme Court refused to reinstate a $145 billion verdict against big tobacco, it's one of the largest damage awards in U.S. history. The supreme court decision agreed with an appeals court ruling that the cases should not have been classified as a class action. The court also called the award, quote, clearly excessive.
New Jersey's casinos are back in business. The governor and lawmakers striking a deal today to end the budget stalemate. It also puts an end to a six-day state shutdown which closed government offices and put 80,000 people out of work.
Finally, mortgage rates are the highest they've been in four years. Freddie Mac says they should stay under 7 percent this year. The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is 6.79 percent, that's up just a little from last week's 6.78 percent, Anderson.
COOPER: Erica, time for "the shot." I don't know if you saw this, happened during a pretty quiet day at Wimbledon earlier this week. Maria Sharapova was leading 3 - 0 in the second set of the quarter final Tuesday when, da da da, a 29 year old disc jockey leapt from the stands naked except for socks, shoes.
HILL: Well hello there.
COOPER: Yes, she was quite amused. It's a sporting event so naturally there were plenty of media people around to comment on the interruption. Listen.
Tracy, avert your eyes. [ speaking foreign language ]
COOPER: Les streaker.
HILL: How about that?
COOPER: I like that.
HILL: That was superb English.
COOPER: The streaker had time to turn a cartwheel in front of the royal box. Yeah.
HILL: So he's got some moves is what we're learning.
COOPER: Yes. Apparently he got his bits and pieces all in order, and they wrapped him up. Whoa! Wow! There's the cartwheel. Yikes! Wow!
HILL: And you know, he was smart to leave the sneakers on in case he needed to make a quick getaway. But, you know, apparently that didn't happen.
COOPER: I'm not sure the cartwheel was necessary, though. Erica, thanks.
HILL: See you later.
COOPER: Hey, lady! On last night's program we met a real American hero. Sam Bailey runs the Pontchartrain Humane Society in Pearlington, Mississippi. Since Katrina hit, he's been struggling to protect dozens of abandoned animals, he's basically given over his whole house to these animals. After our story aired, his Web site received 11,000 hits, between 11:00 p.m. eastern time and 6:00 a.m. this morning. He's received hundreds of e-mails from people interested in helping out. This little one, this little dog right there, a German shepherd border collie mix called Kelly, is going to a good home.
We've been told that he's being adopted by pop star Kelly Clarkson who apparently saw the program last night and fell in love with her namesake and so is going to adopt the dog. That certainly is good news for that puppy. Once again if you'd like to be able to help out Sam or maybe adopt some of those dogs, the number for the Pontchartrain Humane Society is 985-699-9040. The Web site, pontchartrainhumanesociety.org. It has pictures of pets that need adopting and it also has a wish list. If you'd prefer to donate things like food and medicine to care for animals that haven't yet been placed in foster homes.
Straight ahead, President Bush is in his own words, more from his exclusive interview with Larry King.
Also the voice of homegrown terror, a new tape from one of the now dead London subway bombers. And what it says about the killers next door may be even your neighbors.
And also first on CNN, an inside look at the latest raid on a polygamist compound. The noose is tightening on fugitive leader Warren Jeffs. We'll look at how authorities are trying to get some influence and some pressure to find the fugitive polygamist. All that and more ahead on 360.
COOPER: Good evening. It's being called a perfect storm of challenges to this country around the globe. Tonight, only on CNN, the most powerful leader in the world, President Bush, responds.
Up close and personal. President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. The exclusive interview with Larry King on the war, North Korea, and his 60th birthday.
BUSH: I'm convinced the strategy we've got is the best way to solve this problem.
ANNOUNCER: Terror tape. Voice from the grave.
What you have witnessed now is only the beginning.
ANNOUNCER: On the eve of the London attacks, one of the bombers warns of even more destruction to come.
And holy laughter. Forget comedy clubs. The faithful are getting their chuckles at church and finding God along the way. COOPER: Thanks for joining us. We begin tonight with the White House under fire and a president facing tough questions, even from supporters. Questions about how to deal with a collection of crisis larger than any in recent memory. Some of it both critics and supporters say are the administration's own making. With that as a backdrop, especially the North Korean missile showdown, President Bush and the first lady sat down with an exclusive interview with CNN's Larry King.
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