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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Former CIA Director Under Fire Over Tell-All Iraq War Book; Sex Scandal Hits Washington
Aired April 30, 2007 - 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.
George Tenet has spoken. And some former CIA officers say he is not telling the truth. You are going to hear from two of them in a moment.
What Tenet has just said on "LARRY KING" and what he says in his book can be boiled down to this: The Bush administration rushed the country to war, minus the intelligence to justify it.
He's been talking not just about the war, but also 9/11, the two defining moments of last decade, at least for this country, and Tenet was there for both.
Let's listen to some of what he's been saying.
COOPER (voice-over): George Tenet says there was never clear evidence of what the administration has claimed for years.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC NEWS)
CHARLIE GIBSON, ABC NEWS: Did you ever believe, ever, that there was a hint of an Iraq-al Qaeda connection?
GEORGE TENET, FORMER CIA DIRECTOR: No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tenet tells ABC's Charlie Gibson he shared his concerns with the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC NEWS)
TENET: We wrote a definitive paper January of '03 that made all of this clear, laid out our concerns, told people what we thought.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: But, the very next month, the Bush administration claimed it had established a connection.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Iraq today harbors a deadly terrorist network headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, an associate and collaborator of Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda lieutenants.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Tenet says he believed it at the time, even though he now says the evidence was never found.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")
TENET: Intelligence -- you know, my business is not always about the truth. It's about people's best judgments about what the truth may be. We believed it. We wrote it. We let the secretary down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Bottom line, the former CIA director says the White House had already made up its mind to go to war, before it had proof. He recalls running into Pentagon adviser Richard Perle at the White House just one day after the 9/11 attacks.
Tenet writes that Perle told him -- quote -- "Iraq has to pay a price for what happened yesterday. They bear responsibility."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "60 MINUTES")
TENET: I remember thinking to myself, as I'm about to go brief the president, 'What the hell is he talking about?'
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Perle tells "The Weekly Standard" he was in France at the time and never said that. Tenet admits, maybe he got the date wrong, but insists the conversation took place. Now he says the White House is making him a scapegoat, after no WMDs were found. The Bush administration denies that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER")
CONDOLEEZZA RICE, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: It was an intelligence problem worldwide. We all thought, including U.N. inspectors, that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. So, there's no blame here of anyone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A former CIA officer doesn't see it that way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "AMERICAN MORNING")
LARRY JOHNSON, COUNTERTERRORISM EXPERT: George Tenet's hands are just as bloody as everybody else in this administration in helping gin up what was an unfounded case for war.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Larry Johnson is one of six ex-CIA officers who wrote a letter to Tenet, calling his book a -- quote -- "admission of failed leadership."
And, in an interview with NBC's Tom Brokaw, Tenet responded to critics who say he was too eager to please the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NBC NEWS)
TENET: My whole professional life has been about serving, not pleasing. Being in the Oval Office is business. It's not about pleasing. I believe we were objective, tough and fair. And that's how I did my job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: A job that is still under fire, and will be for decades.
COOPER: Larry Johnson joins me now -- you saw him in that piece -- along with former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who also signed the Tenet letter. Both, we ought to point out, have been critical of administration policy in the past. And neither served under Director Tenet.
Gentlemen, thanks for being with us.
Larry, you believe that Tenet's hands are just as bloody as any other official, and that he should have spoken out before the war.
Here's something that Tenet told Larry King a few moments ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
TENET: The implication, of course, is, is, I knew how bad this was all going to be, and didn't speak up.
Well, Larry, nobody had that kind of wisdom. I wasn't prescient. I will say this. We called them as we saw them, when we got on the ground in Iraq. When we understood how badly a post-war plan would be implemented, we spoke truth to power. We always did our best to tell people what we thought, why we thought, and made it as clear as possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Larry, do you buy that?
And, in fact, Anderson, in your setup piece, in January of 2003, he says, and his analysts tell him, there is no relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam. And, the next month, he's sitting there behind Colin Powell, saying, well, yes, there is. Now, which is it, George? You can't have it both ways, buddy. Just because you're getting $40 million doesn't mean you can pick and choose your facts. It is incontrovertible that, on issue after issue, George Tenet decided to play ball, in most cases, with the administration, instead of standing up for a lot of analytical lines.
COOPER: I think you said $40 million. You probably meant $4 million. I think that was the -- that was the advance for his book.
JOHNSON: Well, that's -- the way the book sales are going.
COOPER: You never know, I guess.
Ray, in your joint letter to Tenet, you said that he failed to use his position of power to protect the intelligence process and the country. Why was that so important? What did you think he did wrong?
RAY MCGOVERN, FORMER CIA ANALYST: Well, it's very clear. He's right when he says that the administration went to war on the basis of very little intelligence, on the basis of warped intelligence.
What he doesn't say is that he was an active member of this conspiracy. And I use the word advisedly. The conspiracy was aimed at deceiving the American people and the U.S. Congress -- the U.S. Congress out of its prerogative to declare or otherwise authorize war. And what happened was, Congress was deceived.
And, so, not only am I upset about the corruption of my profession, the intelligence profession. I'm upset about the congressional crisis, where one branch of the government suborns the other into approving an unnecessary war. That's really important.
COOPER: Was he -- was he too much of a cheerleader for the president, for the policy? Because even his criticism of the slam dunk, his saying, "Well, look, I wasn't talking about the actual presence of WMD; I was talking about making a case to the American people," was it his job to make a case to the American people?
MCGOVERN: Not at all. You know, he just doesn't get it. It's not the role of the head of the intelligence establishment to help the president sell a war, just war or unjust war.
And he knew better. And that's the important thing. There were two things that need to be pointed out. The Downing Street memo shows -- it's documentary proof, vouched for by the British government -- that George Tenet told the head of British intelligence, on the 20th of July, 2002, so, eight months before the war, that the president had decided to remove Saddam Hussein, that the war would be "justified" -- in quotes -- by the conjunction of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism.
Translation from the British: We're going to say he has all kinds of weapons of mass destruction, and that he's likely to give them to terrorists. And then the crowning sentence: But the intelligence and facts are being fixed around the policy.
You can't get it any clearer than that. The intelligence was fixed around the policy. And George Tenet not only knew it, but he told his British counterpart that.
COOPER: And, Larry, now he's saying that -- you know, that there was no connection between Iraq's -- Saddam Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda. But that's not what he was saying back then.
JOHNSON: That is correct. I mean, he -- he had the intelligence.
You know, I have spoken with analysts who shared that intelligence with him. And he had it in February of 2003. He both backed up Colin Powell at the U.N., and he also testified before Congress to that fact. And, you know, it was misleading. It was designed to help shape the American public's opinion to support going to war.
And that's why we're upset. This is -- I -- we think George Tenet did some good things in reviving the morale of the agency. He did some good things in trying to prevent terrorism. This isn't about, we don't like George Tenet. This has nothing to do with the personal nature of George Tenet.
What it has to do is with the integrity of the intelligence process and the ability of the American people to trust that people are given that sacred trust will perform it correctly, honestly, and honorably. And, in this case, George Tenet failed that when it came to Iraq.
COOPER: Ray, the other thing that George Tenet has said several times now very forcefully on CNN -- on "60 Minutes" -- he said it again to Larry tonight -- something that the president also says, which is, America does not torture.
That doesn't seem to be supported by the facts. And -- and I say that with great reluctance. But, from all of the facts that have come out so far, it's hard to really make that case with a straight face anymore.
MCGOVERN: That's correct, Anderson.
He said "We do not torture" five times in five consecutive sentences. When Scott Pelley tried to inconvenient there, he said: Look, you're not listening to me. Listen, this is what it is. We don't torture.
And then he went on to explain why it was necessary to torture people, how bad these people were, and how much danger we were all in. It was really quite a bizarre performance.
And I think Senator McCain is exactly right when he says that: I don't trust -- I don't accept George Tenet's premise that he saved lives by torturing people, aside from the fact that it's just morally wrong.
COOPER: Ray McGovern, Larry Johnson, we appreciate your perspectives. We are going to talk to you in the next hour as well.
More on the political dimension, on how a fight over intelligence and policy evolves into something else, and possibly something more -- joining us for that angle, former presidential adviser David Gergen.
David, good to have you on the program again.
What do you make of what George Tenet has been saying overall?
DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Well, overall, Anderson, I think we're sometimes losing sight, in all of the backing- and-forthing, in that this is a very stinging indictment of the administration, and that it confirms some of the critics', you know, strongest attacks on the administration, namely, that there was a rush to war, without a lot of deliberation in advance, that the claims made against Iraq were purposely -- purposely -- intentionally inflated by the administration, and that, after we got there, there was a real effort to dismiss or ignore or that people were in denial about the degree to which Iraq had turned into a civil war.
So, here's a man who was at the center of the administration, may -- and now is at the center of a new storm of his own making. But I think those are serious -- when the storm over George Tenet, should he have written this book, and he get -- you know, he's getting batted back and forth now; he's getting hit from the left and from the right and now from the CIA, former CIA types -- I still think those indictments coming from someone that close to the president are going to have a withering impact on the president's place in history and upon people's judgment about this war.
COOPER: Did it surprise you that he does not seem to criticize the president directly? He certainly criticizes Vice President Cheney quite directly and many others. But the president, he seems to say we're very much alike and doesn't really seem to hold the president responsible.
GERGEN: Well, that is interesting, isn't it? And I think they did have a very personal chemistry that enabled him to stay on.
Remember that George Tenet was appointed by Bill Clinton. So, for George W. Bush to keep him, there had to be a special chemistry. I think they both cultivated that. They both like each other. They're both fighters.
And, so, he's gone after Vice President Cheney. We all know -- it doesn't totally surprise that he went after the vice president, because they were at war with each other, just as the State Department was often at war with Vice President Cheney and with the Defense Department.
But what I do think, Anderson, is, by going after the vice president and sparing the president, I don't think it really helps the president. I mean, you cannot separate Dick Cheney out from George W. Bush in the public's mind. They're joined at the hip, so that even though the -- it -- you can aim the missile at the vice president, but, in fact, it really hits the president, too.
COOPER: How does all this play into the upcoming election? I mean, there's no doubt we are going to be hearing a lot of George Tenet's name on the campaign trail.
GERGEN: Well, it has been -- it has been something a surprise that the Democrats have gone after him hammer and tongs, because it seems to me that there are going to be some Democrats that are going to want to cite George Tenet along the way.
You know, he -- Republicans were praising him before. They gave him a Medal of Freedom. But now it's the Democrats who are going to want to seize upon this book for added ammunition. They will call him up there for hearings. He's going to sell a lot of books.
I want to say one more thing about this, though. I think there are some legitimate criticisms being aimed at George Tenet and this book. But, fundamentally -- I have known this fellow a long time. He's, fundamentally, a very decent guy. He served this country well.
I think he was -- at times, he must have been very torn about what he should do inside. You know, should you -- should you go public with your criticisms and pull the plug, in effect, on the president in the midst of a war? I understand and am very sympathetic with the kind of war within himself that he had to go through.
I hope we don't lose sight of the human dimension here, as people go after Tenet. You know, fundamentally, he tried to serve two presidents extremely well.
COOPER: How does this administration compare with past administrations? I mean, we have talked about sort of the arrogance of power. And many White Houses have a certain level of arrogance. Does this administration -- I mean, is it more than you have seen in past administrations?
GERGEN: Well, the inside factional fighting, I think, has assumed almost legendary proportions.
There's always been some infighting. The Reagan administration had a lot of infighting between the moderates. You know, President Reagan used to say sometimes that the right hand did not know what the far-right hand was doing, and that they were...
GERGEN: ... they were struggling with each other.
But this goes -- this exceeds, because these are real heavyweights who are throwing up against each other. And, in the middle of a war -- and that is what is really strikingly different. You know, we have had differences of opinion before. But to have this kind of factionalism right in the middle of a war really says the president didn't have a grip on this, and he allowed his lieutenants to really go after each other with knives.
And now they're going public with their -- their -- those internal rivalries and those disputes. There's -- I mean, this is -- I think where George Tenet is going to pay a price is, this book has a quality of seeming like it's trying to settle scores, as well as tell the truth.
And, when you do that in Washington, what you will find is, if you want to settle scores with people, you better be prepared for a street fight, because they are going to come after you, too.
COOPER: And it certainly seems like that is happening now.
David Gergen, appreciate it.
COOPER: Thanks, David.
GERGEN: Thank you.
COOPER: The next presidential debate is Thursday, the Republican candidates. We going to have special coverage after the debate at 11:00 p.m. Eastern.
And a reminder: You can see Larry King's entire interview with George Tenet at midnight Eastern tonight, right after 360.
The Tenet story is no idle controversy. It is literally life and death. April was one of the deadliest months of this war; 104 Americans died in Iraq last month, 104 American service members. And a new report from the State Department blames violence in Iraq for a 25-percent-plus increase in global terrorism last year. Attacks on troops and especially civilians in Iraq accounted for nearly two- thirds of the terrorism fatalities worldwide.
We will more of that in our next hour with CNN's Michael Ware.
But straight ahead tonight: potentially the biggest sex scandal to hit Washington in years. It involves a black book, red faces and the woman they're calling the D.C. madam.
COOPER (voice-over): She says chill out.
DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY, DEFENDANT: I would ask the press and the media to put aside the titillation of the who's-who list.
COOPER: Easy for her to say. She's got the list, and a lot of Washington insiders might be on it. Coming up: how the D.C. madam could be planning to use her little black book.
Also: the perils of reporting on a planet in peril. (SCREAMING)
COOPER: Jeff Corwin, me and the unexpected -- ahead on 360.
COOPER: Beautiful shot of the sun setting here in Los Angeles.
Emotions are running high in Washington this evening. It is not just about the war or what George Tenet is saying. There's also the long-awaited homecoming at the White House of a public figure whose personal battle is making him an inspiration for a lot of a people.
CNN's Joe Johns has more on tonight's "Raw Politics," starting with the war over Iraq.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, with a bang and a whimper, the Iraq spending bill could reach the president's desk as early as tomorrow, and hit the scrap heap by the time the sun goes down.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have made my position very clear. The Congress chose to ignore it. So, I will veto the bill. That's not to say that I'm not interested in their opinions. I am.
JOHNS: Democrats in Congress get political points. They can claim they tried to put timetables on the war. Now they have to start over.
Oh, by the way, in case you have been in a cave somewhere, tomorrow is the four-year anniversary of the president's "Mission Accomplished" moment on an aircraft carrier.
When the smoke clears on that, there's always another issue to fight about: immigration reform. Remember all the noise about this a year ago? Well, it's back -- closed-door meetings, arm-twisting sessions, all the things you hear about when a bill wants to become a law, plus, rallies scheduled in major cities. Some in the Senate are hoping to get a bill on the floor by the end of this month. Opponents are saying, hold your nose, but don't hold your breath.
Meanwhile, some raw emotions in politics today, with three health headlines in the ruling class.
First up was White House spokesman Tony Snow, back on the job after five weeks of cancer treatment.
TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I want to thank everybody in this room. You guys...
JOHNS: Coming out of the hospital today, both Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who is recovering from a brain hemorrhage, and New Jersey Jon Corzine, three weeks after he was nearly killed in a car crash.
GOV. JON CORZINE (D), NEW JERSEY: Nothing counts more than life than those people who care about you all the time.
JOHNS: Some pain today for the Rudy Giuliani camp -- they announced their leadership team, but, oops a handful of people on the list said they never asked to be involved. The campaign said it was a mistake. But, as it turns out, some of the people wrongly included on that list have decided to go along with it and join the campaign, which just goes to show, sometimes, in politics, if you say it forcefully enough, it will become reality.
And that's "Raw Politics" -- Anderson.
COOPER: Joe, thanks.
Here's another reality. You can catch "Raw Politics" and the day's headlines 24/7 with the new 360 daily podcast. You don't need an iPod. You can watch it on your computer at CNN.com/AC360podcast, or get it from the iTunes store, where it is a top download.
Up next on 360: the so-called D.C. madam faces a judge. She says releasing her little black book isn't blackmail. Some of the high- profile people who are allegedly in the book may disagree. Who's right and why it matters -- some experts weigh in, next on 360.
COOPER: In Washington tonight, one of the biggest sex scandals to hit in years, and it's just beginning at the center, this woman, Deborah Jeane Palfrey. She's the alleged madam of a prostitution ring that may have catered to thousands of clients, including perhaps high- power and high-profile client.
Already, Randall Tobias, a top State Department official, has said he used the services, not for sex, but for massages. He resigned last week. Now of Washington is wondering, whose name will be next?
With me now are CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and "Washington Post" reporter Amy Argetsinger.
Appreciate both of you being with us.
Amy, so, this woman, Deborah Palfrey, she gave four years of phone records to ABC News. ABC reported her clients include -- and I quote -- a Bush administration economist, the head of a conservative think tank, a prominent CEO, several lobbyists, and a handful of military officials.
How big a deal is this in Washington? Are -- are people really getting nervous? AMY ARGETSINGER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It -- I imagine people are getting nervous if they are among Deborah Palfrey's previous clients.
If they're getting nervous, though, they aren't preemptively articulating this to members of the media -- at least not that I know of -- quite yet.
COOPER: Gee, I can't imagine why.
ARGETSINGER: Certainly -- certainly, people are buzzing about it. There's a whole lot of curiosity.
I mean, you can't say, you know, imply that you have possibly 10,000, 15,000 clients in the Washington area, and not get people curious and excited who might be on the list.
COOPER: Who knew there was so much going on in D.C. besides politics?
COOPER: Jeff -- Jeff, can Palfrey or ABC, for that matter, legally reveal the names of people who used an escort service, or a massage service, or whatever it was called?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think so. This is not a national security matter. It's her property. She can do with that whatever she wants.
And what makes this so clever, what she's doing is, her defense in this case is: Look, I was running a massage service. I wasn't running a prostitution ring. Go ask my clients. They think -- they will say it was a massage service, not a -- not a prostitution ring, too.
So, she's basically saying, these people will corroborate her. Now, whether any normal human being actually believes that this was, in fact, a massage service, and not a prostitution ring, I don't know. But it is funny how, in a legal sense, her interests and the johns' interests are congruent.
COOPER: Well, I actually want to play a bite that she -- of something she said at a -- at a press conference, because, in fact, Randall Tobias, as Jeff just pointed out, said that he used the service, but it was just for a massage. And, as Jeff said, she's saying this backs her up.
Let's -- let's play that bite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PALFREY: Friday's admission by Mr. Tobias that he engaged in legal activity while a customer of my firm supports my position all along that I operated a sexual, albeit legal, business, for 13 years, from 1993 to 2006.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What she didn't say is that, in '93, I guess, she did serve 18 months -- or prior to '93, she served 18 months for running a prostitution ring in California. But...
ARGETSINGER: And started her D.C. business while she was on probation, I believe.
COOPER: Oh, is that right?
TOOBIN: But, as they say in Washington, mistakes were made, OK?
TOOBIN: But she says she turned over a new leaf and is now running a non-sexual massage business.
COOPER: But, Jeff, do they have -- do you know what evidence they have against her? Do they have people who have come forward?
TOOBIN: You don't. I don't.
And what makes prostitution often a difficult crime to prosecute is that it's a victimless crime. So, no one will testify about what really went on. The johns don't want to testify. The prostitutes don't want to testify. The pimps, if that's what Ms. Palfrey really was, they don't want to testify. So, there's no witness to testify to the illegal activity, which is sex for money.
Now, I don't know what the evidence is here, but, you know, large-scale prostitution rings have been historically hard to -- hard prove that they're criminal, because there's not a good witness, unless you have an undercover agent. And I'm not aware that there's one in this case.
COOPER: No pun intended.
And, Amy, there was something else she said in the press conference that I want to play, because she's sort of intimating that there's great conspiracies at the core of this.
Let's listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PALFREY: I believe there is something very, very rotten at the core of my circumstance. And, without money to hire my own investigators, I must rely upon your acumen and talent here in the press and the media to uncover the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Amy, what is she talking about?
ARGETSINGER: Well, she has been -- guilty or innocent, she's been very artful about the way she has spilled this out and teased this out to maintain the public interest and the public curiosity.
If, six weeks ago, all these names had spilled out at once, poof, the story would be gone. Instead, we're being promised, oh, there are all these names, 10,000 names. Maybe some of these people are big deals.
You know, the first couple of names we have heard are, frankly, you know, impressive guys, impressive careers, but they're not household names, not even inside the beltway, in a lot of households, anyway. They're not people who turn heads when they walk into restaurants.
So, you know, if this had come out sooner, I think people would have been a little less interested. They would have sort of turned away. It's very much playing into the conspiracy theory, the fantasies people have about Washington, that there's, you know, this great excitement and evil and corruption beneath the surface, and, hey, maybe that's true.
But, certainly, it ha turned into an interesting saga, the way it's spilled out.
TOOBIN: And there's -- there's one more factor, Anderson, which is simple hypocrisy.
Washington is full of people who tell us about virtue. Good old Mr. Tobias was in charge of abstinence education, or -- or that was one area of responsibility at the State Department. And Washington is full of people promising virtue. And, when, you know, their names turn out to be in the back -- in the little black book, you know, that's a delicious story none of us can resist, and, frankly, none of us should resist.
ARGETSINGER: But let's also admit, though...
ARGETSINGER: This is not quite -- this doesn't quite have the texture of the past great Washington sex scandals.
Thus far, we're not hearing about abuse of office, abuse of official funds. Back in the day, when you would hear about these sex scandals, it would be a congressman who was sleeping with a subordinate, sleeping with a lobbyist, putting a girlfriend on the payroll. Thus far...
COOPER: Oh, the halcyon days.
TOOBIN: That's right.
ARGETSINGER: Thus far, it's nothing quite like that.
TOOBIN: No one swimming in the Tidal Basin yet in this case.
COOPER: All right.
COOPER: All right.
Well, Jeff, by the way, as far as I know, massage does not cross the abstinence line. But I -- what do I know?
TOOBIN: That's another -- that's a subject for another night.
COOPER: That's right, although, in Washington, I don't know what a massage really means.
COOPER: Anyway, Amy, thanks very much.
ARGETSINGER: Thank you.
COOPER: Amy Argetsinger, and Jeff Toobin, as well.
Amy is from "The Washington Post."
Straight ahead, the high-speed police chase that made it to the United States Supreme Court.
Also, the emotional battle over immigration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER (voice-over): Fighting fire...
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: If I may, Rick, when Hispanics define themselves in terms of illegal immigration, which is what I hear you doing, that's troubling, because you're being very racial.
DOBBS: ... with fire.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm defining myself as the son of Paco and Adella, who came to this country as refugees.
DOBBS: Lou Dobbs, Rick Sanchez and immigration. Lou's passion, and for Rick, it's personal.
Also the perils of reporting on a planet in peril.
JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: Ow!
COOPER: Jeff Corwin, me, and the unexpected ahead on 360.
COOPER: And welcome back.
We are joining you tonight from Los Angeles. We've come here to preview the immigration rallies and demonstrations which are supposed to take place tomorrow. We'll be here tomorrow, as well.
Tonight's "Shot" is coming up. It was sent in by a CNN viewer. Wait until you hear what happened to the driver in that truck. Hit by a train. The story and "The Shot" in a moment.
First Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Anderson, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has closed a legal leap hole that allowed Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho to purchase weapons. His executive order requires anyone who gets involuntary mental health treatment to be entered in the database as people prohibited from buying guns. Now, it will apply even if that treatment is on an out-patient basis, as it was in Cho's case.
It is the first day of what could be some major traffic headaches for hundreds of thousands of commuters in the San Francisco Bay area. Many, though, chose public transportation today to avoid the congestion caused by the collapse of a major stretch of highway, which we're told could take months to fix.
Parts of it literally melted yesterday. This video was sent in by viewer Paul Cochley (ph). It shows the gasoline tanker crash that caused the collapse. The tanker's driver, by the way, survived.
The Supreme Court handed police a victory today, ruling a Georgia sheriff could not be sued for injuries caused by a high-speed case. The case was unusual here because of the sway this video had over the justices. Mainly, they rule on matters of law, not fact.
And on Wall Street this Monday, stocks slipping. The Dow lost 58 points. The NASDAQ fell 32. The S&P dropped 11. But for the month of April, all three markets posting gains. The Dow, of course, also hit that 13,000 mark for the first time -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Erica.
Time for "The Shot". I think you've seen this already. I- Reporter Laura Kennedy sent it in. She was at a red light in Richmond, Texas, today when she saw a train approaching slam into a moving van.
HILL: Just wild.
COOPER: And look at that. It got stuck on the track. The train hit the 18-wheeler broadside. The driver was still inside, if you can believe it. Take a look at it right there.
HILL: That's just incredible.
COOPER: Yes, he was not hurt. In fact, nobody was. And that is certainly good news, Erica. But an unbelievable picture there.
HILL: Scary to watch.
COOPER: And that is tonight's "Shot". And not pretty.
We want you to send us your "Shot" ideas. If you see some amazing video or shoot it, tell us about it at CNN.com/360. We'll put some of your best clips on the air.
Well, as I say, we've come to Los Angeles to preview the immigration battle, which is taking place as it plays out here tomorrow here and every day on the Mexican border.
CNN's Gary Tuchman joins us right now from Hidalgo, Texas, where Border patrol guards and the National Guard are a bigger presence than ever before.
Gary, how's it going?
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, if you look at a map we're at southern-most point of state of Texas right across the Rio Grande River, which is right behind me, just about a two-minute walk in the town of Reynosa (ph), a colorful, vibrant, noisy place chock full of people who are ready to make their move to come into the United States illegally.
Very easy to find people on that side of the river who want to cross the Rio Grande River, want to come into the country. Impossible to know how many people make it each day. We know many people do, but the U.S. government is saying that this year, arrest numbers are 30 percent down over last year. And they attribute that to increased Border patrol and the National Guard being on the scene over the last year.
Is that the word on the street in Mexico? Well, indeed it appears to be. We spent the day today with a 37-year-old man named Arturo Romero. He says over the last year he's tried to get into the United States three times illegally He was caught all three times, spent time in jail the second and third time.
He says he really needs to come to the United States. He can't afford to be in Mexico. He makes $12 a day on the best day of construction. He says next time he comes he'll pay a coyote, a very dangerous thing to do.
He said the going rate, $500, U.S. dollars, to pay a coyote to come to Texas, $1,500 to go all the way up to North Carolina. But he says he has to do it, and it could come next week or next month. And he tries to get into this country.
But I asked him, is that the word in Mexico, that there are much more people here, police, officials, who are ready to catch the Mexicans who come here?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: (speaking foreign language)
ARTURO ROMERO, MEXICAN RESIDENT (through translator): Yes, a lot. All types of police. There are a lot of them there. They won't let a person go there right now. The police right now are very observant of illegals. It's not like it used to be. Now it's very difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TUCHMAN: When you cross the bridge to get into Mexico from here the Rio Grande River looks like rapids at this point. It flows to the east. Nevertheless you see water bottles and you see clothes and you see shoes, indicating that people have made the effort and tried to come to the United States.
Have they made it here safely? Some have. Undoubtedly, thought, some haven't.
As far as Arturo Romero goes, we asked, why didn't you come into the United States legally? And he laughed at me, and he says, "I'm poor. I don't know anybody. I don't see any possibility that I could get into the U.S. legally."
Anderson, back to you.
COOPER: Interesting. Gary Tuchman, we'll check in with you tomorrow, as well.
How the immigration battle is dividing families on both sides of the border. That story is coming up tonight.
Also, the challenges reporting on a planet in peril. It can be a bruising experience, as we'll show you coming up next.
COOPER: We've been talking about here in Los Angeles and other major U.S. cities massive immigration rallies are planned for tomorrow. CNN is going to have full coverage. Our correspondents are spread out across the country to cover these rallies tomorrow.
Activists are hoping for a repeat of last year's huge turnouts. The numbers this year are not expected to be as big.
Here's what it looked like in Chicago last May 1, hundreds of thousands marching to show their support of immigrant rights. Back then, Elvira Arellano, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, hadn't yet become the symbol she is today. Her story's as complicated and heartbreaking as the issue itself.
With that, here's CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this tiny Methodist church on Chicago's west side, Sunday service. When it ends, this woman will stay. She says maybe for years. She is Elvira Arellano, a symbol of what many say is wrong with U.S. immigration policy. In the eyes of the law, she is a criminal.
(on camera) (speaking Spanish)
(voice-over) "No, she says. I'm only a mother, working to have the best for my son." A mother to 8-year-old Saul, and that's what complicates this case. Arellano is Mexican. Saul is a U.S. citizen. He's got a right to stay here, but like three to four million other children, a parent who is illegal.
(on camera) Like many immigrants, in Chicago and around the country, legal or illegal, Elvira Arellano worked as a nanny. She cleaned houses. She did odd jobs. She was working cleaning airplanes, making $7 an hour with no benefits when she was nabbed by federal agents who were clamping down on airport security.
(voice-over) Arellano was ordered deported. But for the past eight months she's been living with Saul, claiming sanctuary in an apartment above the church.
(on camera) Would you go back with her?
SAUL ARELLANO, SON: I don't know.
O'BRIEN: You wouldn't go back? You don't want to go back to Mexico? Why not?
S. ARELLANO: I don't -- I have my friends here, my school.
O'BRIEN: So you'd stay here without your mom?
(voice-over) Saul won't say.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she needs to be deported and take her son with her.
O'BRIEN: Rosanna Polido (ph) is part of You Don't Speak for Me: American-Hispanic Voices Speaking Out Against Illegal Immigrants. (on camera) There must be people who say, it's kind of heartless, whether you're talking about Elvira's case or any other case where you have a mother, potentially being deported, you know, a child who's an American citizen. Doesn't that sort of pull on your heartstrings at all? Don't you feel for them?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. Again, again, American citizens are the victims.
O'BRIEN (voice-over): Arellano has become a national poster child for both sides in the immigration debate: those who say the laws break up families and those who say illegal immigrants are taking advantage.
So why haven't immigration officials arrested Elvira Arellano? They say their priority is national security and their job to enforce immigration laws, without regard for an alien's ability to generate media attention.
Reverend Walter Coleman, who runs the church, has been doing just that, going on a hunger strike for more than three weeks.
REV. WALTER COLEMAN, PASTOR: Do they have a right to the human dignity of being able to stay together with their families in a legal manner? Or are we going to just treat them like mules?
O'BRIEN: How long will Elvira stay?
COLEMAN: We're in god's time in this church, and we'll be here as long as it takes.
COOPER: Soledad, does Elvira have any other options? I mean, is their a husband involved or are there other relatives who the son might stay with if she had to go back?
O'BRIEN: At this point she does not have a lot of other options. Part of the deal is that she is sort of pitching this as no options, because if, of course, there were other options it would complicate the story, which is already complicated, even more.
However, she has said that she does not want to leave without her son, and it's unclear if she'll take the son to Mexico and if she's really deported or not.
But many people have said on both side of the issues, "Well, why haven't immigration officials just come? They know where she is? It's obvious to everybody. Why don't they just come and get her?"
They say she's not the priority right yet.
COOPER: Interesting. Soledad, thanks very much.
If you've been following 360, you know we've been traveling the world learning more about what exactly is putting our planet in peril and what can be done about it.
The lessons are sometimes humbling. Sometimes, well, they're sort of perilous. Take a look.
COOPER (voice-over): Reporting on a planet in peril has been fascinating, inspiring and at times, provocative. The journey has often been a little scary, if not, well, perilous. Like when my travel partner, renowned wildlife biologist Jeff Corwin, got up close and personal, and a tree frog in Brazil used his cheek as a trampoline.
CORWIN: There he is.
COOPER: Or when Jeff tried to prove a point about a particularly prickly palm.
CORWIN: Trust me. Ready?
COOPER (on camera): Look, you're bleeding me.
CORWIN: It stings, doesn't it?
COOPER: Yes, it does.
CORWIN: That's because not only is this palm tree armed with these barbs with these spines but on the tip of each one of these spines is a bacteria that actually promotes stinging.
COOPER (voice-over): Sometimes animals are aptly named. Watch this guy, the three-toed tree slog. We were trying to release him back into the wild. He climbed up the trioquet (ph)..
COOPER (on camera): Oh!
COOPER (voice-over): Yes, that's the sound of a sloth falling out of a tree. But don't worry, he was just fine.
From Brazil we moved on to Cambodia, where we got quite friendly with an elephant. But as you're about to see, sometimes getting too close to an elephant is not a good idea.
COOPER: Despite the elephant attack and being sprayed by a tiger and being attacked by wasps, we were always reminded one thing. While everything on the planet may not be pretty, it is all precious, and it is our duty to protect it.
COOPER: We'll have a lot more about planet in peril in the coming weeks and months.
But up next tonight, a passionate and personal immigration debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: But that's the pattern, Lou. And I could give you statistic after statistic that shows here's one.
DOBBS: Give me just two.
SANCHEZ: All right.
DOBBS: I can give you statistic after statistic, as well.
SANCHEZ: I bet you can.
DOBBS: Well, let's start with one statistic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Focusing on the immigration battle that is taking place. Tomorrow we're going to be covering the immigration rallies which are going to be here in Los Angeles and around the country.
Lou Dobbs, of course, has made immigration a cornerstone of his program, "Lou Dobbs Tonight". A key player on CNN's coverage tomorrow.
And a few days ago, CNN's Rick Sanchez sat down with him on CNN's "NEWSROOM" to talk about the issue. The two come at it from a very different attitude. Let's just say the conversation was spirited. It began on a personal note.
SANCHEZ: Lou you have a great show. But I'll tell you, as a Hispanic living in the United States, I watch your show sometimes. And I hope you'll forgive me for he saying this.
SANCHEZ: I feel a little bit taken aback. I feel sometimes like I'm not valued after I watch one of your newscasts.
SANCHEZ: Do you get that?
DOBBS: Why is that, Rick?
SANCHEZ: You did a story last night about the Salvation Army, for example. And there's two people working at the Salvation Army and, apparently, there's a lawsuit in the story. You explained it quite well, as a matter of fact.
DOBBS: Thank you. SANCHEZ: Two people who essentially can be fired, because in a nonessential job in the back, folding clothes they wanted to say a couple of words to each other in Spanish. And you seemed horrified by that.
The question is, should there not be a little bit of room for tolerance? Are we not judged about how we treat the least amongst us?
DOBBS: If I may, Rick, when Hispanics define themselves in terms of illegal immigration, which is what I hear you doing, that's troubling.
SANCHEZ: Well, I'm not defining myself.
DOBBS: It's very racial.
SANCHEZ: I'm not defining myself according to illegal immigration. I'll tell you how I'm defining myself. I'm defining myself as the son of Paco and Adella, who came to this country as refugees, who came to this country as immigrants and this to this day don't speak a lick of English, but their son does.
And you know why they don't speak a lick of English? Because they worked three, four different jobs. They worked until 9, 10 p.m. at night just to be able to get home. And they used to say to us it's too late for us make it in this country, but we're going to be darn well sure that you guys get a good education, me and my brothers, and you do make it somehow and you will speak English.
DOBBS: That's a wonderful personal story. When you talk about your parents, do you realize that they represent a trend in this country that has been extant since the beginning of the nation...
DOBBS: ... secondly, that this nation brings in lawfully more than two million immigrants a year?
SANCHEZ: And that's what makes...
DOBBS: But let me finish.
SANCHEZ: Go ahead.
DOBBS: That is more than the rest of the world combined. And yet, I hear the affrontery that this is not a welcoming nation? That because I do not like illegal immigration and I can demonstrate factually that it is deleterious to the interests of the country, and that if there is a reason in the world for us to exist it is because we are a nation of laws, if for...
SANCHEZ: OK, well...
DOBBS: ... the racial context is absurd.
SANCHEZ: Let's -- do you want to fire two guys working in a kitchen somewhere who are washing dishes for minimum wage who happens to say to the other one...
... throw the towel at me, please. And the boss has the right to say you're fired. You just spoke Spanish. Is that the America you want?
DOBBS: Of course, Rick, that would be an absurdity. That's not the issue.
The issues I am concerned about more than the cultural issues, by far, are -- is simply following the law, and seeing the architecture of good public policy.
But the idea that you, as a Hispanic-American, would be offended by anyone who wants to constrain illegal immigration? Rick, I can't even imagine what would bubble through your soul on that?
SANCHEZ: You're absolutely 100 percent right. And to be fair, I watch you every single night, and you're consistent with that message. And you don't just talk about the illegal immigrants. You speak specifically about the people who hire them. You talk about the government that sets up a system where that can happen.
And I think that's important. And to be fair, you do that every night.
But you also have a tendency to use that word "illegal" over and over again. As if...
DOBBS: I mean illegal.
SANCHEZ: I know, but it's -- Lou...
DOBBS: Why would I not use illegal? They're illegal.
SANCHEZ: It's as if these people -- what's their option, Lou? What is their option? Read the State of Liberty.
DOBBS: Here's the option here are the options, and they're pretty straightforward. One, if businesses, large corporations, are interested in bringing in more cheap labor into this country, they should go to Congress and change public policy.
And secondly, those who come here illegally should go through their consulates and apply for citizenship, just like 6 million people who are waiting in line to enter this country lawfully.
SANCHEZ: Lou Dobbs you're a tough guy. I enjoyed this passionate conversation and debate. Let's do it again.
DOBBS: You've got a deal.
SANCHEZ: My colleague Lou Dobbs. Our "Sunday Spotlight".
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: And again, we're here focusing on the immigration rallies that are going to take place in Los Angeles and other cities across America tomorrow. Watch CNN for next.
But up next, tonight in our next hour, former CIA director George Tenet in his own words. Also, his critics in their words.
Also tonight, an American in Nicaragua convicted of killing a local beauty with no physical evidence, and ten people who said he was somewhere else. Justice or mob justice? You be the judge, next on 360.
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