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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Spanier, Schultz and Curley Facing Charges in Sandusky's Case; Supreme Court Upholds President Obama's Healthcare Law; Firestorm In Colorado; Opponents: Syria Using Heavier Firepower; Doping Charges Filed Against Armstrong; Mohamed Morsi Hails Egyptian People; Boys Who Harassed Monitor Suspended; Swimming From Cuba To Florida; Giving Military Dogs Their Due
Aired June 29, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN HOST: Thanks, Erin.
We begin with breaking news. Shocking news in the Jerry Sandusky child rape story. Even if you think you've lost the ability to be shocked with all the revolting details of his long and horrible run as a serial rapist.
After it came out in the investigation and the trial, the wooing of boys by this Penn State football hero, the way he used his children's charity, a children's charity, to recruit and groom those boys, the way he abused his role model status to discredit his abusers. After all of that, after all we've come to know, we still don't know this.
How when he was literally caught in the act raping a boy in the Penn State locker room shower, did he get away with it and go on to rape more boys? Well, graduate assistant Mike McQueary saw him and the boy in the shower. He froze, didn't stop Sandusky, but he did report what he saw. He told his box the legendary head coach, Joe Paterno what he saw. And Coach Paterno told his bosses. Everyone who had the power to stop Jerry Sandusky had the information they needed to stop Jerry Sandusky.
So why didn't they? That is the question. Tonight, a "360" exclusive that could point to some answers. More, now, from Susan Candiotti.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): CNN has been given details of four purported e-mail exchanges from sources with knowledge of the case, raising questions about what Penn State knew and when they knew it.
The e-mails are between Penn State president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley discussing the now infamous 2001 the shower incident where grad assistant McQueary says he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy.
The first e-mail is dated February 26, 2001. That's 16 days after McQueary reports to his boss, coach, Joe Paterno, about what he's seen in the shower. Paterno testified, quote, "it was a sexual nature." By now, McQueary testified he's told athletic director Curley and VP Schultz about exactly what he saw. A boy with his hands up against the wall with Sandusky behind him. The alleged e-mails don't mention Sandusky by name. Instead calling him the subject and person.
In the first exchange, Schultz messages Curley about a three-part plan to, quote, "talk with the subject, contacting the charitable organization, Second Mile, and contacting the department of welfare." That's an agency required by law to investigate suspected abuse.
Yet the next night, Curley indicates a change of heart. He allegedly sends an e-mail to Penn State's president Spanier and refers to a discussion they had two days earlier about Sandusky. Curley says he wants to talk things over with Sandusky. And work with him before deciding whether to contact child welfare.
He also refers to coach Paterno. Did something he said change Curley's mind? Quote, "after giving it more thought and talking it over with Joe yesterday, I am uncomfortable with what we agreed were the next steps. I am having trouble with going to everyone but the person involved. I would be more comfortable meeting with the person and tell him about the information we received and tell him we are aware of the first situation.
The first situation he's referring to is a separate shower incident Sandusky had with a boy in 1998. Sandusky was not charged at the time. He was convicted of both incidents at trial.
Curley plans to tell Sandusky, quote, "we feel there is a problem and offer professional help. And at some point soon, inform his organization". Sandusky's second mile. And, quote, "maybe the other one."
According to a source with knowledge of the e-mails, he's referring to child welfare. If Sandusky is, quote, "cooperative,' Curley writes, quote, "we would work with him. If not, we do not have a choice and will inform the two groups."
Two hours later, Penn State's president purportedly responds. And agrees with the approach. Quote, "I am supportive," Spanier writes. And adds this, "the only downside for us is if the message isn't heard and acted upon and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it. But that can be assessed down the road."
Spanier calls the plan humane and a reasonable way to proceed. The next day, VP Schultz weighs in with an alleged e-mail to president Spanier and athletic director Curley. Quote, "this is a more humane and upfront way to handle this," he writes. "We will inform his organization with or without his cooperation. We can play by ear to decide about the other organization."
Another reference, a source says, to outside authorities. But that never happened. Authorities say records show suspicions about Sandusky in 2001 were never reported to any outside agency.
Victim five was molested by Sandusky in a Penn State shower about six months after the McQueary incident. And Sandusky later went on to sexually abuse at least three other boys. Years later, all testified at trial.
CANDIOTTI: Bottom line, prosecutors say Penn State never reported the 2001 incident. And no one at the time ever appeared to look for that boy in the shower.
And Jerry Sandusky, a man who led separate lives of good and evil, went on grooming, selecting and abusing children -- Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Just horrific. Just horrific. So, what do Curley and Schultz's attorney say about these e-mails?
CANDIOTTI: Right. Well first, let's remember that Curley and Schultz are already charged with perjury and failure to report suspected child abuse. They pleaded not guilty. Sources say Spanier also could be charged. Spanier's lawyers did not return repeated calls for comment. Lawyers, however, for Curley and Schultz provided this statement to CNN.
Quote, "as governor Tom Corbett stated, if we were going to do this case, we had to have the best possible case to go against somebody like Mr. Sandusky who was loved by everybody. For Curley, Schultz, Spanier and Paterno, the responsible and humane thing to do was, like Governor Corbett, to carefully and responsibly assess the best way to handle vague but troubling allegations. Faced with tough situations, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions."
That was -- exactly. Now also, a spokesman for Paterno's family. We spoke with him also. And he says that he has not seen, nor has the family seen, any e-mails. And he makes it clear that Mr. Paterno did not communicate by e-mail.
He defends the coach. He said everyone wants the truth and Joe always told the truth. Said spokesman Dan McGinn. And he said, we both have any information anyone has about this. But he emphasized that coach Paterno testified truthfully before this grand jury.
O'BRIEN: One of those words in the e-mail that would seem to be problematic is that word, you know, the only downside for us is we could be vulnerable. That's a quote from the e-mail. Both -- the men have testified before the grand jury. What are the inconsistencies between, or are there, between these e-mails and what they said to the grand jury?
CANDIOTTI: I'm not sure we see any kind of smoking gun on this, Soledad. But Curley does tell a prosecutor that he didn't know about any other incident in Sandusky's past prior to the 2001 incident.
In his e-mail to Penn State's president, says that he plans to tell Sandusky that we're aware of the first situation. So as for Schultz, he tells the grand jury, the 1998 shower incident was reported to child welfare but also testified that his recollection would be they were asked to look into the 2001 allegation, the child agency.
But Soledad, as we know, there was no record of anyone reporting that incident to any child welfare agency.
And as we all know as well, several investigations remain under way here. You've got Penn State's own independent investigation run by Louis Freeh, former director of the FBI. You have the Pennsylvania attorney general's office. You have the justice department. You have the NCAA. And you have the U.S. department of education. All looking at this.
O'BRIEN: Absolutely not over yet.
CANDIOTTI: Far from it.
O'BRIEN: Susan Candiotti, terrific reporting on that. Thank you so much.
Let's get to Tom Kline. He's an attorney for victim number five, who, really, might not have been a victim at all if somebody at Penn State had acted sooner.
Nice to see you, sir. Thanks for talking with us. What's your reaction to these e-mails?
TOM KLINE, ATTORNEY FOR SANDUSKY VICTIM #5: My reaction is shock. These e-mails, which have been discussed, that they existed, to see the content of them today is shocking. It is unquestionable that had these men not engaged in a concerted, conscious, collaborative effort not to report this to authorities, that the young man who I represent would not have been assaulted in the showers some six months later. It is appalling, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Gary Schultz and Tim Curley, as you know, they're already facing charges in connection with failing to report the abuse, lying to authorities. How do you see these e-mails in whatever legal action will follow?
KLINE: Well, these e-mails of course are irrelevant to that particular action. They're also relevant to the investigation by former FBI director Louis Freeh and they're irrelevant to the civil investigation. Here what we see on the face reckless conduct. A university president who is making a conscious, deliberative effort and approving the failure to report a known sexual predator. That conduct is likely part of the reason why Mr. Spanier was dismissed.
O'BRIEN: You hear a lot of times in those e-mails the word "humane" approach. What do you make of that?
KLINE: Well, there was quite the contrary -- quite to the contrary. The humane thing to do would have been to report Mr. Sandusky to the DPW. To report him to authorities. Instead, there was this conscious decision made that they were just going to go at it simply by having Mr. Curley talk to Sandusky.
My word, that just is not right. The fact of the matter is, they had a plan in place, as Susan Candiotti reports, to do a number of things which didn't carry the ball all the way, to use their term. But the fact of the matter is, they were going to report it to DPW. They made a decision to retrench and retreat on that very policy.
And the fact of the matter is, that while Mr. Paterno doesn't use e- mail, so he says, the fact of the matter is, Curley changed the plan. According to the content of these e-mails. Right after he spoke with Joe Paterno. That of course is a critical piece of information and something that none of us knew till the content of these e-mails was revealed tonight.
O'BRIEN: So what do you think should be the legal liability of these men, especially maybe the president?
KLINE: Penn State is responsible for their conduct. We're assessing their conduct. I have said that while Penn State has reached out to me and to other victims and their attorneys, the fact of the matter is that we can't begin to talk to Penn State till we have full and complete disclosure. And this, I would believe, is the tip of the iceberg.
O'BRIEN: As you know, you heard the statement a moment ago from Susan, part of the statement said, good people try to do their best to make the right decisions, as their excuse for maybe why they did not move forward with these allegations in these e-mails. What do you think of that?
KLINE: They made a conscious decision to make the wrong decision. They knew and they even discussed in the content of these e-mails, as I've seen them tonight, that they would face the consequences later on. They would deal with the non-reporting later on, should it come up and should it come back to them.
Well, it sure has come back to them and they are now facing both criminal and civil proceedings as a result of it. There could not be poorer choices that were made and more reckless conduct by people charged with the running of a university. The president, the athletic director and the vice president.
These e-mails, the content of which is now being revealed, demonstrates that very clearly and very poignantly. They made a collaborative collective decision to do what they do. They talked about it in these e-mails. And they made a decision to retreat from the poor plan they had developed. And they went to simply talking to the subject, Mr. Sandusky.
Interestingly, these e-mail, the content of them, it's all in code. They talk about the subject. They talk about the, quote, "other organization." They talk about these things as though they were -- as though they were conspiring and collaborating to do something that they knew was wrong.
O'BRIEN: So what do you think the consequences should be? What would you like to see?
KLINE: I would like to see the attorney general investigate this further. I'm sure they have. I'd like to see Mr. Freeh's report. We are waiting on that. We hope to see it soon. And I believe this will be the subject. I intend to ask tough questions to Mr. Curley, Mr. Shultz and Mr. Spanier myself. This will be the subject of a detailed investigation. Word by word, line by line.
O'BRIEN: Prison time for them?
KLINE: Well, I leave that in the hands of the prosecution. I attended the Sandusky trial. Every piece of evidence that was presented. And it was presented in a very disciplined way. I have confidence in the attorney general, to look at this very carefully.
My job is the civil side of this. I believe that Penn State is civilly liable to the young man I represent and others. Here we have evidence that just stares you in the face. That they knew and could have prevented it. Instead, they were worried about Mr. Sandusky's guest.
The young man I represented was no guest. He was assaulted in the shower by a man who was given the keys to the shower room when they knew he was a sexual predator going back to 1998.
O'BRIEN: Tom Kline, thank you for joining us this evening. Appreciate it.
Everyone watching can let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. You can follow the program on twitter. @ac360. I will be tweeting also @soledad_OBrien.
We're also talking taxes tonight and a headache for President Obama. The Supreme Court upheld his health care reform law, but labeled a key part of it a tax. Why won't the campaign concede the point? And will that be a liability?
We're "Keeping Them Honest" up next.
O'BRIEN: "Keeping Them Honest" now on how each side is spinning the Supreme Court's epic decision on health care reform. Safe to say the White House is delighted that chief justice Roberts saved the law. As for how he saved it, well, not so much. He said making people buy health insurance was no good under Congress' power to regulate commerce but just fine under the power to tax. So victory goes to the White House. But then again so does this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: This law is a tax.
REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Obama care is the biggest tax increase in American history.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The government could decide that we're going to tax you if you don't eat broccoli on Tuesday.
REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: In fact, the affordable care act is a tax. It is the largest tax in America's history.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: The middle class tax increase.
GOV. BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA: The largest tax increases on the middle class in history.
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obama care raises taxes on the American people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: "Keeping Them Honest," when Republicans say it's a tax to make people pay for going uninsured, they're absolutely right. The provisions are written into the tax code. They're enforced by the IRS.
As chief justice Roberts wrote in his opinion, the only effect of the individual mandate is to raise taxes on those who do not do so, and thus the law may be upheld as a tax. However, to call it as you just heard the biggest tax increase in history is wrong. It's not even close. Well, the fact judging that claim pants on fire false. That said, any mention of taxes in connection with the health care law is poison to the administration and the campaign.
Listen to Obama 2012 Spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter this morning on "STARTING POINT."
STEPHANIE CUTTER, OBAMA DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: What John Roberts said is that we have the power to impose this penalty on people through the taxation clause. It's a penalty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a penalty?
CUTTER: It's a penalty.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But yesterday we learn it was a tax.
CUTTER: Right. Let me finish. So I'm assuming everybody at this table has private insurance. So this penalty does not apply to us. There are some people who are choosing not to get insurance because they can't afford it. For those people, what we call free riders, what Mitt Romney has called free riders. We pay their health care costs up to $1,000 on our premiums. So they need to take individual responsibility for their health care and pay a penalty if they choose not to get it.
WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I understand also that you like the law well. But I'm still thoroughly confused. Now is your position it's a tax or a penalty?
CUTTER: It's a penalty. That if you choose not to get health care and you're imposing a hidden tax on all of us because we pay for your health care, then you'll pay a penalty.
(END VIDEOTAPE) O'BRIEN: So, if that sounds familiar, it's because that's what her old boss was saying, somewhat more concisely, back when he was selling the health care law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: For us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it's saying is we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you. Anymore than the fact that right now everybody in America just about has to get auto insurance. Nobody considers that a tax increase.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: So, the song remains the same. However, also "Keeping Them Honest," Mitt Romney was singing that exact same tune when he was selling his own nearly identical health care plan back when he was governor of Massachusetts. He's singing a different tune today.
So, with us tonight, Democratic strategist Paul Begala, who's advising the top pro-Obama super PAC. Also chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.
Paul, we'll start with you. You heard what Stephanie Cutter had to say. Do you think the Obama campaign is between kind of a rock and a hard place on this? Is it a tax? Is it a penalty? The Supreme Court just said it's a tax. She's saying no, it's a penalty. Is that a problem?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, usually, for generations, Democrats have talked about health care in terms of empathy. Care about our neighbors. That's great. That gets fellow bleeding hearts like me.
Van Holland and Stephanie Cutter from the Obama campaign are now appealing to people who are frankly, a little more self-interested. Saying you're paying a tax already. And it's free riders, free loaders tax. These are very morally freighted terms.
Democrats usually don't use that kind of language. I'm happy to hear them say no, it's a tax that only free loaders have to pay. It's a penalty that only free riders have to pay. I actually like that messaging. I think it's more successful for Democrats.
O'BRIEN: Candy, how much do you think Mitt Romney's own record could hinder Republican's efforts to attack this? I mean, you know, the affordable care act obviously is modeled on what he did in Massachusetts, right?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It matters because it comes up every time Mitt Romney says it. You get just another e- mail blast from either the DNC or some form of democratic outfit. And when you have somebody on a show, the first thing they're going to say to you, well, Mitt Romney had the exact same plan and he didn't say it was a tax.
I actually like the Nancy Pelosi approach wasn't calling it whatever you want to call it. It's constitutional. I think this is -- they're dancing on the head of a pin here, the Democrats. I think they ought to get off it and go find it's a tax it it's a tax on people who won't buy their own health care insurance and, like, be done with it.
O'BRIEN: So Paul, when you look at the folk, moving from dancing on the head of the pin to seeing how people in the electorate might feel about it there are now poll results out about yesterday's ruling. And there's USA Gallup poll, country seems to be evenly divided. Forty six percent of the people agree with the ruling, 46 percent of the people disagree with the ruling.
But if you're look more specifically at independents, 49 percent. And they're the important independents, 49 percent say they want to repeal all or parts of the bill, 40 percent say they want to keep it or expand the law. How much of a problem is that for President Obama?
BEGALA: It's a real problem, Soledad. It's why you're wise to break out the independents. If you just look and it's divided, it's because Democrats like me, love, love, love it. It didn't matter, I'm not a swing-voter, right?
People in the middle, they've got -- this is why it's smart they're recalibrating their message, talking about free loaders and free riders. That's more for independents. Rather than talking as all of us have done for generation about people who don't have health insurance. And you should help them. That's not a very good message in a recession. Now they're saying you should punish them. And that's a tougher, stronger message. And it may have more appeal for the independents.
O'BRIEN: Candy, when you look at the money, Mitt Romney's done very well. Right up to the ruling. He's raised more than $5.5 million, 55,000 separate donations. But there's some people who say, you know, all this money could worry him off the message that seem to be working or maybe his strongest message, which was the economy and the struggling economy. Do you think those people have a point?
CROWLEY: They're not mutually exclusive. And I don't think actually that's what Romney has been doing. He had his initial reaction to it and what happened in the initial reaction was he talked about how much health insurance had gone up. He talked about what it would do to the debt. I mean, you could argue -- I know Paul would, with his facts and figures. But nonetheless, he tied it to the economy. And he said, it's small businesses aren't hiring people because this is going to cost them too much. So he took it and translated into his central message.
And I think, look, he has to -- depending on his crowd, he has to say, and I'm going to appeal Obama care because that really is a vote getter out of it. The conservative part is the Republican party that still has its doubt Mitt Romney. They have no doubts about Obama care.
So that could get them to the poll. Get them more enthused. And so, that's always going to come up. But I think he's going to use this as a way to pivot to the economy. And say, here's what help Obama care is to the economy.
O'BRIEN: Paul, there was one Republican who referred to this decision as the kiss of death for Democrats. Let's talk a little bit politically, like, how it plays out.
Does it repeat 2010 midterms where the tea party rode to power on this sort of anti-Obama, anti-health care fervor this time around? Or as the Democrats are spinning it, it's been decided, everybody, time to move on?
BEGALA: It certainly motivated their base. And they do need that because Mr. Romney, as Candy points out, from not a favor of their base. I remember in the primaries, Rick Santorum said, Listen, he was right. I very rarely say Rick was right. But Senator Santorum was right about this.
He said because Mitt Romney signed Romney care which is the template, the blueprint, particularly with the individual mandate. He's going to have a difficult time advancing the argument that Obama care should be repealed. And that's why I think he was right that he's - he must get back to the economy or he is going to win or lose anyway on this.
It will reenergize the Republican base. It is absolutely true. But it also energizes the Democratic base. And the question is who can get to those independents. And that is going to turning on who's better on the economy.
O'BRIEN: Kind of a $64,000 question. All right, Paul Begala, Candy Crowley, thanks guys, appreciate it.
BEGALA: Thanks, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Fleeing Colorado's deadly fire up close. We are going to talk to a woman who shot a gripping emotional video of her own evacuation. It was the last time she saw her home. That's coming up next.
O'BRIEN: Is Syria at a violent new turning point? We're going to tell you how the conflict is changing. That's ahead on "360."
O'BRIEN: Colorado Springs monster wildfire turned deadly today. Rescuers found a charred body in a burned out house. One other person is missing.
President Obama visiting the area described the enormous devastation, but says authorities are, quote, "starting to see progress." So far nearly 350 homes have been destroyed with another 20,000 homes dangerously close to the blaze.
More than 36,000 people fled their homes including Nicole Frye who shot this terrifying video as she was driving away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm leaving my house for probably the last time, my god. There's smoke in the air so bad. This thing was on fire just a second ago. There are the flames, my God. My God, my God, my God.
I got to go. I got to get out of here, my God, my God. There are the fire trucks up here and fires everywhere, my God. I need to get going, my God, there's ashes coming in my window, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Nicole Frye, who shot that video you're watching while she was evacuating, joins me now from Colorado Springs. Nicole, thanks for being with us.
I want you to walk us through what was going through your mind as you are driving your car surrounded by flame. What were you thinking?
NICOLE FRYE, COLORADO SPRINGS FIRE EVACUEE: Well, first, I wanted to be safe more than anything, but this was my home for 18 years. And I knew that it wasn't going to be the same after this turning point.
And so I wanted to make sure I had at least a memory of something that was remaining. So that was mainly my goal in trying to record the footage. It's such a horrific event so I wanted that footage also of it.
O'BRIEN: Did you lose your home? Did your family lose their homes?
O'BRIEN: You lost everything?
FRYE: Yes. My grandmother also lost her home, yes.
O'BRIEN: Have you been able to drive back up at this point and see some of the damage?
FRYE: No. Not yet. I've seen aerial footage. I've seen other footage. It's -- it's no longer there.
O'BRIEN: Gosh, I am so sorry. So, we've seen the videotape of the drive. But walk me through what happened before you hopped in your car. Like when did you know you had to evacuate? How did you have the presence of mind to shoot while you're driving and you're surrounded by flame?
FRYE: Well, the whole situation before I evacuated was a little different. We saw flames coming over the ridge. At that point, my mother and my grandmother and my sister just left.
My father and I, we were watering the roof with any hopes that the house may remain because we had a wooden roof. By that time, I was, like, I need to go let my neighbors know and inform them. But then it was becoming a matter of safety. So I was trying to evacuate and I thought going up the hill would have been the easiest way out.
And I just needed to have some footage to show for what I saw and the devastation that everybody went through when they were evacuating.
O'BRIEN: It is absolutely remarkable. I know you went to find the firefighters and thank them. Tell me about how that conversation went.
FRYE: It was really -- it was heartbreaking because I approached multiple firefighters. I told them, look, my house is gone. Immediately, they stood up and they said, I'm so sorry.
But I tried to tell them, no, it's OK, because you are saving lives and you are saving other homes and memories. That's what really counts.
And I appreciated them for trying and -- but it's more important that they're safe and that they have a home to go to at the end of the day. And we'll be fine. My family will be OK and -- but lives can't be replaced.
O'BRIEN: Where is your family right now? Where are they staying? How are they doing?
FRYE: We are all an emotional roller coaster. We go through our ups and downs. I'm currently displaced at my sister's boyfriend's home and they're taking really good care of us. And yes, it's rough.
O'BRIEN: I bet it is. You were so hysterical as you were shooting that video. I actually thought you might run off the road or you know, how long did it take before you were able to get it together and make your way down the hill?
FRYE: At that point, I had turned around because the firefighters directed me I shouldn't be going up this way, which makes perfect sense. So I started going down the hill.
I ran into an officer at the bottom of the hill. And he told me, are you able to drive, and I'm hysterically out of control. He said, what I'm going to do is block off traffic and let you calm down in this parking lot. If it weren't for him, I probably would have been in an accident or been crazy.
O'BRIEN: I'm glad to see people were helping you there. Nicole Frye, thanks and our best wishes to you and your family as well as you try and figure out what the next steps are.
We should mention for anybody who wants to help the victims of this wildfire, you can go to cnn.com/impact because surely they will need your help.
We're following other stories tonight as well. Isha Sesay has a "360 Bulletin." Hi, there. ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Soledad. In Syria, the deadly violence is ramping up and spreading. Opponents of the Al-Assad regime say security forces are increasingly using heavier firepower against civilians.
Now this is Homs, which has endured so much already. The opposition says at least 65 people were killed across Syria today and the slaughter is now spreading to the capital, Damascus.
News that Lance Armstrong does not want to hear. Today, the U.S. anti- doping agency filed doping charges against the cycling champion. Armstrong denied that he used performance enhancing drugs.
Egypt's president-elect will be sworn in Saturday. Today, Mohamed Morsi told a packed crowd in Cairo that the Egyptian people are the ultimate sources of his authority. Now that's a swipe at the military, which currently holds all power in Egypt.
A 360 follow about the elderly school bus monitor horribly tormented by four middle school boys. The students have been suspended from their school for a year and will be sent instead to an alternative program. They are barred from school buses and must perform community service for senior citizens.
And Soledad, today a 49-year-old woman from Australia began swimming from Cuba to the Florida Keys. She is not using a shark cage, snorkel, flippers or wet suit.
She's swimming in shark-infested waters. Her journey is about 100 miles and she estimates it will take 40 to 60 hours to complete. Her crew is shadowing her in boats. She is a very awesome woman. Just for even trying that.
O'BRIEN: Absolutely. Hope she makes it. All right, Isha, thank you.
Military dogs are more than just tools of combat as Anderson found out here. They're a soldier's partner, lifeline and best friend. So why is it so hard to bring war dogs back home when they retire? That's next on 360.
O'BRIEN: Sad news to tell you. Tom-Kat is no more. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are calling it quits after six years of marriage. Internet, of course, having a field day, we'll have more on that and much more when 360 continues.
O'BRIEN: In an era of roadside bombs in war zones, military dogs are a necessity. But after they have served their times, many dogs of war don't make it home for a very specific reason.
Now, a bill is making its way through Congress and could change that. Pentagon correspondent Chris Lawrence explains.
CHRIS LAWRENCE, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The bond between soldier and search dog was forged the day Nushka discovered her first IED.
SGT. DAVID VARKETT, MILITARY WORKING DOG HANDLER: That right there was the moment that the relationship went from OK, you know, I care about her, I love her, to this dog is absolutely amazing.
LAWRENCE: It was a remote village in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Sergeant David Varkett's patrol was headed right towards a hidden bomb. But Nushka sniffed it out, embedded in a wall and alerted them in time.
VARKETT: I am a soldier and he saves my life. We would be best friends for life. It's the same thing with this dog.
LAWRENCE: There are nearly 3,000 military working dogs and 600 are serving in war zones. They eat, sleep and fight alongside their handlers 24/7, but the military classifies them as equipment right along with the rifles and rucksacks.
So if a dog gets old and retires on a base overseas, he's considers excess equipment. Not entitled to transport home. Someone who wants to adopt him has to pay the shipping costs, which can run thousands of dollars.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get it.
LAWRENCE: So when dog handler, Robert Mather left the Army, he couldn't afford to adopt his partner, named Nushka because it meant flying to an overseas base to get her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was going to be in the couple thousand dollars between the ticket for myself, the ticket for the dog and the short notice of it all.
LAWRENCE (on camera): You want to bring her back but I mean, that's a lot of money.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. Right now, I'm a full-time student. My wife works part time at the local mall here. We have our son to raise. So there's not always a lot of extra money laying around to just go up and get a dog.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Despite her four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nuska could have been left behind. Now there's a push in Congress to give the dogs their due.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking for a classification that's higher than equipment.
LAWRENCE: Representative Walter Jones co-sponsored a bill to make them canine members of the armed services. It would allow the military to honor courageous dogs. Make sure they all get flown back to the states and set up a private fund for lifetime health care.
(on camera): Some people would say you guys need to be watching every penny that you spend.
REPRESENTATIVE WALTER JONES (R), NORTH CAROLINA: The cost is not going to be astronomical. We can find $10 billion and spend it in Afghanistan. Then certainly we can find a few thousand dollars to say that the dog is more than equipment.
VARKETT: You ask any handler, this is a soldier, there's no doubt about it. The bond we have with these dogs is absolutely amazing.
LAWRENCE (voice-over): Nuska is 12 years old now and still feels the effects of her four deployments.
VARKETT: Even still today she's apprehensive towards loud noises like doors slamming.
LAWRENCE: But thanks to a local school that raised the money, Robert Mather brought his partner home to become a part of his family.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So doesn't have a whole lot of life left. What life she does have left deserves to be comfortable for all that she's given. She's given just as much as all the soldiers have.
LAWRENCE: Chris Lawrence, CNN, Washington.
O'BRIEN: The Canine Members of the Armed Forces Act passed the House. It will be taken up by the Senate by Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut.
For more on the relationship between military dogs and their handlers, Anderson met Staff Sergeant Allison Price and Geno, who's ready to retire.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: So tell me a little bit about Geno.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Geno is a 7-year-old German Shepherd. He is a military working dog stationed down at Joint Base McGuirre-Dicks Lakers.
COOPER: Is he being adopted?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is. His prior handler of three years is going to adopt him.
COOPER: How long have you worked with Geno?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've only worked with Geno for a year, but it's probably been the best year in my military career.
COOPER: Really, you're working -- I've gone out on patrol with Marines who use dogs in Afghanistan. They're with the dogs all the time. When you're working with the dog, you're living with the dog as well. STAFF SERGEANT ALLISON PRICE, U.S. ARMY: It's 24/7. I was deployed with the dog back in 2010. He slept at the foot of my bed so definitely my best friend 24/7.
COOPER: You get to know the dog really well.
PRICE: You do. You know the dog's in and outs. You know their actions before they even think about doing it.
COOPER: What kind of work would Geno do?
PRICE: Geno is an explosive patrol dog.
COOPER: He's taking -- he's making himself comfortable.
PRICE: He searches for explosives.
COOPER: So you would take him out on, like a patrol?
PRICE: We go out on patrols. We do convoys, roadway searches and whatnot. Search pits, searching vehicles coming in and off the installation.
COOPER: And then what kind of career span does a dog have?
PRICE: I've seen a dog work for two years and I've seen a dog work for 13 years. So it pretty much depends on the dog.
COOPER: At what point -- is it determined that they get retired?
PRICE: We have a vet and she is the one who determines whether the dog is still suitable to work or whether the dog should get retired out.
COOPER: When you -- do you think the dog as a fellow soldier?
PRICE: Definitely. He's a -- he's a friend, a family member, and definitely someone to watch my back.
COOPER: Because right now the military views them as equipment. If they -- if they do make that change, do you think that would be a step in the right direction?
PRICE: They're only considered equipment to get stationed at their base. That's the only way they can really track them is through equipment. So they treat them like equipment.
COOPER: But in your mind, Geno's not equipment?
PRICE: Not equipment, best friend.
COOPER: Best friend. When Geno retires and gets to live with his former handler, I mean, I imagine some dogs have PTSD, have reaction to the work they've been doing.
PRICE: Yes. However, I have not seen any issues with Geno. I think he'll be a great house pet, couch potato. He just likes to chew on his kong.
COOPER: Chew on his what?
PRICE: Chew on his kong. It's pretty much like a paycheck. It's just a big rubber ball.
COOPER: Will you be working with another dog?
PRICE: I will. We have two new dogs coming inbound so I'm sure I'm going to pick up one of those dogs and be paired with them.
COOPER: Well, thank you so much for all you do.
PRICE: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.
COOPER: And letting us meet Geno. Appreciate it.
PRICE: Thank you.
O'BRIEN: Ahead, George Zimmerman back in court in the Trayvon Martin case. What happened next on 360.
O'BRIEN: Let's get to some other stories we're following tonight. Isha's back with a "360 Bulletin." Hi, Isha.
SESAY: Hi, Soledad. A bond hearing today for George Zimmerman. Zimmerman's initial bail was revoked when he lied about thousands of dollars in donations he received from the public to fight the case.
Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. He says he shot the teen in self defense.
The Dow jumped 278 points today and all three indices ended the first half of 2012 up more than 5 percent. Investors breathed a sigh of relief when European leaders struck a deal to inject capital directly into troubled Eurozone banks.
Tom-Kat has officially hopped off the couch. Seven years after Tom Cruise jumped up and down declaring his love for Katie Holmes on Oprah's yellow sofa, the actress has filed for divorce.
The couple married in Italy in November 2006, seven months after their daughter Suri was born. End of the road for Tom and Katie, Soledad.
O'BRIEN: Sad, sad news.
All right, time for the shot, but this is not tonight's shot. It's a little boy getting photo bombed by a tiger at the zoo Miami today. He was supposed to be posing in front of a sleeping lion, but she woke up. That reminded us of another 360 favorite. This is tonight's shot.
So if you're a tiger in confinement and you want to mess with a kid at the zoo, that's the way it's done. Not the other way. Coming up this evening, your favorite "Ridiculist of the year so far. The woman who has given new meaning to the phrase "base tan." That's up next.
O'BRIEN: You've been voting for your favorites at ac360.com. and tonight in at number one, the tanning mom. Take a look.
COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding burning questions about a story from Nutley, New Jersey. A woman was in court today to plead not guilty to charges that she let her 6-year-old daughter get in a tanning booth.
In New Jersey, you cannot artificially tan if you're under the age of 14 which is why they don't have a junior high version of "Jersey Shore." Now the little girl is fine.
She apparently had a sunburn awhile back, which her mom comes from playing outside, but apparently, the girl told the school nurse she went tanning with mommy and that's when the whole thing blew up. The mom says it's all a big misunderstanding.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I tan. She doesn't tan. It's called a tanning booth. A tanning room. I'm in the booth. She's in the room. That's all there is to it. She doesn't go in there.
You know, she's my little girl. I'm not going to bring my little daughter into a 90-degree bed. Nothing is wrong with her and this whole thing has been blown out of proportion.
COOPER: How is that real? I mean I'm not even that concerned about the little girl. I'm concerned about the mom. I mean, I know I'm so pale I'm almost see-through, but there is no way she can be that tan. There must have been something going on with the lighting in that shot, right? Let's take a look from a different interview.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been tanning my whole life, going to the beach, tanning salons, so forth.
COOPER: She's been tanning her whole life? Wow! That surprises me. All right, I'm going to say it. Somebody power up the Starship Enterprise because that lady is boldly going where no tan has gone before.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's no room, A. B, I would never permit it. C, it didn't happen. She's 6 years old. Yes, she does go tanning with mommy, but not in the booth. The whole thing is preposterous.
COOPER: She's talking about her daughter. I don't care. I can't even pay attention to what she's saying. It's like the tanning Olympics. She took the bronze, there's no doubt about it.
The woman says she didn't put her child in the tanning booth itself which we all hope is true because that is a horrible concept. Unless you're a writer in "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" then by all means proceed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you make DB a star?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm sorry to say, but in today's commercial world there's no room for another white baby actor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me get this straight, you want to put your baby into a tanning bed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry. That's against the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't want to jam you up here. We just want to put him in there for a couple of months.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just to get a base.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm feeling compelled to call the authorities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess the road to stardom is --
COOPER: So yes, you don't put a child in a tanning bed, but let's just get one more look at the mom.
See, there are tan lines and then there are fine lines like the ones separating the SPF from the WFT on the "Riduculist."
O'BRIEN: And that does it for this edition of "360." We'll see you again at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Thanks for watching.
"PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right now.