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Russia Had Bombing Suspect Under Surveillance; Dealing in Death; Spike Lee on Jason Collin's Coming Out

Aired April 30, 2013 - 20:00   ET



Good evening, everyone. There is breaking news tonight. New reporting tonight on what the dead bombing suspect may have been doing in Russia while under Russian surveillance. We're also learning that the government may already be thinking about taking the death penalty off the table for the younger suspect. You're going to meet his new lawyer, who specializes in saving the worst killers from the ultimate punishment.

Later, Spike Lee, film maker, big basketball fan. He's not known for holding back, either. He joins me to talk about Jason Collins' decision to become the NBA's biggest story in pro sports first openly gay male athlete.

Also, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones openly fighting bipolar disorder and the stigma that often comes with mental illness. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me tonight to explain her condition and why her -- why being candid about it could help a whole lot of people. She's in the hospital right now.

We begin, though, with breaking news. The first inklings of an answer to the two questions that everyone has been asking about the Boston bombing suspects. Did they act alone? Were they, as the younger suspect reportedly told investigators, self-radicalized or did they have help?

The answers may come from learning what the older suspect, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was doing and who he was meeting with when he took that six-month trip to Russia in the Dagestan region last year. Remember, he left his wife and child behind for all that time.

Tonight, quoting a Russian security official, the Associated Press reports that for at least some of that time, he was under surveillance. According to the A.P.'s reporting, Russian agents lost track of him last July, shortly after police there killed a Canadian boxer and ethnic Russian jihadist named William Plotnikov. And days later, we know Tsarnaev left Russia, not even waiting to pick up his new Russian passport which was supposedly the key reason for the entire trip.

So there's that. And new developments back home as well. The lawyer hired to keep the younger suspect out of the death chamber if convicted reportedly already getting down to business. Joe Johns has that angle. Susan Candiotti has got more details on the investigation. Former CIA officer Bob Baer joins us as well.

I want to start, though, with our Nick Paton Walsh on the phone with breaking news out of Russia.

Nick, as I just mentioned, the A.P. reporting tonight that Russian security services had Tamerlan Tsarnaev under surveillance during at least some of his trip to Russia back in 2011, that six- month trip. You've been there for a couple of weeks now. Would it surprise you to hear -- I mean, if this Associated Press report is true, would that surprise you?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (via phone): To be honest, not at all, really. We did know that Russian authorities had that mosque under surveillance. A leading police officer in the region told us as much. Said that in fact the leading militant in the area called Abu Dujan killed last year in December by Russian Special Forces, frequented the mosque a lot.

We also know that -- from the mother and father, that both -- that their son Tamerlan Tsarnaev in this period of time here last year also attended that mosque. So there's an awful lot of overlap there as well.

What we don't know is if the two actually ever met, if Tamerlan Tsarnaev met any militants during his time in that particular mosque and of course A.P. does provide a Russian official telling us that they extended their surveillance to Tamerlan Tsarnaev because of his attendance at that particular mosque.

But the real question of course is who are the militants potentially that Tamerlan Tsarnaev met. And bear in mind, too, that Abu Dujan, who police told us they were looking at that particular mosque, he was linked to -- from Tamerlan Tsarnaev's YouTube channel -- Anderson.

COOPER: And the other question, of course, is, was this surveillance motivated by just the pre-existing surveillance on that mosque or was it motivated by this -- by the reports of eavesdropping on a phone conversation between the mother and Tamerlan Tsarnaev in which sort of an oblique reference to jihad was made. We know that the Russian security services did warn the CIA and FBI prior to that trip.

Susan, another potential break in the investigation today. New evidence dealing with a fingerprint found on one of the bombs. What have you learned?

SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This could be an important new lead for investigators, Anderson. Learning that at least one fingerprint has been found on part of the bomb debris. Now we don't know to whom that fingerprint belongs. And we are still waiting for word on whether there has been an identity match for that female DNA that was found on a piece of that pressure cooker as well. You'll remember, Anderson, that DNA samples according to our sources were taken from the widow of Tamerlan Tsarnaev yesterday up there in Rhode Island, where she is staying. So these could all be key pieces of evidence when and if this case goes to trial.

COOPER: Authorities were also quick, though, to point out yesterday just a caution that that female DNA evidence which they said was on one of the devices could very easily have come from somebody who sold -- you know, a shop clerk who sold one of the component devices.

CANDIOTTI: Absolutely.

COOPER: So there's -- that's kind of an open question where that may lead.

Susan, we're also hearing tonight some new information about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's body. What is it?

CANDIOTTI: That's right. Well, her widow has now officially reached out, put out a statement as well, letting authorities know that she would like to take possession of his remains from the Medical Examiner's Office. We don't know when that will happen. And she issued a statement at the same time saying that she regrets the loss of life and the lives that have been changed by the terrible tragedy of the Boston marathon.

However, we're also learning that a family member contacted the mosque that the two brothers attended here in Boston, inquiring about funeral services. Now that mosque in turn simply referred that family member, an uncle, to a funeral home. For now, the mosque says that no one from the mosque, none of the imams, will be in charge of that funeral service because they said they don't want to give the appearance in any way, shape or form that they condone what happened at the marathon.

COOPER: All right. Joe, let's go to you now. Discussions going on between Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and authorities about his potential punishment, about his -- through his representatives, I assume. What do we know about it?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, right now it's about the two sides making the very preliminary contacts that happen at the beginning of a death penalty eligible case. Each side wants something, we're told. The Justice Department wants to talk to the suspect to get more information than they've already got. What does he know, who has he met with.

The defense team wants to get their guy a deal that takes the death penalty off the table, even though the Justice Department hasn't even said whether it's going to pursue the death penalty. So we're told very preliminary talks have been under way, as is customary, and nobody is ready to make any deals, but we're told the two sides have talked. The Justice officials said these are not negotiations, no discussions over a penalty -- Anderson. BLITZER: Bob Baer, former CIA officer with extensive experience in the Middle East, what do you make of this A.P. report that the Russians were surveilling Tamerlan Tsarnaev for at least part of or the better part of the six months that he was there? Does it sound -- I mean, I guess it could be either, as Nick Paton Walsh said, that maybe it was pre-existing surveillance based on that mosque that's in Dagestan, or I suppose it could also be related to the phone intercept and the knowledge that they had about Tamerlan Tsarnaev before he got there.

ROBERT BAER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Anderson, I read more into it. Going on in the A.P. report, it said that the Russians panicked when they lost Tamerlan. That means they were having active surveillance on him and it was more than just the mosque, and there was something that caused the Russians to put surveillance. This is time-consuming, they're overburdened in the Caucasus. They really need a good lead to follow up something like this, so I think we're going to hear a lot more from the Russians why they were so concerned about this man to put surveillance, why they panicked, what was he up to, what were his contacts.

They were probably all over his phone or neighbors' phones, and you know, if we can get the Russians to tell us more, I think we'll probably find this foreign contact, if indeed there was one.

COOPER: Nick, it's also very interesting that he reportedly left shortly after this other boxer from Canada was killed by Russian authorities, allegedly a jihadist, and he left without his Russian passport which he had applied for while there.

WALSH: We can't describe the motivation for it but obviously it's a massive coincidence. William Plotnikov also from North America, Canada in this particular moment, also born in the former Soviet Union, also a keen boxer, also going to Dagestan to pursue his own vision potentially of extremism. We don't know if that applies to Tamerlan Tsarnaev yet at the moment but also he himself killed by Russian special forces in an ambush.

So huge coincidences there potentially and of course yes, as you mentioned, two days after William's death, Tamerlan Tsarnaev leaves the country seemingly in a hurry, as you say, although we don't know, there may have been a completely different reason as to why he chose to leave the country with a Russian passport. He could have easily gone back to renew -- Andrew.

COOPER: And those images we were just showing were William Plotnikov, not of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

The A.P., Nick, is also citing reports of a possible link between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and a man named Mahmoud Nidal, who's believed to have ties to Islamic militants in Russia. What do you know about him?

WALSH: CNN knows that (INAUDIBLE) are looking at potential links between these two particular men. There are issues about Nidal. He is said to be half Palestinian, claims to be involved in some reports in meeting certain people into the fold of extremism in that particular area. Extraordinarily young, I think it's fair to say, about 17, 18, 19, very young given the secrecy of (INAUDIBLE) at that particular times. Killed May 19th in an attack by Russian special forces in Makhachkala.

You're getting a picture here, Anderson, of a man like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, where connected with these people in Dagestan, seeing other militants potentially extinguished around him, Nidal, and then subsequently Plotnikov. Of course we're purely speculating that he knew these people or was connected to them, but were that the case, of course, those particular events may perhaps have led him to have fled the country two days after Plotnikov's death.

COOPER: Bob, it would certainly seems like within -- with each passing day we're learning a little bit more about Tamerlan Tsarnaev's time in Russia. And from the beginning you've been saying you think that's the key, the six-month window that he was there, what was he doing and learning as much as we can. How quickly do you think sort of the full picture will become clear, if it ever will? And I suppose that's really entirely dependent on how cooperative the Russian authorities decide to be with the U.S.

BAER: Oh, absolutely, Anderson. We don't know what the Russians are willing to tell us and what they're not. I mean, maybe they did make contact with him at some point, attempt to recruit him. It's something they wouldn't want to admit to us. Not that they had anything -- knew about the attack in Boston but intelligence services will do that, in particular the Russians, they'll go to an American, try to recruit him, go back, spy on other Chechens, so there's a whole file that the Russians have that they're probably a little bit embarrassed about at this point.

Again, I'll go back to the explosives. I'm sorry for running this into the ground but I talked to the FBI today. They said that this bomb absolutely could not have been made by those two men. It was run off the speed control for a toy car, there was all sorts of, you know, command detonate signal tests they needed to do.

This is a very complicated plot with a lot of international travel and I think it's wrong for us to just take the narrative it was all homegrown, done off the narrative. I just don't think the story's going that way.

COOPER: You're saying you've heard it couldn't have been made by them, meaning it couldn't have been made by them without instruction or couldn't have been made by them, period, someone else manufactured it, they were just carrying it?

BAER: They said look, they said -- they said the pyrotechnics, taking them apart is extremely dicey. One spark could set this off. And someone had to go down to that area and test the signal strength from one of these toys. You just can't hope that it's going to go off if you stand a mile away or half a mile away. You actually need to test the signals.

There are so many layers of complication in this, it almost suggests that somebody was standing over Tsarnaev's shoulder and reminding him how to do this or telling him to, but that is pure speculation at this point. But that is certainly something the FBI is looking at and that's why it's moving so quickly to look for accomplices, if there were any.

COOPER: All right. Bob Baer, Nick Paton Walsh, Joe, Susan, thanks very much for all your reporting.

More now on the death penalty talks and the lawyer, Judy Clarke, a fascinating person. Not many defense attorneys specialize in doing what she does. She's represented some of the most despised defendants, frankly, in recent history, and help many of them avoid the death penalty. And now she's defending Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Gary Tuchman has a profile of her.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her clients may be very high profile but she manages to maintain a low profile for herself.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Comment on whether or not you'll still decide to appeal this?

TUCHMAN: An attorney who has worked tirelessly to save the lives of some despised people. Her name is Judy Clarke. And she has helped some of the most notorious criminals of our time avoid the death penalty. Terrorists, bombers, baby killers. These clients, all violent people who Clarke has managed to get sentenced to prison for life instead of death.

Judy Clarke does not do news media interviews.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you say a few words before you go in?

TUCHMAN: Clarke is a former federal public defender who is now a defense attorney. She is well liked and praised by her peers. And she's a staunch opponent of the death penalty. In Denver, a former legal colleague tells CNN, "She's a walking encyclopedia. She does the law and she has great empathy for the client. She does it all."

Clarke's resume of past cases is very significant. Most recently she worked on Jared Loughner's case, the gunman who pleaded guilty to murdering six and wounding 13, including Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. The death penalty was on the table but thanks to Clarke, no longer.

The list is long. Alleged 20th 9/11 hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui. Eric Rudolph, Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski and her very first high profile case, Susan Smith, who said her two young children were kidnapped.

SUSAN SMITH, CONVICTED MURDERER: I just can't express it enough that we just got to get him home. That's just where they belong, with their mama and daddy.

TUCHMAN: But Susan Smith had drowned her little boys by letting her car roll into a South Carolina lake.

All these criminals also managed to get life sentences and evade the death penalty. While Judy Clarke doesn't talk to reporters, she does talk to her law students. She has been a visiting professor at Washington and Lee University and told this to students about her philosophy.

"We stand between the power of the state and the individual, and in doing so, defend the core values that make this country great. None of us, including those accused of a crime, wants to be defined by the worst moment or the worst day of our lives."

She is expected to bring similar attitude and zealousness to the case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: I'm curious to know what you think. Do you think the feds should make a deal with Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his attorneys taking death penalty off the table in order to get him to talk and explain everything he knows. Let me know what you think on Twitter @Andersoncooper. I'll be tweeting also in the hour ahead.

Just ahead tonight, Jason Collins now a pioneer, barrier breaker, the first active openly gay NBA player. Coming up, filmmaker and NBA fan Spike Lee talks to me about Collins' decision to come out and the response that he's been hearing.

Also ahead, accused killer Amanda Knox is speaking out as she faces retrial in Italy. Susan Page from "USA Today" spent hours with her and joins us to talk about her in depth interview.


COOPER: Well, support keeps pouring tonight for Jason Collins' decision to come out. The seven-foot center has heard from President Obama, Bill Clinton, Oprah, Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, and a string of other NBA greats. According to "Sports Illustrated" his Twitter following has increased more than 20-fold. As one "Sports Illustrated" writer's characterization quote that Collins' coming-out party was a joyous affair is just a little optimistic.

Collins has also gotten a dose of negative reaction, even some out-and-out hate messages. Still, he sounded very happy today as he spoke about the journey he's been on with ABC's George Stephanopoulos.


JASON COLLINS, NBA PLAYER: From the beginning, I think they call it like the 12-steps, you know, you go through anger, denial and -- you know, it's just -- but when you finally get to that point of acceptance, there's nothing more beautiful. And just allowing yourself to -- you know, really be happy and be comfortable in your own skin. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: As I said, that decision to be open about who he is did not come without a measure of condemnation by some but the detractors seem outnumbered by supporters, at least publicly, including filmmaker and basketball fanatic Spike Lee who joins me now.

So, Spike, Jason Collins' decision to come out, were you surprised by it? What do you make of it?

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR (via phone): I wasn't surprised. I mean, the day is coming. The world is changing. And at the same time, it was a courageous -- it was a courageous act by Jason and you're always going to have your haters out there but I feel good about all the players, a lot of people, Kobe, a whole bunch of people come out in full support of Jason Collins. So I think it's a momentous historic day yesterday when the article came out that's going to be on the cover of "Sports Illustrated."

COOPER: You know what's interesting, as you said, there was a lot of public support from other players, President Obama, the first lady. I was reading your Twitter feed from yesterday and there seemed to be -- in addition to a lot of praise, there was also a lot of vitriol against him.

LEE: Oh, yes.


COOPER: You actually -- you were --

LEE: They were coming at me like I was the one that said I'm coming out.


COOPER: Right.

LEE: You know, in my tweet I supported Jason, then the haters started to hate tweet. And I just had to, you know, go back at them and say, you know, whoever's doing this, the individual, you're ignorant and you need to wake up.

COOPER: It was interesting because in some of your tweets, and I talked to Julian Bond about this a couple -- probably about a month or so ago, about -- and he sees the struggle for equality for gay and lesbian Americans as part and parcel, as a continuation of the civil rights struggle.

LEE: What people forget is that women's liberation, everything, what's happening now with gay rights, it started with the civil rights movement. And I find -- I always find it very peculiar, people who want rights and then forget about who started it, you know. And so human rights is human rights. So you can't be for gay rights and still be, you know, racist against anybody or have ill will toward anybody else. Because as Julian Bond said, as you just stated, it started with the civil rights movement. And the women's rights movement came after that. And now we're going with the gay movement.

COOPER: But there are people, and I've talked to a number of African-Americans, who do not believe -- who in fact defended at the -- that comparison, who say, you know, it's completely different.

LEE: Anderson, there is no -- I cannot make an excuse for that. There are, I will say, a large segment of African-Americans who are very homophobic. That is -- there's no getting around that.

COOPER: Where do you think that comes from? Do you think --

LEE: In fact Chris Broussard, one of the top guys at ESPN came out yesterday on air and said -- not come out, he didn't come out, but he said that, you know, he felt it was a sin against god, homosexuals. And he's African-American brother from New Orleans.

COOPER: So do you see that in the African-American community as something based largely on religious beliefs, religious tradition?

LEE: Well, look, to be honest, there are many gay people in the church. Let's keep it real. There are gay people in the black church. So you just can't say, I believe in god, that means that I'm against homosexuality.

COOPER: And Jason Collins makes a point of saying he's a Christian and this is -- I mean, this is in line with his beliefs. How do you think fans are going to respond? How do you think other players are going to respond? You know, not just publicly but, you know, in the locker room, on the court.

LEE: Look, there will be a couple of jokes, but I think that with the tweets I've read, he's going to get -- if he does happen to get on a team next year, he's going to get respect from -- definitely from the league because Commissioner Stern has said already, you know, this is a great thing. So I think we'll be -- he's going to be -- he's going to get a warm welcome from fans, majority of fans, as he goes around.

Once again, he's a free agent. There's no guarantee he's going to be picked up next year. But I think he's getting a warm response. I think that, you know, this nation is moving forward, we're progressing, and I think people are more forward-thinking and going to let, you know, live -- live and let live.

COOPER: Do you expect other basketball players, football players, do you see other pro athletes coming out soon?

LEE: Oh, it's going to happen. And here's the thing. There are gay players in the four major sports. Their teammates know it. The organizations know it. But they're not going to put them on full blast so, and they're not -- what I mean by full blast, not going to out them. So there are gay -- known gay players playing professional sports. And I think that what Jason Collins did is give them maybe the same courage for them to do the same thing.

So I would say that coming the next few months, Jason Collins is not be the only one who will step forward and say, you know, how he's living.

COOPER: The tide of history is moving forward. Spike Lee, it's great to have you on.

LEE: Always, my man, Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: All right. Spike, you take care.

LEE: Bye-bye.

COOPER: Spike Lee spoke briefly about the cross-currents running through the African-American community when it comes to gay and lesbian rights. Let's talk more about this. Joining me now is ESPN senior writer and CNN contributor, L.Z. Granderson and Syracuse University professor and founder of, Boyce Watkins.

Professor, let me start with you. You just heard from Spike talking about this before. Do you agree with what he said? I mean, he says that there's a lot of homophobia in the black community. Do you buy that?

BOYCE WATKINS, PROFESSOR, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY: Well, I think that there's homophobia everywhere. I think that to talk about the conservative black church tradition in a way that defines it as being somehow pathological because the traditions are different from mainstream America is a little bit insulting. It almost implies that the African -- American community is backward if they don't agree with the gay lifestyle.

I think that disagreeing with someone does not mean that people have to be disrespected, and so I don't think anybody can support clear homophobic remarks where someone is being attacked for being gay but I think that to impose the idea that every individual has to be entirely comfortable with the idea of their children being introduced to separate lifestyles as if that is a viable alternative that they should consider, I think that's offensive to some people.

I come from a southern Baptist family and they're not as comfortable with it as, say, my friends in the northeast. But I don't think that that makes them bad people. I think we have to be very careful about making that distinction.

COOPER: L.Z., when, you know, Julian Bond, as I mentioned to Spike, he was on the program recently, and he talked about the fight for equality for gays and lesbians now as being part of the continuum of the civil rights movement for African-Americans. Do you see it that way? Because that offends some people making that comparison.

L.Z. GRANDERSON, SENIOR WRITER, ESPN: Well, I definitely see it as a continuum of civil rights. You know, there's a civil rights movement that's a capital C and there's capital R and then there's little C and little R. And I see it as part of the civil rights movement in terms of we're still fighting for our equality.

As far as the African-American community is concerned, I think you heard a lot of the hesitation voiced in what the professor said and how he characterized things. From my perspective, a lot of it sounds as if he believes or at least was characterizing it as being a choice like a viable alternative lifestyle, as if there's some sort of gay lifestyle that could be chosen.

Such orientation is a part of your being just like eye color, just like the color of your skin. That part makes African-Americans uncomfortable, but I can't really help the fact that people are going to be uncomfortable with the truth.

COOPER: Professor, what about that? And also, what about those like Julian Bond who say that this is part of -- and a continuation of the civil rights movement?

WATKINS: Well, the first thing I'll say is that I think that most people should try to understand the fact that being gay in many cases is not a choice. I don't believe it's a choice. And I think that people should be accepted for who they are. I think that the idea, however, that the gay rights movement is piggybacking or is similar to the civil rights movement, I think makes people a little bit uncomfortable.

I think the gay rights movement can be seen as something that is, you know, powerful and beautiful in itself. I don't think that that saying well, this is just like the civil rights movement or because you were a black person who was oppressed in Alabama in 1855, that you should -- or 1955, you should identify with what the gay community is going through.

I think that people are going to choose their battles and I think that to compare the gay rights movement to the civil rights movement is like comparing the civil rights movement to the American revolution. These are all movements in their own right and I think the imposition or somehow imperializing the thinking of a group of people and saying that you have to be on board with this and if you disagree in any way, we're going to ostracize you, I think that that's incredibly unfair and I can't support that.

COOPER: L.Z., what about that? And what kind of an impact do you think President Obama finally, you know, as he said, evolving on this issue, those were -- those were his words, to now support same- sex marriage? What kind of impact do you think that has had?

GRANDERSON: Well, I think it certainly has had a significant impact. You know, but -- you know, in my opinion, having covered this subject for a number of years, it seems to me that there are through lines outside of race that really connects a person's viewpoint of sexual orientation. You know, education, the role of religion in their lives, geography. So -- you know, socioeconomic status.

And so I don't want to spend too much time making it about black people versus gay people because there are -- obviously I'm one of them, black gay people. But there are other variables that dictates their opinion about sexual orientation. Having President Obama who is still held in a very high light, seen as a hero by many African- Americans come out in support of marriage equality helps make having the conversation a lot easier.

Doesn't necessarily mean he's going to help everyone get to a point at which they accept marriage equality and all the other things that are important to gay community, but at least it allows us to have a conversation and in the black community, one of the things that's always held us back in both this conversation and others is we have a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" sort of policy on things that make us uncomfortable. This allows us to ask and to tell.

COOPER: Professor Watkins, you have been saying, though, that the president coming out for same sex marriage has actually created some divisions within the Africa-American community.

WATKINS: Yes. If you go down to the south side of Chicago, and you survey the black pastors, you're going to see the Hatfields and McCoys, basically. You have some pastors who have -- who fully embrace the liberal agenda and they're sort of following in lockstep with what President Obama says is right.

And then you've got others who say you know, the bible taught me something different and I believe something different. And I think at the end of the day, it's a matter of respecting different points of view. I will agree, however, that there's really no group of Americans more marginalized than the black gay community.

I think that a lot of what you see happening in the black gay community in terms of HIV infection and things like that, it really says that our community needs to embrace those individuals and so I think it's important that we do that. But at the same time, we cannot attack people because their religious beliefs lead them in a different direction. I don't think that's right.

COOPER: A good discussion, Professor Boyce Watkins, always good to have you on and L.Z. Granderson, great to have you on for the first time. Appreciate it. For more on the story, go to

Just ahead tonight in the program, two years after bravely going public about having bipolar disorder, Catherine Zeta-Jones had checked herself back into a treatment facility. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me ahead to describe exactly what her condition is and how her going public can help so many other people.

Also, a first look inside an elaborate drug tunnel. The Mexican military shut it down recently before it was finished.


COOPER: You may have heard that the actress Catherine Zeta-Jones checked herself into a treatment facility. It's not clear for how long. Two years ago, the 43-year-old actress publicly announced that she has bipolar two disorder. She revealed that fact in "People" saying this is a disorder that affects millions of people and I am one of them. If my revelation has encouraged one person to seek help, then it's worth it. There's no need to suffer silently and there is no shame in seeking help.

Today, Zeta-Jones' publicist says the actress is being proactive about maintaining good health. Chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now. Sanjay, you know, there's such stigma around mental health issues. I think it takes a tremendous amount of courage for her to be open about what she's facing. This is the second time in two years she checked into a treatment facility. Is that common for people who suffer from bipolar condition?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is not that uncommon, especially for bipolar two. I'll say I agree with you completely, Anderson, we talk a lot about depression and there's such a stigma around this disease still, even within the medical community, so it's really remarkable that she's out there speaking about this.

She's been in the hospital before. She's in the hospital again. Typically, this is a sort of almost planned thing. Medication can be very effective, particularly for bipolar two, which is what she has, but a lot of times these medications need to be adjusted and that's not something that can often be done as an out-patient.

COOPER: What's the difference between bipolar two and bipolar one?

GUPTA: Well, you know, they both, bipolar, they both have these sort of back and forth between manic behavior and depression. With bipolar one, it's much more characterized by the manic sort of behavior. It's not something that you would easily miss, if you noticed this in somebody. Bipolar two tends to be a little bit milder, but also much more people stay in the depressive phase for much longer periods of time.

COOPER: It's interesting. She was diagnosed two years ago when she was 41 years old. Does it develop as an adult or is this something she would have been suffering from and dealing with her whole life and just not realized it?

GUPTA: Yes, that's a really good point. It is possible that you could develop this as an adult, but the more common scenario is what you describe, Anderson. More typically, the onset is late teens, early 20s, but people don't recognize the symptoms.

Again, with bipolar two, they can be a little bit milder so they may not be recognized and people sort of suffer with this. They don't realize that it's actually some sort of specific diagnosis and as a result, they don't get diagnosed until late so it's a lot of suffering that goes on.

COOPER: What triggers a manic or depressive episode? Is it a situational depression? Actually based on life events or is it, you know, chemical based?

GUPTA: This is considered chemical imbalance in the brain, and for a long time, this was a purely clinical diagnosis, meaning people would get the diagnosis by describing certain aspects of their life and how it's changed over time. Now, you and I have talked about this before, there are more objective measures of this. People can actually measure, you know, the impact of depression on the brain and it's made it much more objective, I think, Anderson, as well.

COOPER: How is it treated? Is there effective medicine that allows you to function?

GUPTA: Yes. With bipolar two, there are effective medications, and you know, keep in mind that when you're not treated, you can be very difficult for you to function so this renders you much more functional, these medications. It's not that some of them don't have side effects from that in terms of stopping this toggling back and forth between the depressive and manic episodes of your life, you know, these medications can be very effective. They may need to be adjusted in the hospital, which is what she's going through now.

COOPER: All right, Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much.

GUPTA: You got it, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, let's get you caught up on some of the other stories we're following. Isha is here with the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Obama appearing to soften his red line position on Syria today, saying he needs more information about the chemical weapons that were used before deciding how to respond.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: What we now have is evidence that chemical weapons have been used inside of Syria, but we don't know how they were used, when they were used, who used them, we don't have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened, and when I am making decisions about America's national security and the potential for taking additional action in response to chemical weapon use, I've got to make sure I've got the facts.


SESAY: The mask linked to James Dutschke has tested positive for ricin. The 41-year-old Mississippi man was arrested Saturday and charged with sending ricin-tainted letters to President Obama and two other officials. Authorities initially charged then cleared another Mississippi man in the case.

Anderson, check this out. San Diego's KGTV got a rare look inside a drug smuggling tunnel in Tijuana, Mexico. It was discovered back in February before it was completed. 17 people were arrested. The U.S. border is just four blocks from the warehouse where the tunnel begins. According to reports, it had an elevator, electricity and a rail system.

COOPER: Amazing. I've been in a couple of those tunnels. They're just extraordinarily complex. Isha, thanks.

Up next, Amanda Knox speaking out, hear her talk about the shocking news she got from doctors in prison and also how she's doing today. Susan Page from "USA Today" spent hours with her, joins us to talk about her interview, next.


COOPER: Welcome back. In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, Amanda Knox is speaking out. The American exchange student spent four years in an Italian prison for the murder of her roommate before an appeals court reversed her conviction. She has a new book out today telling her side of her ordeal.

She also has done just a few in-depth interviews. In a moment, I'll speak with Susan Page of "USA Today" who spoke extensively with Knox. Knox also spoke with Diane Sawyer of ABC News and told her about a terrifying lie. Knox said she was told while in prison. She says a doctor told her they analyzed the blood sample she gave when she first arrived in prison and that he had bad news.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The doctor told me that I had tested positive for HIV. I was stunned. I went back to my room with one of the prison officials telling me, well, you should have thought about it before you had sex with all those people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So she made a list of the seven sexual encounters of her life. And they leak it?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They leaked it to the media.


COOPER: Afterward, Knox was told it was a mistake and she wasn't HIV positive. Susan Page is "USA Today's" Washington bureau chief. She interviewed Amanda Knox extensively. She joins me now. You spent about five hours with her.

SUSAN PAGE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "USA TODAY": Five hours with her in her hometown of Seattle, interviewed her at some length. We went to a park. We went to a coffee shop also where she likes to hang out.

COOPER: How did she seem to you?

PAGE: Right now she seems in many ways like an ordinary college student. She expects to graduate in May with a degree in creative writing. She's got a boyfriend. They've been dating for more than a year. So in some ways, she's like every other college student. In some ways, though, she's really shadowed both by her experiences of the last five years and also by the prospect she could convicted again.

COOPER: You interviewed her five days after she found out the appeals court decision. She talks about going back to Italy even though obviously her defense team is saying that's not going to happen.

PAGE: You know, when I interviewed her, she said she wanted to go back for the trial to make a statement about how important it was to her. Now, soon after the interview was over, her lawyers made it clear she would not be going back to Italy for that trial. She doesn't have to legally. That doesn't mean she's in the clear. If she's convicted, there could be extradition hearings, an extradition request from the Italian government and the U.S. government would have to decide if it was going to comply with that.

COOPER: She also talked about wanting to visit Meredith Kercher's grave. Why is that so important to her? Obviously Meredith Kercher's parents have cast doubt on her.

PAGE: And of course, one of the things she said is most painful for her is that Meredith Kercher's parents believe that she killed their daughter.

COOPER: Still.

PAGE: And Mr. Kercher wrote a book about it which she said she had read.

COOPER: She read the book?

PAGE: She read the book. She read most of the books written about her. A couple dozen books have been written about this case. She said she read that book. She said she hoped they read her book. They said today in a statement in England that they will not read her book. But she hopes that the day will come when they accept her innocence and let her -- give her permission to visit Meredith's grave. She says she never had a chance to grieve, accused almost from the beginning of her murder.

COOPER: Because when you look at the evidence, I mean, it just does not seem to be there.

PAGE: Here's the extraordinary thing. People in Italy believe she is guilty. A lot of people in Britain believe she is guilty. But in the United States, and in the appeals court that set her free, independent analysts looking at the physical evidence say that it isn't really there, that it isn't reliable, that it was mishandled and tainted, raised real questions about the way in which she was convicted.

COOPER: Is she still close to Raffaele Sollecito?

PAGE: They are, they are close, yes. They talk occasionally. He's come to Seattle twice and they have met, and she expresses very warm feelings toward him. He did not make a deal saying that she was guilty, a deal he says he was offered by Italian authorities. He stuck with his story as she did with hers, that they were not involved in this horrible brutal murder. COOPER: Does she know what she wants to do with her life?

PAGE: She wants to be a creative writer. She is dating a musician. You know, I think she doesn't know exactly how that works out into the life -- a career of a lifetime. I think she would very much like to move past this chapter in her life.

COOPER: One of the things that she said in the interview, she said it does hurt a lot to have people think that that's me and that's the kind of person I am. It doesn't affect me, in the day to day, I haven't had people come up and threaten and denounce me, but it does affect me and the peace that I have inside. She's been called all sorts of names.

PAGE: Horrible names. You know, everybody knows, you say to anyone in America Amanda Knox, they know who you're talking about and have an opinion whether she's guilty or not. We went into this coffee shop, there was a table of teenagers and they saw her, pointed at her, took pictures of her with their smartphones. She faces that all the time.

COOPER: It's an unimaginable life for someone that age.

PAGE: It is. It is. If you believe her protestations that she's innocent, she has been caught in a terrible web of injustice.

COOPER: Thank you so much, Susan. Appreciate it.

PAGE: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead, the growing manhunt for a killer in the stabbing death of 8-year-old Layla Fowler. Still no suspect. We'll tell you who police are questioning now.

And an attempted robbery gone wrong for the robber, that is.


COOPER: There's a lot more happening tonight. Isha is back with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.

SESAY: Anderson, investigators in Valley Springs, California have interviewed registered sex offenders as they search for the killer of 8-year-old Layla Fowler. She was stabbed to death in her home over the weekend. Her 12-year-old brother says he saw an intruder in the home, before he found her with the stab wounds.

The judge in the Michael Jackson wrongful death civil trial has ruled only one of the singer's brothers or sisters can be in the court at the time. Lawyers for the defendant AEG Live claimed there was a risk having any of the siblings there because they fear they will influence the jury.

In a Florida courtroom, George Zimmerman waived his right to seek immunity under the stand your ground law. Attorneys say they will prove Zimmerman acted in self-defense when he shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin last year.

Women at Yahoo! can take up to 16 weeks of paid maternal leave and new dads get eight weeks. New parents are to get $500 to buy baby clothes and other items. The announcement comes two months after Yahoo!'s CEO Marissa Myers made headlines for banning working from home.

A New Orleans man grabs a shotgun out of the hands of a would-be robber and tries to chase him down. Moments later, a car approached. The driver said, give me my gun back and I'll give you your phone that you dropped. The victim refused and hit the back window with the shotgun, shattering it. Police are searching for the suspect. I guess that's one way of handling it.

COOPER: Incredible that he got the shotgun away from the guy so quickly, amazing, very lucky.

SESAY: I'm not sure you want to be doing that.

COOPER: I know. I'm not encouraging it. It was pretty cool. Isha, thanks. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time for the "Ridiculist" tonight. I do want to tell you about something new we're trying at 10:00 tonight. It's a special edition of "360." The concept is simple. Get a group of smart people together, I'm excluding myself from the smart part there, talk about interesting things, roundtable, round up the days' events.

We will be doing it every night this week at 10:00. We started it last night. Blogger Andrew Sullivan was our special guest. One of the topics we discussed was should we get involved militarily in Syria. Take a look from last night.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The WMD failure in the Iraq war, which was all about is there or isn't there can be the litmus test for here, where it's already being used.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The litmus test is do you go into a country which is split along sectarian lines in which every party is armed and somehow manage to bring peace without becoming essentially trapped in a quagmire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't have to go in and be trapped in a quagmire. They're not the same. You don't --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're very similar.


COOPER: That was last night's discussion. Andrew Sullivan was the guest. I hope you join us tonight, one hour from now, special edition of AC 360, live edition. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.