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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Deadly Derailment; New Video Showed Deadly Impact in Paul Walker Car Crash; TB Scare On U.S. Airways Flight Raises Questions About Travel Risk Of Infection; U.S. Urges Release Of Citizens Being Held In North Korea: Officials Deeply Concerned; NBA Legend Magic Johnson Talks About His Gay Son And Living With HIV

Aired December 2, 2013 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Don, thanks very much.

Tonight, a survivor on living through New York's deadly train wreck and breaking news tonight on how dangerously deadly fast that train was going just before it left the tracks.

More breaking news tonight, this is the fiery wreck that killed "Fast and Furious" star Paul Walker, there's new video tonight showing the moment of impact and a question that investigators are trying to answer. Did driving like they do in the movies caused this real life tragedy?

And later tonight emergency crews board a U.S. Airways flight and then made an announcement that one of the passengers had contagious and potentially deadly tuberculosis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta here to talk about the danger your seatmates may pose on your next flight.

We begin tonight with the breaking news. Officials say the commuter train that flew off a curve yesterday morning just north of Manhattan was going nearly three times the speed limit, 82 in a 30-mile-an-hour zone. It was going faster on that curve in fact, 12 miles an hour faster than the 70 it was allowed to go on straight and level track.

Four people died in the crash. We're going to hear from a survivor and the family of one of the people who was killed.

First, we learned just a short time ago from investigators on the scene, as Jason Carroll reports, we already have learned a lot.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators cannot say whether it was human error or mechanical failure. But what is already clear to them is the Metro-North train was traveling much too fast before it derailed.

ED WEENER, NTSB: The train was traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour as it went into a 30-mile-an-hour curve.

SEN. CHARGES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: When I heard about the speed, I gulped. CARROLL: Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board recovered both of the train's event recorders. Information from the devices showed two minutes before the train entered a sharp curve near the Spuyten Duyvil Station the train accelerated as opposed to slowing down.

(On camera): Two minutes before it entered that curve, it was going 60 miles per hour?

WEENER: Right.

CARROLL: And then accelerated.

WEENER: It accelerated up to 82.

CARROLL: To 82. When he should have actually been slowing down, that train was speeding up.

WEENER: That's correct.

CARROLL: So what does that tell you? Anything at all?

WEENER: At this point in time I can't really say.

CARROLL: The speed limit going into the curve is 70 miles per hour, and on the curve itself, 30 miles per hour maximum. The recorders also showed it wasn't until 60 seconds before the train stopped that the engine throttle was stopped. Five seconds before, the brakes eng engaged. More than 60 injured, four were killed, including Jim Lovell.

FINN LOVELL, FATHER KILLED IN TRAIN CRASH: I'm not the son of a victim. My dad was so much more than that. I don't want him to go down in history as just someone who died. He was just the best father I could ever ask for.

CARROLL: The black boxes are now under analysis in Washington, D.C., while investigators continued searching for evidence at the site in the Bronx near the Hudson and Harlem Rivers. The union that represents the train's crew identified the locomotive engineer as William Rockefeller, Jr., a 20-year veteran with a clean disciplinary record.

He was hospitalized for injuries and later released. Rockefeller was responsible for powering the train and brakes. He is cooperating with investigators and has turned over his cell phone. Also telling them he tried to slow the train but the brakes failed.

The former managing director of the NTSB says focusing on what actions Rockefeller took is key.

PETER GOLEZ, FORMER NTSB MANAGING DIRECTOR: They go back at least 72 hours to see whether he had gotten the kind of quality rest that is required. And then they're going to look at whether he was distracted or not. Was there any question of use of hand-held devices like phones. CARROLL: The crash will likely raise the call for a safety system called Positive Train Control. PTC is a GPS system designed to stop or slow a train before a crash or derailment. Congress passed a rail safety law in 2008 and gave commuter and freight railroads until the end of 2015 to install it. Metro-North has already asked for an extension of the 2015 deadline.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And Jason joins us now from the crash scene.

So we're learning more tonight about the cell phone, whether or not the engineer was on it when the train crashed. What have you learned about it?

CARROLL: Yes, Anderson, a lot of questions about that. I can tell you that a senior law enforcement source tells CNN that they have no reason to believe that the locomotive engineer was actually on his cell phone during the time of the derailment.

But, also, Anderson, and speaking to another investigator out here tonight, they tell me there are a lot of moving parts to this investigation, one of the investigators telling me it's just too soon at this point to have a definitive cause.

COOPER: All right, Jason, I appreciate the reporting. Jason Carroll, thanks.

Amanda Swanson works in Midtown Manhattan. She was on her way to work yesterday morning, and before you meet her, I just want to show you this. This was the car that she was in on its side. There was a rows of seats on the left and the right. The carry-on rack and the roof of the car. That's what Amanda walked out of. She joins us now.

First of all, I'm so glad you're OK. First, how are you holding up?

AMANDA SWANSON, NY TRAIN CRASH SURVIVOR: Physically, I am relatively unscathed and unbelievably so. Emotionally, I probably need a little time to sort that out.

COOPER: Does it feel real?

SWANSON: It's getting more real. The more I hear, the more I see on the news. Because clearly being inside the train I had no idea the gravity of the situation. When I took the photos I had no idea that I would show them to anybody. I had no idea that it would get me to a point like this.

I only took the pictures just to text to a co-worker saying, hey, I'm not coming into work today. I did not realize this was going to become -- national news, anything that was going to leave New York. It didn't seem -- I was too uninjured for it to seem that big of a deal in the moment.

COOPER: So you were -- you were sleeping on the train? SWANSON: I was nodding off. And the thing that woke me up was my own equilibrium. I realized that my body was tilted very severely. And that woke me up. And when I woke up and saw that the entire cab of the train was tilted, I immediately woke up and realized that I was in the middle of a train crash, I got on that train.

COOPER: So -- I mean, when you woke up was the train off the tracks? Or where --

SWANSON: The train was tilting to the left against the water, on the opposite side towards the land. And then -- and then after -- I don't -- I don't -- I'm not an engineer, and I don't fully understand, but whatever torqued it threw it back to the right-hand side towards the water. So those of us in the car that I was in kind of did a loop around, like, from the wall to the ceiling to the landing on the side.

COOPER: So were you thrown off your seat or -- what did --

SWANSON: I -- I stood up from a seat where I had kept my belongings in my hand. But my work uniform was where I was sitting, was seats behind me. I wound up in a completely different part of the train than where I was originally sitting.

Yes, it was -- it happened -- it happened really fast but it also very much happened in slow motion.

COOPER: Really? It felt like it was slow motion.

SWANSON: I was completely aware the entire time. As soon as I realized what was going on, I had my phone in my hand. I had my headphones in which prevented me from hearing anything earlier on. And I realized that I was going to need this phone because I was not going to allow myself to get hurt and that I was going to have to call 911 when this is over and then I was going to have to call my mom and dad.

And that was what was going through my head, so I grabbed my phone, I looped my purse around my arm, and I just made the conscious decision to keep my eyes, keep my head straight, rolled with the punches, just let it happen as it was going to naturally happened and hopefully when it was all said and done I would be not only alive but conscious.

COOPER: But I mean, your car, it was -- ended up on its side?

SWANSON: I was in the third car back which was one of the two that was completely on its side. The second car being the one that unfortunately people were ejected from.

COOPER: So you were thrown -- you were standing up but -- and you were in a different spot than you started in because the way you're thrown --

SWANSON: Well, like I said it -- it started off tilting to the left and then I think when the first two cars made whatever impact they made, the -- the connection between the cars is what jolted it back to the other side. And that's what threw everyone. COOPER: Right.

SWANSON: Because we all felt like we're going to the left but then wound up on the right-hand side?

COOPER: And then how long were you on the scene?

SWANSON: How long was I on the scene of the crash after the fact?

COOPER: Yes.

SWANSON: The first responders got there immediately and they were amazing. And the people on board with me that were also not very, very injured, people who were ambulatory and had their wits about them, even if they were crying or making phone calls, the people that were OK were just amazing, helping the FDNY get the people who were more injured.

I mean, it was -- considering what we all just been through it was such an amazing collective effort of everyone to just try to make it the best possible scenario it could be in the moment.

COOPER: Right.

SWANSON: Once we got out of the train I was definitely one of the least injured. A woman who was in some way in charge of getting people up to the medics, unfortunately, at Spuyten Duyvil, that hill is very steep.

COOPER: Right.

SWANSON: So all hands had to be on deck to carry the people on stretchers up so those of us who could walk, even if we were limping were -- not on our own. I don't want to make it sound that way.

COOPER: Right.

SWANSON: But we were all helping each other get to a point of safety.

COOPER: Well, it's great -- help people in a situation like this --

(CROSSTALK)

SWANSON: And we all just kind of came together. And you know, they immediately assessed the triage, those of us who were on the lesser scale in need of attention just kind of helped each other up the hill to get to where the medics were to get our vitals checked and everything.

COOPER: Well --

SWANSON: I wound up discharging myself and leaving relatively early.

COOPER: I am so glad you're OK, and recovering slowly, but, Amanda, thank you so much for talking with us. Metro-North, the commuter line that ran the 5:54 from Poughkeepsie has been around for 30 years. It's the first fatal wreck in the railroad's history. Four people, as I said, killed including a 58- year-old man named James Lovell, who lived about an hour north of the city in the town of Cold Spring, New York. He did freelance audio for television, was heading into Manhattan for a job.

We're joined by his widow Nancy Montgomery. Also his sons Finn, Jack and Hudson.

I'm so sorry for your loss. Nancy, how are you holding up?

NANCY MONTGOMERY, HUSBAND KILLED IN TRAIN CRASH: We are holding up, Anderson. We've got a whole community holding us up. And we've got our Jim, who is filling us up with love and holding us up.

COOPER: What do you want people to know about Jim?

MONTGOMERY: We want people to know that Jim was interested in what everybody was doing. He was pure goodness. And he lived that and showed that and gave that to his boys every single day. He gave that to his guys that he worked with. He gave that to his family and his brothers and his nieces and nephews. He gave that to his beautiful daughter. I want people to know how good Jim was.

COOPER: I -- Finn, I saw some of the tweets you were sending out. Tell us about your dad.

F. LOVELL: Well, first off, I just want to say that my dad was not a victim. I don't want him to be known as a victim. Jim Lovell was so much more than just a victim. He was a loving father, a great dad. Best friend, uncle. Great co-worker, just always had a smile on his face. Never had anything bad to say about anyone. One of the best people you could ever met. And I just want to say I'm so proud and blessed that I was able to call him -- my father.

COOPER: I lost my dad when I was 10. And you guys are just so strong to be able to even be talking about him. It is important for -- for you, for other people to know about him. You want other people to know what he was like.

F. LOVELL: Absolutely. He is the type of person you'd want to show off in your life.

MONTGOMERY: He made a point of showing everybody else off.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Is that right?

MONTGOMERY: Yes. He just wanted to lift everybody up. He was, like I said, always just interested in what everybody else was doing. And so unbelievably proud of his boys and his daughter. Always just wanted to know what they were doing. And just to talk about everything that they were doing in their lives. And just always showing great, great interest. And he was so good at everything that he did. In his work, in his fatherhood. In his community.

COOPER: Well, I know everybody --

MONTGOMERY: We were really lucky.

COOPER: I have been reading all day about him. And everybody at NBC and all the other places that he worked have just been singing his praises all day long on what a great person he was to work with. I understand he was kind of showing you kids how to chop wood recently?

F. LOVELL: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Yes? Was he a good wood chopper?

MONTGOMERY: He kept us warm all winter.

COOPER: Oh, yes.

F. LOVELL: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

F. LOVELL: The best in all counties.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: In all counties? Is there -- for Hudson and Jack, I don't want to put you guys on the spot but is there anything you want to say about your dad?

HUDSON LOVELL, FATHER KILLED IN TRAIN CRASH: I just want to say that he was a very loving father. And I miss him a lot. And everybody cared about him. Everybody. He was a really big member of the community. And he was so kind.

COOPER: It's great that you have those memories to hold onto.

Nancy, did you realize right away what had happened?

MONTGOMERY: Anderson, I think -- I claim part of being Irish is just kind of being intuitive. And I honestly -- after I sent that first text and didn't hear from him, and then sent the second text, I knew. I knew. I knew that he was one of the victims. I didn't want to believe it. And you know, I kind of slowly made my way to my car and made my way down to the scene. But it was pretty clear to me. In my heart, I knew.

COOPER: And I mean, this just happened.

MONTGOMERY: It is a different morning.

COOPER: I'm sorry, go ahead.

MONTGOMERY: It was a different kind of morning than our -- than our usual mornings. The moon was different leaving for the train at 10 minutes to 6:00. The way we said good-bye was different.

COOPER: You drove him to the train station.

MONTGOMERY: The quietness of the train station. I did, I drove him to the train station. And there was such peace and quiet at the train station. He was the only one that got on the train in Cold Spring.

COOPER: And you were saying it was a different good-bye than normal.

MONTGOMERY: The good-bye in the car -- yes, we -- you know, usually I'm pretty tired in the morning because I work late. And he wakes me up 15 minutes before it's time to go. And I get in the car and he drives to the train. But that morning he gave me a kiss good-bye in the car like he usually does and then we have to cross paths as I'm making my way to the driver's seat.

And it was a second kiss, and we don't usually do that. It's usually a mad rush to get to the car so I got a second kiss.

COOPER: Well, I -- again, I am just -- I'm so sorry for your loss, and I know it just sounds so hollow to even say those words, given the -- the profound loss that you all are suffering. And I just wish you strength and peace in the days ahead.

MONTGOMERY: We thank you, Anderson. We thank you for letting us have the opportunity to tell the world how great that Jim Lovell was.

COOPER: Well, it's great to see the pictures that we've been showing of you all as a family in happier days. And I hope that keeps you going in the days ahead.

F. LOVELL: Thank you.

H. LOVELL: Thank you so much.

COOPER: Our thoughts and our prayers with them and all the other people who have died and their families.

Coming up later tonight, or I should next tonight, we have breaking news in the death of "Fast and the Furious" star Paul Walker. New video that could shed some light on the wreck and late word from investigators on whether they believe he was racing for real or the driver of the car was racing.

Also ahead, a true travel nightmare. A man taken off an airplane by paramedics, then all the passengers told they'd been exposed to tuberculosis. It's really a scary concern, the question is how real is the risk? I'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The speed was actor Paul Walker's calling card, now authorities are focusing on speed in his death, and there is some breaking news. Video that might help them get some answers. The program "OMG Insider" got a hold of it, the moment of impact capturing the distance by a security camera. The car hitting a roadside light pole in the Southern California community of Santa Clarita Saturday afternoon. The fire ball erupting split seconds later. Huge plume of smoke and flames coming from the crash site.

A few more seconds later, this video, the Porsche Carrera GT engulfed in flames. Walker, star of the "Fast and Furious" franchise, he was apparently in the passenger seat. Authorities believe his race team partner Roger Rodas was driving. The question is, were they racing someone?

Kyung Lah is following the investigation, joins us now.

So we've been hearing a lot about another car and perhaps street racing. Is that something authorities are still pursuing or have they ruled that out?

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At this point they're backing away from that. Initially, there was an unsubstantiated tip that came into sheriff's detective that there might be street racing involved. But that was unsubstantiated. No witnesses have come forward. Witnesses who have come forward have said that they do believe the speed was a factor, that this, though, was driving by itself.

So what investigators are looking at, surveillance video, like the one you just showed us as well as the car's onboard computer, hoping to answer the question of why.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LAH (voice-over): To the engines of the fast cars of his fans, mourners weeping, carried flowers and candles to the accident site, where actor Paul Walker died. This is one of the last photos of Walker, attending a charity event to help victims of the Philippines typhoon before he and his racing partner Roger Rodas left in a Porsche Carrera GT. It slammed into a light pole and burst into flames.

This man tried to get to Walker and Rodas.

ANTONIO HOLMES, CRASH WITNESS: There's nothing. We tried. We went through fire extinguishers.

LAH: The death of the 40-year-old actor stunned young Hollywood. Fellow co-star Tyrese Gibson paid his respects at the memorial. To his family, Walker was the father of a 15-year-old girl and a son devoted to his father.

PAUL WALKER SR., FATHER OF PAUL WALKER: I'm just glad every time I saw him I told him I loved him. He said the same thing.

LAH: To fans, they've lost a blockbuster, the star of the "Fast and Furious" franchise that spanned more than a decade.

MICHELLE VALENZUELA, FAN OF PAUL WALKER: Just growing up watching him. So it's tough to -- and he's -- he was so young.

LAH: Life imitating art in a painfully violent way.

JUAN BANUELOS, FAN OF PAUL WALKER: In Hollywood they never get hurt. They're always driving fast, you know. In reality, we do have to be concerned. We have to be concerned. This could happen to any of us, you know. Got to follow the rules, follow the speed. We can't be too "Fast & Furious."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LAH: Back here live, this is what the memorial is looking like. There are people still coming even as night falls. This entire section of street, all the lanes have been shut down. As far as this investigative part of this, the autopsies are scheduled for tomorrow, Anderson. And investigators say that the bodies were in such bad condition that they're going to have to use dental records to positively identify them -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Kyung Lah, appreciate the update. Thanks.

Want to dig deeper into this very rare, very fast, very challenging vehicle, the Porsche Carrera, with Eddie Alterman, editor-in-chief of "Car and Driver" magazine.

Eddie, thanks for being with us. And you say the car that the car that Walker died in was particularly hard to handle at high speeds. Explain how so.

EDDIE ALTERMAN, EDITOR IN CHIEF, "CAR AND DRIVER" MAGAZINE: Well, this was not a car for novices. It actually -- the Carrera GT program began as a racing program. And the car had very high revving V10 engine, making about 605 horsepower. Had no stability control and in general was just not a car for novices. It was beyond a super car, it is what we call a hyper car.

COOPER: In terms of the -- I understand, is that the engine of this car is more in the middle which makes it a little bit easier to drive than some of these cars which had the engine up front, is that correct?

ALTERMAN: Well, having the engine in the middle means that the car sort -- what they call in physics was a low polar moment of inertia, which means that it's more agile, it turns more quickly than a car with its engine in its front or in its rear. So the car was just incredibly agile, turned -- changed direction very, very quickly, very much like a race car.

COOPER: There were also skid marks on the ground. Again, I mean, I don't want to speculate because frankly we just don't know what occurred. But what are the questions you would like to see answered in terms of -- or what are things you would be looking at specifically?

ALTERMAN: Well, something interesting about this car which is just sort of unprecedented is just a couple of months ago, Michelin developed and Porsche installed a new tire for this car. And I'm wondering if this car had the new tire because with a car that was so razor sharp in terms of its handling, and the car that would give up its grip so immediately, it obviously had high limits, a lot of grip. But once the grip went in a (INAUDIBLE) car the car would spin. So I was -- I would wonder if there were new tires on that car.

The other thing that people are speculating about, the guys at Walker's race shop, AE Performance, said the car was leaking power steering fluid. And there is a possibility that if he lost power steering, it could have upset the car if he was going fast enough.

COOPER: And a car like this, I mean, how fast can it go?

ALTERMAN: The top speed of 208 miles an hour.

COOPER: 208. And in terms of experience, I mean, the driver was an experienced driver from all accounts. What kind of expertise do you need in order to be able to operate a car at this kind of a level?

ALTERMAN: Well, you have to be familiar with the car specifically. You have to be familiar with its breakaway behavior, with its on-limit behavior. Every car is sort of different. And this one, especially since it had such a hair trigger throttle, because it changed directions so quickly, there is a lot to learn. And to just get into a car like this without stability control, without some of these safety nets that are on more modern cars, it's a little bit difficult. And especially if, you know, the tire blows or if you lose power steering.

COOPER: Eddie Alterman, I appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being with us.

ALTERMAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, an emergency team boards a plane, takes a man off the plane, tells everyone on board that they've been exposed to tuberculosis and should call their doctors immediately. The question is, what's the real risk of infection?

We'll talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that.

And later an outrage, it's hard to imagine happening at the country were reversed. An 85-year-old American man grabbed off a plane in North Korea, has been held captive and then forced to make a confession tape. The details are ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. Passengers on a U.S. Airways flight over the weekend got the kind of news no one ever wants to hear. They have been exposed to tuberculosis apparently during their two-hour flight. The plane landed in Phoenix. Paramedics came on board, removed one passenger who had been given a medical mask.

Everyone else on board was advised to get tested for TB. The question is how concerned should these passengers actually be? I spoke with chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Sanjay, how much do we know about this man and about his condition?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know a few important things. First of all, he was on this flight. As soon as he came off the flight he was put on quarantine, which is pretty standard protocol. We had an initial test that sounds like it came back negative or normal. But then a different test which actually allows the bacteria to grow came back positive.

But it was not conclusive, specifically, for tuberculosis. So they don't know for sure if he has tuberculosis, but their degree of suspicions were raised which caused in incident on the airplane.

COOPER: What kind of a risk is it to passengers? I mean, is it really a risk?

GUPTA: This may sound simple, but unless somebody is really coughing, they're not likely to be that contagious. Coughing and actually getting the bacteria from your lungs into the air is the way it is transmitted from person to person. And also it's not typically transmitted among people who are strangers.

It's usually within people that live in households and have more contact with one another, unless it is a plane ride that is usually four hours long, there is usually not that much concern. And this flight was two hours. So despite what the passengers heard, the Centers for Disease Control is not recommending testing the passengers on the plane.

COOPER: So there were reports that said this man was on a medical no- fly list, is there such a thing? I never heard of that?

GUPTA: Yes, this is not the same thing as a terrorist list, you know, from TSA. It is a no-board list. It's strictly medical and it typically has to do with infectious diseases. It is a little bit loose, if somebody has a contagious disease, it could put somebody on the do-not-board list.

COOPER: Every time I get on the plane, I feel like a big incubator for germs because I'm a little worried about germs.

GUPTA: You know, I became more of a germophobe, maybe because I was around you, but they can be concerned if they are in close quarters. Some of the plane rides can be fairly long rides, so if somebody is real sick there could be a concern about that. It is re-circulated air.

The air goes through the filters, which are actually quite good, better than a lot of homes that can filter out the contagious particles. So the air is a little bit of a concern, what is a greater concern for passengers, the trays, seat pockets, the bathrooms.

COOPER: And those things -- the what do you call them?

GUPTA: The seat backs.

COOPER: Those are never washed and you always find junk in them.

GUPTA: And if you stick your hand in there, it is a pretty frightening thing, and maybe a little dangerous. We talked about this. Tuberculosis comes through the air, but there are so many other things you could potentially touch and then touch your mouth or nose, and then get sick that way. So airplanes are potentially more dangerous when you are touching things, as opposed to things in the air.

COOPER: And what do they say? Sing happy birthday to yourself twice when you wash your hands.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: As always, you can find more on the story at CNN.com.

And holding an 85-year-old American captive, thinking they would accomplish anything on the global stage, in the country of North Korea, there is really no good reason, but there could be convoluted logic. We'll search for it next.

Later, my conversation with Magic Johnson and what became the role of a lifetime, explaining to the world how to live with HIV and especially others who are HIV positive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it is like something out of a cold war nightmare, a war veteran, visiting North Korea, 85 years old board's the flight home, only to be dragged off the plane and tossed into a cell. That's what happened more than a month ago to Merrill Newman, seen here in the next phase of the nightmare, making a televised confession on North Korean state TV, the so-called war crimes, obviously reading from script, his hands trembling.

He is not the only one. Kenneth Bae has been held captive for more than a year, sentence to 15 years of hard labor after being found guilty of quote, "hostile acts" and attempts to topple the government. The U.S. government today is pleading for the release of both men.

Joining us now is Steven Weber, professor of International Relations at the University of California Berkeley. So Professor, the fact that North Korea is holding two American citizens hostage right now. I mean, it is unconscionable, what does the regime hope to gain by doing this?

STEVEN WEBER, UC BERKELEY PROFESSOR, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: I think, Anderson, this is what it appears to be political theater of the utmost kind of drama, dramatic variety. You said cold war. It does have a 1960s feel to it. On the part of the North Koreans, it feels very much like a desperation move to get some attention frankly.

COOPER: Attention in the hope that what, some high level official from the United States will go and they will be a photograph of them with the dictator and somehow give some kind of legitimacy to the regime there?

WEBER: Well, it is possible. I don't think they are going to get that frankly. What they may get is something much more practical and material. This is a regime that desperately relies on the outside world for fuel, oil, food and energy, sort of the essential facilities to keep its people alive and the country running.

Remember, it is wintertime there on the Korean Peninsula, and food is in short supply. And remember, the attention has been off North Korea, it has been on Iran, North Korea is still putting their hands up there saying, we're still out here and can cause trouble.

COOPER: And this 85-year-old Korean War vet, I guess he had had a conversation the day before he left with his tour guide and also some government officials about the war and I'm assuming that, or the belief is that is what may be motivated him being taken off the plane. How -- do you see something like that getting resolved?

WEBER: Well, frankly that strikes me as just a little bit of an excuse on the part of the North Koreans. They were probably looking for an opportunity to cause some kind of media event. It sort of offered itself to them in the face, so they took advantage of that. You know, it is tragic when an individual like this gets caught up in a larger geopolitical drama.

It is not of his making, but right now he is the bargaining chip. So I would hope this gets resolved quietly under the radar screen with some sort of deal that is made. But you know, with North Koreans, you never really can be sure. The one thing we know for sure is that we don't understand them very well and they don't understand us very well, either.

COOPER: Yes, they have a history of misjudging us, and in some ways, us with them. Steven Weber, appreciate you being with us. We'll continue to follow. It's just kind of outrageous. We are going to get the latest in some other stories we are following tonight. Susan Hendricks has 360 Bulletin -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the White House says that 375,000 people went to healthcare.gov by noon today, but didn't say how many of those people were actually able to sign up. White House Spokesman Jay Carney said the bottom line is more people are visiting the site and are able to effectively get from beginning to end. Meanwhile, the administration official tells CNN about 100,000 people signed up on the web site in November. The White House is not commenting on that.

And it is Cyber Monday, but retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart are stretching online deals for the entire week. Amazon is offering new deals as often as every 10 minutes through Saturday.

And a man who threw out a $1,000 in one dollar bills at the Mall of America said he was just trying to spread a little cheer on Black Friday. While police did not agree, they arrested him for disorderly conduct. A spokesperson said somebody could have been hurt while he was doing that. COOPER: Susan, thanks very much. Up next, my interview with Magic Johnson, 22 years after he announced he was HIV positive, the treatments evolved and he opens up about his gay son.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, the big AC360 interview, my candid conversation with Earvin Magic Johnson. It's hard to believe that it has been more than two decades since the basketball great announced he was HIV positive and was retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers. A lot has changed since then. A lot has changed, of course, in the public education perception of HIV and AIDS. A lot has changed in how its treated medically.

I spoke with Magic at length about that, about how his announcement helped change attitudes about the disease and about his son coming out as gay recently.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Back then is for a lot of people you are hard to remember -

EARVIN MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER NBA PLAYER: It was tough, remember, you didn't even talk openly about HIV and AIDS. You know, you had to whisper about something like that. Then I had to go in front of the world and tell them I had HIV. So you're talking about an emotional roller coaster ride on that day. So it was definitely a hard day.

And the unknown, I'm a control freak. I like to control everything and then I was out of control because I didn't know what was going to happen. And I'm not used to that. You know? And so it took me a long time to come to grips with my new status. How to deal with taking my meds three times a day, which was really difficult for me because now I have to put them every place I'm going to be.

And then I had to take 15 pills three times a day, because I was a big man, they said they didn't know how much I should be taking. So they were going to measure me from that dosage. And then move me down, hopefully, and that is what happened.

COOPER: What kind of drug regimen are you on now? How many pills do you take a day?

JOHNSON: Man, it is so wonderful. I take three pills one time a day at dinnertime. You go from one drug, now you got over 30. You went from the cocktail first came out -- one of those drugs had to be put in the refrigerator. So can you imagine, I'm traveling on airplanes, trying to keep this one drug cold and it was the hardest thing I ever had to deal with.

COOPER: As scary as it is, getting the drugs, once you're tested if you're positive, you start to take the drugs. That is what is going to allow you to live a long, long life and not be a risk to other people.

JOHNSON: That is right, so that is why I'm out here just urging people just to get tested. You know? And know where you stand before you and your partner, it is so important. If you can do that and get you on a regimen, go to your health care provider, to your doctor, give you a great regimen, I mean, you can live a healthy life with you and your partner for a long time.

COOPER: The fact that you and other young people received the education, maybe they had it in school and know about safe sex, they're still getting infected. How do you overcome that and stop it?

JOHNSON: Well, that is the challenge because they think nothing can happen to them. At the end of our day in our community we have to start accepting those who are gay in our family. It is like my son, E.J. came out. It is important that cookie and I support our son. We're going to support him 150 percent. But we're in the minorities in this. In the black community, young gay men or young ladies who are lesbian, they're afraid to tell their parents.

COOPER: You mentioned your son. And you have been incredibly supportive of your son when it was publicly known he was gay, you just made a really moving statement of support with you and your wife. In terms of parents having the conversation about HIV/AIDS with their kids, is that a conversation that you and your wife had your sons early on?

JOHNSON: Yes, that is what happened. I had to tell them early on how I got HIV. If they're going to have sex later on in life, have safe sex and talk about it with your partner. You know, it is important that we had that dialogue and that we still have that dialogue today, just like I want my son E.J. to talk to me about everything.

My son Andre to talk to me, my daughter, Elisa, and that is what I talk about. And I go to church, I'm a Christian, but the reality is, my son is gay. That is the reality. And I tell pastors that, I tell other pastors that. I tell black Christians who came out with me. But I say, I love my son, nothing is going to change that.

I don't care if you don't agree and you don't want to deal with me or don't like me, that is on you. But I said tell me when it hits your own family, you know? Then you are going to have to make a decision.

COOPER: Having a gay son did that kind of change your perspective in any way?

JOHNSON: No, it didn't change, because I've been working side by side with gays for a long time. I think what I wanted the gay community to do for me is to help my son, all right? Give him the right information. Help him to grow and be a good young man, things that I can't talk about that I don't know about, they can help him. So that is what I want.

COOPER: You're proud of your son?

JOHNSON: I am. My son is a senior, he is doing great and he loves himself. And what he did was save a lot of lives, too. And also a lot of young people decided to tell their parents once he came out. So it was great to see that. COOPER: It is an honor to talk to you. Thank you.

JOHNSON: My pleasure, thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: A lot more from Magic online. "The Ridiculist" is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for the "Ridiculist." And tonight, we have a story that many of you can relate to, the specific joy of dealing with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Now I had my experiences with the DMV, because I lost my wallet more than once in the span of months and had to keep getting new driver's licenses.

This is about a woman in Virginia who is getting the run around. Her name is Ashley who said she sent her insurance information both by e- mail and regular mail, but the DMV claimed they never got it and suspended her license and wanted to charge her $645 in fees to get a new one. Then Ashley tried to get them on the phone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been trying for the past three days to get through the DMV, in between being told that the answering service told me it was too long a wait and hanging up on me. And between trying to talk to someone and get this straight, I don't feel I should be in this situation at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So Ashley can't get anyone at the DMV on the phone, she is not allowed to drive there to get it straightened out because her license is suspended. So Ashley got on her hose and rode it to the DMV to deliver her paperwork by hand once and for all. And much like a Lone Ranger fighting against injustice and an inadequate customer service, Ashley got her point across.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I went in, the lady that is the head of DMV came and found me and asked me if I was the lady with the horse outside. Said come here, took me to the side. She took all of my paperwork upstairs and handled it immediately. And she sent me on my way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I have to say the only thing that would make it more entertaining would be the Springfield DMV for patting some of the work on "Simpsons."

That was obviously the wrong Simpson's clip, but I had to get it in that I was on the Simpsons, that is an accomplishment. Anyway, here is the video. So the next time you're at the DMV because you lost your wallet for the third time in four months, don't go to the DMV, remember, patience is a virtue, and hold your horses at the DMV, that does it for "Ridiculist." And check out our live web cast for AC360, go to our web site, at 9:15. Thanks for watching. "PIERS MORGAN LIVE" starts now.

PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world tonight. Too "Fast & Furious," Hollywood mourns the death of Paul Walker, killed in a fiery, high speed crash. What will it do to the billion dollar "Fast & Furious" franchise?

And a scandal for millions, take a look at Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope, dealing out her tough brand.