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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Another Incident Involving George Zimmerman; Tom Brady Suspended for Four Games; Interview with Seymour Hersh; Family Remembers Slain Police Officer. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 11, 2015 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:12] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.
We begin tonight with breaking news. Another incident involving George Zimmerman, a gun in conflicting versions of events. Police in Lake Mary Florida say George Zimmerman suffered minor injuries today after he was shot at. Police say seems to be a road rage type incident. But the other man who was involved actually called police last year because he felt threatened by Zimmerman. It had been almost two years since Zimmerman was acquitted of murder after fatally shooting 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
In that time he's had a number of run-ins with the law, everything from speeding to accumulations of domestic violence. Investigation into today's incident is still in its early stages, but police say that the two men involved had been in an ongoing dispute.
Martin Savidge joins me with more of what we know right now -- Martin.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, what is being figured is the fat -- well, the basic fact that at 12:45, George Zimmerman flags down a police officer in Lake Mary, Florida. He says, hey, I was just shot at, and there's a bullet hole in the side window of his car that seems to verify that. He was not struck, but apparently he was injured as a result from a broken glass that struck him in the face. He was taken into a nearby hospital, treated and released.
About the same time a third party 911 call comes in, a man who says he had a guy come up to him and says, hey, I just shot George Zimmerman call the police. And this man also says the shooter claimed to him that George Zimmerman had waived a gun, there by Matthew Apperson and he is now been identified by authorities, said that he had to shoot at George Zimmerman. The interesting thing is that so far this evening, nobody has been charged with anything. Police are continuing to investigate, Anderson.
COOPER: And Zimmerman, as we said, has had a number of run-ins with the law since his acquittal in 2013?
SAVIDGE: Yes. He's had quite a few run-ins, which surprises people, because many would have thought that he might have a very low profile, he does not. Three weeks after he was acquitted in the Trayvon Martin case, he was pulled over for speeding. But then let's just go over some of them and the list is rather significant.
September 2013, he has an alleged altercation with his estranged wife and father-in-law. He's detained, but not arrested. No charges there.
Then, November 2013, two months later, he's picked up, aggravated assault and other charges, his then girlfriend asked for no charges, so he was not prosecuted.
Then we've got September 2014, an alleged road rage incident. He wasn't arrested, we know now that was Matthew Apperson.
Here so, we are seeing the history of these men. And that finally January of this year, he's arrested on another domestic violence complaint, this time, the girlfriend recants, so there were no charges filed there.
COOPER: And Zimmerman's attorney spoke out about the incident. What did he have to say?
SAVIDGE: Well, he said this is what George Zimmerman told him happened today, is that George Zimmerman's minding his own business. He is driving down the road, Lake Mary Boulevard. There's a car behind that is flashing the lights, honking the horn, and a man shooting at sanity, pulls up next to George Zimmerman. George says he rolls up his passenger window, and the next thing he knows, a bullet comes flying through, narrowly missing his head. There's no mention, of course, to George Zimmerman threatening with the gun, which is what the other man claims happened today as well.
COOPER: Did police say anything about George Zimmerman being -- was he armed at this time?
SAVIDGE: They did not talk about that. It is well known that in a number of instances, George Zimmerman has a weapon. He's licensed to carry one. Did he have a weapon in his vehicle? Police weren't commenting at this particular juncture. It will be interesting, there are body cameras on the authorities, so you'll get the first impression of George Zimmerman after he was fired at coming through that video when it's released.
COOPER: All right, Martin Savidge, appreciate that.
Martin referenced the man who made the 911 call. His name is Kenneth Cornell. He worked close to where this incident happened. Kenneth joins me with more on what he saw.
So Kenneth, walk us through what happened because I understand you were getting out of your car when someone came up to you shouting for you to call 911.
KENNETH CORNELL, WITNESSED AFTERMATH OF ZIMMERMAN'S INCIDENT: Yes, Sir. We are getting out of our car. A guy came driving up, screaming out his window, someone please call 911, guys, hey, come here. Come here. Please call 911. So I was kind of walking over him a little bit. What's happening, what's going on. He's like, I just shot someone. Please call 911. I'm like what? He is like, no, really. Call 911.
So I said to him, like don't you have a phone because this is little suspicious? He said no, I just shot George Zimmerman, please call 911, really. I'm like what, you shot George Zimmerman? He said yes, sir, I shot George Zimmerman. Just please call 911.
So that's when I decided to call 911, picked up the phone and gave them a call and talked with them. And they went through some of the questions and that's when they heard him in the background. Well, let me speak with him. And he got on the phone, he's like, my name is Matt Apperson, I've been in a couple disputes with this guy, he was driving down the street, he waved a gun at me, and that's when I shot him.
[20:05:01] COOPER: So he was saying that this had been some kind of an ongoing dispute with George Zimmerman?
CORNELL: Yes, sir. This is the third incident he had.
COOPER: Do you know how they happen to be -- how they came to be driving down the same street at the same time?
CORNELL: No. Not at all. He didn't say anything about that.
COOPER: Obviously, he was armed. Did he say that Zimmerman was armed?
CORNELL: He said he saw a gun. I don't know if he said he waived it at him or pointed at him. But he said he saw a gun and he shot him.
COOPER: He said he saw George Zimmerman's gun?
CORNELL: Yes. Yes, sir.
COOPER: And did he shoot him from his vehicle while he was driving?
CORNELL: Yes. As they were driving down the street, he shot at him.
COOPER: At this point has anyone from the lake Mary police department, have they talked to you?
CORNELL: The detective was supposed to come before 5:00 today, but they did not get there and they will probably show up tomorrow. But they said someone will be talking with me.
COOPER: Well, Kenneth, I appreciate you talking with us. Thank you.
CORNELL: Thank you very much for the time.
COOPER: Joining me now, are CNN legal analyst and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos and former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin.
Mark, what do you make of this? I mean, road rage is one thing, but to have had several road rage incidences with this same person, that's just seems bizarre to me. MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, it is rather bizarre,
if it's true, that it is the third time. We apparently know about twice. But I think it is also, the other thing in your interview that was kind of is the fact that the police were supposed to show up and talk to the -- at least one of the witnesses who was fresh on the scene and they didn't bother, which tells you how much the police want to get involved with anything where George Zimmerman is the complaining witness.
COOPER: Sunny, I mean, what do you make of this. He has had obviously a number of run-ins?
SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think what's remarkable, is that we are now talking about five incidents, three domestic violence incidents, two road rage incidents that have been reported. And all of them involving allegations of George Zimmerman brandishing a gun. And that is an aggressive action. So someone -- and he seems to every time say that he's the victim, he's on the receiving end. I think it really calls into question certainly his credibility. His state of mind. What is going on with George Zimmerman?
And I think what is also going to be quite ironic, Anderson is if this shooter is, let's say charged with aggravated assault or attempted murder, his defense will be that he was standing his ground against George Zimmerman because he feared for his life because George Zimmerman was brandishing a gun. It's ironic at the very, very best.
COOPER: Mark, I assume police would have searched the vehicle to see if George Zimmerman in fact did have a weapon on him?
GERAGOS: Well, my guess is, they either searched the vehicle or they didn't care all that much. At a certain point they've seen that every one of these post acquittal incidents ends up in nothing happening. So why are they going to pursue this and kind of drill a dry hole, doesn't make a lot of sense. I'm just not so sure that they really give a hoot about this case.
COOPER: It's interesting, though, Mark, I mean, a lot of people who have been in the news, who have been acquitted of crimes or of a trial, they choose to kind of lay low, Casey Anthony, certainly, for example.
GERAGOS: Casey Anthony.
COOPER: You have to wonder about George Zimmerman, either he's attracting issues or just by, you know, the very reality of who he is, people recognizing him, trouble seems to follow him.
GERAGOS: Well, he obviously was a polarizing figure. There's a lot of people who would like to take him out or provoke him, I suppose, so in his defense, he could always argue that. But it does seem, you know, that trouble does seem to follow him, whether he instigates it or he's the recipient of it.
HOSTIN: I think that's pretty charitable. That's pretty charitable. The discussion that -- GERAGOS: I'm always been a charitable guy.
HOSTIN: Just the suggestion, Mark, that somehow trouble just follows George Zimmerman, I mean, let's face it, not one, not two, not three, but five already instances of George Zimmerman brandishing his gun at other people. Yet, he claims that he was not the aggressor with Trayvon Martin, that he's not an aggressive guy. And that he is a victim all the time. I think we need to call it what it is.
If you believe what's being reported. Three of the incidents involve this guy. I don't know who has the fascination or fetish here, there's something going on between these two.
GERAGOS: Well, except that if you believe what is being reported. Three of these incidents involves this same guy. So I don't know who has got the fascination or the fetish here, but there is something going on between these two.
HOSTIN: It's more than three incidents, though. We are talking now six altogether.
COOPER: But he's just talking about with this one person.
Sunny, we'll see. Mark Geragos, thank you.
A quick reminder, set your DVR. You can watch 360 whenever you want.
Just ahead, there is also breaking news tonight, to the other cleat drops for Tom Brady, suspended for four games over the so-called deflategate. And there are consequences for the Patriots, major consequences. Details including the response that just came in from Brady's agent next.
[20:13:45] COOPER: Some more breaking news tonight, the NFL suspended Tom Brady for four games without pay after an investigation found he probably knew the balls were intentionally deflated in the game that sent his team to the super bowl. Brady's agent just emailed a statement calling the punishment quote "ridiculous" and says he'll appeal.
In addition to the suspension, the Patriots have been fined a million dollars and will lose their first round draft pick in the next draft. Brady denied any wrongdoing in the news conference shortly after the story first broke. And if you may remember, he didn't say very much at all about it at all last week, when the report from the NFL commission investigation came out.
Our CNN sports correspondent Rachel Nichols joins me now.
So you just, within the last hour, received a statement from the agent (INAUDIBLE). What else did he say?
RACHEL NICHOLS, CNN ANCHOR, UNGUARDED WITH RACHEL NICHOLS: Yes, Dan Yee (ph) going full barrel on this one, Anderson. He says quote "the discipline is ridiculous, and has no legitimate basis." He said in my opinion, the outcome was predetermined, that's a pretty serious accusation. He said there was no fairness in the Wells investigation whatsoever. He also disputed one key component of the disciplinary hand down. He said Tom cooperated fully with the investigation. He said he answered every question presented to him. And then he made the statement going-forward. He said quote "we will appeal, and if the hearing officer is completely independent and neutral," he said I am confident the Wells report will be exposed as an incredibly frail exercise in fact finding and logic.
He went on to say that the NFL has a well-documented history of making poor disciplinary decisions and that they are often overturned when a truly independent and neutral judge or arbitrator presides. Then he lowers the hammer at the end of the statement, he says, sadly today's decision diminishes the NFL as it tells its fans, players and coaches that the games on the field don't count as much as the games played on park avenue. That's obviously referring to the NFL offices.
And Anderson, I want to take you back to the second to last part of that statement. He talks about a truly neutral arbitrator. The appeals process is set up. And by the way, Tom Brady has three days now to appeal.
The appeals officer, guess what, Roger Goodell, it's, of course, his officer -- his executive vice president Try Vincent who levied this punishment. So there is a procedure in place for Roger Goodell if he wants to, to designate someone outside the league to hear Tom Brady's case. And as Tom Brady's agent points out, when they have picked someone outside the NFL in the past, those decisions have in fact often been reduced or overturned. Not so much when they pick someone in the NFL, and guess what, it's fully up to Roger Goodell, it's at his discretion who hears this appeal. So that will be something we will all be watching over the next three days.
As for the Patriots themselves, well, Robert Kraft, the over, has come out in a statement a few days ago, saying they don't plan to appeal. This million dollar fine, though, the largest ever levied against the team, ever, for anything. So we will have to see if that changes in the next day either.
[20:15:32] COOPER: Right. And Rachel, I want to bring in sports columnist, Mike Petraglia of Boston's weei.com, also sports agent Drew Rosenhaus.
Drew, as an agent, what's your reaction, a, to the suspension? Do you think it's fair? Is missing four games without pay, is that enough?
DREW ROSENHAUS, SPORTS AGENT: I think it's incredibly unfair. I think it's way too steep, it's harsh. The NFL is on a mission right now, to repair some of the mistakes that they made in the past, with penalties with previous cases like Ray Rice.
COOPER: That's what you think this is about?
ROSENHAUS: Absolutely. There's no justification to suspend Brady four games. There's no real evidence here. There's no way they can take a first round pick which is a coveted thing, a record find and a fourth round pick, this is unprecedented.
The NFL league office on this one, out of control. And Rachel said it best, what's really scary is that they can make up these unfounded disciplinary decisions and then the appeals process is anything but neutral. The people who hear it are people who work for Roger Goodell or Roger Goodell himself. That is a joke, there has to be a neutral arbitrator in all of these cases, including this one.
COOPER: Mike, I know you've said that without a smoking gun, there wasn't proof that Brady did anything wrong. And obviously the NFL they thought differently, you believe they're wrong here also?
MIKE PETRAGLIA, SPORTS COLUMNIST, WEEI.COM: Well, clearly they're wrong. And I couldn't agree more with Drew, because remember, guys, this is not about the crime, but the cover-up, and that's clearly what Roger Goodell is sending down. And Troy Vincent, his right-hand man in this case is handing down in delivering this verdict. He is saying, that you didn't cooperate fully, you didn't hand over the texts, even though we went out of our way in the Wells report to try and provide you some protection. And that is why the NFL is coming down, not because they found that Tom Brady did anything illegal, as a matter of fact they even reported, they stipulated in their initial findings, that they couldn't really prove that Tom Brady did anything illegal.
I think it's ridiculous. It's a gross overreach of their authority. And I clearly expect this to be appealed perhaps down to one or two games or maybe even a suspension a repealed all together.
COOPER: Well, Rachel, it's interesting to hear Tom Brady's agents saying they fully cooperated because the NFL said that Brady did not turn over the text.
NICHOLS: Yes. Look, this is a two-pronged punishment. The NFL has made this clear. First of all, they do feel that they caught him cheating at least in the respect of that phrase that we repeated so many times over the past few days, more probable than not. It's a standard that is similar to a civil case in our courts of law. It is a preponderance of the evidence. And they feel that their investigation for which they played millions of dollars and spent four months on, showed that a preponderance of the evidence, more probably than not, more than half, they feel that Tom Brady was involved or had knowledge of this cheating at the organization. Some of the lower level employees carried out this cheating.
So that is one prong of this discipline. They feel their investigator found this to the standard that they expect to hold. And they don't want other teams around the league feeling, hey, we can bend the rules a little bit. Hey, it is not going to have that much impact on the game. Hey, we can decide which rules we need to follow and which rules we don't. They want to put the hammer down and say you can't cheat or what we see in our eyes cheating.
Now, the second prong of this is you better talk to us when we come to investigate. Anderson, what is fascinating here is that the NFL does not have subpoena power. They cannot force anyone to tell them anything. As you saw in the investigation, they cannot make Tom Brady hand over his cell phone records. So the only power they have is the threat in future investigations that they are going to come down on you so hard for not cooperating. It is better to cooperate and quote "voluntarily hand over your records, hand over your testimony, because if you don't the punishment is worse, for not doing, than for whatever you're scared you're going to show them by handing over." So this is a little bit of a message to the rest of the league as well.
ROSENHAUS: And Anderson, a big concern that I have here is not only is the league heavy handed in the discipline, but this is really has a huge impact. You're talking about a hall of fame quarterback, a legendary coach, the super bowl champs, and this is a really severe penalty. And now you've got an appeals process that is a joke. That is a double problem here. And I think that something that absolutely has to be corrected. I'm sure that Tom Brady and his agent absolutely would be effective in appealing this because there really isn't a foundation, whether he cooperated or not. You're suspending a guy four games. You're taking away his livelihood. I mean, you know, that's wrong. Not only that.
COOPER: Go ahead, Drew.
ROSENHAUS: I just think that's wrong, you can't suspend people for that.
PETRAGLIA: Not only that, but if I can interject. And I wrote this right after the story broke in January. This could have been dealt with so much differently by Roger Goodell, if he had brought the parties together in three or four days, handed out an equipment violation which is all this is. It is equipment violation, but instead, it looks like for all the world, this -- the NFL conducted a sting operation with the help of the Indianapolis Colts, Ryan Briggs (ph) and their general manager. And it spun out of control, pure and simple.
COOPER: We'll see what happens on appeal.
Mike, Drew, Rachel, thank you all. Appreciate it.
Just ahead, there are scenes of destruction throughout the central United States, more than 70 tornados in the Midwest and plains states, tearing roofs off schools, leveling homes, destroying more than a third of a town in Texas. We'll survey the damage and hear from survivors coming up.
[20:26:14] COOPER: Massive cleanup effort is underway after dozens of tornados struck from South Dakota to Texas over the weekend. Tornado alley living up to its name. Certainly adding to the mess, heavy rains and flooding in Texas and Arkansas, at least five people are dead, three others missing. And one small town in just seconds, almost 100 homes left in ruins.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER (voice-over): Seventy reported tornados swept through the Midwest and southern plains over the weekend. By Saturday afternoon, multiple tornadoes hop scotched from state to state, town to town sparing some, devastating others.
On Sunday the destruction continued more than 100 people were evacuated at a high school in Lake City, Iowa during an awards ceremony. The roof of their school blown off soon after.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There goes the school!
COOPER: In Nashville, Arkansas an EF-2 tornado with sustained winds of 135 miles an hour, strikes a mobile home park killing the young parents of an 18-month-old girl as they tried seek shelter. The girl is fortunate to be alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's bad, I don't know that I've seen this kind of damage in Nashville since I've been in the department here for over 17 years.
COOPER: It was Van Texas, a town of just over 2300, some 60 miles east of Dallas that sustained the most damage. Just after 8:45, Sunday night, sirens blared, giving residents mere minutes to take shelter.
A tornado tore through the small city, reducing much of its path to rubble. Daylight broke on Monday to show over 30 percent of the town, some 100 homes reduced to splinters. With at least two dead and many more injured.
Canine units and rescuers climbed through the rubble searching for signs of life. Today, flash flooding was reported in large parts of Texas through Kansas, rescuers use helicopters, picking up stranded residents after some areas received more than 10 inches of rain. All together the weekend storms claimed at least five lives with scores more injured.
COOPER: As you just saw, the small town of Van, Texas was hit hard, homes leveled, trees, power lines knocked down. More than a third of the town destroyed.
Donna Dowe and her son, Chris, they are certainly lucky to be alive tonight. They were huddled in the bathroom with other family members including three young kids when the tornado hit destroying the home.
Donna and Chris join me.
Donna, if you could, just take us back to those moments right before the tornado hit. You were at your house with your family, what happened?
DONNA DOWE, TORNADO SURVIVOR: My stepmother called and she had gotten a text from her friend that she needed us to take cover because there was a tornado coming. And our stepmother wanted us to come to her house and try to help her get my dad out of the bed and into the floor. And I asked my husband if we had time to do that, and he stepped outside, heard the sirens, said no, you know, get in the bathroom, get in the bathroom, and he checked again, and he said, it's here, he got in the bathroom, shut the door and you heard glass shatter and then the door just disappeared and we all just laid on the floor and grabbed a-hold of each other and rode it out.
COOPER: How many of you were in the bathroom?
D. DOWE: There were seven total.
D. DOWE: Four adults and we had three children under three years old, there were 3-year-olds, 2-year-olds and a 4-month-old baby.
COOPER: And Chris, what was it like? I mean, all of you in the bathroom. What was it like when the storm actually hit?
CHRIS DOWE, TORNADO SURVIVOR: Loud, man, real loud. It's the only thing I could think of. It sounded like a jet engine above your head. You couldn't open your eyes, because there was so much dust and staff flying around.
COOPER: How long do you think it lasted?
C. DUWE: It could have been a minute, it could have been five, it just -- you know, only thing we were holding on to each other.
COOPER: And finally, when you opened your eyes, what did you see?
DUWE: The sky. That's it. There was no walls, nothing.
COOPER: So everything was already destroyed around you when you opened your eyes, it was like you were outside?
DUWE: Yes, we were just outside on the foundation.
COOPER: That's incredible. That was -- I can't imagine what that's like to suddenly open your eyes and find out it's all gone around you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very scary, but then you start wondering, where's this person, where is that person, where is the baby, and once you find out everybody's okay, then you thank God for your blessings, and everything else is just possessions. We can rebuild.
COOPER: How are you doing now, Donna?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In pain. I didn't -- I would not leave my father, he's a disabled Vietnam vet. I have a broke toe. I would not leave him to go to the emergency room until 4:00 this morning. And I have still not slept, had a few pain pills, but I haven't even had a chance to get to the pharmacy to get my pain pills. But I'm a survivor and I know God's going to take care of us.
COOPER: Donna and Chris, I'm so sorry for what you went through, and I'm so glad you have each other and that everybody came out of this okay. Thank you so much for talking to us, we wish you the best.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
DUWE: Thank you, we're glad to be here.
COOPER: Incredible survival. Up next, is everything you think you know about the killing of Osama bin Laden a lie? That's essentially the charge of investigative journalist Seymour Hersh. I'll speak with him and CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, who's written a scathing rebuttal about Hersh's new reporting, that's next.
COOPER: Tonight, nearly everything you thought you knew about how Osama bin Laden was killed has been called into question, from how he was found to the secret raid that took him down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE U.S.: Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The announcement certainly stunned a lot of people. In the weeks that followed, the White House shared more details about how the CIA tracked bin Laden to the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. We heard about the courier that led them to him, the firefight that took place during the raid. Books were eventually written, a movie was made. Now though veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is calling that official account essentially a lie. In a 10,000 word story in the "London Review of Books," Hersh says the raid was staged by U.S. and Pakistani officials after a Pakistani informant revealed that Pakistani intelligence services were keeping bin Laden locked up in that compound with support from the Saudis. A staged raid and then an elaborate cover-up. That's what Mr. Hersh is alleging. The White House and CIA says it's nonsense. I spoke to Seymour Hersh earlier.
COOPER: So Mr. Hersh, you assert that the official American version of what happened to Osama bin Laden is almost entirely false. You said the Pakistanis were hiding bin Laden. They knew about the raid, that there was no firefight in the compound. That the Saudis were fronting bin Laden's expenses. That the U.S. did not bury bin Laden at sea, they tossed what remained of his body basically outside out of a helicopter. What motive would the U.S. have for lying about this? Not just the U.S. but the Pakistanis and the Saudis?
SEYMOUR HERSH, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Much of what you say is pretty much what I write in my most recent article. All I can tell you is as far -- the simple way to describe it, is the president -- our president did authorize the raid. The S.E.A.L.s carried it out, they did kill bin Laden, they got in and out successfully, and the rest of it is sort of hogwash.
COOPER: But why would there be what you're alleging is a massive conspiracy involving what would have to be dozens of people in three different countries that has sustained itself until now -- what would be the motive for setting up this elaborate hoax?
HERSH: The critical thing, Anderson, about what happened is we weren't supposed to go public with the raid. The deal with Pashan Kayani (ph) and the rest of the staff of the upper reaches of the Pakistani military community was that we were going to -- the S.E.A.L.s were going to go in, kill this guy, grab the body, take it out, 7 to 10 days, I've had two different numbers, later -- the president, we were going to announce that President Obama was going to announce that oh my God, we did a drone strike in Waziristan, the sort of no man's land between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Hindu Kush mountain area, we did a drone strike, and my God, we saw this big guy, he looked familiar, we took pictures, we took DNA, we got bin Laden.
Instead the night of the raid, the president, the only thing the people talked to me, obviously military and intelligence people. He did it for political purposes. I don't know what was in the president's mind. He announced immediately that we got him.
COOPER: Look, there are plenty of people who share your skepticism, but in this situation, there are actual members of SEAL Team 6, Matt Bissonette, Robert O'Neill, who have gone public and said the raid did in fact happened basically as the government said. Their comrades put their lives at risk, were shot at in the compound. There are bullet holes all over the place. Are you saying they're lying?
HERSH: I'm saying -- I can tell you one thing, I don't know about O'Neill, O'Neill said we went in thinking we were going to die, which I think is a great exaggeration. Bissonnette, also wrote the book, I think "No Easy Day" or something like that, certainly was not telling the truth about that, absolutely. I think his book -- there's a lot of stuff interesting in his book, but there's a lot of stuff, operational stuff, that everybody, most of his fellow S.E.A.L.s sort of laugh at.
COOPER: But your main sources on this, is one -- somebody you say is a retired intelligence official who had access to some of the initial intelligence and also some of the after action reports as well -- who's unnamed, as well as a Pakistani official from the ISI who retired, I believe in the early '90s?
HERSH: Well, but two things, what the Pakistani official said was, I think he told one of your colleagues, I have no evidence, and he certainly has no evidence, he has no piece of paper, he just knows what he learned in talking to his comrades and his fellow senior officers. There is a community there, and he learned right away.
COOPER: Just so for our viewers who haven't read the article, there's no documented evidence for what you're saying? HERSH: Absolutely, I don't think there's a piece of paper left. If
you read the article also, you know that at some point, about a year or two after the raid, the general -- Admiral McRaven, the head of the Joint Special Operations Command, who was deeply involved in the planning of this, purged all of the files in the Pentagon of everything related to the bin Laden raid and sent it to the CIA, which, because they have different rules, much more stringent rules about dealing with the Freedom of Information requests. They can deny almost anything based on operational security.
COOPER: Why go through though having a raid? I mean, no matter -- even if there was a member of Pakistani intelligence, they're walking them through the compound, even if the guards were removed, any kind of venture into Pakistan, any kind of military operation comes with risk. If the Pakistanis were in control of bin Laden this entire time, why not just have them kill him and then hand over his body? And then the U.S. says whatever they want to say. I'm not sure why there needed to have been this delicate raid at all.
HERSH: Let me just say this. If you believe that Osama bin Laden, who after 2001 was the most hunted fugitive in the world, the most vicious enemy of America. If you believe that he decided at some point five or six years down the road, that he -- oh, the place to go to hide out and be safe was in Abbottabad, a resort town 40 miles or so outside of Islamabad, where a lot of upper class people go -- his house wasn't very ritzy -- but he was going to go there, the West Point of Pakistan, their military academy was a mile or two away. Division for the regimented headquarters for the army was two or three miles away. If you believe that, it's the old joke as I wrote in the article, then it's a Louis Carroll story. It's a fabulation. It just can't be right.
COOPER: Sy Hersh, it's a fascinating article, I encourage people to read it. Thank you.
HERSH: Thank you. It was fun doing this. Goodbye, buddy.
COOPER: Well, to put it mildly, a lot of people, not just White House officials, are taking issue with Mr. Hersh's reporting and allegations. Joining me now, CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, author of "Manhunt: The 10-Year Search for bin Laden," one of the few journalists who have interviewed bin Laden face to face. Peter was also the only outsider to visit bin Laden's compound after the raid and before the Pakistani military demolished it.
Peter, you heard what Sy Hersh said tonight and also in the article. He's got a tremendous history as a journalist. He's broken important stories years ago, what do you make of this one?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That's all true, Anderson, you know, I mean, but the firefight that took place at the bin Laden compound is just sort of incontrovertibly true. The idea that this was some kind of piece of performance art cooked up by the United States and the Pakistanis -- is not -- there's no evidence for that. In fact, there's a lot of countervailing evidence. You mentioned in your interview, you have the two S.E.A.L.s on the record explaining about the firefights. I saw with my own eyes the damage this very violent raid inflicted on the compound before it was demolished.
COOPER: He's saying there were no other shots fired other than the shots that killed bin Laden.
BERGEN: That's right.
COOPER: You saw bullet holes?
BERGEN: I mean, I -- there was quite an intense exchange of fire with one of the bodyguards. Dozens of bullet holes in one of the houses in the compound, before they even got to bin Laden. So that sort of factual element we can set aside. There was a firefight, this wasn't some sort of a setup between the U.S. and the Pakistanis, as -- which is one of the principal claims to the piece.
COOPER: There is an NBC report tonight, which certainly doesn't corroborate everything or even a majority of what Hersh alleges, but NBC does say that a Pakistani tipster did in fact walk up to the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to tip off American officials about bin Laden's whereabouts?
BERGEN: Well, I think that's a very interesting report, and I think we need to dig into it. Mike Morrell, the deputy director of the CIA, has got a new book out and he's going to be on CNN. I think he was the operational guy in charge of this operation. And I think it's a good opportunity to ask him about this.
I mean, the fact that there was a walk in -- the possibility, you know, that's an interesting new dimension of the story, and I think it needs to be dug into. Who that walk-in was, what he said, how it fits into the larger picture, it's not clear yet.
COOPER: What Hersh is also alleging in this article based on his sourcing is that essentially the Saudis were supporting bin Laden for years while he was in hiding, which I mean, bin Laden was a sworn enemy of the Saudis, of the House of Saad. He wanted to destroy it.
BERGEN: Right, if there's one person the Saudis would actually want to kill, in fact, according to al Qaeda itself, there were multiple assassination attempts against bin Laden when he was living in Afghanistan before 9/11 by the Saudis, the idea that they were financing him while he was in Abbottabad -- it just doesn't pass any common sense test. And Pakistan and the Saudis are very close allies. So what -- if they knew that he was there, they would just say to the Pakistanis, hey, our guys are going to go and get rid of him. That part of the story makes no sense at all, Anderson.
COOPER: It's also interesting because if what he is saying is true, is this would have had to have been basically a massive conspiracy being held secretly by dozens and dozens of people, not just in the United States but in Pakistan and in Saudi Arabia.
BERGEN: I would actually make the number bigger, because by the time the raid happened, I mean, there were dozens and dozens of people at the White House. There were scores and scores at the CIA, there were a good number at the Pentagon. This was -- the secret had become -- had to go wider and wider as the raid got planned. The idea that every single one of those persons is lying, I just don't buy it.
COOPER: Peter Bergen, appreciate you being on.
Thank you, Peter.
Just ahead, a Mississippi community in mourning, two young police officers killed in the line of duty over the weekend. The family of one of those officers joins me ahead. In the depth of their pain, they say they actually have found a way to forgive a person or persons who did this. An incredible family, you'll hear from them ahead.
COOPER: In Hattiesburg, Mississippi, two fallen police officers are being mourned. Officers Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate were shot to death while making a traffic stop on Saturday. Officer Deen was 34 years old, a canine officer who made many drug arrests with his dog at his side. Officer Tate was 24, a rookie police officer. At a vigil today, both were remembered for their dedication and contributions to the community. Their deaths have shaken the city. Until Saturday it had been more than 30 years since an officer had been shot in Hattiesburg. Four suspects charged in the killings went before a judge today. Only one is charged with pulling the trigger. He faces two counts of capital murder. The bullets fired Saturday took two lives and shattered two families. Joining me tonight, Officer Tate's mother, Youlander Ross. His stepfather, Bernell Lonnie Ross, and his sister, Alonte Tate.
Youlander, I'm so sorry for your loss, what your family is going through. Can you just tell us a little bit about what Liquori was like, what kind of son, what kind of man he was?
YOULANDER ROSS, MOTHER: Liquori, we also called him Coco, he was loving, caring, respectful young man. He was a protector. He went the extra mile. He treated everyone that he met with dignity and honor. He was funny. He loved to eat, he loved the Lord, he loved his mama's cooking. And he was very proud of his dad, Ronald Tate, very proud of him. Ronald instilled a lot of qualities in Liquori. His dream of becoming a police officer, and he was just a wonderful son.
COOPER: Alonte, I know you spoke with your brother just shortly before he was killed. I understand he was actually calling to check on you, is that something he did a lot?
ALONTE TATE, SISTER: Yes, sir. He would always kind of drop by my apartment to check on me, and shoot me a text message or call. I remember one time in particular, he was coming over there right from work in his uniform. And as he was headed out the door, I heard something in my backroom. Not sure what it was, but he quickly took his pistol out and was searching around. Of course it was nothing (ph), but in my mind I was like, look at my brother. You know, protecting me, even though it was nothing. He was serious about it. He doesn't play about his family, especially his sister.
COOPER: And Lonnie, I know, I believe you said that you actually have forgiven the perpetrators who killed your stepson. Can you talk to me about that? That's an extraordinary thing.
BERNELL "LONNIE" ROSS, STEPFATHER: Sure. We're a faith based family, and certainly Jesus, who all three of us believe in and so did Liquori. We put -- place our faith in him, and he taught us to forgive. All of us were created in God's image, we believe that, and so there's still hope for that individual through God. And if they never turn around, that's on them, but for us, we're going to forgive and not let that hinder us, that we can't go on.
COOPER: Youlander, what -- I know you want something that happens as a result of this, something to come out of all of this, that your son's death not be in vain. What do you hope happens?
YOULANDER ROSS: Bring people closer together, that they turn away from violence, and turn toward loving each other, helping each other. That's what I would want to come out of this. Something very positive, that people cannot only just celebrate for one day, or for one occasion, but this would be an ongoing thing, people would come together in prayer and turn away from violence.
COOPER: You're incredibly strong to even be able to talk about Liquori at this point in your grief. It's important for you, though?
YOULANDER ROSS: It's very important, because I want the world to know that he was a wonderful son, a wonderful person. When he put on his uniform, it wasn't just a routine or a -- oh, here we go again, another day, no. Liquori, every inch of his uniform, he put a lot of honor and dignity in putting on that uniform, every -- from the tie and the cufflinks, and he put that on with pride, a lot of pride. And he took his job very seriously. Very seriously.
COOPER: Youlander, and Lonnie and Alonte, in your moment of grief, I appreciate you sharing a little bit of Liquori with us. And thank you.
BERNELL ROSS: Thank you, Anderson.
TATE: Thank you.
COOPER: Incredibly strong family. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Coming up in a moment here on CNN, a special report, "Blindsided: How ISIS Shook the World." Fareed Zakaria explores the origins of the terror group and its ultimate aim. Here is a preview. Journalists share some rare video from inside ISIS controlled territory.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN: This extraordinary video gives us a rare look into everyday life under ISIS.
It brings to mind the writer Hannah Arendt's concept, the banality of evil. ISIS has its own license plates, and traffic cops who give parking tickets. And there are friendly shop keepers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Completely brainwashed. Completely. I've never in my life met people like this.
ZAKARIA: This, of course, is the Mosul ISIS officials wanted Totenhofer (ph) to see. They gave him written permission to come to the city, and he believes they let him leave alive to make a point.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They wanted to show me that they are a state, and that this state is working. It's not a perfect state, it's not like the United States. But it's a state.
COOPER: "BLINDSIDED: HOW ISIS SHOOK THE WORLD" starts now.