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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

NASA Astronaut Charged With Attempted Murder; Ted Haggard Stirs Homosexuality Debate; Tracking Katrina Relief Money

Aired February 06, 2007 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.
Pastor Ted Haggard once led a mega-church. Then came allegations of drugs and sex with a male prostitute. Now he says he's healed -- healed, some fellow ministers say, of his desire to have sex with men. And that, as you will see in a moment, is stirring up a major storm.

But, first, astronaut and Navy Captain Lisa Nowak, an apparent love triangle, and an alleged case of murderous obsession -- NASA trained her to be focused, disciplined, precise, to plan every step with the utmost care, then boldly take action.

Police in Orlando, Florida, say that is just what she was doing when she set out to kidnap and kill a romantic rival. They detained Captain Nowak yesterday on lesser charges. Today, prosecutors dropped a bombshell.

Details of that now from CNN's John Zarrella.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you swear that the information you're about to give is true and correct?


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF (voice-over): Astronaut Lisa Nowak in court for the second time today, this time charged with attempted murder.

DONALD LYKKEBAK, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR LISA NOWAK: They filed a brand-new charge, based on preposterous assumptions drawn from facts that -- that are perhaps a misdemeanor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Murder was the plan, and it just was not able to be carried out.

ZARRELLA: Attempted murder of a romantic rival, Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, who has been involved with this astronaut, shuttle pilot Bill Oefelein, who just flew on Discovery in November.

Police say Nowak told them she, too, was having a relationship with Oefelein, and that she wanted to confront Shipman, who works with the space shuttle program. Knowing Shipman was flying to Orlando, Nowak took off from Houston, driving 900 miles, and wearing diapers, so she wouldn't have to stop. She went to the airport, and waited for Shipman to arrive on a United flight. But Shipman had to wait a couple hours for her lost luggage. At 3:00 a.m., she finally made her way to catch the bus to the blue satellite parking lot. Nowak was waiting on a bench near the taxi stand.

SERGEANT BARBARA JONES, ORLANDO, FLORIDA, POLICE DEPARTMENT: The victim got on the bus. She did notice the arrestee, Mrs. Nowak. At the time, she didn't know it was her, also sitting on the bench, boarding the bus.

ZARRELLA: When Colleen Shipman got off the bus, police say, so did Lisa Nowak.

(on camera): After she got off the bus, Shipman told police she turned and noticed Nowak following after her. She was frightened, she said, so she started to move more quickly to get to her car, because, she told police, she heard footsteps running towards her.

JONES: When Ms. Shipman got in the car, apparently, there was a tap on the window. The arrestee indicated that she needed some help, that, you know, could she use a cell phone. Somebody was supposed to pick her up, but they didn't show up.

At that point, it's my understanding Mrs. Shipman lowered the window. And that's when the arrestee sprayed -- we believe it was mace.

ZARRELLA (voice-over): Even though she was hit with mace, Shipman took off. Police say they found Nowak in the parking lot, trying to get rid of a disguise. And she had a bag, containing a brand-new steel mallet, a folding knife with a four-inch blade, and four feet of rubber tubing.

Nowak told police she had no intention of hurting Shipman; she just wanted to talk.

Nowak's attorney denied she was going to kidnap or harm Shipman. Late in the afternoon Tuesday, Nowak, wearing a black hood, left the jail. Accompanied by NASA's chief astronaut, Steve Lindsey, she headed back to Houston, without saying anything about the charges.


COOPER: And John joins us now.

So, what happens next, John?

ZARRELLA: Well, what happened right now is that, before she actually was allowed to leave here, she had to go across the street, and was given a GPS, an ankle bracelet that she has to wear when she is back in Houston.

She's not allowed to come back to the east coast of Florida, can't go over to the Kennedy Space Center or to Patrick Air Force Base, which is where Colleen Shipman works. And she will only be allowed to come back here for her court appearances. And we don't have a date yet set for her next court appearance, where she would have to plead to the charges -- Anderson.

COOPER: Do we know where she returns to? I mean, does she go home with her kids?

ZARRELLA: Well, at this point, that appears to be the case. We're not getting any indication to the contrary.

She will go home. She will go to Houston, wearing this ankle bracelet, where she will stay. Now, she is apparently separated from her husband. That came out this afternoon -- late this afternoon -- that she and her husband, who also works for NASA in mission control, that they have been separated now for several weeks -- Anderson.

COOPER: And is there any indication -- I know there's a lot we don't know at this point, so I don't want to press you too much.


COOPER: But is there any indication of what brought this on, I mean, why -- why now?

ZARRELLA: No, none whatsoever at this point.

What we do know, according to Colleen Shipman, who filed a restraining order on the 5th of this month, Colleen Shipman is alleging, in that restraining order, that Nowak had been stalking her for up to two months, but the two had never met.

And we're being told in some of the police reporting today, what police told us was that Nowak said she really just wanted to come here and talk. And the only opportunity she felt she would have to talk to Shipman would be to come here to Orlando to the airport.

So, apparently, this had been building for some time. But we sure don't know any of the ins and outs or the real details of that yet -- Anderson.

COOPER: And just to -- to verify again, she wanted to talk, she says, but she had a new steel mallet in her bag, as well as a B.B. gun and a knife?

ZARRELLA: Correct.

But her attorney quickly pointed out that none of those things came out of the bag, so that this charge, according to him and in his feeling -- this charge of attempted murder, in his feeling, is ridiculous -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, John Zarrella, appreciate it. Thanks, John.

The astronaut selection process, as we all know, is demanding, the trainer tougher, as you can imagine. Trainees have to be driven. And, certainly, Lisa Nowak was.

We have more on that right now from CNN's Randi Kaye.


STEVE LINDSEY, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION: I knew here well. I have flown with her. She did a fantastic job on the mission. She's been a great astronaut for all the years that I have known her.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lisa Nowak was one of less than 300 Americans to make it into space and the first Italian-American woman. She had dreamed about it since being mesmerized by Neil Armstrong's moonwalk when she was just in kindergarten.

LISA NOWAK, NASA ASTRONAUT: I thought, if there was a chance to be able to come here, that I would love to do that.

KAYE: She spent 10 years training, and then waiting for a space assignment. But, eventually, she saw the stars up close in July 2006, spending 13 days in orbit, a mission specialist on board the space shuttle Discovery.

Like all the astronauts, Nowak was an extremely motivated student, calling herself competitive, determined and energetic.

NOWAK: I watched the development of the space shuttle program, and in particular when they started including women in the program, and it started to look like something that I really could do.

KAYE: She is only one of 38 women to make it into space, a fact not lost on her former high school classmate Dennis Alloy.

DENNIS ALLOY, HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE OF LISA NOWAK: I wasn't surprised at all. I think that she was going to be an astronaut if she wanted to be an astronaut, or whatever she wanted to be. She was a hard worker, and she was determined to do what she wanted to do.

KAYE: After high school, Nowak enrolled in the Naval Academy, and became a Navy captain. Eventually, she became a test pilot. It was not an easy entry for her. She applied six times before being accepted.

Nowak even fought a policy that required she have longer legs to fly fighter jets. She got a waiver and has logged more than 1,500 flight hours in more than 30 different aircraft.

(on camera): In 1996, Nowak was finally accepted into NASA's astronaut program. Every two years, 3,500 men and women apply for about 20 spots as mission specialists or pilots. She passed a battery of medical, physical, and psychological exams before being allowed into space.

NOWAK: I want to make sure that I can support and do everything that I have trained to do in a timely manner, and keep on schedule, and keep everybody safe.

KAYE (voice-over): Before she reached the stars, Nowak offered one word for other women looking to follow her there: persistence.

NOWAK: Exploration is just part of our destiny. It's what we feel inside of us, that we have to go and find out what more there is.


COOPER: You know, you -- you look at those pictures now, you look at those interviews that she did, and you look for some sort of clue of what was going on in her personal life.

What do we know about what happened to her?

KAYE: Well, we know that she's been married 19 years. Her family released a statement today saying that, 19 years of marriage, although she just separated from her husband just a few weeks ago.

We also know that she has three children, including one set of twins and another little boy. And, in one of the last interviews that she gave, Anderson, believe her arrest, she talks a little bit about the fear that she says saw in her twins' eyes when she was getting ready to prepare for the shuttle takeoff, and that her -- her one little girl was yelling, "Mommy, come home, no shuttle, no shuttle."

So, this is not a woman who is incapable of feeling. I think she just -- obviously just didn't know how to direct those feelings in a proper manner. But she certainly appears to have had quite a family life at home.

COOPER: Very bizarre. Randi, appreciate it. Thanks for that.

Lisa Nowak's family is staying away from the media, as you can understand, but, tonight, released a statement saying, in part: "Lisa is an extremely caring and dedicated mother to her three children," as Randi indicated. She has been married for 19 years, although she and her husband, as Randi just said, separated a few weeks ago.

Now, some people are asking, could that have possibly been a trigger, given that it was just a couple weeks ago?

Joining me is sex educator and therapist Laura Berman.

Thanks for being with us.


COOPER: What do you think about what's going on with this woman?

BERMAN: Well, I mean, anyone can guess.

But, as we heard, it's definitely the case that NASA does do extensive tests, including psychological tests, that would have flushed out if there was any chronic, serious mental disorder, emotional disorder, that this woman was struggling with.

So, at some point, she was screened. Whether something happened after that fact and after she was enrolled in the space program, that remains to be seen. It may...

COOPER: But does a -- does a switch just flip and someone, you know, freaks out, or they enter into a relationship and they become obsessed? How -- what goes on in someone's mind in this case?

BERMAN: Absolutely.

Periods of extreme stress, periods of extreme crisis -- maybe it could be the breakup of her marriage or some family crisis or some emotional crisis -- can be a trigger for an emotional or mental breakdown, so to speak. And what she did -- I mean, certainly, many people harbor fantasies of getting rid of the person that is standing in the way of their love interest.

But very few of them actually carry out such a drastic plan as this woman did. So, I think what we're looking at is someone who is definitely not mentally stable in the here and now. Whether she was mentally stable when she went up in the space shuttle, I'm sure she was. But something happened between then and now to cause her to have some sort of breakdown.

COOPER: Well, clearly, too, this has been going on for a while. I mean, if they separated three -- three weeks ago, yet, two months ago, the woman that Nowak was after, Ms. Shipman, filed a restraining order, basically, or...

BERMAN: Right.

COOPER: ... or got a restraining order against her -- she said she had been stalked for the past two months.

What kind of a person stalks somebody?

BERMAN: Well, that's really interesting to me, because stalking usually occurs because someone is broken up with -- you know, because -- it -- it involves delusions or imagining things are different than they are.

And, so, if Lisa was stalking this person who was competing for her love interest, that seems a little strange to me, only because she was very clear, at least in the interviews that I read, that she is not in a relationship with this man, that they are friends, that they're not romantically involved.

And, usually, when someone's a stalker, they really do believe that this person is in their life, that they're in a relationship. They have delusions about the nature of that relationship. And, at least in the little bit I read, it didn't seem like she was delusional in that regard. So...

COOPER: But it's interesting. She described the nature of her relationship with this astronaut, the male astronaut, as more than a working relationship, but less than a romantic relationship.

BERMAN: Right. Right.

COOPER: They -- I don't get that.

BERMAN: Well, she probably was harboring romantic feelings for him. There might have been a bit of flirtation, but it had never been, you know, clear, or -- I mean, that's what was promising to me that she is not a stalking, because she was able to recognize that she's not in a relationship with this man, that he doesn't secretly love her, that they're not meant to be together, necessarily, that she saw him, perhaps, as someone who she wanted to be in a relationship with, and this other woman stood in the way of that, potentially.

COOPER: Nevertheless, though, to -- to go to the extent of...

BERMAN: Right.

COOPER: Whatever...


BERMAN: To drive across the country in diapers...


COOPER: Right. Yes. I mean, that's...

BERMAN: ... you know, with weapons, is extreme.


And that's -- I mean, when you first hear that she drove across the country in diapers, I mean, that's just sort of one of those details...



COOPER: ... that makes you think...

BERMAN: It's shocking.

COOPER: ... what the heck is going on with her?

BERMAN: Right.

And you can't say it's a passion -- you know, a crime of passion, because there was such significant premeditation, and she had the whole drive across the country to cool down. So, there was a potential for her to cool down.

So, we can't say that it was a crime of passion. And I don't feel that we can comfortably say that it was a stalking situation. It probably was more that she had some sort of mental breakdown, or some sort of emotional break, at some point between the time she entered the space program and now, which led her to be susceptible to this kind of really bizarre and destructive behavior.

That's not the nature of a happy, healthy, emotionally stable person.

COOPER: And, certainly, the pictures of her today in court did not -- it did not look like a healthy woman, or a woman...


COOPER: ... you know, who -- who seemed aware of what was going on in that moment.


And that's certainly what the reports are saying, that she seems very disoriented, and not really clear on what's going on. So, something has happened to her that has caused what seems to me to be an emotional or mental break in her -- in her psyche and in her life.

COOPER: It is -- it's a -- just a horrible story. And I feel -- you know, certainly, you feel for her kids, and...


COOPER: ... most of all, and no matter -- and, obviously, for -- for her, I mean, whatever she's going through.

It's good to talk with you. Thanks so much.

BERMAN: Sure. Happy to be here.

COOPER: Well, Lisa Nowak became an astronaut in 1996, nearly four decades after the country's first astronauts were named. Here's the "Raw Data" on that.

NASA selected its first group of astronauts in 1959. Seven men, all pilots, were chosen. Since then, the pool has become much more diverse. The latest group of candidates included teachers and doctors, as well as engineers.

More to come tonight on this case and the inner lives of astronauts -- we will talk to Miles O'Brien ahead.

Also tonight: Ted Haggard, drugs, sex, and the confessional -- or the controversial claim that homosexuality can be cured. Take a look.


COOPER (voice-over): Preaching one thing...

TED HAGGARD, FORMER PASTOR: I believe that God has the best plan for us, and that his best plan is heterosexual living.

COOPER: ... practicing another.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you ever have sex with him?

COOPER: Ted Haggard now claims he's heterosexual, after three weeks of therapy. Is he serious? Is that possible? Also: battered by Katrina, ignored by the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was exhausting. They kept saying the same things, giving us the runaround.

COOPER: She got none of the aid she needed, but tens of thousands of undeserving people did, hundreds of millions of FEMA dollars. We're "Keeping Them Honest."



COOPER: Americans raised on John Glenn and Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride and the rest have mostly gotten the "Life" magazine version of astronaut living.

The fact is, though, long before Lisa Nowak's arrest, it was never the complete picture. There have been alcoholic astronauts, astronauts struggling with depression and inner demons.

It turns out, as CNN's Miles O'Brien reports now, astronauts are human, and some, tonight, are hurting.


MILES O'BRIEN, CNN SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jon Clark is no longer with NASA, but he's still part of the family. And that family is in shock.

JON CLARK, FORMER FLIGHT SURGEON, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION: Well, you know, this -- this -- that'S -- that's horrible. I think that, you know, it was very apparent that she's under a huge amount of stress, and, obviously, she was not thinking right.

O'BRIEN: Lisa Nowak was there for Clark and his son Iain on some very dark days. Clark's wife, Laurel, perished on the space shuttle Columbia four years ago. The two had much in common, both naval officers, astronaut classmates, working moms.

CLARK: They loved kids. They loved their family life. They loved gardening and flowers. And, you know, she was very close to Lisa. And that's the part of it. I sit there, and I think, you know, if somebody's under enough emotional stress, who knows what could happen?

O'BRIEN: As a former NASA flight surgeon, Clark has seen the stress through a doctor's eyes as well. He says many astronauts do not have happy landings after the emotional high of spaceflight.

CLARK: They have been on this tremendous high, and then there's this tremendous low that follows, this vacuum that follows. And that's a period, I think, that they're very vulnerable. And I think that's -- might be the case, you know, here -- you know, here, too. O'BRIEN: Lisa Nowak flew to space for the first time in July. If she needed psychological help post-mission, it would be no surprise that she did not seek it.

MIKE MULLANE, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: You got to understand, for astronauts, it is a life quest. This isn't a job. This is a dream for us. And we have worked our entire lives to achieve this dream. And we don't want to get anything -- have anything get in the way of having it realized on a mission into space.

O'BRIEN: Former astronaut Mike Mullane flew on the shuttle three times, starting in the late '80s. He reluctantly sought out a NASA psychiatrist because of problems he had with a boss.

MULLANE: They don't just lock us in a tube and say, deal with it, like I'm getting the impression some people think.

O'BRIEN: But it is an elite club, a Type A-plus fraternity, the ranks always closed, allowing problems to fester. The divorce rate is high. And astronauts say extramarital affairs are not uncommon, seldom discussed outside the family.

HOMER HICKAM, AUTHOR, "ROCKET BOYS: A MEMOIR": For years, we have left it up to the astronauts to essentially pick their own membership. And, so, they're brought in. They're beholden to the people who brought them in. They -- they become part of this -- this little little fraternity. They become isolated down in Houston, to a great extent.

O'BRIEN: Former NASA engineer Homer Hickam is author of the book that inspired the movie "October Sky." He says, there are too many astronauts chasing too few seats to space, the competition almost inhumane.

HICKAM: The Astronaut Office, in my opinion, really needs to be broken up. It needs to be spread around all of the NASA centers. It needs to get out. The people in the Astronaut Office need to get out into the real world a little bit, breathe a little fresh air, and understand what's really going on in the world.


COOPER: It's a fascinating look inside this very elite club, as you say. I had no idea that the pressure was so intense for -- for so few slots.

O'BRIEN: Well, you have to remember, the space shuttle is retiring in -- in 2010. There's only going to be about 14 more shuttle missions.

You have got 100 astronauts in that office. Half of them haven't even flown at all. So, you start doing the math on a seven-seat shuttle, and there's a tremendous amount of competition. And most of them are going to get one shot at flying.

So, you can imagine how Lisa Nowak, coming back from this mission in July, might have thought: I may never get to go again.

COOPER: And, then, what do they do afterward? I mean, once the -- once you have done it...

O'BRIEN: Yes. They -- they go into aerospace, in many cases. They -- they work in the program in other ways.

But, once -- or they -- you know, working with NASA as a civil servant, whatever the case may be. They tend to stay close to the aviation world, because they do love it.

COOPER: You -- you knew Lisa Nowak.


COOPER: What was she like?

O'BRIEN: Well, she's -- she's a person who really, in many ways, surpassed a lot of expectations on this mission in July.

I -- when I met her, she was training for that mission. And it was her first TV interview. And she was actually kind of shy and nervous about the whole thing. And there was a sense that she was a bit tentative. I had that sense, anyway.

She got into space, and she did a wonderful job. She was running that, you know, very expensive robot arm, doing some impressive work on the space station. She came back to rave reviews.

COOPER: And the screening, the psychological screening that one goes through, does it surprise you that something like what she is now accused of could happen?

O'BRIEN: Well, this whole thing, I think, surprised a lot of people, because -- but -- but, having said that, the whole notion of an -- of an astronaut getting through that whole barrier after barrier, layer after layer, and -- and -- and perhaps going off the -- the reservation, so to speak, certainly is possible.

Think about it for a second. They -- they take a test as they come in, a written test. And, then, they sit down with a psychologist -- a psychiatrist for an hour. And, then, after that, it is up to them. There -- there is no routine test, as there is a physical every year, for them. There is no routine emotional test.

If they have an emotional problem, if they want to talk to somebody, they can seek that help out. But what astronaut, worried about that next flight...

COOPER: Right.

O'BRIEN: ... would do that, potentially disqualify themselves?

COOPER: That's interesting. Good -- it's a good point.

Miles O'Brien, appreciate it. Thanks, Miles. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Nobody knows space better.

Well, much more with Miles tomorrow morning, of course, every weekday on "AMERICAN MORNING," starting at 6:00 a.m. Eastern.

And a special programming note for us: Tomorrow night, militants whose war against big oil companies in Africa might one day may cost you big at the pump.


COOPER (voice-over): Those boats are speeding across the twisted waterways of the Niger Delta in southern Nigeria -- on board, men in black, rebels, heavily armed.

Their mysterious leader, Jomo, invited us to witness what they call their magic powers and their might in their battle for control of a great treasure, the vast oil deposits beneath these waters.

The rebels believe bullets can't harm, while they kill the Nigerian military at will. They see themselves as Robin Hood, trying to take oil money back to give to the people -- tomorrow night, "Secrets of the Delta: Sea of Oil, Rivers of Blood."


COOPER: And author Sebastian Junger will also join us for that.

Still to come, though, tonight: more fallout from Katrina. We're tracking the dollars, your tax dollars. Where's the money gone? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

And Pastor Ted Haggard, months ago, he admitted what he called sexual immorality. Now he's finished three weeks of counseling and says he is convinced he isn't gay. His supporters call it the power of prayer. Some wonder if that's possible -- when 360 continues.


COOPER: It's been three months now since the Reverend Ted Haggard rocked the evangelical world with his very public fall from grace.

And now he's resurfaced. In an e-mail to his former congregation, Haggard, who lost his job in the wake of a sex and drug scandal, said he had completed three weeks of counseling in Phoenix. The treatment was overseen by four ministers, one of whom told "The Denver Post" that Haggard is now convinced he's -- quote -- "completely heterosexual."

In a moment, we will discuss if that's even possible, but, right now, a look at the long, strange journey of Ted Haggard.


PASTOR TED HAGGARD, NEW LIFE CHURCH: I'm talking about that secret part of your heart that other people don't know about. I'm talking about the thoughts that go through your mind.


COOPER (voice-over): That was the Reverend Ted Haggard preaching in August 2005, a sermon that now seems like a crystal ball.


HAGGARD: All right, everybody ready to study the Bible, yes or no?


COOPER: At the time, Haggard was a spiritual superstar, the leader of a 14,000-member church he had built from nothing, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, a man of God who had the ear of the White House, but wasn't afraid to talk about sex on the record.


HAGGARD: You know, all the surveys say that evangelicals have the best sex life of any other group.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

HAGGARD: There's a lot of love in this place. And you don't think these babies just come out of nowhere, do you?


COOPER: Haggard and his wife, Gayle, have five children, but his image as a family man was about to shatter.


HAGGARD: I have never had a gay relationship with anybody. And I -- I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife.


COOPER: His fall from grace began when a former male prostitute claimed he had had a sexual relationship with Haggard for three years.

Haggard, a vocal critic of gay rights, denied the allegations.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, NOVEMBER 3, 2006) HAGGARD: I have never said that I'm perfect, but I haven't had sex with a man in Denver. And I have been faithful to my wife.


COOPER: But Haggard's accuser, Mike Jones, who had failed part of a lie-detector test, kept talking.



MIKE JONES, HAGGARD'S ACCUSER: You know, look at the position he's in. What I think is unfortunate is, the more denial that he gives, the messier it looks.


COOPER: Finally, Haggard did admit to contacting Jones for a massage and to buying crystal meth from him.

He claims, though, he never took it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And what did you call him about?

HAGGARD: I called him to buy some meth, but I threw it away.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And who were you buying the meth for?

HAGGARD: No one. I was buying it for me, but I never used it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you ever used meth before?

HAGGARD: No, I have not.


HAGGARD: And I did not ever use it with him.


COOPER: No criminal charges were filed against Haggard or against Jones.

However, days later, the church fired Haggard. He apologized in a letter read to the congregation.

HAGGARD: The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality, and I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I've been warring against it all of my adult life.

COOPER: Ted Haggard isn't the first man of God to fall from grace and disappoint his faithful. The church panel that's been advising Haggard has urged the one-time star preacher to stick to secular work.

In the e-mail he wrote his congregation this weekend, Haggard says he and his wife plan to leave Colorado and go back to college. They want to study psychology.


COOPER: Well, as we said, today we learned that Ted Haggard has spent three weeks in what they said was intensive counseling at an undisclosed location in Phoenix. We don't know what that counseling involved, but one of Haggard's advisers said the former minister emerged from treatment convinced that he is heterosexual.

You may not have heard of them, but there are hundreds of programs around the country devoted to just that.

Here's CNN's Joe Johns.


JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For many, being gay or lesbian is something to celebrate. But for others, including some gay Christians who read the Bible literally, same-sex attractions can be a source of sorrow, pain, even conflict with the teachings of their faith.

The book of Leviticus says, "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination."

So people who think they need to turn from gay to straight sometimes turn to gay therapy, also known as reparative therapy, reorientation therapy, conversion therapy. Whatever you call it, by one count, more than 100 groups around the country give counseling that can cost up to $200 a session.

(on camera) Sessions that are sometimes but not always part psychology and part religion, which may be questionable, because homosexuality is not considered a mental disorder by the medical establishment.

(voice-over) Melissa Fryrear says she was once homosexual.

MELISSA FRYREAR, FOCUS ON THE FAMILY: When I lived homosexually, everything in my world resolved around being a lesbian. And you know, when we say 365, 24/7. So it was all of my thoughts, my behaviors, my attractions. There was no bisexuality involved. I was -- I was absolutely lesbian-identified during those -- during that decade.

JOHNS: But after going through counseling, she says she is now straight and working for the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. She says the transformation took her years to accomplish, a long, slow process.

FRYREAR: It's a process becoming involved in homosexuality, and so it's a process of overcoming homosexuality, as well. And it's not quantifiable in the sense of years. It's -- for me it was gradual change that was recognizable one year to the next year to the next year.

But again, the issues were so complicated contributing to my struggle that it took a significant amount of time to work through those.

JOHNS: Mainstream psychiatrists oppose these programs and say they may do more harm than good.

DR. JACK DRESCHER, AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION: Religious people who are struggling with homosexual feelings are a very desperate population. They're -- the people are in a lot of pain and they're desperate, and so this movement is preying off that desperation.

JOHNS: And the most basic question of all is, does it work? Mark Benjamin, a writer for, talked to dozens of people and says the counseling doesn't seem to work, and that many people finished the counseling feeling awful about it, because they've been told they can't be gay and Christian at the same time.

MARK BENJAMIN, SALON.COM: I was unable to find one single person who is not on the payroll of one of these organizations that does this therapy who said, "Yes, after going through the therapy, in fact I'm cured of homosexuality."

JOHNS: The therapy groups say that up to half the people seeking treatment experience, quote, "significant improvement." It's not for everyone, certainly not for people who are gay and feel good about it, but an option that a small group of Christians has considered.

Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, this of course is hotly debated, not just on the basis of whether it works or not. Coming up, our own version of the debate with more light than heat, we hope.

Also tonight, the continuing questions in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.


COOPER (voice-over): Also battered by Katrina, ignored by the government.

BECKA HARRIS, HURRICANE VICTIM: It was exhausting. They kept saying the same things. They gave us the runaround.

COOPER: She got none of the aid she needed, but tens of thousands of undeserving people did. Hundreds of millions of FEMA dollars. We're "Keeping Them Honest".

Also, convicted of arson, sentenced to prison, so where did he end up? In the Army, in Iraq. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As soon as they discovered this guy was a felon, they should have arrested him, packed his bags and sent him back.

COOPER: Instead they made him an M.P. And he's not alone. Why felons are getting into the military and getting to stay there, ahead on 360.



COOPER: It's been an interesting couple months of Ted Haggard, to say the least. First, there were the allegations involving a male prostitute. Then, after undergoing what is described as intensive counseling, the evangelist says he's, quote, "completely heterosexual." Like I said, it's been interesting.

Alan Chambers is the president of Exodus International, an organization that claims to turn gay people straight, and Mark Shields is with the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group. Gentlemen, I appreciate you being on the program.

Mark, let's start off with you. What do you think when you heard that Ted Haggard is now claiming he's completely heterosexual?

MARK SHIELDS, HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN: You know, it just doesn't pass the laugh test, that somebody who had a three-year affair with a paid escort suddenly goes into three weeks of therapy and comes out 100 percent heterosexual.

And I think at best, that's misguided and maybe not entirely true. And at worst, it sends a message to young people that homosexuality can be cured by therapy, which flies in the face of, you know, every major medical and mental health association out there.

COOPER: Alan, you believe it is possible to stop being gay. Ted Haggard, though, says that he -- this is something he wrestled with his entire life. Does it make sense to you that he was able to stop this allegedly in three weeks of counseling?

ALAN CHAMBERS, PRESIDENT, EXODUS INTERNATIONAL: Well, the truth is that's not my story, and it's not the story of anyone I've ever met. I don't know Ted Haggard's journey over the last three weeks, but like Mark, I would say that it's something that -- it doesn't seem like something that is really the case.

COOPER: So, in your case, you felt attraction to males as a child, and yet what happened to you? Why did you decide to go into some sort of counseling?

CHAMBERS: Well, homosexuality was something that started very early in my life.

COOPER: Was it something you chose?

CHAMBERS: I didn't choose my feelings, no, and I don't think anyone does choose their homosexual feelings. But when I...

COOPER: That's interesting. Because a lot of religious conservatives say that homosexuality is a choice.

CHAMBERS: Well, you know, the behavior for me was a choice, and the identity that I chose to adopt was a choice for me, but my feelings absolutely weren't a choice.

COOPER: So you entered the counseling. Do you still have attraction to men? You're just choosing not to act on it?

CHAMBERS: My attraction greatly diminished over the course of many years. Sixteen years into it, my life isn't even remotely the same as it once was, but I often say that I will never be as though I never was.

And the truth is that I'm a human being. And for me to say that I could never be attracted to men again, or that I couldn't be tempted would mean that I'm not human, and that's just not the case.

COOPER: Mark, you know people who have been through this kind of therapy. Some call it reparative therapy. In your experience, does it work?

SHIELDS: Again, absolutely not. Every bit of evidence we've seen is that it does not work. And at the Human Rights Campaign, we believe the only choice there is about being gay is, you know, whether or not you choose to be open and honest about it, if that's how you were born.

I think that people have the choice that they can try and hide that or try and deny that piece of themselves, but ultimately, that's not healthy for them or for their loved ones.

COOPER: But Mark, if someone is not happy being gay, as Alan clearly wasn't as a child, what's wrong with him trying to change?

SHIELDS: You know, again, the mental health professionals tell us that, in trying to change or fix something that's not broken, you can actually cause a great deal of harm to yourself and ultimately to those that are around you.

You know, I wonder if Ted Haggard had been told as a child that it was OK to be gay and that he could have a rich, full life, if his life story wouldn't have been less painful and contorted.

COOPER: Alan, what was it about being gay that you found, I guess, distasteful enough that would lead you into this lifelong journey? I mean, it seems like even now you are essentially saying you try to control your thoughts, you try to alter your fundamental attraction.

CHAMBERS: I wouldn't say that's the case at all. What I have found over the course of 16 years is that feelings aren't everything about you, and I live beyond those feelings, that today...

COOPER: What does that mean?

CHAMBERS: My feelings are -- my feelings are much, much different. And the truth is I didn't leave homosexuality because it was so bad. I left it because I found something better, and today my life is far better than it was as a gay man.

And for those of us -- and there are thousands of people just like me -- who choose to live beyond their feelings, who choose to move beyond the issue of homosexuality, we live wonderful lives. And that's something that we think should be available for everyone who wants it.

COOPER: And is that based on a belief that you cannot be Christian and gay? I mean, is the wonderful life you're talking about a religious life which you feel was not accessible to you as an openly, proud, happy gay man?

CHAMBERS: Not at all. I think that there are plenty of gay people out there who are Christians, as well, but for me, homosexuality wasn't compatible with my faith, and my faith was much more important than that.

COOPER: Mark, what do you think is -- where does this debate go? I mean, do you think you guys are winning this debate?

SHIELDS: Absolutely. You know, "Will & Grace" was doing comedy about ex-gay therapies three years ago. And again, I think that as we see the Ted Haggard story today, it doesn't pass kind of the laugh test out there.

And -- and while there may be thousands of people that have tried ex-gay therapies, I think that there are, you know, millions of gay and lesbian people out there living rich, full, happy lives, being open and honest. And I think that's what, you know, the consensus around or growing around in the American public, that being open and honest is just healthier for who you are.

COOPER: Alan, I want to give you the final thought.

CHAMBERS: Well, you know, I'm living a happy, healthy, honest life. And the truth is that Mark and many people like him invalidate the lives of maybe a smaller percentage of people than that are gay and lesbian. But the truth is this is something that's wonderful. It's my choice, and we should have that alternative.

Like the American Psychological Association says, every client has a right to self-determination. This is my choice.

COOPER: Mark, I just want to give you a chance to respond to that, since he did talk about you directly. Do you think you're invalidating his life?

SHIELDS: You know, I don't know what's in Alan's heart, and I respect his choices. My concern is that the message he's sending to the young people is that somehow if they're gay, there's something about them that needs to be fixed. And that can be very damaging to a young person who's trying to come to terms with who they are and live openly and honestly. And that's my concern about this debate.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Alan Chambers, Mark Shields. Guys, I appreciate it.

CHAMBERS: Thank you.

COOPER: Thanks, guys. Thanks.

Ahead on 360, a real case -- a fatal case, I should say, of friendly fire. A cockpit camera records the deadly strike in Iraq. The victim's family said they were kept in the dark about the shooting. That's ahead on 360.


COOPER: Coming up on 360, felons in uniform, serving on the front lines. Listen to this.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT/ANCHOR: So your husband was convicted of arson, which is a felony.


KAYE: But instead of going to prison, he went to serve in Iraq?


KAYE (voice-over): How did Rose Giddon's (ph) husband end up in Iraq? Former assistant defense secretary Lawrence Cord.

LAWRENCE CORD, FORMER ASSISTANT DEFENSE SECRETARY: What it is, is the Army's under tremendous pressure to meet their recruiting goals. They've quadrupled the number of non-high school graduates they're taking in. They've quadrupled the number of people who score -- do not score above average on their aptitude test.


COOPER: The pressure of recruitment goals leading to military to turn a blind eye to felony records. In the next hour, what if anything is being done about it?

Also ahead tonight, our "Shot of the Day". On your mark, get set, go. A real case of runner's high in a very tall building. We'll have that, but first Randi Kaye joins us right now with the 360 news and business bulletin -- Randi.

KAYE: Hi, Anderson.

The Pentagon will release a cockpit video from a U.S. fighter jet involved in a friendly fire incident in Iraq. The tape of the 2003 incident will be released to the British coroner and to the family of the British soldier who was killed. The tabloid "The Sun" already obtained a copy of the tape and posted it on its web site. A version approved for the public will be released next month.

A train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed near Hanley (ph), West Virginia, this morning. No one was hurt, but more than 500 people were evacuated when the train went off the tracks around 4 a.m.

The train is operated by rail cargo company CSX. A spokesman for the company says 11 of the 22 cars that derailed were carrying hazardous materials.

And finally, toy maker Hasbro and the Consumer Products Safety Commission are recalling 985,000 Easy-Bake toy ovens. The CPSC says it's received reports of children getting their hands and fingers caught in the oven's opening. Some of those children were actually burned -- Anderson.

COOPER: I didn't even know they still made the Easy-Bake.

KAYE: They do. I had one when I was little.

COOPER: Now our "Shot of the Day". In New York today, the Empire State Building became a track for runners. Hundreds of elite athletes ran up the stairs of the skyscraper. It took 22-year-old Thomas Dold of Germany just took over ten minutes to dash up the 1,576 steps. Yikes.

The top woman, Australian Suzy Walsham, finished the race in just over 13 minutes. He looked kind of angry there. He's probably just very happy and exhausted. If I were them, I'd probably take the elevator down.

The race for '08, of course, is under way, but while the Republicans have the big names, they also may have some big problems, according to conservatives. That story is coming up tonight.

But first wasting money. FEMA has gotten pretty good at it. Wait until you hear what the agency did with more than a quarter of a billion dollars. We're "Keeping Them Honest".


COOPER: Well, following Katrina and Hurricane Rita, FEMA gave out nearly $350 million in aid, but the money didn't go to the people who desperately needed it. Instead, it went to those who did not.

CNN's Gulf Coast correspondent Susan Roesgen tonight is "Keeping Them Honest".


HARRIS: The water came up to about the ceiling on the first floor, a little bit lower than that.

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before Hurricane Katrina, Becka Harris loved living in this big New Orleans house with two other grad students, but when the flood wiped out their belongings, Becka turned to Federal Emergency Management Agency for help. She says FEMA turned her away.

HARRIS: It was exhausting. They kept saying the same things. They gave us the runaround, telling us the same things. We were turning in all the paperwork we possibly could, and they just kept denying me, so I just kind of gave up after a while. It was like, oh, well, forget it.

ROESGEN: While Becka struggled without federal help, FEMA officials now admit that the agency gave away at least $350 million to households that shouldn't have gotten the money, to people like illegal immigrants and people who gave false addresses. FEMA is demanding that those people give the money back.

Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who's in Washington this week trying to squeeze more money from FEMA, says she doesn't know how FEMA will be able to do that.

GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO (D), LOUISIANA: If they do, I hope they reinvest it in our recovery.

ROESGEN: Keeping them honest, we asked FEMA for a response. They declined an on camera interview. But FEMA's acting director of recovery, David Garratt, did tell us that FEMA did not go through the normal checks and balances in order to get money to people quickly after Katrina, and that FEMA felt that "the benefit of getting assistance to people who needed it outweighed giving money to people who didn't deserve it."

Garratt also says FEMA now has an identity verification process that wasn't complete right after Katrina.

But Becka Harris isn't happy to learn that while tens of thousands of people who weren't eligible for federal help some, she didn't get anything.

HARRIS: This, to not have the assistance, really hurt, you know, and it's just very upsetting.

ROESGEN: She hopes that in the next disaster, people who deserve help will get it while people who don't won't.


COOPER: Susan joins us from New Orleans.

It's the easiest thing in the world, of course, to bash FEMA. I mean, I guess in this case damned if you do, damned if you don't. If they -- if they had gone through the checks and balances, people would say they were too slow in giving out the money. Obviously, now they gave a lot of money to people who deserve it. How much money has FEMA gotten back? Any?

ROESGEN: Really, Anderson, under just $10 million of the $350 million in misspent money. Of course, they spent way more than that on the recovery effort in total. But again right now it's about $350 million that they're trying to recover and only got about $10 million of that back so far.

COOPER: All right. Susan Roesgen, thanks. "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

This Thursday we're going to be live from New Orleans. We should be there to talk about the rebuilding. Instead, it's the skyrocketing crime wave that brings us to New Orleans this time. The city is now the murder capital of the nation. The people are angry, afraid and want some answers. So do we. That's Thursday night, 10 p.m. Eastern. I hope you join us for that.

Still to come tonight, the latest on the astronaut accused of stalking a romantic rival and plotting to kill her.

Also this...


COOPER (voice-over): She's for abortion rights, gay rights and gun control. So is he. Will the GOP really follow a Republican who thinks like Hillary Clinton? Some early answers ahead on 360.



COOPER: Convicted felon tonight, not allowed to carry guns, serving in the armed forces, even as military policemen. So how does a convicted arsonist become an M.P.? You may not like the answer, but it's coming up in just a moment.

First, a love triangle, two astronauts, mace, a mallet and diapers. They add up to the worst embarrassment to hit NASA in recent memory and perhaps all time. Unlike past scandals, this one is not about safety or procedures or funding. It's about attempted murder.

Astronaut Lisa Nowak, picked up in Orlando, Florida, yesterday for allegedly stalking a romantic rival, charged tonight with planning to kill her. We get all the late breaking details now from CNN's John Zarrella.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Swear that the information you're about to give it true and correct?


JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Astronaut Lisa Nowak, in court for the second time today, this time charged with attempted murder.

DONALD LYKKEBAK, NOWAK'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They filed a brand new charge based on preposterous assumptions drawn from facts that are perhaps a misdemeanor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Murder was the plan, and it just was not able to be carried out.