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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Investigating Fort Hood Massacre; Interview With Oprah Winfrey
Aired November 06, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have new, disturbing details tonight about what happened at Fort Hood and why a Muslim doctor allegedly committed the worst massacre on a military base in U.S. history.
A former colleague tells us how Dr. Hasan worried fellow soldiers by defending suicide bombing and insisting the war on terror was a war against Muslims.
Also, if so many soldiers had so many concerns about this guy, how was he promoted? How did he slip through the cracks for years?
We will also talk to one of the hero cops who stopped Hasan in his tracks.
Also ahead, our "Uncovering America" report, you will meet some radical Muslims in America who applauded the killings at Fort Hood last night. We found them out on the streets trying to recruit Americans. It's a report you won't see anywhere else.
And, later, the big 360 interview: Oprah Winfrey joins us to talk about a new venture and why, after nearly a year, she has restarted her book club.
But, first up, if an exclusive interview, we're going to talk to one of the hero cops who helped bring down Dr. Hasan. Here's what we know right now, the big picture. The death toll has risen to 13 -- 38 were wounded -- 28 remain hospitalized, some in critical condition. More than half have had surgery.
The suspected shooter, Dr. Nidal Hasan, was moved today to Brooke Army Medical Center. His condition is critical, but stable. Investigators have searched his apartment now in Killeen, Texas, going through his belongings, garbage, his confiscating his computer.
Two law enforcement sources tell CNN that one of the weapons used in the shootings is a FN-5.7 millimeter pistol, which is semiautomatic, purchased legally at Guns Galore in Killeen.
And in a news conference just a few minutes ago, an Army official said that Hasan fired more than 100 rounds. We also now know that credit for ending the killing spree goes to Sergeant Kimberly Munley, a 34-year-old civilian police officer, and her partner that day, Sergeant Mark Todd.
Both responded quickly to the scene, and both exchanged fire, with Hasan finally ending his alleged killing spree. Sergeant Munley was shot in both thighs and her wrist and had surgery today.
Earlier, I talked to Sergeant Mark Todd in a 360 exclusive.
COOPER: Sergeant Todd, first of all, I just want to say thank you for what you and -- and Sergeant Munley did. I know there are a lot of people out there in the United States and around the world who would like to say that to you. So, I just want to be one of them.
Have you had a chance to talk to Kimberly Munley? Do you know how she's doing?
SERGEANT MARK TODD, FORT HOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, I heard, she's doing -- doing fine. I actually haven't spoken with her. No, I haven't.
COOPER: So, what happened? Explain from the moment you first heard that some shots had been fired. Where did you get the call?
We were on patrol. And we got a radio broadcast that there were shots fired. And we pretty much pulled up to the scene simultaneously. And there was several bystanders pointing in the direction -- pointing in the direction of where he was standing in -- next to a building. And then once I was turned and I seen him, I yelled at him: "Stop. Drop your weapon."
And then that's when he raised his weapon and fired a couple of shots at me.
COOPER: Now, when you first saw him, first of all, was he wearing a uniform?
TODD: yes, he was.
And what was he doing when you first saw him? There was a report that he was chasing after a soldier who was already wounded, trying to shoot that soldier again. What did you see him doing? Was he running? What was he doing?
TODD: When I seen him, he was just standing there.
And when I ordered him to drop his weapon, I didn't fire -- didn't fire myself. And he raised his weapon and fired a couple of rounds. And then we both took cover. And then he went around one side of the building. And as I started to go after him, the bystander said, no, he came around, he came around.
And I came around the other side of the building. And that's when I seen him again, and I ordered him to drop his weapon. And he raised it and fired a couple more rounds at me. And then I engaged him. And then he fell. I went up and secured his weapon (INAUDIBLE) and then we started first aid on all the people that were wounded.
COOPER: Now, did you see -- were you with Sergeant Munley at this point? Or where was she in relation to you?
TODD: At this point, we had separated once he started firing so much. She was on one side of the building, in front of the building. And then when I came out on the other side -- when I came back to the front end of the building, that's when I had seen her down. And then that's when I engaged him.
I fired until he fell. And then once I seen he wasn't a threat anymore, that's when I came to him and secured him. And then I looked up and I see all the wounded. And then that's when we pretty much, everybody, all the medics came in. It was like instantaneous.
All the medics came out the building and they started first aid on everybody that was laying down, to include Hasan. Once he was in hand irons, he wasn't a threat anymore, we started life-saving measures on him to keep him alive as well.
COOPER: Did he say anything, either when he was standing or after he was hit?
TODD: No, I didn't hear him utter a word.
COOPER: There's an eyewitness report that he had yelled "Allahu akbar," which Arabic for "God is great," but that was apparently, according to an eyewitness report, before he started shooting.
So, at the point you saw him, which was several minutes into this incident, he wasn't saying anything?
TODD: No, he was not saying anything.
COOPER: How did he appear to you? And I know you saw him under difficult circumstances. But how did he appear to you, though?
TODD: He was just standing there hiding behind a telephone pole, and he was waving his weapon firing as they were people running around.
And then once he turned towards me, it was like a split-second, and when I had seen him, he fired a couple of rounds and then he fired at me, and then I fired back. He wasn't running at all at that point, the second time...
COOPER: How close were you to him at this point?
TODD: I would give an estimate of maybe 15 yards.
COOPER: OK. So, you could actually -- I mean, you could see his face? You could see into his eyes? TODD: Yes.
COOPER: And the expression on his face was what?
TODD: It was -- he was calm. He just looked like he was calm. And he was just pointing. And it was almost like he was pointing his finger at me. But then I seen the weapon, which I still don't know what type of weapon it is. I just know I seen a weapon and muzzle flashes. And then that's when we were returning fire.
COOPER: How long was the whole involvement? From the time you first saw him to the time he went down, do you have a sense of how long that was?
I know it's sometimes hard to tell in the heat of the moment.
TODD: It seems like maybe 30 seconds, 45 seconds max.
COOPER: So, you guys were able to bring this guy down very quickly, no doubt saving countless other lives.
TODD: That's what I was told. As soon as we got there, it was game on, and then that's when it just escalated, and we did what we had to do.
COOPER: Is there anything else you want people to know out there?
TODD: I -- my heart goes out to all the victims and the wounded and the dead and their family members. I wish we could have got there sooner and helped out a lot sooner. But, you know, we got there as soon as we possibly could.
COOPER: Sergeant Todd, again, thank you for what you did. I appreciate you, all your efforts, and I appreciate you speaking with us tonight. Thanks.
TODD: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Well, we want to know what you're thinking about the tragedy of Fort Hood. Join the live chat now under way at AC360.com. I'm just logging on myself.
Just ahead: Were red flags missed? A former classmate of Major Nidal Hasan says he and others had serious concerns about the Army officer years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. VAL FINNELL, FORMER CLASSMATE OF MAJOR NIDAL MALIK HASAN: I know another student actually approached the faculty about him and called him a ticking time bomb.
COOPER: Really? FINNELL: And that student was concerned because of a PowerPoint presentation that Dr. Hasan gave in the human behavior class which justified suicide bombing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, how was that guy promoted? We will try to find that out.
And, later, "Uncovering America" -- you're not going to believe this, a radical Islamic group that says they are happy about the killings at Fort Hood. They preach hate. These guys are recruiting out on the streets of New York.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Koran say very clearly in the Arabic language. -- language -- (SPEAKING ARABIC). This means, terrorize them. It's a command from Allah.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The family of Major Nidal Hasan issued another statement today.
They said -- quote -- "Our family is filled with grief for the victims and their families involved in yesterday's tragedy. We are all asking why this happened. And the answer is that we simply do not know. Yesterday's violence in no way reflects the feelings, beliefs, or principles of our family."
Hasan's cousin said that the family members have met with the FBI and will continue to cooperate with authorities. Meantime, Army officials have confirmed that Hasan was going to be deployed to Afghanistan, not Iraq, as many reported yesterday. They didn't say when his deployment was scheduled.
Hasan's neighbors, however, believed it was soon, and they had a good reason to believe that.
Here's Ted Rowlands.
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If there's one thing we know for sure about Nidal Hasan, it's this. He spent the days before the shootings saying goodbye.
Patricia Villa says she didn't think anything of it when Nidal gave her his furniture, telling her he was going overseas.
PATRICIA VILLA, NEIGHBOR OF HASAN: When he gave me all those things, I said, wow, he should be real, like, into God. ROWLANDS: Hasan gave several other neighbors a copy of the Koran. Lenna Brown says when she got her book, Hasan said something she will never forget.
LENNA BROWN, NEIGHBOR OF HASAN: "We do things to please God. It's a challenge."
ROWLANDS: Investigators pored over Hasan's apartment for the hours after the rampage, then this morning, searched and hauled away a dumpster.
They also spent more than four hours interviewing this man. Willie Bell lives next door to Hasan. He allowed Hasan to use his computer from time to time. Why an Army major with his own computer would need to use a neighbor's is unclear. Bell says investigators took his computer.
WILLIE BELL, NEIGHBOR OF HASAN: But I didn't think he was doing nothing bad. I hope those people don't think I'm -- you know, I'm involved or something like that.
ROWLANDS: Born in the United States to Palestinian parents, Hasan grew up in Roanoke, Virginia. He spent the bulk of his military career as a psychiatrist at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington. Friends there say he seemed happy, even if he was having trouble on the job.
DR. ASIF QADRI, MUSLIM COMMUNITY CENTER: I got the impression he was very happy what he was doing, you know. Then I hear that he had some problems there. I don't know what kind of problems he had.
ROWLANDS: Hasan received a poor performance review at Walter Reed, according to an Associated Press story quoting an unnamed Army official. In July he was transferred to Fort Hood. Did that transfer trigger something in Hasan? Investigators are keying on two details.
When he rented this apartment near Fort Hood, he paid six months' rent up front, something the manager says no tenant of his has ever done. The manager also said Hasan insisted that nobody enter his apartment unless he was home. Also, the only time he's known to have a visitor was the day before the shooting.
Witnesses say the visitor was dark-skinned, had bushy eyebrows, and dressed in Islamic clothing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they went upstairs. I guess they were up there about five minutes. Then they came back downstairs and left. But that's the first time I ever seen anybody go into his apartment.
ROWLANDS: Tenants say investigators want to know who that visitor was as they try to piece together who Nidal Hasan really is.
ROWLANDS: And Hasan was moved today, Anderson, from here to Brooke Army Medical Center in nearby San Antonio. One of the reasons, according to an Army spokesman tonight, was for his own safety, basically, get him off that base that he so brutally shot up this week.
COOPER: You know, Ted, one of the things we're trying to figure out tonight is how this guy could have slipped through the cracks, because we're hearing increasingly now from people who worked with him, studied with him when he was taking courses that he was expressing a lot of dissatisfaction with the military, with U.S. foreign policy, and, frankly, made a lot of other soldiers concerned, enough that they even raised those concerns.
Do we know when he was actually promoted?
ROWLANDS: Transferred to here?
COOPER: Yes, transferred.
ROWLANDS: Transferred from -- from Washington here?
It was -- it was recently. And one of the theories is, is that transfer may have been the last lynchpin, that that may have set him off. He was sent here. It was a clear -- one would think, a demotion, although the Army's not talking about it. But that transfer is something that may have triggered something. It was also a culture shock. In here, he was a fight here at the apartment complex with one of the other folks.
Someone had pulled off a bumper sticker and scratched his car. That bumper sticker was an Islamic bumper sticker. So, he had some troubles here, he had some troubles in Washington, but you're right. Were any of these things to the level where they weren't reported? And, if not, why?
And for what reason, if they were reported, wasn't this looked into?
COOPER: The other question, of course, which we're going to try to find out, is exactly when was he promoted to the rank of major? Because, if there were problems, why would he have received those promotions?
Ted, appreciate the reporting.
Investigators obviously are going to be digging through Major Hasan's past with a fine-tooth comb, talking to know who knew him, worked with him, and worshiped with him.
Some troubling clues, though, are already emerging, as I just said. I talked earlier today with a former classmate -- classmate of Hasan, Dr. Val Finnell. They were in a master's of public health program in Bethesda a couple years ago. Finnell says he saw plenty of red flags during the time he knew Hasan.
COOPER: Dr. Finnell, you took a class with Major Nidal Malik Hasan in 2007, 2008. What was he like? What was the first you noticed him?
FINNELL: Well, you know, we were in a master's degree program together. And he was a very outspoken opponent of the war on terror.
And he even equated the American war on terror with a war on Islam. And...
COOPER: That's what he said it was; he said it was a war against Islam?
FINNELL: Yes, he did.
COOPER: In what context did he say this?
FINNELL: He said it in a -- in a classroom environment, as part of a -- a presentation he was supposed to give in an environmental health class, a presentation that really didn't have anything to do with environmental health, yet, he proceeded to go ahead and do it.
COOPER: So, wait a minute. You guys are in an environmental health class, which I guess the kind of presentations most people would be give about, I don't know, mold or something.
FINNELL: Mold, ozone, yes, exactly, air quality, those kind of things.
COOPER: And, so, he gave a presentation instead on -- on the war on terror?
COOPER: Did that strike you as odd?
FINNELL: Very odd. And we were taken aback by that. And, in fact, I and several other people raised their hand at the end of that -- during that presentation and -- and openly questioned the instructor, and said, what does this have to do with environmental health?
And yet, you know, he was -- he continued to let him present his -- his topic.
COOPER: What kind of a guy was he? I mean, was that the -- was that the first time you had sort of had a sense of him?
FINNELL: Yes. That was really the -- because it was one of the first classes in the curriculum that we took. And so that was really the first experience that I had with those views, which -- but those views were a large part of his personality for the entire year.
And he would, you know, routinely get into discussions and arguments with people, you know, made himself a lightning rod for -- for that kind of criticism. COOPER: So, that's interesting. You're saying he -- he made himself a lightning rod, because, yesterday, you know, the first reports that we had from -- from a family member of his, a cousin of his, said that he felt that he was a victim of some sort of anti- Muslim harassment.
Did you see anything like that?
FINNELL: No, no. As a matter -- you know, our class was a very diverse class, people from many different backgrounds.
But, you know, Dr. Hasan made it a point to -- to be very vocal in his beliefs. He was very extreme in his views. And -- and, since he was a military officer, you know, he was questioned about those things. So, he sort of brought the criticism upon himself.
COOPER: Was one able to have conversations with him that did not involve this? Or, I mean, how vocal, how -- I don't know if militant is the right word, but how vocal was he throughout the course of this year?
FINNELL: Well, he was very vocal. You know, he talked about other things, of course. But this was -- this was a big topic for him. It was a dominating topic for him. I mean, he even did try to do his end-of-the-year project on something related to, you know, a climate survey on Muslims in the military.
So, it was a large part of what -- what his whole year was about there.
COOPER: I mean, I imagine -- I don't know if you or other people must kind have kind of been curious. It's not every day you see a guy in uniform who seems to be so against U.S. policy or against the -- the -- what the military is something.
FINNELL: Yes, that's -- that's exactly correct.
And, you know, military officers take an oath to uphold the Constitution and to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. So, you have to wonder, if someone is this conflicted, what was he doing as a military officer?
COOPER: Did -- I mean, did his rhetoric ever concern you? Did you ever think, like, I should talk to somebody about this, or is somebody noticing this?
FINNELL: At times. And I know another student actually approached the faculty about him and -- and called him a ticking time bomb.
FINNELL: And that -- you know, that student was concerned because of a PowerPoint presentation that Dr. Hasan gave in the human behavior class which justified suicide bombing.
COOPER: Wait. He actually gave a PowerPoint presentation in a class justifying suicide bombing?
FINNELL: That's what I understand.
COOPER: You understand that from, what, another student has told you that?
FINNELL: Yes, from another student, exactly.
COOPER: When -- when you heard he was a suspect in the Fort Hood attack, what went through your mind?
FINNELL: Well, I was shocked. You know, I was shocked that these things happen. But, also, at the same time, I really was not surprised, given -- given his rhetoric.
COOPER: It's got to be a sickening feeling to have had this interaction with him years ago, and to know that other people had the same kind of thoughts and raised questions...
COOPER: ... and then to see this play out.
FINNELL: Yes, exactly, sickening and very -- and anger. Anger is the other emotion that goes through our minds when things -- things happen like this.
COOPER: Dr. Finnell, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
FINNELL: You're welcome.
COOPER: By the way, we're trying to track down information about that -- that -- the reports he said about another student talking about a PowerPoint presentation that this doctor had given in support of suicide bombings. We're trying to reach that student and find out any more information we can on it.
There's a lot of moving pieces to this puzzle that we're trying to figure out, exactly who this guy is.
A spokesman for the Uniformed Services University where that course took place told us -- and I quote -- "It's hard to believe someone would tell our faculty this guy's a ticking time bomb, and then no one would do anything. We can't comment on any specific allegation. We leave that up to investigators. There is an investigation going on."
So, we will continue to follow that.
Just ahead: Could the military miss warning signs in the Fort Hood massacre. Major Hasan's friends and colleagues describe red flags, as you just heard, picked up years ago. So, how did the alleged shooter slip through the cracks, if, in fact, that's what happened?
Also tonight, "Uncovering America": a radical Islamic group praising the attack on Fort Hood and on the streets of New York preaching hate out in broad daylight.
COOPER: Well, you see the pictures there. The Army has begun releasing the names of the Fort Hood victims. These pictures show some of those 13 killed in the massacre. The dead included a man who quit a furniture company job to join the military and a woman who vowed to take on Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks.
Each member of the military has a story. Each, of course, has a family and friend in mourning tonight. Army officials say 13 coffins were put on planes today, transported to Dover, Delaware. Those -- those members of the service are all going home.
Before the break, we heard from a former classmate of Dr. Hasan, Dr. Val Finnell, who said he saw several troubling warning signs during the time he knew Hasan, as did others.
Another red flag, Hasan's attendance at a Middle East terrorism conference this past January. You can clearly see him dressed in fatigues in the audience. We should point out discussions of terrorism were not part of his normal professional study.
With so many red flags, how did the military let Hasan slip through the cracks, if that's in fact what happened?
Joining me now is General Barry McCaffrey, a 32-year-veteran of the U.S. Army and currently adjunct professor of international affairs at West Point. Also with us, Thomas Kenniff, attorney with the Army JAG office.
General McCaffrey, as you see this, as hear from people who used to work with him, were in school with him saying that there were red flags, I mean, how do you think this came to pass? How do you think it's possible he slipped through the cracks, if you think that's what happened?
GENERAL BARRY MCCAFFREY (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Well, obviously, the authorities should and are going to be very circumspect about not contaminating a ongoing criminal investigation. I think there are also going to be tremendous sensitivities to the more than 3,500 Muslim troops in uniform to not imply lack of trust.
Now, having said that, Anderson, all day long, AP wires, CNN, MSNBC.com, this is a story that's going to get worse. This fellow apparently had been increasingly unraveling. And it's starting to appear as if this was a domestic terrorist attack on fellow soldiers by a major in the Army who we educated for six years while he was giving off these vibes of disloyalty to his own force.
COOPER: How -- Tom, from -- from your vantage point, I mean, how does this happen? Is this -- I mean, I know people are very sensitive in the military. If there's -- there's only 3,500 Muslims or so in -- in the armed forces. That is a tiny fraction. And, clearly, it's a very sensitive issue, and you don't want to do anything that makes them feel as if they're -- they are not part of the military, because there's no reason for them not to be part of the military.
And, yet, at the same time, can that go too far in trying to kind of ignore -- if there are warning signs, ignoring them?
THOMAS KENNIFF, ATTORNEY, ARMY JAG OFFICE: I think it can.
And, first of all, you know, let me agree. I mean, it's a small number of Muslims who serve in the military, but the vast majority of them serve very honorably, and not only the, often were in a deployed environment in a Muslim country.
COOPER: Right, or critical...
KENNIFF: A critical asset, as far as providing language skills, just providing a cultural understanding.
KENNIFF: So, let's all be clear here that we're talking about...
COOPER: Right, not just cultural understanding, interpretation services; I mean, they are a benefit to the military; there's no doubt about it.
KENNIFF: In general, absolutely. So, let's be clear on that.
But, look, I think there is a culture of obsessive political correctness, not only within the country itself, but specifically within the military. I mean, look, if you look at the last couple of decades, the military's been burned by a lot of scandals, a lot of scandals involving harassment, sexual harassment, what happened at the service academies in the late '80s and early '90s.
And I think there's sort of been a countermeasure in the military now, where people are afraid to go anywhere near that third rail.
COOPER: Especially, I would think, for a -- a doctor who, I mean, an incredibly valuable asset. A lot of money has been put into educating this guy by the military. And the need for psychiatrists who are able to go out in the field is huge these days.
KENNIFF: Look, medical doctors, members of the Medical Corps are treated like gold in the military. They're very valuable assets.
And there is no -- there is no question that somebody who is walking around, you know, with a rank of major on his -- on his shirt is going to be treated differently and perhaps not draw the kind of attention that a lower enlisted person, if for no other reason that he -- you know, just by virtue of being a major, he outranks 95 percent of the military. COOPER: Also, General McCaffrey, how integrated are doctors into units? Because one of the remarkable things about the military is, when you're in a unit, you know, you are incredibly well-known to everybody else in your unit. But are Doctors -- is it the same kind of intimacy?
MCCAFFREY: Well, maybe not the same -- similar.
By the way, I spent two years at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a patient, wounded in Vietnam. I have been in and out of there for years. This is one of the premier educational and medical delivery systems on the face of the earth.
However, again, you know, I think part of the problem may have been that he was in a very closed community. Now, suddenly, he's in a combat base. This is 55,000 troops. This is the heart and soul, that and Fort Bragg, of the combat Army.
I think, at that point, I would like to know who was exposed to this line of apparently dangerous thinking.
COOPER: Tom, just very briefly, how -- how -- what's the process? If someone's getting promoted to major, I mean, are there security reviews?
KENNIFF: There would be a general review.
Whether they would do a full security check, by virtue of the fact that he's promoted by -- to major, is questionable. Where there would be a fairly thorough security check would be when someone's being deployed, because, as an officer, he would need at least a secret level security clearance to be deployed to a foreign theater.
KENNIFF: So, I don't know how close this deployment was, how imminent it was.
KENNIFF: But it would be reasonable to think that, at that point, they would have done a thorough background check.
KENNIFF: And this should have come up.
Thomas Kenniff, appreciate you being on.
And, General Barry McCaffrey, as well, thank you very much, sir.
MCCAFFREY: It's good to be with you.
COOPER: You can read the blog post believed to be Nidal Hasan's at AC360.com right now.
So, imagine Americans praising what Major Hasan allegedly did, Americans. That's exactly what a group of radical Muslims are doing, rejoicing over the massacre, while calling for more attacks on U.S. troops. And it's happening in full view of police and others on the streets of New York. We found them. And you're going to hear from them. It's a small group, but you should hear what they're saying. It's our investigation ahead.
And, later, a workplace shooting in Orlando leaves one dead, five wounded, the suspect a former employee at an engineering firm. What drove this guy to kill? We will try to figure that out as well.
We will be right back.
COOPER: The rampage of Fort Hood has been condemned across the country by mainstream American Muslim groups. They've clearly and strongly condemned the attack.
But here in New York, there's a small group of radical Muslims rejoicing in the carnage. They call themselves the Revolution Muslim. Today on their Web site, they called the alleged shooter, Major Hasan, an officer and a gentleman. They said, quote, "We love you."
At the same time they called the slain soldiers terrorists who are in, quote, eternal hell fire.
These men are radicals, but they are also Americans, believe it or not, who praise Osama bin Laden and celebrate the 9/11 attacks. What's so extraordinary is that we found them out in broad daylight out on the streets in New York, trying to spread their message just a few feet from a peaceful American mosque.
Drew Griffin of CNN special investigations unit has this "Uncovering America" report.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 20 years, the Muslim faithful have been drawn to this gleaming mosque in the heart of New York.
It is time for afternoon prayers. American Muslims and Muslims from overseas, as many as 4,000, visit here every day. They come to praise Allah, give thanks, and to pray for peace.
Imam Shamsi Ali preaches against terror here, against the violence that right now sweeps many Muslim countries. But just outside the gates to his mosque, radical Muslims are preaching a very different view.
(on camera) How big a threat are these people who come here, may be here today, and trying to reach your congregation? IMAM SHAMSI ALI, 96TH STREET MOSQUE: Islam is about peace. Islam is about moderation. Islam is about friendship. Islam opposes any kind of hatred against anybody.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): These are the brothers of Revolution Muslim.
YOUNES ABDULLAH MOHAMMED, REVOLUTION MUSLIM: We tell you Muslims to rise up.
GRIFFIN: They are recruiting just outside New York's 96th Street mosque.
MOHAMMED: The Koran commands that you disavow and make hatred and enmity between democracy, between nationalism, between secularism, and that you see Obama as the enemy he really is. That you see the United States as the enemy it really is.
GRIFFIN: Yusef al Khattab, a Jew who lived in Israel and abruptly converted to Islam. And Younes Abdullah Mohammed, also a convert. Both born and raised in the United States, a country whose way of life they say they hate.
And if you are not a Muslim, they count you as a disbeliever. Their mission: to terrorize you.
MOHAMMED: We're commanded to terrorize the disbelievers. And this is a religion, like I said.
GRIFFIN (on camera): You're commanded to terrorize...
MOHAMMED: The Koran says very clearly in the Arabic language -- language (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE). This means "terrorize them." It's a command from Allah.
GRIFFIN: So you're commanded?
MOHAMMED: To terrorize them.
GRIFFIN: To terrorize anybody...
MOHAMMED: It doesn't mean -- you define terrorism as going and killing an innocent civilian. That's what your -- I define terrorism as making them fearful so that they think twice before they go rape your mother or kill your brother or go onto your land and try to steal your resources.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): It is that Jihadist version of Islam which allows them to conclude the killing of American soldiers overseas is justified, that the attack of 9/11 was also justified, and that an attack on almost any American is justified.
MOHAMMED: Americans will always be a target until America changes its nature in their international arena.
GRIFFIN: In separate and disturbing interviews, both look to one man as the true living model of Islam: Osama bin Laden.
YOUSEF AL KHATTAB, REVOLUTION MUSLIM: love Osama bin Laden. I love him like I can't begin to tell you because I haven't seen that he's really done anything wrong from the Sharia. I love him, like, more than I love myself.
GRIFFIN: What they want is U.S. forces to be defeated. For a Muslim holy land stretching from China to Rome. And yes, they yearn for the day Israel will vanish.
GRIFFIN (on camera): So you would like Israel to be bombed, Jews to --
KHATTAB: Well, I think that -- do you think that's a rational comeback?
GRIFFIN: I'm asking you.
KHATTAB: I would like to see Israel wiped off the map. I would like to see a mushroom cloud over it. But before that, I'd like to see the people guided, and I'd like them to go back to their original countries where they're from.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): They may seem crazy to you, but you are not their target audience. The FBI has assigned agents to watch them, to monitor their Web site, and perhaps more importantly, watch those who are viewing and listening.
Like Neil Bryant Venus, the young New Yorker who has pled guilty in a plot to blow up the Long Island railroad. He met with and admired Khattab.
KHATTAB: I just knew that he was a good Muslim brother. That's it.
GRIFFIN: Khattab claims friendship with Tareek Mohano (ph) and Daniel Maldinado. Maldinado, arrested and pled guilty in Texas to receiving military training with Somali terrorists. Mohano (ph) was just indicted in Boston, for conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
The Revolution Muslim partners say they do not fight themselves and do not incite others to fight. But make no mistake: they want you to become a Muslim. They want Americans to die.
KHATTAB: I would not do it myself. That's what I said. Is Obama a murderer, a tyrant, a scum bag? Absolutely, he is. If they killed him, would I shed a tear? Absolutely I would not. Would I say -- would I incite his murder? That's not what we -- we don't preach that.
GRIFFIN: The mosques have tried to prevent that kind of hatred from being preached by calling police. There is little police or even the FBI can do to stop these radicalizers. They are protected by legal rights given in a country they detest.
COOPER: Drew, you've been working on this piece for a while. It just coincides with this shooting on the base. It's sickening, of course, in the wake of the shootings, especially, to hear what these folks are saying. Just, you know, not too many blocks from where I'm sitting right now.
COOPER: How can they get away with this?
GRIFFIN: You know, Anderson, that's what I wanted to know. How can they say this stuff? How can they be on the Web saying this stuff? And right after this shooting, within hours, they were up, praising this attack.
It's protection under the First Amendment. That's what protecting their speech. And law enforcement sources who watch these guys, they are constantly watching these guys, saying these guys know their rights very well, going right up to the line of that protection under the First Amendment and stopping just short of crossing it.
COOPER: At least they're being watched. That's certainly a good -- a good thing. Drew Griffin, appreciate that.
Let's dig deeper. With me now, national security analyst Peter Bergen.
Peter, you know, you see a group like that, and you can say to yourself, "OK, well, it's just a bunch of, you know, four morons standing on the street corner, shouting at the top of their lungs. How many people really are listening?" But it doesn't take many people to commit acts of terrorism, we've seen increasingly around the world.
I mean, when you see these guys, what do you think?
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, they remind me a little bit of the sort of al Qaeda support groups that exist in Britain, which also have tended to position themselves as groups that don't send people to fight.
But a lot, you know, some people misunderstand this message. And they hear an incitement to actually go and do terrorism. So I mean, these sorts of groups are often a precursor for impressionable young men.
For instance, in Drew's piece, we had mentioned this guy, Venus (ph), who was in the orbit of this group. Well, Venus (ph), a guy from Long Island traveled to an al Qaeda training camp in 2008 and actually participated in an attack on a U.S. base in Afghanistan.
The point is, is that these kinds of groups can be a precursor. They are, of course, protected by the First Amendment. By the way, in a lot of countries in Europe, they wouldn't be protected by these kinds of rights. In Britain right now, it's actually a crime to incite racial hatred. Similarly in Germany, you know, Holocaust denial is actually a crime. So, you know, the First Amendment protects them here, but it wouldn't protect them in other countries.
COOPER: And as you look at the shootings -- the shooting at Fort Hood, what jumps out at you? What questions do you have?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, you know, the report, the very interesting interview you did with Major Hasan's former colleague, I mean, raises a huge number of red flags. One, you know, is this a guy with mental problems who also had very, you know, not particularly useful views about the war on terror? Or is he somebody who was -- didn't have mental problems and is really a sort of Jihadi, as it were. It's difficult to tell right now.
COOPER: And in terms of converts, sort of American-born converts. In many religions, we often see it's sort of recent converts who have become the most zealous and become the most radicalized. How much of a problem do you think there is in the United States of people becoming radicalized?
And you know, there were a couple of weeks ago, there was one night where there were there were two incidences of people being arrested. I think one was in Dallas. I can't remember where the other was. One of them was American born. How much of a home-grown problem do you think the United States has right now?
BERGEN: Well, it's bigger than it was, you know, a year and a half ago, without a doubt. It is not just the case, as you just mentioned. But Long Island we've talked about. Najibullah Zazi, a guy was maybe planning to attack in New York.
Still ahead, Sarah Palin speaking out. He's actually trained at an al Qaeda training camp.
We just had that case in Chicago where an American citizen went to the tribal areas in Pakistan, got some training, was casing a Danish newspaper allegedly to carry out an attack against the newspaper that had published cartoons of the prophet Mohammed.
Very unusual that an American plotting an attack overseas. So there are more of these cases than there were a year and a half ago. Plotting an attack.
COOPER: Peter Bergen, appreciate it tonight. We're curious what you think of these stories. Join the live chat. I'm watching it, talking to folks.
Still ahead, Sarah Palin speaking out but clamping down on the press. Who and what she banned from the speech she gave at a right- to-life event.
And later, something to make you smile at the end of the night: laughing with Oprah. When things went wrong during an interview but went, oh, so right. We'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, let's get caught up on some of the other important stories we're covering. Erica Hill has the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, a possible motive in today's deadly shooting in Orlando. Police say the gunman believed his ex- employer had blocked his unemployment benefits. Jason Rodriguez is accused of killing one and wounding five others at an Orlando engineering firm. He surrendered a short time later at his mother's house.
The jobless rate hitting double digits today, soaring to 10.2 percent. That is the highest level in 26 years. And while the economy did grow in the third quarter, employers continued to cut jobs, shedding another 190,000 in October. But on a positive note here, economists say the overall pace of job losses has actually slowed.
In Milwaukee tonight, Sarah Palin barring the press from a rare public appearance. Speaking before Wisconsin's rights-to-life event, the former Alaska governor also banned cell phones, cameras, laptops, and recording devices of any kind.
And in New York City, hundreds of thousands of fans poured into the streets to separate the Yankees' 27th World Series win. Crowds went wild as the Bronx Bombers paraded at the legendary Canyon of Heroes.
Meantime on Capitol Hill, members of the House decidedly more divided on the festivities.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. EDOLPHUS TOWNS (D), NEW YORK: Madam Speaker, I rise today as a proud New Yorker to call upon this resolution honoring the New York Yankees.
REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), NEW YORK: I think it's really important that I put this on.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: While the Democrats want to talk baseball, we want to talk about health care. The American families are striking out.
REP. JOSE SERRANO (D), NEW YORK: For this moment, for these 20 minutes of this whole week, we take to celebrate the American pastime, baseball.
REP. NYDIA M. VELAZQUEZ (D), NEW YORK: I just would like for the record to reflect the fact that I am a Mets fan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: That is my favorite comment.
COOPER: Yes. Tax dollars at work.
Coming up next, my candid one-on-one interview with Oprah Winfrey. Look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: This is the craziest thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Yes. What had us both in stitches.
Also tonight, the dancing prisoners you know and love have worked up a new number. It's our "Shot of the Day."
COOPER: Tonight's big 360 interview, Oprah Winfrey. Our conversation was great, revealing, but we ran into a couple of technical problems along the way. I could hear her; she couldn't hear me. I couldn't hear her; she could hear me.
The audio problems had Oprah laughing hysterically. We eventually got the glitches cleared up. And we were able to start the interview.
The big focus was on her newest choice for the "Oprah Book Club." She hasn't had the book club for nearly a year now. This is the first book she's selected since then, a selection of short stories told from the perspective of African kids. The book is something very close to Oprah's heart.
COOPER: So Oprah, it's been almost a year since you've picked a book for the book club. Why -- why did it take so long?
WINFREY: It took so long because I have a day job and a midday job and a night job and a lot of work to do, and I never choose a book, Anderson, unless I've read it personally all the way front to end and personally love it.
And normally I'm not a short story person. And a lot of people are not short story people, because they always leave you wanting something more.
And there was just something about the cover image on this book of an African child and the shadow of the African child, that really resonated with me. And I sat down to read the first story and then read the second story. After the second story I needed to just take a break, because I felt that -- one story more devastating than the next.
COOPER: It's interesting. The title of the book, "Say You're One of Them," which refers to a story in Rwanda during the genocide. But it can also be -- be interpreted as the reader being asked to imagine that each reader is one of the kids in this story.
It's sometimes hard, I think, for folks here at home to kind of put themselves in the shoes of somebody living in Africa. That's something even hard in terms of television in terms of what you're trying to do to get people to do.
WINFREY: Well, you know what is really hard? I will tell you this, that over the years I probably have not selected more than three or four books that had settings in places other than the United States. Because traditionally Americans want to read about Americans. And Americans don't like names of foreign countries, and they don't want foreign names in their stories. That is -- that's just a fact.
And so to choose this book and to have this book become No. 1 on the "New York Times" best seller list, but more important even than that, because I didn't even know if that could happen. But more important to me is the reaction from people in the United States and all over the world to the stories of these children in the book.
First of all, I got an e-mail from somebody who wasn't even aware of what had gone on in Rwanda. And to hear stories from people who have read this story, the stories in "Say You're One of Them," and to hear -- hear how their hearts are opening up about conditions that children all over the world face all the time, that to me is why we read.
COOPER: You obviously spent a lot of time in Africa. I want to play for our viewers and for you something that President Obama talked with us about when we went with him to Ghana this past summer about the experience as an African-American going to Africa. Here's what he told us.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think that there is a special sense for African-Americans of somehow connecting up with a part of yourself that you might not have even been aware was there.
Well, obviously for me it was different because I was directly meeting relatives and learning about a father I didn't know. But I do think there's a sense for a lot of African-Americans that's -- it's a profound life-changing experience.
COOPER: For you, going to Africa for the first time, when was the first time? And what was the experience like that made you go back so much and now invest money there and build schools there?
WINFREY: Well, I will have to tell you, I saw that interview that you did at the time that you did it with President Obama in Ghana. And it was deeply moving for me to see him and his family experience that for the first time. I'd never actually been to Ghana.
And after watching him with you there, I decided that I'm going to make that a part of my journey the next time I go to Africa.
Well, my first trip was in -- to South Africa after Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. And I, you know, fell in love with the land and more importantly fell in love with the people there. And as you know, had a conversation with Nelson Mandela about what I could do. And he said, "You should do whatever you feel in your heart is the best thing to do." And for me that was -- was giving the gift of education.
COOPER: We'll have more of my interview with Oprah on Monday. Oprah and I are going to be participating in a live chat discussing the new book club choice. Join us at 9 p.m. on CNN.com or on Oprah.com. We'll follow that up at 10 p.m. Eastern, regular edition of 360, with part two of our conversation.
Next, oh yes, they will rock you. Our favorite performing prisoners take on Queen. It's our "Shot," coming up.
COOPER: Erica, for tonight's "Shot," we head to the Philippines, where our favorite prisoners are dancing, this time to Queen. Take it away, fellows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MUSIC: QUEEN MEDLEY)
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HILL: Take it away, Queen.
COOPER: My lord.
HILL: I think I had a dance recital outfit like that one.
Oh. I don't want to think say the other ones weren't well done, because they were, but I think they've clearly been working on their moves.
COOPER: This is a costume extravaganza. They have -- they've gone all out on this one.
HILL: Yes, but I'm telling you also, I think they've really been working on their moves. They've been taking lessons.
COOPER: They've got a lot of time on their hands.
All right. Submit your "Shot" suggestions at AC360.com.
Stick around. We'll be right back with today's top headlines.