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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

President Obama Unveils Budget Plan; New York Authorities Search for Serial Killer

Aired April 13, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A lot to cover tonight, President Obama's budget cutting plan, an urgent hunt for a serial killer.

But we begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" in Libya, with the stalemate on the ground and growing divisions within NATO about what the mission really is and growing questions about whether NATO really is up to the job.

NATO says it destroyed 16 more Gadhafi tanks yesterday near Misrata and Sirte. But France and Britain are demanding more aggressive action to protect civilians. That is, after all, the U.N. mandate. But in the city of Misrata, Gadhafi forces continue to shell and use snipers, in an attempt to regain control.

For weeks now, we watched civilians in Misrata die as opposition forces try to fight back. The city has been surrounded for seven weeks now and UNICEF calls the situation for people there grave and deteriorating.

Remember, late last month, President Obama handed the mission over to NATO, saying America would shift to a supporting role.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, for those who doubted our capacity to carry out this operation, I want to be clear, the United States of America has done what we said we would do.


But even then, there were questions about whether that would be good enough to protect Libyan civilians and whether the mission as conceived could even work at all. Libyan opposition leaders say NATO is not doing enough.


MAHMUD SHAMMAM, LIBYAN POLLS SPOKESMAN: So we're not seeing really a great effort to protect the civilians since the NATO took over the operation. So, we would like to put great emphasis on this.


COOPER: Opposition forces say NATO is far more cautious in picking their targets and slower in their ability to respond quickly to events on the ground, something critics warned about when the handover to NATO was first proposed.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The U.S. military will no longer be flying strike sorties against Gadhafi's armored columns and ground forces. I believe this would be a profound mistake with potentially disastrous consequences.


COOPER: Well, we learned today American aircraft are still being used in strikes against air defense systems and for jamming enemy radar and aerial refueling, but tank-busting American A-10 Warthog attack planes like these they stopped flying missions last week. And a number of countries like Qatar and the UAE involved in the air effort refuse to let their planes be involved in attacks on Gadhafi forces for political reasons back home.

The question now with a stalemate on the ground between opposition forces and Gadhafi's army and Libyan civilians still suffering in places like Misrata and Tripoli and elsewhere, is NATO doing enough?

Joining us now from Benghazi is Ben Wedeman. Also, retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, former assistant secretary of state for political military affairs during the Bush administration and currently executive vice president of Advanced Technology Systems Company, a defense contracting firm. And Jill Dougherty at the State Department.

General Kimmitt, the U.N. mandate says protect civilians. It's a broad mandate, but does it lack clarity? For some, it could mean taking out tanks and artillery pieces that are shelling cities. For others it means attacking Gadhafi ground troops. For some, it means taking out Gadhafi because you could argue civilians aren't safe if he is still in power. So is the mission too open to differing definitions?

BRIGADIER GENERAL MARK KIMMITT (RET.), FORMER U.S. CENTRAL COMMAND DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR PLANS AND STRATEGY: Well, it's open to many different definitions, it's also open to different targeting guidance. You can do a lot with that mandate, but I think what is probably at the core here is that the nations are not interpreting it as a robust enough mandate to actually apply the military force necessary to really separate these forces and try to bring the Gadhafi forces significantly lower.

COOPER: So you're saying they're not applying it with a robust enough mandate? You mean they're not being aggressive enough you're saying?

KIMMITT: Well, I don't think anyone is being aggressive enough.

Quite frankly, we have made it very clear to not only the world but to Moammar Gadhafi that the mission of the military is not to do regime change, and it's not to destroy the military of Libya. It's not to try to turn over the current situation. It is simply for the protection of civilians and it's being done through a no-fly zone. Those are inherent contradictions in terms of accomplishing a mission that really needs to be set out to end a longstanding dictatorship in that country.

COOPER: Ben Wedeman, when NATO took over, was there noticeable difference in terms of number of attacks, speed of response?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there certainly was a dramatic drop-off in the number of airstrikes against targets in Libya.

Initially, NATO said that it was because of the weather, because of Gadhafi forces hiding among civilians in urban areas. But the weather has obviously improved and the tempo of airstrikes has increased since the initial days of NATO's takeover. But certainly they're dramatically less than what they were at the beginning of the imposition of Resolution 1973.

And certainly in this part of the country, it is quite definitely a stalemate. Essentially the two sides have sort of faced off between Brega and Ajdabiya and there's very little sign of any movement. I think the real dramatic developments are around the city of Misrata, where we are hearing gradually that Gadhafi's forces are trying to push in.

I was on the phone with somebody yesterday and really it makes your hair stand on end when you hear the conditions there. And because it's an urban area, it's much more difficult for any plane, NATO or otherwise, to put a stop to that slow strangulation of Misrata.


COOPER: General Kimmitt, to Ben's point about Misrata, we have been watching for seven weeks as civilians have been killed in that city. They continue to shell into that city. They use snipers on buildings according to opposition forces who I have talked to on the ground who Ben has talked to as well. Isn't that the starkest example of the failure of -- if the U.N. mission is to protect civilians in Misrata, it seems a complete failure.

KIMMITT: Well, that's true.

But I would argue that we probably would not be doing much better if this was a unilateral U.S. operation. The fact is that in the period of time that Gadhafi's forces have been fighting, they have been learning. They understand that they are only facing an air threat and there are ways to react to an air threat. Get yourself close to the other opponents so that there's a chance for collateral damage. Hiding, better camouflage.

The fact is that our enemy is learning. The fact is that the Libyan forces are probably more robust in terms of being able to react to air attacks. But the notion that a no-fly zone and a protection of the civilian mandate is sufficient to destroy the forces or to prevent the kind of massacres that we're seeing on the ground was too much to ask for that mission set.

COOPER: Jill, Britain, France clearly not happy with the NATO mission. What are you hearing about the discontent among those allies?


You have the British foreign secretary, the French foreign minister both saying that NATO has to do much more than they're doing. NATO is saying, well, we're doing what we're supposed to be doing, and they trot out the statistics. I think what is interesting, Anderson, is that you're beginning to hear even in this administration in the United States kind of a disconnect. Because we're hearing it here at the State Department in briefings, you hear it over at the White House, where they say they have utter confidence in NATO's ability to carry this out.

In the same breath, you have the statement coming from Secretary Clinton, who by the way, is in Germany at yet another NATO meeting, and she is describing exactly what you were talking about, a horrible, Ben was talking about, a horrible situation in Misrata. People, she said, deliberate attempt to starve people out.

So if the mission is going well, as the administration says, then, again, why are the people in Misrata in such a terrible situation?

COOPER: Ben, General Kimmitt made an interesting point about the Gadhafi military, the Gadhafi forces, pro-Gadhafi forces being a learning enemy, that they are that, they have adapted their tactics. The same cannot be said at all for the opposition forces. They do not seem to be a learning force.

WEDEMAN: No, no, not at all. In fact, they seem to be learning almost nothing. Certainly compared to the Gadhafi forces who have changed their tactics completely. Initially they were using tanks and heavy weaponry. Now they're running around in the desert in pickup trucks, almost indistinguishable from the rebels. The rebels however don't seem to be learning anything, and it seems that even the level of enthusiasm seems to be draining off a bit because they realized that at least in this part of the country, that they can't move forward. And, therefore, you see fewer and fewer men at the front lines.

You almost never see a senior commander there. We did notice that they have some new weaponry. We did see for instance the other day they have these MILAN anti-tank missiles made in France. They did have some night-vision goggles, but they didn't even know how to use the night-vision goggles. They didn't realize that you need to put batteries inside. So they don't seem to be increasing their training. There's very little leadership at the front. Communications continues to be poor. And therefore, I don't think anyone realistically can expect any sort of advance from the east given these conditions -- Anderson. COOPER: General Kimmitt, where does this go? Does this just remain a stalemate with some sort of partition, or without maybe even people saying it that the mission changes to somehow take Gadhafi out through some covert means? Where does this go?

KIMMITT: Well, the administration still believes that the use of the military is solely for the purpose of the arms embargo, the no-fly zone, and some measured protection of civilians, that diplomacy is the ultimate goal, which will lead us to the situation where there will be a turnover of regime inside of Libya.

I think you're either going to end up with a stalemate or you will need more military force to end the stalemate and bring this situation to resolution. At this point it does not appear that diplomacy is making progress. We may have to wait longer for diplomacy to make progress, but given the situations that we're seeing on the ground, it could well take us either to acceptance of stalemate or use of more military force.

COOPER: Jill, have you seen any diplomacy that seems to be working or is this just one of those things where diplomats say look it needs more time?

DOUGHERTY: Well, they're still doing what they have being. And I think they do think that it needs more time. You hear constantly from the administration that it's only been a few weeks.

But I think they still pin hopes on something happening from within that regime. That somehow, you know, the leader will come to his senses and realize that the end is near, and they do continue to have people who leave and fall away from Gadhafi. But ultimately, is that going to work? Because Gadhafi knows, and he can watch TV like everybody else, and see that NATO is beginning to show some divisions within itself. The criticism coming from France and Britain, for example. And he's a very canny person. He could exploit that quite easily.

COOPER: Jill, Ben, General Kimmitt, appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

Up next, what President Obama's budget plan means in dollars and cents and votes next year. Will his combination of spending cuts and tax increases hit the sweet spot for voters? And how does it compare to what the Republicans have proposed so far? We will talk to former White House Chief of Staff for George W. Bush Andy Card and Democratic strategist Paul Begala ahead.

And a chilling new discovery in the search for victims of a suspected serial killer, eight sets of human remains found so far along a New York coastline. We will take you to the scene and talk to forensic scientist Larry Kobilinsky about the physical clues that could be vital in cracking the case.


COOPER: "Raw Politics" now -- President Obama combined two big numbers today in his speech on fixing the budget deficit, $4 trillion and 2012 -- $4 trillion is how many dollars in red ink he says he hopes to erase over the next dozen years. 2012 is of course an election year and winning over budget-minded independent voters could be decisive.

Today with the tough and Democrats say harsh GOP proposal already on the table, the president's message clearly had independents and moderates in mind.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We don't have to choose between a future of spiraling debt and one where we forfeit our investment in our people and our country.

To meet our fiscal challenge, we will need to make reforms, we will all need to make sacrifices. But we do not have to sacrifice the America we believe in. And as long as I'm president, we won't.


COOPER: As for specifics, the plan would get about 75 percent of the $4 trillion from spending cuts, including defense. The rest would come from tax changes, chiefly not renewing Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and limiting itemized deductions for the wealthiest 2 percent. There would only be minor changes to Medicaid and Medicare, Mr. Obama saying GOP Congressman Paul Ryan's plan would end Medicare as we know it.

Congressman Ryan was in the audience for the president's speech.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), BUDGET COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander in chief. What we heard today was a political broadside from our campaigner in chief. I guess it's no coincidence that last week, when the president launched his billion-dollar reelection campaign, was the week we launched our effort to try and get this debt and deficit under control and get our economy growing.


COOPER: Let's talk about the "Raw Politics" of this all.

Political contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala and former George W. Bush White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card.

Paul, what is this about election 2012, or was this the opening salvo in the bargaining that is no doubt to come about the budget?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, a little of both. When the president comes downstairs in the morning and has orange juice, it's about 2012 and reelection. Every president cares desperately about being reelected.

But I was really struck. I thought Congressman Ryan he is missing a chance here. I thought the president went out of his way to be fair. Of course his speech was rooted in principle. This guy has got real principles, where he's not going to allow Paul Ryan and the Republicans to end Medicare as we know it in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich.

He's not going to squander the kinds of investments we have to have to make the economy grow, but we have got to tackle the deficit. And it really just means it's actually -- it's hard to do but it's easy to analyze. We have to raise taxes and cut spending. And if anybody tells you, you only have to do one of those things, that person is intellectually dishonest. Paul Ryan, intellectually dishonest. He's pretending that we can cut our way out of it and he's not telling you that he actually wants to make these cuts so that we can give spectacular tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. It's not going to fly politically.

COOPER: Andy Card, not only he was pretty tough on Paul Ryan. He was tough your former boss, former president, essentially blaming your administration for all the financial problems that this administration is now facing.

ANDREW CARD, FORMER GEORGE W. BUSH WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Well, first of all, I thought the president's speech was more political than it was policy.

COOPER: How so?


CARD: Well, the first 2,700 words centered around setting the stage for a political discussion rather than setting the stage to really reform our government and bring deficits under control.

And then what he did offer was a lot of gimmicks. He even talked about it in the context of 12 years when Washington works on a 10-year rule for most budgets. And that's the old Byrd rule. It's what been around for a long time. So he's asking us compare apples, the Ryan plan, to oranges, the Obama plan.

And really they're not even the same, they're not even in the game. And so I think the president really is kind of misleading. He's got a lot of gimmicks. He's not looking to solve the problem and he really pushes the burden onto future political generations, not on the political generation that is serving in Washington right now. So I think that it was not the best policy objective for the president to have. Instead, it was a political objective that he put forward.

COOPER: Paul, you didn't hear much of anything really about Social Security, which is obviously a major issue moving forward in terms of economics. BEGALA: Well, it is, but it's actually not a huge driver of the deficit. Social Security, I think -- well, not -- it doesn't matter what I think -- but even the actuaries say overall is in pretty good shape. A little minor changes in Social Security.

The real problems are this debt and deficit and Medicare is a huge driver of that, but so is the lack of revenue. So is the fact that we keep cutting taxes for rich people, like me and President Obama said like himself as well. The notion, by the way, that 12 years is too long to cut the spending, but Mr. Ryan's proposal, our viewers should know, does not come into balance for 50 years.

It's a Trojan horse. It's not about the deficit. The president tried to make an honest cut at the deficit by saying, duh, we have to cut spending and raise taxes. Mr. Ryan wants to eliminate Medicare as we know it. The "Wall Street Journal" newspaper said it would essentially end Medicare in order to pay for tax breaks for billionaire polluters. That's not a deficit approach, that is a reordering of our national values to say that billionaires need more welfare and senior citizens on Medicare need less health care.

CARD: Paul, don't you see it amazing though that here we are, the president is actually debating Paul Ryan's proposal, when the president should be leading the country? Instead he's responding to Paul Ryan, rather than offering real tough solutions that will make a difference. And Paul Ryan did a great service. He changed the debate. He said let's talk about really bringing fiscal discipline and let's have an honest debate about it. The president, you know, starts addressing Paul Ryan but he does it in the context of politics rather than policy.

BEGALA: He can't do enough to stop this Paul Ryan budget. It would destroy Medicare to give tax breaks to the rich. And Mr. Ryan, he's a charming guy. Everybody says he's a nice guy.

CARD: He's a smart guy.


BEGALA: He's ruthlessly intellectually dishonest.


BEGALA: His plan, OK, we all agree doing nothing is a disaster, right, Andy? Doing nothing soars the debt and deficit.

Ryan's plan is worse than doing nothing. The Congressional Budget Office looked at this and said, compared to doing nothing, the Ryan plan increases the debt even more over the first 10 years because he front-loads all these tax cuts for the rich. You're not a serious deficit hawk if you're talking about more tax cuts for the rich. You're just not. It's like Charlie Sheen talking about drug rehab.

CARD: Congressman Ryan and the Republicans have said let's have an honest debate about reforming government, changing the way we spend, changing our entitlement programs, solving the problem in the short term so that we don't have a long-term burden that's going to be placed and change the whole nature of a country. I think that Congressman Ryan has done a great service. The president didn't provide the leadership that he should have provided back in December (AUDIO GAP) Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson got together and proposed something very, very real and he could have embraced that. And that's what the debate could have been about.

But instead Paul Ryan is the one that steps forward and the president is responding and quite frankly he's not living up to the challenge that Paul Ryan put out there.

COOPER: Andy, for you all, are all tax cuts, any tax raising on the wealthy or allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans, that's completely off the table for you?

CARD: Well, no. First of all, we just extended the Bush tax cuts for two years. And here the president is going out on television saying we're going to increase taxes in two years.

If you're a small businessman and you're being taxed at the individual rate, that means your rates are going to go up. So you're likely to husband your resources now, not employ people when we need more people employed in America, not making decisions to invest in the economy. Instead, worry about the tax increases that will come at the end of the expiration of these Bush tax cuts. It's the wrong time to play that psychology, when you're trying to grow an economy. And that's not good leadership from our president.


CARD: It's political, but it's not good leadership.

BEGALA: Yes. If tax cuts for the rich created jobs, we wouldn't be in this mess. I worked for a president. I helped him balance the budget. He did it, but I played a tiny role in that White House. And he balanced the budget and we handed it off to Mr. Card's boss, Mr. Bush. The American people foolishly gave them a Republican House, a Republican Senate, a Republican White House.


CARD: When the baton was handed to George W. Bush, the country was sliding into a recession, and you know that. And it was the tax cuts that President Bush put in place in June of 2001 that got the economy back on the right track.

BEGALA: We had a balanced budget and we had an enormous surplus building up.


CARD: The bubble had burst before you left office.


COOPER: Paul, I want you to be able to respond. Then we got to go.


BEGALA: Yes. The Clinton economy -- the Clinton Democrats balanced the budget. The Bush Republicans created this deficit. Now they're using the debt that they created as a Trojan horse so they can destroy Medicare, to give more tax breaks for the rich. That's not a deficit program, that's a radical reordering of our country. I was proud of our president today for standing up saying I will not let you destroy Medicare to give tax breaks to the rich.

CARD: Games, gimmicks and a timeline that doesn't work.

BEGALA: Which is what we got for eight years from your boss, Andy.

COOPER: Andy Card, Paul Begala, gentlemen, thank you.

360 follow-up now. Minnesota Congresswoman and possible 2012 Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann coming under fire for her choice of words in her attack against Planned Parenthood. We talked about this on the program last night. Congresswoman Bachmann recently said that Planned Parenthood's federal funding should be revoked and explained why she made headlines.


REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: The executive director of Planned Parenthood in Illinois said they want to become the LensCrafter of big abortion in Illinois.


COOPER: The LensCrafter of big abortion in Illinois. "Keeping Them Honest," as we did last night, executive director actually did not say that. They did not say the LensCrafter -- they said the LensCrafter of family planning, not big abortion.

Now, LensCrafters is taking issue with Ms. Bachmann's message. The eye care company tells "Roll Call" they contacted her office asking her to stop using their name. They say she's using their name without their knowledge or permission. According to "Roll Call," a Bachmann spokeswoman called the request -- quote -- "perfectly understandable" and the congresswoman would avoid using the company's name in the future.

Still ahead, "Crime and Punishment," the search for a suspected serial killer terrorizing Long Island, New York. Police have found eight sets of human remains all in the same area. And there's fear there's even more victims. Will the killer strike again and who could it be?

Plus, dramatic new video of the tsunami hitting Japan, people running, trying to outrun the wall of water. We will show that you.

And later a sleepy Vice President Joe Biden, well, he makes tonight's RidicuList. Yes, he's kind of nodding off during the president's speech, or at least it sure looked that way.


COOPER: Just ahead tonight, the latest on efforts to save starving abandoned animals in the nuclear evacuation zone in Japan. You will actually meet a person who is risking their own life to try to go in and save some of these animals. That's coming up shortly. They have been abandoned.

But first up tonight, "Crime and Punishment." The search is on for a suspected serial killer on New York's Long Island. So far, four victims have been identified, women who advertised prostitution services online. But at least eight sets of remains have been found. Police are sending dive teams to search for clues in the waterways. Residents say they are both frightened and creeped out that there's a serial killer investigation going on in their hometown, as you can imagine.

The latest discovery, the skull of a potential ninth victim, isn't helping to calm any nerves.

Joe Johns investigates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers discovered about 96 north off the parkway what appears to be a human -- appears to be a human skull.

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A human skull. Another grisly find, fueling the fears of the people in this small town on Long Island, New York; furthering the speculation that a serial killer is on the loose.

Eight sets of human remains have now been found. Investigators are desperate, searching by water, by land, and by air, using the crime profilers unit of the FBI.

(on camera) In suspected serial murder cases, often the hardest part is figuring out where it all began. But in the cases of the young women whose bodies were found near the beach here on Long Island, police don't seem to have even the beginnings of the timeline.

(voice-over) Here's a map with dates and locations showing where the dead were found. A tidy line of bodies concealed always just off the road, in the scrub covering an area miles long.

Last December 11, a police officer out training his dog finds a woman's body on Gilgo Beach in Suffolk County. December 13, police find three more bodies. The four women, some found in burlap bags, all were in their 20s, working as prostitutes, advertising their services on Craigslist.

RICHARD DORMER, SUFFOLK COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT: The business that they were in, OK, indicated that whoever was targeting these individuals was doing it because of their business. JOHNS: March 29 of this year, another body is found. Then on April 4, the remains of three more people were found. Who these four are and how they died is still a mystery.

And one of the most vexing questions of all is whatever happened to Shannan Gilbert? She's in her 20s. She worked as a prostitute and advertised on Craigslist. But authorities do say she is not among the unidentified dead.

(on camera) May 1 of last year around 2 a.m. in the morning, according to a family member, a driver brought Shannan Gilbert here to Oak Beach to meet a man. She ran from the house a couple hours later, came here to a neighbor's place.

(voice-over) The neighbor went to call 911, and when he came back, she was gone. That neighbor, Gus Coletti, says the woman was frantic.

GUS COLETTI, OAK BEACH RESIDENT: She just stood there staring at me, yelling, "Help me, help me."

JOHNS: Coletti doubts whether Gilbert's disappearance set off the search has anything to do with the bodies found so far.

(on camera) Do you think she was a victim of a serial killer?

COLETTI: No. I'm not even sure she was murdered.

JOHNS: The man Shannan went to visit that morning has been questioned by police. They say he's been cooperative and that he is not a suspect. We visited his house today, but no one answered the door.

Another disturbing piece of this story goes back two years ago. It's been widely reported that taunting telephone calls, which may have come from the alleged killer himself, went to a sister of Melissa Barthelemy, one of the victims. Police tried to investigate the calls but were unable to, because they were too short to trace and came from crowded places.

To some, that kind of boldness and planning suggests police are dealing with a very organized killer.

(on camera) There's been some suggestion that the killer may have law-enforcement experience, because he seems to know how to make gathering evidence more difficult. But police say as far as they're concerned, that's nothing more than speculation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can go with it if you want, but it's not coming from us.

JOHNS (voice-over): The only thing we know for sure: there are bodies turning up on the beach, and police fear there could be many more.

Joe Johns, CNN, Oak Beach, Long Island. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So disturbing. Joining us in New York, Larry Kobilinsky, forensic scientist and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

At this point, what are investigators looking at to try to determine whether all these murders are connected? You have at least eight bodies.

LARRY KOBILINSKY, PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: It's very difficult to link them all. Obviously, they're looking for patterns. The first four fit a perfect pattern. The burlap bags, the method of the kill, asphyxiation, the age of these victims, the fact that they were all prostitutes, they were working through Craigslist.

COOPER: Right. All advertising in...

KOBILINSKY: What we can't figure out is that the last four, we don't have their identification as yet, but there seem to be differences. Differences in the way these women were packaged. Differences in the position on this beach. They were deeper into the thicket than the others.

Differences. There's a report that there's a male, that there's a child, that one of the victims was dismembered. There's a lot of differences here. And I have to change. Originally I thought there was one killer. Now I'm thinking that that's not the case.

COOPER: You think it's just a coincidence that, because it's kind of a remote, isolated area that it's coincidence that over time, a lot of bodies have been dumped there?

KOBILINSKY: I think it could very well be that. If you go down this area, especially during the colder months, the area is deserted, and it's a perfect place to drop a package off and not be seen and escape the area.

COOPER: It's got to be incredibly hard. Some of these bodies have apparently been there for quite some time.

KOBILINSKY: It is, and it's difficult to establish the postmortem interval. Very hard to say how long this has been going on. But we know that one of the victims was missing for at least four years. So that's -- that's a time that we can say for sure it's been four years.

COOPER: And in terms of -- if you only have partial remains, obviously, you know, I guess dental records...

KOBILINSKY: Dental records, fractures of bones, one way to identify. But ultimately, DNA is the tried and true way. I think they need to have close relatives of the missing individuals, extract DNA from the bones, and see if there's a connection or not.

COOPER: And at this point, how long does something like that take?

KOBILINSKY: Not long. I mean, the difficult part is getting the relatives' DNA and determining if there's a match. And that is the beginning of that investigation, because once they know who the victims are, then they can check their computers, their cell phones and see if they can get some kind of pattern going here to hook them up to the first.

COOPER: You don't think it's one killer, though?

KOBILINSKY: At this point I would say no.

COOPER: There had been talk about whether the person might have had a law enforcement background.

KOBILINSKY: Well, I think that's speculation. I think a lot of people watching television, reading books know that you've got to hang up quickly or they'll trace your phone.

COOPER: Because somebody was calling the sister of one of the...

KOBILINSKY: Taunting. Taunting the sister. And this is unusual. It doesn't fit the pattern. This guy is not taunting the police. He's not taunting the victims, except for this one situation, taunting the relatives. It just doesn't fit.

COOPER: And when they would call, they would only stay on, I think, for less than three minutes.

KOBILINSKY: Less than three minutes. Call from an area that's very crowded. Again, people are saying maybe it's law enforcement, but maybe it's not.

COOPER: Right. Larry Kobilinsky, appreciate it. We'll continue to follow it.

Still ahead, riveting new images of the tsunami that pummeled Japan captured on video as it unfolded. An entire village virtually washed away.

Plus, tonight again, the pets left behind. When authorities ordered their owners to evacuate Japan's nuclear hot zone, a lot of dogs that we have found in the abandoned zone, starving, abandoned, hungry. What's being done to rescue them before they starve to death? We'll talk to CNN's Kyung Lah, who's been digging for answers. And we'll talk to a person who is actually violating the law, taking risks -- taking a great risk to their own health to go into the evacuation zone and rescue animals.

And later, surprising news about actress Catherine Zeta Jones, the treatment she's facing after a stressful year when 360 continues.


COOPER: Tonight, we've got powerful new images to show you of the tsunami that swept Japan into crisis mode. A new video shows the terror as it unfolded last month at a fishing port in Japan's eastern coast that was all but wiped out from the map. A warning, though: it's tough to watch, because it's very possible some of the people you're going to see were not able to outrun the water. Take a look.




COOPER: So incredible to watch.

Half of that town's population was missing after the tsunami. The human losses from the quake and tsunami are staggering.

Animals are suffering, as well, though, and often overlooked. When nearly 200,000 people were ordered to evacuate the area closest to the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, many thought they'd be gone only a short time and left their pets behind. Now these animals are facing starvation.

We've been trying to find out what's been done to rescue them. The area you're not allowed to go into anymore. A warning: some of the images you're about to see are disturbing. Here's CNN's Kyung Lah.


KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Non (ph) is a 5-year- old Shiba, traumatized, confused, being delivered to his distraught owners, seeing them for the very first time in a month. He doesn't respond.

"I'm sorry," says Hiroku Ito (ph) to her dog. Non (ph) was alone, chained outside for ten days.

"We tried to save him," explains Ito, "but we couldn't get in."

In to the government-mandated evacuation zone just a few miles from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Across that radiation-contaminated area, animals whose owners thought they'd be gone for a day, now a month later remain abandoned. Some, like this one, already dead of disease and starvation.

The ones still alive, like this beagle, suffer. You can see its ribs. The journalist who slipped into the evacuation zone fed it, but left it chained outside, hoping its owner would return to free it. The images were seen around the world, and they were too much for Isabella Gallaon-Aoki, with the non-profit group, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support.

Pet owners sent the group their addresses with pleas to rescue their animals. The volunteers, putting their own health on the line, threw on protective gear and entered the radioactive zone.

(on camera)This is an area that is dangerous to go into. Why are you doing this?

ISABELLA GALLAON-AOKI, ANIMAL RESCUER: Why am I doing it? Well, because I want to help the animals there. I want to help people who are trying to get their animals back.


COOPER: Joining me now on the phone is the woman you just saw on Kyung Lah's report, Isabella Gallaon-Aoki, the founder of Animal Friends Nigita.

Isabella, thanks so much for being with us. You say you're doing this to help owners get their animals back. How much success have you had? How difficult is it?

GALLAON-AOKI (via phone): It's very difficult, of course. Because, I mean, obviously the dangers of going into the area, and it's -- it's the animals wondering around free. They're not always in the area where the owners left them. So it's not always possible to find the animals.

COOPER: We saw video of one animal who had been chained up and was left chained up and had been chained up for weeks. Do you see a lot of animals who are still chained up?

GALLAON-AOKI: To be honest, when I've been in the area, no, not that many. Most of the dogs, I think as far as possible -- well, many of the owners tried to actually set their dogs free before they left. And there are a lot of unchained dogs wandering around. The other thing is, of course, if they're unchained, they're scared, they're traumatized, and they're difficult to catch, as well.

COOPER: Are the animals you found, what kind of health have you found them in? Because we've seen pictures of dogs with their ribs visible.

GALLAON-AOKI: Yes. Well, I mean, it varies greatly. Some of the animals you would not believe have been without food for days. They look surprisingly healthy. Others we've seen are very, very skinny. Really obviously very distressed conditions.

COOPER: And what inspired you to want to help these animals?

GALLAON-AOKI: Well, as I explained, I mean, doing animal rescue work is what I have been doing for a few years. When this whole kind of crisis erupted, obviously I thought that was my role in it. And especially with the nuclear power disaster.

I also felt, as did the other members of our group, that that would be the area that other groups would be most reluctant to go into because of the dangers. And so we just decided that, taking into account the risk and things, we still felt that we wanted to try and do what we could.

COOPER: Do you have a Web site if people are interested in helping your organization? GALLAON-AOKI: Yes. Yes, we have a Facebook page and a Web site, too.

COOPER: What is it?

GALLAON-AOKI: Sorry, I don't know off hand, but if you look up JEARS. It's Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue.

COOPER: OK. We'll put that on our Web site, as well. Isabella, I appreciate it. Thanks for coming on tonight.

GALLAON-AOKI: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up, Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, being detained in the investigation into protestors' deaths during the uprising earlier this year and corruption investigation hospitalized. We'll have the latest on him. Meanwhile, there's new twists in his health scare.

Plus, Joe Biden daring to dream. Unfortunately, it was right in the middle of President Obama's speech. Grab your Snuggie. It's a bedtime story about how the vice president made the "RidicuList" tonight.

We talked about Snooki last night in "The RidicuList." Tonight, she's talking about me. She tweeted about me. I'll tell you what she said and my response. I'll be right back.


COOPER: Check in with Randi Kaye. She's following. She's got a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, Egypt's ailing former president Hosni Mubarak and two of his sons are being held for questioning for 15 days as prosecutors investigate the killings of protesters during the uprising that forced Mubarak to resign. That's according to the justice ministry.

The sons have reportedly been taken to a prison outside Cairo, but there are conflicting reports about their father's location and also about his health. Yesterday, state TV reported 82-year-old Mubarak was hospitalized for a heart attack. But today, it said he was suffering from a nervous breakdown.

Word tonight that Catherine Zeta Jones will be returning to work this week after treatment for bipolar two disorder, a less severe form of the condition. Her rep said the actress recently checked into a mental health facility after a very stressful year. Zeta-Jones' husband, actor Michael Douglas, was diagnosed with throat cancer last fall.

The NBA is fining Kobe Bryant $100,000 for using a gay slur during a game last night. His comment was caught on camera after the L.A. Laker was called on a technical foul. Bryant apologized today. Job openings in February rose at their fastest pace in almost seven years, according to the Labor Department. Job openings surged to 3.1 million, up from just 352,000 in January.

And the FAA is investigating another sleepy air traffic controller case. This one allegedly happened yesterday morning in Reno while a medical flight carrying an ill patient was trying to land. This, Anderson, is the sixth incident just like this that the agency has disclosed this year.

COOPER: Wow. Serious stuff.

All right, Randi, time for the "RidicuList" and an update about last night's "RidicuList" about Snooki.

Tonight, we're adding Vice President Joe Biden. Now, it's not as dangerous as -- it's not as dangerous as air traffic controllers falling asleep on the job. But this afternoon, Biden dozed off while his boss was giving a speech. Watch.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To keep the promise we've made to care for our seniors. It says that ten years from now, if you're a 65-year-old who's eligible for Medicare, you should have to pay nearly $6,400 more than you would today.


COOPER: All right. Grant it, it was a pretty long speech, and President Obama does have a mellifluous voice, one that can be terrible soporific. Just ask the cadets at West Point or some cadet at commencement speech.


OBAMA: High schools that promote academic excellence, personal responsibility, lasting success. It doesn't happen in an instant.

We can't count on military might alone. Now, let me be clear. The military that, along with your families, has already borne the heaviest of all burdens.


COOPER: Now, let's think about the topic of the speech that might Biden go night-night. The deficit -- as anyone who has seen "Ferris Bueller" knows, an anonymous voice plus an economics lecture, lethal. It's basically a one-two punch that sends you right into a REM cycle.


BEN STEIN, ACTOR: Anyone, anyone? The Great Depression. Passed the, anyone, anyone? Tariff bill. The Holly-Smoot Tariff Act which, anyone? Raised or lowered? Raised tariffs. In an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government.

Did it work, anyone? Anyone know the effects? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point.


COOPER: Biden, Biden? Look, I get it. A long speech, a calming voice right around afternoon nap time. I get it. Biden might as well have washed down some Ambien with Nyquil and warm milk while listening to Sade singing "No Ordinary Love" in a sleeping bag fresh out of the dryer while chamomile tea was beg administered intravenously. I get it.

But here's the thing. Isn't it a huge part of any politician's job to stay awake while other people are talking?


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And elected a Democratic legislature. And in 2005...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Expediency asks the question, is a position politic...

BUSH: The fact that they're willing to work in a collaborative fashion with the federal government.


Can we please get some Red Bull to the Capitol, stat?

Now look, I don't know. Maybe it's our problem. Maybe we just need to try to think about our politicians the way we think about babies and puppies. Maybe we could learn to think they're adorable when they fall asleep. Look at this dog falling asleep right there on his darling little feet. Huh, huh? I mean, I haven't seen anything that cute since this afternoon when Joe Biden could barely keep his eyes open. All right. I know it's not really the same. It was worth a try, though.

I will say this, at least when Biden is asleep, he's not dropping "F" bombs into an open mike, asking a disabled state senator to stand up, messing up his boss's name, or trying to count to four and failing. Behold, the greatest gaffes of Joe "Lullaby" Biden, the awake years.



Chuck, stand up, Chuck, let them see you. Oh, God love you, what am I talking about?

A man who will be the next president of the United States, Barack America.

Three letter word, jobs, J-O-B-S. Jobs.


COOPER: Three-letter word, J-O-B-S. I don't know, I'm getting four letters, not three. But maybe I'm tired. As tired as Joe "Rock- a-bye" Biden at a deficit speech.

A quote that's attributed to Harry S. Truman says the job of the vice president is to go to weddings and funerals. That is certainly a great idea. Let's send Joe Biden to a whole bunch of events that take place in churches that don't have no air conditioning. That will wake him up.

Maybe we should -- we're adding that snoring sound. Maybe we should amend the job description. How about if you're the vice president, just try to stay awake at work and stay off the "RidicuList."

And a quick follow up to last night's "RidicuList" about all the money that Snooki is making, $100,000 an episode for the new season of "Jersey Shore," $25,000 to show up at a club. Snooki herself has responded on her Twitter page. She writes, or tweeted, quote, "Everyone's asking me about Mista Anderstand Cooper. He called me freakishly tan and I'm lucky? Gotta love this man. He's got a nice tan going, too. Thanks, Coop."

See, first of all, I didn't call her freakishly tan. I would never say that. See, I think she calls me "Anderstand" because my name is Anderson and I understand her. Anderstand.

Let me just say some people who said I was bashing Snooki last night or looking to start a feud or some sort, au contraire, mon frere. For the record, though I was poking fun at Snooki last night, of all the "Jersey Shore" folks, she is my favorite. She's the most original, and she has a real sense of humor about herself, which believe me, not a lot of folks on TV do.

So Snooki, I appreciate your tweet. Thank you for not being mad. And thank you for not having some big juicehead with bacne beat me up. Because you could do it like that.

A lot more ahead at the top of the hour. We'll be right back.