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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Newsletter Scrutiny Plagues Ron Paul; Ten Days Until Taxes Go Up; Supervirus Fears
Aired December 21, 2011 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Erin. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with the part of Ron Paul's past that you might not now about. And truth be told, that's a part of his past that we don't know fully about. That's because the congressman who is now leading the polls in Iowa is kind of prickly whenever he's asked about this. And because as we just learned tonight, his story appears to have changed over the years as well.
Now that's him today, yes, taking off his microphone, cutting short the questioning from CNN's Gloria Borger. The questions have to do with racially inflammatory writings published in monthly newsletters bearing his name and these were to paid subscribers during the '80s and '90s.
Now though the articles rarely carried a byline, they were written in the first person in random publications such as "Ron Paul Freedom Report", the "Ron Paul Political Report" and the "Ron Paul Survival Report."
Now this all flared up about three years ago when the liberal "New Republic" did the story. More recently, though, the same reporter writing for the conservative "Weekly Standard" flushed out even more details as have news organizations from "The New York Times" to CNN.
What we've all uncovered are items like this from a 1992 newsletter shortly after the L.A. riots titled "Special Issue on Racial Terrorism." Listen to this. One line reads, "Order was only restored in Los Angeles when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks."
In fact, order was restored when the National Guard moved in.
Two years earlier in another Ron Paul publication an article criticized President Reagan for signing legislation approving the creation of the Federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, complaining, quote, "We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day."
Again, these newsletters were written in the '80s and '90s while Ron Paul was out of Congress and had several thousand subscribers.
As I mentioned, a lot of this first came to light in 2008. In fact Wolf Blitzer asked him about it back then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: Congressman, there's a lot of material there, but let me just try to figure out how did this stuff get in these Ron Paul newsletters? Who wrote it?
REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, well, I have no idea. Have you ever heard of a publisher of a magazine not knowing every single thing? The editor is responsible for the daily activities and people came and gone and there were some people that were hired. I don't know any of their names. I do not, absolutely, honestly do not know who wrote those things.
BLITZER: Did you use to read these newsletters? Congressman?
PAUL: Not back -- not back then. There might have been times I would at times. But you know I was in a medical practice. I traveled a lot. I was doing speeches around the country. So very frequently, you know, I never did see these. As a matter of fact, some of the things you just read, I wouldn't have recognized them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Now again that was in 2008. But keeping him honest, in 1996 when he was running for Congress, Democrats dug up other passages from his newsletters that he did not deny writing. One called the late Texas congressman, Barbara Jordan, who was African-American, quote, "a half-educated victimologist."
And talking about crime in Washington, quote, "Given the inefficiencies of what D.C. laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal."
Nor did he deny writing this statement. "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet of foot they can be."
Now he was asked about that and the other two statements as well by "The Dallas Morning News." The reporter, Catalina Camia, writing, quote, "Dr. Paul denied suggestions that he was a racist and said he was not evoking stereotypes when he wrote the columns. He said they should be read and quoted in their entirety to avoid misrepresentation."
Again, though, at that time he did not deny writing the passages. Five years later, though, talking to the "Texas Monthly" Paul backed away from all of that. He changed his tune. Quote, "They were never my words," he said. "But I had some moral responsibility for them." He said his campaign aides told him, quote, "Your name was on that letter and therefore you have to live with it."
So that's 10 years ago. He seems to be saying he didn't write the articles but his staff made him take responsibility. Fast forward 10 years later he's now blaming the media for bringing it up again. But as you'll see he's not doing so much to clear the air. In fact today chief political analyst Gloria Borger spoke with the candidate. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (on camera): And let me ask you, I mean, you've been answering a lot of questions lately about the newsletters that were published under your name and some of the things contained in them were conspiracy theories, some of them -- some of them are considered racist, and you -- you know, you've disavowed them completely.
But they were called "The Ron Paul Report." And did you read them at all when they were -- when they were published during those years? Did you ever sort of take a look at it and say, you know what, this isn't what I stand for?
PAUL: Not all the time.
BORGER: But you did read them?
PAUL: Not all the time. Well, on occasion, yes.
BORGER: And did you ever object when you read them?
PAUL: Well, you know, we talked about this twice yesterday at CNN. Why don't you go back and look at what I said yesterday on CNN, and what I've said for 20-some years. It was 22 years ago. I didn't write them. I disavow them and that's it.
BORGER: But you made money off of them.
PAUL: I was still practicing medicine. That was probably why I wasn't a very good publisher because I had to make a living.
BORGER: But would you give it back? If you made money off of --
PAUL: To whom?
BORGER: Well, I -- charity. Charity. If you made money off of them --
PAUL: That's nonsense.
BORGER: -- and you disavow it --
PAUL: You know, I didn't write them and I don't endorse those views and I've explained it many times.
BORGER: So you read them but you didn't do anything about it at the time.
PAUL: I never read that stuff. I never -- I would never -- I came -- I was probably aware of it 10 years after it was written, and it's been going on 20 years that people have pestered me about this, and CNN does every single time. So when are you going to wear yourself out?
BORGER: Well -- I mean when you say it now -- but you know? PAUL: When are you going to do that?
BORGER: Is it legitimate? I mean is it a legitimate question to ask that somehow --
PAUL: No. And when you get the answer -- and when you get the answer, it's legitimate that you sort of take the answers I give. You know what the answer is? I didn't write them. I didn't read them at the time. And I disavow them. That is the answer.
BORGER: Well, it's just a question. I mean it's legitimate. It's legitimate. These things are pretty incendiary, you know.
PAUL: Because of people like you.
BORGER: No. No, no, no, no. Come on. Some of the stuff was very incendiary in, you know, saying that in 1993 the Israelis were responsible for the bombing of the World Trade Center and that kind of stuff. All right.
PAUL: Yes, OK. Good-bye.
BORGER: All right, all right. Thank you, Congressman. Appreciate your answer.
PAUL: All right.
BORGER: Appreciate you answering the question. And you understand it's our job to ask.
PAUL: Thank you.
GUPTA: And Gloria Borger joins us now along with former press secretary for President George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, and Redstate.com's Erick Erickson.
Gloria, looked like quite an interview there. I mean, you know, as the congressman said, it's not the first time he's faced questions about all of this, but when you spoke to him today, he still doesn't seem quite ready to answer them obviously, did he?
BORGER: Well, there seems to be a bit of a conflict, you know, on the one hand he said that he read them on occasion. And then on the other hand he said that he did not read the most incendiary ones. So it's really unclear what kind of editorial relationship, if any, Ron Paul had with this report that beared (sic) his name. He says that it's irrelevant. That was 22 years ago. He clearly doesn't want to talk about it. But honestly, that's the kind of scrutiny you have to expect if you're the frontrunner in a presidential race.
GUPTA: Right. Yes, I mean it's politics, no question.
Erick, I mean, to that point some people are hearing about this for the first time, but these questions are not new. They don't seem to have had much of an impact on his presidential hopes until now. Why not previously?
ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR IN CHIEF, REDSTATECOM: Well, because no one took him seriously previously and now he's in first place in Iowa. I got to tell you, I remember the good old days of 2008 when his supporters put my home address and phone on a neo-Nazi Web site.
And you know, we don't have to go back to the letters. We can ask Ron Paul why four years ago he allowed neo-Nazi Web sites to fundraise for him. We can ask him why three years ago he went on Iranian TV to say that Israelis had set up concentration camps to indiscriminately kill Palestinians.
I mean there's a lot we can ask him. But I think a more relevant question is, if we can't go back and ask him these questions from the late '80s and early '90s, why then he -- can he go back to the '90s and attack Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney or Rick Perry for things? They wrote it. Does he believe this is a legitimate double standard?
GUPTA: And a lot of people are saying, what -- so what does it all mean? What's the impact?
And Ari, let me ask you that. I mean, first of all, take a look at this poll, if you will, of likely Republican Iowa caucus goers. Ron Paul, as Gloria pointed out, is the top pick, 28 percent of the vote. Newt Gingrich is up there with him about 25 percent. Romney and Perry are the only other two candidates who cracked double digits.
I mean Ron Paul has some of the most dedicated supporters out there, and in a caucus state like Iowa, that can make a big difference. If he wins Iowa, what do you think it means going forward for the whole field?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think if he does win Iowa, it really doesn't mean much. Mitt Romney is probably cheering for him to win Iowa because then it's going to propel Mitt Romney forward. Nobody thinks Ron Paul can go anywhere.
What really happens here is Iowa being a very small caucus state, 110,000 voters, perhaps 120,000 voters, a small energized plurality can make all the difference in the world, and that's what propels Ron Paul's candidacy.
As anybody who's read my tweets know I'm not a supporter of Ron Paul, I'm not a fan of Ron Paul. As much as I'm neutral in the primary, Ron Paul is a fringe candidate and I don't think Ron Paul represents the Republicans' best foot forward. And so I'm bothered by all this tremendously on the merits of it and on the impact his image could have coming out of Iowa as a Republican winner.
But also, four years ago, and I just looked this up, you got 10 percentage points in Iowa, 8 percent in New Hampshire, 4 percent in South Carolina, and 3 percent in Florida. Iowa has historically been the strongest state. He ran before. Remember, not just Mitt Romney who ran, Ron Paul ran, and Iowa was his high water mark. He plunged from there on. GUPTA: You know, Gloria -- go ahead, Erick, go ahead.
ERICKSON: Well, you know, I think there's another relevant point here that needs to be asked of Ron Paul. If you go back to these writings, one of the things that was in one of these writings, the "Ron Paul Freedom Report" that had no byline, it was written in first person as if it was from Ron Paul, was that gay men were trying to intentionally infect the American blood supply by giving blood donations while having AIDS to infect the heterosexual population.
Ron Paul supporters frequently attacked Barack Obama for sitting in Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church and Barack Obama has denied ever hearing Jeremiah Wright's sermons. How is Ron Paul's denial of knowing these things any different from going after Barack Obama for the Reverend Wright matter? There is none. They can't defend that.
GUPTA: Well, I mean, and, again, to be clear, the congressman has disavowed these -- all of these remarks. I read some of those same remarks as well.
Gloria, I mean you talked to him today. Let me ask you this. If you can comment on what Erick said, but also what does this mean for the Iowa caucus in general? I mean he's at the top despite all of this news that's most recent?
BORGER: Well, you know, I mean I spoke with the governor of the state of Iowa, Governor Branstad, yesterday about this. And I said what if Ron Paul wins because lots of establishment Republicans are saying if Ron Paul wins the Iowa caucuses are completely irrelevant. And of course he doesn't want that to be the case.
So he says what's important is who comes in second and who comes in third. Of course that's important. But as Ari Fleischer says, this is not the message the Republican Party wants to be sending.
But I'll tell you this. I was at a Ron Paul event earlier in the day. It was a full house, and the message that resonates here is the message of anti-Washington.
BORGER: Anti-big government, anti-debt, anti-deficit, antiestablishment, and it works with voters who are angry about the economy. So there is a real connection here with the voters in Iowa.
GUPTA: Well, it'll be really interesting to see where the ads go from here and certainly what happens over the next several days. I wish we had more time to talk about it.
Appreciate your time, Erick Erickson, Ari Fleischer, Gloria Borger. Thanks so much.
And let us know what you think at home as well. We're on Facebook, we're on Google. Add us to your circle. You can follow me on Twitter @sanjayguptaCNN. I'll be tweeting tonight. Up next, though, 10 days until your taxes go up and this guy here and his House Republicans are getting thrown under the bus by other Republicans. We got the inside scoop on this and what the politics could mean for your paycheck.
And later, a deadly discovery. How to turn bird flu into a potential terrorist people killer. Why that's got the scientific, the medical and the national security community on edge.
First, though, let's check in with Isha Sesay -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, the search is on tonight for a 20-month-old baby girl. Take a look. Ayla Reynolds last seen Friday night in her bed in Waterville, Maine. Her father is speaking out. We've got the latest and much more when 360 continues.
GUPTA: Time is running out to find a plan that could save the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for millions of Americans. There was plenty of talk today but no action. President Obama made a phone call to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate majority leader Harry Reid in an effort to sort of end the standoff.
House Republicans are feeling the heat for blocking legislation and it's coming from an unexpected source. Their fellow Republicans in the Senate.
We have much more on the "Raw Politics" in a moment. But first John King joins us from Washington with a look at what failing to stop this stalemate might mean for you -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And Sanjay, if you're watching this, you might just think that's just that. It's raw politics, another childish partisan showdown in Washington. But maybe you still got some holiday shopping to do. If you're going to do that holiday shopping, guess what? You're going to pay for that out of your wallet in a week or two, the next paycheck, maybe the one after that.
If nothing is done, here's what's going to happen. If you make $35,000 a year, your taxes are going to go up 700 bucks a year. That's about $27 a paycheck. If you make $50,000 a year, you're going to pay $1,000 more in taxes next year if they don't do anything. That means $38 a paycheck come middle of January. $75,000 a year, again, you'll pay $1500 more. That means $58 a paycheck.
We can jump up. If you make $100,000, a year you're going to lose more than $2,000, more $2,182 a paycheck. I know some people are saying, well, that's a lot of money. That still matters if you're on a family budget. And if you're way up in the top percent above $110,000 or more, you're going to lose $2300 more, $90 a paycheck.
So maybe people think it's just politicians in Washington fighting, Sanjay, but if they don't figure this out and figure it out soon, 10 days and a few hours this is going to come out of the paycheck at a time when a lot of people put a lot of money on the credit card for the holidays and they have extra bills to pay.
GUPTA: That's such important context because people are talking about this but it really give them a picture of what's at stake.
And John, if you could stay with us, we do want to talk a little bit more about the politics. I want to bring in Dana Bash on Capitol Hill. Also with us, CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen.
Dana, you and I talked about this last night. And I know you've been reporting the story all day. What are you hearing on the hill right now?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the betting is that if anybody is going to cave, give in, on this standoff, it's going to be the House Republicans because they have just been -- the pressure has been mounting on them in an unbelievable way, Sanjay, especially today even more so from their fellow Republicans in the Senate.
It's actually been stunning the conversations that I've been having again with Republicans about their fellow Republicans in the House really upset about the fact that they, the Senate Republicans sources I talked to, feel that Republicans have now given up ground on their basic issue. Fundamental Republican credo, which is cutting taxes.
And they feel that Republicans who have really been hell-bent on saying, no, we're not going to have a two-month extension, we're only going to stand up for a one-year extension in this payroll tax cut, they've given ground on their number one issue which is cutting taxes to Democrats. And Democrats look like they're the ones who want tax relief.
GUPTA: And Dana, that certainly seems to be the message that a lot of people are hearing.
I mean, and David, you say that what's going on here is very significant in terms of the Republican Party's chances of taking the White House as well. Is it because of the reasons Dana has outlined?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It goes beyond. A senior conservative, Sanjay, believes that there's a real danger. The public will now blame the House Republicans for breaking down -- this breakdown in Washington and that the House Republicans are being held hostage by the Tea Party.
And all of that from the point of view of senior Republicans is raises the danger that it enhances President Obama's chances for re- election. It diminishes the chances of Republicans taking the Senate and they may lose more House seats. So people are looking for a way out.
And frankly there are two ways potentially out of this. One is what "The Wall Street Journal" is calling for, Newt Gingrich has called for today, Karl Rove has called for today, and that is for House Republicans just to cave in. Get it behind them. Move on. There's another way out and that is if they don't want to do that, they can possibly, in my judgment, wait -- they can say, look, when the Congress -- when the Senate comes back, we want to sit down in January and we will work out a one-year extension that'll be retroactive to January 1 on everything. whether it's tax cuts or unemployment benefits.
It will all be retroactive. Nobody is going to get hurt. But we don't accept -- we want a one-year extension. I think they could possibly make that work, too.
GUPTA: You know, and John King, to summarize, there seems to be this real sense reading the editorials that the GOP leaders have made a mistake when it comes to this payroll tax. I mean Republicans in the Senate, as Dana Bash has outlined, saying that the leaders allowed the Democrats to look like they're the ones for tax relief while the Republicans look like they're against it.
How big a fiasco is this then for the Republicans in the House right now?
KING: Well, right now it's a big deal. As Dana notes when you have your own party, saying, hello, when you have "Wall Street Journal" editorial page, usually you're sounding board, the editorial page of the "Wall Street Journal" usually saying President Obama is trying to raise your taxes, he's trying to overregulate the economy, when the "Wall Street Journal" is saying the problem is the Republicans, well, that's a problem.
Look, here's a bet. Next October when people are getting ready to cast their votes, whether it's for House or Senate or president, they might say not remember the specifics of this. But there is a narrative emerging. The reason the president keeps coming into the briefing room at the White House is he's trying to say, I'm on the side of the middle class. The Republicans who won't raise taxes on millionaires now want to raise taxes on the middle class.
And so, will they remember the details? Maybe not. But President Obama is not a natural populist. By any means. He's a professor. A lot of Democrats complain sometimes he's aloof. He now has to seize the issue, say, I'm on your side. The Democrats who are running say, we're on your side.
The details of this will likely be forgotten as another Washington dustup. However, it does give the Democrats control of the message at the moment, a long way to go, but the Democrats are liking this.
GUPTA: Dana, David Gergen just brought this idea of possibly in January hammering out a deal and making it retroactive to January 1st. That obviously would buy some time as we look at the calendar now, December 21st.
Are people talking about that? Are your sources -- have they mentioned that as an option to you as well? BASH: That's one idea that I've heard floating around. Other ideas are basically just to get the president and Democrats to say, look, we promise that we are going to appoint conferees or negotiator to start talking about a one-year extension as soon as possible and we promise this is important politically that that will somehow get done before the president's State of the Union because a big dynamic here is that Republicans are very concerned that the president is going to use that big platform, the State of the Union address, in January to really hammer Republicans on this issue in general.
But the thing to keep in mind, and I've been told this by several very smart Republicans here on Capitol Hill, you got to watch John Boehner because people can have all the ideas in the world. He is the one who has to make the decision because he is the one who's got to navigate the unruly conference, Republican caucus, that he is trying to navigate and they have said this has been a pattern. It's been very hard for him to do it. Maybe he misread it over the past couple of days. He can't misread it again.
GUPTA: You know, and everyone is talking about the presidential race obviously for good reason, John King. But what -- I mean what about the impact potentially of this issue on the Senate or House races especially in more moderate or Democratic leaning states?
KING: Let me just give you one race. Remember Scott Brown, he was the surprise of last year. He won Ted Kennedy's liberal Democratic seat in Massachusetts as a Republican. The Massachusetts version of the Tea Party backed him. He has a very tough re-election campaign. 2012 President Obama will carry Massachusetts. I don't think any Republican thinks they have a prayer in Massachusetts.
His opponent is likely to be Elizabeth Warren. She was the president's, remember, consumer finance adviser. A lot of people want her to be the new consumer finance watchdog. She is the ultimate "I'm on your side" candidate. I fight the big bang, so I fight for you, the little guy. Scott Brown is appalled at this.
Now would he like a one-year extension as opposed to a two-month extension? Does he think Washington is playing silly games, yes. But he's on the ballot next year. It's going to be a tough enough election anyway. If he can't go home and say, I'm Mr. Bipartisan, I get things done, I'm on your side, he's in more trouble, Sanjay. That's one race I would watch and there are many others.
GUPTA: Again, December 21st, we're talking about this 10 days until the new year. We'll stay on it.
Dana Bash, David Gergen, John King, thanks so much.
And up next, a bioterrorism fear. Scientists in a lab created a strain of a bird flu virus that is both deadly and easily spread. Now the question is this. Should the research stay under lock and key or should it be published and risk potentially getting in the hands of the bad guys?
Also later, the case of the snaggle-toothed killer. A man who is wrongly convicted of killing a woman with bite mark testimony. It's part of our "Crime & Punishment" series, "Unquestionable Forensic Science." Stay with us.
GUPTA: You know, as a doctor, nothing quite shakes you like encountering an epidemic. Something in it drags you straight back to your roots of the profession, back to small pox, influenza, the plague, but at a time when doctors could offer a little more than comforting words in the face of killers they could barely understand let alone treat.
Well, today, we're learning how many of these bugs kill and also how they spread. And if ignorance was the old nightmare, knowledge could be the new one.
When I was in Southeast Asia during the bird flu outbreak, hundreds of people died. But we knew that it could have been much worse as well. Back then we knew what made bird flu so deadly but we also knew it didn't spread well person to person. That was an important fact.
Well, now we know how to change that. Scientists have unlocked the recipe for bird flu that spreads like wildfire and they're being asked to keep quiet about it in the name of global security.
Here to talk about that, Dr. Nathan Wolfe, founder and CEO of the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative. He's also author of "The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age," and CNN national security contributor, Fran Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser in the Bush administration.
You know, Nathan, you and I have talked about this, traveled around the world talking about this for some time. It's pretty frightening to read about, talk about a virus that could kill a lot of people and also spread easily. How dangerous is this H1 -- H5N1 virus?
DR. NATHAN WOLFE, FOUNDER & CEO, GLOBAL VIRAL FORECASTING INITIATIVE: From my perspective, one of the most interesting elements of this research -- and of course we're all waiting to see the results in the papers -- is we didn't previously know that H5N1 had the potential to be transmissible in mammals. Now what we know from this research is that it can be transmitted in at least one mammal.
Now let's remember that it is ferrets and ferrets generally are a very good model for understanding both disease and transmission in humans, but this doesn't necessarily tell us exactly how effective this virus would be at transmitting in humans.
GUPTA: You know, people are putting this in a national security sense as well, Fran. I mean, and this is one of those things where you think about viruses and national security, it doesn't come up that often. I mean what is your assessment of what this advisory panel is claiming, and do you think this could be a national security threat? FRAN TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: I absolutely think it could be a national security threat, Sanjay. Let's remember, you know, recently Secretary of State Clinton was over in Geneva at the World Health Organization and talked about in her remarks the ease with which -- because of public information now -- that someone with a -- some science background can take public information, get basic genetic material and make a bio weapon.
And so this really is a threat. Now we have to balance that, of course, against the need for academic and scientific freedoms, but I think there are ways of doing that. This was a concern going back to the Bush administration. And I can remember talking with Dr. Tony Fauci of NIH about the big security concern and getting his advice about balancing.
GUPTA: You know, because we are talking again about a virus, Nathan, that potentially kills people and spreads through the air more quickly, something that the H5N1, that you and I studied in the past could not do.
But at the heart of that, I mean, do you believe that information whether it's in the lab documents or published studies, whatever, does it need to be out there? Do labs like yours need to be able to see this to help combat a potential pandemic?
WOLFE: Look, I mean, what we do with forecasting, a number of our partners do, is we do surveillance, biological surveillance around the world trying to detect and predict and prevent pandemics before they occur.
Clearly understanding what particular elements of a virus can cause it to spread, cause it to be deadly are very, very pivotal to us. We're sitting with about hundreds of thousands of specimens and right now part of our challenge is how do we go through the specimens when we see an outbreak occurring in the field, how do we know it's going to spread?
And I think, you know, there really is a very important element. I mean, you are talking about really sort of this careful balance between risk and benefit and I think there's clear agreement with everyone that we completely underestimate the importance of purposeful biological attacks.
Bio-terror is something that we haven't seen huge examples in the last five years or so we tend to sort of people don't pay attention to it. These are huge risks. There are a lot of agents out there that could be used in a very, very negative way.
And we basically need to sort of balance the risk and reward of this kind of research, but from our perspective the kind of data that lets us know, which specimens are important and key for the kind of surveillance we do around the world.
GUPTA: You know, Fran, and we talked about this theoretically so much it seems over the last couple of years. But now, when you listen to Nathan, a scientist out in the field who says, look, I need the information because I'm the guy who is tracking this potential pathogen spreading around the world.
If I don't know what it is exactly, I haven't seen the published studies on it. It makes it harder for me to do this job. I need this information. Fran, how do you balance Nathan's desires with again some sort of national security policy?
TOWNSEND: Sanjay, Nathan and I agree. I mean, I do think Nathan and people like Nathan need access to these sorts of reports. But what you need to do is make sure people with a legitimate reason and a legitimate use do get the access.
While not making it widely and publicly available in the way that the internet permits to you do if you just merely allow it to be published.
I do think it requires stewardship on the part of scientists and researchers to make sure that there's a process in place that allows them to disseminate it.
And get the benefit of that dissemination like to folks like Nathan without putting it in the hands and making it available to bad guys who would use it against us.
GUPTA: Yes, it's one of those things. Go ahead, Nathan.
WOLFE: No, the one thing I was going to add is I do think to a certain extent really what you're looking at is a bunch of folks that are doing their jobs very well.
You've got individuals who are doing this pivotal science to help us understand the factors that lead to transmissions of a potentially deadly virus.
You have editors who are taking very seriously the important recommendations of the NSABB, which is the basically we do have to consider exactly what the nature of this information is and I think, you know, to a certain extent these are all obviously important features.
GUPTA: And again, talk about a real life -- this has been theoretical for so long, now this is the real world now. I appreciate Dr. Nathan Wolfe and Fran Townsend, thanks so much.
There's a lot more ahead on 360 tonight as well. They call him the snaggletooth killer, convicted of murder by the forensic science known as bite mark analysis.
After he spent more than 10 years in prison that science was proved wrong. We're going to tell you a story and how an amazing forensic breakthrough turned out to be nothing more than junk science.
Also the mystery of missing baby Ayla. Her dad said he put her to bed last Friday night and never saw her again. The latest on that investigation.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) GUPTA: They call it the "CSI effect." It's that wiz bang forensic science that seems to solve every crime in television dramas and prosecutors and juries rely on them more and more to convict criminals in the real world.
This week in "Crime & Punishment," we've been putting some of those scientific methods to the test. We're finding out they're not always as reliable as they are on TV. Tonight, we look at something known as "bite mark analysis" and the case of Ray Krone.
He was once dubbed the "snaggletooth killer" because of his bad teeth. Krone was accused of the vicious murder of a bartender and convicted on the basis of bite marks left on her body.
He spent more than 10 years in prison before they found out the science in the case was just plain wrong. Here is Gary Tuchman.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ray Krone lives on a farm in Pennsylvania. He has lots of space, 27 acres. A far cry from where he used to live, on Arizona's death row.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kim was a really outgoing person, a real good bartender, real friendly, bubbly, smiley, energetic. A real nice person to know.
TUCHMAN: The 36-year-old Kim Ancona was the victim of a violent murder. Sexually assaulted and stabbed to death in a bathroom in this Phoenix bar back in 1991.
Ray Krone was a customer at the bar. Some people thought he was Kim's boyfriend. So detectives talked to him and asked him to participate in a strange procedure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They put a plastic apparatus in my mouth, spread my lips back and took pictures of my teeth and had me snarl and grin and move my jaw all around and taking pictures for about two hours.
TUCHMAN: What Krone didn't know was bite marks had been found on the victim's breast and neck. A day after his teeth were compared to the marks --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard the screech of brakes, the sounds of people yelling, freeze, don't move, you're under arrest. There was a van load of police officers in riot gear and guns drawn. Threw me on the ground and handcuffed me and arrested me for murder, kidnapping and sexual assault.
TUCHMAN: Prosecutors hired a so-called bite mark expert for the trial. The primary evidence, his testimony which led to a murder conviction because of his bad teeth at the time, Krone became known as the "snaggletooth killer."
RAY KRONE, FORMER DEATH ROW INMATE: I basically told the judge you have the wrong person. I was called a monster, a killer, and sentenced to death, shackled and taken straight to death row in Arizona.
TUCHMAN: For almost three years he sat on death row.
KRONE: I actually had made plans for my last meal, whatever I was going to have. I mean, in order to survive on death row, you have to survive with being executed.
TUCHMAN: But then to his elation, he won a new trial on appeal. However, with the same bite mark expert testifying, he was convicted again.
KRONE: It was way more painful way more than the first time.
TUCHMAN: But this time the judge said he had doubts about the conviction. He gave Krone 25 years to life, but took him off death row.
As it turns out the judge was right to be queasy. Years later, DNA evidence from the crime scene matched someone else, the real killer of Kim Ancona was this man, Kenneth Phillips, who accepted a plea-bargain in her in murder.
After more than a decade the one time "snaggletooth killer" was now a free man. He was reunited with his family who never stopped believing in him and always doubted the validity of bite analysis.
The National Academy of Sciences now very publicly agrees. Seven years after his release, the NAS released a very critical report, which says in part, the scientific basis insufficient to conclude that bite mark comparisons can result in a conclusive match.
(on camera): Someone would say this is junk science, your answer to that would be.
DR. LOWELL LEVINE, N.Y. STATE POLICE MEDICOLEGAL INVESTIGATOR: It's not junk science.
TUCHMAN: Is it insulting to you?
LEVINE: I think so.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Lowell Levine is a renowned forensic scientist and he has frequently utilized bite evidence. He was not involved in the Krone case.
LEVINE: We basically make an exemplar or actually make a bite mark in wax. And this will give you all the unique individual characteristics of these teeth.
TUCHMAN: Dr. Levine says by comparing bite wounds of a victim to the molds taken from a suspect's teeth, he has helped convict suspects and helped to free the innocent.
But he believes the expert messed up in the Ray Krone case and acknowledges more work needs to be done with the science.
(on camera): So you're saying that although you believe it's a reliable and important science that there's really not a way to do kind of the standard scientific research in this field?
LEVINE: I sure can't think of it.
TUCHMAN: Ray Krone says he's never received apologies from prosecutors or prosecution witnesses. He does say that two detectives involved in the case said they were sorry, but asked him why he didn't tell the truth from the beginning. Krone says he told them, I did.
(voice-over): Without the impassioned support of his family and friends, Krone believes he would have lingered longer in prison and possibly been executed.
(on camera): This article is where you came home, more than 100 family and friends attend a party for freed man.
KRONE: This was one of the best days of my life.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Ray Krone now lives with his girlfriend, Cheryl, and works as an advocate against the death penalty. And what did he name his Pennsylvania farm? Freebird. Gary Tuchman, CNN, York, Pennsylvania.
GUPTA: Absolutely fascinating stuff. So bite mark analysis, is it a valuable crime fighting tool or is it junk science? Digging deeper, I spoke earlier with CNN senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and also Larry Kobilinsky, he's a professor at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
GUPTA: Dr. Kobilinsky, I mean, Ray Krone's story is absolutely heartbreaking. I think what most people see and worry about is there could be others like him that were convicted on this sort of science that got it wrong and those people are still sitting in jail. So how much faith specifically do you have in bite mark analysis?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Bite mark is very difficult to understand because, you know, a bite on human skin -- skin is elastic. It goes through a movement when you try to pinch it or bite it.
You have trauma to the skin and it changes color over time. What you're doing is comparing one's dentition, a suspect's dentition to a cellulose acetate overlay on top of the skin and trying to determine if there's a common origin.
I think it's a very difficult area. It's impression evidence. There are definitely problems with it. It's much, much too subjective. It needs to be computerized into a more objective way of looking at things. And also, remember, there's no database. There are no national standards, and the big problem is you have an individual that goes to court and says I looked at that bite mark.
I looked at the suspect's dentition and there's a common origin and I'm sure of it, 99.99 percent. What a terrible statement when you don't have databases and there are really no statistics.
GUPTA: I'm amazed by that part. There are hardly any national standards for most of the things that we're discussing and, Jeff, as Dr. K pointed out, the evidence of the bite mark itself on someone's skin is changing. As a lawyer, you know, what is the faith people put on bite mark analysis and evidence?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, it's supposed to be up to the judge. The judge is supposed to exercise a screening function and examine the science and determine whether it's worthy of being presented to the jury.
But a lot of judges don't do this. They simply pass -- let the jury decide. And there's one word that leads to a lot of injustice in these cases and that's match. You have an expert get up there and say this bite mark matches the suspect's teeth.
That word match can be so misleading because we don't know how many matches there are. We don't know if bite marks are unique. We don't know what the standards are.
But jurors who watch "CSI" or just impressed by the credentials of an expert think match and they think guilty and that has really led to a lot of injustice.
KOBILINSKY: Yes, Sanjay, I think it could be used perhaps for exclusionary purposes, but to include a suspect as the biter, that's dangerous.
GUPTA: Jeff, so there is no board certification to this or governing body that oversees this. You said it relies sort of on the discretion of the judge, but the judge is not often a forensic expert. I mean, how are they to decide by looking at something like this if the forensic experts can't agree?
TOOBIN: Well, that's the problem and judges operate by, you know, different jurisdictions, have different traditions and I think in fairness, I've been critical of the science, but I also think, you know, there was a lot of good faith here.
You have terrible crimes. You have victims with -- you know, who have been left unconscious and all they have is a bite mark on their arm and you can see, well, why don't you look into it and see if you can draw some forensic guidance?
But the problem is when prosecutors and police officers sort of fall in love with this form of evidence, you can have too much trust in it and innocent people go to prison. KOBILINSKY: Well, the nice thing about a bite mark, Jeff, is that you can actually swab the area of the bite and hopefully there's DNA there.
TOOBIN: If you can, then everybody's happy.
KOBILINSKY: There was a case like that, and the person who said that you have the biter, the dentition proves that you have the suspect is the biter. When you do DNA, they get exonerated so we know which of the two sciences is more reasonable and reliable.
GUPTA: Jeff Toobin, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, thank you so much.
And up next, the latest on the search for 20-month-old girl who apparently vanished from her crib.
Plus, president Obama takes a break from the payroll tax fight to do a little holiday shopping. We'll tell you what's on his list.
Also, as you know by now, we're cutting down the best "Ridiculist" of 2011. Number eight is coming up.
GUPTA: We're following several other stories tonight and Isha Sesay joins us again with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sanjay, the father of missing toddler, Ayla is speaking out tonight. Justin Dipietro says he has no idea what happened to 20-month-old girl after he put her to bed last Friday night in his home in Waterville, Maine.
That's when she disappeared. Local police say they are following up more than 165 leads. The FBI and locals have all joined in the search for little Ayla.
Eight soldiers are facing a variety of charges including bullying and hazing in connection with the apparent suicide of 19-year-old Private Danny Chen in Afghanistan.
Chen's family says he complained about being harassed by fellow soldiers. His body was found in a guard house with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in October.
The U.S. Justice Department says Bank of America will pay $335 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit. The suit charged that Countrywide Financial bought by Bank of America in 2008 discriminated against black and Hispanic mortgage customers steering them towards taking out high-risk subprime mortgages from 2004 to 2008 even though they qualified for less risky prime loans.
President Obama had a little personal business to attend to today. This afternoon, he did some Christmas shopping for his daughters in nearby Alexandria, Virginia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: In case you, guys, were wondering, just dance for the Wii. The girls beat me every time on these various dance games. You guys will never get a picture of me doing it because I get graded "F" every time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, the president also stopped at a pet store with Bo, the first family's dog. Sanjay, please tell me you've done all your Christmas shopping and you're not like the president.
GUPTA: Well, I'm not going to answer that question.
SESAY: That means no.
GUPTA: The president said he's never going to be caught getting a picture taken of him dancing. As a father of daughters, I assure you they can make you do some pretty embarrassing things. We'll see about that.
But Isha, stick around for this, we got our top ten "Ridiculist" countdown going on of 2011. Tonight, we got number eight. A flashback to the third eagle of the apocalypse and his very earthy obsession. We'll explain.
GUPTA: We're counting down the top ten "Ridiculist" of 2011, which are based on your votes incidentally. Well, tonight in at number eight, one of our staff favorites featuring the guy who calls himself the third eagle of the apocalypse. Here is Anderson.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight we have what I believe is the first ever "Ridiculist" three-peat and who better to make "Ridiculist" history than our William Tapley better known as --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The third eagle of the apocalypse and the co- prophet of the end times.
COOPER: How do you get to be co-prophet of the end times? I mean, it's such a sought after position that they had to divide it up? Anyway, as any fan of the third eagles YouTube videos knows he is for some inexplicable reason kind obsessed with hidden fallacies, which he sees all over the Denver International Airport.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are evil. They are signs of Satanism. And on this program I will found out that many of them are symbols.
COOPER: A box on the penguin as a prominent penguin penis. He has even highlighted it for your enjoyment. This is on a painting apparently at the Denver International Airport. Now I put him on the "Ridiculist" a while back, he responded. Put him on again and now like Manna from heaven, if by that you mean man parts, he responded again.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess you could call this is the rubber match. Maybe that's not quite the correct term.
COOPER: Saucy. Who knew the co-prophet of the end times would have such a naughty sense of humor. I'm starting to see how he got to be the co-prophet after all. Although I think his presentation was a little stiff and perhaps premature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly believe that Mr. Cooper is beginning to agree with me.
COOPER: Not so fast, third eagle. Do you mind? I try to keep an open mind, but you lose me when you claim there is a horse at the airport covered in fallacies. In order to prove it, I would need a closer look.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's take a closer look at the mane on this blue demon horse. This looks like phallic symbols to me. What do you think, Mr. Cooper? Maybe you think they're ice cream cones.
COOPER: Note to self, don't ever go to Baskin Robbins with the third eagle of the apocalypse. Now long time followers of the co- prophet will no doubt already know that it is not just the horse and the penguin that is the problem, but it is the Denver International Airport's entire outdoor baggage handling area.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The outdoor baggage handling area is in the shape of a phallus. Let's take a closer look.
COOPER: And that is exactly what he does in his new video. In fact, Mr. Tapley has taken his phallus philosophy into a whole new level. It's not just the phallus shape terminal and the low hanging baggage area that now concerns him, it's also salacious surrounding street names.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you suppose this street name is that runs right down the center? You guessed it. That's Pena Boulevard.
COOPER: I'm sorry. Actually I did not guess that. I was hoping for Urethra Boulevard. Pena is named for Frederico Pena, the former mayor of Denver. Anyway, that's one street. It's not like there's others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess you could call this the pubic hair area. So what do you suppose the name of this street here is? This is the Harry B. Combs Parkway.
COOPER: Harry B. Combs was an aviator and a writer -- who cares? It doesn't matter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This street right here, this is Shady Grove Street. I guess that's because that's where the sun don't shine.
COOPER: The sun don't -- I think he's getting his anatomical references confused now. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they ever cut the flow of traffic on this little street leading down to Pena Boulevard, I bet they will call that a vasectomy.
COOPER: That is just a fallacy. Anyway, say what you will about the co-prophet, he cares about people almost as much as he cares about fallacies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As for you, Mr. Cooper, do you want to be remembered as the most naive reporter in the history of television?
COOPER: Well, no, I wanted to be known as third eagle of the apocalypse, but that name was already taken.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And, Mr. Cooper, I am going to send you a copy of my free book. I hope this address is correct.
COOPER: I got the book. Thank you kindly. That was a very nice gesture. So you know what, let's just end this whole war of words. I'm officially extending the olive branch. Oh, no. He's not going to like that, is he? Got to work on that. Please don't get too testy. William Tapley, it has indeed been a long and winding road. Thank you for the memories, and you are hereby from now until the end times, first eagle of the Ridiculist.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: Very, very well done. Kudos to Anderson and the writers on that one. Number 7 on our Ridiculist countdown. Tomorrow night, see you again at 7:00 p.m. Eastern. "Piers Morgan Tonight" starts now.