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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Homegrown Terrorism on the Rise?; Pentagon Investigates Alleged War Crimes in Iraq

Aired June 6, 2006 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again.
Grisly new details tonight about the alleged terror plot up north, and new evidence about the shape of terror to come on both sides of the border.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Blueprint for carnage: beheading top leaders. The alleged plot there, could it happen here? The growing possibility of homegrown terror.

Case for the defense -- how Marines accused in an alleged massacre plan to justify the killings of 24 civilians in Iraq.

And what is it about today?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")

DANA CARVEY, ACTOR: Could it be Satan?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: On 6-6-06, we give the devil his due.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York.

Tonight, sitting in for Anderson, John Roberts.

ROBERTS: And we begin tonight with 17 men and teenagers in Canada in custody, and what their story says about terrorism there and here -- all the angles tonight on their day in court and allegations they planned to take over parliament and behead Canada's prime minister, new details as well on the scope of the investigation north and south of the border, a border, by the way, on higher alert since this story broke, and a closer look at what a leading expert on al Qaeda calls a new generation of terrorists, young, well-educated, and, like the suspects in court today, homegrown, Canadian and American.

Reporting tonight from just outside Toronto, here's CNN's Jeanne Meserve.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It sounds like a movie script. Terrorists storm parliament and the headquarters of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in downtown Toronto, taking hostages.

When their demands to free Muslim prisoners and remove Canadian troops from Afghanistan are not met, they behead hostages, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

But this is not a script. These are the Canadian government's allegations against Steven Chand, one of the Canadian terror suspects, according to his attorney. The lawyer says, prove it. He has seen no evidence, only a synopsis of the charges.

GARY BATASAR, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a two-year investigation that was going on. One would think that the two-year investigation would have brought forth a lot more evidence than eight pages and a one-page synopsis of Mr. Chand.

MESERVE: Family members at the courthouse found themselves in a scrum. Media and public interest in this case is intense. This is, for Canada, something like 9/11, a jolt, a realization that terror can hit you where you live.

In court, defense attorneys complained that security is so tight, they have been unable to meet with their clients privately, a violation, they said, of the suspects' rights.

ARIFA ZARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Regardless of the allegations and charges, everybody is entitled to be treated equally. And I think that unequal treatment just because of these allegations is improper.

BATASAR: This is not Guantanamo. This is Toronto, Canada.

MESERVE: Terror suspects Yasim Abdi Mohamed and Mohammed Dirie did not make an appearance in court today. Last August, they were stopped crossing the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, New York, into Canada. According to court documents, when Canadian customs frisked them, they found guns and ammunition hidden under their baggy pants.

The men told authorities the guns were for their personal protection, the documents say. They pleaded guilty and are now in jail.

The allegations of remote terrorist training camps, plans for massive explosions and even beheadings are grisly. But some experts are even more disturbed by the bigger picture, the proliferation of local homegrown terror groups that may be able to blend into their surroundings.

RICHARD FALKENRATH, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: This is one of our biggest nightmares. And it, frankly, is the pattern that we saw in Madrid and we saw in London, and maybe we're now seeing in Toronto. So, we have to assume it's a real possibility here in the United States. MESERVE (on camera): The suspects appeared in court in white T- shirts, gray trousers and shackles. Some were somber, but others smiled and waved at friends and family in the courtroom, apparently oblivious to the gravity of the charges against them.

Jeanne Meserve, Brampton, Ontario.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Travel to the border today, and you will see that authorities are by no means oblivious to the threat. There, you will find more inspections, closer scrutiny, and certainly no kidding around.

But even on higher alert, there are limitations. This is not exactly the Iron Curtain that we're talking about, as CNN's Mary Snow reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With 17 terror suspects arrested in Toronto, some are questioning, just how secure is the U.S.-Canadian border?

MICHAEL CUTLER, CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES: This attack was not aimed at the United States. It was aimed at Canada. So, they have got their own problem, and their problem could easily spill over the border.

SNOW: Along that border, Buffalo is the busiest crossing, with over seven million cars and trucks passing from Canada to the U.S. Lawmakers are debating the need to require passports at checkpoints, but some are concerned, terrorists could slip in through a less obvious place, by water.

CHRIS ROMOSZ, U.S. COAST GUARD: People have the right to go back and forth, but, you know, I think it's -- it makes it a little difficult up here to figure out who's doing what.

SNOW: This Coast Guard unit stationed in Buffalo is assisted by the U.S. Border Patrol, watching by camera spots not all boats can see.

(on camera): One of the key concerns about border security here outside New York State is just how close the Canadian border is. It's right behind us. And here on the Niagara River, there's less than a mile in some spots between Canada and the United States.

ROMOSZ: They will take small boats. Some of them will float across in their own life jackets to have a lower profile in the water. Sometimes, they will go at night.

SNOW (voice-over): Sealing the 600 miles of shoreline this unit patrols, which include the Great Lakes, is impossible.

LT. CHRIS SWEENEY, U.S. COAST GUARD: It's wide open. It's a huge, vast area, and it's tough to enforce.

SNOW: A former immigration agent says the terrain, coupled with Canada's laws, should be an area for concern.

CUTLER: What we also know is that Canada has a very liberal policy towards political asylum.

SNOW: Not true, says Canada's ambassador to the United States.

MICHAEL WILSON, CANADIAN AMBASSADOR TO UNITED STATES: I think that our immigration laws, as they are implemented, are very close in the outcomes as the United States' immigration laws.

Mary Snow, CNN, Buffalo, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: More now on leaky borders, but also on the very real possibility that the next attackers won't even need to cross a border.

Pat D'Amuro is a CNN security analyst, as well as CEO of Giuliani Security and Safety. Richard Falkenrath, whom you saw just a moment ago, also a CNN analyst, is President Bush's former deputy homeland security adviser.

Welcome to both of you.

And, Richard, let's start with you.

Is there a new generation of terrorists growing up very close to us?

FALKENRATH: Yes, there is.

ROBERTS: Does Canada have a serious problem here?

FALKENRATH: Yes, there is.

I mean, it's pretty clear the pattern of the future here are these homegrown terrorists, these ad hoc groups that come together rather loosely, not centrally directed from al Qaeda central, like the 9/11 hijackers were, but, rather, forming on their own and staging attacks on their own, of their own design, with weapons of their own manufacture or acquisition.

That's the threat we have seen in Madrid, in London, and now preempted in Toronto.

ROBERTS: A little frightening, that it's this close to us.

Pat D'Amuro, if -- if there is a case of homegrown terrorism just across the border in Canada, what's to say that something similar isn't going on here? Could there be another Oklahoma City bombing in the works, just different people, different reasons?

PAT D'AMURO, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there could be. And we know for a fact that there have been organizations and groups that have started their -- their terrorism activities here in the United States. Lackawanna six is a prime example of a group of individuals, second-generation United States citizens, and looking to harm the national security of this country.

ROBERTS: Well, trying to uncover homegrown terrorism, what are the best tools to do that?

D'AMURO: Well, it's -- it's the same investigative tools that you use. It's the techniques that they use, the -- the national security tools that we have been hearing about in the media, with the telephones, Internet activity. Source information is critical.

ROBERTS: Isn't it getting to know the community, though, as well?

D'AMURO: Much more so. And -- and the FBI and many other organizations are doing much more now, reaching out to communities, and trying to develop information, and letting individuals know that law enforcement's there, and it's their responsibility. They will be the first set of eyes and ears that tell us of an event that may take place.

ROBERTS: Richard, these Canadian allegations sound spectacular, take over parliament, behead the prime minister. Do -- do you think that this group was really capable of that?

FALKENRATH: Well, we will see how capable they turn out to be.

The first report was that they were planning on building a bomb when -- with the fertilizer that they had acquired and blowing up the parliament. And I thought that was very credible.

This later report that we got at the end of the day from their defense attorney, that they were going to storm the parliament, take all these hostages, behead them, that, I think, is rather incredible. That's not really a tactic that they had much chance of succeeding at.

But building a large truck bomb, absolutely. That's one of our biggest nightmares.

ROBERTS: Anything to suggest that this group arrested in Canada posed any threat in the United States? Two of them apparently were caught returning to Canada from the United States.

FALKENRATH: That's right. It is a very porous border.

And if there's -- my own opinion, if there's terrorists in Canada, they're effectively in the United States. I mean, the barriers to entry here for a determined infiltrator are very limited. So, we need to be extremely worried about this cell. And there are likely linkages into the United States, which I'm sure are high on the investigative priority list right now.

ROBERTS: All right. So, Pat D'Amuro, we have what appears to be another potential threat against the United States. And, on Capitol Hill today, we had the former co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, giving a failing grade to preparations in defending this nation against terrorism, particularly on the issue of airline security, nuclear security, funding cuts to both Washington and New York. Do you agree with that assessment?

D'AMURO: There's a lot more work that needs to be done. And technology is going to be a big piece of that.

When you -- when you of some of the -- the revamping of the counterterrorism programs down in Washington, and how do we secure a 4,000-mile border, technology's going to have to play a major role in that. And this country, quite frankly, isn't there yet.

ROBERTS: All right.

And -- and, Richard, this Canadian threat, does it represent a new terror concern along our northern border that the U.S. needs to address? Have we been focusing on the wrong border when it comes to national security, as opposed to economic security?

FALKENRATH: Well, it's not really a new threat. We have known about the problem in Canada for quite some time.

I think it's clear, though, when you're worried about terrorism, you look north. You look at Canada. If you're worried about low-wage workers without proper documentation, you look south and you look at Mexico. We haven't seen any terrorists trying to infiltrate the United States from Mexico. Mexico is not a hotbed for Islamic extremism. Canada is.

It has this history. And it's why we need to work with the Canadians so carefully on these issues.

ROBERTS: Yes. We all remember what happened with Ahmed Ressam, who tried to get into Washington state from British Columbia with explosive materials on board -- something to watch for.

Richard Falkenrath and Pat D'Amuro, thanks very much. Appreciate it.

National Guard troops are on their way to defend the Mexican border, and some are already there. We speak to one Guardsman helping build the fence to keep illegals out. The twist is that he himself was once illegal.

Plus, we bring you up to date on the latest disturbing allegations against U.S. Marines accused of killing Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

And mark of the beast or simply marketing the beast? On the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year, what does 666 mean to you?

We will have all that and more ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Border Patrol is in the lead. That's why you're going through significant training. The Border Patrol is the primary law enforcement agency on the border. And, so, the Guard's units are down there to support your job. They're to make it easier for your to do your job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: President Bush on a swing through New Mexico and Texas today, pushing tougher border enforcement, calling on the House and Senate to hammer out their differences and pass an immigration reform bill.

He spoke at the Border Patrol's training academy, which is gearing up to meet the president's pledge to add 6,000 new agents by 2008. In addition, as the president said, 6,000 National Guard troops are on their way.

For a look at what they will be up against, CNN's Jonathan Freed spoke to some Guardsmen already on patrol there.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

WILMER VALLADERES, UTAH NATIONAL GUARD: It's very hot. We have to be drinking a lot of water.

JONATHAN FREED, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Specialist Wilmer Valladeres is one of 55 members of the Utah National Guard deployed along the Arizona border with Mexico building a fence to keep out illegals. The thing is, Valladeres came to this country illegally himself, and just realized he made his treacherous trip across the desert exactly 10 years ago today.

FREED (on camera): June 6, 1996?

VALLADERES: Yes.

FREED: Ten years ago?

VALLADERES: Yes.

FREED: Today? This is the 10-year anniversary?

VALLADERES: Today.

(LAUGHTER)

VALLADERES: I can't believe that.

FREED (voice-over): Starting this month, 6,000 National Guard troops will be deploying to the southern border states, building fences like this one and improving things like the roads that run along them, all in an effort to free up Border Patrol officers, so they can focus on enforcement.

Specialist Valladeres, originally from Honduras, crossed the border in Texas, married an American, and then became a U.S. citizen. Now he finds himself helping to carry out President Bush's plan to secure the border.

(on camera): You crossed into this country illegally.

VALLADERES: I did.

FREED: And now you're helping to build that fence.

VALLADERES: I can't believe that.

(LAUGHTER)

VALLADERES: I can't believe that I'm doing this, you know? Now I'm putting a fence where I -- I just crossed.

(LAUGHTER)

VALLADERES: It's crazy, but I love this country.

FREED: Some people might be watching at home and saying, but he came here illegally.

VALLADERES: It's true.

FREED: And now he's saying that he doesn't mind putting up a fence.

VALLADERES: Well...

FREED: They might not believe it.

VALLADERES: Let me tell you something. You know, I came illegal. That is true, you know? I know, a lot of my people, they want to come here, and they want to do, you know, a better -- a better life. I know that. For that people, I feel sad.

FREED (voice-over): But not sad for criminals. He says he's building the fence to protect his children from drugs.

(on camera): When you look at this fence and everything that you're doing here, do you think that it is going to have the impact that it's supposed to have, or do you think it's more about politics?

VALLADERES: Well, so far, I see it have an impact already. We haven't finished it yet, and it has an impact already.

FREED (voice-over): That's according to the Border Patrol, which says even a partially finished fence disrupts the illegal flow. Arizona's governor agrees, and stopped by today, shaking Valladeres' hand, thanking the Utah troops, and looking forward to even more National Guard coming from all over the U.S.

GOV. JANET NAPOLITANO (D), ARIZONA: I got a state where, last year, there were over 500,000 illegal immigrant apprehensions. We need to secure the border between the ports.

FREED: Valladeres believes the effort will work, to a point.

VALLADERES: I know it's going to be hard for my people to cross. I know they will find a way to cross anyway. I know they will.

FREED: He says he knows what it takes to survive the desert heat, with only the promise of a new life to keep you moving forward.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Jonathan Freed joins me now from San Luis.

And, Jonathan, Valladeres said to you just a second ago that people are going to continue to find a way. They will get around the fence, which raises the question, what's the point? What's the impact that it's going to have?

FREED: And there are plenty of people that are raising that question.

But if you ask the Border Patrol and the people who work with them, John, take a look at where we are. They say that any stretch of fence -- and we are about 50 yards from Mexico, and it is just right on the other side of that wall there -- Border Patrol will tell that you any stretch of fence is going to slow it down and disrupt that flow of illegal immigration.

So, I don't think anybody thinks it's going to completely turn it off, but anything that could be done that will allow these new agents that will be hired from their, point of view, to step up enforcement, they say is going to make a big difference -- John.

ROBERTS: Jonathan, live for us in San Luis, Arizona -- Jonathan, thanks. Appreciate it. We will see you again soon.

The National Guard troops headed for the U.S.-Mexico border will be on patrol in four states. Here's the "Raw Data" on that.

Forty percent of the troops will be stationed in Arizona. The rest will be evenly divided between California, New Mexico, and Texas. The chief of the Guard says 800 troops are expected to be in place by next weekend. And all 6,000 should be there by August the 1st.

Marines under fire and under a cloud of suspicion -- what happened in Haditha? It depends on who you talk to -- tonight, two very different versions of the incident, and new details about how the Marines' legal defense is shaping up. That's coming up.

Also tonight, putting the blame at the top -- a former military commander who led troops into battle in Iraq says it may be time for Donald Rumsfeld to go. We will talk with him -- ahead on 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Mass murder, massive mistake or something else? We're lifting the fog of war on what happened in Haditha -- 360 next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: The Pentagon says tonight, it may be weeks before charges are filed against Marines accused of murder in Iraq. The allegations include an execution in Hamandiyah and a massacre in Haditha, where 24 civilians were shot to death.

Tonight, where Haditha is concerned, we're getting a clearer picture of how both sides will tell their version of what happened.

CNN senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even before a decision is made whether to charge anyone with killing unarmed men, women and children at Haditha, defense lawyers are busy constructing an alternative version of events, aimed at countering the perception the deaths were the result of a murderous rampage by Marines bent on revenge.

If the cases come to trial, look for attorneys to question the idea Marines knew that only unarmed civilians were in the houses in a village believed to be a hotbed of insurgent activity. They may call witnesses like Corporal Scott Jepsen, who told CNN he was in Haditha, but not at the scene.

CORPORAL SCOTT JEPSEN, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I believe that insurgents did dwell inside those houses there, and they -- and they did live with their family members. And I think that's part of the reason why the insurgency is so strong in that area, that they do -- they -- they do live in those houses there in Haditha.

MCINTYRE: Defense attorneys will paint a picture of a confusing day of nearby firefights and daylong battles, in which unmanned spy planes tried to track insurgent movements and may have been used to direct Marines to clear the houses of suspected insurgents.

One attorney tells CNN he's been told that the members of Kilo Company didn't know that their fellow Marine Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas died in the IED attack on their convoy until they returned to the base at the end of the day, undercutting the contention the Marines were seeking vengeance.

One problem for defense lawyers, how to explain the allegedly false report by Marines that the bomb blast also killed some of the civilians, which the evidence, gunshot wounds, clearly disputes.

But Pentagon sources confirm what experts have been saying. The long delay in beginning the investigation, along with the refusal, so far, of the families to allow the bodies of the victims to be exhumed, is making it hard to get the kind of evidence that can make a murder charge stick in court.

(on camera): Sources say, the investigation into Haditha could now drag now well into the summer, as investigators have decided they need to re-interview some witnesses and try again to get access to the bodies, in order to get the kind of forensic evidence they need to link individual Marines to the killings.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And joining me from Washington is Gary Solis. He's a retired Marine lieutenant colonel who is now a law professor at Georgetown University.

Colonel, what about this fog-of-war defense? Does that sound legitimate to you?

GARY SOLIS, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, legitimate, certainly. Any defense that one can raise may -- may work. You never know.

But I will tell you, I would rather be prosecuting than defending.

ROBERTS: But -- so, you say it's legitimate, but does it sound reasonable to you?

SOLIS: Well, not to me, but, then, I'm not on the jury. And those are the -- those are the ones that are going to matter, of course.

ROBERTS: Right.

SOLIS: You have, as Jamie McIntyre pointed out, evidence that they were killed at close range with high-powered weapons, as opposed to being killed by an explosion.

You have statements that are made. You are going to have conflicting statements between the two. I wouldn't be surprised if one of these individuals goes to the convening authority and offers testimony in return for immunity. And that, of course, would make the prosecution's job infinitely more easy.

ROBERTS: There are these allegations of a cover-up. You think that that may start to fray if there's any kind of a band of brothers involved here?

SOLIS: Well, the band of brothers concept is -- is in operation when Marines are operating and when they're conducting missions. And killing people is not part of the band of brothers protection.

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

SOLIS: So, yes, I think it will start to fray. Ultimately, there is going to be some defense counsel, I would suspect, that is going to recognize that he could get immunity for his -- for his accused. And, so, he is going to jump at it.

ROBERTS: Let me get back to this idea of -- of how this happened, if, indeed, what is alleged is true.

An Iraq war veteran was quoted as saying that -- quote -- "In Iraq, everyone is a killer. No matter how much training you have, after that length of time in that atmosphere, you can't train someone not to crack."

Do you buy that argument?

SOLIS: No, I don't.

The -- the Marines and soldiers we have in Iraq today are the best trained, most professional, and best led that we have ever had in the field. And there are certain things that, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what the stresses, are inexcusable.

And high on that list is the intentional target of noncombatants. And that's what our NCOs are there for. They're the professionals. They're the experienced individuals who are the break on the conduct of the subordinates that they lead.

Those NCOs are there to make sure that they don't crack.

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

SOLIS: So, there simply is not an excuse in the law that circumstances were difficult, as they certainly were.

ROBERTS: Right. Right.

Colonel Solis, this contention that Jamie McIntyre raised, that the Marines did not know that Corporal Miguel Terrazas died in that IED attack, could that challenge the alleged idea that they went on a rage-fueled rampage after that explosion?

SOLIS: It certainly could. It could -- it could take away a motive for the actions.

But even if you take away the motive for the actions, you have the physical evidence of the actions themselves. And that's what's going to be most difficult to counter by the defense.

ROBERTS: Mmm-hmm.

How difficult do you think this is going to be for prosecutors? I mean, going back to the Vietnam War, My Lai seemed that it was pretty clear. But it took three years. And of 26 people that were charged, only one was convicted.

SOLIS: That's true, not the brightest day for military justice. But, in this case, I think it's going to be easier. We have so much physical evidence. We have a variety of statements that have been made, statements which will undoubtedly conflict. And they're going to have to be explained, if they can be. And you're going to have to talk about this physical evidence that's present, for example, the photographs that the government now has.

And I think that the defense is going to have a hard road to hoe.

ROBERTS: And, as Jamie McIntyre pointed out, it seems like it's going to be weeks before we find out what, if any, charges are going to be leveled in this.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Gary Solis, thanks for being with us tonight. Appreciate it, sir.

SOLIS: You bet.

ROBERTS: The Pentagon has heard the critics. And, today, it responded. Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England said, Americans should put the allegations of Haditha into perspective.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GORDON ENGLAND, DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: And don't lose sight of the fact that, every day, the terrorists kill hundreds of civilians, men, women and children, blow them up, mutilate, injure, and kill by tens and hundreds of people almost every day.

Do not lose sight of who the enemy of the Iraqi people -- I mean, the Marines are there, and we save a lot of lives, help the country bring about freedom and liberty. Don't ever forget what happened under Saddam and what happens today when terrorists kill tens and hundreds of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: England made those comments during a dedication for an Islamic prayer center at the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia.

Retired Major General John Batiste is going to join us after the break. He has been very critical of the way the war in Iraq is being fought, after being there to fight it himself. We will get his take on the story in Haditha.

And on a day with a whiff of sulfur and brimstone about it, meet a real-life exorcist, coming up tonight, 6-6-06, on 3-6-0.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: We know that 99.9 percent of our forces conduct themselves in an exemplary manner. We also know that in conflicts, things that shouldn't happen do happen. In this instance, there's an investigation with respect to what took place, and we'll soon know the answers. (END OF VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: That's Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld responding to allegations of a massacre in Haditha, Iraq, at the hands of U.S. Marines. The incident is not going over well with Rumsfeld's critics. Retired Major General John Batiste who once led the army's 1st infantry division in northern Iraq has had some pretty harsh words to say about the way that the war is being prosecuted, and he is also questioned the competence of the secretary of defense. He joins me now from Rochester, New York.

General, I believe you probably heard Jamie McIntyre's piece where he was talking about this new developing story from the defense side of the Haditha investigation. That it could be due to the fog of war as opposed to some rage-induced killing spree. What do you make of these developments? Is it possible that something like that could have occurred in the fog of war?

MAJ. GEN. JOHN BATISTE, U.S. ARMY (RETIRED): John, I think we all can have enormous confidence in our military justice system. The investigation that is ongoing, will get to the facts. There's no doubt in my mind, and we'll be able to establish accountability if it's warranted. In the 31 years that I served, I had enormous confidence in our system. It always works. But, you know, what happened in Haditha, the national disgrace of Abu Ghraib, the three going on four years of consistent and absolute chaos in Iraq is all a symptom, all a symptom of a much bigger problem, a much bigger evil.

ROBERTS: And that bigger problem is?

BATISTE: And that is Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. He took us to war with the wrong plan. Back in 2003 and 2004, his horrible decisions, his bad judgment set us up for where we are today. He all but ignored the hard work to build the peace, to set Iraq up for self-reliance, to deal with the insurgency. He resisted the thought. We all remember the pentagon press conference in October 2003 when our chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff referred to the enemy in Iraq as the insurgent. Standing next to him was the secretary of defense. He quickly set him straight. No. It is not an insurgent. He dismissed the idea. Sadly, this was seven months into the campaign, seven months. We had already lost the opportunity to stop the insurgency in its infancy.

ROBERTS: Now correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't it dead enders was the term that the secretary of defense used to describe these people?

BATISTE: Absolute outrageous. You know he ignored the deliberate planning and strategy that the U.S. Central Command had developed, which considered the full impact of the insurgency and what would be required to stop it. And this went on for too long. We lost an opportunity. The insurgent took root and grew to where it was today.

ROBERTS: Well, let me just throw out there, if I could, General Batiste, it's an observation of another retired major general, Don Shepperd. Who said of your position on Don Rumsfeld that, "They are his opinions and the opinions of a very angry man that have come out over a long period of time here. It's absolutely wrong in the face of Haditha before you know what's gone on to call for the resignation of anybody." Is it fair for you to be calling for the resignation of the secretary of defense before all the facts are in?

BATISTE: First off, John, I wouldn't characterize myself as angry. I'm certainly deliberate. Remember that I left the army after 31 years despite, by all accounts, a promising career and promotion. Why did I leave? I left so we could turn the lights on in this very dark room. If not me, who? I had the experience in Iraq, and Don doesn't. I understand what went on in 2002 and 2003. I understand that our secretary of defense surrounded himself with compliant people, built the plan that he wanted, took us to war, overcommitted our force, insufficient troops on the ground, disbanded the Iraqi military at a time when we need them the most, and we are where we are today. It's all about accountability. We must move forward. We must win the war on terrorism. But we need a competent leader, and the secretary of defense's office, whose instinct and judgment we trust.

ROBERTS: General Batiste -- sorry to interrupt. Don't mean to interrupt there. You have said that you believe that the war should have been fought with about 400,000 fighting men and women on the ground which, I believe, is the same number that General Shinsecky had floated before he was shown the door. Are you so certain, though, that we would not be where we are in Iraq had there been that number of troops on the ground?

BATISTE: John, the number of troops in the plan around 380,000 in addition to the Iraqi security forces, which remember were disbanded for some reason. We had a small window of opportunity to get control of the ground in Iraq. We needed those numbers to intimidate the insurgency, to stop him from taking root to growing to what he is today, to secure the borders with Syria and Iran, to secure the countryside. We were nowhere near capable of doing that by a factor of over three.

So this insurgency took root in a very infant stage and then grew over time to what it is today. You know, we have lost 2,477 dead Americans, 17,869 wounded Americans, and it didn't have to be that way. You know, when you don't do the proper planning and preparation, casualties are never acceptable. And that -- if I'm angry, that is exactly what I'm talking about.

ROBERTS: Well, General --

BATISTE: It didn't have to be that way. And somebody, John, needs to be held accountable.

ROBERTS: General Batiste, as always, we thank you for your time, sir. Appreciate your being with us tonight.

BATISTE: Thanks.

ROBERTS: See you again soon. A change of pace when we come back. It's a devilish twist, actually. What are the facts about the 6th day of the sixth month of the sixth year? Is it really an evil day? Even here, we cover all the angles.

And perhaps it's no coincidence that exorcisms seem to be more popular than ever. We'll look at one of the busiest exorcists on a devilish circuit when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: So here it is, the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year. And if you're among the millions of Americans who believe in the anti-Christ and the number 666 is nothing to joke about, well, you might have some company tonight in Phoenix. A few hours ago, a sandstorm worthy of a Cecil B. Demille movie rolled over the city looking like something out of an end of times prophecy. Not to worry, though. No major harm done. But if you look at today's date, it makes you wonder, was this hellish looking storm just a coincidence? And about those numbers on the calendar. Here's a look at what they could mean.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: It comes along but once a century. 06-06-06. Or 666. The mark of evil incarnate.

I just know that it represents the devil.

ROBERTS: And so it was written in the Bible's book of Revelation, warning of the number of the beast, 666. That beast is widely believed to be none other than the anti-Christ. But most religion scholars have a decidedly less exotic theory.

Then I saw another beast which rose out of the earth.

ROBERTS: At Georgetown University, Professor Allen Mitchell insists the Biblical beast isn't this bad boy. He's this one. Nero, the notorious roman emperor who persecuted Christians and legend has it, fiddled. As Rome burned. 666 is interpreted as the numerical symbol for Nero's name.

ALAN MITCHELL, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: We know what it refers to and that we need not fear it at this point any longer.

ROBERTS: But a terror that's been around since medieval times is hard to shake.

MITCHELL: In fact, there's a word for it. It's called hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

ROBERTS: Around the world, pregnant couples like Carrie and Larry McFarland of Dallas were so concerned about their June 6th due date that they induced labor to avoid it. The McFarlands never thought little Sam would be anything less than this. But why take chances? LARRY MCFARLAND, NEW FATHER: When your friends are over for dinner or whatever, and he starts having a tantrum say yeah see, there's the 666 kid.

Hello, Damien.

ROBERTS: It is a date that Hollywood found irresistible, reintroducing Satan's most famous spawn in a new version of the supernatural thriller "The Omen," opening across the country today. Building on iron maiden's 1982 classic "Number of the Beast," heavy metal bands Diocide and Slayer have new offerings out on 666. Then there's conservative pundit Ann Coulter who just loves to demonize democrats releasing her new book, "Godless."

The number of the beast has led to some interesting coincidences. Remember Ronald Wilson Reagan? If having six letters in each of his names wasn't enough, when Reagan moved back to California, his new street address was none other than 666. Nancy Reagan quickly changed it to 668. But some folks are only too happy to call hell home. Like the 72 souls who live in Hell, Michigan. They've always been a novelty. But today, they're the center of gravity in a rare alignment of circumstance and superstition. Kind of like Christmas and New Year's rolled into one. Well, maybe not Christmas.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And while we're on the subject, gone are the days when exorcisms were a rare event. We'll meet today's new exorcists coming up.

And later, our "Shot of the Day." How this big guy got out of a tree. Guess when "360" continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Before Hollywood helped popularize 666 as the mark of the devil, it did a number on the devil himself. He was the uncredited co-star in 1973's "The Exorcist." In those days, most people who wanted to see an exorcism had to rely on Hollywood for it. But today, performing them is a popular line of work. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: From the moment he arrived on the brown outskirts of Tulsa, Bob Larson is getting the devil out.

Ah! Devil inside.

FOREMAN: What might be called his personal theme song, pounds through the room as he starts tonight's session at a local hotel. And it is appropriate, Bob Larsen is an exorcist.

REV. BOB LARSON, EXORCIST: Someone needs to know that the power of Jesus Christ is available now. Not 2,000 years ago, now, to destroy the works of darkness. Christ dealt with demons. The bible was full of it. It's right here in the book. We can't escape it. You know, I'm doing what's normal. If the rest of the people think I'm abnormal, I think they're the ones who are out of step with scripture.

FOREMAN: As it is, many people are falling in step with Larson. Mesmerized by his public confrontations with people who say they are possessed by devils.

LARSON: And I defy you in the name of the living God. My deliverer is coming, my deliverer is standing by.

FOREMAN: Larson is not alone. The Catholic Church is training more exorcists. And one religion scholar says more than 600 deliverance ministries have popped up in protestant churches around the country. The common belief driving them all, demons really do move among us.

I believe there's demonic influence in the world.

He moves in the supernatural, and I want to be around it.

Really, I expect to see some pretty wild stuff.

I wouldn't be here if I didn't believe that there were demons.

FOREMAN: On this night, Sherri Crittenden gives a typical example of how these demons show themselves. One minute, just sitting in the crowd --

LARSON: Get out of the way. Get in the back seat and let the devil drive.

FOREMAN: The next, howling. Writhing, and in a strange voice, screaming at Larson.

Who are you? Who are you?

FOREMAN: Is this a setup or a show? Larson insists it is neither. He says some people try to fool him. Some people have obvious mental conditions. But there is no mistaking a person possessed.

LARSON: There's something I refer to as that look. It's the look of a demon. And once you see it, believe me, you never forget it. You're looking into the heart of hell. And hell is staring back at you.

Do something.

FOREMAN: Broad interest in all of this goes back to 1973 when "The Exorcist" scared the devil out of millions of movie fans. Larson's interest dates to about that time. A Nebraska farm boy, he was a rock musician, became an inspirational speaker, then a Christian broadcaster. And along the way, he says he started running into possessed souls.

LARSON: It was the real deal. I knew it was the real deal.

FOREMAN: So now he spends almost all his time preaching the gospel of deliverance. From Christian TV --

LARSON: To think you're tormented by the devil, who you going to call, where you going to go and what are you going to do?

FOREMAN: Through videos and through exorcisms.

It's okay.

FOREMAN: As he pulls demons from his audience, he also pulls dollars through offerings, sales of books, discs. He says he doesn't profit, but he is using the money to train deliverance ministry teams all over.

I divide soul and spirit.

FOREMAN: He believes no one should be more than a day's drive from an exorcist. Especially these days.

LARSON: Crime, violence, drugs, the horrendous rise in sexual abuse in our country. All of this is an environment of human suffering that demons can feed on.

FOREMAN: Do you believe that most people have demons in them?

LARSON: I'd say it's close to half the population. Come out in the name of Jesus! Come out! Come out! Come out in the name of Jesus!

FOREMAN: After a long confrontation, Sherri's demon appeared to be been driven out. Sherry wept, the crowd applauded, and the exorcist called it a night.

LARSON: I'd go another four or five hours. I feel great. I feel fine.

FOREMAN: How is that possible? This just looks physically and mentally exhausting.

LARSON: It is. It is. But it's what God has called me to do and I'm so excited. I mean, Sherri is a different person.

FOREMAN: She says so. Even though she also says she's been possessed four times and exorcised twice.

SHERRI CRITTENDEN: God's brought me a long way in a short amount of time. And I think it's a continuing process.

FOREMAN: That's good enough for Larson. Do you believe that lives that are changed this way are truly permanently changed?

LARSON: Some yes and some, no. No pun intended, some get repossessed. I mean, I'm serious, they do.

FOREMAN: After all, he says, this is an eternal struggle between heaven and hell and the desperate souls caught somewhere in between. Tom Foreman, CNN, Tulsa.

(END OF VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Well, no controversy about what's coming up. But it is no less disturbing. We'll tell you what authorities in Canada say a group of alleged terrorists had in mind.

Also, new word on why making a murder case against U.S. Marines in Iraq may be tougher than anyone imagined.

And more than 20 years after a trauma that she says changed her life, a man asked her for forgiveness and got rape charges for an answer. Their strange story ahead on "360."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: Good evening again. Stepping up security at the borders. It's not just about illegal immigrants. It's also about a terror threat, an alleged plot to commit mass murder.

(ANNOUNCER)

Close call. Terror plot in North America. New details emerge with allegations of mass bombings, beheadings and the assassination of a world leader.

War crimes. Marines accused of atrocities in Iraq. Was it revenge or self-defense? Tonight, the two sides of what happened in Haditha.

And forgotten rape.

Ripped my clothes off, threw me on the bed. It was that fast.

20 years after the alleged attack, a woman finds herself face to face with the suspect.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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