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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Wintry Blast; First Katrina, Now This; Planet in Peril; Is al- Sadr out of Iraq?; The Iran Factor; Anna Nicole Smith: Mystery Widens;

Aired February 13, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, thanks very much. And what a contrast we've got between there and our the next story.
To our viewers, by the way, in Santa Barbara, California, congratulations. For people in St. Louis, on the other hand, or Sandusky, Ohio or just about anywhere east to the Mississippi or north of the Mason Dixon line tonight, our condolences to you because it's a snowy mess out there.

CNN's Gary Tuchman is covering the weather for us tonight in Syracuse, where they're just getting pounded.

Rob Marciano is in Cleveland, where they have been getting a lot of blowing snow.

Rob, what's the latest conditions there and how is it expected to develop through the course of the night?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, the wind and the snow expected to continue to increase. And we've seen that, John, just in the past hour.

Winds right now sustained at 25 miles per hour. You see the snow blowing sideways. Winds gusting at 35 miles an hour and visibility down to a half mile. So we're almost at blizzard conditions. You can see as we pan off toward the stadium lights behind me, the snow blowing sideways and those flags are just ripping off from the northeast toward the southwest as this storm continues to intensify and make its way across or closer to the state of Ohio.

We are on the shores of Lake Erie, but this is not lake-effect snow. This is a big, almost U.S.-wide storm system that is affecting a lot of people.

First off, right here in Cleveland, gridlock today at rush hour. People trying to get home early. It was pretty much shut down. Now the streets are finally quiet. But highway accidents certainly have been a problem. Around about 600 accidents in total across the entire state; 60 or plus of those have been injury related.

Flights, 160 flights have been cancelled today; 60 are planned to be cancelled tomorrow. But at this point the airport is confident in remaining open. Down in Pittsburgh, the story is the same, except right now they're getting freezing rain on top of the snow that they've already seen. Clearing the roadways, an issue there and also ice is a problem in other spots on the other side of the Appalachians.

Places in Virginia have seen icing problems and Interstate 64 near Charlottesville, a 25-car pileup there. Traffic in both directions has been shut down from time to time.

All right, let's talk about the radar. Where is the precip right now? Where is it (UNINTELLIGIBLE). There is a ribbon of pink on your screen. And that will show where the mixed bag is; generally speaking, right along the Ohio River, stretching off to the east. Above that line is snow. Blizzard warnings in effect until midnight tonight for Indiana, Illinois and northwestern parts of Ohio and winter storm warnings in effect for Cleveland right here.

We've got about eight inches of snow so far. We'll probably see 10 or so more here in northeastern Ohio. And upstate New York likely to see quite a bit of snow as well, possibly as much as two feet in spots there.

Then of course, John, in D.C. and New York, issues there, to say the least. I think tomorrow morning is going to be a big problem.

ROBERTS: Snow day for a lot of kids. What can we expect for not just for tomorrow morning, but the rest of the day tomorrow?

MARCIANO: Well, you know, this time last night, John, we were thinking that the bigger cities were going to have much of a problem. We still don't think it's going to be a huge issue, but New York, Philly, D.C., probably going to see an inch or so of snow mixed with some ice. So tomorrow rush hour is going to be a problem it looks like for the bigger cities on the East Coast -- Philly, D.C., Newark, New York and up through Hartford.

And then you just go about 20 miles north of the city and boom, you're in five, 10 inches of snow. So, right along the coastline, mostly an icing situation. Anywhere 20 miles or so away from the coast, you're going to see conditions similar to what we're seeing tonight in Cleveland. So be safe out there -- John.

ROBERTS: Well, I'll tell you, Rob, the ski areas and the Catskills, the green and white mountains could certainly use this.

Thanks very much, Rob. Appreciate it.

Moving east with the storm, they're accustomed to snow in Syracuse. Some towns nearby have gotten as much as 12 feet of it. So they say that they're ready. And let's put it this way, if they're not ready, then who is?

CNN's Gary Tuchman is in Syracuse for us tonight.

Gary, how is it looking? GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, they certainly are ready and it's looking very snowy because for the last four hours, it's been coming down and there's only 20 hours left to go. They're thinking of a 24 hour snowfall here.

This is Marshall Street. This is on the Syracuse University campus. This is usually a very busy street of restaurants and bars and stores. Very quiet right now, despite the fact that some of the restaurants have stayed open, but they're empty because they are expecting up to 29 inches of snow over the next 20 hours.

Now, you may be thinking Syracuse, they're used to snow, what's the big deal? Well, the fact is, they do get a lot of snow here. As a matter of fact, there is no big city in America, city over 100,000 people that gets more snow on the average each year. They get about 120 inches a year, but it's usually very spread out. They don't usually get huge 24-hour snowfalls.

As a matter of fact, it's been four or five years since they've gotten more than 20 inches of snow over a 24-hour span. And they are expecting up to 29 inches to end tomorrow at 7:00.

Busy today preparing the salt trucks. They have about 40 salt trucks in the city of 140,000 people. And they've been clearing the streets. They've been coming up and down the street the last four hours, like seven or eight times, clearing the streets. It's amazing how clear they are.

If this was Atlanta, Georgia, where I live, you can be sure it would be a lot different story if there was one or two inches. But they're doing a good job so far.

Now, we've been spending the last two days in this area. Just north of here, about 50 miles to the northeast, in the town of Redfield, incredible what we saw yesterday. Redfield is in the belt that gets that lake-effect snow, the most of it -- 141 inches over a 10-day span between February 3rd and February 13th from the same lake- effect storm system. That's 11'9" of snow that has towered over many of the houses in the town.

People there, they'll take it easy. You know, they're used to the snow. They know how to deal with it. No great calamities. A lot of people don't like to leave their houses because they're afraid if they leave their houses for too long, they won't be able to get back in, that the doors will be blocked by snow and their driveways will be blocked. So most stay very close to home. They're used to it.

But here in Syracuse right now they're talking about a very interesting day tomorrow because Syracuse University, the school we're at right now, hasn't been shut down for 14 years because of snow. They're thinking that if they get that 29 inches, tomorrow might be a snow day. And being that it's Valentine's Day, hey, it's a great day to stay home with your loved one -- John.

ROBERTS: Hey, listen, I've been talking to some university professors here in New York City, Gary, who are looking forward to a snow day tomorrow. So, those people in Syracuse can be forgiven.

Thanks, Gary. Appreciate it.

A tornado touched down this morning. The best place for it would have been out over open waters or perhaps a barren field. Instead, it hit someplace worse than terrible. We often overuse the word tragic, but not tonight.

The story from CNN's Susan Roesgen in New Orleans.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Six- year-old Brianna Roby crouched down in the bathtub with her mother, both hoping that what they saw in the street would not follow them inside.

PATRICE ROBY, TORNADO VICTIM: All type of debris just circling, you know, just circling around. And there was no beginning and there was no end to it. When you looked up to the sky, you couldn't see where it stopped or where it began. You just seen blackness.

ROESGEN: Like their neighbors, the family lives in a FEMA trailer, no match for a tornado. This one hop-scotched across the New Orleans area, touching down in several different places.

It tore the roof off this motel, leaving the guests in their beds with the ceiling falling down around them.

KEN HOOD, TOURIST: My roommate ran to the door to see what the noise was, and the door was literally blown off. And then I, then I looked up and the ceiling, the whole ceiling caved in and the roof just took off.

ROESGEN: Amazingly, no one in the motel was seriously hurt. Nearly every place the tornado struck, people said they couldn't believe they weren't killed.

But back in little Brianna Roby's neighborhood, an 85-year-old woman who lived around the corner was trapped. You're looking at the wheels that were under Stella Chambers' FEMA trailer. The rest of the trailer was blown to bits, and Chambers did not survive.

ROBY: Someone was hollering for help here. And that's when we found out that there was one of our neighbors that had gotten really hurt in the tornado. But we've been through so much down here and it's like, here we go again.

ROESGEN: The Louisiana governor has issued a disaster declaration and said the state would send in National Guard troops for security.

But in a city still crippled by Katrina, it's hard for some to accept that it was not a hurricane, but the relatively rare strike of a tornado that destroyed what little they have left.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Well, we see it again and again down there, the people who can least afford it always seem to lose the most.

Well, maybe you've heard it said that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon can trigger a hurricane in the Gulf. If not literally true, the fact that the global connection is all too real when it comes to weather and climate and our future here on the planet.

Anderson Cooper has been finding out firsthand down in Brazil all about that. He joins us now -- Anderson.

COOPER: Hey John. Thanks very much. Yes, we are literally on the edge of the Amazon rainforest, and we are starting really a year- long series of reports called "Planet in Peril," looking at the way we are all interconnected and why what happens down here in the Amazon and the threats this rainforest faces every day, literally every hour, how that affects what's happening in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

We came here to a town, as I said, on the edge of the Amazon. It took us a long time to get here. We flew from Miami, all the way down to north of Brazil, to a place called Belem. Then we took a helicopter today for about four hours to get to here, this village. And we're going to go deeper into the Amazon tomorrow.

From the air, you really get a sense of the vastness of the Amazon -- 2.7 million square miles. That's roughly the size -- a little smaller than the continental United States. And yet an area the size of New Jersey is destroyed, is cut down and burned every single year. And that has implications for all of us around the world.

From the air, as I said, though, you really get a sense not only of the vastness of the Amazon, but also the threats that it is facing. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): Flying low over a canopy of trees, at times the Amazon appears untouched. The illusion, however, doesn't last long.

Huge swathes of the rainforest are gone, trees cut down, the land burned black.

(on camera): (UNINTELLIGIBLE) truly alarming. On average, in Brazil, some 7,700 square miles of rainforest is cut and burned every year. That's roughly an area the size of New Jersey. You can smell the fire from here.

JEFF CORWIN, WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST: You can smell the acrid smoke, you can actually feel the heat radiating from these little pit fires right here. This is what you call, are an excellent example of classic slash and burn agriculture.

COOPER (voice-over): Flying by chopper, Wildlife Biologist Jeff Corwin and I find dozens of fires, destroying what was Virgin Forest.

CORWIN: No longer are there trees here to sort of hold the soil together. And the erosion that's just folded away here is just mind boggling.

COOPER (on camera): And you can actually see the bulldozer right down there clearing away more trees and underbrush.

CORWIN: And this is happening every hour, on the hour, 24/7, in Brazil.

COOPER (voice-over): In the last 40 years, about 20 percent of the rainforest has been cut down. That's more than was destroyed in all the years since European colonization in the 16th century.

Who's to blame? Loggers, farmers, cattle ranchers, miners, all looking to reap a profit from the rainforest.

CORWIN: You can see those trucks. They're just moving constantly back and forth as they scurry the minerals out of what was once pristine forest. You can see where that forest has been scraped away.

And look at the chemicals that have been released through this process that is directly filtering in the habitat.

COOPER: So these are chemicals here that they've been using in the mining process?

CORWIN: We have to remember that less than a year ago, this was probably a pristine habitat. But the damage from this mining today will be felt far and wide as the chemicals from this process seep into the aquifer, into the rivers and basically devastate the surrounding habitat and wildlife and people.

COOPER: It's not hopeless. The forest can regenerate, but a balance needs to be struck between development and conservation.

The pace of deforestation has slowed somewhat in the past two years, but scientists say if more isn't done to protect this global resource, the rainforest itself could disappear by the end of this century.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll talk more with Jeff Corwin a little bit later on tonight on 360. He's actually out wandering around the forest. He was literally wrestling an alligator a little -- or a crocodile, I think it was, a little while ago. We'll see what he brings us back.

John, let's toss to you.

ROBERTS: All right. Let's hope he comes back, too, Anderson. Still ahead tonight on 360, the dramatic 911 call made just moments after Anna Nicole Smith collapsed.

Plus this.

General doubts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just frankly not specifically certainly myself of the details.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: He's talking about these weapons, weapons that military briefers say are coming from Iran. Did they have it wrong? Is he out of the loop? What's the real story?

America's nemesis, Muqtada al-Sadr, is he out of Iraq?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If Muqtada has left the country, under what circumstances, nobody knows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: Is he on the run?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: We're keeping a close eye on a developing story about Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, who leads one of the most powerful militias in Iraq, the Mehdi army.

Senior White House officials say he has fled to Iran out of fear for his safety because of the coming troop buildup.

But a spokesman for al-Sadr and a member of his parliament block in parliament says the cleric remains in Iraq.

CNN's Michael Ware joins me now from Baghdad with the latest.

Michael, you've been up since 3:00 this morning. You've been making phone calls, checking with officials. Any better idea of where Muqtada al-Sadr is this morning?

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely none, John. It's uncertain in every sense as to just where Muqtada al-Sadr is, whether he's in Iraq, whether he's in Iran. At the end of the day, it's now up to Muqtada to reveal himself, to show us his whereabouts, if that in fact suits him.

I mean, what we have are these reports from unnamed White House officials. This is the same White House that thought there was weapons of mass destruction here in Iraq and who, until recently, were telling us things are going well in the war in Iraq.

So what we've heard from the White House and the reality on the ground here in Iraq are often two different things. But eventually at some point, they shall get it right.

Perhaps Muqtada has indeed left the country. We can't say. He travels frequently. And often that is to Iran. There's plenty of reasons for him to go there. So has he left or has he fled?

Now, just until a few days ago, we were talking to his office in Najaf. They said he was in Iraq. 3:00 a.m. this morning -- it's now 7:00 a.m. in Baghdad -- we woke up a member of parliament from his political faction, a spokesman. That gentleman said that Muqtada is still here.

Now, you would expect him to say that if he's fled, hoping to give him extra cover. Yet, you'd also expect him to say that if he's still here.

John, at the end of the day, we still don't know.

ROBERTS: Michael, has Muqtada al-Sadr really been a target of the U.S. military lately? Would he have any reason to fear for his life?

WARE: Well, I mean, that's hard to answer. I doubt it, per se. I mean, if the U.S. really wanted to drop a JDAM, a guided munition bomb on top of his building, they could do it. He's not like an al Qaeda leader in Iraq where his whereabouts are such a closely guarded secret.

Nonetheless, a lot of people would like to see Muqtada dead. So it isn't easy to get to see him. It's like a labyrinth passing through all the different houses and back alleys and secret entrances to his complex in Najaf to get anywhere near him.

If he's fled anything, it's most likely not U.S. forces, certainly not the Baghdad security plan these extra 20,000 reinforcements. Why? Because Muqtada does not live in Baghdad. Muqtada's headquarters is in Najaf. It's from there he directs his political and military factions.

So if he's fleeing anything, be it a flight at all, it's most likely internal divisions, rogue commanders gone bad, or pressure from rival, more powerful Shia factions.

ROBERTS: Now, the suggestion, I guess -- the unspoken inference from American officials here is that he is leaving Iraq because he's afraid for his life, which may have some impact on the operation of the Mehdi militia. Would it have any impact at all, Michael?

WARE: Well, I think it would put things under strain. I mean, clearly, you know, once the leader goes into exile or has to go into hiding, that obviously complicates matters. But at the end of the day, tactically, operationally, it would amount to diddley squat. I mean, we see Osama bin Laden hiding in a cave in Waziristan, and al Qaeda continues its scourge across the world. Here in Iraq, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq is constantly on the run, never sleeping more than a few hours in the same place. That organization continues. Muqtada will be able to direct his militia and political forces from anywhere he wants to.

ROBERTS: Diddley squat, we'll hang on to that one. Thanks, Michael.

Ahead on 360, what the top U.S. commander for the Persian Gulf said today that seems to contradict the White House.

Also, more from Anderson, live from the edge of the Brazilian rainforest. The first leg of our "Planet in Peril" project.

Plus more finger pointing and more claims of paternity. The Anna Nicole Smith saga heats up. New details ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: At a briefing this weekend, U.S. officials displayed what they called solid evidence that Iran is arming Shiites in Iraq. The weapons, sophisticated armor piercing IEDs. But that's not all. Officials also charged that the highest levels of Iran's government are behind the effort. An inflammatory accusation, to be sure. But now the defense secretary and his top commanders have signaled that they may not be on the same page.

Here's CNN's Jamie McIntyre.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The briefing in Baghdad was supposed to make a convincing case that these weapons with Iranian markings were sent to Iraq. In the words of anonymous military briefers, on orders from the highest levels of Iranian government.

But the problem is none of the senior leadership of the Pentagon was kept in the loop. One by one, over the past few days, they all professed ignorance of the evidence to back up the charge that so- called explosively formed penetrators were directly linked to the Iranian government.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates Friday in Spain.

ROBERT GATES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: I'm just frankly not specifically certain myself of the details.

MCINTYRE: Joint Chiefs Chairman General Peter Pace, Monday in Australia.

GENERAL PETER PACE, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: I would not say based on what I know that the Iranian government clearly knows or is complicit. MCINTYRE: And Tuesday, the brand new top commander for the Persian Gulf region, Admiral William Fallon told CNN's Kyra Phillips in an exclusive interview he hadn't seen the evidence either.

ADMIRAL WILLIAM FALLON, U.S. CENTRAL COMMANDER: I have no idea who made the -- actually with hands on in this stuff.

MCINTYRE: At the White House, Spokesman Tony Snow was pushed to explain why, if the case was so clear, the joint chiefs chairman was waffling.

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are Iranians in Iraq. There's no question about that, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

SNOW: All right. So where is the credibility problem in terms of -- are you saying...

ED HENRY, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: In terms of the Iranian government being behind it. That's not...

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY: Nobody's disputing whether it's manufactured in Iran. That's what you keep changing what my question is...

SNOW: No, no. I'm trying to clarify your question because I think this is...

(CROSSTALK)

HENRY: ... I'm trying to tell you what -- I know what my question is. And basically, he's saying that he doesn't see evidence that the Iranian government is clearly behind it. That's my -- I asked that three or four times. You haven't answered that. You're saying the Iranian government is behind it.

SNOW: OK, let me put it this way. I'll say it one more time. The Quds force is part of the Iranian government. The Quds force is behind it. It is associated with it.

HENRY: OK.

SNOW: All right? Thank you.

MCINTYRE: The Quds force is a wing of Iran's revolutionary guard, which the U.S. says is acting as a surrogate for Iran's supreme leader.

(on camera): So how is it that top Pentagon officials were not briefed about the details behind such a serious charge? Some in the Pentagon offer a simple explanation. Incompetence, along with a desire to get the story out, out of fear that an incomplete or inaccurate version might be leaked. In an effort at damage control, the U.S. military now says its chief spokesman in Baghdad will lay out the case again, but this time on the record.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Well, there's plenty to sort through on this story based on what Jamie McIntyre reported.

Joining me now in Boston is Former Presidential Adviser David Gergen and standing by again in Baghdad CNN's Michael Ware.

Michael, this was a really big story coming out of Baghdad with this very secret briefing. A lot of security around it as well, unnamed sources giving you all of this information. Big story, again, on Monday. Then suddenly out comes the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and says, well, I can't really say it's true, I don't know who these briefers were.

Were you surprised to hear about that?

WARE: Well, am I surprised to hear that there's a disconnect within the military? No. I mean, it's coming from the rolling disaster area that has been the military's public affairs section. I mean, they've been caught flat-footed in this war time and time and time again.

And in terms of the informational propaganda war that's being fought with al Qaeda and the Shia militias, you know, the U.S. military effort is getting stumped. So that there's mixed messages is no surprise.

I was at the briefing. I saw the evidence. Much of it is very, very old hat. So I think this is perhaps just people, you know, in the political ether at the chairman's level not being aware of what's being done actually on the ground level.

I think that there's just a miscommunication here. And listening to the chairman, what he's saying sounds like old hat. It's what was being said here six months ago. I think we're waiting for the chairman's rhetoric to catch up.

ROBERTS: David Gergen, from a political standpoint, this is just downright weird.

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER: Yes. It's weird and botched. You know, to have the -- these were military officials, after all, briefing in Iraq, in Baghdad. They were not some part of the CIA or something, they weren't part of a different agency.

So here you have a lower level officials but in a very, very highly publicized and intentional effort to get a message through all over the world, especially in America, from Baghdad, you would think that that would have been more closely monitored and would have been ordered from the top and people on top would have had some hands on. Because, after all, that briefing was the lead story in many major American newspapers.

But I have to tell you, John -- and I'd be interested in what Michael thinks about this. My sense is that General Pace and Secretary Gates are also trying to walk this back because they realize how explosive a charge would be that the Iranian government is directly meddling and sending these weapons in. It added to the sense -- that briefing added to the sense that we were headed toward a confrontation and people were looking for ways to spark this, looking for ways to encourage each other to step it up.

And it's very clear that the top people in the U.S. military do not want a confrontation with Iran at this point, even if their civilian masters might want one.

ROBERTS: Well, Michael, what do you think about that? Were these briefers perhaps at the behest of the White House trying to connect some dots here to ratchet up the level, and then you've got the command at the Pentagon saying, whoa, whoa, wait a minute, hang on, let's dial this back before it goes too far, as David was suggesting?

WARE: Well, certainly, what these briefers were saying -- and, remember, we couldn't film this briefing, nor tape it, nor could we reveal the identities of the defense officials who were briefing us. Nonetheless, one of them is going on the record on camera today to repeat most of what was said, to put it all out there publicly.

But, you know, why they're doing it now? The military here says that these particular bombs, these lethal roadside bombs Iran has introduced, there's been such an upsurge, they feel obliged to go public and hopefully put some pressure on.

But of course, this has got to fit within the context of a greater game. This rivalry between Washington and Tehran that's being fought out in the words of one intelligence analyst, in a proxy war here in Iraq.

So this is not happening in a vacuum. And if it needs to be finessed at higher levels, that wouldn't surprise me in the least. David might well indeed be on to something.

ROBERTS: Yes, a one-sided proxy war, though, Michael, because the U.S. is its own proxy there in Baghdad.

David Gergen, why do you think that the administration is talking so much about Iran these days? Is it trying to find a boogeyman for all of the problems in Iraq? Or could this really be leading to another development here in the war?

GERGEN: Well, there are ominous signs that we're stepping up the pressure and that they're stepping up the pressure simultaneously. You know, "Newsweek" has reported this week, John, as you know, that the United States is preparing to send a third carrier into the Persian Gulf region, to follow the second one, the president announced only a few weeks ago.

So there is clear indications that both sides are ratcheting it up, that we could stumble into a confrontation, that one side may wish to prod the other one and goad it into some sort of action that will allow them to retaliate.

You know, I have no doubt that the United States government, the military, as well as the White House, feel that Iran is meddling too much and that they -- Iran is a real problem.

And there are a couple of explanations for that. One is Iran would like to have the United States fail in Iraq. The other thing is they'd like to keep -- they'd like to remind the United States, if you have hit us, if you have go after regime change in Iran, we can really cause you deep problems in Iraq. Don't mess with us.

ROBERTS: Yes. And as some people have pointed out to me, David, in the last few days, that the more ships you throw in there to the Gulf, the greater you have increase the chances that some sort of action could happen...

GERGEN: Absolutely.

ROBERTS: ... that could trigger a very fast escalation.

David Gergen in Boston and Michael Ware in Baghdad, thanks.

Up next on 360, back to Anderson on the edge of the Amazon rainforest with Jeff Corwin from "Animal Planet," and a surprise or two, which may mean that Jeff has caught himself an alligator.

Plus, a fateful call.

His former top aide is on trial for perjury. But Vice President Cheney won't take the stand. So which one of the president's men will take the fall?

And Anna Nicole's final moments.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's not breathing and she's not responsive. She's actually Anna Nicole Smith.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTS: The dramatic 911 call, ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Hey, welcome back. We are coming to you from the edge of the Amazon in central Brazil. I'm here with Wildlife Biologist Jeff Corwin, who literally has been wandering around in the forest for the last 20 or so minutes. You're covered in ants.

CORWIN: And mud. COOPER: What did you find?

CORWIN: I've completed my own vision quest. I have had this awesome odyssey. But what I'm about to show you just beautifully illustrates the biodiversity of this ecosystem.

First we found this crocodilian, got away. So I looked a little bit more in frustration.

COOPER: About how big was the crocodile?

CORWIN: About six feet. So, you know...

(CROSSTALK)

CORWIN: All right. Hopefully, this will equal the drama. Now, I've got sort of safely tucked in this wet pillow case -- by the way, the hotel will be invoicing us very soon. So I just found this incredibly cool frog. It's just...

COOPER: Whoa!

CORWIN: Relax.

COOPER: Did I mention I don't like frogs?

CORWIN: This is going to be the longest six months of your life. He's in here somewhere.

COOPER: Wow.

CORWIN: He's very active.

COOPER: Is that a frog in your pocket?

CORWIN: OK, I think -- I just want to -- basically, I keep him in this moist sack so he can stay relax.

COOPER: Wow.

CORWIN: But look at this incredible frog.

COOPER: That's a big frog.

CORWIN: Yes, it is. Isn't that awesome? I mean, just absolutely gorgeous. Again, a symbol of the biodiversity of this ecosystem. This habitat, this rainforest, just rich with life. And amphibians play a big role in the amount of species that you find here.

And so I was just wandering about and discovered this creature right at the edge of this creek and he's absolutely beautiful. You can see that coloration that he displays, like if I turn him around, you see the colors right there which are quintessential markings that basically mean stay away, what we call aposematic coloration. It could be very well that this frog right here possesses poisons in its skin, poisons that it would use to keep a predator...

COOPER: Isn't that -- by the way, isn't that the kind of thing you should know before you're handling the frog?

CORWIN: Especially with the cuts in my hands and stuff like that? No, I'm not too worried about this. This is old school for me.

But what's so amazing is that scientists come to this ecosystem. They study creatures and plants like this. Not only do they learn about the biology of these creatures and constantly make new discoveries, but perhaps there's something about this frog that could apply to modern medicine.

For example 40 percent of our medicines that we use in our lives are harvested from a rainforest just like this.

But what makes me so excited about seeing this frog, being that our journey is one about peril, about ecosystems facing and wildlife facing extinction, amphibians are an indicator species of an ecosystem's health. Unfortunately, today, around the world the highest level of extinction amongst vertebrates, amongst animals with backbones, are amphibians -- frogs, toads, salamanders and newts. And they're called indicator species because when you see them surviving and thriving in an ecosystem like this, it means that this is a healthy environment.

COOPER: And as we've been talking about in this -- the last two hours, some 7,000 square miles of this rainforest is cut down every year.

We're going to be looking at that a lot over the next couple of days. We'll bring you more from the Amazon in the days ahead.

Let's go right back to John Roberts right now in New York -- John.

ROBERTS: All right. Thanks, Anderson. We've got to fire a couple of rockets at you because you don't jump when those come your way.

Stay safe down there.

COOPER: Yes.

ROBERTS: Another disturbing twist tonight in the Anna Nicole Smith saga. Word that when news of her death spread, her house in the Bahamas was reportedly ransacked.

Mark Steines and Bonnie Tiegel from "Entertainment Tonight," talked to Smith's companion, Howard K. Stern, about that break-in. And they spoke to CNN's "Larry King" tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY KING, CNN HOST "LARRY KING LIVE" (voice-over): The first clip you're going to see is Howard reacting to what he called a break- in at the house. Let's take a look.

HOWARD K. STERN: I mean, this is just outrageous. And, I mean, they are stealing from Dannielynn, because -- everything, everything -- all of Anna's assets go to her daughter, you know. They -- it's not like anything -- I mean, that, that's what makes this the sickest part of all.

I mean, they took pictures off the wall, drawings that were -- paintings that were made for Dannielynn. These are Dannielynn's memories.

KING (on camera): Why do you think he did this, Mark?

MARK STEINES, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": Who did this?

KING: Howard. He's just lost the love of his life.

STEINIS: Did the interview?

KING: Yes. He's lost what would have been his stepson. Why'd he do it?

STEINES: Well, I think, you know, I had asked him, I said, can we come into the house when you first walk in there to see? And there was a hesitation. I said, listen, for anything else, for proof that you didn't go in and do this yourself, that you didn't go in and turn the house upside down. And he said sure.

So when we followed him inside and he was shocked to see what he saw there. When everything was gone, he got emotional about it. I mean, paintings that Anna Nicole had painted for the baby were gone off the wall. Pictures of her as Marilyn Monroe.

KING: See another part of Mark's exclusive. This is Anna Nicole with her daughter and Howard K. Stern. Let's listen in for a few seconds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNA NICOLE SMITH: Can you say mama? Mama, mama, mama.

STERN: Say, mama, give me my ba-ba. Mama, give me my ba-ba.

SMITH: Say, shut up, daddy. Say, mama, mama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Do you have any idea, Bonnie, why he won't have a DNA and put this case away?

BONNIE TIEGEL, "ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT": I don't have that answer. I can only know what he's told us. And that is...

KING: Which is?

TIEGEL: ... that Anna's wishes were not to do that. They didn't want to do that simply because they were asked by Larry Birkhead. And they made the decision -- Anna made the decision, which I believe Howard is going along with.

King: But nobody -- everyone says that's a weak explanation. Wouldn't you agree? It's a weak explanation.

TIEGEL: I just don't have the answer to why.

KING: You want to know you're the father. Wouldn't he want to know? He can't know for sure. No one knows for sure until you do that, right?

TIEGEL: That's correct.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: But do you go against her wishes -- think of yourself as Howard now. He knows what Anna's wishes were. But he looks like a money grubber because she's going to inherit a lot of money and he wants it.

STEINER: I know, but what do you do?

(CROSSTALK)

KING: You do the DNA.

STEINER: You do the DNA. Even though you know Anna...

(CROSSTALK)

KING: I'd want to do the DNA for the baby. The only thing that counts now is the baby.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: And you can catch Larry's full interview with "Entertainment Tonight's" Mark Steines in the next hour on "LARRY KING LIVE."

Still ahead in this hour, coming up, the man who says he could have saved Anna Nicole's life. At least he tried to.

Plus, the dramatic 911 call made just moments after she collapsed in her hotel room.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: When rescue crews were called to her Florida hotel room, Anna Nicole Smith was unresponsive and not breathing.

CNN's Randi Kaye has the just released 911 tape and the rest of where the investigation stands today.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What began with an emergency call last Thursday...

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's not breathing and she's not responsive. She's actually Anna Nicole Smith. If you guys can please...

911 OPERATOR: Oh, OK.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK?

911 OPERATOR: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

KAYE: ... has given way to a frenzy of finger-pointing and promises of paternity, magnified by a media blitz catering to those who must know all things Anna.

DR. JOSHUA PERPER, BROWARD COUNTY, FLORIDA, CHIEF MEDICAL EXAMINER: The autopsy was able to exclude any kind of physical injury, such as blunt-force trauma, gunshot wound, stab wounds, or asphyxia, as a cause of death.

KAYE: One day after her death, few clues into what killed Anna Nicole Smith. But the fight for custody of her baby girl, Dannielynn, heated up -- no surprise. The surviving parent stands to inherit millions.

Former beau Larry Birkhead filed an emergency order, requesting DNA from Smith's body. A judge ordered the former Playmate preserved until a February 20 hearing.

DEBRA OPRI, ATTORNEY FOR LARRY BIRKHEAD: It is very important that the DNA connect Anna with the baby being tested. We do not want a bait and switch.

KAYE: That same day, so-called Prince Frederick von Anhalt, actress Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband, says he could be the father, too, apparently exposing a 10-year affair with Smith.

Get in line, Howard K. Stern. You may be Smith's lawyer and longtime companion, but you have got company.

PRINCE FREDERICK VON ANHALT, HUSBAND OF ZSA ZSA GABOR: There are lots of people who could be the father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could you be the father?

VON ANHALT: I don't know. I mean, you know, sometimes I'm a bad boy, yes.

KAYE: And the list keeps growing, even from the grave. Saturday, "The New York Daily News" reported Anna Nicole's half- sister suggested Dannielynn may have been fathered by frozen sperm from Smith's billionaire late husband, J. Howard Marshall.

Even a bodyguard who once worked for Smith told the TV show "Extra," it's possible he's the dad, bringing the grand total of daddy wannabes to five.

From paternity to pictures, this one released Monday from inside Smith's Bahamas home, a diet of sorts, methadone, TrimSpa and Slim- Fast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")

ALEX GOEN, CEO, TRIMSPA: I look at it as setup. It was kind of interesting, how all the bottles are pointed right to the camera.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: And this one published in "The Tribune of Nassau," showing Smith embracing the Bahamian minister of immigration in bed.

Critics are quick to point out Minister Shane Gibson is the one who approved Smith's residency last year, and are asking for his resignation.

SHANE GIBSON, BAHAMIAN MINISTER OF IMMIGRATION: They were innocent. They were all, like I said, taken by Howard Stern.

KAYE (on camera): Also, Bahamas' Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez, now telling CNN they have intensified their investigation into the death of Smith's son, Daniel, who died last September of an alleged overdose.

Gomez says the focus is now on Smith's lawyer and friend, Howard K. Stern, who was in the room when Daniel died.

Our calls to Stern's lawyer were not returned.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERTS: Up next, surprising new allegations about Anna Nicole's drug use while she was pregnant. We'll talk with one of the reporters who broke that story. It's coming up next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: More tragic details today about the turbulent life of Anna Nicole Smith.

Larry Birkhead, a former boyfriend, who is going to court to prove or try to prove at least that he's the father of her baby, told the "New York Daily News" that he tried to get her to kick her drug habit while she was pregnant with her daughter, Dannielynn. Joining me now is Jo Piazza, who is one of the reporters who broke that story. And we should point out for you that WSBN, our affiliate in Miami, is reporting tonight that the Bahamian Supreme Court has ruled that Dannielynn has to stay in the Bahamas, that there will be hearings on custody. So it looks like, if this story is correct, that she's not going to be coming back to the United States in the near term at least. As for the foreseeable future, I guess the hearings will determine that.

What are your impressions of that, Jo?

JO PIAZZA, "DAILY NEWS" STAFF WRITER: Well, if Dannielynn has to stay in the Bahamas, it's going to be a lot harder for Larry Birkhead to prove paternity. It's going to be hard for him to get this paternity test taken care of any time soon.

ROBERTS: Now, he insisted to you that he is the father of this child. He has said that he wants to take a DNA test. He was down there or is down there in the Bahamas now?

PIAZZA: He's not in the Bahamas right now. He apparently went right before Anna passed away and tried to see Dannielynn and tried to force this paternity test issue. She turned him away and wouldn't even let him see the baby. And then he couldn't take the test then.

ROBERTS: What's your sense of the legitimacy of his claim?

PIAZZA: After talking to him for two days, I believe that he really believes, at least, that he's the father. I think that Anna had told him that he was the father. He says that he went with her for the first ultrasound, that he took prenatal classes, he was taking baby CPR.

ROBERTS: Yes, and he took those on his own.

PIAZZA: On his own, yes. And he said, you know, people gave him strange looks as a single dad in these classes. And he says that Anna even so far as to talk about having a bigger family with him, you know, three or four more kids. So, I think in his mind -- we're going to have to wait to see what the tests say because it sounds like there's a lot of players in this story. But he thinks that he's the dad of this baby.

ROBERTS: Well, there is some suggestive evidence leaning in his direction. He was stopped for speeding some time last year.

PIAZZA: Right.

ROBERTS: And when the police officer said, why were you speeding, he said, according to what the police officer wrote on the ticket, "because my wife is pregnant and she's sick. I have to go see her."

PIAZZA: Right.

(CROSSTALK) ROBERTS: According to his attorneys, he actually said the word girlfriend. The police officer wrote down the wife. I mean, it's obviously not evidence that would really stand up in a court of law. But it's a suggestion.

PIAZZA: But it's just the same because it came around long before any of this came up. You know. And it's just further proof that he could be the dad.

I had spoken to him a year ago when we broke the story that she was pregnant, and he said exactly the same things, that he had been going with her to see the ultrasound. And his story hasn't changed.

ROBERTS: What do you make of Howard K. Stern's refusal to take a DNA test? He says it's because Anna Nicole didn't want him to, didn't want to satisfy Larry Birkhead's request to determine paternity. And that could be true if Anna Nicole Smith didn't want there to be proof of Larry Birkhead's paternity of the child. But why do you refuse to take a paternity test unless you know you're not the father?

PIAZZA: Right. I mean, I think we've all seen enough of the who's your daddy talk shows to know that the guy who's willing to take the paternity test is usually the father and the guy who is not, you know, there's some questions there.

ROBERTS: Do you think this is all about money or is it about protecting the child?

PIAZZA: It seems to me, sadly enough, that it is about the money. I mean, at this point, I'm not sure who's looking after the interests of Dannielynn.

ROBERTS: Jo Piazza, it was a great story you wrote today. Very interesting.

PIAZZA: Thank you.

ROBERTS: And I know that you keep on digging on this story. We'll have you back again to talk more about it.

PIAZZA: All right.

ROBERTS: Thanks. Appreciate it.

More of 360 after this. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROBERTS: And that does it for tonight. Before we go, we'll remind you, we want your help at our mission of keeping them honest. If there's a wrong that needs to be made right in your community, go online and tell us about it at cnn.com/360.

I'm John Roberts, in for Anderson Cooper, who's in the Amazon tonight. Thanks for joining us. I always appreciate you coming by.

Stay tuned. "LARRY KING LIVE" is next.

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

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