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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
FBI Agent Dead of Gunshot Wound; Bank Heists; America's Terrorists; Propaganda Pay; Broken Army?
Aired April 5, 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 ANCHOR: Hi again. John Roberts in for Anderson Cooper tonight here on 360.
The pet food crisis. Tonight, the recall is growing. So are the questions about the government's role and if the deadly contamination was deliberate. That's coming up.
First, the latest on a breaking story that we continue to follow tonight out of New Jersey. A manhunt is on tonight for a suspected serial bank robber. He's on the run, and an FBI agent is dead tonight.
CNN's Randi Kaye has more.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was just outside this New Jersey bank -- 52-year-old FBI Agent Barry Lee Bush was shot dead. That much we know. What we don't know is who killed him.
Special Agent Bush and his team were investigating a string of bank robberies in central New Jersey when they met three suspects head-on. A confrontation followed. Late tonight, the FBI says Bush may have been killed by his own man when another agent's weapon accidentally discharged.
MAYNOR VELIZ, WITNESS: I hear the pow, pow, pow.
KAYE: This was not a chance meeting. The agents were camped out across the street from the PNC Bank in Reddington, New Jersey, about an hour west of Manhattan.
Josh Bavosa was inside the bank when he heard gunshots outside.
JOSH BAVOSA, WITNESS: There was never a bank robbery. There were gunshots outside the bank on the bank property, but the bank was never robbed itself.
KAYE: Special Agent Bush was medevaced to the Newark's University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The FBI will not say if the suspects ever fired their weapons. But Wilfredo Berrios and Michael Cruz were grabbed on the spot, handcuffed, guarded by state police in bulletproof vests, then loaded into separate, unmarked cars.
Francisco Herrera-Genao, the third guy, escaped into the woods, police say wearing a sweatshirt, one shoe, and carrying a weapon.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a person who we feel is extremely dangerous.
KAYE (on camera): Dangerous, police say, and possibly very experienced. In the last two months, armed men have robbed at least 10 banks in central New Jersey; one of the most recent, in North Brunswick about half an hour from where this FBI shooting occurred.
The FBI says the men involved in this shooting may be responsible for four of those robberies.
(voice-over): By early afternoon more than 100 state and local authorities were involved in a manhunt, S.W.A.T. teams, helicopters, bloodhounds. They searched woods, mobile home parks, even a golf course. Herrera-Genao's second shoe was discovered, but nothing more.
Police blocked roads and highways, heavily armed, knowing Herrera-Genao could turn up anywhere.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It gets your blood pressure up and it gets you -- it's a lot of traffic and it's a lot of nerves. I mean, the locals are all mad because they can't get in, can't get out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're going to have to go around.
KAYE: Residents were warned to stay home. Schools and businesses locked down.
Justin McGlynn (ph), whose grandparents own the garden store where the FBI agents were parked, was out making a delivery during the shootout.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I talked to everybody. Everybody's safe. They're inside, doors locked. I guess the cops are watching them too.
KAYE: How are they handling all this?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they're just shaken up right now.
KAYE: Shaken, no matter who are pulled the trigger.
ROBERTS: Randi Kaye is with us now live.
And Randi, the official FBI release says that this accidental discharge of this gun may have occurred during what they call a dynamic arrest situation.
KAYE (on camera): A dynamic situation.
ROBERTS: Could you decode all of that for us? KAYE: I wish I could. I can only decode, though, as much as the FBI will give us the information to help us decode -- and that's not much.
Right now all we know is that they are trying to figure out where this Special Agent Bush was when he was shot and killed. They don't know if he was on the same side because there's a highway that divides the parking lot that the agents were apparently waiting for these guys in and the bank. So they're not clear yet as to where he was, if he was on the same side with his team or if he was across the street and possibly ambushed as these guys came out of the bank.
ROBERTS: You might have to assume that if it was friendly fire, he would have had to have been in fairly close range to the person who discharged the weapon.
KAYE: You can assume that. It's just a two-lane highway, though. And it's really just unclear as to where everybody was. They're not giving us all the pieces to tell us where all of the players were at this point.
ROBERTS: I assume that we'll start to find out more about it tomorrow.
Randi, good report. Thanks very much.
KAYE: Thank you.
ROBERTS: You might be surprised to know that according to the most recent FBI statistics, a bank robbery takes place about every 52 minutes in America.
Millions of dollars are taken each year, and today a life was, too.
ROBERTS: Bill Gavin is the former assistant FBI director here in New York City. He once headed up a bank robbery task force in Louisiana.
I spoke with him earlier this evening.
ROBERTS: Bill Gavin, initially it looked as though this was a case of the FBI agent being taken down by one of the people that he was trying to arrest. Now the FBI is saying it might be the accidental discharge of this fellow's partner's weapon. What's your thinking on all of that?
BILL GAVIN, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI, NEW YORK: John, I can't begin to describe the -- this kind of a tragedy and the remorse that's going on in the life of the FBI agent, his family, the accidental shooter. This is just awful. The whole team of people greatly sadden by this.
And we'll have to see whether or not there were any shots fired by the robbers. But I guess there's every reason to believe that the story that's out now from the FBI is the accurate story.
ROBERTS: So, how does something like this happen, Bill? Obviously, he would have had the weapon in his hand as he was affecting what the FBI describes as a dynamic arrest. But are they not trained to keep their finger off the trigger?
GAVIN: They're trained to keep the finger off the trigger, John, but I don't know exactly what transpired while they were going -- while the weapon discharged.
I'm sure they had their vests on and they had their weapons -- I don't know what kind of a weapon it was, whether he was using a .9 millimeter saga or he had some sort of an automatic weapon or a shotgun. I have no idea at this particular point in time.
So it would be difficult and probably very unfair to surmise what might have happened in a case like this.
ROBERTS: The FBI's inspections division has been called out to thoroughly go through the crime scene. You were the deputy director, I believe?
GAVIN: I was the assistant director of the inspection division, yes. And what happens after a shooting like this, John, we send a whole team of people out who are not involved to ask all of the questions, to gather all of the forensic evidence, to work with law enforcement on scene as well to just analyze what happened to improve procedures which, in this case, I guess will probably -- one of the things -- the dynamic things that will be looked at. But to figure out how something like this happened and to say whether or not we had a justified shooting in a normal ordinary case. This is just an awful tragedy.
ROBERTS: Bill, you have seen that process from both sides, both as the assistant director for the inspections division and also as someone who was being investigated?
GAVIN: Yes, I have. And it's -- it's -- it's a process that, you know, that you don't really hate to see happen because the last thing you ever want done is to have a shooting occur and somebody say it's a cover-up.
ROBERTS: Bill, in addition to this tragedy, and this new aspect of it, there's still one of the suspects on the large tonight. What are your fears about that particular person?
GAVIN: Well again, John, I still don't know in there were any shots fired from the opposition during the course of this firefight. So, it's difficult for me to say. But the best thing that they can do, if he's s any way, shape or form and hearing any of the words that are going out, is to surrender, get himself into custody, because that's the safest thing that he can do for himself right now.
ROBERTS: Bill Gavin, thanks very much for your thoughts. Really appreciate it, sir.
GAVIN: John, it's my pleasure. Thank you.
ROBERTS: And if past trends continue, thousands of banks will be robbed this year. Many of the suspects will be arrested. Apparently it's as high as 70 percent. Some because they'll be caught on tape.
ROBERTS (voice-over): Remember the Barbie bandits? A security camera recorded their crime two months ago. Those sunglasses, not much of a disguise. The next day the same suspects were caught on another security tape, at a hair salon where the brunette got a dye job.
AMY COOPER, HAIRDRESSER: And I said, so what are we going to do today? And she goes, I want you to make me really blonde. I want to blonde like Barbie.
ROBERTS: This 19-year-old bank robber didn't bother with a disguise and chatted on her cell phone while committing her felony.
And police say this security video shows a 79-year-old woman robbing a Chicago bank.
Three different cities, three different crimes, none of them violent. And that's typical. Unlike today's attempt in New Jersey, few bank robberies are deadly.
GAVIN: There's two different kinds of bank robbers that we think about, number one, is the individual who does this for a living to make money. The second type of bank robber is one who is impetuous, who just does it on the spur of the moment.
ROBERTS: Police say the 79-year-old robber in Chicago was behind on her rent. That Chicago heist, just one of thousands.
In 2005, more than 6,200 banks were robbed. They made up just over 2 percent of all robberies that year.
The average amount stolen? Just over $4,000. Which makes the Barbie Bandits better than average. They made off with nearly $11,000. They didn't get very far though before they were arrested, as are most bank robbers.
GAVIN: What trips a bank robber -- that they tend to be repetitive. If they go in and they're successful at the first note job that they rob a bank, they'll tend to do that over and over and over again because they feel they can be successful at it.
ROBERTS: The cell phone robber pulled off four bank heists before she was caught.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who were you talking with on the cell phone?
ROBERTS: She's serving a 12-year sentence. And the Barbie Bandits? They're awaiting trial on felony theft charges. One has been released on bond, the other is still in jail.
ROBERTS (on camera): And before moving on, we want to give you one more look at the picture of the suspect still at large in today's armed confrontation outside of that bank in New Jersey.
Francisco Herrera-Genao. There he is. If you have seen him, you're asked to call the FBI at 973-792-3000. That number again, 973- 792-3000.
Still to come tonight -- did a toxic ingredient get into pet food by design for bigger profits? New details coming up only on 360.
And also tonight, these stories.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS (voice-over): Too few troops, too little training, broken down gear and more. How the greatest fighting force on earth is turning into a broken Army and why troops are paying for it with their lives.
Also, words you should never hear at the hospital.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I heard was the surgeon yell very loudly to call 911.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And were you stunned that here you are in a hospital and they're calling 911?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I can remember saying -- is looking at him and saying, you've got to be kidding.
ROBERTS: No kidding. And it could happen to you. Tonight, on 360.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS (on camera): Call it holy writ in the Middle East. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. It explains why American forces in Iraq are now working with Sunni sheikhs who once tried to kill them. It also speaks to another relationship, with people that America doesn't exactly like, but certainly believes it needs.
CNN's Michael Ware has this fascinating inside look.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT, (voice-over): To the U.S. State Department, these are terrorists. Based in the sprawling military camp inside Iraq. Yet, in an American contradiction, they are also protected by the U.S. military, an Iranian dissident group. They are the Mujahadine e-kulk (ph), or MEK.
MOJGAN PARSAII, MEK V.P. CAMP ASHRAF, IRAQ: The U.S. military police protects us as protected persons under the fourth Geneva Convention against terrorist attacks by the Iranian regime and its agents.
WARE: While U.S. intelligence hunts and arrests Iranian special forces said to be training and supplying weapons like these to Shia militia in Iraq, the MEK are American allies opposed to the Iranian regime. Their politics, pro-democracy with a dash of Marxism and Islamic ideology.
To the U.S., they are valued as sources of much needed intelligence on Iran's armed forces and nuclear program.
But under U.S. law, they are listed as a foreign terrorist organization. Meaning no American can deal with them. U.S. banks must freeze their assets and any American giving them any support -- even transport -- commits a crime. Yet their regular supply runs to Baghdad are given U.S. military escorts.
PARSAII: The threat for (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of logistical needs also take place under the control and protection of the MPs.
WARE: Military police escorts because as these U.S. documents show, coalition forces regard them as protected persons under the Geneva Convention.
An American two-star general writes that "the coalition remains deeply committed to the security and rights of the protected people of Ashraf."
The MEK denies it is a terrorist group. After the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003, all 3,800 camp residents, including a female tank battalion, were questioned by the FBI or other American agencies. Not a single arrest was made.
The Red Cross monitors the MEK as a protected group, insisting they must not be deported, expelled or repatriated.
So, the U.S. designates the MEK officially protected terrorists. Despite repeated requests, neither Iran's ambassador in Baghdad nor the U.S. military would comment to this story. But Zalmay Khalilzad, former U.S. ambassador, did.
ZALMAY KHALILZAD, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IRAQ: We have a policy that as described, the people were here from the Mujahadine el- khab (ph) as a protected group. One of our coalition and partner country is actually protecting the camp where they mostly are, but there is no change in our policy that the Mujahadine el-khab (ph), that we still regard them as a terrorist organization.
WARE: Having fled Iran and operating from Iraqi camps, the MEK spied on Iran for decades. Their movement, credited with exposing Tehran's secret nuclear program. In the 2003 invasion, green berets arrived at their camp to find gardens and monuments, plus more than 2,000 well-maintained tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery, anti-aircraft guns and vehicles, all quickly surrendered under a cease-fire agreement, an agreement that also guaranteed their safety.
PARSAII: Everyone's entry into the camp and his departure are controlled by the U.S. MP force.
WARE: The MPs having to approve journalists' entry to the base, Camp Ashraf, north of Baghdad. Two years ago, "TIME" magazine photographer Yuri Kozyrev and I snuck past U.S. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to see the camp for ourselves.
This video recently shot by the MEK shows not much has changed. And Camp Ashraf remains one of the best kept Army facilities in Iraq.
Meanwhile, both Iran and Iraq accuse the MEK of ongoing terrorist attacks. And the Shia-dominated Iraqi government wants them out.
We gave this organization a six-month deadline to leave Iraq and we informed the Red Cross, says Iraq's national security minister. And presumably our friends, the Americans, respect our decision and now will not stay on Iraqi land.
The MEK denies launching any attacks and for now, America is helping them stay.
KHALILZAD: There are counter-pressures, too. There are people who say, no, they should be allowed to stay here. And, as you know, around the world, there are people who have got different views towards them.
WARE: Different views that allow the U.S. to regard the MEK as both a terrorist group and a potential source of intelligence on Iran.
ROBERTS: Sun's coming up now in Baghdad. And Michael Ware joins us live from there.
Michael, what are the chances that the United States might eventually end up actually arming the Mujahadine e-kulk (ph)?
WARE (on camera): Well, that's something to be seen, John. I mean, in many ways, the Mujahadine e-kulk (ph) are a useful barometer of American intention with regard to Iran. So sensitive is Tehran about their presence here in Iraq, so sensitive are they about the American protection being given to being given to this group, which they see -- which Tehran sees, as its greatest internal threat, that to even put one rifle back in the hands of the Mujahadine e-kulk (ph) would be so inflammatory, it would be like an American declaration of war.
ROBERTS: Well, it will be interesting to see how things go between the United States and Iran. Maybe that becomes a part of the program.
Michael Ware in Baghdad, thanks very much.
Fifteen British sailors and marines landed on home soil this morning. They returned, the unwielding co-stars of a propaganda play written and directed by their Iranian captors.
Theater of the absurd? Yes. Deadly serious, too? You bet, for a regime looking to increase its clout, especially in Iraq.
More from CNN's Tom Foreman now.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As the captured troops came home to smiles and kisses, the British headlines echoed what some military folks are saying, that the free suits, the gift bags of vases and pistachios, the smiling sendoff, were all a slap in the face to Great Britain and its allies.
BRIG. GEN. JAMES MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: They should have dropped those gifts on the ground and said, no, we're not accepting goodies from you guys. All I want is a ticket out of here. Let's go. That didn't happen.
FOREMAN: This was grand political theater. The captives were paraded in front of cameras to eat, to speak, to ultimately thank their captors.
LT. FELIX CARMAN, ROYAL NAVY: To Iranian people, I can understand why you are insulted by our apparent intrusion into your waters.
FOREMAN: The British military is investigating the behavior of those troops, but insists they never left Iraqi waters on their own.
AIR CHIEF MARSHALL JOCK STIRRUP, BRITISH ROYAL MARINES: They should not have been put on television. They should have allowed (UNINTELLIGIBLE) access. I mean, that's quite clear. They should not have been held in the first place. That's also quite clear.
FOREMAN: But foreign affairs analysts say Iranian leaders staged this whole play to show how they could stand up to the United States and its allies, to show how they could treat prisoners better than America has.
(on camera): And here is the really intriguing part. The audience may not have been Persian-speaking Iran. Instead, many of these images were broadcast by Iranian TV in Arabic, so they would be seen and understood in neighboring countries. And that, some analysts say, is all about Iraq.
(voice-over): They say Iran is angling to have greater influence in Iraq when the United States leaves and wants Arab neighbors to see Iran has a great and benevolent regional power.
Afshin Molavi is an expert on Iran.
AFSHIN MOLAVI, FELLOW, NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION: In some respects, Britain was a pawn in all of this. And these British sailors were a pawn in the ongoing Iran/U.S. proxy battle in Iraq.
FOREMAN: Players in a big time, big stakes theatrical production, complete with costumes.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: About 12,000 more sons and daughters, moms and dads, may shortly be getting the call for active duty in Iraq. That's if Defense Secretary Gates tomorrow signs the order calling up four more National Guard brigades. Four brigades from four states. One more sign that the military is at the very least, stretched thin.
The latest issue of "TIME" magazine goes one step beyond. In a cover story titled "Why Our Army Is At the Breaking Point," "TIME" documents the symptoms of a hollowed out force and shows why troops may be dying because of it.
"TIME's" Mark Thompson has got the byline on this story. We spoke earlier.
ROBERTS: Mark, you write in your article that the Army is under the greatest strain that it's been in in a generation. Just how bad is it?
MARK THOMPSON, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, I think it's important to realize, John, that the Army likes to think of itself as being at the tip of the spear. And indeed the tip of the spear has been dinged up and corroded and a little rusty. Those troops on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But remember, a spear also consists of a shaft. And the shaft -- those Army forces back here in the United States are literally rotting before our eyes. They're not getting enough training. They're not practicing on the right equipment. And their dwell time, the time that they spend at home between going to war and coming back here and resting, is shrinking dramatically. And this is having a real big impact on the force.
ROBERTS: And what kind of an effect is that having on the ground in Iraq? I ask because last night we carried the news here on AC 360 that Private Matt Zeimer appeared to be a victim of friendly fire. He was killed in Ramadi back in February. You lead off your article with the story about him.
THOMPSON: Yes, he didn't get the real intense pre-Iraqi training that the bulk of his colleagues got before the 3rd Infantry Division Brigade, of which they are a member, went over to Iraq in January. And the fact of the matter is we don't know whether lack of training played a role in Matt Zeimer's death. But the fact of the matter is, number one, he didn't get all the training a soldier is supposed to have. And number two, he died less than two hours after getting to his first combat post. So it certainly raises questions.
ROBERTS: Did the Pentagon chiefs acknowledge that there's a crisis?
THOMPSON: Well, interestingly, now the Secretary Bob Gates is the new defense chief. In the last month there's been sort of an acknowledgement under way that didn't happen when Secretary Don Rumsfeld was in charge.
You get a sense that Secretary Gates is willing to entertain increasing the size of the Army on his own initiative, not having to have it forced down his throat by Congress, which was the case of Secretary Rumsfeld. And the budget for the Army in Fiscal '08 is slated to go way up.
ROBERTS: You say, Mark, that the modern American Army is not molded for this type of war. It's molded mostly for peacetime activity with short, what you call, spasms of violence in areas overseas. Not for a prolonged guerrilla war.
So if the Army is not molded to fight this type of war, can they prevail without it taking a dramatic toll on them?
THOMPSON: Well, I mean, the way the military used to think was like this. If we can do the big war, if we can do the spasm of all- out war, we can do all of these lesser included contingencies. That is what they used to call it.
But they're finding out that that's really not true. And you've got to remember that the 100-hour ground war in Gulf War One sort of got people thinking, hey, we can do this stuff pretty quick and pretty cheaply.
And then Afghanistan actually reinforced that tendency.
But the third time was not the charm when it went into Iraq -- and in this war, it just didn't work and now we're paying the price.
ROBERTS: The article is called the "The Broken Down Army." Mark Thompson, of "TIME" magazine, great article. Thanks for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.
THOMPSON: Thank you, John.
ROBERTS: The Army is making its recruiting targets, by the way, but only because it is accepting less-qualified people.
Here's the raw data on that. Last year 81 percent of recruits had high school diplomas. That compares with 94 percent in 2003. And the Army has raised the maximum enlistment age from 35 to 42. However, 12 percent of recruits over the age of 35 drop out within six months.
Getting creative with resumes. Everyone does it, including presidential candidates. That's ahead in "Raw Politics."
Also tonight, pets in danger. The recall. The questions. Was it really accidental? We're keeping them honest, when 360 continues.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: So what does Mitt Romney have in common with Elmer Fudd? Bugs, Daffy, pay attention. Candy Crowley bagged the answer in tonight's edition of "Raw Politics."
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it is an axiom of politics that there's only one way to win the hearts of rural America, which brings us to Mitt Romney in hunting happy New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CANDIDATE: I've been a hunter pretty much all of my life. I never really shot anything terribly big.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CROWLEY: Actually, he's never shot anything much. Romney's campaign admits the 60-year-old presidential nominee has been hunting twice: over a summer in Idaho, when he was a lad of 15; and last year, which if you look at it one way is pretty much all his life.
In not so much a coincidence, John McCain put out a press release listing the New Hampshire sportsmen who support him. For the record, John McCain fishes.
So pop the popcorn, call the kids into the den, and move over, Sanjaya, the Democratic National Committee says it will sanction six presidential primary debates -- one a month beginning in July. The most relieved people in America tonight are the candidates, who received dozens of debate invites and can't say no for fear of alienating somebody.
Do the crime, serve the time, and then vote: The state of Florida has decided to make it easier for some ex-felons to regain their voting rights. The felon vote is not usually a front burner item, but it came to the fore in 2000 when some law-abiding citizens were thrown off the voter rolls because the prison database in Florida was riddled with errors.
In the 24 hours since Barack Obama announced his $25 million haul so far this year, he brought in almost a half-million more on the Internet. In politics, money begets money.
And that's "Raw Politics" -- John. ROBERTS: Candy, back to the money issue for a second -- there are some complaints about a new John Edwards fundraising tactic. What are people upset about?
CROWLEY: Well, they are upset about the fact that you can go on the John Edwards's campaign Website, and there's a spot where you can send a letter of sympathy to Elizabeth Edwards for the reoccurrence of her cancer. What happens here, however, is in order to do that you have to put in your e-mail address. It turn, the campaign has then used those e-mail addresses for soliciting funds, and that's been the source of the complaints. Now, the Edwards's campaign says it will now give an opt out for putting your e-mail address in and having it used in that way.
ROBERTS: And getting dinged, they say, for cashing in off of his wife's cancer.
CROWLEY: Yes, absolutely.
ROBERTS: Candy Crowley, thanks very much.
ROBERTS: Good episode of "Raw Politics" tonight. I appreciate it.
And if the appetizer is raw politics, tonight we've also got the perfect entree for you: advice on which foods and drinks will make you "Fit or fat."
That's coming up and so is this.
(voice-over): Words you should never hear at hospital:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRACY SPIVEY, WIFE OF PATIENT: All I heard was the surgeon yell very loudly to call 911.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And were you stunned that, here you are in a hospital, and they're calling 911?
SPIVEY: All I can remember saying is looking at him and saying, "You've got to be kidding."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: No kidding. And it could happen to you.
Also tonight, a 360 exclusive: Was the toxic pet food ingredient put there deliberately to make this company richer? An FDA expert speaks out, but only to 360 -- next.
ROBERTS: The Senate will soon take up the deadly pet food recall. One lawmaker called the FDA's response to this growing controversy - quote - "tragically slow." That's just part of the story. We are also looking into why cats and dogs are were put at risk.
And our search for answers takes a troubling turn tonight. CNN's Joe Johns is keeping them honest.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The day would end with the provocative question: Was the pet food accidentally contaminated or was it deliberate? But it began with another recall -- this time, an Alabama company that makes dog biscuits. It received some of the wheat gluten containing a chemical known as melamine, suspected of be being toxic to dogs and cats.
The FDA said recall of the products manufactured by Sunshine Mills pet food company was delayed because Sunshine apparently got its Chinese wheat gluten from a middleman distributor that had purchased the wheat gluten from another U.S. supplier, a company called ChemNutra.
DR. STEPHEN SUNDLOF, FDA: So it was a little circuitous route, took us a little longer to trace that all down. But now we believe that we've accounted for all of the wheat gluten that came from China, that shipment that is high in melamine, that we've accounted for all of it that has come into this country. And, by the way, it all went into pet food.
JOHNS: Meaning it did not enter the human food supply chain.
How and where the melamine got into the wheat gluten is still a mystery. But the investigation took a new turn today when the FDA told CNN it is looking into whether there could have been a profit motive for deliberately introducing melamine into the wheat gluten. In other words, it might not have been an accident and may have been about money.
(on camera): That's right, until now, the assumption has been that this was an accidental contamination, because melamine is used in plastics and pesticides and has no business in pet food. However, the chemical could potentially be used to raise protein levels in the gluten, which could increase the price or make it easier to sell.
SUNDLOF: That's one of the theories that we have; in fact, that's one of the ones that we are pursuing, because, as you indicated, adding something that would increase the protein content of the wheat gluten would make it more valuable. So that's a distinct possibility, but it's only one theory at this time.
JOHNS (voice-over): All of the companies, including the company in China, have denied adding melamine to the wheat gluten in the pet food. The FDA also reported that the number of pet food complaints it's received since the start of the scare is now at 12,000, the volume it would normally get over a two-year period. In announcing the latest recall, Sunshine Mills said no dog illnesses or deaths have been traced to its dog biscuits, which contain one percent or less of wheat gluten.
Pet owners aren't the only ones watching. Plans for a hearings in the Senate have now firmed up.
SEN. RICHARD DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: What has happened over last several weeks is unacceptable. What we have found is a threat to the lives of pets -- dogs and cats -- across America. A threat that should have been minimized and maybe even avoided.
JOHNS: When asked whether the worst is over, the FDA says it thinks so. The number of dead pets as a result of all of this remains unclear. Officially, FDA only confirms 16, though the real number is likely to be much higher.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
ROBERTS: Information about this story is changing every day. For the latest list of pet food recalled, go to the FDA's Website. That address: www.fda.gov. - gov. Again, www. fda.gov.
Up next, a 911 call is supposed to get you to the hospital. But when we come back, see why some hospital workers are now calling 911 to get patients out, when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: You would think that all hospitals would have a doctor in the house, at all times, in case of emergency. But some small, specialized, for-profit hospitals are cutting costs by cutting staff. Then, believe it or not, counting on 911 to save the day when things go wrong.
CNN's Gary Tuchman's got the report.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Steve Spivey's father, his mother, and wife. What they went through when Steve was in the hospital was harrowing.
TRACY SPIVEY, WIFE OF PATIENT: He was panicking, very scared. I had never seen that kind of fear in his eyes, ever.
TUCHMAN: Steve Spivey, a father of three, was in this Abilene, Texas, hospital for neck surgery after a truck accident. The operation seemed to go well. But the 44-year-old started to choke that night. His wife was at his side.
SPIVEY: Nurses felt like he was just having a panic attack. And the last words he said were, "No, I'm in trouble." TUCHMAN: The hospital Spivey was in is one of 140 in the country owned by the physicians who work there. But all of the doctors had gone home for the day when Steve lost the ability to breathe.
SPIVEY: His eyes were bright green, and they turned very dark; his face turned dark; and he grasped my hands and shook like this; and looked me in my eyes; and then closed his eyes and went out. That was his last breath.
TUCHMAN: Tracy Spivey kept yelling to call a doctor. But in the meantime, incredibly, she says she performed CPR by herself for 15 minutes.
SPIVEY: There was no pulse. I checked, you know, three different places for pulse and could find none. And I told him, "We have no pulse." And one of the nurses said, "What's wrong? What's happening?" I said, "He's dying."
TUCHMAN: About two hours after Steve started gagging, the surgeon arrived.
SPIVEY: All I heard was the surgeon yell, very loudly, to call 911.
TUCHMAN (on camera): And were you stunned that, here you are in a hospital, and they're calling 911?
SPIVEY: All I can remember saying is -- looking at him and saying, "You've got to be kidding."
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Steve Spivey was pronounced dead at a different hospital. This week, Tracy went back to the hospital, with her attorney, as they met with the hospital lawyer in preparation for a likely lawsuit.
DARRELL KEITH, SPIVEY FAMILY ATTORNEY: I look forward to being their champion.
TUCHMAN: Darrell Keith is her lawyer.
KEITH: Well, I think that the physician-owned hospitals, as a general rule, tend to be more, you know, profit driven than patient safety driven.
TUCHMAN (on camera): After the death of Steve Spivey, the federal government decided to no longer allow the use of Medicare at the hospital, and now the facility is shut down.
(voice-over): The hospital's CEO did not want to go on camera, but did tell us, "911 is a last resort." In Mr. Spivey's case, "we were trying to get the patient to a higher level of care." He also said that the facility may reopen someday in a different form.
At another physician-owned hospital, in Arlington, Texas...
GREG WEISS, USMD HOSPITAL AT ARLINGTON: If we treat every patient like a family member, the patients will want to come here, the referring doctors will want to refer here...
TUCHMAN: ... doctors are in the facility around the clock. The physicians here at USMD reject the broad-brushed criticism they hear about doctors owning hospitals and have immense pride if their facility.
DR. JOHN HOUSE, PHYSICIAN OWNER, USMD HOSPITAL: We want a place where we can take care of our patients the way that we want to take care of our family members, and we have the ability to do that by owning and controlling our own facility.
TUCHMAN: But some members of Congress want to take a closer look at how these types of hospitals are regulated.
REP. PETE STARK (D), CALIFORNIA: The hospitals are often second- rate, sometimes illegal. And it takes profitable business away from community hospitals.
TUCHMAN: Tracy Spivey still has nightmares about when she told her 10-year-old daughter the horrifying news.
SPIVEY: I just pulled her in my lap and held her, and I told her I needed her to be real strong, and I said, "Baby girl, our daddy got very sick, and our daddy's not coming home."
TUCHMAN: Tracy still can't believe a hospital had to dial 911.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Abilene, Texas.
ROBERTS: Well, for more on this troubling practice, earlier tonight I spoke with 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, when you first hear about this circumstance, it might sound a little bit nuts to you. How common is it that hospitals call 911? And why would it be necessary in the first place?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well you know, John, as you probably know, there are several different levels of trauma care in hospitals - you have level three, level two, level one, for example. Level one is typically when you have surgeons on call, operating rooms standing by, blood available -- take care of any kind of situation, whether it be a trauma or something else. So if you're someone at a trauma-one center, unlikely to ever call 911.
But if you are at one of these smaller hospitals or a specialty hospital, it is a little bit more common. A lot of times, in fact, you have to activate the municipal ambulance, so that requires calling 911. Some of those smaller hospitals also have their own ambulances fleets. So if someone becomes sick or becomes - you know, needs emergency services - they will actually take them by their own ambulance.
What is required, John, by all hospitals, regardless of the size, is basic emergency care. That needs to be provided at scene, and then a transfer might be able to take place.
ROBERTS: But what services do these small, doctor-owned hospitals perform or provide? And are we seeing more of them these days?
GUPTA: Yes, we are seeing more of them these days. There was a moratorium up until a couple of years ago. In 2005, that moratorium was lifted. They became popular, John. I think a lot of specialists - orthopedic surgeons, other types of specialists -- will say, You know what? We want to have some control over the place that we work. They'll actually buy into the hospital, they'll actually own part of the hospital, and that's part of the incentive for them.
Also, just from an outcome standpoint, surgeons who perform the same operation or similar types of operations over and over again do have better outcomes. This was from a "New England Journal of Medicine" study not that long ago. For example, cardiac surgery, 1.2 to two times higher death rate if less than 40 operations are performed over two years. They also had another thing with cancer screening, as well -- cancer surgeons, that is -- 1.2 to about 3.6 times higher death rate if less than 162 operations. So you are able to correlate some of this, John, with regards to outcome.
The downside, of course, is what you saw here in Gary's piece. I mean, sometimes they're so focused on replacing hips or doing hernias that they don't do as much of the emergency care service if a complication should arise.
ROBERTS: So if your doctor says, We want you to go to one of the specialized surgical hospitals for a procedure, what should you can ask about to make sure they have got what it takes to treat you properly in case there is a problem?
GUPTA: You know, John, it's funny, when I was a - when I was first starting my surgical training, one of the pieces of advice one of my mentors gave to me was "never perform an operation in which you can't handle any possible complication that might arise." I think that was good advice. I always kept that with me whenever I'm starting an operation. When any specialist is starting an operation, they should able to take care of all of those complications. So that is something you might want to ask your doctor: Can you take care of anything that might arise?
But there's other things, as well. Do they have, for example, 24-hour physicians -- always there, somebody standing by -- unlike the situation in Gary's piece where there was no doctor in the hospital at that time. Also full lab -- you need to be able to check these things immediately; basic ER equipment; trained personnel need to be there, as well. These are some things -- you know, the drugs, the medications. They need to have an extensive pharmacy. You have got to make sure to get those, and anesthesiologists. John, if someone's got to go back to the operating room and an anesthesiologist isn't available, you could see the problem. And, obviously, this transfer arrangement that's in this piece, it needs to be preexisting. Where is the patient going to go if there is a problem? That needs to be set up ahead of time.
ROBERTS: All good advice -- Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our 360 M.D. -- as always, thanks.
And we will see you back a little bit later on this hour for another round of "Fit or Fat?"
GUPTA: Thanks, John.
ROBERTS: Speaking of that, in "Fit or Fat" tonight, tips on healthy eating. For starters, what's more important -- lunch or breakfast or both? What you need to know, when 360 continues.
ROBERTS: We all love a good fitness shortcut - you know, those dreams of an easy diet or pain-free exercise. But not all shortcuts actually lead to better health, surprisingly enough.
Joining us again is 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta, here to answer your questions about what works and what doesn't, is a segment that we call "Fit or Fat?"
Are you ready to go?
GUPTA: I'm Ready to go.
ROBERTS: OK, our first question comes from Maritza (ph) in San Jose, California. She writes: "With all of the recent products out there on the market that claim to be 'healthy antioxidants,' such as green tea, do they really have a positive effect on the body?"
So, Sanjay, green tea -- fit or fat?
GUPTA: I'm going to give that one fit.
You're in luck there, Maritza (ph).
You know, it's interesting, there are lots of different antioxidant properties out there. Green tea is one of the good ones. It has a compound in it, called EGCG, and it really works well. These antioxidants basically scrub away these free radicals in your body.
One caveat, though, here is that you really should try and get your antioxidants from substances like green tea or foods that are high in antioxidants. Supplements don't seem to work as well. Something gets lost, John, in the transfer of antioxidants from food, which could have it naturally, to supplements. So stick with the food. Green tea is a good bet.
ROBERTS: You mean, something happens to them when they process them and mush them and crush them into little pills and freeze dry them?
ROBERTS: I can't figure that out.
GUPTA: And we still spend $4 billion a year on them.
ROBERTS: Hey, our next question comes from Trish (ph) in Minneapolis. She writes: "I eat a nutritious breakfast and dinner, but I don't have lunch."
Fit or fat?
GUPTA: Boy, that's a tough one. We're going to -- unfortunately, we're going to give you fat on that one. You may have heard us talk before about the fact that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Mom was right on that one. But here's the reason why: It really cuts down on the number of calories you consume for the rest of the day. So breakfast is really good -- a good weight loss tool, as well.
Lunch is also very good -- not quite as good as breakfast, but if you don't eat lunch, you're probably going to eat a much bigger dinner. That's going to raise your insulin levels, which stores fat; it's also going to raise your glucose levels, as well. You want to keep trying to keep those things level. Unfortunately, fat on that one, John.
ROBERTS: Frequent, small meals, I've heard, are good.
GUPTA: That's right. Exactly.
ROBERTS: OK, the next question, Sanjay: Althea (ph) in Woods Cross, Utah. She writes: "I don't have a regular workout routine, but I am a stay at home mom. I clean the house, and I garden regularly. I also take care of two small children."
Obviously, doing a lot of running around the house -- fit or fat?
GUPTA: Boy, I'm definitely going to give you fit on this one. We talk a lot about exercise; we talk a lot about the need for it -- people say 30 to 60 minutes. Important, but more important than that is finding something that you can actually stick with. And being a mom, as I recently have found out, John, can be a lot of work. In fact, our friends at Revolution Health actually put together a little calculator to give people an idea of how many calories they burn with various things. So gardening for example - Althea (ph), you'll like this -- 373 calories an hour; housework, 211 calories as an hour. Not bad. I mean, if you're doing this all day, you're burning a lot of calories, so keep up the good work. If you can squeeze in some exercise as well, that's always better, as well.
ROBERTS: Sanjay, thanks for all that. We will see you next time -- appreciate it.
GUPTA: No problem, sir - thank you.
ROBERTS: Don't go away. We have got a few more degrees of 360 coming right up.
ROBERTS: Tomorrow on "AMERICA MORNING," are you safe in your own kitchen?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREG HUNTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Watch how little pressure it takes to bring it all down.
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ROBERTS: Oops. The dangers of stove tipping: "AMERICAN MORNING'S" Greg Hunter explains what you can do to keep your family safe. Tomorrow, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Eastern. The most news in the morning is on CNN.
And that's it tonight for 360. For Anderson Cooper, I'm John Roberts. Thanks for watching. I'll see you again tomorrow night.
"LARRY KING LIVE" is coming up next, hosted tonight by Dr. Phil McGraw.
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