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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Gonzales Under Fire: Did he Lie?; Clinton vs. Obama; Deadly Home Invasion: Family Terror; Surgery Nightmare; Inside Dog Fighting

Aired July 26, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: ... said I don't recall or had to or had to explain why some of his statements contradict one another.
Now Democrats are challenging his sworn testimony outright, and so, it seems, is the head of the FBI.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): The attorney general swears he's telling the truth, but today FBI Director Robert Mueller told a different story.

Mueller was testifying about a late-night 2004 visit to former Attorney General John Ashcroft recovering from surgery in the hospital.

Gonzales, then White House counsel, testified on Tuesday that the visit had nothing to do with the administration's highly controversial domestic spy program.

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The reason for the visit to the hospital, Senator, was about other intelligence activities. It was not about the terrorist surveillance program that the president announced to the American people.

COOPER: This afternoon, Mueller seemed to say otherwise when he didn't back up his boss.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D), TEXAS: Would I be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part of the discussion?

ROBERT MUELLER, FBI DIRECTOR: The discussion was on a national -- an NSA program that has been much discussed, yes.

COOPER: The White House denied there was a conflict between their stories, saying the nation's top two law enforcement officials were talking about two different things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SITUATION ROOM")

TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Does Bob Mueller once use the phrase "terrorist surveillance program?"

I'll save you the wait. The answer is no. He talks about an NSA program.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Gonzales took another hit today. Four leading Democrats demanded a presidential prosecutor investigate if Gonzales committed perjury.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The attorney general took an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Instead, he tells the half-truth, the partial truth, and everything but the truth.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: I have never seen an attorney so contemptuous of Congress and his role as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States.

COOPER: Democrats say Gonzales has lied to Congress before, repeatedly. On the firing of federal prosecutors, Gonzales testified he did not talk to his aides about an inquiry into the firings.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, APRIL 19)

GONZALES: I haven't talked to witnesses because of the fact that I haven't wanted to interfere with this investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: However, one former top aide says he did.

MONICA GOODLING, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT COUNSELOR: He laid out for me his recollection of...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Recollection of what, Ms. Goodling?

GOODLING: Of some of the process. And I just thought maybe we shouldn't have that conversation.

COOPER: Lawmakers in both parties have also been frustrated by the attorney general's numerous claims that he couldn't remember key details in other controversies.

GONZALES: I have no specific recollection about the amount of time that...

I don't recall.

COOPER: While the Democrats are on the attack, Republican lawmakers are keeping their distance, none speaking today in support of Gonzales.

One top Republican did try to put the brakes on Democrats.

SEN. ARLEN SPECTER (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Do I support Senator Schumer's request for a special prosecutor? No. I think that Senator Schumer has made a practice of politicizing this matter.

COOPER: But Senator Specter told reporters that the Gonzales hearings have been devastating and that the president is keeping him out of loyalty.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): Jeffrey Toobin is both CNN senior legal analyst and a former Justice Department employee. He joins me now.

How bad is this, that you now have Robert Mueller seemingly contradicting what Gonzales said?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: You know, it's our job to be jaded and not to be shocked. But I'm shocked.

I mean, this is such an appalling set of circumstances. And the Justice Department is full of the most honorable, decent, skilled lawyers in the country. And to be led by someone who is so repudiated by members of both parties is, frankly, just shocking.

COOPER: What is -- essentially, what has he done? I mean, what -- for the people who aren't following this very closely, for those who aren't, explain what is happening.

TOOBIN: Well, the gist of it is this, is that, several months ago, he was asked about the surveillance program.

Was this controversial at all? I mean, was this something that you and the Justice Department were -- were concerned about and people in the White House?

He said, no, there was never any controversy.

OK. That passed. Then, several months ago, James Comey, the former deputy attorney general, told this extraordinary story of Alberto Gonzales, who was then White House counsel, coming to John Ashcroft's sickbed, trying to get him to sign something over this, where large numbers of Justice Department officials were threatening to resign over the controversy, showing, of course, that this was hugely controversial.

So, this week, what happened was, the Senators said, well, what do you mean? How could you say it was uncontroversial, when there was this gigantic controversy? And Gonzales said, oh, no, no, no, we're talking about two different programs. One was controversial. One wasn't.

But Mueller said today it was all just one program, and Gonzales, by implication, is not telling the truth.

COOPER: The White House says, look, this is dealing with classified information. You have to be careful about how you talk about it, and this is just a confusion. They're talking about different things.

But that doesn't seem to be the case.

TOOBIN: It just doesn't -- I mean, yes, that is true. You have to be careful with classified information. But Mueller didn't seem confused. No one seems confused, except Alberto Gonzales.

COOPER: And is -- is work being done at the Justice Department? Are they achieving things?

TOOBIN: Absolutely.

I mean, certainly, the U.S. attorneys' offices go about their business as usual. But the central Justice Department, main Justice, as it's called, in terms of bringing forth legislation, anything that involves Congress, that's totally dead on arrival, because their spokesman, their leader, has zero credibility.

COOPER: And President Bush stays out of loyalty -- stays -- hold on to him?

TOOBIN: Stays out of loyalty, says the whole thing is politics.

And Senator Specter is right that Senator Schumer has tried to politicize this. But the fact remains, he's tried to politicize it because the record is so appalling on Gonzales.

COOPER: And as long as the president, though, stays -- stands by his man, that's it?

TOOBIN: That's it, although, I mean, the -- the number three man in the Justice Department, Paul Clement, is now going to have a rather difficult choice of deciding whether to appoint a special prosecutor.

You recall that the "Scooter" Libby case was brought forward by a special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald. So, the question is whether to appoint one. And, if one is appointed, I don't see how Gonzales can be attorney general and the subject of a criminal investigation at the same time.

COOPER: Fascinating.

Jeffrey Toobin, thanks.

Here is another battle heating up on the campaign trail. This one is between the top two Democratic presidential contenders. It began at Monday's CNN/YouTube debate. It caught fire yesterday and became a firestorm today when Senator Hillary Clinton kicked it up a notch during an interview with CNN's John King.

Here's his report starting at the dawn of a rough-and-tumble political day.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Early morning in New Hampshire, Barack Obama serves notice he isn't about to back down.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's no longer sufficient for us to trot out the old formulas, the old tired phrases. If we want fundamental change, then we can't be afraid to talk to our enemies.

KING: Then, he ups the ante in a Democratic campaign turned suddenly raw, comparing Hillary Clinton to the president and vice president Democrats love to hate.

OBAMA: I don't want a continuation of Bush/Cheney. I don't want Bush/Cheney-lite. I want a fundamental change.

KING: It was pointed, personal, and guaranteed to draw a return fire.

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is getting kind of silly. You know, I have been called a lot of things in my life, but I have never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney, certainly.

You know, you have to ask, what's ever happened to the politics of hope?

KING: Team Clinton suggests Obama is abandoning his promise of a new polite brand of politics, because being nice hasn't sliced into the front-runner's healthy lead in the polls.

Whatever the reason, this dust-up has turned the Democratic contest caustic -- Mrs. Clinton suggesting her challenger is naive about the ways of the world.

CLINTON: But I don't want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing in to meetings with the likes of Chavez and Castro and Ahmadinejad.

KING: Obama firing back that everyday Americans want to rewrite the way Washington does business.

OBAMA: I'm not afraid of losing the P.R. war to dictators. I'm happy to look them in the eye and say what needs to be said.

KING: It all began at CNN/YouTube debate Monday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea?

COOPER: Senator Obama?

OBAMA: I would.

COOPER: Senator Clinton?

CLINTON: Well, I will not promise to meet with the leaders of these countries during my first year. I will promise...

KING: The Clinton camp promoted the exchange as a clear smack down that suggested the 45-year-old Obama did not understand that making such a promise up front would undermine U.S. leverage in any sensitive diplomacy.

But, when asked directly Thursday if Obama lacks the necessary experience to be president, Mrs. Clinton was more careful.

CLINTON: Well, the voters are going to have to draw those conclusions. Where we disagree, I think, it's fair to draw that difference.

KING: It's also fair to say the tensions are mounting, and, at least for now, forget all that water cooler talk of a Clinton/Obama or an Obama/Clinton ticket.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: John King joins us now from Washington.

What does Senator Obama want out of this dust-up?

KING (on camera): Well, Anderson, it is risky to go after Hillary Clinton. She is very popular among Democratic voters, even those who say they might not necessarily support her. So, this is risky for Obama.

But this is what he wants out of it. He wants to convince voters first in the Democratic primary and then independent voters that Hillary Clinton is not change. The biggest dynamic in this election is change. And what he wants to say is that she may be a Democrat, but she's wedded to those same old Washington ways of doing business, as the foreign policy establishment, as George Bush and Dick Cheney.

And that is his big hope in this campaign, to create a dynamic that, if you vote for Hillary Clinton, you're not getting change. That is his hope in what is a risky dust-up.

COOPER: What about Senator Clinton? I mean, she's the frontrunner. Isn't there a risk into getting into a rough-and-tumble at this point in the race?

KING: Absolutely, there is, because some people view her as cold and calculating, as political.

Here's what she wants out of this. The big Obama dynamic is that he is new, that he's different, that he doesn't play by the old dirty rules of politics.

If a week from now, two weeks from now, people look at Barack Obama and say, he's just another politician because of this, Hillary Clinton will be quite happy with the outcome.

COOPER: It's interesting, though, because, at the end of the debate, they all had a moment where they could say something about the other that they didn't like. And it was Hillary Clinton's opportunity to say something about Barack Obama. She said nothing about this. It wasn't until the next day that her campaign put out this stuff saying he was naive and all this.

KING: It was after the debate when they started to think about it. Her campaign tried to seize on it during the debate, but after, when they all got around to it.

And then the campaign -- Camp Clinton would say they are a little surprised that Obama has wanted to keep this dust-up going. And once you're into this fight, Obama certainly can't back down, because one of the questions about him is experience, and a subset of that is toughness. And Mrs. Clinton seems determined to keep this going as well. It is quite surprising and it's pretty raw.

COOPER: Interesting.

John King, thanks.

KING: Thank you.

COOPER: Raw, indeed.

While the two candidates bicker, their bankrolls are getting bigger. Here's the "Raw Data."

As of tonight, Senator Clinton has raised more than $63 million. Senator Obama is right behind with nearly $59 million. By way of comparison, John Edwards, who is in a distant third place, more than $23 million. And, on the far end, just by comparison, Mike Gravel has raised $238,000 in cash.

Straight ahead tonight, what we're learning about the two men charged with invading a home and turning it into a killing ground.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): Capital charges, new details. What investigators are learning about the pair of career criminals now facing death after a brutal and baffling act of murder and mayhem. We'll have the latest.

Plus, a waking nightmare.

ERIN COOK, EXPERIENCED ANESTHESIA AWARENESS: I just kept praying, God, please, just knock me out. Just knock me out. Let somebody know that this hurts so bad.

COOPER: Anesthesia awareness. You can't move. You can't talk, but you can see and hear and feel the pain of surgery. A device could prevent this. So, why does only one in five operating rooms use it? We're "Keeping them Honest," tonight on 360.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER (on camera): We learned tonight that the two men accused of killing a mother and her two daughters in a home invasion in Connecticut -- in Connecticut will be charged with capital murder.

Now, if convicted, they could face the death penalty. The defendants are career criminals, arrested dozens of times both in and out of prison.

And, tonight, we have new details about their lives, their pasts, and how their paths crossed.

CNN's Randi Kaye investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky did attack the Petit family, this is where they may have hatched their plan, Silliman halfway house in Hartford, Connecticut, where they lived for four months.

(on camera): Hayes and Komisarjevsky were roommates here, until last November, when the company that runs the halfway house says Hayes tested positive for cocaine. He was immediately sent back to prison.

Komisarjevsky stayed on and completed the program, until he was paroled in March.

(voice-over): Hayes got out of prison two months ago, and they hooked up again.

Bob Pidgeon heads the company that runs Silliman and the residential drug treatment center where the two suspects first met.

(on camera): Was there any sign that this might have been coming?

BOB PIDGEON, CEO, COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS INC.: You always second- guess yourself when something like this happens. What did we miss? Did they do something that would have indicated that somebody could have predicted this? And we went -- we went through the files. We talked to the staff. There was just nothing.

KAYE (voice-over): Pidgeon says the two men worked full-time, but had plenty of free time to hang out together.

(on camera): What have you been able to learn from your staff about them? What were they like?

PIDGEON: They were routine residents, that there wasn't anything particularly noteworthy about them. There was no talk of violence in the house and there were certainly no violent actions taken by either of them while they were in the house.

KAYE (voice-over): Yet, both have long criminal histories. Hayes has been in and out of prison for two decades. His rap sheet includes 27 arrests, including illegal possession of a firearm, burglary, and forgery.

Komisarjevsky's past is just as ugly, 20 arrests for burglary and larceny. And that doesn't even include juvenile crimes. Police say he started robbing homes when he was just 14 and sometimes used night- vision goggles. One sentencing judge called him a cold, calculating predator.

Hayes grew up in Winsted, Connecticut, about 40 miles from the Petits' home, where Jennifer Hawke-Petit and the couple's two daughters were murdered -- Mrs. Petit strangled, the girls left to die in the fire set by their attackers.

Komisarjevsky grew up here, less than two miles from the victims' home.

A source close to the Komisarjevsky family says he was adopted as an infant. His grandfather was a leading Russian theatrical director and the son of a princess; his grandmother, a well-known modern dancer. That same source says his parents, born-again Christians, had trouble controlling him.

He was home schooled, along with his sister.

In recent months, he's been in a custody fight with an ex- girlfriend over their 5-year-old daughter.

We tried to talk to Komisarjevsky's parents, but nobody answered the door.

His uncle, Chris Komisarjevsky, released this statement: "The crime and the murder of members of the Petit family in Cheshire are horrible. It was a monstrous, deranged act, beyond comprehension. We cannot and will not condone anything the accused have done. Justice needs to take place."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Randi joins us live now from Cheshire, Connecticut.

Randi, you have learned some new information about what the suspects may have been doing within hours of the attack of the Petit home.

What -- what have you learned?

KAYE (on camera): That's right, Anderson.

We have learned that police are investigating -- at least, there are reports tonight that police are investigating these two men in two other burglaries in the same neighborhood, Anderson, within just 24 hours of the attack on the Petit family.

We're also learning that those families, too, were at home asleep with their young children. In one case, we're -- we're being told that the -- a carving knife was left on a table. In another case, a picture of the family was taken -- one of those families reportedly saying tonight that we were just one family away from being the family.

Police are not commenting on this -- Anderson.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

Randi Kaye, thanks for that.

Up next, in "Raw Politics," the presidential race meets "The Simpsons." Trust us, you will -- you will want to see this.

Also ahead, one of the NFL's biggest stars has his day in court. Michael Vick faces a judge, a lot of boos from the crowd, and dog fighting charges.

And the bizarre story and dramatic video behind this police chase and fiery crash, ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were all polite smiles at our CNN/YouTube on Monday. But, as John King reported earlier, they have traded those smiles for some sparring with gloves are off.

That is not the only action, however, on the campaign trail.

CNN's Tom Foreman is in Washington with another serving of "Raw Politics" -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Anderson, they're trying to turn this thing into a barnyard brawl, the frontrunners are. But, in the meantime, John Edwards is out on his tractor harvesting headlines.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN (voice-over): The early caucus state of Iowa, promising a bumper crop of tax reforms. For the middle class, he wants incentives to help families save money. For the rich folks -- he's one of them, by the way -- a higher tax on capital gains and a repeal of the Bush tax cuts.

JOHN EDWARDS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is time for us to restore some fairness to this tax code. It's been driven completely out of whack by the lobbyists in Washington, by the powerful interests in Washington, and by those who value the few above the interests of the many.

FOREMAN: Meanwhile, at the White House summer camp, new British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is joining President Bush at Camp David early next week to play volleyball, kayak, and, oh, yes, talk about the war. Forecast expected to be chilly compared to the cozy days Mr. Bush shared with Tony Blair.

Held up in summer school. Congress is slapping a subpoena on White House Yoda Karl Rove. Dems want to know what he knows about the firings of those U.S. attorneys.

Yes, and people in hell want ice water. Bet on it. Rove won't talk.

Sermon on the Mountain questions. Mitt Romney tells the AP he is planning a speech about his Mormon faith.

And talking to Homer. Chris Dodd has had his picture "Simpsonized" on his MySpace page. Take a peak. Why, even Marge could love a man who looks like that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOREMAN: Well, you know, Dodd is not doing so well in the polls, but if his presidential bid fails, maybe he can run for mayor of Springfield, Anderson. You never know.

You know what his slogan would be? Mmm, doughnuts.

COOPER: That might work.

FOREMAN: Before you go, though, what if you had to go cover that campaign and you were "Simpsonized?" I think you would look like this.

COOPER: Oh, yeah?

Well, we "Simpsonized" you, Tom.

FOREMAN: Oh, no. You couldn't have done that.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: So, yes, let's take a look. Yes, we did.

Let's take a look..

FOREMAN: Really?

COOPER: ... at the "Simpsons" version of Tom Foreman. There it is.

FOREMAN: Oh. That's very interesting. Well, that doesn't...

COOPER: That's pretty good.

FOREMAN: That doesn't look anything like me, because, as you see, I'm not wearing glasses.

COOPER: Well, you are wearing a red tie and a -- that's pretty bizarre.

All right.

FOREMAN: And the hair is exactly spot on.

COOPER: Tom, thanks.

The Republican candidates are gearing up for our next YouTube debate. So, start shooting your videos. It happens September 17 right here on CNN. For the details, you can also just go to YouTube.com to figure out how to submit a video.

Now, a check of the day's other headlines, Erica Hill has the 360 bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in a court appearance today, Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick pleading not guilty to dog fighting charges. A trial date has been set for November 26. Last week, a grand jury in Virginia charged Vick and three others with organizing bloody dogfights on property owned by Vick, one of pro football's highest-profile, highest-paid players.

Disturbing discovery by NASA. Today, the space agency reporting an act of sabotage on a computer that is supposed to fly aboard the Shuttle Endeavor in less than two weeks. An unidentified worker employed by a subcontractor apparently cut wires inside that computer. Now, NASA declined to discuss motive and said the damage would not have posed any danger to the shuttle, nor to space station astronauts. It hopes to get that computer fixed and launch as planned.

And the Atlanta lawyer who launched an international health scare, back in Georgia tonight. Andrew Speaker, released from the Denver hospital where he was treated for multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis. Just over a week ago, surgeons removed part of his lung. He is not completely cured. He's going to have to take antibiotics for roughly the next two years. But the good news, doctors say he is no longer contagious -- Anderson.

COOPER: And no doubt facing a lot of legal troubles in the months ahead.

HILL: That is very possible. Good thing he's a lawyer.

COOPER: Yes, probably so.

HILL: All right, moving now to the "What Were They Thinking?" Just some wild police car dash-cam video we're going to show you. It's from a Florida cop. He's trying to pull over an SUV. It was a routine DUI stop, until -- you know, here we go.

First, the driver appears to be cooperating. Then he jumped a curb, takes off spinning, as you saw right there, basically spinning out of control at one point. Well, the guy gets away. You can see the cop here on the video is following him and then spots this. It turns out it's that same SUV engulfed in flames.

The guy had crashed into a brick wall and some trees, an 18-year- old behind the wheel. He was trapped inside. But the driver didn't think twice, jumping out of his car, tried to pull the guy out of the burning SUV. And listen to their frantic exchange.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on! Hurry up!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My right ankle...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You need help! You're going to burn to death! Come on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm trying!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's burning now! Come on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, I'm out, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: It's just wild.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

HILL: Somehow, the cop did manage to get the driver to safety.

And get this, the young man suffering no serious injuries in a burning car like that.

COOPER: Unbelievable.

You know, there's something else that I got to tell you about this story. I don't know if you have seen this. It's sort of along the lines of "What Were They Thinking?" This is a look at a local reporter who covered this crash and rescue who delivers probably one of the most, well, I guess, memorable stand-ups we have ever seen. Take a look.

HILL: Hmm.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... saw what was going on, Officer Christmas (ph) didn't hesitate, jumping out of his patrol car and going straight for the burning vehicle. And when he got to that burning SUV ...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: ... he's basically (UNINTELLIGIBLE) this whole thing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... at this tree, he knew he had to get the driver out right away. Just listen to the frantic exchange.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Good thing he's in shape. I mean, that could really take a lot out of you.

You know what, though?

COOPER: Yes?

HILL: Giving Rick Sanchez a run for his money.

COOPER: This guy takes action news seriously. You know what I mean?

HILL: Indeed, he does.

COOPER: Full-on action news.

Erica, thanks.

COOPER: Well, the Michael -- the Michael Vick story that Erica mentioned has a lot of people talking about dog fighting. We wanted to know just how common it is. And it turns out it's happening across the country, almost certainly in a neighborhood near you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): The blood sport around the corner -- 360 takes you inside the hidden world of dog fighting. The numbers are staggering, the details terrifying.

Plus, a waking nightmare.

ERIN COOK, EXPERIENCED ANESTHESIA AWARENESS: I just kept praying, God, please, just knock me out. Just knock me out. Let somebody know that this hurts so bad.

Anesthesia awareness. You can't move. You can't talk, but you can see and hear and feel the pain of surgery. A device could prevent this. So, why does only one in five operating rooms use it? We're "Keeping them Honest," tonight on 360.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A lawsuit in West Virginia is calling attention to a risk of surgery that is not often discussed -- patients who remain wide awake and paralyzed while doctors cut them open. It is excruciatingly painful, as you can imagine. It's also more common than you might think.

Here's the kicker. Doctors have known about this problem for decades. Just three years ago, a widely publicized study showed how often it happens.

Meantime, a victims' group says it has found a simple way to prevent it. The question is, why is it still happening?

"Keeping them Honest" for us tonight, here's CNN's David Mattingly.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We know how it's supposed to work. We go in for surgery, the anesthesiologist puts us to sleep, and then we wake up after the surgery is done.

This is what happens when things go wrong.

TODD WHITLOCK, EXPERIENCED ANESTHESIA AWARENESS: There was a pain -- there was a pain that you cannot deal with.

DIANA TODD, EXPERIENCED ANESTHESIA AWARENESS: It just goes and on and on. And you're screaming inside your head.

MATTINGLY: These former patients went under the knife, but did not go under. They heard, they felt, they remembered everything.

ERIN COOK, EXPERIENCED ANESTHESIA AWARENESS: I just kept praying, God, please just knock me out. Just knock me out. Let somebody know that this hurts so bad.

MATTINGLY: Victims call it anesthesia awareness, a condition that occurs when anesthesia paralyzes the body, but through some error does not render the patient unconscious.

(on camera): A 2004 study estimates it happens to one to two out of every 1,000 patients. That's potentially thousands of people every year who go into surgery and come out with some memory of what happened.

COOK: I was startled awake, because I could feel the doctor cutting me open.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Erin Cook went in to have an ovary removed in March. She emerged with vivid memories of searing pain, feeling trapped in her body, unable to move or speak. The experience left the young mother psychologically scarred and in need of therapy.

COOK: The fear of dying has become something that I live with every day.

MATTINGLY: Victims say they are frequently unable to sleep and filled with anxiety.

In 2006, Sherman Sizemore, a Baptist minister from West Virginia, took his own life after his family claims he was conscious for 16 minutes during abdominal surgery.

(on camera): Have any of you ever thought about suicide?

WHITLOCK: The thought entered our minds when we were there on that table and they were cutting into us with a pain that was beyond description. The first thought comes to your head, Dear God,...

TODD: Take me now.

WHITLOCK: ... come and take me now, because I can't deal with this.

MATTINGLY: A victims' group called the Anesthesia Awareness Campaign says many cases could be prevented by a device in more than half of the nation's O.R.s, a machine that monitors brain activity.

But the largest manufacturer of these devices reports they were used last year in only 17 percent of general anesthesia surgeries.

"Keeping them Honest," we went to the American Society of Anesthesiologists and found that organization stopped short of recommending monitor use, leaving that decision up to the doctor.

(on camera): You say that one case of awareness is too much. Could these devices prevent that one case?

DR. MARK LEMA, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS: That's what we're studying and that's what I'm trying to emphasize, that as a society, as a medical specialty, as medical scientists, we need data to show that.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Society President Mark Lema says his organization is only beginning to study the reliability of brain activity monitors and questions claims that there are thousands of victims a year.

LEMA: We've known this to be a rare side effect of anesthesia since I've trained in the '70s and before that. The incidents that we've seen on reports that have come to the ASA have been maybe a few cases a year.

MATTINGLY: But critics say that's because, historically, anesthesiologists rarely track their patients.

(on camera): Any idea how often an anesthesiologist actually is able to follow up with the patient and ask them, did you have any awareness during that surgery?

LEMA: I can't answer that question.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Anesthesia awareness has been making headlines at least since 1994.

A decade later, an ASA president questioned his own organization's fact gathering. He asked, "Will patients be denied the potential benefits of innovation because of a deadly perfectionism?"

WHITLOCK: What happened to us can't happen to other people.

TODD: Your whole existence becomes that pain that you're in. There's nothing else. It is the total measure of your existence for that time.

MATTINGLY: Before their surgeries, these patients had never heard of anesthesia awareness. Now, they say, there's no escaping it.

David Mattingly, CNN, New York. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: It's hard to believe if you're facing surgery and concern, you should talk to your anesthesiologist and your doctor about your risks and what precautions you can take.

Up next on 360, more on Michael Vick, the NFL star in court today, accused of taking part in dog fighting. You may be surprised at how many people are involved in this gruesome sport. We'll take you inside the secret world, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: As we reported earlier, NFL Michael Vick has pleaded not guilty to the dog fighting charges that have stunned his fans and fellow players. His arrest is shining a light on a blood sport that is thriving across this country, even though it's illegal in every state.

Tonight, CNN's Drew Griffin gives us a rare look inside the shadowy world. Some of the pictures are disturbing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you are watching is a family vacation like none you have ever seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was filmed approximately an hour or so prior to the fight, in a hotel room.

The person filming it is the dog fighter's wife.

GRIFFIN: He's getting himself and his family prepared for the big event that brought them from Richmond, Virginia, to Columbus, Ohio.

The big event is secret, a championship dog fight. The stakes, high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each fighter put up $5,000, winner take all.

GRIFFIN: They also know the loser may be left with a dog that may never recover.

In all, 40 people have come to watch, which, in Ohio, is a felony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's actual business people who will frequent these, street people, and everyone in between. One of the fighters brought his grandkids.

GRIFFIN: All will be arrested when the raid begins. But right now, oblivious to the police gathering outside, the ring is the only attraction.

This undercover detective, who does not want his face shown, has been on 40 raids in the last five years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a largely underground, clandestine activity. People may hear about a dog fight, but you know, they don't think, well, it happens in my community.

GEOFFREY SHANK, U.S. MARSHAL SERVICE: We encountered what we later found out was 13 caged pit bulls. And one of the interview -- people we were interviewing claimed to be called trainer. We put two and two together, realized he was a, quote, unquote, "dog trainer."

We called the local Chicago Police Department. They were fully aware of who this guy was, told us they'd been looking for him for a couple of years.

GRIFFIN: Felons, gang bangers, drug pushers. All have been linked to dog fighting.

In Chicago's public schools, the problem is so extensive, school programs are being developed to try to tell children dog fighting is not OK.

DR. GENE MUELLER, ANTI-CRUELTY SOCIETY: The earliest surveys that we did showed about one in five grammar school children in Chicago were actively participating in dog fighting.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Gene Mueller, the head of Chicago's Anti-Cruelty Society, says inner city dog fights have become entertainment, and the dog owners have become, in many cases, role models.

MUELLER: Kids are certainly involved. Felons, gang members. So we have these felons there who are fighting these dogs, for entertainment, or for gambling.

Somebody has to protect the money. So there's weapons there. And hey, it's an entertainment event, so we better have some drugs there.

GRIFFIN: This pit bull, dropped off for adoption, may have a chance. It has not been used for fighting.

But authorities have little choice when it comes to dogs trained and raised for sport. Usually vicious, they must be put to death.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Chicago.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, thankfully, the dog in this next story ended up safe and sound. But when we come back, see what he went through before somebody caught up with him. That is an airport runway he's on.

Also tonight, these stories.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): She says it killed her husband, a 30-year- old man.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has several different chemicals in it. It has lead, it has cadmium, it has copper. It even has arsenic in it. It is five out of five in terms of how polluted it is, the most polluted that it gets.

COOPER: Toxic water -- drinking water, and a widow's battle against one of the least accountable governments in the world, to clean up a "Planet in Peril".

And he's already on the hot seat for his memory.

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I can't recall.

I don't recall.

I can't recall.

I have no specific recollection.

COOPER: Now the nation's top law officer could be facing a perjury investigation, as well. Details ahead when 360 returns.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: All over the world there are people working to make a difference. And all too often their stories don't get much attention.

So this year, CNN is trying to do something about that. We're trying to shine a spotlight on everyday folks whose passion to a cause is making a big impact. We call them CNN heroes.

And tonight, a woman bringing kids with special needs out of the shadows of a Muslim society and into full lives.

Dina Abdel Wahab is tonight's CNN hero.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DINA ABDEL WAHAB, CNN HERO: I remember when my son was born eight years ago, I didn't hear anything about the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in Egypt.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

There are approximately two million children with special needs in Egypt.

Less than 2 percent of them receive educational services.

(END GRAPHIC)

WAHAB: Very good reading, Ali (ph). We first learned that Ali (ph) had Down's Syndrome when he was three months old. And, of course it took us some time to really learn what to do.

And we did a lot of research. We went to the states and we did some programs for Ali (ph). And it was to my surprise when I went there to see the children with special needs were just integrated into the main school system and they went in the same classroom with the other children.

If it can happen around the world, it should happen here. And this is how really I got things started.

I was absolutely convinced if you want to talk about mainstreaming and if you want to talk about the inclusion of children with special needs, you have to start at the very young age. You need to prepare him academically, you need to prepare him socially.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Approximately 700 toddlers are currently enrolled in The Baby Academy.

Ten percent are children with special needs who are fully integrated with their classmates.

(END GRAPHIC)

WAHAB: It has prepared the children who don't have special needs to be with their peers in the classroom and accept their differences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It has taught us to see disability in a new and different light and to learn how to deal with it in a positive way.

WAHAB: Because it was a new concept in Egypt and because not everybody really understood, can they really be together. We have prepared and opened the doors for them to see things in a different perspective.

(BEGIN GRAPHIC)

Ninety-five percent of special needs graduates from The Baby Academy have been integrated into normal education.

Over the next five years, Dina plans to open 20 centers throughout the Middle East.

(END GRAPHIC)

WAHAB: If you really believe that it is all right for every child to have a proper education and just seeing that there is a shift in mentality now is a plus and is hope for the future and not only for Ali (ph), but for all other children.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: If you'd like to learn more about Dina Abdel Wahab and her school, you can go to CNN.com/Heroes. That's where you can also nominate a hero of your own.

"The Shot of the Day" is coming up. Check out this dog running on an airport runway. It ends OK, but it was scary there for just a few moments.

First, Erica Hill from "HEADLINE NEWS" has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.

HILL: Anderson, a brutal day on Wall Street. The Dow plunging 311 points to close at 13473. That is its biggest point loss of the year. The NASDAQ fell 48. The S&P lost 35 points to end the day at 1042. Investor worries over both housing and credit markets fueled that sell-off.

At the Pentagon, military officials say the Army's secretary expected to recommend a retired three-star general be demoted for providing misleading information about the death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. He is one of six high-ranking Army officers expected to get official reprimands. Tillman was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

According to a new report, NASA astronauts have been allowed to go into space while drunk on at least two occasions. NASA report says the astronauts were allowed to fly even after flight surgeons warned they were so drunk, they actually posed a flight risk. No word on just when those incidents take place. That report, by the way, was done by a health panel set up after the arrest of astronaut Lisa Nowak, who was involved in that love triangle with another astronaut.

And on to Providence, Rhode Island, and Oscar the cat. This is just -- it's a little creepy. He's got a knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die. He curls up next to them in their final hours. And Anderson, he's been accurate in 25 cases.

COOPER: What?

HILL: It's creepy, but I think it's actually kind of sweet. Yes, apparently, the cat -- I actually spoke to one of the doctors earlier today. They adopted this cat. It was maybe six months old. It's two now. And a lot of times they'll come in and they'll find the cat curled up next to a patient who then dies within hours.

COOPER: And that's sweet?

HILL: Well, it is sweet -- no, because the cat goes in and curls up -- it's comforting the patient.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Well, yeah, but how -- how would you feel if you're the patient? The cat just --

(CROSSTALK) HILL: Well, I actually --

COOPER: -- starts to curl up next to you?

HILL: -- well, no, no, no. I asked about that. I asked if people were afraid of the cat, but apparently it's -- it's actually a floor a lot of the patients have terminal dementia, so they don't necessarily know.

COOPER: Uh-huh.

HILL: And apparently it's provided a lot of comfort to a lot of the family members because if they live far away, at least they know that someone was there with their loved one.

COOPER: Interesting.

HILL: Oscar the cat.

COOPER: All right. Let's go from a freaky cat to a frisky dog for our "Shot of the Day."

At Phoenix's sky corporate airport this morning. Stop the jets, there's a --

HILL: Whoa!

COOPER: -- dog on the loose. That's right. Look at that. How close he got.

Airport security workers chased the pooch in vehicles, on foot, and for 30 minutes before he was finally caught. The stray dog was given over to animal control.

HILL: That's a big dog. Do you know what kind of dog that was?

COOPER: I don't. It looks like a Colley maybe?

HILL: That's what I was thinking. A little, like some Lassie action.

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: I don't know. Anyway, well I'll see your dog my friend.

COOPER: Uh-oh.

HILL: And I will raise you a cow chase. That's right! A cow, through the streets of -- hey, that's fantastic. When did that come about?

Dramatic animal video. Now, a cow through the streets of Miami Lakes, Florida. Kind of taking his sweet time, actually. It escaped from a farm on Tuesday. Apparently roamed the streets for more than six hours.

Imagine seeing that guy coming at you.

COOPER: Look how its eyes glow.

HILL: I know.

COOPER: That's a demonic cow.

HILL: It is a demonic cow. We're going to need a new graphic for that -- demonic animal video.

At one point it actually lowered its horns, then apparently charged an officer. They eventually shot it with a tranquilizer.

COOPER: Wow. Well, I just got to see yours and raise you -- our favorite animal chase.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Who could forget -- that's right. The elephants that escaped from the zoo in Seoul, South Korea.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: Oh, yes. I love this one!

COOPER: Sure, it was a couple years ago, but it's an oldie but a goodie. They crashed in the restaurant. The zoo workers, those are the people in cowboy attire at the zoo. The elephant's sort of an a little cowboy attire.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Yes.

HILL: You know, that's probably why they ran away.

COOPER: Probably why. Everyone was just sort of stunned.

HILL: I'm sick of wearing this costume. I'm done with the show.

COOPER: Yes, in the turquoise animal -- in the turquoise cowboy getup.

Not sure what kind of a circus that was at all.

HILL: Belongs in Vegas.

COOPER: Yes. Exactly.

We want you to send us your "shot" ideas if you see some dramatic animal video or whatever. Tell us about it at CNN.com/360.

Up next on the program, you weigh in. Your thoughts on some of the stories that we brought you this week. It's what's "On the Radar," when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: All right, let's check what's "On the Radar" on the 360 blog. We've been getting a lot of feedback on the stories we've been covering this week.

Let's start off with our "Planet in Peril" series. In Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report tonight on the dirty water in China. Some say it is killing people.

Nicki in Saskatoon, Canada, writes: Reading stories like this remind me that I have nothing to complain about! We have it very easy!

Now, to our "Keeping the Honest" report last night on a Maryland man let out of jail on child rape charges because the court couldn't find an interpreter for the suspect.

James in Memphis says: It is a mockery to justice that our judicial system was unable to find an interpreter in a two and a half year span. Will there be any justice for the victims and their family. It seems to me that they were victimized all over again.

It certainly seems that way.

James, remember, in just two and a half hours, 360's Gary Tuchman found an interpreter who would have helped out.

Finally, our report Tuesday night on the allegations of abuse, torture and murder at a Mississippi jail.

Tammy of Berwick, Louisiana, writes: It's just scary that in the South these things happen in the 21st century. I loved living in Mississippi when I was there. I'd move back in a second if the right opportunity came up. It's just a shame that hatred still exists and is allowed in an otherwise wonderful area and state. Keep on them.

Tammy, we will. And it probably happens in more states than you realize.

If you want to weigh in on a story, go to CNN.com/360blog.

For our international viewers, "CNN TODAY" is coming up next. Here in America, "LARRY KING" is coming up.

I'll see you tomorrow night.

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