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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CIA Torture Tactics Revealed; President Obama Takes on Cartels; Drug Cartels Recruiting U.S. Teen Smugglers
Aired April 16, 2009 - 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: Tonight breaking news from across the border: President Obama in Mexico City right now on his first official trip to Latin-America. His top priority, the drug violence, the war next door, pushing our neighbor to the brink. The danger also driving deeper here into the U.S. -- the President pledging that the U.S. has to do more to keep American guns and cash out of the hands of drug cartels.
Here's some of what he said just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have the greatest admiration and courage for President Calderon and his entire cabinet, his rank-and-file police officers and soldiers as they take on these cartels. I commend Mexico for the successes that have already been achieved.
But I will not pretend that this is Mexico's responsibility alone. A demand for these drugs in the United States is what is helping to keep these cartels in business. This war is being waged with guns purchased not here, but in the United States. More than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that line our shared border.
So we have responsibilities as well. We have to do our part. We have to crack down on drug use in our cities and towns. We have to stem the southbound flow of guns and cash. And we are absolutely committed to working in a partnership with Mexico to make sure that we are dealing with the scourge on both sides of the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's President Obama just a short time ago. Suzanne Malveaux is traveling with the President and she joins us now from Mexico City with the "Raw Politics."
Suzanne, the President saying the U.S. will take aggressive action to help Mexico stop the drug cartels. What did he actually pledge, though?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right Anderson, this is a very big problem and the United States realizes it. Before he even touched ground here, there was a shootout that happened, 16 people killed; that's what Mexican officials are saying. Only five U.S. Presidents have even been to Mexico City in the last 100 years.
So Barack Obama, obviously, underscoring the very important nature of this, the dangerous situation here, Anderson. We are told that this is a national security threat. He's done a lot of talking, tough talk about North Korea, about Afghanistan. This is right in our own backyard.
So what did the President offer? He came here saying, "look, I recognize this is a problem that we both share." Millions of dollars out of war funding now going to border security, a border czar. He's talking about three Black Hawk helicopters, all of this money, resources that he's throwing at the border.
Obviously, Anderson, a very dangerous situation. White House officials acknowledged that. It's one of the main reasons why they're saying, "Look, we appreciate what Calderon is doing," because they need him. They essentially need him to be very active in this drug war -- Anderson.
COOPER: I've been down there. Mexican officials say they want a reinstatement of the assault weapons ban here in the U.S. What's Mr. Obama's position on that?
MALVEAUX: Well, you know, his hands are really tied at this point. He promised during the campaign that this is something that he wanted to do, to reinstate the assault weapons ban. It is not something that he's actually able to do.
Calderon says we need this to happen. We've seen that weapons increase. We've seen violence increase since this thing expired. What we heard from Obama today was look, the Democrats, Congress, they don't have an appetite for this.
So he offered instead to kind of encourage the Senate to ratify some sort of old treaty, a regional treaty, really a gesture, Anderson. It's not going to do that much in the short term or very much in the long term.
He really has to push Congress to move on this because otherwise it really is going to be a big difference, a big difference in approach in how to deal with this problem. Obviously his hands are tied at this point.
COOPER: A lot of politics involved in this. Suzanne Malveaux, thanks.
There's a fascinating story right now at AC360.com, about the Narco Saint, it's a deity drug traffickers in Mexico, turn to for help. It's really fascinating. Check it out right now.
We have more breaking news tonight, though, about what has been happening in secret prisons and interrogation rooms run by the U.S. over the last several years.
Late today, the White House took the extraordinary step of releasing what some have called the torture memos. Documents that spelled out line by line CIA interrogation techniques used on terror suspects during the Bush administration.
At the same time, another very controversial move. President Obama says the CIA operatives who carried out those interrogations will not face prosecution. More on that in a moment.
But first, the methods used, they include water-boarding, walling, something called walling even using stinging insects.
Tom Foreman has more.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the war on terror raged in the years following 9/11, the new documents paint a graphic picture of what was happening to some suspected terrorists in American hands.
Suspects like Abu Zubaydah, identified by the CIA as a top al Qaeda operative. In memos to the spy agency, the Justice Department approved shackling so-called high-value suspects, forcing them to stand and keeping them from sleeping for up to 11 days. Making them assume stress positions such as standing with only their hands touching a distant wall or kneeling while being forced to bend sharply backward, locking them in a tiny, cramped space for up to two hours at a time.
For Zubaydah, one memo even OK'd throwing in an insect of which he was believed to be deathly afraid, though that step was not taken, and simulated drowning through the process known as water-boarding.
The memos make it plain that only some detainees faced these extreme measures. And even then some techniques were not taken to the approved limits. Furthermore, the Justice Department repeatedly warned that physical injury was forbidden as well as anything that produced prolonged psychological stress or lasting effects.
The memos stress that thousands of American soldiers have endured these techniques in training and that they do not constitute torture.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This government does not torture people.
FOREMAN: Still, the list goes on. Also approved, slapping suspects in the face or stomach to startle and humiliate. Dowsing prisoners repeatedly with water, and forced nudity in front of both male and female interrogators, especially if that's taboo in the prisoner's culture.
The American Civil Liberties Union says all this is torture. And just as it fought for the release of these papers, the group now wants something more.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Torture is illegal. It is immoral, and it is essential that individuals who conducted torture be held accountable. FOREMAN: Not likely, the Obama administration says. But the President is making it just as clear that such interrogation techniques are now forbidden.
Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, news of the memos were declassified, it's met with a dire warning from former CIA Director Michael Hayden who said the Obama administration's decision endangers the country and tells the world the U.S. cannot keep a secret.
Let's "Dig Deeper;" joining us, senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and senior political analyst, David Gergen. Jeffrey, what do you think of these memos?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I have to say these were some of the most shocking legal documents I've ever seen.
TOOBIN: To see the United States government and Assistant Attorney General say that water-boarding was not torture, a position that is totally without legal support. Even in the same memo pointing out or same collection of memos that countries that do engage in these kind of tactics like Indonesia, we call it torture, but they say, oh, but that's just diplomatic.
I mean, this was shocking and appalling stuff.
COOPER: David Gergen?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it was wrong. And it's -- I think it's good these memos have come out. People need to wrestle with realities. I also think that we need to join as a country and condemn this kind of practice.
I also think that before we go way overboard, that we ought to remember what people were going through. This is the first administration in history that people had to run for their lives from the White House in order to escape attacks.
This is an administration that when they got these daily reports, I think there was a natural -- about the terror threats around the world, there was -- people became almost obsessed with the danger of new terrorism in the United States. And somehow it would happen on their watch unless they took effective action.
So I think it's abhorrent, but I also think it's also more understandable than some of the critics are saying.
COOPER: It does get to the point though, that this is something which was mandated from the top, that all of that talk about this just being a few rogue people as was said over the years, that seems now not to be the case. Certainly it's clear. We're going to talk about that.
What do you think about these methods? Let us know what you think. Join the live chat happening now at AC360.com. Also Erica Hill's live Web cast during the breaks. Check it out tonight.
Next on 360, we'll have more on the conversation with David and Jeffrey. Also, just how many people have actually been killed in U.S. custody? How many of those deaths were actually homicides? You might be surprised by the answer. We'll have it for you and more from our panel coming up.
Also tonight, a first for Sarah Palin, she is speaking out tonight far from Alaska where she's facing a backlash from her own party. This is a live picture. We'll bring you some of her comments, her story and her message to conservatives coming up.
Later, recruiting American drug runners -- that's right, Americans; how Mexican cartels are using American teams to ship their supplies over the border.
And later, a heartbreaking farewell. Thousands attending the memorial today for 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. At the same time we're learning new details about the Sunday school teacher accused of killing her.
And then something to make you smile before bed. Susan Boyle, you know her story, you've heard her voice.
(VIDEO CLIP - "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT")
COOPER: Tonight, you'll see a whole new side of the singing sensation. She's invited us into her Scottish home, and that's just for starters. Wait until she actually sings for you next on 360.
COOPER: Well, we've seen the pictures from Abu Ghraib, of course, when we've heard the stories of brutality and abuse. And while we can't confirm the numbers, an AP report says at least 108 detainees held by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have died in American custody; most reportedly died violently.
A quarter of those deaths were investigated as a result of possible abuse by U.S. personnel. That report was from 2005. We don't have numbers after that.
And as we told you before the break, the Justice Department released the memos detailing interrogation techniques endorsed by the Bush administration from the very top. CIA operatives though, who carried out those techniques will not face prosecution.
In a statement released today, President Obama said, quote, "This is a time for reflection, not retribution. Nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past."
Joining me again: senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and senior political analyst, David Gergen.
Jeffrey, you're saying you were outraged by these memos, there are a lot of people though, listening to this who say, "Look, if this stopped a terror attack from happening, if this worked then maybe it's ok."
TOOBIN: Well, A, there's no evidence that it stopped another terrorist attack. But B, torture...
COOPER: Other than Dick Cheney saying so.
TOOBIN: Dick Cheney saying so, but there has been no other evidence that's come out to that effect.
But torture is something that civilized countries don't do, period. End of story.
John McCain said it. Barack Obama said it. And the idea that we were water boarding people at the same time we were condemning other countries for engaging in torture, I think is something that is totally indefensible and will be a black mark on this country for decades to come.
COOPER: It's interesting, if you go to the Tuol Seng Khmer Rouge Prison in Phnom Penh, in Cambodia, they have a painting of the water boarding device. You can actually see their water boarding device. It's a technique they use. This stress positions are something that the Gestapo used, the Nazis used.
GERGEN: Water boarding is flat-out torture. We just ought to accept that as something that the United States should not do. The President of the United States told us we were not engaged in torture. We were.
COOPER: So was he lying?
GERGEN: Not in his -- it's an interesting question about what is lying? And that is...
COOPER: So when you started to ask the question, what is lying?
GERGEN: Yes, but I mean, in his own mind, he thought it was not torture. He said we're not torturing.
GERGEN: Was he really lying or not? I mean, you know, I think we were torturing. But I have to say the larger point here, Anderson, I thought what President Obama did today, I thought it was right to put the memos out. It was right to put them out.
It was also very important they decided not to prosecute people in the CIA.
COOPER: Why? GERGEN: Because if you're operating in the government and your superiors say something is legal, then you should be able to rely on that and not have somebody come in to you after the fact and say, no, no, no, no. Now we're not going to make that, now we're going to declare that illegal after the fact.
You know, it's the same kind of thing people in the business community are facing now if they get into this TARP Program if they buy these toxic assets. Is Congress going to change the rules on six months from now? The reason why someone don't want to participate.
TOOBIN: I agree with you...
GERGEN: I think people should be put in a position where they're found in the government as public servants to say, we're going to hang you even though your superiors told you that it's ok.
COOPER: What about their superiors?
COOPER: Should there be some sort of truth and reconciliation committee as some have called for?
TOOBIN: There's a new name that a lot of people don't know. Is that a lot of people know Alberto Gonzales signed the torture memo, John Yu signed the torture memo, but the principal author of the most outrageous document today was a guy named Jay Bybee who in 2003, very shortly after this memo was published, became a federal judge. He's now on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. He will be there for life.
COOPER: That's him right there.
TOOBIN: Yes, he, frankly, got away with this before anybody knew he was involved. And it's really shocking that this guy is on the court.
COOPER: So was to be confirmed to be a judge and no one asked him about this?
TOOBIN: Well, no one knew. This memos have not come out...
TOOBIN: I don't think you can blame Congress at that point.
GERGEN: Why not? Why can't you blame the -- where was the judiciary committee? They confirmed him.
TOOBIN: Well, they didn't have access to those documents.
GERGEN: But they knew he was here in the Justice Department at a very controversial time.
TOOBIN: They did. But I mean, the Bush administration kept those documents secret for a long time.
COOPER: David, do you think there should be some sort of, you know, further investigation into this, or do you think this is something...
GERGEN: I think, Anderson, we need to know the facts, but we don't need a witch hunt. I don't think that's appropriate for the people working in the agency. I also don't think it's something that Barack Obama needs in his presidency right now.
I think this is a time, and we've seen this out of Nelson Mandela and out of Vaclav Havel in their own country. There are times when you need to move to healing and move on.
COOPER: There are other countries, though, which have made motions about charging...
TOOBIN: Spain has this -- has an active investigation of Alberto Gonzales, Yu, Bybee. I don't think that's going to go anywhere, and frankly, I'm not sure that's the best way to resolve this either.
But I sort of agree with David that these prosecutions are not a good idea, although I think it's a closer question. But further investigation is entirely appropriate. Every time you had a major...
COOPER: Should we be able to answer the question, did this work? I mean, it seems like that's -- I mean that's a core question.
GERGEN: I think we should.
COOPER: That we don't know the answer to.
COOPER: We only have Dick Cheney saying yes, it did work. There's no other evidence to say that it did work. Should that be investigated to find out, did this actually -- how was this actually used?
TOOBIN: I think so, but I don't think that's -- that will tell us whether it was worthwhile. If torture worked, I don't -- I don't think most of us care whether it worked or not. I think it's something that civilized countries don't do.
And if it got a somewhat -- some information, it wasn't worth it. When you consider our national standing, our international standing...
COOPER: It certainly makes it harder the next time a U.S. personnel is kidnapped overseas or held overseas.
GERGEN: And that's why people like John McCain, on the Republican side, were so opposed to this sort of thing...
GERGEN: ... because they had been there. They knew what it was like. We do need to know more about this, but we don't need witch hunts.
COOPER: The conversation continues on our blog right now at AC360.com. Thanks very much, David and Jeff as well.
Next on the program, the return of Sarah Palin speaking to a sellout crowd right now in America's heartland. She's had a rocky road lately. That's a live picture. Is all that about to change? We'll have some of her comments from tonight ahead.
Also, new details on the Sunday school teacher charged with murdering 8-year-old Sandra Cantu and why the case against the alleged sexual predator is extremely rare.
And later, three shots, three killed. The Navy SEALs who brought down the pirates in an incredible operation. Tonight, we'll introduce you to a man who trained those SEALs and what exactly he taught them.
And the middle-aged singer who stunned millions with her voice, here comes Susan Boyle. And tonight she's giving an intimate performance for you. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well, Senator John McCain may ignore her these days, but Sarah Palin remains as popular as ever and now she's stepping back into the spotlight. Tonight right now far from her home state, Governor Palin is in Indiana right now.
There she is speaking live at a Right-To-Life dinner. They're the first public comments she's given outside Alaska all year. But as you'll see the troubles and the controversy continue to follow her.
Candy Crowley is there and has more on the return of Sarah Palin -- Candy.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Anderson. About 3,000 people here showed up to hear Sarah Palin. She has talked about everything, about giving birth to her down-syndrome child, about the campaign trail, about how she feels about the federal stimulus.
But, in fact, this audience doesn't seem to much care what she's talking about. They're just happy she's here.
GOV. SARAH PALIN (R), ALASKA: Thank you so much.
CROWLEY (voice-over): She came...
PALIN: Thank you, Indiana.
CROWLEY: ... she spoke...
PALIN: It is great to be in Indiana, the crossroads of America.
CROWLEY: ... she rocked the house. Officials at the Vandenberg County, Indiana, Right-To-Life Banquet didn't think there was much chance Sarah Palin would accept their invitation to the group's biggest fundraiser. But she did.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We immediately sold out before it was actually released to the public.
CROWLEY: It was little more than a cameo appearance, but the Anti-Abortion Movement is a core constituency in the Republican Party. And the speech was Governor Palin's first this year in the lower 48. It does have people talking about her 2012 intentions.
PALIN: Why states enticed with federal dollars that have strings attached to them may, at the end of the day, realize that those dollars can actually be bad for our states.
This isn't free money, folks. Our nation is $11 trillion in debt. This is borrowed money, we're borrowing from China.
CROWLEY: Personally and professionally, it's been a rough road for the governor since the Republican ticket was defeated in November. Her relationship with Levi Johnston, the father of Palin's grandson, has been the stuff of soap operas.
Her dealings with state lawmakers are not much better. Just before her Indiana appearance, they rejected Palin's nominee for Attorney General. And as the legislature wraps up its session this week, Democrats and some Republicans complained the Indiana trip shows the governor is more interested in her national ambitions than state business.
The national scene has not been entirely hospitable to Palin, sometimes from surprising places. Senator John McCain, who, after all, tapped Palin at his number two, was asked by The Tonight Show's Jay Leno about people who could lead the Republican Party.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty, Huntsman, Romney.
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW": Right.
MCCAIN: Charlie Crist. There's a lot of governors out there who are young...
MCCAIN: ... and dynamic, and there's Mitt Romney did a great job.
CROWLEY: Perhaps McCain intentionally left out his former running mate. Perhaps he simply forgot, but even that is telling. 2012 is political light years away. It is not likely anyone, including Sarah Palin has decided whether to run for President.
But she has set up a political action committee. She did take the trek from Alaska to Indiana for a pretty well-covered mini-show. At the very least, she's interested in laying down a marker.
COOPER: Candy, it's interesting the abortion issue didn't really play a major role in this past election. What's the status of the movement right now?
CROWLEY: Well, you know, it's interesting because in talking to people around here and before actually we came out to Indiana, what we're finding is that these groups are saying they are seeing an uptick in volunteers.
They are seeing an uptick in the money that they're bringing in. And they say, listen, we're no longer playing offense as we were with George Bush. We're now playing defense, and they point to President Obama's lifting the federal ban on stem cell research.
They point to the fact that he has freed up dollars that go overseas to clinics that either counsel or practice -- offer abortions. So there are a couple of things that they look at that have made, they say, a lot of people very unhappy.
So they are now reporting, at least in the anti-abortion movement, that their numbers are going up and in some places, by a fair amount.
COOPER: All right. Candy Crowley, I appreciate it. Thanks very much, Candy, live tonight.
Next, coming up, President Obama is in Mexico tonight. We talked about that. But we have a startling story to tell you about. American teens working for Mexican drug cartels -- crossing the border with drugs strapped to their bodies and making thousands of dollars doing it. You're going to meet one former smuggler tonight.
And how to kill pirates: Gary Tuchman takes aim with a man who trains Navy SEAL snipers. They are the best in the business.
And where did Susan Boyle learn to sing like this?
(VIDEO CLIP - "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT")
COOPER: We'll take you inside her house where she grew up and bring you an exclusive performance she just did for CNN. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Today a talk between President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon focused on immigration, trade and border security including, of course, the drug war. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Are we going to eliminate all drug flows? Are we going to eliminate all guns coming over the border? That's not a realistic objective. What is a realistic objective is to reduce it so significantly, so drastically, that it becomes, once again, a localized criminal problem as opposed to a major structural problem that threatens stability in communities along those borders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, that's certainly the Mexican strategy. But it's a tough battle.
Case in point, this 20-year-old woman guarding an arsenal of heavy firepower, according to reports the Mexican police picked her up with a huge cache of weapons; this photo from a British newspaper, "The Daily Mail," including an anti-aircraft gun capable of firing 800 shots per minute, rifles and parts of a grenade launcher.
Agents reporting an increase in the number of teen drug runners; Americans recruited by the cartels to smuggle cocaine and marijuana into America. Ed Lavandera caught up with a former teenage smuggler who barely survived the war next door.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Danny Santos is chasing golden dreams in the boxing ring, a long way from the days of this American kid working for a Mexican drug cartel.
DANNY SANTOS, FORMER TEEN DRUG SMUGGLER: I just didn't care. I had, like -- I guess you could say I had no conscience.
LAVANDERA: Santos is one of thousands of American and Mexican teenagers recruited by the cartels. Santos says that at age 15, he was introduced to the drug world at a party.
SANTOS: It was a friend had a cousin that knew a guy. And that's where it all started.
LAVANDERA: Santos says that guy connected him to drug kingpins in Juarez, Mexico. He started as a driver for a midlevel cartel member.
SANTOS: People feel they can trust you, right? So then you move on up to something bigger.
LAVANDERA: Something bigger was becoming a cross-border drug smuggler or a mule; the pay, $4,000 for one run.
(on camera): You weren't scared about driving these drugs across the border? You could just make yourself do it?
SANTOS: Yes. I mean, I was -- I was -- I can't say I wasn't nervous. But you just can't show it. I mean, you still know you're driving. You still know what you're doing, an American citizen, all that, right? But you've just got to forget about the fact that you have something illegal in the car.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): that started a four-year smuggling career. Santos is 21 now. He says in all he pocketed about $50,000, making about 20 runs, right through customs checkpoints.
(on camera): Here in El Paso, some 35,000 cars a day cross into the United States. And it's here where drug smugglers are counting on teenagers to blend into this scene.
SANTOS: We've been getting people with drugs on their bodies.
LAVANDERA (voice-over): Customs and border protection officials say in recent months, they've seen a rise in the number of teenage drug smugglers, girls and boys alike, many from well-to-do families. Mostly American kids with drug bundles, usually marijuana, strapped to their bodies.
When we watched this girl wearing a bulky sweatshirt on a warm day in El Paso, hands shaking, it raised intense questions from the customs agent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was so nervous. She was shaking.
LAVANDERA: There were no drugs, but El Paso port director Bill Molaski worries the cartels are refocusing on recruiting kids.
BILL MOLASKI, U.S. CUSTOMS: So wherever they believe that they could be successful or they find a weak point in our defense of the homeland here, they're going to attempt to exploit that.
JOSE RODRIGUEZ, EL PASO COUNTY ATTORNEY: I think the cartel is always looking for ways...
LAVANDERA: El Paso County attorney, Jose Rodriguez, prosecutes juvenile smugglers. He says teenagers don't understand the danger.
RODRIGUEZ: We had a kid here who lost a load and who had some of his toes chopped off.
LAVANDERA: Danny Santos is lucky. He got out. He says he was only arrested once with little jail time. He spent away most of the $50,000 he made. But others are ready to take his place.
SANTOS: Let's just say they catch them all tomorrow, you know, the day after tomorrow there's going to be 30 new ones.
LAVANDERA: For many teens along the border, fighting off the temptation never ends.
COOPER: Coming up, the tragic death of Sandra Cantu. This woman, Melissa Huckaby, charged with her rape and murder. We have new details tonight about her. And we'll talk to experts about why this case is as rare as it is shocking.
That was actually a scene from a memorial service earlier. That was not a shot of Ms. Huckaby.
Plus, a hero's homecoming: the crew of the Maersk Alabama opening up about their ordeal.
And take a look at these women. They're not twins, they are mother and daughter. Can you guess which is which and why do they look so exactly alike? The mother spent an awful lot of money to make that happen. We'll explain. It's tonight's "Shot."
COOPER: Busy night tonight with more breaking news. This time out of Kenya; great news where the captain of the Maersk Alabama has just boarded a plane that will bring him home to the U.S. We have some new video in of Captain Richard Phillips taken just a short time ago. You can see him getting on the plane there. He's in the hat there; sort of a silhouetted shot. But he's getting cleared to go onto the airplane that is bringing him home.
As we all know, Phillips and his crew were hijacked by Somali pirates. Phillips gave himself over to the pirates, saved his sailors. This daring and incredible mission; Navy SEALs trained their rifles on the pirates, shot three of them dead simultaneously, three shots, rescuing Phillips. He's, as we said, on his way home. You see him right there.
His crew landed at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland early this morning. They were reunited with their families and are all waiting for their captain to return. It's going to be quite some homecoming
One member of the crew recounted their ordeal tonight on "LARRY KING LIVE." Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LARRY KING, CNN HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": What kept you going?
JOHN CRONAN, ENGINEER, MAERSK ALABAMA: The courage that I observed in my shipmates, my love of my family, my home and my country and my desire to return home safely to those that I love.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: For five long days pirates pointed AK-47s at Captain Richard Phillips threatening to kill him until the pirates themselves were taken out, shot, killed by U.S. Navy SEAL snipers. It was precision marksmanship.
Gary Tuchman learned from a sniper trainer how it's done.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man was in charge of training hundreds of elite U.S. Navy SEAL snipers for years. The identities of the snipers who killed the three pirates in the Indian Ocean are purposely not revealed. But --
(on camera): If the three snipers in the Indian Ocean trained between 2003 and 2006, they would have come across you? BRANDON WEBB, FORMER U.S. NAVY SEAL: Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Brandon Webb now runs a private company called Win Zero which focuses on state-of-the-art law enforcement training, including sniper skills. He takes us into the mountains east of San Diego.
WEBB: The idea is to shift your hip over.
TUCHMAN: Webb gives me an M-4 sniper rifle and a miniature version of the three-month course that a small and very talented percentage of navy SEALs get to take. We're 100 yards from the target, somewhat farther than the vessels were from each other in the Indian Ocean drama.
WEBB: You'll have to adjust your eyes back and forth so you can pick up a clear shot in the scope. You have the target?
TUCHMAN (on camera): Yes, I see a rock right now.
TUCHMAN: Where is that rock?
WEBB: So you'll have to shift around to find your target.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): I find the kill target in the scope, lining it up in the scope's crosshairs. When the shot is ready, I'm taught to say, we're hot.
(on camera): Here we go. We're hot.
WEBB: There you go.
TUCHMAN: Did I hit it?
WEBB: Yes. You're about, what, 4:00 or 5:00 of center that you hit. That was a solid hit.
There you go. You're hot. Hit.
Make sure that fire's all the way engaged with your thumb fully up. There you go.
TUCHMAN: Even though I'm hitting the target, it's hardly a stressful situation. I wonder what it would be like if I was dealing with someone's life. And the question on everyone's mind, how do you line up a target when you're rolling on ocean waves?
If we're on water, what would I be doing differently?
WEBB: It's really critical that you get a stable shooting position.
TUCHMAN: You take your eye away from the scope for a split second, you can miss the kill. WEBB: There you go.
TUCHMAN: Got it?
TUCHMAN: Was this expert in any way surprised by the snipers' success off the Somalian pirates?
WEBB: I would say I definitely expected it.
TUCHMAN: SEALs don't suffer from a lack of confidence.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, San Diego County, California.
COOPER: How cool are Navy SEALs? Go to ac360.com to see a drill of how crews protect against a pirate attack and what they do if they are attacked. That's on the Web site right now.
Up next, new details about the Sunday school teacher accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu. Why the case against the accused sexual predator is extremely rare.
And will New York become the next state to approve same-sex marriages? The governor is asking for it. We'll have an update on that.
And Susan Boyle, the YouTube singing sensation gives a performance just for you.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Thousands of mourners filled a high school gym in northern California today to remember an 8-year-old girl, Sandra Cantu. Organizers of the service in the town of Tracy called it a celebration of life to help ease the pain the community has suffered since Sandra disappeared on March 27th. Ten days later, her body was found stuffed in a suitcase at the bottom of a pond.
Sandra's neighbor, who's a Sunday school teacher, was arrested. 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby that's her name, she faces murder, kidnapping and rape charges. She's one of the few women ever to be accused of such a horrible crime.
Joining us now is "In Session" anchor, Lisa Bloom and Pat Brown, a criminal profiler.
Pat, how unusual is this case from a criminal profiling perspective?
PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I can honestly say, I have never come across one like this, ever. I know of women who helped their boyfriends or husbands steal girls and rape them for their husband's pleasure but never just alone. That's just the strangest thing I've heard of.
COOPER: Lisa, to build a defense, how do they go about building a defense for this woman?
LISA BLOOM, ANCHOR, "IN SESSION": I think we're looking at an insanity defense or diminished capacity defense. We know that she was ordered by a court recently to get some mental health counseling, and apparently she failed to do that. That was in connection though with just a petty theft charge.
Nobody could have imagined that this would result and of course, she's presumed innocent. She's only charged with this at this point. If she did it, it certainly seems to most of us that there has to be a serious mental health issue going on.
COOPER: Pat, I mean, this woman was a Sunday school teacher. Do you agree with that, by the way?
BROWN: No, I don't, actually because as we're looking back at Melissa Huckaby's history, we're starting to see little glimmers of psychopathy here and there and everywhere. She does seem to have a problem with pathological lying, making up stories, making strange accusations. She loves a lot of attention, apparently.
This is psychopathic, this is not psychotic. She knew what she was doing. She covered up the crime. She played along with things until she thought everybody was closing in on her, then she started her stories up.
I've seen no evidence of psychoticness. This is just a psychopath, a very strange one who did something we didn't expect. But still, psychopaths do lots of creepy things.
BLOOM: I'm not saying she's going to prevail, by the way. I'm just saying this is where I expect the defense is going to go. The fact that she put the body in the suitcase to echo what Pat is saying...
BLOOM: ... allegedly, right, indicates consciousness of guilt. The fact that she allegedly attempted to commit suicide right after she was caught would also tend to indicate she knew what she did was wrong.
COOPER: You know, Pat, on the headline on the face of this -- this woman's a Sunday school teacher, described by some as a loving mother. Do people snap? How do you...
COOPER: What happens?
BROWN: Nobody can snap. This woman is 28 years old. You don't go through life and everything's going just dandy and you're just happy and everything's fine. Then one day you say, gee, I think I'll go rape my daughter's friend. No, we don't do things like that.
This has been there all along, but the family, friends, people who've met here, have probably minimized all those bizarre behaviors. For example, the family has said we didn't see anything wrong with her. Wait a minute. This girl already committed two crimes. So how can you say there's nothing wrong with her?
There's something amiss. And they're just tending to look the other way, I think, and not really paying attention to it.
COOPER: Will the judge pay attention to the Sunday school teacher, all of that sort of stuff?
BLOOM: Well, absolutely. Insanity defenses are very hard to prevail. Less than 1 percent of defendants prevail when they assert an insanity defense. I don't know what else she's got.
They do seem to have some pretty strong evidence against her. It's her suitcase that the body was found in. I assume that she made some kind of a confession to the police. They're not looking for any other suspects. This is the last known adult seen with this little girl before she disappeared. The evidence is really very strongly against her.
COOPER: Just horrific. Lisa, appreciate it. Lisa Bloom, Pat Brown as well. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
COOPER: A lot more to cover here on the program.
There's another strange twist to this case. Look at this video, Melissa Huckaby -- she shares the same name as the woman accused of killing Sandra Cantu. She's also 28 years old and a Sunday school teacher. They live just 14 miles apart.
This Melissa is the victim of mistaken identity. She's received hate mail -- can you imagine this -- even death threats, forcing her friends to bring guns to church to better protect her. This woman has nothing to do with this case.
Let's get caught up on some of the other headlines tonight.
Erica hill joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a "360 Follow," Afghan officials now say they will change the controversial law that critics charge legalizes marital rape. President Hamid Karzai saying he has now instructed lawmakers to remove that provision from a law he recently signed.
The governor of New York is introducing a bill to allow same-sex marriage in his state. If the legislation passes, New York would be the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage.
Earlier this week, we told you about 11-year-old Carl Joseph Walker. His mother says he committed suicide after relentless bullying by other students who taunted him and called him gay. Tomorrow thousands of students across America will participate in a day of silence, the movement to draw attention to anti-gay harassment in schools. Tune into AC360 again tomorrow night. We will have complete coverage of the day's events.
Foreclosures skyrocketing in the first quarter of this year to their highest level on record, up 24 percent in just a year.
And Hulk Hogan says his current divorce battle has actually helped him better understand O.J. Simpson. In an interview with "Rolling Stone," a bitter Hogan says he, quote, "could have turned everything into a crime scene like O.J., cutting everybody's throat." That statement, obviously, not sitting very well with the woman who is in the process of becoming his ex-wife.
HILL: Yes. On a lighter note.
HILL: Very important note, too.
HILL: Ashton Kutcher is gaining on us. And frankly, even the bosses here are not happy about it. What does this mean? This means that we need everybody at home to go to twitter.com. I know you love the tweets, Anderson.
COOPER: I tweet, I twitter.
HILL: Sign up to follow cnnbrk. That's the CNN breaking news feed. This is the one that is in direct competition with Ashton Kutcher. We need to hit one million followers before he does. That is your challenge if you choose to accept it.
COOPER: What happens if we do?
HILL: We win. It's called bragging rights.
COOPER: It's for charity though.
HILL: It is, actually. Now it has turned into what he says is that if he wins, he'll donate 10,000 mosquito nets for world malaria day. CNN is going to match the donation. But still, it would be nice to donate, and I think that the top brass, if you know what I'm saying -- so I could keep my job.
COOPER: What do people do? Go to twitter.com?
HILL: Twitter.com. If you haven't already signed up, very easy to do. Basically you need your e-mail, name, and that's it.
COOPER: Sign up for what?
HILL: Sign up for a twitter account and then you sign up to follow cnnbrk.
COOPER: There you go.
HILL: CNN breaking news.
COOPER: You've done your job, Erica.
HILL: Thank you.
COOPER: If you have a comment on a story we're covering tonight, join the live chat happening now at ac360.com. That's where you can also check out Erica Hill's live Web cast during the break.
Up next, the singing sensation. This will put a smile on your face before you go to bed. Take a look.
(VIDEO CLIP - "BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT")
COOPER: Susan Boyle making headlines around the world. Tonight what her life is like in Scotland now and she sings just for you.
Also, look at this photo. These people are not twins. They are mom and daughter. Can you guess which is which? And how much money did mom spend to look like daughter? You're going to be surprised. Maybe annoyed or shocked, I'm not sure. We'll have it for you.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: You have heard her audition. You've seen the clip on YouTube. On the YouTube which the kids -- they love the YouTube. And tonight, Susan Boyle will sing directly to you. The unassuming, lovable Scottish woman invited our cameras into her home. She told us a lot about her life, her dreams, her hero. She also has a song for us, that's "Up Close" tonight.
Here's Atika Shubert.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They were laughing at her before she found her place center stage. For a few moments, it felt like everyone was in on a cruel joke. Even the talent judges were rolling their eyes at this unlikely contestant, Susan Boyle, a 47-year-old spinster.
BOYLE (singing): I dreamed a dream in time gone by
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody was laughing at her and I had a tear in my eye and my whole hair stood up on my skin. I was just so -- amazing. Amazing.
SHUBERT: it was amazing because she seemed immune to the joke. Amazing because she seemed to understand how she looked to them and confident with her beautiful voice that she would own the room.
BOYLE: I just thought mentally I'll show them, so I did. If people are cynical you try and win them round and it worked. It must have been a miracle, but it worked.
SHUBERT: Because she didn't look the part, and because her voice is so beautiful, Susan Boyle is now a star the world over. Millions of hits on YouTube, a Facebook fan site, selling T-shirts, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are fans on Twitter.
BOYLE: Everybody seems to have embraced me. Everybody seems to have apparently fallen in love with me.
SHUBERT: Susan lives in the same house she grew up in, in Blackburn, a working class village in Scotland. She lives alone with her cat and admits she has never had a boyfriend and never been kissed. Now she can barely get out the door. She insists fame won't change her.
BOYLE: Like everyone else. Just your -- just your girl next door. That's what it is like. That's exactly what it's like. It hasn't changed me one little bit. I keep my feet very firmly on the ground.
I dreamed that love would never die...
SHUBERT: She won't confirm rumors a record deal is in the works but she already has advice for aspiring singers.
BOYLE: Go for it. That's all I can say. Just go for it.
SHUBERT: Boyle is still competing to win Britain's biggest talent show but she has already won hearts around the world.
Atika Shubert, CNN, Blackburn Village, near Scotland.
COOPER: It's a great story. By the way, we're like 14,000 away from winning this twitter thing, to get to a million -- 14,000. So 14,000 people right now just sign up at twitter.com and sign up for cnnbrk. We'll win this thing, things will be donated to charities. It is a good thing. 14,000 people; we can do that in five minutes, can't we? Let's try it. Twitter.com. Check it out.
If you want to see more of Susan Boyle's exclusive performance at her home for our cameras, also you can check our Web site ac360.com. 14,000 Erica it is nothing. None,
Don't miss Susan live on "American Morning" tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. Eastern.
So again, 14,000. That's, yes. We did that.
We have a lot more coming up for you in this next hour.
"The Shot of the Day," these women are not twins, they're over 20 years apart. One has had plastic surgery to look like her daughter for a ton of money. Wait until you hear how much money they spent to do this. Guess who's the mom and who's the daughter. Who do you think? Left? Right? Left? Right? We'll tell you in just a moment. As long as you sign up for twitter.com; 14,000 people.
COOPER: All right. We're about 14,000 votes away on this twitter thing. Go to twitter.com.
HILL: Come on. Cnnbrk.
COOPER: I want to win this thing now. Now my competitive juices are flowing.
We're back with tonight's "Shot" Erica, and I believe you are going to show me a picture.
HILL: I am. Not at the twitter.com site; that's going to come later.
First, a side by side. Two women as you can see.
HILL: Here's what these women are not. They're not sisters, they're not twins. They're an English mother/daughter team. One of them has spent over $15,000 -- all the guys in the studio, by the way, are coming around to the monitors to look at the picture to see which one was trying to bridge a 22-year age gap with surgery to look like the other one.
The question for you, Anderson, Jeopardy champion, which one is the mother, which is daughter?
HILL: I know. I was surprised at the answer. I'll tell you that.
COOPER: Oh, I don't know.
HILL: Mom is on the left.
COOPER: Mom is on the left.
HILL: Here's the thing. I think mom looks younger until you look at her hands. That's always the telltale sign. Don't you know?
COOPER: Wow. You're brutal.
HILL: It's true. Look, you can stretch the face as much as you want but the hands tell the tale. Let's be honest.
COOPER: So the mother's on the left?
HILL: The mother's on the left.
COOPER: All right. I didn't know that.
HILL: You know what was interesting though. We found another interesting pair. Someone trying to look like someone else; I'm not sure how much he had to spend to do it, but look at this. Is Lou Dobbs trying to look a little bit more like Anderson cooper or is it just me?
COOPER: Am I trying to look more like Lou Dobbs? I don't know.
Which is Lou Dobbs and which is Anderson Cooper? It's hard to know.
HILL: I think your teeth are white enough.
COOPER: You can see all the most recent shots at ac360.com. And again, we're like 14,000 away...
COOPER: On this twitter thing. 10,000 mosquito nets will be donated.
HILL: For world malaria day and here's the other thing.
COOPER: The millionth person that signs up...
HILL: When we win, you'll know immediately because you will have signed up for this breaking news alert.
COOPER: Right. But the millionth person who signs up, I've just been informed will be a guest on "LARRY KING LIVE." I've just been informed of that. Twitter.com. Sign up for cnnbrk.
HILL: Cnnbrk. We'll send you a "Beat 360" T-shirt.
COOPER: All right. That does it for $360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.