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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
DEA Joins Jackson Investigation; Jackson's Wishes Revealed; Drugged to Sleep; Sex, Lies & Outrage; Inside Blackwater's Mission; Michael Jackson & Bubbles the Chimp
Aired July 1, 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 HOST: Tonight, breaking news that Federal Drug Authorities are now involved in the Michael Jackson investigation.
Also, new developments tonight concerning Jackson's doctor. All of this on a day that saw a will filed that is short, specific and in many ways, striking. We'll have more on the will in a moment.
First, Drew Griffin. He's been working in the investigation angle with the late details. He joins us now. What have we learned?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNITS CORRESPONDENT: I just got this tonight that the DEA has been asked to join this. A federal law enforcement source telling us that they joined the investigation to look at whether prescription drugs were involved in this death. A source said that the DEA will be looking at various doctors involved with Jackson, their practices and possible sources of supply.
I did ask about that specific drug, Diprivan or Propofol. Propofol is the name of Diprivan incidentally.
Oddly enough, that is not a controlled substance and not under the DEA's authority. But it's not unusual, number one, for the DEA to be involved with this. And number two, if the investigation even though it may center on that drug, it wouldn't be unusual for them to be brought in to look at the drug and to keep track of it because what the DEA does is see if there is enough abuse of this one particular drug, they may eventually add it to the controlled substance list.
COOPER: So with the DEA involvement, the scene becomes even more important, what drugs they may have found, what paraphernalia if any they may have found in the Jackson rented home.
GRIFFIN: Why you bring the DEA is, is because they have the authority now to see what was prescribed to Michael Jackson, the federal rules about all the privacy and the doctor issues are negated. They are able to see, oh, here's a drug -- it's prescribed by a doctor, and now we can go question the doctor, we can see the doctor's records, we can see the amounts of prescriptions that were involved.
The DEA controls all of that to see where the flow, the supply, whether that supply was unreasonable in this case. Again, we still don't know what if any drugs were in Michael Jackson's system but we do know that the DEA is now involved with the LAPD, assisting the LAPD -- Anderson.
COOPER: And again, we may not know. This is all of new information we're learning. Do we know how far the DEA would look back? I mean, there have been allegations -- we have Dr. Deepak Chopra on our program several days ago said, he said that Michael Jackson asked him, I think it was back in 2005 or so, for drugs like Oxycontin.
Would the investigation go back farther to see what involvement other doctors might have had with Michael Jackson?
GRIFFIN: You know, quite frankly, I don't know the answer to that.
COOPER: All right.
GRIFFIN: I don't know if they're only limited to the drugs that were found in the house, the drugs that may have been found in his body and where they came from or whether or not this investigation now goes back to ten years or so.
I do know that in past investigations, the DEA has followed or opened up investigations and gone after doctors supplying drugs to even other people that weren't involved in the actual crime.
You remember Chris Benoit the wrestler...
GRIFFIN: ... involved in a murder/suicide. Well, that doctor was eventually charged with distributing steroids and other drugs far beyond Chris Benoit.
COOPER: There's also news on Dr. Murray, who is the physician hired by Michael Jackson, paid for by with AEG...
GRIFFIN: That's right.
COOPER: ... who was there at the scene of the death. His car had been taken by authority. It's now being released?
GRIFFIN: That's right. It's authorized for release by the LAPD. We're not sure what that means. All we do know is that that car must now be no longer part of the investigation. Whether anything was confiscated or taken or seized from inside the car, we don't know. But at this point tonight the LAPD has basically released the car. The doctor can come and pick it up.
COOPER: I think a lot of people would think that authorities have sealed off the house that Michael -- where Michael Jackson had this incident. But that hasn't been the case.
I mean, they were there initially on the scene, and then they left for two days. Members of the Jackson family came and went. I believe they took items out, and then authorities went back in two days later, right?
GRIFFIN: It does seem strange to us. A lot of things do. And I really wish we could talk directly with these detectives to see what was going on. But you're absolutely right, Anderson. They developed information over the weekend while the Jackson family was in that house, with moving trucks moving stuff in or basically moving stuff out, tampering with what would be a crime scene if there was a crime committed there. And then they went back with the information on Monday to get more stuff, two bags of evidence.
Whatever was there, that leads to questions about whether that crime scene was secure and also quite frankly why they didn't take the stuff on Friday.
COOPER: They certainly didn't view it as a crime scene at the time. And if it does become that, that would be an issue to be gets brought up in court, no doubt probably?
GRIFFIN: I think we just have to wait and see how this investigation plays out. What, if any, charges are brought in and what the thinking was at the time but common sense would dictate that you would either secure the crime scene, secure at least the bedroom or the bathroom or the medicine cabinet or something so that when you did go back there and get those drugs, you know for certain that those are the same drugs...
GRIFFIN: ... that were there when Michael Jackson may have used them.
COOPER: A lot we simply don't know at this point. Drew Griffin, I appreciate the latest update on the DEA.
A lot more happening today, a Jackson family spokesman releasing a statement saying there will be no viewing of any kind at Neverland Ranch up in Santa Barbara County. Beyond that, he would only say that word of a public memorial would be forthcoming.
The real blockbuster was the will dated seven years ago filed today, a remarkably short and simple document for a man who had such a complicated family, financial and personal life.
Details on the will now from Randi Kaye.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We now know more about what Michael Jackson wanted upon his death. This is his will, made public today.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: If it's possible to have a dramatic will, Michael Jackson has a dramatic will because it settles some questions, but it raises a lot more. Who's going to get the money? Where is it all going to go?
KAYE: The document shows Jackson's fortune estimated at more than $500 million when the will was signed July 7th, 2002. That's the pop star's signature on the last page. His initials are scrawled at each paragraph.
In the will -- and this is key -- Jackson leaves his entire estate to the Michael Jackson Family Trust, a private trust where all his assets will be managed together. That trust is really what determines where the money goes.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says the will only tells half the story.
TOOBIN: Trust documents may say I want money to go to my kids, to these relatives, to these charities.
KAYE: Jackson names his mother Katherine Jackson as guardian of his children. If she is unable or unwilling, he names singer Diana Ross.
Ross and Jackson have a history. She was key to launching the career of the Jackson 5. She and Michael Jackson were lifelong friends.
TOOBIN: One of the many peculiar things about naming Diana Ross is that his mother is 79 years old. Diana Ross is 65 years old. So, the age problem for caring for young kids is not really addressed.
KAYE: Jackson's father, Joe Jackson, who the singer said used to beat him as a child, was not mentioned in the will. His father has denied abusing him.
His ex-wife and the mother of his two oldest children, 12-year- old Michael Jr. and 11-year-old Paris, was mentioned.
The will reads, "I have intentionally omitted to provide for my former wife Deborah Jean Rowe Jackson." She and Jackson divorced in 1998 and Rowe gave up her parental rights.
TOOBIN: The excluding of Debbie Rowe from the will suggests that he doesn't want to give her any money. But it is also possible that the trust may provide for Debbie Rowe, so just because she doesn't get money in the will doesn't mean she doesn't get any money, period.
KAYE: Jackson's will did not specify where he wanted to be buried. We have confirmed he will not be buried at Neverland ranch.
(on camera): But this Los Angeles Cemetery could be one possibility though no one here would comment. The Forest Lawn Memorial Park overlooks Disney Studios.
If Jackson is laid to rest here, he'd be in good company. So many stars are buried here like Lucille Ball, Gene Autry and Bette Davis. (voice-over): But even when he is buried, the questions about Michael Jackson's life and especially his final days are unlikely to be put to rest with him.
COOPER: So Randi, we now know there's not going to be a viewing on Friday at the Neverland ranch. Do we know anything more about when there may be?
KAYE: Well, let me check my watch Anderson, because it changes every hour.
KAYE: I mean, we have really been trying to keep up with this all day. As you know, earlier this week we were told by the family that there would be some type of public viewing or memorial at Neverland.
Well, then today, apparently it's either too complicated or too costly because the family released a statement now saying there will not be any type of public service at Neverland ranch.
So, we're wondering, where's it going to happen? Well, then we got word that maybe it would happen at the Staples Center here in Los Angeles, maybe at the Coliseum.
COOPER: Which is a facility owned by -- the Staples Center is owned by AEG...
COOPER: ... which is the company that was doing the concerts in London.
KAYE: Right, but the Coliseum says they're not having one there. They have nothing on the schedule. And the Staples Center apparently has the circus starting on Monday, July 6th, so they said, "Absolutely not. If it's anytime after that, we can't do it either."
So really, the short answer or the long answer depending on how you look at it is...
COOPER: We don't know.
KAYE: ... we don't know.
COOPER: All right, Randi Kaye, I appreciate that.
Jeffrey Toobin joins us now, CNN's senior legal analyst and longtime reporter of the Jackson saga. Also attorney and probate specialist Chuck Baumer is going to be here.
We're going to be taking your questions a bit later on the program. And we'll tell you how to text them to us shortly. Jeff, I want to start with you. The executors of the will say that the most important element for Michael Jackson was Jackson's desire that his mom become the legal guardian for his kids.
So is it cut and dry? Will those wishes without a doubt be honored or does the court have to approve it?
TOOBIN: Well, the court does have to approve it. But there doesn't seem to be anything standing in the way of the court approving it because there doesn't seem to be another plausible guardian for the kids. And given the fact that this was clearly Michael Jackson's intent, at this point I don't see a reason why she wouldn't be approved.
COOPER: Chuck, Diana Ross is named as a successor guardian. Would she have known in advance about that?
CHUCK BAUMER, ATTORNEY WHO SPECIALIZES IN WILLS AND PROBATE: She -- in general, I would always advise my clients to tell...
COOPER: To ask.
BAUMER: ... people they name as guardians to ask them to make sure that they want to take that position on and that responsibility.
COOPER: And is that cut and dried? I mean, is that something that could be challenged?
BAUMER: That one is...
COOPER: I mean, as members of the Jackson -- if something untoward happened to Katherine Jackson, if she passes at some point, could Jackson -- members of the Jackson family request that the kids stay with them?
BAUMER: They could. The court will always take deference to what the testator, Michael, asked for but it's not cut and dried. At some point, possibly, Debbie Rowe might want to step back in to the two older children. But right now since Katherine's named and has been appointed already, it is much more likely that she'll be appointed guardian of the three children.
COOPER: And by all accounts, I mean, anybody who's been following this story and everyone who knows Michael Jackson says that is exactly what he would have wanted. They've been saying that for days and certainly that is what his will indicated today.
Jeffrey, Chuck, stay with us. We're going talk more. I want to talk about the money in Michael Jackson's estate. He was reportedly deeply in debt when he died but a massive spike in music sales may change all that in a hurry, certainly over the long term.
Text us your questions for Jeff and Chuck to 94553. Your message has to start with the letters AC and then a space then your name and the question. If you don't include AC first with a space we can't receive the text. Also tonight and later, breaking news: The massive American military operation now under way in Afghanistan. Michael Ware joins us live for the latest on where it's happening and why the Pentagon considers this so crucial.
That and more tonight, as we're live from Los Angeles. We'll be right back.
COOPER: And we are in Los Angeles tonight where Michael Jackson's will today was filed, just five short pages, the initials MJ by many of the paragraphs on the will.
Katherine Jackson nominated as guardian of his three kids. Diana Ross, the backup. Deborah Rowe, birth mother of the oldest kids, specifically excluded. Father Joe Jackson not mentioned at all.
Probate specialist Chuck Baumer is with us, and CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us, as well.
So Chuck, the money went to Jackson Family Trust, and we don't know the details of what that trust means.
BAUMER: And one of the reasons you establish a trust is to keep the details private and not make them public. With the will, everything is public, and we will know all the details unless they're able to convince the court to review things in what's called "in camera," outside the public screening.
COOPER: And you've looked into the will, and you'd think it's a very thoughtful will.
BAUMER: Yes. I think it's a thoughtful will from -- and one of the interesting things about the will is normally you initial at the bottom of a page and not every paragraph. Somebody might have thought there would be a will contest because he didn't name the family and so they wanted it clear that he named -- he had everything of his intent is clearly spelled out.
Yes, I read this paragraph. Yes, I agree with it.
COOPER: And Jeff, he also named executors to his will.
TOOBIN: And these are real serious professionals. You know, all of us who have followed the Jackson saga all these years have seen a lot of real third-rate people, people who really just didn't have any quality except an ability to leech off Michael Jackson.
But the author of this will is John Branca, who is one of the leading entertainment attorneys in L.A. These are people who really know what they're doing, and this will illustrates it. It's a professional will. It's very hard to imagine how it could be challenged. And, you know, the grown-ups are in charge this time.
COOPER: And Chuck... BAUMER: That's totally right.
COOPER: It's a will that looks to Michael Jackson's future because he will have a future in the music business.
BAUMER: He has a huge future. It's like, you know, you can compare it to any very, very famous star like Elvis. When they pass away, their future goes on forever because everybody remembers it.
They're talking about he has -- still has fan clubs.
BAUMER: He sold out, they said on the radio, the million tickets in England in like a day.
COOPER: We've got a text question is sent in by a viewer, Lillibeth. She asked, "Can anyone contest a will?
Jeff, I'll ask that question to you. Can anyone -- I mean, there's so many people involved in Jackson's life. Could this will and trust be legally challenged by other people? I mean, could Debbie Rowe for instance challenge it or even -- if there was a sperm donor involved in any of this, could that person challenge this?
TOOBIN: Well, anybody can walk into court and say, "I have a right to Michael Jackson's money." The question is, can they successfully challenge it? As far as I can tell, there are no grounds for anyone to successfully challenge this will.
It seems to be thoughtful, complete. He included some people, excluded others. That's certainly his right to do. So I think it's always possible there could be litigation but at least at this point, I don't see any basis for someone who could win a case.
COOPER: So at this point, Chuck, do we know who is in control of -- I mean, is there one person -- you liken it to when a king dies...
COOPER: ... and lots of people are kind of competing for control. Is there somebody who's in charge of Michael Jackson's empire?
BAUMER: Well, we have two groups competing right now. The two gentlemen named as executors and the family because the family objected to admitting the will to probate and appointing them as temporary executors of the estate.
That's one of the things that will be thrashed out Monday in court. If the judge -- it's quite possible that the judge will say, here we have a valid will. The attorneys filed papers today saying everything needs to be started immediately. They wanted all the powers likened to what an individual could do with the assets so it's much more likely than not that they will be wind-up being in control after Monday. You never know what a judge is going to do but as Jeffrey says, it is a valid will.
COOPER: We'll be following it. Chuck Baumer, I appreciate your expertise.
BAUMER: Thank you.
COOPER: And Jeffrey Toobin, as well, thank you.
In case you want to read the will for yourself, you can go to AC360.com right now. We have it there along with more detail on many of the other stories that were covering tonight.
There's been a lot of talk about what drugs Michael Jackson may have been taking the months and weeks and days leading up to his death, if any. We're going to know better about what drugs if any he may have taken when the autopsy results are made public.
But a nurse who says she treated Jackson several months ago claims he asked her for a powerful sedative called Diprivan. If you've never heard of it, there's good reason for that.
Up next, Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how Diprivan compares to the kind of sleeping pills you may use and what you need to know about pills you might use.
Also ahead tonight, remember Bubbles the chimp? Ever wonder what happened to him? Our intrepid reporter John Zarrella has tracked him down. You'll see how Bubbles is doing now.
And millions of Americans knew him as the man with the traveler's checks but Karl Malden was also an acting legend. More on his life and his passing, his remarkable career. Today he died at the age of 97. We'll have details of his life when 360 continues.
COOPER: South Carolina's Governor Mark Sanford changes his mind; now he says he will not release financial records that show who paid for trips to see his mistress. We'll have the latest on that ahead.
First Erica Hill joins us with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya vowing to fly home this weekend despite a warrant for his arrest -- the announcement coming just a day after he was in Washington for a meeting of the Organization of American States.
The OAS voted to give coup leaders three days to restore Zelaya to power or risk suspension in the group. The Pentagon meantime also turning up the heat by suspending joint military operations with Honduras to protest the coup. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today declaring a fiscal emergency for his state. Now that move will force lawmakers into a special session to tackle the $24.3 billion state budget gap.
Despite some positive spin from automakers, there is no denying the weak sales for the month of June. General Motors down 33 percent from a year ago, worse than expected. Both Toyota and Chrysler also lower than anticipated. Ford was the only major automaker to beat analysts' predictions.
And veteran actor Karl Malden, who won an Oscar for his role in "A Streetcar named Desire," has died. Malden will be remembered as a consummate character actor. He excelled at plain spoken working class roles and made his mark at Hollywood, on Broadway and TV. Karl Malden was 97 -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, I think about him "On the Waterfront." He was so great.
HILL: Amazing actor.
COOPER: Coming up next -- yes.
Coming up next on 360: Michael Jackson and the dangers of using drugs to go to sleep. Did he have a history of using powerful surgical sedatives to sleep? If so, how are they different than the pills that millions of Americans used for insomnia? Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us next for that.
And later, remember Bubbles? Bubbles the chimp, Jackson's pet? Well, we have found him, and you'll meet him. See where he is now, coming up on 360.
COOPER: Well, until the autopsy results are complete, we won't know what drugs, if any, Michael Jackson had in his system when he died. But a powerful fast acting sedative called Diprivan, also known as Propofol, has been brought up.
Well, the DEA is now involved. The news is breaking tonight that they are involved in the investigation. Propofol or Diprivan was brought up by Cherilyn Lee, a registered nurse who said that she treated Jackson months ago and that at that time he had begged her to give him Diprivan to cure his insomnia.
Now, Lee says she refused, telling him it was dangerous and could actually kill him. You may be wondering what makes Diprivan or Propofol so dangerous and how is it different from sleeping pills or other sleep medications.
360 MD Sanjay Gupta explains.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Insomnia. Michael Jackson allegedly complained of it all the time.
CHERILYN LEE, REGISTERED NURSE: He was so adamant about it, "I will pay any amount of money for someone to help me to sleep."
GUPTA: And with that, he joined the nearly one in three Americans who complain of insomnia sometimes, pretty common, but the way he may have treated his sleeplessness, stunning.
(on camera): Have you heard of such a thing?
DR. ZEEV KAIN, CHAIRMAN, DEPARTMENT OF ANESTHESIOLOGY: I have heard about abuse of Propofol within the health care settings. I have never heard about Propofol being used or Diprivan being used to -- as a sleep aid medication.
GUPTA: If you had to sort of put this together, how could something like this happen?
KAIN: Very interesting question. One of the possibilities is a mix-up within the public about what is sleep and what is general anesthesia.
So, when you go to the operating room for surgery, you undergo general anesthesia, which is obviously a physician-induced coma. When you sleep at night in your bed, that's going to sleep.
GUPTA (voice-over): But it's not and to understand how it's different, you need to look inside the brain. With an over-the- counter sleep med, the medication typically floods histamine receptors. With a prescription sleeping pill, like Ambien, Restoril, Lunesta, they work by hitting even more areas of the brain, the hypothalamus, the brain stem, the cortex. But Propofol?
(on camera): So, what is Propofol exactly?
KIAN: Propofol is a central nervous system depressant. It works on your brain. It basically puts the entire brain to sleep. It depends on the dose that you use now.
If you use a touch of Propofol then, you can actually get a high from it. The more Propofol you use, the more you're getting to general anesthesia.
GUPTA: Take a look at it, this is what it looks like. Almost it looks like kind of like milk. In fact, in hospitals they refer it to as "milk of amnesia."
(voice-over): Think of it as a turbo-charged sleeping agent. It works by essentially putting the whole brain to rest. It's a medically induced coma.
(on camera): How dangerous is this?
KAIN: As dangerous as it comes. You will die if you will give yourself or if somebody gives you Propofol and you are not in the proper medical hands. GUPTA: Can you write me a prescription for some Propofol, and I can go get some?
KAIN: I don't think so.
GUPTA: Not possible?
KAIN: Not possible. Propofol is injected intravenously. It is not taken orally, so I don't think that the pharmacy will give you intravenous Propofol. You have to go to a hospital.
GUPTA: So, I really wanted to find out for myself, how easy is it to get this particular medication. So we came to this pharmacy in north Hollywood to find out.
If I came in with a prescription for Propofol, is that -- can I get a prescription for Propofol filled here?
IRA FREEMAN, PHARMACIST: No. Absolutely not.
GUPTA (voice-over): Absolutely not because this drug is not a sleeping medicine, it is a powerful sedative that should never be used outside of a medical setting and if used improperly, it can kill.
COOPER: Sanjay joins us now. Sanjay, how long do the affects of this drug last?
GUPTA: Very, very short time.
GUPTA: And so this is a medication that has to be given continuously. You have an IV in, the medication's dripping in continuously which makes it very interesting. If you stop it after two or three minutes, the person will likely wake up and they won't have any affects of it anymore.
COOPER: So, someone would have to be monitored while their on it?
GUPTA: Absolutely, to get their oxygenation checked or blood pressure, their heart rate. But it brings up another interesting point because it disappears from the body so quickly. It's hard to detect.
COOPER: And there has been abuse of it the doctor was saying but among medical professionals? Is that...
GUPTA: Yes. He was talking about medical professionals and people who have gotten their hands on it in other ways. But even this doctor, who is a chairman of anesthesia at a big academic center had not heard of it being used outside of a medical setting.
COOPER: Well again, DEA is investigating; that's the big news today. Drew Griffin reporting, we'll just have to wait and see.
GUPTA: And I just think it is so interesting. The fact that it disappears so quickly when this autopsy is done, are they going even be able to find something like this? It's going to be an interesting question.
COOPER: Right, and again we simply don't know. I mean, this is one nurse reporting this.
GUPTA: That's right.
COOPER: From several months ago. We frankly just don't know what the situation is.
GUPTA: Hard to say, yes.
COOPER: Now Sanjay thanks.
We're going to -- we told you it would be weeks before the final autopsy results are available. To find out why toxicology reports may take so long to complete in a medical examination, go to AC360.com. You can find all the answers there.
We are hearing from many of you tonight Join the live chat happening right now at AC360.com.
Still ahead, new calls for South Carolina's governor to resign. He can't stop talking about his mistress, though, and those records he said he would reveal to prove that he didn't use state funds to visit her, yes, he's not turning them over at all. The latest on that coming up.
Plus, an incredible survival story. Have you heard about this? A teenage girl clings to the wreckage of a jetliner that crashed into the ocean. More than 100 other passengers died. She seems to be the only sole survivor. How did she hold on for so long? We'll look at that ahead.
COOPER: Well, tonight, as new details of Mark Sanford's affair emerge there are more calls for South Carolina's governor to step down.
Sanford says he cheated on his wife and confessed to -- in his words -- crossing the line with other women several times. He's also refusing now to release his financial records about his trip to Argentina to see his mistress, something he said he would do.
Top state Republican lawmakers say he's lost the trust of South Carolinians and he should quit as governor. The pressure is growing for him to resign but so far the governor is not budging and he is still talking.
Candy Crowley has the "Raw Politics."
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After a day of public calls and private urging that he resign, Governor Mark Sanford is described by one South Carolina Republican as defiant, noting that Sanford's political career showed a willingness to fight lonely battles. The source, who has known Sanford for decades, said he'd be shocked if the governor resigned in the next few days. "Honestly, I think he could go down in the ugliest, messiest way." It certainly would fit the profile.
GINA SMITH, "THE STATE": If there's anything the governor likes it's a good fight. If anything's going to change here, it's going to have to come from the public.
CROWLEY: Several Republican sources contacted over the course of the day suggested the South Carolina governor wrote his own political obituary in the past 24 hours with the needlessly detailed interview with the Associated Press during which Sanford called his mistress his soul mate and called their relationship a love story, "A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."
Sanford also offered that he was trying to fall back in love with his wife while revealing that he had crossed lines with other women but didn't have sex with them.
"Have I done stupid? I have. You know, you meet someone. You dance with them. You go to a place where you probably shouldn't have gone."
In addition to details, there was a bizarro world feel to the governor's continued explanations.
"If you come into connection with a soul that touches yours in a way that no one's ever has, even if it's a place you can't go, this notion of knowing that you know, for me, became very important."
And there was this description of his latest trip down to Argentina to see his mistress. "I got down on one knee and said I am here in the hope that we can prove this whole thing to be a mirage."
No mirage back home where the Sanford soap opera may be getting old. South Carolinians are chatting it up on the Web site of the Columbia newspaper "The State."
SMITH: There's people who say they're suffering from TMI, too much information. They're not exactly clear why the governor feels the need to give such exhaustive detailed investigation about what's going on.
CROWLEY: Nearly every political barometer indicates Mark Sanford's days in the governor's office are numbered. In South Carolina's capital city, one of the few who apparently does not think that is the governor.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Up next, private U.S. contractors on the job in Iraq and Afghanistan. An inside look at Blackwater USA's operation; the outsourcing of America's battle plan.
Also tonight, we've tracked down one of Michael Jackson's long lost best friends. Remember Bubbles the chimp? We'll show you where he is and how he is doing. What life is like for the chimp when his time in the spotlight has passed.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: Iraq marked a turning point this week with U.S. troops pulling out of major cities and turning over security to Iraqis. At the same time, U.S. is stepping up operations in Afghanistan; just tonight we learned U.S. Marines have launched a large-scale combat mission in southern Afghanistan.
The U.S. military is stretched thin, there's no doubt about that, and private contractors like Blackwater USA have for years now been stepping in to fill the gaps.
Suzanne Simons, a veteran CNN producer is author of "Master of War," a book about Blackwater and its work in Iraq. She had rare access while researching the book. Erica Hill talked to her about what she learned starting with how many contractors are actually in Iraq.
Take a look.
SUZANNE SIMONS, CNN PRODUCER: What the military did when it decided to go to war in Iraq, and we have the situation in Afghanistan that was ongoing, as well, they didn't want to obviously instill a draft -- we didn't want to go back to having a draft in this country. So they said, "That's OK. We have done things in the past in the first Gulf War, for example, where we just hired this out." We have privatized parts of what the military's traditionally done so now you see all these contractors in Iraq, more contractors than military, some of them are doing things like driving in convoys. Some of them are serving up breakfast for troops. But a lot of them are armed security, as well, keeping diplomats and the people who are in charge of the reconstruction process alive.
HILL: And even some of -- keeping Iraqi officials alive and safe, as well?
SIMONS: The Iraqis for the most part are going with Iraqi guards. And that's another important, symbolic thing that really shows the Iraqis are taking control but, surely, if you go to meetings especially with USAID which is part of the state department that's in charge of really handling the reconstruction effort, you see people from all nationalities coming through there and they get a little nervous when they see things like IEDs and roadside bombs and things like that and so that's no easy task at all.
HILL: As the U.S. draws down in Iraq and ramps up troops in Afghanistan, there are also going to be more contractors there so this seems to be a trend that will continue for the military.
SIMONS: It is a trend that's going to continue because, frankly, they don't have the bodies to do all the jobs that are needed in those two countries.
But when you look at it some six years later -- the Iraq war started in 2003, right and now we're in 2009 -- six years later, there's still so many problems with the contracting industry in terms of the government not really getting the task of making sure, number one, that people who are offering out these millions and sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts are properly trained for what they're doing and that there are enough of them. That's a big problem, as well.
HILL: Enough contractors? It seems like there are a lot of people there.
SIMONS: There are a lot of contractors. Enough people within the military who are in charge of saying, okay, this contractor is going to get $10 million for the task. They're kind of thrown into this and catching up if you will behind the curve.
There's the accountability issue which is also huge. Contractors can't be sent through a court marshal system because they're not military so what happens to them? Here we are six years on and we're still grappling with those tasks that Congress is working on. They put together a commission that has issued an interim report this month and they're identifying the problems and trying to get a hold on it. It is a tough job.
HILL: They're working on it. It is a tough job. I think most people would understand that but in all your research and in everybody you talked specifically Eric Prince who started Blackwater and really was the main force for U.S. contractors, do you think the U.S. military really understood what it was getting into when they said, "You know what? Let's outsource more than we normally do."
SIMONS: I think the U.S. military sees it both ways. In one side, they see it as somewhat of a relief that they don't have to have their trained troops guarding static sites where they're not likely to have anything happen or serving breakfast or doing laundry.
That's fantastic, however when you talk about the armed security forces who are guarding diplomats and things like that. In Eric Prince's case, this company Blackwater at the time -- he's now changed the name of the company -- but at the time they were guarding people who are working for the Department of State.
And just to tell you how complicated and irritating it can be, The Department of State contractors are held to different rules than the Department of Defense contractors. They wouldn't always talk to each other. There wouldn't always be clear communication. When I was in the halls of the Pentagon interviewing people for the book, I heard over and over frustrating stories about generals driven off the side of the road by contractors who are on a mission and they're not really paying attention to what's happening.
I mean, you see so many of these stories are so unbelievable. You get to the point where you're like, is this a good or a bad thing?
HILL: It's amazing that that could happen. Does it work? Are they efficient? Are they doing the job correctly?
SIMONS: I think in general it works but it's almost like -- and I hate to almost say this -- but it's like having well-behaved children. If the parents have done their job, the children are going to do what they've been taught to do and they're going to stay within the rules.
And I don't mean to belittle anyone because a lot of these contractors are former military people. They're highly-trained individuals and a lot of them are very on the ball.
HILL: But if they're not given the proper direction...
SIMONS: Exactly. If there's no proper direction and there's no accountability, clear accountability that they know they're going to be held to, you're going to see a lot more people pushing that line.
HILL: Do the contractors believe -- the contractors that you spoke with and all those folks on the ground -- do they believe that Iraq can, in fact, be secure?
SIMONS: I think they really hope that it will be. Now contracting business is -- they're going to be there for a while. While we can talk about the headlines in the "New York Times" and others may say, great work drawing down our troops, the fact is those contractors are going to be there for a while because there's going to be a need on the ground for Americans to handle the reconstruction process.
Like we saw in Fallujah with the water treatment facility, if things like this are built but consistently blown up, nobody's getting anywhere in Iraq.
HILL: Suzanne Simons thanks.
SIMONS: Sure. Thank you.
Coming up next, an incredible story of survival. A 13-year-old girl may be the only survivor of a plane crash that killed more than 100 other passengers. She clung to wreckage for hours in the seas. How she held on ahead.
We caught up with Michael Jackson's former sidekick, Bubbles the chimp. What's his life like now? Well, you will see for yourself ahead.
COOPER: Tonight, connecting with one of Michael Jackson's old friends and perhaps one of his oddest; Bubbles the chimp. This clip from YouTube shows Jackson and his pet back in 1987. Bubbles there getting some of the tea that Michael Jackson was drinking. Jackson and Bubbles apparently lived together, dressed alike, and the singer would take him on tour, even out to parties.
Sure, it may seem odd now, but remember this was the 1980s, so different rules apply. Anyway, Jackson parted ways with Bubbles once the chimp got too big and too hard to control. Bubbles was then kept by an animal trainer until 2005 when he was sent to an animal sanctuary in Florida. And that's where we caught up with him; Bubbles is now 26 years old. John Zarrella tracked him down.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meet Bubbles. Other than Tarzan's Cheetah, he may be the most famous chimpanzee in the world. 25 years ago he was Michael Jackson's pet.
PATTI RAGAN, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR GREAT APES: Probably the best tribute that we could pay to Michael Jackson here is to just take excellent care of Bubbles because I know he loved Bubbles.
ZARRELLA: Patti Ragan is director of the Center for Great Apes outside Wauchula, Florida. For the last four years, Bubbles has lived here at the non-profit sanctuary with 41 other chimpanzees and orangutans. Nearly all were circus performers, pets or in the movies.
RAGAN: They relax. They take naps together. They might go up on the top of the coop or they might go out and shoot and lie under a tree in the tunnel system. They groom each other and they fight. And they have arguments, too.
ZARRELLA: Like we do?
ZARRELLA: Since Jackson's death, there have been so many stories about what happened to Bubbles. Most flat-out wrong, says Ragan. She decided to let us visit exclusive with him.
RAGAN: Hey, Bubbles. Hey, how's my boy?
ZARRELLA: He was clearly comfortable with our camera in his face; old habits are hard to break. He likes cucumbers for lunch and of course, bananas. He likes making faces.
Bubbles was born in Texas in 1983. It's not clear where. At about 8 months old, animal trainer Bob Dunn purchased Bubbles for Jackson. The two became inseparable.
They posed for pictures with fans. Here Bubbles posed with a picture of Michael. They ate together and went on tour together. This YouTube video shows the two during a press conference in Japan. But eventually, when Bubbles got too big and strong, he was returned to animal trainer Dunn, where he lived until four years ago. That Jackson couldn't keep him is a perfect example, Ragan says, why chimps should never be pets. They get too strong.
RAGAN: This is one of the most successful and wealthy individuals at the time he had Bubbles. It was not even appropriate for him to keep Bubbles after a certain age.
ZARRELLA: Jackson never came to visit Bubbles, but if he had...
RAGAN: Most of our chimps recognize their former owners and they get excited to see them. I am sure that he would have recognized him.
ZARRELLA (on camera): He would have gotten pretty excited to see Michael?
RAGAN: I'm sure he would have.
ZARRELLA (voice-over): They might even have moonwalked together for old time's sake.
John Zarrella, CNN, Wauchula, Florida.
COOPER: Remarkable Erica. Erica, I don't even remember if Sheryl Crowe, who was in our program, I think it was last week saying she had been on the "Bad" tour with Michael Jackson as a backup performer -- backup singer. And that Jackson used too -- at that point Bubbles was getting already kind of out of control. And he used to have to poke Bubbles with a ball point pen -- the end of one -- to kind make him pay attention.
HILL: To get him to calm down a little bit.
It's amazing too that he would remember Michael Jackson all these years later.
COOPER: Yes. Incredible that they remember their owners.
Erica I know you're following a bunch of other stories for us. What else have you got in our bulletin?
HILL: We'll start off with President Obama today, who held a health care town hall meeting in Virginia we repeated his calls to overhaul the current health care system. He's calling for better service, more access to insurance. The president urged the audience to reject critics who say his plan is too expensive and call it a step towards socialized medicine.
The 13-year-old girl who is the only survivor of the Yemeni jetliner that crashed in the Indian Ocean this week now headed home to France with a broken collar bone. Her father says she managed to somehow hold on to a piece of the wreckage for more than 12 hours until she was rescued. The girl for her part says she didn't feel a thing. Her mother is presumed to be among the 153 people who died in the crash.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates looking for ways to make the "don't ask don't tell" policy, quote, "more humane" so some gays and lesbians could still serve in the military. In this transcript released by the Pentagon, Gates says he wants to see what can be done for those who may have been outed by a jilted lover or out of vengeance.
And this definitely not for anybody with a fear of heights; tomorrow, the Sears Tower in Chicago -- check that out -- is opening new glass balcony -- they're more like glass boxes. There you go. Suspended from the 103rd floor, how about a bird's-eye view of the city below?
I think not. It's interesting.
COOPER: I hate heights.
HILL: I do too. One of the owners of the Sears Tower said he got a little queasy the first time he went out but after 30 or 40 trips out there, he was fine.
COOPER: I would not do that. No way.
HILL: I'm with you. Like that Grand Canyon thing; a little too creepy for me.
The "Shot" is next Erica. One reporter has had enough with an apparently drunk Michael Jackson fan. What he did, well, it's going to surprise you.
At the top of the hour also, the latest on the Michael Jackson investigation: details of his will, who he left out of it and the plans for a memorial, as well as the questions about drug use. We'll be right back.