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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Health Care Deal; Airport Security Breach; Melting Polar Ice Cap; Self-Help Danger
Aired December 8, 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: Hey, good evening.
Tonight, we have breaking news: the Democrats have a deal after months and months of fight over how to reform health care and how to make it more affordable and how to keep insurance companies accountable. Tonight the Senate's top Democrat says the end is in sight. He has the recipe to get the 60 votes in the Senate he needs to get it done.
We're going to show what the deal might look like, the "Raw Politics" behind it and how it may drastically change the way you get insurance, making age 55 the new 65 when it comes to Medicare.
Also breaking tonight, what is being called the worst security breach since 9/11: the TSA's playbook on airport secure, this is it, all 93 pages of it. Sensitive, secret information you and I and potential terrorists aren't supposed to see it, but all of it was put online, basically an instruction book for how to get through security.
"Up Close" tonight, how did this happen and how bad is the damage?
And later, self-help guru, James Arthur Ray -- remember him? Three people died in one of his sweat lodge ceremonies. Well now, we've uncovered another death, a woman who paid him thousands of dollars to turn her life around.
We're pressing him for answers, "Keeping him Honest" and talking with Deepak Chopra who says it is time for guys like Ray to be held accountable.
First up tonight, the breaking news: a possible end to all the fighting over health care reform and where it leaves all of us, your bottom line. Because nearly every Republican in Congress opposes the plans being considered, this has been a fight among and between Democrats.
Now, there are 58 in the senate ranging from very liberal to somewhat conservative and there's two independents. Without all 60, nothing gets passed. Until tonight, the sticking points were abortion and the public option, a government-run alternative to private insurance.
Well, late tonight the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came out and announced that a group of ten liberal and conservative Democrats, the gang of ten, have reached a deal on the public option. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: This is a consensus that will help ensure the American people win in a couple of different ways. One, insurance companies will certainly have more competition. And two, the American people will certainly have more choices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's Majority Leader Harry Reid doing a kind of victory lap but barely saying a thing about what he just won. No details tonight but Dana Bash who first broke the news tonight, has been working her sources and joins us now with what she's learning. Dana, what have you heard?
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What we are hearing from Democratic sources is that what Senate Democrats have tentatively agreed to is to drop a government-run insurance option from the health care bill, the so-called public option. And the reason is quite simple -- the votes simply weren't there because moderate Democrats said it was too much government intervention.
So what is going on is that group we just showed, moderate Democrats, about five of them and five liberals who very much wanted a public option, they have come up with kind of a patchwork of ideas to achieve the same goal, and the goal is to make insurance more affordable and to make more competition for private insurance companies -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well they -- I mean, they had this press conference tonight, they came out and announced an agreement. They did not give any single details, though.
BASH: They sure didn't, but we have some details that we've gotten from Democratic sources. These are details based on the conversations and the negotiations that we've been staking out for a couple of days now. And I'll give you some of them.
First of all, instead of that public option, what they're talking about is not-for-profit private insurance plans and these plans would be overseen, not run, but overseen by the Office of Personnel Management. Now, that would be appealing to moderate Democrats who don't want anything government-run and government funded.
Now, to appeal to liberals, what do they have? well, in here in this tentative agreement they allow people starting at age 55 to buy into Medicare. It won't be simply eligible, but people will have to buy into Medicare as if that is an insurance plan available to the people of that age, Anderson.
COOPER: Dana, I want you to stay with us.
I want to bring in senior political analyst David Gergen, as well, who's seen a lot of these 11th-hour agreements hammered out among people who say no way, no deal, right until the very end.
David, tonight's announcement, I mean -- is the hardest part over? Is this, as Harry Reid said, the end in sight?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It could very well be the breakthrough that the Majority Leader Harry Reid has been pushing for, Anderson. They were just shy of 60 votes with a plan that was on the table that included the government-run option.
This other alternative, it' a concession to the moderates, gets the government pushes the government away.
What Dana is talking about is a plan that would be very much -- the new plan would be very much modeled on what's offered and what some eight million federal employees have. And that is the government offers them a menu of privately-run health plans.
But the devil's in the details. You don't know how much control the government's going to have, how much subsidies. There's a lot we don't know yet or whether this will actually pass in the Senate.
COOPER: Well Dana, I mean, what happened -- there were all those liberal Democrats who were saying, look, without a public option in some form, we're not going to vote for it?
BASH: Well, a lot of those liberals, the most liberal Democrats in the Senate, Anderson, they were in that room. Now, I should tell you not all of the liberals have --- have signed onto this tentative deal and there is something very important that they're waiting for, very important.
They're waiting for the Congressional Budget Office to tell these Democrats, A, how much this would cost and probably more importantly when we're talking about a public option, whether or not what this patchwork of ideas would achieve what they're looking for, which is making insurance more affordable to a broader swath of the American public.
They don't know if that's going to happen yet. We're waiting for that. We might not get that information for about a week.
COOPER: David, why...
GERGEN: Yes, Anderson...
COOPER: Oh -- go ahead, David.
GERGEN: What the Democrats, liberals got out of this was the deal on Medicare or general agreement to explore that. And that is the buy-in for anybody who reaches the age of 55.
That's a major dramatic change in Medicare. It makes sort of federal health insurance available to a bigger swath of the population.
That is an idea that's been pushed by some very liberal senators like Jay Rockefeller and Sharon Brown and Howard Dean weighed in on this and had a lot of impact on pushing in that direction. Now, I should tell you, Anderson, American hospitals, they're already out tonight opposing that expansion of Medicare. They think it's going to -- they're going to be forced to accept a lot more people on Medicare rates which they don't want.
So this is -- I don't think it's settled yet. It's not clear they would get Olympia Snowe with this Medicare deal.
COOPER: Yes go ahead, Dana.
DANA: I was going to say, just on that point, Olympia Snowe told me and other reporters point-blank that she is very, very reluctant to support something that expands Medicare because she believes that that is simply an expansion of government and just like David said it would be way too hard on providers, meaning hospitals and doctors, to deal with an expansion of Medicare. It would be too costly.
COOPER: And on the Abortion Amendment, which Ben Nelson had put in yesterday, which a lot of liberals opposed, that was defeated today, right, David?
GERGEN: Yes, that was defeated today and that was a victory for the left. But as we said last night, Anderson, Senator Reid has -- had about 58 votes. He needs 60. He needs two out of three people. He needs Ben Nelson. If he lost Nelson today on this issue of abortion, then he needs Joe Lieberman and he needs Olympia Snowe.
And that's why ultimately if she opposes the Medicare deal and they need her vote that could fall out of the package before it's all said and done.
That's why I think this is kind of -- they need some figures back to Dana has been saying, they do need some estimates back. And then they need to put together -- see what kind of coalition they could build. But Senator Reid may be very close to a major breakthrough.
COOPER: All right, David Gergen, Dana Bash, we appreciate it. We'll keep on that.
Let us know what you think of this health care fight. And what it means to your household. You can join the live chat right now at AC360.com.
Up next, there's really no other way to put it. The monumental screw-up that now gives anybody a chance to learn how airport security works and how to beat the system.
Later, with 200 countries gathering to debate global warming and Sarah Palin weighing in today also in an op-ed in "The Washington Post", we're going to hear from one of the leading experts, a guy who spends his time watching tons of ice vanishing right before his eyes. We'll talk with him and take you straight to Ground Zero for rising temperatures.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF CORWIN, ANIMAL PLANET: It's easy. Just let yourself climb down -- Anderson.
COOPER: Lean back.
CORWIN: Lean back. And feed it and remember if you want to break, pull the rope up towards you.
COOPER: Lean back. What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
CORWIN: You've got to lean back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I want to show you something, it is document by rights I should not have, no one should except for the men and women whose job it is to keep us safe when we fly. These are the documents right here, 93 pages worth, detailing the equipment that the TSA uses, that details who doesn't have to be screened, what passes look like that can actually get you through security. Sensitive details in these documents on how the TSA works, where the system is vulnerable and how a bad guy could exploit those weak points.
Now I'm not going to read you the details in these documents because they do add up to a how-to manual for terrorists.
But the TSA posted those documents, all 93 pages, online in another government Web site for would-be contractors to read. They had the sensitive bits kind of blacked-out but the redactions were simple to remove so now the entire document is out there uncut.
Joining us now -- to talk about this breach this security is Clark Kent Ervin, a former inspector general for the Office of Homeland Security, also former TSA Air Marshal Robert MacLean.
Clark, this isn't just a casual memo, I mean, this is a comprehensive, detailed plan on airline security. How bad a breach of security is this?
CLARK KENT ERVIN, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL OFFICE OF HOMELAND SECURITY: It's really huge, Anderson. As you said in the lead-in, this is really the most security breach on TSA's part since 9/11 and since TSA's creation in 2002.
COOPER: I mean they're the worst breach since 9/11.
ERVIN: Yes. I couldn't believe it this morning. It really couldn't be bigger. And it comes against the backdrop, as you know, of other serious breaches on TSA's part.
Nearly every year on a quarterly basis almost there's another report showing screeners' inability to spot conceal guns and knives and bombs, there's a recent GAO report that shows the TSA having spent almost a billion dollars to deploy technologies and we're not sure if those technologies work, no cost analysis performed. And there's an I.G. report out in the last few days it says that millions of dollars of equipment is wasted.
But this is far and away the most serious breach that's happened to date.
COOPER: Robert, you're an Air Marshal. You got fired from the TSA for disclosing information that you said showed the agency was cutting corners on flight security. How does something like this happen?
ROBERT MACLEAN, FORMER TSA FEDERAL AIR MARSHALL: Well, it looks like it had to have been a manager or a TSA lawyer that carefully tried to redact the document that was already fully marked as sensitive security information. So this was definitely not done at a lower level.
COOPER: And do you agree that it's -- that it's a huge breach of security, biggest since 9/11?
There's -- it pretty much -- it gives up everything. It's a playbook for anything you want to know to get through the screening process with the IDing systems, the explosive trace systems, who gets exempted, certain screening procedures. It just has way too much information on there.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, it literally shows the passes that a CIA officer could use or an air marshal like yourself could use or anybody could use in order to get through security.
Clark, the TSA is saying well, look, this was just one of many security plans, it was outdated, it was never implemented.
But I mean, you know let's "Keep them Honest" here. How could this plan be so different from others? There are only so many ways you can screen airline passengers at an airport.
ERVIN: That's exactly right, Anderson. They say that there have been six updates, revisions of this manual since this was posted. We'll see. There's an investigation that's under way. We'll see if that's true. I really find it hard to believe for precisely the reason you say. There are only so many measures that can be used.
A second thing TSA says is what it says routinely when this kind of thing happens, although again, this is the most egregious in that aspect, there are multiple levels of security, layers of security and this is only one layer.
I would argue that the whole system is only as strong as its weakest link and as links and layers go, this is the most serious one. The checkpoint is the last opportunity usually, and almost always really, before passengers are screened for weapons; and if they get past the checkpoint, they are highly unlikely to be checked again at the gate.
So, this couldn't be more serious.
COOPER: Well also, Robert, it's not as if the folks who would want to hijack an airplane or do something in an airport are dumb. They do dry runs. We know that the 9/11 hijackers did that.
We just have this case now of an American who apparently did dry runs for Mumbai terrorists before the Mumbai attacks two years in advance scoping out areas in India into attack.
So I mean it's not as if they're not going to be reading this document that's out there.
MACLEAN: Well, it puts so much stress already on these screeners that have -- they have a lot of pressure to get this right and now if they get by them, now you've got to consider it's now the air marshals they've got to worry about who gets through here. So there's just -- and now we have nervous passengers on the holidays. It's just everybody around is definitely going to be upset about this.
COOPER: So, Clark, I mean, what's the take-away? Someone sitting at home, I mean, there's not much you can do about this. This is a mistake somebody else made. But where do you go from here?
ERVIN: Well, I mean, that really is the key question. And my answer to it really is two-fold.
First of all, TSA has got to change tonight -- I hope it happened earlier today -- the procedures that were put in place in that document, where there were lax procedures identified, those procedures should be tightened. Where vulnerability is, in deployed equipment were identified, that equipment needs to be supplemented, if it's possible to supplement it with additional measures. That's the first point.
The second point is accountability. There's got to be a full investigation of this. I hope it's done not by TSA internally but by the independent inspector general. And then whoever --- one person or people who are found to be responsible for this have to be held accountable; they've got to be fired. And if the negligence is so gross perhaps criminal charges should be considered because this cannot be allowed to happen again.
COOPER: Yes. And I just want to remind our viewers, we're not giving out any actual details that were in this thing although frankly anybody who was online could have gotten the details right out of this document. But we're not doing anything that -- to actually give details, but without doing this story, I mean, nothing is going to change.
Robert MacLean, I appreciate your time tonight, Clark Kent Ervin, thank you very much as well.
MACLEAN: Thank you Anderson.
COOPER: Disturbing stuff. We'll see what's done about it.
Up next, what Sarah Palin has got to say today about global warming? She's just written about it in "The Washington Post." And she has some advice for President Obama. We'll tell you what it is.
And later "Keeping them Honest": How yet, another person died in the care of this guy, self-help guru, James Arthur Ray. What Ray has done about it and maybe hasn't done about it. And what Deepak Chopra has to say about Ray and others like him.
Gary Tuchman has the investigation, and Dr. Chopra joins us with his take when we continues.
COOPER: Late word tonight that Sarah Palin is now calling for President Obama to boycott the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen. In an op-ed she wrote for "The Washington Post," Palin says the leaked e-mails from a leading climate research group call into question the proposals being pushed at the two week conference.
Meantime, a U.N. weather agency made news today at the meeting when it said the current decade will likely be the warmest on record and 2009 will probably be the fifth hottest year.
As part of our "Planet in Peril" investigation, we wanted to see for ourselves what was happening at the Arctic ice camp, we wanted to kind of go beyond just the talk and discussion among scientists and actually go to the front lines and see where things are happening, where temperatures are said to be rising faster than anywhere else on earth.
Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin and I traveled to Greenland's vast ice sheet. It's not easy to get to. You can see us there on the snow machine. Our guide was Dr. Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado.
Now, he's been studying the melting ice sheet for nearly two decades and he does it at this incredibly remote research station 300 miles above the Arctic Circle. Here's what's so incredible and to many scientists alarming.
Since 1990, winter temperatures in the Arctic have increased by about eight degrees Fahrenheit. No question the ice is melting and rivers and melt water are literally carving deep holes called moulins into the ice, and some scientists think that could be a very bad thing. We climbed into a moulin to see it for ourselves. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So this is a moulin?
KONRAD STEFFEN, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: Yes this is a moulin. You can see the water channel coming all the way down. Well, let's explore it further.
COOPER: As more ice melts, more moulins appear. We gear up to rappel ourselves down inside.
Hurling yourself backwards over a 15-foot cliff does take some practice.
CORWIN: It's easy. Just let yourself climb down, Anderson.
COOPER: Lean back.
CORWIN: Lean back. And feed it and remember if you want a break, pull the rope up towards you. Lean back.
COOPER: What the (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?
CORWIN: You've got to lean back. Step up. Step up. Step up.
STEFFEN: It's feels good.
CORWIN: So now you feed the rope. And we can slide down like this.
COOPER: That was far more unpleasant than it needed to be.
So right now, obviously there's snow here, but this could go much deeper.
STEFFEN: Yes. Usually these channels are up to 20, 30, 40 feet deep.
COOPER: So in the summer months ahead, as the temperature increases, the water will actually start flowing through here.
STEFFEN: Oh, yes, definitely. If the water is so fast and has energy, it actually carves into the ice before it drops into the water.
COOPER: Last year Konnie and his team actually lowered a camera inside a moulin, capturing the first video from deep inside this icy tunnel.
And what is the big picture? What's the significance of a moulin?
STEFFEN: It actually is conduit through the ice sheet and the water can reach the bottom of the ice. Once this moulin fills with water and water is heavier than ice, it's possible that it will lift up the ice and then it's a lubricant under the ice and that's when we see the ice moves faster.
CORWIN: So basically it's providing this layer of viscosity to the ice to slide on.
COOPER: So, because of the research you've been doing here, what is it that alarms you in terms of climate change?
STEFFEN: First of all, it got much warmer than we expected it. So the melt season got much larger.
If you look at the latest reports put together by all scientists that discuss the climate change, they estimate sea level rise by 2100 to be about 50 centimeters, one and a half foot. If you take that number, this is only based on melt; it's not based on the fast flow that generates the additional icebergs.
By 2100 we'll be more likely one meter, three feet, instead of one-and-a-half.
COOPER: Konnie Steffen joins me now from Denver. Konnie, we shot that in 2007. What's happened to the ice sheet in Greenland since then?
STEFFEN: Well, first of all, it's nice to talk to you, Anderson, again.
Since 2007, we actually have seen even more melt. 2007 was the biggest melt year we have seen over 30 years of measurements from satellite, 20 years of measurements on the ground.
And right now we are losing about 200 cubic kilometers of ice in Greenland; 50 percent of that ice loss is by the melt water that actually is melted by the warmer temperature.
But more importantly, the ice sheet moves fast towards the coast and this actually dislodges huge icebergs that melt into the ocean. And that is currently worrying us, but this increase has increased. That means, we are no longer on a linear trend. We have every year more ice losing and that makes the sea level to rise.
COOPER: And now there's concern about the ice in Antarctica, which a lot of scientists mistakenly thought was stable and this all contribute to rising sea levels around the world. Why is that so worrisome I mean, you said possibly three meters by -- in the next 100 years? Why is that a huge concern if the oceans rise by three meters, nine feet or so?
STEFFEN: First of all, Antarctica, in the last IPCC report that was published two years ago, it was assumed that there will be no large changes. What we see today from satellite measurements, from in situ (ph) measurements, that we are losing approximately the same volume of ice in Antarctica now not by melting, that the ice flows out faster so, we lose also around 200, 250 cubic kilometers. If we add this up just by the two ice sheets that makes already 1.1 millimeter sea level rise.
All the glaciers are equally important. They are actually losing ice melting and that adds another millimeter to thermal expansion of the ocean because the ocean gets warmer, adds another millimeter. So every year the ocean now is three and a half millimeter higher. When we look into the future -- and I stated that when you came to visit us in 2007 -- sea level will be in the order of one meter higher in 100 years.
This will affect large ocean reefs and I have to say this is the mean sea level and then we now lose, for example, one meter of rising in Antarctica, the coast around the U.S. will have a 1.8 meter sea level rise. And this will affect all coastal towns, including the large cities like in Miami, like in New York.
COOPER: I want to talk about those hacked e-mails from England. It's gotten a lot of people concerned. A lot of people frankly just don't believe -- even people who did believe climate change before and maybe now believe that a lot these scientists are just kind of cooking the books and cooking the numbers.
Pat Michaels from Cato Institute was on the program last night. He said that these e-mails were evidence that the scientists in England were trying to pressure the editors of scientific journalists into not publishing dissenting views.
STEFFEN: First of all, I have to say that I'm actually not surprised that the climate critics have to use a method by breaking into a public computer on a university and then display public and private e-mails.
But that aside, when you read the e-mails, there's nothing surprising there. These are e-mails between scientists discussing the way they analyze paper, analyze their data. I can make one example that was picked up by the press that the three-ring proxy value of the temperature is not really tracking our warming these days. Therefore, the scientists in New Zealand said we are not using them.
This is the correct conclusion. If you have a proxy value, you don't see the warming because we have today measurements that show the warming. Then you have to disregard it. So if you read the e-mails, there is nothing that disputes the climate warming and this is the real part.
COOPER: Dr. Konrad Steffen, you literally dedicate your life to this and you've just back from Greenland again. I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. Thank you very much.
STEFFEN: Well, it's my pleasure Anderson, thank you.
COOPER: I hope we'll see you in Greenland sometime. I'll do a little better job rappelling.
STEFFEN: OK. Come back and then lean back. We found actually a very deep hole about 300 feet so we can do some training before we go back.
COOPER: Wow. Yes. I could use some training.
Thanks a lot, Dr. Steffen. You can go to ac360.com to see more of the Planet in Peril investigation, including the polar bear situation -- the plight of polar bears in the arctic.
Special program note about a CNN exclusive: Tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING," former vice president Al Gore is going to be talking about climate change. He'll also be taking your questions. You can send them in to cnn.com/am.
Still ahead tonight, when self-help turns deadly: is James Arthur Ray, this guy, closer to being charged in those sweat lodge deaths?
Plus new information about another deadly incident we've uncovered that some say Ray tried to cover up. We're "Keeping Them Honest.
And later on 360: an outpouring of grief as thousands turn out to honor those four murdered Washington police officers. We'll show you what happened today.
COOPER: Ahead on 360, the surf is up, way up on Hawaii's beaches, an early holiday gift for the serious surfers, giant waves, some approaching 50 feet. We'll show it to you ahead.
First Erica Hill has the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, in Baghdad, five suicide bombings this morning killed nearly 130 people, wounded more than 400. The attacks spanned about 30 minutes and shattered a two- month period of relative calm.
Bryant Gumbel today revealing he's been battling lung cancer. The host of HBO's "Real Sports" made the surprise announcement this morning while co-hosting "Live with Regis and Kelly." Gumbel said part of his lungs was removed in surgery two months ago. But doctors have said he's doing OK for the time being.
President Obama today outlining a series of proposals to kick- start job growth; among the ideas: small business tax breaks for new hires and equipment purchases; $50 billion for roads, bridges, aviation and water projects; and rebates for consumers who retrofit their homes to use less energy. Mr. Obama did not give a price tag for his plans.
And "As the World Turns" is joining "The Guiding Light."
COOPER: Say it isn't so.
HILL: It's true. The great soap operas go to the sky. CBS is canceling the 54-year-old daytime drama today.
HILL: It was one of the longest-running soaps. Today was the soap's 13,661st episode.
HILL: Its final episode will be next September. I think my grandmother might have watched every episode.
COOPER: That is -- I can't believe it's been on that long.
HILL: It is kind of wild.
All right. Coming up, a fatal plunge for the follower of a self- help guru: it was a suicide, but did the controversial motivational speaker, James Arthur Ray -- who by the way, is still out there, still making money -- did he try to cover it up? Might he face charges in those three recent sweat lodge deaths? "Keeping Them Honest" ahead.
We'll also talk live with Deepak Chopra to get facts you need about the risks in the booming self-help business.
COOPER: James Arthur Ray is a familiar figure to 360 viewers. He's the self-help guru who presided over a sweat-lodge ceremony in October that ended with three people dead and more than a dozen injured.
Well, tonight, relatives of the victims we've spoken to say they have reason to believe that criminal charges will be brought against Ray.
Ray calls himself a visionary who claims he changes lives across the world. He has followers; he also has troubles. Tonight, we have new information about another deadly incident, one some say Ray tried to cover up.
Tonight, Gary Tuchman is "Keeping Them Honest."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was July in San Diego. Colleen Conaway was among scores of people looking to improve their lives with self-help guru James Arthur Ray. They paid him thousands of dollars for a three-day seminar entitled, "Creating Absolute Wealth."
This is Colleen's sister, Lynn.
LYNN GRAHAM, SISTER OF COLLEEN CONAWAY: She was healthy. She was energetic. She was full of life.
TUCHMAN: Colleen and the others were told to spend a few hours pretending they were homeless in a self-sufficiency exercise. A bus dropped them off in the middle of the city. They had no IDs, no cell phones. James Ray talks about it on his Web site.
JAMES ARTHUR RAY, SELF-HELP GURU: You have no one to assist you, apparently. And yet you not only survive, but you thrive.
TUCHMAN: But something terrible was about to happen to this small-town girl from northern Minnesota.
(on camera): What happened to Colleen Conaway was pitifully sad and tragic. A witness told police he was walking out of this movie theater on the third floor of this outdoor shopping mall in downtown San Diego. He says he saw a woman standing right near this balcony, and she was standing on this ledge outside of the protective railing.
He thought it was part of a show, because on the ground below there was a performance with children. But then, to his horror, she jumped, plunging more than 30 feet to her death.
It does not appear Colleen Conaway wrote a suicide note, and there was no identification found on her body, because she was participating in the homeless event. So when officials took her to the morgue, they had no idea who she was.
Meanwhile, the homeless event continued. Ultimately, the participants and the employees of James Ray International boarded the bus here to leave, and they either didn't know or weren't overly concerned that Colleen wasn't among them.
ANDY GRANT, SEMINAR PARTICIPANT: I just wandered around San Diego. I was -- I was literally just in rags.
TUCHMAN: Andy Grant of Massachusetts was also part of the group.
GRANT: I looked back at the woman, and she put her hands up and just fell forward.
TUCHMAN: He also witnessed Colleen's suicide. But at the time, he did not know she was part of the James Ray group and that she was supposed to be with them on the bus ride back to the hotel at the end of the day.
GRANT: I was just really trembling with emotion at that point. I told a couple of the staffers that, "I want to speak about what happened". They're like, "There'll be time to worry. I told James himself. He was on our -- he was on my particular bus.
TUCHMAN: There was no indication James Ray and his employees knew the suicide victim was part of their group. However, people on the bus did know Colleen did not show up for the ride back. The bus left without her.
James Ray officials say there were backup drivers in case anyone showed up late. They also say they called her phone, even though she wasn't supposed to have it with her. About the same time, the medical examiner's office was trying to figure out who she was.
PAUL PARKER, MEDICAL EXAMINER'S OFFICE: At the hospital, we labeled her as a Jane Doe because she had no identification.
TUCHMAN: In fact, about seven hours lapsed before the James Ray group on Saturday evening finally reported her missing.
PARKER: One of our investigators went to the hotel room, where they met with the group representative to look at her driver's license. And when we did that, we identified her that way.
TUCHMAN: Andy Grant who went to the seminar with his wife, says he shared his shock and emotions about seeing the suicide with James Ray and the entire group. He says Ray later thanked him for sharing his thoughts.
GRANT: Saturday night ended up with this big dinner and skit competition, and, like we won for the funniest silly thing.
TUCHMAN (on camera): What time was that, do you think, roughly?
GRANT: Like 9:30 at night was this dinner we had.
TUCHMAN: Because before 8 a.m. at night, that's when the James Ray Company reported that this woman was from your group and that she killed herself and that she was a person on your bus. And they had this whole celebratory event afterwards. How does that make you feel?
GRANT: It made me feel gross as hell. I mean, certainly no one told us anything like that had happened.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Once her identity was discovered, Colleen's heartbroken parents got a call from the medical examiner.
MARIAN CONAWAY, COLLEEN CONAWAY'S MOTHER: All I know is she was alone, no ID, no means of getting a-hold of us or anyone in a big city where she didn't know anyone. And she was just left.
TUCHMAN: Why she jumped is a mystery. Her toxicology report came back negative for alcohol or any drugs.
James Ray would not talk to us. But his company told us in a statement, "There is no evidence whatsoever that Mr. Ray or James Ray International contributed to or could have prevented Ms. Conaway's tragic suicide."
(on camera): James Ray himself, has he ever called you to say he's sorry?
TUCHMAN: Called your parents?
TUCHMAN: No phone calls at all?
GRANT: No. TUCHMAN (voice-over): Five weeks after her death, they did receive this small sympathy card with the signature James Ray International.
We asked the company lawyer, why such callousness? We got this statement: "James Ray International made efforts to locate Ms. Conaway's family to express their condolences. In the end, they only had Ms. Conaway's address, and so they sent a message there."
And then to add insult to injury, Colleen spent almost $12,000 on the San Diego event and two other Ray events she was supposed to go to in the future.
(on camera): Any calls from James Arthur Ray people saying, "You know what? Your sister died during our event. We think you're entitled to a refund?"
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Fast forward, ten weeks later. Three people died in another James Ray self-improvement event, in his sweat lodge in Arizona. The families say no refunds have been offered to them.
The Ray people did give us another statement about returning the late Colleen Conaway's money: "Ms. Conaway's family did not contact James Ray International to request a refund, and we have found no record of any request."
Colleen's family says it's obvious someone who died at their event is entitled to their money back. So will the company refund the dead woman's money? No commitment yet. But officially, they are still committed to this: the Creating Absolute Wealth event for San Diego next year is still listed on James Ray's Web site.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, San Diego.
COOPER: So how does James Arthur Ray draw so many followers and continue to draw so many followers? Should the whole self-help industry be regulated? We're going to talk with Dr. Deepak Chopra, about his own dealings with James Arthur Ray and what people should look for when signing up for self-help services.
Also, the White House party crashers RSVP'd their latest invitation to testify on Capitol Hill. New details about the Salahis, ahead.
COOPER: We're back, talking about the dark side of self- improvement. As we've been telling you, three followers of James Arthur Ray died in a sweat-lodge ceremony he presided over. And just tonight we told you about another woman, a woman who committed suicide, apparently, during a three-day seminar that Ray held in San Diego, a seminar where participants pretended to be homeless.
Now, in the wake of these tragedies there have been questions about Ray, a lot of questions and frankly, the whole motivational and empowerment industry.
Wanting to dig deeper tonight, Deepak Chopra joins us. He's a medical doctor and best-selling author. His newest book is "Reinventing the Body, Resurrecting the Soul." Deepak Chopra is with us now.
Thanks for being with us. Have you ever met or had dealings with James Ray?
DEEPAK CHOPRA, DOCTOR/AUTHOR: I had never heard of him, actually did not remember speaking to him or seeing him. But after this whole thing happened, I was reminded by my office that he had actually approached us for an endorsement. And we get hundreds of requests every day, so we had turned him down, not knowing who he was.
COOPER: You know, people enter into these courses willingly. They're not forced to take them. Where does the responsibility of the individual end and the responsibility of the person who's leading these events begin? It seems like just about -- this is an unregulated industry that just about anybody can set up shop and say I'm a self-help expert and I'm going to motivate you.
CHOPRA: So, Anderson, here's the thing. Since the 1960s, the human potential movement has been evolving in the United States. And in this movement are various forms of psychotherapy, self-help, spirituality, mind/body healing and on and on. The movement is unstoppable.
We at the Chopra Center, we do a psychological screening of everyone who applies. We ask them questions like "Are you seeing a therapist? Are you on any medication? Have you informed or do you have the consent of your primary health care provider." And we make sure that all our courses are conducted under certified physicians.
You know, everybody is an M.D., and there are registered nurses on hand at the Chopra Center when we do these courses, because a lot of these people who come are psychologically wounded. They are vulnerable. They are constricted. They are conditioned.
And there are two kinds of people who come to these self-help movement therapies or you can say courses: the extremely vulnerable and weak, and then the self-actualized. And I think this is an unregulated area right now.
You know, this week in Anaheim, there's a conference where 6,000 psychotherapists are coming to discuss the evolution of psychotherapy, because psychotherapists and other professionals are realizing that there are needs that need to be fulfilled and these are not being provided by professionals. So you have these tragedies. You have the sweat lodge...
COOPER: The things that you put -- you know, the requirements you put on this, these are ones that you just decided that this is the best form of treatment and, therefore, you need to ask people these questions. But you don't -- there's no regulatory body determining, you know, what a self-help person can claim or do or put somebody through.
CHOPRA: That regulation now needs to come from within the healing professions: from psychotherapists, from spiritual pastors, from people who are offering these therapies; I think this needs to be done.
As I was saying, there are 6,000 people coming to the Evolution of Psychotherapy conference in Anaheim tomorrow for a whole week to see what the future of this human potential movement is because there's no doubt that you can't stop this, and there's a need for this.
COOPER: I mean, you're a doctor. Putting somebody into a sweat lodge without knowing their medical history or having, you know, past information on them...
CHOPRA: It's -- it's very naive for people to think that they can do this, because, you know, people over the age of 40 are prone to dehydration. They may have marginal kidney function. At the very least you should have a doctor or a registered nurse.
And, you know, still these sweat-lodge treatments have been done for hundreds of years under the aegis of the wisdom traditions, and they know what they're doing. So either it should be professionals or it should be some kind of traditional form of therapy that's well- known.
You know, in New Mexico, they've been doing sweat-lodge treatments for years.
Having said that, Anderson, you should know that, you know, suicides occur in hospitals; suicides occur even in intensive psychiatric therapy treatments and in facilities.
So when people can escape the vigilance of such professional institutions, it's a bit foolish for people to think that they can take vulnerable people and subject them to intensive therapies without knowing their psychological status or their psychiatric background.
COOPER: Dr. Chopra, I appreciate you coming on and talking about both what you do in your program and also what needs to be done in some of these other program, as well. Dr. Chopra, it's always good to have you on. Thank you.
Coming up next tonight, paying respects: nearly 20,000 law enforcement officers honoring four of their own gunned down in Washington State last month, a moving memorial. All those people there to honor the four lives taken too soon.
Plus, the so-called party crashers are fighting back. Their new move when 360 continues.
COOPER: All right.
Let's get caught up on some other of tonight's top stories. Erica Hill has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, in Washington State, nearly 20,000 law enforcement officers, some from as far away as New York and Chicago, attend a memorial service for four police officers killed last week. Authorities say the gunman was Maurice Clemmons who was shot to death in Seattle after a two-day manhunt.
Across much of the country, winter arriving a little early; check that out. Ice, heavy snow, howling winds, making it a brutal night from Utah to the Great Lakes and a pretty tough day; one national meteorologist calls it a monster of a storm.
And talk about monster: check out those waves; weather of a different kind in Hawaii. There you go. Surf's up, way up, warm and sunny. I think that's where I'd like to go.
COOPER: I could ride that wave.
HILL: You could show that wave who's boss. Thousands of surfers hitting Oahu's North Shore to take on the biggest waves in years. Some of these waves, Anderson Cooper, that you're about to conquer, up to 50 feet high.
COOPER: Wow. Amazing.
And the White House party crashers. Remember them?
COOPER: Oh, the Salahis.
HILL: Have you heard of them before. Yes. Apparently, they plan to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights and refuse to testify if they're subpoenaed to appear before a House panel on Capitol Hill.
Why, you ask? Well, a lawyer for Tareq and Michaele Salahi says his clients will take that step because of a criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney's office. But you'll get to see them again. There will be more pictures, which is just fantastic. We don't have enough.
COOPER: Yes. And I understand you're handling tonight's "Shot" and it makes me a little concerned because I don't know what it's about.
HILL: I don't know why you'll be concerned. It's not like I have a record of trying to ambush you or anything.
So last night here in the studio we were talking during one of the breaks. Anderson was telling us all about his newfound love for "Battlestar Galactica."
COOPER: Yes. A series which has been canceled, sadly.
HILL: Which has been canceled, which he's very upset about, because he only has a few more episodes...
COOPER: By the way, I should say I only have, like, four more episodes to watch, so viewers please do not e-mail me and tell me what happens at the end.
HILL: He's wondering if there's a sixth Cylon (ph). But don't tell him. It will ruin it.
So anyway, we serve a mixed bag of...
COOPER: Technically, a thirteenth Cylon, but I digress.
HILL: But who's counting?
HILL: Sort of a mixed bag of support here in the studio, some people calling him a nerd. Others right there with him, loving the show. And one of the people who was with him was our director Eli Lazar.
COOPER: Yes, yes.
HILL: Who isn't here tonight, but he left a little something that he actually found. Check this out.
HILL: Let me see if I can hold it up.
COOPER: Wait a minute. Is -- does that have one of the Cylons that I don't recognize?
HILL: I don't think so. It's older. It's from a couple years ago.
COOPER: Well, no, the whole series is from a couple of years ago.
HILL: OK, well he's trying to help you out here. Here's the thing. He got this fancy -- Anderson, don't look but...
COOPER: OK, it's all the characters. No, it's all right.
HILL: ... it's a fancy, "Battlestar Galactica"...
HILL: ... framed print.
COOPER: That is cool.
HILL: But it's numbered here. So Eli decided he's not actually going to give it to you.
HILL: Because we thought we'd try to get it appraised and, if it's worth some money, he'd rather keep it. But if you'd like to borrow it to put it in your office until said date at which he cashes in...
HILL: ... here you go.
COOPER: I wouldn't mind looking at it.
HILL: It wasn't too scary, was it.
COOPER: It's very cool. It's a cool picture.
COOPER: All right. Now that I'm a complete nerd.
HILL: There we go.
COOPER: I'm glad at least the director of this program is also a complete nerd. And I like that he just happened to find the framed "Battlestar..."
HILL: "Look what I found in my desk. I forgot I had it."
COOPER: He happened to find it -- right, in his bedroom on the wall next to his big "Star Trek" poster.
HILL: I thought it was in the living room. No?
COOPER: Hey, that's it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts now.
I'll see you tomorrow night.