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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Reconciling War and Peace; Inside a Drug Tunnel
Aired December 10, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, only on 360: They were building it for years, night and day, practically right under my feet, right under the U.S.-Mexican border ,a massive and sophisticated tunnel for smuggling drugs and possibly people into the United States.
We're going to take you inside this tunnel tonight, show you how it was detected and ask, with all the threats this country is facing, how on earth can drug lords still dig their way in?
Also tonight, President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize days just days after expanding the war in Afghanistan. War and peace, how does he reconcile the two? Is this a different president than the people voted for? His speech winning praise from some conservatives. We have got the "Raw Politics" on that tonight.
And, later, director and molester Roman Polanski, his case back in court, his big-name supporters still behind him, who they are still surprising to many. Jeffrey Toobin has a new look inside his strange and sordid past, and joins us shortly. That's our "Crime & Punishment" segment tonight.
But we begin with the tunnel, another one, even more sophisticated than the one we showed you a few years back. Mexican authorities, acting on information from the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, uncovered it and busted about a dozen people inside.
I want to set the scene right where we are. We're at the Otay Mesa border. It's the busiest checkpoint in the country, three- quarters-of-a-million trucks, about five million cars every year. There's trucks moving by us. You might hear them over the next hour or so.
Just behind us there, you see a massive drill. U.S. authorities now are drilling, trying to locate the exact positioning of this tunnel on the U.S. side. This is where the border is. The border fence itself stretches for some 20 feet high. It's all along here. There's actually three large fences in this area.
So, coming over the fence is very difficult, over these three fences, is very difficult. So, now we're seeing drug -- drug traffickers, Mexican drug cartels, trying to figure out ways to tunnel underneath. And the tunnel that they have just discovered is by far the most sophisticated one they have ever seen.
Its -- the entry point is not very far on the other side of this border. It's a warehouse. You can see it right now. And that's where the entrance point is that we went to earlier today. Take a look.
COOPER: This is a commercial warehouse in Tijuana. We're just on the other side of the U.S.-Mexican border. You can see right over here, the border is -- is right there. I mean, those are the trucks actually coming across the border right now. The border fence is right there, about 50 feet from where I'm standing.
Now, this looks like just a regular commercial warehouse. The tunnel is hidden, it's concealed inside this warehouse. But if you first step in the warehouse, you would never know this is anything -- that anything illegal was going on here.
The secret entrance is extraordinary. Let me show it to you. It's in a small warren of rooms. And you come into what you think is just a regular bathroom. I mean, there's a toilet here. There's a tile floor. It looks like the bathroom is still under construction. But this entire floor is actually attached to -- underneath to a hydraulic lift. So, the entire floor lowers down.
You can see it's now -- it's about six or seven inches lower from the wall. If it was in its full upright position, you wouldn't even know that -- that this is a drop-away floor.
To get underneath the bathroom floor, to show you the hydraulic equipment, the Mexican authorities have actually created a hole here. They just put a ladder in. So, I have just got to climb down.
Now, over here is the hydraulic equipment that is attached to the bathroom floor above. So, the toilet that we saw is just up here, just in this room. They basically -- this is the kind of hydraulic lift that would be seen in an auto body store. A car would normally be put on that.
And the entire bathroom floor is attached to this to lower the floor any time they wanted entrance to the secret tunnel. There's large pieces of wood that were discovered here. Obviously, these wood -- these pieces of wood would be taken deeper into the tunnel, would be used to shore up the sides of the tunnel. There's also four large blocks of styrofoam.
Authorities think that was used to try to muffle the sound of the drilling. As we said, this is the most sophisticated tunnel they have ever discovered. It's certainly the most sophisticated one I have ever seen.
I mean, there's -- there's lightbulbs in it, so there's an electrical system. There's -- actually, this is an air vent you can see. There's actually cool air circulating in here, so fresh air circulating, which is important the deeper you go. There's even a phone system. The phones -- the phones still work. That way, people inside the tunnel can communicate with anyone up above.
But what's really remarkable here is what I'm about to show you. This, this is the motor works for an elevator. It's a primitive elevator, there's no doubt about it, but they brought this down here. This is the elevator itself. It's basically a large cart on wheels. And we're going to take you down and show what -- what happens then.
You really get a sense, really, going down in this tunnel, just the amount of work that it took to -- to build this. Look, you can really see the -- the bore marks that were used to tunnel deep underground. It must have made a lot of noise. I mean, this is solid rock here that they are -- that they are digging through. And they used -- clearly, they used heavy machinery.
Look, this is all jackhammers, mining equipment. We're now 90 feet deep. And there's the electrical system is still in place. There's plugs here. There's an electrical box. There's still the ventilation system. The lights still -- whoa -- the lights still work down here, and the phones are even this deep underground.
All right. We have probably already crossed into the United States. As I showed you up at the top, outside the warehouse, it's a very short distance from the -- from this warehouse to the border. So, we're probably already now into the United States.
The question, of course, is, where was this tunnel going? Where in the United States was it going to pop up? This tunnel was never finished, because authorities discovered it in time. But it goes about 900 feet underground.
It's tall enough here, you can pretty much stand almost -- almost straight up. I'm 5'10'', so it's -- it's probably almost six feet, I guess, right here. This is solid rock that they are -- that they drilled through. So, it took an awfully long time.
You can imagine how difficult the conditions were down here, even though -- with the ventilation system and the primitive electrical system down here, it's still got to have been a daunting challenge.
So, authorities pretty sure a major drug cartel is behind this, Not sure exactly which one. This might be some evidence. A lot of these sandbags say Sinaloa right here. You can see it, Sinaloa, Mexico. Sinaloa is another state in Mexico. And there's a large drug cartel there. they're called the Sinaloa Cartel. So, it's possible the Sinaloa Cartel is behind this.
At this point, they simply don't know who's responsible for digging this tunnel.
So, I have come to pretty much to the end of the tunnel. There's a lot of equipment still being stored here. As I said, this -- this tunnel was never finished. U.S. and Mexican authorities discovered it in time and raided it. So, no drugs, as far as we know, were ever brought through. There was no exit point into the U.S. They were still apparently digging to somewhere.
I think the authorities are still trying to figure out exactly where the -- the end point was going to be. But there's no telling how many other tunnels like this are being built right now somewhere along this border. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER: Well, joining us now is Mike Carney, the deputy special agent in charge of investigation for Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Diego.
Thanks for being with us, Mike.
Where was that tunnel going to come out in the United States?
MIKE CARNEY, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: It was going to come up in a commercial warehouse not too far from the location that we're at here.
COOPER: And do you know at this point who's behind the tunnel, I mean, who built it? I know there's theories about the Sinaloa Cartel, perhaps.
CARNEY: We don't know, specifically, but, generally, with these types of tunnels, there's a huge investment, and it's the cartels that finance the construction.
COOPER: And it's likely it wasn't so much for bringing people across, because that would be too much of a security risk if people talked. So, it's most likely for funneling drugs and possibly money and weapons back to Mexico, correct?
CARNEY: That's correct. Generally -- yes, the security of the tunnels is of utmost importance. So, the fewer people that know about it, the better.
COOPER: How much would it cost to build a tunnel like that for a cartel, do you think?
CARNEY: We're looking at upwards of $1 million for a tunnel of this length and sophistication.
COOPER: And they were -- you think they were working on it for more than two years?
CARNEY: That's the information that we have received.
COOPER: You have brought some of the equipment that they were using. I mean, it's from very primitive stuff, like this -- I mean, just like a pickax handle. This is stuff you found inside the tunnel?
This is an example of some of the tools that we recovered from the U.S. side of the tunnel.
COOPER: So, this is just an old jackhammer.
CARNEY: An electrical jackhammer.
COOPER: Yes. So, I mean, something like this, they just -- I mean, this thing is heavy. They're just working on this. They have a couple of them going at all times?
CARNEY: Right. There's a digging crew. And the simplicity of these tools is by design. It's to limit the sound that's produced from the digging operation. It takes longer, but it makes it harder for law enforcement to detect.
COOPER: And then what's this down here? Is this like an air generator?
CARNEY: This is an air blower. They had a -- they had a series of PVC tubing connected to a number of these air blowers in an attempt to try to circulate the air inside the tunnel.
COOPER: How -- I mean, you find little gopher holes, you call them, little tunnels that are dug by a handful of people over the course of one or two days just literally underneath a fence. How many tunnels do you actually find per year?
CARNEY: Tunnels of this level of sophistication, we have been averaging about one a year.
COOPER: One a year. But this is the most sophisticated you have seen?
CARNEY: Specifically on the Mexican side, the entrance, the sophistication of the bathroom floor that raised and lowered, once that -- that bathroom floor was up in place, it would be very hard to detect that there was a tunnel under there.
Well, it was a great catch. Congratulations, Mike.
CARNEY: Thank you.
COOPER: Yes, nice job, really amazing.
We are going to have more with -- more about the tunnel. We're going to talk -- talk about how the tunnel was discovered coming up later in the program.
Let us know what you think. Join the live chat now under way at AC360.com.
Also up next, Michael Ware takes you to perhaps the deadliest city on Earth, 2,400 murders this year alone, right across the border from El Paso, Texas. And the violence is spilling over into America. We will have details -- Michael Ware in Juarez.
And, later, President Obama's Nobel acceptance speech, getting the Peace Prize, using the word "war" more than three dozen times. We will get reaction from President Bush's former speechwriter, as -- as well as others.
We will be right back.
COOPER: And we're back at the Otay Mesa border crossing in San Diego.
Before the break, we took you inside that newly found tunnel, approximately 900 feet long. Authorities believe it was used to ferry narcotics from Mexico to the United States. The tunnel was discovered, but, frankly, there's no telling how many others there may be right now being used or being built by cartels and traffickers whose roots extend across America.
These cartels deal in drugs and in death. And we're about to show you that in very graphic images. Viewer discretion is strongly advised. This violence is happening in the border city of Juarez. It's next to El Paso, Texas, but, frankly, it's a world away.
Juarez is among the most dangerous places on Earth right now.
Michael Ware went on patrol with a Mexican joint operations task force through the streets, through the killing fields.
Again, a warning: His report does contain graphic and disturbing images.
Here is life and death in Juarez.
MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This footage is difficult to watch, these anguished cries impossible to forget, relatives entering this building seeking the bodies of their loved ones executed by a Mexican drug cartel.
You're witnessing the pain of the Mexican border town of Juarez. The front line in the war on drugs, and this a crime scene I just had to see for myself.
(on camera): There's so much violence that occurs here in Juarez that the world just does not hear about.
And, now, it's disconcerting to see this fresh paint here on these walls as an old woman makes her home in this building, for, just two months ago, this literally was a corridor of blood.
This building had been a drug rehabilitation center. And one of the major cartels suspected that its rivals were recruiting foot soldiers from among the patients. So, they came in this door and down this corridor, moving from room to room to room, executing everyone they found.
While they're now trying to build a home, this is where 17 people died in yet another day of Juarez violence.
(voice-over): Within two days of this attack, the death toll rose even higher, when two survivors died in hospital.
And there is no discrimination to the slaughter. Under these clothes lies a 7-year-old American boy, his father the target, but the hit man chose not to let the child live.
On this day, we're in Juarez to see the horrors for ourselves. It's just before dusk as I approach a fresh crime scene.
(on camera): In Juarez, 1,600 people died from drug-related violence last year. This year, the total's already well over 2,000. And today's total is already at 12.
The man in that car was hit by cartel gunmen, riddled with eight bullets. His passenger tried to flee, but only made it that far.
(voice-over): This was yet another afternoon of killing in Juarez, with a night of murder yet to follow.
(on camera): It's only 9:00. We're now going and joining this police patrol. Since the killings this afternoon that we saw, there's already been another homicide, bringing today's total to 13.
(voice-over): Every night, joint patrols like this one between local and federal police and Mexican soldiers crisscross the city, trying desperately to stem the flow of blood.
(on camera): Things were so bad that, earlier in the year, the Mexican president had to call in the military to help protect the city. For a short time, there was a lull in the violence, but it quickly returned. And now it's worse than it's ever been before.
(voice-over): By now, it's close to 10:00 p.m., and the reports of violence are streaming in over the police radio.
(on camera): The patrollers just received another call on the radio. there's some kind of incident. But those lights there, that's America. It's the U.S. border. This reminds you just how close this war on drugs is being fought to American soil.
(voice-over): But, before the night is over, there is even more carnage to come, all this in our one afternoon and evening visit to this deadly city.
(on camera): This time, it's almost too much to bear. It's just after 11:00. And where you see those policemen gathered at that door, there's just been four more slayings, this time all women.
The early reports are that a gunman walked in that door and executed all of them, one of them a 12-year-old girl, another one 14, and, in a gut-wrenching irony, all of this done with the American border crossing just here, 80 yards away.
There can be no more pertinent reminder of the Mexican blood that's being spilt in this war for the right to supply America's demand for illicit drugs.
COOPER: And Michael Ware joins us from El Paso, just across the border from Juarez -- El Paso, ironically, now one of the safest small cities in the United States.
Michael, in Juarez, does the public feel like -- like the presence of all these security forces and the Mexican military, do they feel like it's making a difference?
WARE: No, absolutely not, Anderson. In fact, it's quite the -- it's quite the opposite.
We spoke to so many people during our -- our visit to Juarez. indeed that's Juarez, what you see behind us right now. I'm standing on American soil. There's a fence and a train line below. And that's the city itself. Indeed, our police patrol was up and down this area here. And some of the murder scenes are just behind me.
The people fear not just the cartels, but they watch the army and the police stand by as others are being killed. They know that many of the police are corrupt, that the military's doing nothing. Yet, on the other hand, we asked some of the soldiers, when you have an incident, do the local people help you?
And the soldiers are telling us, "They give us no help at all."
So, there's no respect from the people for the security forces. And the few honest police and military aren't getting any help from a terrified population -- Anderson.
COOPER: And the death toll is rising.
Michael Ware, appreciate it. Thank you, Michael.
Up next, we are going to have more, by the way, from here, the Otay Mesa crossing and this new tunnel discovered here later on in the program.
But we want to turn now to a wartime president accepting the Nobel Peace Prize today -- President Barack Obama mentioning war dozens of time in his acceptance speech, now under fire from some critics about that. Some conservatives, including Sarah Palin, are praising him for it.
David Gergen, former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson and Huffington Post contributor Tanya Acker weigh in coming up.
COOPER: In Oslo today, President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. He's the fourth U.S. president to win the award, an honor that has put him in an awkward position. Many people, and not just his critics, have said he hasn't earned the award yet -- or not yet, anyway. He was nominated just shortly after taking office.
In his acceptance speech, Mr. Obama said he understood the controversy over his selection and called his accomplishments slight. That wasn't the only elephant in the room. Just nine days ago, the new peace laureate approved 30,000 more troops for the war in Afghanistan.
Candy Crowley has tonight's "Raw Politics."
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a moment congested with irony and complexity.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. And some will kill, and some will be killed.
CROWLEY: He was picking up the Nobel Peace Prize, speaking forcefully in defense of war.
OBAMA: I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.
CROWLEY: For a minute there, it was like he was channeling George Bush.
OBAMA: For, make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.
CROWLEY: News flash: Republicans were pleased about a lot of what the president had to say. Accused by critics of appearing weak in a tough world, the president spoke of morally justified war, for humanitarian reasons, to aid an invaded country, or in self-defense -- and, amidst domestic complaints he has apologized too much for U.S. behavior, a different tone, a history lesson to remind the world.
OBAMA: Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.
CROWLEY: He spoke of the need for countries to band together against nation's like North Korea or Iran trying to game the system. He spoke of the goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. But, in the end, where he may have most succeeded is in explaining how a president can oversee two wars and still accept a prize for peace.
OBAMA: We can admit the intractability of depravation, and still strive for dignity. Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace.
CROWLEY: It is not just this moment that's congested with irony and complexity. The world is, too.
Candy Crowley, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: President Obama used the word war more than three dozen times in the speech.
Now, the early feedback, a lot of conservatives seemed to like what he said. So, was it the right speech to give?
Joining me for our "Strategy Session," senior political analyst David Gergen, also Michael Gerson, a former Bush speechwriter, and Tanya Acker, a contributor to The Huffington Post.
David, the president faced a big challenge today. How do you think he did?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Anderson, it was a historic challenge. He's the first sitting president in all of American history who has -- you know, has given the Nobel lecture while in office.
None -- the other three were out of office when they -- when they -- one of them didn't show up, Woodrow Wilson, but the other two were both out of office when they gave the speech.
And, in this case, I think he rose to the occasion. It -- it -- I didn't think he was channeling George W. Bush. There might have been a sentence here or a sentence there, maybe even a paragraph that George W. Bush would have agreed with, but the overall thrust was very much President Obama's.
I think it reflected a philosophical turn of mind much more than sort of a policy approach. And I think it's a speech that will live well through the years ahead. I think it will be well remembered as a statement of his personal vision of what the world might become and of a man who -- who works hard to grapple with the complexities and the paradoxes of power.
COOPER: Michael, former Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton under former President Bush had this to say about the president's speech.
He told "The National Review" that -- quote -- "It followed the standard international leftist line. He played to the crowd and filled the speech with cliches from the American and international left by saying American cannot act alone and that he prohibited torture. The speech was also typical of Obama in its self- centeredness and something-for-everybody approach."
Do you agree?
MICHAEL GERSON, FORMER SPEECHWRITER FOR PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: No, I couldn't disagree more.
That really is an example of -- you know, we used to have Bush derangement syndrome. That's really Obama derangement syndrome.
GERSON: This was a complex, intellectually rich, impressive speech. It was professor Obama giving a lecture, and he was at his best.
He took on those elephants in the room, the difficult issues, you know, in a straightforward fashion, said that his qualifications for this were slight. He was disarmingly honest.
And then, when it came to the commitment of -- that he has made in Afghanistan, he was completely unapologetic. He talked about the use of force being a moral necessity in some cases. He talked about America being a force for moral good, about the reality of evil.
This was a very American speech. He didn't speak as kind of the citizen of the world, as sometimes he has in the past. He talked about America's important role.
I actually got an e-mail from a military officer that -- that was serving overseas today that was just deeply grateful that the president talked about the essential role that the military plays in preserving the peace. It was, I think, effective in that way.
COOPER: Tanya, I mean, the fact that today's speech was cheered in some ways by Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich...
COOPER: ... I mean, is that a marker of failure from the liberal perspective?
TANYA ACKER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I find it so puzzling, because, if you really parse through what he said in the speech, these are really a lot of the same themes that he sounded during the campaign.
He's always been hawkish on Afghanistan. He's always been very clear that that was the war, as president, that he was going to fight. He's always sounded these themes of going to war when necessary. I mean, I think the interesting thing that you're hearing from conservatives now is that they're sort of suggesting that this is some vindication of the Bush policy, when it isn't.
I mean, what was at issue in the Bush presidency was not, do you go to war, but it was, how and under what circumstances do you do so? I think what this president has set forth is that, like every president in the history of this nation, he's willing to commit arms in the defense of this country, but he will do it in a way that comports with international law.
COOPER: David, did he overcome the -- the potential criticism he faced for -- for accepting this award? I mean, early on, a lot of conservatives in particular were very critical of the fact that he was nominated and was going to accept. By giving this kind of a speech, did he kind of overcome that?
GERGEN: I think he did. I think it's faded as an issue, Anderson. Now the issue becomes, well, what did he say and what does it mean for American foreign policy; what does it mean for the world? I think he treated it with proper humility. I agree with everything Michael Gerson just said. I think Michael put it well. And I think he now has invited us to have a conversation about what it is to have a just war.
I don't know about Michael, but I heard the speech, in effect, say he thought Afghanistan was a just war, but he didn't think Iraq was a just war. And there was sharp departure from much of what George W. Bush stood for.
COOPER: Michael, is that what you heard as well?
GERSON: No, not really.
Philosophically, I -- there were, obviously, differences in the speech between the two presidencies. But the -- the -- philosophically, Obama made a very sophisticated argument that human rights and human dignity are the basis of a stable peace.
That could have been taken from the second inaugural. And I don't say that was a criticism. It shows the bipartisan commitments of American foreign policy that are rooted in a democratic internationalism: a belief that certain ideals are universal, not culturally relative. He made that point in the speech.
You know, these were very mainstream points, but very welcome coming from Obama, who sometimes has not taken this approach in the path.
COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Michael Gerson, Tanya Acker, David Gergen, appreciate your comments tonight. Thank you.
Still ahead, new developments in the Roman Polanski extradition case. Will the famed director have to finally face prison? And has his fame helped or hurt him?
Plus, much more on the sophisticated drug tunnel that took years to build right here beneath the U.S./Mexico border. We'll show you more of what we found today.
COOPER: New developments tonight in the Roman Polanski case. His lawyers in court today asking for his 1978 rape conviction to be thrown out. We'll have the latest on that ahead. But first, Erica Hill has a "360" bulletin -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, the FBI believes the five Americans arrested at a House today in Pakistan over possible terrorism links are, in fact, the same men recently reported missing in the Washington, D.C., area.
Now, the agency did not identify the suspects, but did say a -- but said a special agent and two other government officials have spoken with some of the men. Meantime, Pakistani police have now arrested a sixth man, the father of one of those five suspects.
A terrifying moment in New York's Times Square today, where a plains-clothed police officers chased an alleged scam artist through sidewalks packed, of course, with holiday shoppers. The two exchanged gunfire that shattered windows in a theater and gift shop on Broadway. The 25-year-old suspect was killed after he allegedly fired a stolen pistol at the officer.
A "360" follow-up tonight. A map accused of secretly taping ESPN sports reporter Erin Andrews in the nude, using hotel-room peepholes to get that footage, and then posting it online will plead guilty to a federal stalking charge. Forty-eight-year-old Michael David Barrett will enter that plea next week.
And Michael Jackson's father going to have to wait until next month before a judge decide ifs he will get a monthly allowance from the pop star's estate. A Los Angeles judge today delayed arguments on that petition until January 28. Joe Jackson is asking for as much as $20,000 a month, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Well, another reminder. Let us know what's on your mind tonight. Join the live chat at AC360.com.
When we come back, I'm going to be talking with two more members of the San Diego tunnel task force about their incredible discovery. Really the most sophisticated drug tunnel we have ever seen underneath the U.S. border. Getting an exclusive look at it tonight. You'll only see it here on "360." It's got a secret entrance, straight out of a crime movie.
Also, later, Roman Polanski's court appeal and the life leading up to it.
COOPER: We're back at the Otay Mesa border crossing, where they've discovered this incredibly sophisticated tunnel built by drug traffickers underneath the border. I want to show you where we are on the map. Just outside San Diego, just north of Tijuana. Otay Mesa, the country's busiest border crossing.
And I want to take you, just show you a little bit of what we saw inside the tunnel today in an exclusive look you'll only see here on 360.
This is the most sophisticated tunnel they've found, and they have found some pretty sophisticated ones here, especially in this area, over the last couple of years. This one has an elevator that actually takes you down 90 feet underground. Take a look.
COOPER: Deep underground. It must have made a lot of noise. And this is solid rock here that they are -- that they are digging through. And they used -- clearly, they used heavy machinery. Look, this is all jackhammers, mining equipment. We're now 90 feet deep, and there's the electrical system is still in place. There's plugs here. There's an electrical box. There's still the ventilation system. The lights still -- whoa -- the lights still work down here and the phones are even this deep underground. All right.
We've probably already crossed into the United States. As I showed you up at the top outside the warehouse, it's a very short distance from the -- from this warehouse to the border. So we're probably already now into the United States.
The question, of course, is where was this tunnel going. Where in the United States was it going to pop up? This tunnel was never finished because authorities discovered it in time, but it goes about 900 feet.
COOPER: Joining me now is Steven Tomaski, assistant special agent in charge with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in San Diego. Also, Richard Salinetti, acting deputy chief patrol agent from the San Diego sector with the U.S. Border Patrol.
Steven, had you ever seen a tunnel like this before?
STEVEN TOMASKI, ASSISTANT SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, DEA IN SAN FRANCISCO: No. This is a fantastic tunnel. It's probably the second biggest we've ever gotten. And it just shows you to the extent that these dangerous drug trafficking organizations will go to, to circumvent border security.
As border security has done well on top of the land, the drug trafficking tunnels get created and they try to go underground.
COOPER: And behind us, there's this huge drill. You guys are basically looking to find where the tunnel is on the U.S. side, ultimately to drill through it to then, what, flood it or destroy it?
RICHARD SALINETTI, U.S. BORDER PATROL: One of the big they thinks we need to do after discovering a tunnel is to remediate that tunnel so it...
COOPER: Remediate means fill it up?
SALINETTI: Fill it up with concrete so it can't be used again.
COOPER: OK. So that's what that massive drill is...
SALINETTI: That's part of this process, the remediation process.
COOPER: And most of -- you guys have found a number of sophisticated tunnels that are usually found in this area. Why do you think that is?
SALINETTI: Well, I'm not exactly sure, but five of the eight most sophisticated tunnels that have been found since 1990 have been found inside the San Diego sector.
Right now we know that increased border security is one of the reasons criminal smuggling organizations are looking to go underground. Additionally, they're looking to go out into the maritime environment.
But the Border Patrol as a whole hits certain benchmarks that really have increased border security. The benchmarks of 20,000 Border Patrol agents, 640 miles of fencing being installed. And improvements to our road network and the technology we use to detect people crossing the border.
COOPER: Why is it so hard to find these tunnels? I mean, I think a layman would think, well, there must be ground-penetrating radar and stuff. But it's, actually, you need human intelligence in order to really locate where these tunnels are.
TOMASKI: You wish it was that easy, but when a drug-trafficking organization is going to invest all this time and money into a tunnel like this, very few people know about it, and it's a collection of intelligence-driven enforcement.
It's human intel. It's aerial surveillance. It's ground surveillance. It's bits and pieces of overhears from independent unilateral investigations being conducted on all the different cartels in Mexico and their cells here in the United States.
And then the most important thing about this investigation is the fantastic cooperation between the DEA, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Border Patrol and our fourth partner, the government of Mexico in this investigation. All those agencies come together. They share ideas. They gather the intelligence. And when the intelligence dictates the time is right, you take decisive action.
And in this case, the seizure of a tunnel that we can tell you absolutely not a single gram of narcotics was able to flow through Mexico, transgress the border and come up into the United States.
COOPER: It was a great bust. It was amazing work you guys did. And I appreciate you letting us take an exclusive look at it. Really remarkable; a remarkable tunnel. Thank you very much, Steven Tomaski and Richard Salinetti.
Coming up, we have new developments for fugitive filmmaker Roman Polanski. His lawyers want the decades-old case against him dismissed. They were in a California court today. Jeffrey Toobin joins us with the latest on that. We'll take a closer look at whether his fame also has played a part in the fight to bring him back to the U.S.
And later, shamed but asking his wife for a second chance, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's plea to save his marriage after that affair.
We'll be right back.
COOPER: We're following other news tonight, including the latest on director Roman Polanski.
Today his defense team asked a court in California to throw out that 1978 rape conviction. Polanski, who was accused of sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl the year before, fled the year before sentencing and was arrested in Switzerland this past September and is now fighting extradition back to the United States. No decision was made in court today.
The question is, has his celebrity status helped or hurt his case? We're going to talk to Jeffrey Toobin about that in a moment. They've just written a big article in "The New Yorker" about him.
But first, an up-close look at Polanski's triumphs and tragedies.
Here's Erica Hill.
HILL (voice-over): His life plays out like one of his films. Spending his childhood in war-torn Poland, Polanski survived the Nazi occupation after his Jewish mother died in a concentration camp. He left Poland and in the 1950s began making movies. The success he found in Europe would land him in Hollywood.
In 1968, he directed "Rosemary's Baby." The horror film starring Mia Farrow became a classic and made Polanski one of the world's most sought-after directors.
That same year, he married actress Sharon Tate and they quickly became one of Hollywood's most celebrated couples. Soon, they were expecting a child.
But we all know what happened to Tate and their unborn baby. The two murdered in the summer of 1969, brutally stabbed to death by disciples of Charles Manson, who on orders from him, went on a killing spree in Los Angeles.
Polanski attended the trial and in the early '70s returned to movies, directing another classic, "Chinatown."
JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: Hello, Claude. Where'd you get the midget?
HILL: Polanski became a friend of the film's star, Jack Nicholson.
And it was in 1977 at Nicholson's home that Polanski had sex with a 13-year-old girl. He said it was consensual, but in testimony, the girl said gave her Quaaludes and raped her. As part of a plea bargain, Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with an underaged girl.
But in 1978, before he was to be sentenced, Polanski fled the state and flew back to Europe, where he's remained ever since. He has continued to make movies, even winning an Oscar for "The Pianist."
But that all changed this past September, when Polanski was arrested in Switzerland at the request of the United States, which wants Polanski extradited to California to face justice. Polanski is now under House arrest at his Swiss chalet.
Prosecutors in L.A. want him behind bars, but some big names from Hollywood are standing by his side, including Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Harvey Weinstein.
Erica Hill, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin has written a new, in-depth fascinating article on Polanski for "The New Yorker." It's called "The Celebrity Defense: Sex, Fame, and the Case of Roman Polanski." Jeff Toobin joins us now.
So Polanski pleaded guilty to having unlawful sex with a minor, statutory rape. Why wasn't he charged with a more serious rape charge?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: He was charged with six counts, including intentional rape, but the victim in the case, 13- year-old Samantha -- her last name is now Geimer -- her lawyer said she didn't want to testify. She wanted no part of the case, so the prosecutors were -- had to accept a guilty plea to a lesser charge. That's the reason he got a pretty sweet deal in -- back in 1977.
COOPER: In his own book, "Roman by Polanski," he wrote about the day he was arrested in 1977 for the rape. He says, quote, "I was incredulous. I couldn't equate what had happened that day with rape in any form."
But she told a completely different story. I mean, has her rape, which was the original subject of the whole trial, kind of been buried under decades of intrigue about this case?
TOOBIN: Well, and it's not coincidental, because his supporters have always portrayed this, as well, she was a teenager and teenagers can consent to sex. If you read her grand jury testimony, you see that this was not consensual sex. Whether you think teenagers can consent to sex or not, it's irrelevant to this case, because this was a case about sex forced on a drugged teenager, no doubt about it.
COOPER: And in terms of the judge in this case, was he unfair?
TOOBIN: Well, see, that's why this case is so complicated and so interesting, because as awful as Polanski's case -- conduct was, as awful as what he did was, frankly, the legal system treated him badly, too.
This judge, Lawrence Rittenband, gave Polanski a sentence of up to 90 days in prison. And he said, "If you do this time, you will be done." He did the time, but Rittenband changed his mind and said, "You know what? I'm going to give you more time. I'm going to make you leave the country. I'm changing the rules of the game after I established those rules."
That's what his lawyers were fighting in court today. And, despite the awfulness of Polanski's conduct, they have a somewhat compelling case that a wrong was done to him.
COOPER: So what do you think is ultimately going to happen? Do you think he'll be extradited?
TOOBIN: I do think, ultimately, he'll be extradited. The treaty is very clear that statutory rape is an event -- a crime that you can be extradited for. I think he will be turned to Los Angeles.
My sense is, even though there were not negotiations under way now, there will be some sort of an agreement that he will serve some additional time, perhaps a year, not a trivial thing for a 76-year-old man, but I think he's going to have to face justice in Los Angeles at long last.
COOPER: It's a fascinating article. It's in "The New Yorker" right now. Jeff Toobin, thanks.
Coming up next tonight, he dodged impeachment. Now Governor Mark Sanford says he's ready to reconcile with his wife. The question, is she ready to take him back? Would you?
Plus, we're used to seeing reindeer this time of year, but pet deer? This one sleeps in a bed, eats spaghetti, I'm told, and eats ice cream. We'll explain, ahead.
COOPER: There's a lot more going on tonight. Erica Hill has the "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
HILL: Anderson, there are new numbers tonight on the swine flu. The H1N1 virus has now sickened about 50 million Americans, killed about 10,000. Basically, this means one in six Americans have had the illness. Federal health officials releasing those new estimates today.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaling she's open to a health-care bill without a public option. A hint that she may support the new Senate plan which, of course, does not offer one. Now, this coming today, despite the fact that the House approved its own version of reform last month, which did include a public option.
Congresswoman Pelosi, of course, had previously insisted that public option was necessary for House approval.
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford says he still wants to reconcile with his first lady, Jenny. He admits he hurt her greatly with his affair with his Argentine mistress, and he does not resent her for not standing by his side through the controversy. A hopeful sign of economic recovery. And American's net worth up 5 percent to nearly $54 trillion in the third quarter. That's the second straight quarterly boost. And fueling it, a surge in stock prices and home values.
And from just outside of Akron, Ohio, a rather unusual family pet. Meet Dilly the deer. She was adopted by a veterinarian after being left for dead in the wilderness. Dilly has her own bedroom. She apparently loves ice cream and spaghetti. And yes, she's housebroken, Anderson.
COOPER: Really? I find that hard to believe. That's amazing.
Erica's, tonight's "Shot" is more of a shout-out, really, for Neil Hallsworth, our stellar "360" photojournalist. He's here with us. We have a photo of him manning the cameras as we went into the tunnel. That's Neil going deep into the tunnel there. Not the best shot. He's working on his birthday, you see. Today, Neil turned 38 years today.
HILL: Right, 38?
COOPER: That's his age. I know, yes. He claims. We also have another photo of him. Here's the picture, Neil kind of looking surprised and scared and definitely a little sweaty, considering it was pretty hot underground. That's Neil inside the tunnel.
Anyway, Neil, happy birthday from all of us.
HILL: There he is live.
COOPER: There you are.
HILL: The one and only.
COOPER: Live on television right now. OK. He's thrilled. All right.
COOPER: Coming up at the top of the hour, the serious side of the story, the battle beneath the U.S.-Mexican border, exclusively inside the most sophisticated tunnel they've ever found. Be right back.