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Interview With Former Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown; Suspect Arrested in Times Square Investigation

Aired May 4, 2010 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the latest on the oil spill, where it's heading, and what BP and the government is trying to do about it.

Also, a stunning statement by Michael Brown. Remember him, head of FEMA during Katrina, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job," that guy? He's says President Obama wants this spill to spread and is using it to stop all offshore drilling. Tonight, we ask him the hard questions. Where are his facts? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also ahead, the terror suspect talking. Newly released court documents reveal a lot. According to the feds, he received bomb- making, bomb training in Pakistan. We have also just learned that authorities tailing the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, lost him late yesterday as he made his way to New York's Kennedy Airport. That is from a senior counterterrorism official with firsthand information. And how come this guy was able to board a plane? He was originally put on a no-fly list, but the airline, which is the Emirates Air, had not refreshed their copy.

So, his name did not raise any red flags. Fortunately, Customs and Border Protection caught his name. We have a lot of new details, the latest new information coming in almost by the minute.

Also in this hour, "Crime & Punishment": an African-American charged in Mississippi with killing a white supremacist. The question, was racial hatred the motive or was something else much more surprising involved?

We begin, though, tonight, "Keeping Them Honest": the latest on the spill and allegations, conspiracy theories that the Obama administration wanted the Gulf oil spill to happen. Now, the edges of the oil now grazing the Louisiana barrier islands, but, as of late today, no oil coming ashore, the wind cooperating, expected, however, to turn unfavorable by Thursday.

So, that is when BP says it expects to lower that huge containment dome, or cofferdam, on the top of the main leak, the aim, to funnel crude to the drill ship on the surface.

What is really interesting tonight, though -- and, in this partisan climate, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising, but what's really interesting is the conspiracy theories being floated around today. You have already heard Rush Limbaugh suggest environmentalists may have tried to blow up the oil rig.

But, tonight, Michael Brown, the one-time head of the Arabian Horse Association who was head of FEMA during Hurricane Katrina and was then fired, Michael Brown is back, declaring that the White House wanted the spill to spread. We will talk to him a moment.

But here's what he said on FOX News about what says is a deliberately slow administration response to in order to ultimate shut down offshore drilling in America.


MICHAEL BROWN, FORMER FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY DIRECTOR: And so now you're looking at this oil slick approaching, you know, the Louisiana shore, according to certain -- NOAA and other places, if the winds are right, it will go up the East Coast.

This is exactly what they want, because now he can pander to the environmentalists and say, "I'm going to shut it down because it's too dangerous." While Mexico and China and everybody else drills in the Gulf. We're going to get shut down.


COOPER: So, he says -- quote -- "This is exactly what they want," they being the Obama administration. He's alleging really something truly heinous, far worse than the charges of ineptitude and gross mismanagement he faced after Katrina. So, does he have the facts to back up his claim?

Well, we're "Keeping Them Honest." We spoke earlier.


COOPER: Mr. Brown, thanks for being with us.

You have made some pretty stunning statements about this oil spill and the response by the president. You have said that the Obama administration wanted the oil to spread, wanted it to go up the East Coast because -- quote -- "Now he can pander to the environmentalists and say, I'm going to shut it down because it's too dangerous."

Do you honestly believe the president of the United States wants this oil spill to spread, cause billions of dollars in damage, ruin people's livelihood?

BROWN: Well, that's not what I said, Anderson. I said that they want this crisis, so that they can respond to it. Look, nobody...


COOPER: Well, no. That is...



COOPER: That is what you said. You said...

BROWN: No, I...

COOPER: About it spreading up the East Coast, you said, that's what they want.


BROWN: I have read the transcript again. And what I said was that they want this crisis. I said, it may spread to Louisiana, and, depending on the NOAA forecast, it could go up the Florida coast.

COOPER: And you said, that's what they want.

BROWN: They want a crisis like this, so that they can use a crisis like this to shut down offshore and gas drilling.

COOPER: What evidence do you have of that?

BROWN: We should not do that. We should expand -- pardon?

COOPER: What evidence -- as a former government official, I would think you would choose your words carefully. What evidence do you have that they want this, that this is basically plot to shut down oil?


BROWN: In January, the president gave an interview to "The San Francisco Chronicle" in which he said that cap and trade legislation should be as strong as possible, so that anybody that wants to use carbon, coal, oil and gas, whatever, that it would be so expensive, that they would end up going bankrupt.

The president wants to move this country away from a carbon-based energy supply to something else.


COOPER: My question is, what evidence do you have that the president of the United States wants this spill to spread, wants it, that they want it to go up the East Coast, that they want this so that they can shut down oil drill?


BROWN: Anderson, nobody, including the president, wants the oil to spread into the wetlands or around the coast. I said that it would.

They want to use the crisis. If they can use this crisis to shut down oil and gas drilling, that's what they're going to do. And, in fact, Bill Nelson's already come out and said it. Arnold Schwarzenegger's already come out and said it. The people who are opposed to oil and gas offshore drilling are using this crisis to shut down a legitimate industry.

COOPER: You're saying -- so, Bill Nelson coordinates all statements with President Obama; Arnold Schwarzenegger coordinates all statements with President Obama?

BROWN: Look, when you have an administration who is leading the country, and their political position is that we want to move away from a carbon-based energy supply to something else, this crisis occurs, the Rahm Emanuel rule number one of never letting a crisis go to waste kicks in, and they have done that.

They have used this crisis, where 11 people have died. A rig worth billions of dollars has sunk under the ocean floor. They're talking about this huge damage that will last forever, which it won't. The environment will recover.

They're using that to say, look how bad this is. We shouldn't do any...


BROWN: ... of this drilling. And, in fact, the president has suspended -- he's already suspended oil and gas drilling in the Gulf. He's already done it.

COOPER: Well, you can argue that he wants extreme stipulations on it, but, again, you haven't provided any evidence that -- and, in fact, you're now denying a statement you made yesterday.

And let me just read to you, because you said: "And so now you're looking at this oil slick approaching, you know, the Louisiana shore. According to certain -- NOAA and other places, if the winds are right, it will go up the East Coast.

This is exactly what they want, because now he can pander to the environmentalists and say, 'I'm going to shut it down because it's too dangerous.'"

BROWN: That's right.

COOPER: Again, the question, do you believe the president of the United States wants the oil to spread up the East Coast?

BROWN: They want this crisis. They want -- Anderson, let me respond.

They want the crisis, because the crisis enables them to shut down oil and gas offshore drilling, which they have done, which fits into what he said to "The San Francisco Chronicle" in 2008. Those are the facts.

COOPER: Well, let's move on, because, clearly, you have -- you have stated your position quite well. You also are saying that, essentially, this is President Obama's Katrina. Where do you see the similarities between Katrina and -- and the response to this? I mean, at -- in Katrina, we know there were failures at the local level, failures at the state level, and failures at the federal level. Where are the failures here?

BROWN: And, here, you -- and, here, you have an oil explosion on April 20.

On April 22, I think it was, the rig collapsed, and the platform sunk into the ocean. That is a major catastrophe. On April 23, the U.S. Coast Guard suspended rescue efforts, because, by that time, if any of those men were still alive, they had been in those ocean waters, those Gulf waters, for three days. So, the Coast Guard rightfully suspended rescue efforts.

It wasn't until April 27 that Janet Napolitano issued her declaration of a spill of national significance. What were they doing in the meantime? They left the Coast Guard out there without the additional resources that the Coast Guard needed, just like President Bush left me down in Katrina without the additional resources that I needed, because they were dillydallying around back in Washington, D.C.

COOPER: Mr. Brown, I appreciate your time. Thank you for being with us.

BROWN: Thank you, Anderson.


COOPER: We will put more of the interview online on the Web site tomorrow, in which we talk about the -- President Obama's actual support for oil drilling back in 2008, stated support for limited offshore oil drilling back in 2008, during the presidential debates, as well as his administration's announcement this year of continued support for it, much to the horror of some environmentalists and liberals.

We will put that on the Web site.

Let us know what you think. The live chat is up and running at

Up next, we will take you to front line of the spill. We will show you the fight to keep it clean, a fight that, for now at least, they're winning.

And, later, just who is the Times Square bombing suspect? We will tell you what he is saying to authorities and how they traced him, chased him, nearly lost him, and finally caught him.

ANNOUNCER: Recently on 360: Michael Lewis, Dr. Phil, Demi Moore, Douglas Brinkley, Shakira.

You don't to have miss the "Big 360 Interviews." Set your DVR for A.C. 360.


COOPER: Well, 12 days after the drilling rig sank off the coast of Louisiana, the oil continues to leak from that underwater well, and at a staggering rate of more than 200,000 gallons a day.

Gary Tuchman traveled to a string of Louisiana barrier islands today. He joins us now live.

Gary, what did you see?

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, when it comes to live reports, this is the most remote live remote I have ever done. We're a four-hour boat ride away from the mainland United States.

This is Chandeleur Island, Louisiana. The reason we are here is, this is the land that is expected to get the oil first. This is one of the orange booms that's here because the storm put it on the land. It's no good anymore.

But the good news so far, Chandeleur Island, it has not been overrun by oil yet. The bad news is, the oil is just literally 100 yards away.


TUCHMAN: We're 35 miles south of the Gulfport, Mississippi. These are Chandeleur Islands, actually in Louisiana waters.

And, right now, you're looking at the oil that is threatening to come on this island. Protective boom is right here. It looks like foam, but this is the oil from the massive oil slick.

People on the coastline, obviously, in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida very concerned, but we can tell you, because we took a three-and-a-half-hour boat ride to get out here, that the oil is still at least 35 or 40 miles away. I mean, you can see right now, if it wasn't for this protective boom, it would be on these islands.

And these islands are amazing wildlife refuges. They are places where migratory birds come on their way between North, Central and South America. And you can see the birds as the sun is going down on these islands. These islands used to be about 20 miles long north to south. But because of hurricanes over the years, Katrina, Georges, it's now 16 miles.

And, ultimately, the fear is that, in years to come, when there's more damage here, the islands will be gone. They're uninhabited. No one lives here, at least, about a couple of hundred years ago, there were a couple hundred people who lived on the islands. Now it's a wildlife refuge. The oil, as you see, is right here next to the boom.

And there's great concern it will go over the boom to these islands and then on the coastline. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Gary, have you seen any oil, other than the oil that you just showed us? Because now it seems like it's actually gotten smaller. Some people say maybe it's gone deeper. But what have you actually seen?

TUCHMAN: Well, we expected this island to be under oil, because, on the boat ride over, we saw huge clumps of oil for many minutes at a time while we were traveling at about 12 knots.

When we got here, it was a surprise that it wasn't covered with oil. But this boom, it's hard to see right now in the light, but there's oil on the boom. There's oil surrounding this island right now.

And I can tell you, while we were on the boat, we saw -- it was amazing, Anderson. We saw these dolphins and these manta rays jumping out of the water. And it's so sad to think that countless creatures like that right now are swimming in the oil.

COOPER: Man. Gary, appreciate the reporting. Tough to get there.

Gary, thank you.

We have a correction to make to a portion of our reporting last night. In it, we said that Exxon had not paid one cent in compensation until 19 years after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989. In fact, Exxon steadfastly appealed the federal jury's $5 billion punitive damage award all the way up to the Supreme Court.

The process took 19 years. But, shortly after the spill, Exxon did voluntarily pay $300 million in compensation to about 11,000 people and businesses that were affected by the spill. And we regret the error.

Still ahead tonight: the alleged Times Square bomber in custody tonight, reportedly talking his head off. Coming up: Who is this guy, Faisal Shahzad, and how did investigators track him down? We will take you "Up Close."

And an alarming portrait of a homegrown terrorist in another case, a former altar boy from the New York suburbs who morphed into an Islamic terrorist, how he fell into the arms of al Qaeda. What our yearlong investigation has turned up will stun you.


COOPER: In the last 24 hours, investigators appear to have cracked the Times Square bomb case wide open. The prime suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was arrested just before midnight at JFK International Airport after boarding a flight to Dubai. You have probably heard that already.

He's a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan. And, according to court documents, he's confessed to trying to detonate the SUV rigged with a homemade bomb in Times Square. Shahzad also told investigators that he trained at a terrorist camp in Pakistan.

Now, this story has been moving at warp speed today. We have a lot of reports, starting with an "Up Close" look at the alleged bomber.

Joe Johns is in Times Square -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, you know, if you do the math, starting with when authorities first responded to that report of a car fire, that SUV right out here on Times Square, to the point where they actually arrested this man, something like 53 hours, almost no time at all.

And, during that time, they learned just an incredible amount of information about him. Here's some of what we know so far.


JOHNS (voice-over): So, who is the guy who, according to authorities, has admitted trying to blow up an SUV in Times Square? He's 30, born in Pakistan and a naturalized U.S. citizen. He's highly educated, has an MBA. He's a family man, his wife, Huma Mian, a graduate of the University of Colorado. They have two kids, a boy and a girl.

Shahzad left his job at a marketing and data management company last year, and he got hit with foreclosure. He owed $200,000 on his home in Shelton, Connecticut, last fall. A neighbor who does not want to be identified said the family was low-key.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was a very private person, kept to himself, liked to come out at night, wear all black, and go jogging. His family, his wife didn't speak much English. His daughter played with my daughter. His oldest daughter played with my daughter. No one suspected anything, that, you know, he would do something like this.

JOHNS: Other biographical notes: Shahzad's father is a retired senior air force officer in Pakistan. In 2005, Shahzad graduated from the University of Bridgeport. He made little impression there.

WARD THRASHER, ASSISTANT DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF BRIDGEPORT GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: People remember his name, but don't remember a lot about him as a student in the classroom.

JOHNS: Still, the emerging picture of Shahzad is unsettling. Shahzad was in the U.S. on a work visa, and then, a year ago, he took the oath of American citizenship. Then, five months later, according to court records, he admitted having traveled to Pakistan.

In fact, just last February, an immigration inspector at Kennedy Airport in New York stopped him. Authorities say Shahzad told him he had been in Pakistan for five months visiting his parents, said he was planning on staying at a motel in Connecticut while he looked for a job and a place to live. And he told them his wife was back in Pakistan, though something about his travel profile at the time set off red flags.

For example, we know he bought a one-way ticket for the flight and paid for it with cash.

JANET NAPOLITANO, U.S. HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: Without getting into a lot of detail, he was screened when he came back because some of the targeting rules applied.

JOHNS: What we now know is, Shahzad admits he had bomb-making training in Pakistan on one of the trips. Back in Connecticut, Shahzad moved to an apartment in Bridgeport.

One neighbor said she didn't even know he was there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, now we don't know that someone was in the second floor. I know someone lived on the third floor. But, still, we never see the guy.

JOHNS: He may have been invisible to the neighbors, but he was apparently no expert at stealth at concealment. In some ways, he was creating a neon sign for police pointing straight at him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looked like he come here last year and he bought a phone card.

JOHNS: Court records say they traced his telephone calls made on a prepaid cell phone, calls that went to Pakistan, calls made to a fireworks store in Pennsylvania that sells the type of fireworks linked to the makeshift bomb.


COOPER: So, Joe, I mean, we talked so much about that SUV that was found there in Times Square, but, really, there hasn't much been reported about the car that he left at the airport. Is there anything significant, as far as we know, in the car?

JOHNS: Firepower, for sure, a SUB-2000 semiautomatic rifle. And, apparently, the authorities traced it back and discovered it had probably been purchased something like within the last two months.

So, we know there was a gun -- Anderson.

COOPER: Appreciate it.

A source familiar with the investigation tells us Faisal Shahzad waived his Miranda rights and has been talking to officials since his arrest. He's still talking tonight, apparently. As Joe just said, it took less than 54 hours for law enforcement officials to track him down. He left behind those clues.

The first one was discovered early in the investigation, underneath that SUV abandoned in Times Square.

Drew Griffin takes "Up Close."


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The moment the danger was over, the propane tanks, the gas, the rigged-up wires removed, one detective crawled underneath the Nissan Pathfinder and wrote down the clue Faisal Shahzad apparently did not know he left behind, etched on the engine block of the vehicle, the vehicle's identification number, the same VIN number Shahzad apparently removed from the dashboard, according to a source familiar with the investigation.

That number led to a registration in Connecticut, and, with it, sources tell CNN, a name and address of the owner, whose daughter was selling the car on craigslist. She met Shahzad to show him the car. He gave her his phone number, so they could meet again to buy it, all cash, no paperwork, in the parking lot of this shopping mall.

According to the federal complaint, that callback number led police to Shahzad. The car's seller and a friend who was there worked with a police artist on a sketch of the suspect. It was good police work and very sloppy criminal work.

The would-be terrorist built an inept bomb. Court records show he drove the bomb himself into New York, leaving behind keys to another car, a cell phone used to call a fireworks company, and so many other clues, he literally led detectives right to his door. And, according to those same court records, Shahzad admits to much of it.

WILLIAM BRATTON, LOS ANGELES POLICE CHIEF: The mistakes made by this individual that contributed to the quick solution of this crime are phenomenal, in the sense of the mistakes all along the way.

GRIFFIN: Once identified, the idea was to watch him, listen, try to record phone calls, allow Shahzad to make more mistakes, and perhaps lead to accomplices.

But, by Monday, sources said he got spooked, apparently deciding to flee. As agents began to track his movements, one of the first things they did, sources tell CNN, was put his name on a no-fly list.

Monday night, as he drove to New York's JFK International, according to federal sources, he called Emirates Air, reserving his seat on board this flight bound for Dubai, which would eventually connect to a flight bound for Islamabad, Pakistan.

Unknown to Shahzad, there was no way he was going anywhere. Even though the FBI briefly lost track of him, Customs and Border Protection agents began examining flight manifests. Then, shortly after he arrives at the airport, an Emirates employee phones law enforcement, saying a man had just paid cash for a one-way ticket to Pakistan.

According to an account provided to CNN by a federal law enforcement source, here's what happened next. As the plane is boarding, agents are moving in. The decision is to allow the plane to shut its doors.

Before the plane can push back, sources tell CNN, the plane's door is reopened. Faisal Shahzad is placed under arrest and removed from the flight before it ever leaves the gate.

Now, under intense questioning, there's another emergency. Two more names on board the Emirates flight appear suspicious. Out of an abundance of caution, we're told, the plane, already taxiing to the runway, is told to return to the gate.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Actually, I have a message for you to go back to the gate immediately.


GRIFFIN: Two individuals removed, questioned, and let go.

So far, the only arrest made is Faisal Shahzad, and he is said by law enforcement to be cooperating with the investigation and detailing his crimes and travel.


COOPER: So, Drew, he's apparently talking, talking about training in Pakistan.

Do authorities believe him?

GRIFFIN: You know, cops don't believe anybody, Anderson. They make you prove it, and especially, I'm told, in these terrorists' case, because these guys really do like to brag, even when they blow it, like this guy did.

But they can make him prove it, little things, checking out, where did you buy the propane tanks, OK, then going and making sure he did. If he went to a training camp in Waziristan, where? We have people that can go and check out and see if that is indeed true. Did he get training? What kind of manuals were you given?

So, they're going to check every single fact, as long as he is talking. And I'm told that is the reason there was no hearing today, Anderson, because he is talking. And they want to keep him talking as long as they can to find out everything they can about any other people that might be involved or might not be involved.

COOPER: Of course, that issue of him talking has been sort of brought up in the partisan debate that we're seeing these days between those who say you shouldn't read a suspect Miranda rights, those who say you should.

Drew, appreciate the reporting.

You can read more about Faisal Shahzad's suburban life at He also had deep ties in Pakistan. Just ahead, we will take a look at the latest on the investigation that is unfolding over there. A raid today in a house where he allegedly stayed results in as many as three arrests -- details on that ahead.

Plus, the murder of a white supremacist takes a surprising turn. Wait until you hear what the alleged motive was. That's ahead on 360.


COOPER: Hours after authorities arrested Faisal Shahzad, security forces in Pakistan raided a house where the alleged Times Square bomber is believed to have stayed during his last visit. Three people -- as many as three people were seized in the raid. Court documents show that Shahzad received a series of phone calls from Pakistan in the days leading up to the attempted bombing. At least four of those calls were on the same day he bought the Nissan Pathfinder used in the attack.

So let's dig deeper with Reza Sayah, who's been working the story from Islamabad.

Reza, you've been digging into Faisal's roots in Pakistan. What's the latest in the investigation there?

REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, based on what the investigation here in Pakistan has turned up, based on what we're learning about Faisal Shahzad, there's really no red flags, no indications that he was headed for this type of trouble.

By all accounts, an ordinary young man during his early years in Pakistan. Government officials say he was from a small village called Pavi (ph) near Peshawar in northwest Pakistan. His family, his father eventually moved them to Peshawar itself. Spent a lot of time there and went to high school there. Even after he moved to the U.S., he came back and visited his family.

We found his house in Peshawar, his father's house. It was empty when our CNN crews got there, local residents telling CNN the father may have left earlier on Tuesday. Very interesting. His father identified as Baharul Haq, a retired air vice marshal for the Pakistan air force. And again, by all accounts an upstanding citizen.

The Peshawar area one focal point of the investigation. Another focal point, Karachi, a southern port city here in Pakistan, where according to intelligence forces, there was a raid conducted in a house where Faisal Shahzad spent some time over the past year. And as many as three people have been detained and are being questioned at this hour as this investigation unfolds here in Pakistan.

COOPER: You talked to members of his family. What did they tell you?

SAYAH: Yes. We found a cousin, and he said, "Look, the family, they're reeling. They're shocked about these developments." They're certainly going to put this family under severe scrutiny. And despite what he said to U.S. authorities, this cousin says, "This family was a good family. We weren't engaged in criminal activity." Let's listen to what the cousin had to say.


KAFAYAT ALI, COUSIN OF FAISAL SHAHZAD: These people, they never indulged in any criminal activities, not a family member, not -- the village from which both of these people belongs, none of the village members involved in any criminal activities or in any jihad activities.


SAYAH: That was Faisal Shahzad's cousin defending the family. But it's a good bet that this family is going to go through a tough few days and few weeks as Pakistani investigators are going to want to find out as much as they can about this 30-year-old Pakistani American -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, if he's claiming that he received some kind of training or went to terror camp in the Waziristan area, I mean, how -- how possible is that? And does the Pakistan government -- how able are they to track who's going into these terror camps and who's coming out of them? Obviously, they're not -- you know, don't have freedom of movement necessarily in some of these areas.

SAYAH: If, indeed, Faisal Shahzad is telling the truth, if indeed he received some training in the Waziristan area in the tribal region along the Afghan border, it is not unusual. It's not the first time. It's one of the most troubling facts here in Pakistan, that this area, the Pakistani-Afghanistan border, the tribal belt is a safe haven, a sanctuary of a host of militant groups.

You have Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan Taliban, al Qaeda-linked groups. Many of these groups declared their desire to kill Americans either across the border in Afghanistan or on western soil. Is he linked to one of these groups? Investigators will be working to find that out, Anderson.

COOPER: Reza -- Reza, I appreciate your reporting. Reza Sayah, thanks.

Just ahead tonight, the killing of a white supremacist. Fascinating story. An African-American man has been arrested. There may be a lot more to this "Crime & Punishment" story than meets the eye. We're going to have that.

But first, Tom has a "360 Bulletin" -- Tom.


The lawyer for a University of Virginia lacrosse player says he's confident a female player's death was an accident. Court documents reveal the suspect, George Huguely, told investigators he had an altercation with the victim, Yeardley Love, and kicked in her door. She was found early yesterday with a bruise on her face and one eye swollen shut. George Huguely is being held on first-degree murder charges.

In L.A. word from the coroner. Corey Haim died of natural causes, including pneumonia, lung damage, and hardening of the coronary arteries. It's turns out, just as his family insisted, he did not die of drug abuse.

David Letterman's blackmailer began his jail term today. Former CBS News producer Robert Joe Halderman is doing a six-month stretch and then 1,000 hours of community service. David Letterman not present at the sentencing today.

And take a look, Anderson. Picasso took a single day to paint it. Christie's auction house took just eight minutes to turn it into $106.5 million, a world record.


FOREMAN: It's called "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust," and the winning bidder is called "anonymous" -- Anderson.

COOPER: Wow. That's amazing. And it took him just a day to paint it?


COOPER: All right. Up next, from altar boy to al Qaeda, how does it happen? One American's disturbing journey, the results of a yearlong investigation by CNN.

And later, was it a hate crime? A white supremacist murdered in the south. The suspect's African-American. The details, though, may surprise you.


COOPER: As we touched on earlier, according to these court documents, the suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing told investigators he received explosives training in Pakistan. Now, we don't know if that's true, but if it's true, it could help determine if al Qaeda was behind the plot in some way and had some other hand in it. It's unclear at this point.

As we know, Al Qaeda operates in Pakistan in camps where followers answer the call to jihad. Now, among these fanatic warriors in this group's holy war, a young man from New York. He was a shy altar boy from the suburbs who became a terrorist. The question we want to know is how.

Senior international correspondent Nic Robertson spent almost a year uncovering that answer. Here's a preview of his special "360" report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is Penn Station in the heart of New York. At peak rush, more than 60,000 people churn through here every hour. Sixty thousand every hour.

For al Qaeda, Penn Station and the potential for a mass killing is a prized but daunting target. But then it seemed they got lucky. That's when this man, a young American, who grew up only 50 miles from here, made his way to Pakistan, to offer his help. He is Bryant Neal Vinas, and this is how a quiet, studious, middle-class kid suddenly transformed into a dangerous enemy of the state.

MITCH SILBER, NYPD: Bryant Neal Vinas is almost a poster child for the process, the unremarkable nature of the people who might go through this process and the danger that presents.

ROBERTSON: I spent the better part of the year here in the U.S. and in Europe, unraveling how and why Bryant Neal Vinas went from Catholic to Muslim, from U.S. Army recruit to jihadist, from Long Island to Lahore.

Brian grew up on this street, in a middle-class neighborhood on Long Island. His parents are Latino immigrants. Neither would go on camera with CNN, but a neighbor, Rita De Roche (ph), says as a boy, Bryant was like part of her family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Very sweet little boy. He could come here any time and he was welcomed here.

ROBERTSON: Regis San Carbin (ph) knew him best.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we were younger, we used to go in the pool a lot. He was respectful. He'd make sure that he wouldn't break any rules in the house.

ROBERTSON (on camera): There was nothing remarkable about Bryant's early childhood. His teachers remember him as being a good student, quiet and shy. He loved baseball and swimming. On Sundays, he was an altar boy, his father devoutly Catholic.

But when he was 14 years old, it all came crashing down.

(voice-over) Bryant's world shattered by his father leaving his mother.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: There were tears and temper tantrums. Bryant started quarreling with his sister, being disrespectful towards his mother. He refused to accept his parents' separation.

ROBERTSON: Later, after high school, Bryant was drawn to a friend's brother. He was an aspiring pro boxer and a new convert to Islam.

ALEX ACEVEDO, BRYANT NEAL VINAS' FRIEND: He asked, "What is the Koran?" And my brother, he explained to him what it was. And he handed him the Koran. ROBERTSON (on camera): And how long did it take him to read it?

ACEVEDO: Not long, because he took every minute, every second reading that book.

ROBERTSON: It's as if he had been searching for a new identity, and now it's taking shape. But it would soon jag wildly in another direction. Of course, no one could have guessed Bryant's journey would lead him to Afghanistan and a plan to help al Qaeda strike back home in New York.


COOPER: Chilling stuff. Nic Robertson found out a lot more. We'll have it for you next week. "American Al Qaeda: The Path to Terror" airs this Monday on

A lot more ahead tonight. You can join the live chat right now at

But next up is a story of a murder in Mississippi. The killing of a white supremacist. Was his life taken because of his extremist views, or was something else involved? Our "Crime & Punishment" report ahead.

And later, a candid interview with Laura Bush. The former first lady talks about a tragedy that has left her feeling guilty her entire life. That story. She's talking to Oprah Winfrey, coming up.


COOPER: Well, the victim was a white supremacist. His accused killer, a young African-American man who's on trial for his life in Mississippi. The case has gripped the state and a lot of the south. And it's one of the few shocking surprises, especially about allegations being made by the alleged killer.

With tonight's "Crime & Punishment," here's Randi Kaye.



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man in this video was one of the most vocal white supremacists of all time. His name, Richard Barrett. He wanted African-Americans sent back to Africa. He also railed against homosexuals.

Today, Barrett is silent, murdered, says this man, because Barrett propositioned him for sex. Police say Vincent McGee, an African-American ex-con, confessed to the crime. Imagine the irony if it's true: a nationally-recognized racist murdered for propositioning a black man for sex.

(on camera) Early in the morning, April 22, police say a neighbor noticed smoke coming from Barrett's home and called 911. Authorities found his body in the kitchen. He had been burned over 35 percent of it. Investigators say he had also been stabbed 16 times, mostly in the upper chest and neck, the home set on fire to cover up the crime.

(voice-over) McGee is charged with arson and capital murder. He could face the death penalty but hasn't entered a plea. In court, details of McGee's confession were made public for the first time.

DEPUTY BRYAN BAILEY, RANKIN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: They got into an argument about the money. Said that Barrett dropped his pants and asked him to perform a sexual act. Said he got upset, grabbed a radio in the laundry room, struck Barrett several times, grabbed a knife in the kitchen and began stabbing him, tied a belt around Barrett's hands and then, during the struggle, he just stabbed him until he quit moving.

KAYE: Mike Scott is McGee's defense attorney.

(on camera) Is it possible, in your opinion, that he might have concocted this story about being propositioned for sex in order to defend himself against a capital murder charge?

MIKE SCOTT, ATTORNEY FOR MCGEE: Obviously, anything is possible. I don't think that is what has happened here.

KAYE (voice-over): The district attorney says this was not a hate crime and had nothing to do with race or sex. He argues McGee's motive was robbery.

MICHAEL GUEST, RANKIN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: If the killing was over unwanted sexual advances, why was the wallet taken?

KAYE: This investigative reporter for the "Clarion Ledger" newspaper has known Barrett since 1988.

JERRY MITCHELL, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "CLARION LEDGER": It was known among white supremacist circles among some that -- that he was gay.

MARK POTOK, SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER: It is unbelievably common in the white supremacist world to find people who are desperately antigay but secretly gay.

KAYE (on camera): Barrett and McGee were hardly strangers to each other. McGee had done some lawn work for Barrett, just as he did the day that Barrett was murdered. They both lived right here in this racially mixed neighborhood, just three homes apart.

McGee lived with his mom. In fact, it was at McGee's mother's house, right here in the carport that police say they discovered sneakers covered in soot and the missing top to a gas can that they had found at Barrett's home.

(voice-over) Police say McGee is cooperating, that he even led them to what they believe is the murder weapon.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Pearl, Mississippi. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Bizarre story. Read Randi's behind-the-scenes reporter's notebook on this case at

Coming up, Laura Bush, the former first lady, in her first television interview since leaving the White House, talking to Oprah Winfrey about a tragedy that changed her life.

And we'll show you what happened to the Phillies fan who jumped on the field during the baseball game. You're not going to believe this. And yes -- well, we'll show you what happens next.


COOPER: A Phillies fan takes to the field during a ball game, 40,000 people were watching. He ended up, well, shocking -- look at that -- about to get tasered. We'll show you the video, ahead.

But tonight, Tom Foreman joins us again with a "360 Bulletin" -- Tom.

FOREMAN: Hey, Anderson.

A scathing FDA inspection report shows more than 20 problems at a plant where several varieties of recalled children's cold medicine were made, including Tylenol and Benadryl. Johnson and Johnson has temporarily suspended production at the Pennsylvania plant.

The inspector says the company failed to follow up on customer complaints about foreign materials and dark or black specs in its drugs. The FDA is considering possible criminal penalties.

Former first lady Laura Bush giving her first TV interview today since leaving the White House. Mrs. Bush appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show to talk about her new memoir, "Spoken from the Heart." The most emotional moment: memories of a car accident she had in high school that led to the death of a friend.


OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: How did you handle the fact that you had now killed one of your dear friends?

LAURA BUSH, FORMER FIRST LADY: Well, what I did was try not to think about it.

WINFREY: Do you still carry the guilt?

BUSH: Yes. Sure, of course. I mean, I felt guilty for my whole life.


FOREMAN: In Nashville, Tennessee, finally some flood relief. The Cumberland River is starting to recede, and some homeowners are being allowed to return.

And in Roswell, Georgia, a dramatic rescue, three people pulled alive from a rain-swollen creek. Look at that! Just inches from a 30-foot waterfall, a huge break there.

This flooding, Anderson, has been absolutely beyond belief. The pictures from Nashville blowing my mind. I can't believe it.

COOPER: Yes. Unbelievable. Amazing they were pulled -- pulled to safety.

FOREMAN: Look at that.

COOPER: All right, Tom. For tonight's "Shot," a baseball fan stormed the field during a Phillies home game last night. But what he probably did not expect was to get was tasered. Take a look at this video from YouTube.




COOPER: There he goes. You see the guy pointing the gun and then, boom!

FOREMAN: There he goes, too. Wow, look at this.

COOPER: Yes. The Philadelphia cop follows him, pointing the taser. The kid's 17 years old. The jolt from the weapon sends him to the grass, and that's where he was arrested.


COOPER: Police say the use of the taser was -- and look at this still photograph. You see the police officer pointing at him. Unbelievable, just moments before the taser is actually fired to hit the guy.

His father says he's a good student, that he's just a big fan, clearly not how he expected the night to end up, though.

FOREMAN: Wow. That's a great photograph. That's an amazing moment.

COOPER: Yes. So this -- yes, so this story isn't just making news. It "got us thinking."


ANNOUNCER: Got Us Thinking.


COOPER: It's all about timing. FOREMAN: Really? What did it get you thinking about, Anderson?

COOPER: Well, about timing and -- what could the story have possibly have gotten us thinking about?

FOREMAN: Hmm. Let me think.

COOPER: Oh, Rick Sanchez.


RICH SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: I'm about to receive 50,000 volts of electricity. Do it.

Oh, ay, ah!

It hurts! It's painful, but no one's dead.

Oh, God, ay, ah!


COOPER: Ay, ah!

FOREMAN: I could watch that -- I could watch that 50,000 times.

COOPER: I've got it on a loop playing at my house.


SANCHEZ: Oh, God, ay, ah! Oh!


COOPER: It just never gets old.

And I love the "but nobody died." All right.

FOREMAN: You know, we could do this for an hour. We could just sit here and watch this.


SANCHEZ: But no one's dead.


COOPER: Absolutely. Absolutely. Rick's a good sport about it. We appreciate that.

Tom, thanks very much for -- for being with us.

Serious allegations at the top of the hour. Allegations that President Obama is essentially wanting the gulf oil disaster because it allows him to push his environmental agenda. Those allegations are being made from Michael Brown, Brown as in Hurricane Katrina. We'll talk to him ahead.