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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Court Battle Over Drilling; President Relieves McChrystal; BP Worker Warns of Catastrophe; Hospital Goes Green
Aired June 23, 2010 - 2300 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, we are live in the Gulf.
Tonight, General Stanley McChrystal is history and General David Petraeus is the future in Afghanistan. We have details on the major shakeup ahead.
But we begin right here in the Gulf with breaking news. Just a short time ago, the Obama administration asked an appeals court to keep the government's six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. The White House wants the court to continue the ban that a judge just struck down yesterday. The breaking news comes on a night when the disaster is as bad as it has ever been.
Take a look at the amount of oil gushing into the Gulf right now, the sawed-off pipeline with that containment cap in place with those vents open, wide-open. That's why so much oil is again coming out, basically nothing to stop what may be 60,000 barrels of oil pouring out.
The cap was removed this morning. It was off for most of the day. The reason -- Admiral Thad Allen says one of those underwater remotely-operated vehicles bumped into one of the vents, closing it and creating pressure. The concern was that ice-like crystals would form. So, they took the cap off.
It's been off most of the day. It's a huge setback in the effort to end this catastrophe. Day 65 and the oil is flowing freely once again -- day 65.
Now, if you thought you had already heard all the evidence there is of BP's lack of transparency and the government's lack of, well, innovation early on. Think again, because, today we have new documents, new evidence released by the Coast Guard.
Now, for weeks, we have wondered why the U.S. government went along for so long with BP not bothering to measure the leak.
Well, now NextGov.com reports that government officials didn't think they needed to measure it because they thought the leak would be fixed quickly. They were hopeful.
So, all that talk about planning for a worst-case scenario from day one, well, at least when it came to planning to measure, they weren't looking at a worst-case scenario. They were hopeful.
As we learned, though, in Katrina, hope is not a plan.
The truly stunning thing, though, though, that we learned today is that independent scientists had contacted BP with ways to measure the leak as early as May 4.
A scientist named Richard Camilli from Woods Hole offered in an e-mail on May 4 imaging multi-beam sonar technology to study a way to determine the flow rate. BP agreed, and then changed their mind. That was May 4.
May 19, a guy named Lamar McKay, who is the president of BP America, testified to the Senate that they couldn't measure the leak because -- and I quote -- "The leak is not measurable through technology we know."
Now, perhaps he didn't know about the May 4th offer and that technology, but he surely must have known that other scientists by May 19th had other technology that they had come forward with.
In fact, on May 14th, Steve Wereley, a Purdue University official, professor, publicly estimated 70,000 barrels might be leaking. He said it on our broadcast. And he did that just by analyzing a 30- second video clip of leaking oil that BP had reluctantly released.
And yet five days later, the president of BP America says they don't have the technology, they don't know about the technology. By the way, the technology that was offered to them on May 4th was finally used weeks later. The damage was already done, both to BP's reputation, but more importantly to everyone here in the Gulf.
A lot happened today. The people of Florida were reminded of that when they got a sense of what Louisiana has been dealing with for weeks. Oil washing up in Pensacola Beach today covering nine miles of their white sand, it's what people there have been dreading for weeks now.
They knew, of course, it was coming. But finally seeing it doesn't make it any easier to deal with.
So, we now begin with the way Louisiana is trying to stop the advance of oil into their marshes, barrier island sand berms. It's a frontline defense to the oil that Louisiana says is critical to protect its wetlands which are further inland and to protect its coastline and its ecosystem.
The Obama administration had approved two berm-building operations, but tonight it has ordered one of the operations to stop. The Department of Interior says the dredging threatens a wildlife refuge, a claim that Governor Bobby Jindal finds hard to believe.
I traveled with Governor Jindal and Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser to one dredging site where the work has stopped.
Take a look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
COOPER (voice-over): From the air, it doesn't look like much, a partially built sand berm near Chandeleur islands. The state of Louisiana is building it to prevent oil from moving farther inland. But now it's a battleground.
Federal officials say the spot this dredging barge is taking sediment from is potentially eroding what remains of the pre-existing barrier island. The Interior Department says until the state can build a pipeline to transport sediment from farther away, no more work can be done here.
GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (r), LOUISIANA: All we're saying is don't force us to stop. We'll replace every bit of dirt we're borrowing. It was part of the original permitted area. It will take us literally just five to seven more days to build the pipeline and to move the two miles away they want us to move, and we will replace every bit of dirt we borrowed within weeks.
COOPER: Governor Bobby Jindal says in the five to seven days it'll take them to build a new pipeline, they could also build another mile of sand berm.
JINDAL: When they talk about this -- this hypothetical concern. What about the real damage that oil is going to do? It's supposed to be here Friday. It's supposed to be here in the northern Chandeleurs on Friday, according to the NOAA projections.
COOPER (on camera): There's another mass of oil coming?
JINDAL: Absolutely. And we know this works. This isn't theoretical. This oil will cause real damage.
COOPER (voice-over): Environmental groups have raised doubts about the effectiveness of this berm project. Federal officials, however, did approve it. They just have a problem with where the current sediment is coming from.
(on camera): Do you think folks in Washington don't get this?
BILLY NUNGESSER, PRESIDENT, PLAQUEMINES PARISH, LOUISIANA: No, I think there's a lot of cheap rhetoric going around. We say we're fighting a war, we are all doing everything.
Does it look like we're doing everything? Does this look like we're doing everything? This isn't doing everything.
This is bureaucratic bull, finding reasons. And it's not even a good reason. We got local environmentalists who say these guys are crazy.
Where was the federal wildlife and fishery for the last 50 years? They have not spent a dollar out here. They're gone. They say we can't build nothing back because it might hurt -- it might hurt what's there. But every year, we watch it deteriorate and we lose a few more. That's why the breeding grounds are so far inland, where the oil is destroying them.
COOPER (voice-over): Billy Nungesser and the governor brought a group of reporters to the island today, hoping to put pressure on the Interior Department to reverse their decision.
JINDAL: I don't believe they've got the right sense of urgency. I don't think they understand that every hour counts, every day counts. We don't have time for meetings. We don't have time for committees and conference calls. They need to make a decision. And we need to move forward and we need to do it quickly.
COOPER: But, despite the governor's frustration, as of now, the Interior Department's decision stands. The work has halted, the dredging has stopped, and the battle between state and federal officials goes on.
COOPER: Well, you saw Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser a moment ago. He joins us now by phone.
Billy, there was a meeting late today with the Interior Department where they were going to review this. Any word on what happened there?
NUNGESSER (via telephone): Yes, they denied it. Yes, we've got to wait the nine or 10 days to build this pipeline.
And the lady -- that same lady that stood up in the meeting in New Orleans that the -- that eventually approved the permit, and she kept giving us every reason why we can't do this, is the one that shut us down, that Jane Lynder (ph).
And to give you the kind of person we're dealing with, she sent an e- mail out today that said, "Could we possibly move volunteers to shorten that time frame?"
Obviously, this lady has never -- doesn't know what a dredge is, doesn't know what a barrier island is. It's a 36-inch steel pipe, lady. You don't move it with volunteers.
And the pelicans she's worried about -- Anderson, you saw that small grass area behind us. This berm by Friday would have protected that small, one of the last breeding grounds out there left.
But this -- with this project being shut down, if that oil comes to the Chandeleurs by Friday like projected, those pelicans, those breeding grounds will be destroyed because she single-handedly stopped this project.
And I want to put her on notice --
COOPER: What --
NUNGESSER: -- That I will send her those pictures personally, because she will personally be responsible for killing hundreds of pelicans. COOPER: But, look, I mean, the Interior Department, you know, they're not malicious. They -- they -- I talked to a guy from the Interior Department last night who said, look, we have legitimate concerns about where this sand is being dredged from and that it's going to cause greater harm to these barrier islands which have been eroding.
You say --
NUNGESSER: It could -- it could cause further harm.
COOPER: -- they haven't been paying attention to these islands for years?
NUNGESSER: It could, just like the -- just like we have been hearing, could, would, should, maybe. Those are not comments made when you go to war: it could.
You know what? It could rain cats and dogs tonight. Come on, guys. We're at war here. It could. We're going to replace the sand.
Let me tell you something, Anderson. I thought about this a little while ago when you talked about the General being replaced. And I don't agree with anybody speaking out that's in the armed forces against our leader and our chief.
But I think it's time for the President to take a step back. He's got a bigger problem. Just like the problems we have with the Interior Secretary, with Thad Allen, with everybody with the administration. The only way anything ever got done was the President coming down here himself.
Well, the people in the military have those inner thoughts about his administration, the same thoughts all of Louisiana has. He's got a bigger problem than a loose-lipped general. He better take a soul- search and look at the people surrounding him, because the job isn't getting done here and it obviously isn't getting done over there.
And we got a serious problem in this country and the President of the United States better address it, because it's not just somebody like me or him or anybody sounding off at the mouth. It's what we truly feel, that we are getting the runaround. The -- the -- we're not getting the truth half the time and nobody has the sense of urgency to do anything, whether it be here or obviously overseas.
And I'm sure whoever he replaced him with may not say that, but if that -- that hero is thinking that, I guarantee you it's widespread in the military.
So, the President needs to do a little soul-searching. I don't want to tell him how to do his job, but he needs to take a step back and say, I've got some problems up here in Washington, and I better address them, and quit letting bureaucrats stand in the way of defending this country and protecting our wetlands.
I'm fed up with it. COOPER: To hear that -- to hear, as we learned tonight, that, according to these new documents released by the Coast Guard, that BP was offered technology back on May 4th to measure the leak and on May 19th, you have Lamar McKay testifying that they don't know about any technology to measure the leak, what do you make about that?
NUNGESSER: I told you about two products that were brought to me by local scientists here in Louisiana.
Versabar had one and the guy that started Krispy Kringle doughnuts. Both of them would have measured every drop. They weren't even considered. We have been saying that from day one. But you know what? Once again, we find out we were lied to, just like -- just like the dispersants were going to keep it on the bottom.
Well, now it's coming in underneath the surface. We haven't even re- looked to see if we should quit spraying the stuff and maybe have a fighting chance on top of the water. We just keep letting them spray.
This is the biggest debacle in the history -- I am so unbelievably upset about this. We -- we fought for months to get this dredge approved. Men and women are working around the clock.
Anderson, we put lights on our boats tonight to go out at night and pick up oil in the bays where you went out with us, because we're tired of losing the battle. And we are getting absolutely shut down. And bureaucrats in Washington -- this is unbelievable. This doesn't seem like America.
COOPER: Billy Nungesser, I appreciate you talking with us tonight.
Billy thanks very much.
NUNGESSER: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Let us know what you think at home. Join the live chat now going at AC360.com. You can talk to other viewers watching in America, in the Gulf, around the world right now.
Up next: searing images, as the nightmare comes true in Pensacola, Florida. A massive wave of oil floods ashore. We're going to take you to the second front in America's Gulf war.
Later: what happens now that General Stanley McChrystal is out and David Petraeus is in as commander in Afghanistan? We'll talk to a reporter whose story got General McChrystal removed and "Dig Deeper" into what the change of command means for the war.
We'll talk to David Gergen and Peter Bergen ahead.
COOPER: Each day, new parts of what is happening here kind of pop up. Folks in Florida knew it was coming. They had no idea how bad it would be until today. People in Pensacola beach woke up this morning to a shoreline covered in oil as far as the eye could see. At a neighboring beach, workers cleaned up eight tons of tar balls. On another, emergency workers found an oil-covered dolphin stranded, tried to save it. It died en route to a rescue center. We do not know whether or not that dolphin actually died from the oil and it will take a few days to find that out.
David Mattingly joins us now live from Pensacola -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a very sad day here at Pensacola beach.
We want to show you some video that we took right at sunset. There were hundreds of people down at this beach. They walked down right to the line of where the tar balls are littering the beach here. And many of them stood. Some of them took pictures. Some of them called friends to tell them what they were looking at.
There wasn't a lot of talking going on here, though. We actually saw one woman crying as she was looking at this, a very emotional time for the people who live here and love these beaches. This is some of the worst tar balls that we have seen so far on the Florida beach.
I want to show you what this looks like. When this comes ashore as a tar ball, it comes in thick and mixed with the sand. And, then, during the day, it melts in the hot sun and turns into liquid, looking almost like that thick crude that we saw in the marshes of Louisiana.
Well, now that the sun is down and it's cooled down a little bit, it's back to being that gooey tar, this very thick stuff that's sitting on top of the sand.
Now, there are cleanup crews out here. But, still, people feel like the damage has been done. This will be cleaned up eventually, but officials keep thinking what's going to be happening for the rest of the summer and beyond?
Governor Charlie Crist was out here earlier today. He looked at this and said it was the worst he had seen, and said that he was heartbroken -- Anderson.
COOPER: David, this may be a dumb question, but, I mean, how heavy are those tar balls? Because that's -- the places I have been, it's oil on the surface. I haven't actually seen tar balls. I mean, what -- if you can get -- take a close-up shot of them, how heavy are they? What do they feel like?
MATTINGLY: Yes. Yes, sure.
And we'll take a look at that. We will pull some of this up. They're coming through in different sizes.
MATTINGLY: But when they pull up here on the beach, it's probably -- they pull up here on the beach, and imagine a sponge filled with water about that size. That's what this feels like. It's got some heft to it, for the size that it is.
But, again, it's all sticky. It's sitting on top of the sand. And cleanup crews actually come through here, doing a lot of manual labor, shovels, brooms and rakes, to pick this stuff up. And it's very slow, very tedious work.
They can't do a lot of it during the daytime.
MATTINGLY: In fact -- that's because of the heat -- in fact, you can see down the beach right now those reflective vests that you see back there in the background. Can we zoom in and see those? Right down the beach, those reflective vests down there, that's part of the cleanup crews that are working right now.
So, this is a work in progress. They've got about at least, at least, Anderson, nine miles of this stuff to clean up.
MATTINGLY: And that's just something that came through --
COOPER: Well, it's great that there were --
MATTINGLY: -- overnight last night.
But, really, when people came out this morning --
COOPER: It's great that there are --
MATTINGLY: To look at this, they were absolutely stunned.
And, again -- I have to say this again, as everyone is saying here -- a very, very sad day at Pensacola beach --
MATTINGLY: And very worrisome day for all communities throughout -- throughout this panhandle -- Anderson.
COOPER: Well, especially to see that -- that dolphin -- see that dolphin brought in.
And it's great to see at least folks out there working, contractors I guess employed by BP out there working at this hour.
As bad as this disaster is, imagine something even worse.
Just ahead tonight, you'll meet a BP whistleblower who says it could happen and tells us where. He paints a pretty shocking picture of what he says is corner-cutting, penny-pinching and disregard for safety. What does BP have to say about it? Well, we're "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.
And next: the reaction from Washington to Kabul to this man's resignation, the top commander in Afghanistan replaced -- and what it means for what is now America's longest war.
COOPER: President Obama did something today that no president has done since Harry Truman's showdown with General Douglas MacArthur in the Korean War. He very publicly relieved a popular and talented general of command, not over strategy or policy differences, but because the general showed contempt for civilian leaders. It hasn't happened since 1951.
McChrystal, the President's commander in Afghanistan and his staffers on the pages of "Rolling Stone" magazine, the General mocking Vice President Biden, an aide calling the President's national security adviser a clown.
Today, after a brief meeting with General McChrystal at the White House, President Obama accepted his resignation and spoke very clearly about why from the Rose Garden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And as difficult as it is to lose General McChrystal, I believe that it is the right decision for our national security.
The conduct represented in the recently published article does not meet the standard that should be set by a commanding General.
It undermines the civilian control of the military that is at the core of our Democratic system. And it erodes the trust that's necessary for our team to work together to achieve our objectives in Afghanistan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So, the President named David Petraeus to run the war. Senate leaders promise -- promising speedy confirmation hearings, Democrats and Republicans praising Mr. Obama's decision, including South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, who's currently an Air Force Reservist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I have been a military officer most of my adult life, and there's lines you can't cross. Those lines were crossed.
And it was poor judgment, but it was beyond poor judgment. It made it, I think, virtually impossible for the General to stay in his job. And as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama did the right thing today by accepting his resignation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Michael Hastings is the "Rolling Stone" freelance reporter who basically sealed General McChrystal's fate. He wrote the article. He's also the author of "I Lost My Love in Baghdad," which is now out in paperback. He is in Kabul tonight. I spoke to him just a short time ago.
COOPER: Michael, I want to start with your reaction to General McChrystal's resignation. I mean, when you were writing this article and you were hearing him and his advisers say this stuff, did it ever cross your mind that it could lead to -- to him basically being fired?
MICHAEL HASTINGS, CONTRIBUTOR, "ROLLING STONE": No. In fact, I believed -- and this was talking to a U.S. official, who even said this to me -- that General McChrystal was unfireable. I didn't think this story would have had this kind of immense reaction.
COOPER: I mean, on a personal level, you spent a lot of time with the guy. How do you feel about seeing his career come to an end like this?
HASTINGS: Well, I think that, for me, the most important thing about this story has been the fact that we now have a chance to discuss the Afghan policy that America is pursuing here.
And, in terms of on a personal level about how do I feel about how his career has ended, I -- I -- you know, this is -- war is very serious business. And, you know, what is one career versus one life? And lives are being lost here on a daily basis.
COOPER: You have spent time with members of the military over the past few days. How are they acting toward you and -- and saying about the change in command? What are you hearing?
HASTINGS: Well, the reaction, actually, has been quite positive from the soldiers who recognized me and come up and -- and said hello and said, hey, you know, we liked your story. We agreed with some of it. We didn't agree with some other parts of it.
But it was funny. On my flight up here from Kandahar a couple hours ago, you know, a number of soldiers actually had printout copies of the story and were discussing it, not knowing that I was the guy who actually wrote it. And I didn't necessarily volunteer that information.
But -- but, at this point, most of the feedback I have gotten from soldiers on the ground has been very positive, and specifically relating to the part of the story that deals with the new rules of engagement and General McChrystal's tactical directives, which restrain the use of force among ground forces here, which have been wide -- which are widely, widely, widely unpopular, and General McChrystal gets blamed for that.
COOPER: Do you see, though, General Petraeus making a change in those rules of engagement? I mean, he literally wrote the book on counterinsurgency for the U.S. military.
HASTINGS: That's a great question. It's going to be very interesting to see what sort of changes General Petraeus will bring to the -- the fight here. In many aspects, I think it's a change of style, not necessarily substance. And, certainly, judging by President Obama's comments, it appears that he is going to continue along with the same strategy that they pursued.
That's a little disappointing, because one of the things that I hoped to accomplish with the story was to actually question some of the fundamental premises of the strategy. But -- but it does look like that -- that General -- you know, and General Petraeus will certainly bring a different style to the fight, rather than any sort of fundamental change.
COOPER: And, I mean, that was something that President Obama very specifically said, that this was a change in personnel, not a change in policy.
Do you think you will get a chance to actually interview General Petraeus or maybe hang out with him any time soon for a -- a profile?
HASTINGS: I would love to profile General Petraeus and would love to interview him and ask him about, you know, what he plans to do in the war in Afghanistan.
It's actually quite an incredible moment. We have now had two -- President Obama has now fired two top commanding wartime generals in the space of a year. And I don't even know -- I mean, I think we would have to go consult the history books to find out when there's a situation where someone like General Petraeus, already a war hero, is being called back to sort of save the day for a second time.
It's Petraeus, the sequel.
COOPER: Yes, it's going to be -- I mean, it's fascinating to watch what happens. It's crucially important, obviously. I mean, everyone always says this is a critical juncture in Afghanistan.
I feel like we have said that, you know, every few weeks for the last several years, but it -- it -- it truly is.
Michael Hastings in Kabul tonight -- thank you, Michael.
HASTINGS: Thanks for having me on the show. I appreciate it.
COOPER: Up next, we'll talk to David Gergen and Peter Bergen on President Obama's decision to let General McChrystal go and how it may affect strategy on the ground in Afghanistan.
Also, warnings of another potential BP mishap, possibly worse than the spill here in the Gulf, say a whistle-blower. A man who has worked on Alaska's North Slope for more than three decades, calls BP's operation there a ticking time bomb. We're "Keeping Them Honest". Coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Well, in firing General McChrystal today and naming Petraeus to run the war in Afghanistan, President Obama said that war is bigger than any one man. This war is also the country's longest ever, and this month, one of the deadliest.
Fighting a counterinsurgency in a Muslim country, on harsh terrain with a weak and corrupt government, all of it costing American forces dearly -- the strain is constant. As we found out with Marines last fall in Helmand Province, no place is safe.
1ST LT. ZACHARY BENNETT, U.S. MARINES: Someone threw a flare they're saying. We're going to stop pushing this way.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) All clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Roger.
BENNETT: What's up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They threw some kind of homemade flare at us.
BENNETT: OK. Roger.
COOPER (voice-over): This may be a joint patrol, but the Marines instantly take charge of the situation.
(on camera): Somebody threw some sort of a homemade flare at U.S. forces. Now, they're going to investigate this compound.
BENNETT: Hold the cordon. Don't let anyone out of the village for the time being.
Just knock on the door.
COOPER: For the Marines, it's a sensitive situation. They don't want to do anything to alienate the local population. At the same time, they want to investigate that guy's house. So, they do a quick search. They didn't find anything and now they're moving on.
COOPER: You heard that officer saying, you know, just knock on the door. Don't kick it down in. That's one of the parts of counterinsurgency where they're trying to win over the local population. They don't want to do anything to alienate the local population.
That was in Helmand Province last fall, still it's not under control, even after big operation in the provincial town of Marjah earlier this year. There's hard work to be done in Taliban strongholds all across the country. And by naming Petraeus to run the war, many say President Obama just went all in.
Joining us now is senior political analyst David Gergen and national security analyst Peter Bergen.
David, I mean, I guess, did the President really have any other choice today? You thought he might -- although he was in his rights to fire him -- you thought he might let it pass.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: I thought he might. And this was a surprise. I think, Anderson, it was a home run, in naming David Petraeus. There's always a fear when you fire your commanding general in the middle of a war that you're going to have a real setback in the conduct of that war.
And there will be some, naturally, you know, a short-term setback. But in the long term, it's going to be very positive.
He is -- he can bring momentum to it. He is the author of the counterinsurgency strategy that's in place there. He has been General McChrystal's boss. So, he's been to Afghanistan several times. I've been to Central Command in Tampa to talk to General Petraeus about all this earlier. And he's very familiar with everything that's happening on the ground.
He's -- the dysfunctional team that we've been hearing about over the last few days is now going to become much more functional, it gets along extremely well with Ambassador Holbrooke. He will get along well with Ambassador Eikenberry.
He has the commands and respect of Secretary Gates. Secretary Clinton is very close to him. And he has growing respect in the White House. He has the confidence of the Congress. He has the confidence of the public.
What more could you ask for?
He's -- you know, we've gone from a good general in the field, who committed terrible indiscretions to having a great general in the field.
COOPER: Peter, it is a strange time though in Afghanistan. I mean, in the one hand, President Obama has been saying early on, you know, he wanted to focus the war -- have it focused on al Qaeda, stopping their abilities in Afghanistan and Pakistan to launch operations against the United States.
And yet, as you know, you've been on the ground there, you know, more than we have. But we were there together, that, you know, what essentially happening is nation building.
And this counterinsurgency is a very complex operation and there's not a lot of success with counterinsurgency. Most people point to, I don't know, the British and their Malay campaign as one of the few, you know, successes.
PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes. I mean, I think the article, you know, really -- you know, it got so much attention because it reflects the continuing, you know, policy differences that really do exist, which is between the U.S. Military which wants as much as possible the resource counterinsurgency campaign and political side of the White House who wants time horizon, limit their resources, et cetera.
And, you know, right now, things are not going well. You know, the Marjah operation you mentioned in the lead-in was going to be a government in the box that they were going to bring in, while it turned in there was nothing inside that box. And Marjah is being, to some degree, re-infiltrated by the Taliban.
So, when things are not going well and there's still some disagreement about, you know, the July 2011 date is a date which you can say, well, we're going to drawdown a small number or we're going to drawdown a significant number.
Rahm Emanuel on the weekend made it pretty clear that the White House wants something pretty significant there. And I think uniformed military, at least privately, certainly doesn't want -- they want to get the job -- they want to win, basically.
COOPER: David, can the Obama administration deliver on that July promise?
GERGEN: I don't think anyone knows for certain, Anderson. You and Peter are both right that this has not been going well recently. And it ultimately may not work.
But if there's one man who can turn it around, if there's one leader who can turn it around, it's David Petraeus. I think it's very much worth remembering that counter heat brought counterinsurgency to Iraq in a war that looked hopeless at the time. We're in a much, much better place there because of his leadership. He could be the man who turns around two wars before this is over.
He's going -- it may not work, but he's going to give it the best shot -- we have the best leader in the field now and I think the country ought to be appreciative of that.
And, by the way, I think -- we ought to recognize here that General Petraeus is taking one for the team on this. You know, he was the boss of General McChrystal. He's going backwards in terms of military rank. He's going to have a new central command person over him.
So, he is -- and he's been -- you know, if you talk to his wife, you know, he's been overseas a lot in Iraq. He's now going to go back overseas in a lesser position. Why is he doing that? Because he's a great patriot.
COOPER: Peter is this more complicated -- I mean, it seems like everybody I've talked to, and just from being there, it seems a lot more complicated, even though -- even than the incredible complicated situation in Iraq was when Petraeus took over.
BERGEN: Well, you know, when Petraeus came to Iraq in January of 2007, you know, that was a full-blown civil war. By the way, you know, at that time, you were 15 times more likely to be killed in Iraq as a civilian than you are today in Afghanistan. The violence was just stratospheric in Iraq.
You know, we talk about a corrupt Afghan government. Well, when Petraeus took over in Iraq, the Ministry of the Interior, which is normally in charge of Iraq security, was actually being overrun by Shi'a death squads, who were actually operating inside the Ministry of the Interior.
So, you know, the problems in Iraq were -- they looked a lot worse on paper than the ones in Afghanistan. But, of course, you know, simply because something worked in Iraq doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to work in Afghanistan. The same counterinsurgency theories may work in Afghanistan. No one really knows, including General David Petraeus.
You know -- so Iraq was enormously problematic. Afghanistan will have other problems.
COOPER: Peter Bergen, David Gergen -- thank you very much tonight.
Breaking news involving the Deepwater Horizon well and update on efforts to put the containment cap back on.
Also ahead, warning of a ticking time bomb, a BP worker in Alaska says the company is cutting corners there. Our interview with the whistleblower coming up.
COOPER: Looking there at the live feed of the leak.
Some good news to report, some breaking news, we just got word from BP that the cap, which was removed today after a robot sub bumped into it, is back on. And oil is now once again being contained; it's attached again.
We don't yet know whether the vents are open or shut. So, there's no way of knowing exactly how much oil is being collected if any, in fact. Although the statement does say that oil is -- I'm just reading it right now, actually -- is being sent up to the top, to the ship.
The statement -- what's annoying though is that the statement that CNN received from BP at 9:00 pm Eastern Time, an hour before we went on the air, said that the operation was ongoing. Didn't give any details that the cap was back on, right? The statement BP just released minutes ago said the operation was completed at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time.
So, at 9:00, when we asked BP for an update, they said, "Well, it's still ongoing." And then they've now just put out a statement saying, "Oh, actually, an hour and a half before that, this thing was completed and we started collecting oil."
This is a prime example of BP's, I mean, essential lack of transparency or maybe it's one hand doesn't know what the other hand is doing. But what's irritating about it is this isn't just some minor operation. This is an operation which hundreds of thousands of people's lives and livelihoods depend on all throughout the entire Gulf. It's an operation that people are watching around the world and yet BP doesn't seem to even bother to give out timely information or accurate information.
In fact, just like with every other time they have a major operation, they could easily have a person narrating in real time what is actually happening so we wouldn't have to be reading tea leaves and waiting -- hanging on statements that they put out that turn out to be incorrect.
It's one of the frustrating things in dealing with BP and in covering the story, and it's one of the things that people here say just adds to their lack of credibility and a sense that they are just not transparent.
Now, a 360 investigation: BP has been accused of putting profits over safety. We've heard that from other survivors of the Deepwater Horizon.
Tonight, a career worker at BP says it's happening up in Alaska. He fears it could lead to a catastrophe greater than this one.
Randi Kaye tonight is "Keeping Them Honest".
KAYE (voice-over): Marc Kovac was 24 when he joined BP. For 33 years, he's been working on Alaska's North Slope, 18 of them on the pipelines. Kovac says BP pays him well. And yet he could be risking his job talking to us.
BP's operation in Alaska, he warns, is a ticking time bomb.
MARC KOVAC, BP EMPLOYEE: I see a Gulf-like explosion if the two large gas handling plants that we have, CCP or CGF go up. In a worst-case scenario, it will be worse than what you saw on the platform. More people will die.
KAYE: He says it's inevitable because BP in Alaska already has a history of spills, fires and explosions, workers injured and killed on the slope, he says, because BP cuts corners on safety to save money.
BP's mantra, according to Kovac and others is, quote, "run equipment to failure".
BP says it does no such thing, never has.
KOVAC: If it falls apart or breaks, if they don't need it, they won't replace it. If they do need it, they will replace it, but they're taking a huge risk. And it isn't those people that are making the decisions that's taking the risk, it's the workers in the field. We work next to this equipment when it fails. Those people sit behind their desks. KAYE (on camera): He's talking about management. Eleven years ago, Kovac and dozens of other BP Alaska employees sent this letter to then CEO, Lord John Browne. Two workers had been killed on the slope and the letter asks, "When will the body count, capital destruction and loss of production be enough to halt this dead-end course?"
(voice-over): Among Kovac's concerns, not enough workers, he says, to monitor too much pipeline for leaks and corrosion. When a pipeline gets heavily corroded, it can leak or even explode, putting an employees' safety at risk.
In 2006, it was an aging, corroded pipeline that burst. Two hundred thousand barrels of oil spilled into Alaska's Prudhoe Bay. BP pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of violating the Clean Water Act. A federal judge put BP on probation for three years and fined it $20 million.
"Keeping Them Honest", we talked with Steve Rinehart, a spokesman for BP Alaska, who told us their budget does not limit their safety program. He insists corrosion efforts have improved in recent years.
STEVE RINEHART, BP ALASKA SPOKESMAN: In the past few years, certainly since 2006, every element of our anti-corrosion program has advanced. We have taken the number of pipeline inspections from something in the neighborhood of 40,000 a year to about 90,000 this year.
KAYE: Still, as recently as 2008, Kovac wrote this e-mail to a BP manager, warning, "We are expecting a major failure again in Alaska. Next time, BP may not be so lucky."
These 2008 pictures from Kovac show the risk, he says, BP employees face every day. The gas injection lines snapped due to corrosion.
In response, BP's Rinehart says the pipe, quote, "regrettably missed its inspection because it was covered in snow and they never made it on the to-do list.
(on camera): A former BP Alaska employee who did not want to be identified because he still works in the industry told me the oil giant had, quote, "serious lapses in safety compliance in terms of corrosion". This employee said he was fired back in 1997 after refusing his supervisor's request to manipulate data and paint a better picture of the pipelines than really existed.
(voice-over): BP wouldn't discuss the charge.
RINEHART: Any individual working on the North Slope has the right to raise his or her hand and say, stop the job, without retaliation. Safety is that important.
KAYE: We contacted many BP workers in Alaska to discuss safety concerns with them. Most would not go on camera because they fear for their jobs.
Marc Kovac says it's well known BP has a history for harassing and intimidating worker when they speak out. BP says that's just not true. And they set up an office to prevent that.
RINEHART: There is zero tolerance for retaliation of any sort.
KAYE: Kovac also worries about safety because he says too many fire and gas protection warning systems, which would warn workers about a fire or explosion, are not in compliance.
KOVAC: Our systems were supposed to be updated 20 years ago. And BP's been piece-mealing our systems back together and some of our locations are not updated. Warning systems are not even functional.
RINEHART: They are old systems and we are in the midst of a steady, step-by-step process to upgrade these.
KAYE: Kovac remembers three years ago when incoming CEO Tony Hayward promised to make safety the soul of the company.
KOVAC: What he said was basically lip service. It's all show and no go.
KAYE: Which is why he is sounding the alarm. What happened to BP in the Gulf, he is certain, will happen again to BP in Alaska.
KAYE: And Marc Kovac told me he wasn't at all surprised when he heard that the rig that had exploded in the Gulf was a BP rig. He said he was sad and ashamed -- ashamed to be working for the same company because he says it should never have happened.
And now, that has turned to anger. He's angry that workers have died on the slope in Alaska, Anderson. He's angry that friends have been injured. He's really angry that 11 men died in the Gulf. He has been sounding the alarm for decades.
BP might think that he sounds like a squeaky wheel, but he says he's hoping they will hear him -- Anderson.
COOPER: Randi, appreciate it. Thank you.
Up next, "One Simple Thing"; a Chicago hospital going green, transforming to try to help the environment.
COOPER: We hear a lot about health care, obviously, the cost, the quality, access to it. But we don't hear much about making places that provide health care environmentally-friendly. One Chicago hospital is trying to do that by going green.
With tonight's "One Simple Thing" report, here is Randi Kaye.
KAYE (voice-over): this isn't your typical garden in the city of Chicago. It's on a roof on top of a hospital.
MARY GREGOIRE, RUSH UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: As you can see, looking out across is one of our five green roofs that we will have here at Rush. These are trays. There's over 1,300 trays actually here on this roof alone.
KAYE: Rooftop gardens like these will help capture more than 25 percent of the rain water at Rush Hospital. Rain water that will, in turn, be used for an irrigation system. It's one of the hospital's many steps in their effort to lead the charge in going green.
And part of leading that charge means the materials that are being used to build this new hospital will be recycled, from 90 percent of the steel to 25 percent of the concrete.
But it doesn't stop there. From the napkin dispensers --
GREGOIRE: Allow for a single napkin to be taken at a time. Some of the old-style dispensers, you pulled one, got five or six that came out.
KAYE: -- to the utensils dispensed one at a time, eliminating the need for plastic wrapping. To the cups and plates that are actually made of corn.
GREGOIRE: The disposable containers, to-go containers as well as the glasses are made from a cornstarch product which means that corn is renewable, much more renewable than paper would be.
KAYE: But what they don't have in their cafeteria are trash cans.
GREGOIRE: When you look at this area, one of the things that you don't see are any trash cans or recycle cans. We do that all the behind the scenes in our dish rooms. Our employees are actually sorting the trash that is there actually goes into a piece of equipment we call a pulper. And that pulper takes that is trash and grinds it up, somewhat like a garbage disposal and spit it is back out. It reduces the volume of our trash by about 80 percent.
KAYE: From the LED lighting to the no-wax floors to the energy-saving sinks, all part of making patient rooms green.
And then there's outside the hospital. There are special planters that provide natural irrigation to their trees. And their parking garage has reserved parking for energy-efficient vehicles and special boxes outside to help ivy grow in order to provide shade.
GREGOIRE: When we look to put this all together, it helps us achieve our goal of really having a sustainable environment when it's all finished.
KAYE: And that's expected in July 2011. It's all part of "One Simple Thing" to rethink health care, the green way.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: One simple thing. Programming note: tomorrow night on CNN, don't miss a new documentary, Gary & Tony have a baby. Soledad O'Brien follows a same-sex couple and their struggle to become parents.
Here is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Was there a big stack (ph) of women who are the egg donors?
GARY SPINO, PROSPECTIVE PARENT: We went through probably more egg donors than surrogates looking.
O'BRIEN: Five, ten, 15?
SPINO: Maybe 15, 20.
O'BRIEN: Gary and Tony picked Holly. Her employer doesn't want her to use her last name use her last name because she's donating her eggs to a gay couple.
Ever give you pause to be providing eggs for two men who clearly can't have a baby?
HOLLY: I never -- it never crossed my mind. The first time I had to think about it is when my caseworker actually called me up and asked me two or three times in the same conversation, are you sure you don't mind working with a homosexual couple?
And I was confused by the question. Like, why would that bother me? They need eggs, I've got eggs. They deserve to have a family like anybody else.
O'BRIEN: For Gary and Tony, this is more than a financial transaction.
SPINO: That's the whole thing about this journey for us. It's that it really is about family and about extended family and about having roots and having you know support and love. I know a lot of people in your position don't want to have any kind of contact or relationship or whatever. And just the fact that you're open to it, at all is --
HOLLY: I'm so glad that we're able to meet and the fact that you're really wonderful people is a big bonus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Gary and Tony have a baby is on tomorrow night on CNN at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. Don't miss it.
That does it for 360. Thanks very much for watching. We'll be here in the Gulf tomorrow night.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.