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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Leaking Secrets; Clinton Sorry for Tax Talks?; Backpage Fights Anti-Trafficking Law; From Homeless To Harvard
Aired June 7, 2012 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Erin, thanks. Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight, keeping them honest -- with allegations the White House is leaking state secrets, classified information for political gain. Republican Senator John McCain is leading the charge and it has a lot of bipartisan support, even among Democrats.
McCain claims the White House orchestrated leaks to boost President Obama's national security reputation heading into the election. The alleged leaks to reports of major news organizations included classified data on a computer virus attack on Iran as well as CIA drone strikes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The release of the information in these articles harms our national security and puts in danger the lives of the men and women who are sworn to protect it. The only conceivable motive for such damaging and compromising leaks of classified information is that it makes the president look good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: We're going to talk to Senator McCain in just a moment. The White House, for their part, flatly denies McCain's charges. Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters, and I quote, "Any suggestion that this administration has authorized intentional leaks of classified information for political gain is grossly irresponsible."
I'll have Senator McCain respond to that in a moment.
Now all this outrage stems from a wave of news reports about secret U.S. operations overseas including a "New York Times" article last week about U.S. cyber attacks on the computers Iran uses to run its main nuclear enrichment facilities. The reporter, David Sanger, comes right out and says that his scoop is, quote, "based on interviews over the past 18 months with current and former American, European and Israeli officials involved in the program."
Now some of the information came from current officials working on that program. This is a direct quote from the article. Listen to how Sanger refers to the source. Quote, "He was deep into every step in slowing the Iranian program, the diplomacy, the sanctions, every major decision a senior administration official said." "A senior administration official." That wasn't the only one. In at least three other recent stories having to do with national security the source or sources cited were administration officials. Now one of the things that Senator McCain is angry about is that the White House seems to be ignoring leaks that make the administration look good while taking a hard line with other government whistleblowers, lower-level whistleblowers or people who leak.
"Keeping Them Honest," in the last four years under the Obama administration, the Justice Department has prosecuted six cases under the Espionage Act, which you may not know is that's twice as many as all previous administrations or last three previous administrations combined. And as far as the new leaks are concerned, there have been no calls at all from the White House for an investigation to find the source of the leaks. I spoke earlier with Senator McCain about the issue.
COOPER: Senator, the White House now says that any claim that these leaks are for political gain which you and others have said, they say it's grossly irresponsible to make that claim. How do you respond?
MCCAIN: Who benefits? Who's benefited from these leaks? That's what you always look for. And obviously the portrayal of the president as a strong and courageous leader throughout this narrative is what it's all about. And the second aspect. of course, is that this administration has been blatantly political on all national security issues that I've been observing of.
And so, I think it's very clear that these leaks came from the White House, people within the White House itself and these people are very politically oriented.
COOPER: Do you believe that they are authorized by the president, by his inner circle? I mean do you think this is a plan or do you think this is individuals taking it upon themselves to leak information for whatever reason?
MCCAIN: I have no idea. But I don't think there's any doubt that this is one of the most egregious breaches of national security in recent memory. The director of National Intelligence, General Clapper, said and he's been in it for 30 or 40 years, whatever, and he says it's the worst he has ever seen. So this is very serious.
So it seems to me that why wouldn't the -- if it's says egregious and a terrible breach as the director of National Intelligence says, why isn't the president calling for a special -- prosecutor on this? I mean there should be an investigation and I think it cries out for a special council.
COOPER: Do you think this is something that the FBI can just investigate on their own? The Justice Department?
MCCAIN: I do not. I think it rises to the level of requirement for a special counsel because in the view of the director of National Intelligence and mine this is the most egregious breach of intelligence that we have had in recent memory.
COOPER: And you don't trust the Justice Department to be able to police the White House?
MCCAIN: Not so sure it's a matter of trust as it is a matter of what's going to be required. And I mean a special council has zoned his or her own team, they have the investigative powers that are necessary. And so I think it rises to that level of concern.
COOPER: It is kind of perplexing because on the one hand the Obama administration has gone after low-level leakers, whistleblowers, who have released information, I guess, that doesn't portray the administration well, or that they are upset about, and yet there have been a number of high-level leaks. Do you see a double standard here?
MCCAIN: Well, I think you can draw that conclusion particularly when you've got a Private Manning who was a private in the Army, who they're going after full-bore as they should for the WikiLeaks issue and they've gone after a low-level CIA employee, and yet I've heard no real reaction from the administration.
The president has been silent about this. By the way, he has about massacres in Syria, but it seems to me that every member of the administration, the vice president and the president, should be saying, look, this is a terrible breach of the national security and we've got to take every step necessary to find those people who are guilty of it and make sure it doesn't happen again.
COOPER: So how does -- I mean what's next step? How does the special -- how does that actually happen?
MCCAIN: Well, it would require the appointment by the president. It may require some authorization from Congress. We're talking about a sense of the Senate resolution calling for it. But you know, you can -- it's a matter of some mechanics but you can get it done.
COOPER: You mentioned Syria, I just want to ask you briefly. Reports of another massacre happened there. Seventy-eight people killed, many of them women and children. You and I have talked about this a lot over the last 15 months. A lot of people said after the massacre in Houla, the atrocities there, the killing of dozens of children, more than 108 people in total, that was a turning point.
Did you -- do you think that was a turning point looking back on it now? Or do you think it's -- nobody is really doing anything about it still?
MCCAIN: To be frank with you, I think you and I and others had hoped that it'd be a turning point. Just yesterday the president's spokesperson, Mr. Carney, said he didn't want to militarize the conflict. He didn't want to militarize the conflict with these massacres going and the president says nothing. The president of the United States says nothing. It's just -- it's just shameful. And I can't tell you how disappointed I am. You and I have been over there. I wish more people could have had the same experiences that we've had. The rape and torture and murder go on. And it just doesn't seem to matter to this administration.
COOPER: Senator McCain, I appreciate your time. Thank you.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
COOPER: Well, Senator McCain outraged over the situation in Syria.
Does the U.S., though, have a responsibility to do something about the fighting there? A CNN/ORC poll found just 33 percent of Americans say, that's up from 25 percent in February, while 61 percent say no. It's down 12 percentage points over the same time period. Our new poll numbers are right there.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter right now @Andersoncooper.
Former President Bill Clinton is apologizing for what he said about the Bush tax cuts which President Obama has promised to let expire. It's not the only thing he said that recently raised some eyebrows among Obama supporters.
"Raw Politics" on that ahead.
COOPER: In "Raw Politics," former President Bill Clinton gave Republicans an unexpected gift during a recent interview with CNBC. He was talking about how lawmakers will likely put off a series of major spending and budget decisions until early next year to avoid putting any more pressure on the economy. Then he said this about the Bush tax cuts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think what it means is they will have to extend -- they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That's probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don't want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently including for upper income people and I think he will do that.
That's going to -- that's what they're fighting about. I don't have any problem with extending all of it now. Including the current spending levels. They're still pretty low. The government's spending levels. But I think they look high because there's a recession.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire January 1st. The White House said yesterday it's not going to extend them even temporarily. Republicans obviously seized on President Clinton's comments, saying he was in favor of extending the Bush tax cuts, putting him at odds with President Obama's position.
In an interview today with our Wolf Blitzer, President Clinton clarified what he meant. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: Yes, I'm very sorry about what happened yesterday. It was -- what I thought something had to be done on the fiscal cliff before the election. Apparently nothing has to be done until the first of the year. So I think he should just stick with his position and then negotiate with the Republicans when possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the timing of Clinton's comments is awkward, to say the least, for the Obama campaign. It also comes on the heels of him praising Mitt Romney's career in private equity in a prior CNN interview.
Want to talk about it now with political contributor and former press secretary for George W. Bush, Ari Fleischer, also Democratic strategist and Obama pollster, Cornell Belcher.
So, Cornell, what about this? I mean there are those kind of conspiracy theorists who say this is President Clinton getting back at President Obama in some way that they -- they haven't always had the warmest of relationships? Do you think this kind of off-message statements are deliberate or is it just things that come out in conversation?
Well, I think the president cleared up -- President Clinton cleared up what he was -- what he was saying then, in "THE SITUATION ROOM," and doubled down on the idea that in fact the wealthy are going to have to contribute to a long-term bringing down the debt. I think this is much to do about nothing. I know the press lauds President Clinton. He's incredibly popular. You know, your own CNN polling I think now has him at 66 percent, which is an incredible number for any politician these days.
But look, if Republicans want to focus on Bill Clinton, I think Democrats are all in on that. Because let's talk about what Clinton actually did. He raised taxes on the wealthy and he built the economy from the middle out. And guess what happened when he built the economy from the middle out? All boats raised.
Wall Street did well but also middle America did well. The same sort of policies that President -- that President Obama is trying to put in place right now. So we're all in on Republicans looking back at President Clinton and talking about President Clinton because that's a conversation we want to have. COOPER: Ari, Cornell mentioned that poll. I just want to show that to our viewers, and he's right about that poll. Two-thirds of the country really like former President Bill Clinton more than any other living ex-president in the poll.
Is there any question in your mind that having him out there on the stump for President Obama is a good thing?
ARI FLEISCHER, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: I think it's a good thing for President Obama. He is popular. He has an appeal still to the independents. But you know, Anderson, all these issues are kind of a notable and enjoyable sideshows in politics. Bill Clinton said it, I think he meant it, and then he realized he can't mean it, and so he had to crawl it back for a wonk like Bill Clinton who is a master of substance.
There is not a chance in the world he thought those tax cuts expire before the election. He knows that the tax codes work. He knew it expired December 31st. So, you know, points for creative fiction and crawling back. But, you know, these things are always notable. You know, when Rick Perry called Mitt Romney part of a vulture capitalism, the Democrats cited it because the Republicans are saying it, a better Republican. Republicans cite this about Bill Clinton because it's a Democrats saying that Mitt Romney had a stellar business record, which he is not taking back, and also that the Bush tax cuts should be extended.
So I think he committed a vow of speaking the truth, and then the Obama campaign punished him for speaking the truth.
COOPER: Cornell, what about that? I mean he had previously said stuff on CNN about Mitt Romney and then he kind of walked it back today saying on CNN that it would be -- a Romney presidency would be calamitous. I mean, is he off-message or I mean do you believe that Ari --
BELCHER: No, he's not off message. I mean I -- you had to take it -- I mean, the President Clinton has been -- has been fairly clear. You know, Mitt Romney has not a -- has not been a job creator. He's created an awful lot of wealth for himself but he's not been at all a job creator. And again if Republicans want to focus on Bill Clinton, I think we Democrats are all in on it because the same sort of policies of making the -- having the wealthy pay their fair share in order to bring down this debt and growing an economy from the middle out, not from the top down, is what we saw Bill Clinton do in the '90s and now people looking back at it and sort of favorability -- you know, 66 favorability any incumbent -- any politician these days would kill for a 66 percent favorable rating right now.
There is a reason why voters are still in love with Bill Clinton because of the policies that he knew put in place that grew our economy and grew -- and grew income for everyone.
COOPER: I want to play the sound bite that I just referenced.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WOLF BLITZER, ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: The other issue that caused the Obama folks some heartburn was when you told Harvey Weinstein that Mitt Romney had a sterling reputation as head of Bain Capital, that he was qualified to be president. This coming after all of their ads, the Obama campaign ads, going after him on his record at Bain Capital.
CLINTON: That's two different things. The -- you can be a successful business person and if you're governor of a state, and you're 35 years old, and you're born in America, you're by definition qualified to be president.
BLITZER: You suggested his qualifications were good.
CLINTON: Yes. But --
BLITZER: As governor.
CLINTON: But in the same sentence --
BLITZER: That's correct.
CLINTON: Very cleverly in the same sentence I said he shouldn't be elected because his ideas and policies I don't think are good for America.
BLITZER: And then you later said it would be calamitous if he were elected. That's going pretty far.
CLINTON: If he were elected and if he implemented the policies that he's advocating.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Ari, how does it work when you have somebody out, you know, whether they are surrogate or just a supporter, I mean do they get a call after an interview where they've said something that the White House doesn't like or, you know, Mitt Romney doesn't like? How does that work?
FLEISCHER: It works awkwardly. You bet they get a phone call. I used to make a couple of themselves myself. Yes, because part of the whole operation of running for the president or the White House is message discipline. And you want your surrogates to support the message of the principal. Anytime they go off message it's embarrassing, it can create controversy, and in this case, I think actually when we do have to deal with the tax cuts in November and December, President Clinton's words are going to be finally remembered by many other Republicans and probably a number of Democrats, too.
But the reason, Anderson, I said that this is a notable sideshow is people vote on the basis of the president. They don't vote for the surrogates can be helpful, it fills the debate but it all comes down to the candidates. And that's why I think that President Obama is in trouble because popularity is not transferrable. And that's why he is in so much deep trouble in the electorate because of the state of the economy.
But you never want these things to happen. I'm sure as soon as the president said it, Chicago was on the phone and calling Paul Begala and James Carville, others who are close to the president, maybe even somebody called the president himself, and President Clinton is very clever. He's smart. He knew he had to rein himself back in because he was making trouble for the campaign he supports.
COOPER: Well, no doubt he'll be out again, a lot in the next couple of months.
Ari Fleischer, thanks very much. Cornell Belcher, as well, thanks.
Freshman congressman makes a baseless accusations saying that President Obama gives, quote, "special waivers," those were his words, to Muslims to avoid TSA screenings. Not true. We're "Keeping Him Honest" next.
COOPER: Coming up, an amazing story. She is heading to Harvard in September but just recently she had no where to call home. We'll show you how one high school senior graduating today proved hard work and the community's help can overcome even the longest odds.
COOPER: Does the Obama administration gives special waivers to Muslims to exempt them from TSA screenings? Well, of course not. So why is a member of Congress saying that it does?
Here's Louisiana Republican Jeff Landry on the House floor. The freshman Tea Party member is running for re-election in November in a newly created district that pits him against another Republican incumbent. He's called himself -- was calling himself the true conservative in that race.
This week Landry appeared on "The Jay Sekulow Live," a radio show for the American Center for Law and Justice founded by evangelical leader Pat Robertson. Landry was making a case against the Obama administration's policy on contraception and offered up this reason.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JEFF LANDRY (R), LOUISIANA: I think the biggest problem that a lot of Americans are having out there is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Say what now? That's just not true. We asked Congressman Landry to come on the program, he declined. We still wanted some answers, though, so we sent Joe Johns to Capitol Hill to try to track him down and keep him honest.
So, Joe, did he -- you finally did -- catch up with the congressman today after, I know, a very long day of trying to track him down. What did he actually say?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, Congressman Landry says he's being taken out of context because he says he was talking a point about health care, not TSA, not Muslims, not airports. It is true he was on the radio talking about how the administration makes religious accommodations at TSA so why not do it in health care?
But if that was the point he was making it got completely derailed by the example he used. That's because TSA regulations on head coverings specifically apply to people of all faiths not just Muslims. Here's what he said when I asked him about it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: You said that Muslims got waivers. What did you mean by that? Do you know something we don't know?
LANDRY: Well, look, obviously, you want to take my words out of context or you wouldn't be here today. I mean I wrote an op-ed on this piece back in February. We issued a press release. It's been on our Web site since February.
You know, at the end of the day this administration has made accommodations, OK? For people who are wearing religious -- traditional religious clothings, whether it'd be Muslims wearing headpieces or not, there have been accommodations made. And -- but -- and our nation has made accommodations for conscientious objectives in the military.
At the end of the day -- and it may be rightfully so, and I don't oppose those measures. But at the end of the day, it seems like we could take that same approach, OK, to Christians and elderlies (ph) when it comes to these HHS mandates.
COOPER: You know, Joe, it drives me nuts when people say that's you've taken me out of context thing. Let's just play the -- what he said yet again on the radio. Because he wasn't saying all religious groups. He was saying Muslims and probably maybe for reason or maybe that's all he knew at the time. I just want to play this again so people know --
JOHNS: Absolutely. Absolutely.
COOPER: -- we didn't take this out of context. Let's play -- let' splay what he said on the radio show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LANDRY: I think the biggest problem that a lot of Americans are having out there is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So he is -- he's only talking about Muslims here as if there is some reason that the president has some sort of secret affinity for Muslims, I guess.
JOHNS: Right. And this is the elephant in the room really. We all know how politics works around this town. The president's critics have found a lot of creative ways, frankly, to get the words Obama and Muslim in the same sentence but Landry claims he wasn't doing that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: Doesn't have anything to do with Obama or trying to make him look like a Muslim?
LANDRY: No. Come on. No. This has to do with respecting religion. This has to do with rights of conscience, and that's -- and that is the bottom line.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: You know, I love it when people say stuff and then refuse to discuss it any further, come on our show and answer questions about it, and then when you actually do finally track them down they kind of attack you or blame you for -- as if you've taken something out of context.
Joe, I'm sure it was a long, exhausting day. I appreciate you doing that. Thank you.
JOHNS: Thanks. My pleasure.
COOPER: All right.
A lot going on around the world tonight. Isha is back with a "306 Bulletin," news and business bulletin -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, the family of a Chinese student murdered in Canada is in Montreal to take him home. Thirty- three -year-old Jun Lin identified by CCTV in this photo was mutilated and dismembered. Suspect Luka Rocco Magnotta is in German custody and will be extradited to Canada to face first-degree murder charges.
Iraq executed an aide to the late Saddam Hussein for genocide and crimes against humanity. Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti was Hussein's national security adviser, secretary and body guard. He was once number four on the U.S. military's list of most wanted Iraqis. Credit agency Fitch slashed Spain's debt rating by three steps putting the country's bonds one away from junk status. Madrid is struggling with foreign, a busted (INAUDIBLE) bubble, and a banking crisis that may require a eurozone bailout.
And Anderson, take a look this. A daring rescue in China. A toddler slipped through a railing and is left dangling from a fourth floor balcony. A neighbor risked his own life to help the child get back up through the bars. There is no word on where the parents were at the time. A very, very lucky little girl there.
COOPER: Wow. Well, thank goodness for that neighbor. Amazing.
SESAY: Yes. Absolutely.
COOPER: All right. Isha, a new twist in the battle over backpage.com. The Web site suing the state of Washington -- excuse me. Suing the state of Washington over a new law that would require Backpage to actually verify the ages of the prostitutes, the escorts, the young adults in their services, in their adult services ads. Now Backpage claims it does not promote underage prostitution. So why are they suing the state of Washington? Well, we're "Keeping Them Honest" next.
COOPER: Men carrying knives try to rob a convenience store. The clerk fights back in a very unconventional way that is a spray can. There's a lot more when we continue. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Another "Keeping Them Honest" report tonight. There are new battle lines being drawn in court over backpage.com, which is a leading site on adult services ads. Now those ads that people run brought in $27 million for the web site last year according to the internet research first, Aim Group.
For months now we have been reporting on the push to shut down the ads where officials in various states say that underage girls are sold for sex. The numbers are really staggering.
There had been at least 50 cases in 22 states of people charged with trafficking underaged girls for sex on backpage.com. Plus the country's 51 attorneys general, 19 U.S. senators, 600 religious leaders, more than 50 NGOs in a petition with 230,000 signatures are calling on Village Media Holdings, which own backpage to shut down the ads immediately.
The web site, though, they are not backing down. Backpage's attorney, Liz McDougall insists they do nothing wrong. Look at what happened when CNN's Deborah Feyerick was confronted Ms. McDougall in a recent report that aired on 360.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: How would you feel, for example, I mean, as a mother, if you saw an ad like this or an ad like this? This girl she says she's 19, if you saw your daughter in this -- like this?
LIZ MCDOUGALL, GENERAL COUNSEL, VILLAGE VOICE MEDIA HOLDINGS: I would be horrified. And I'm horrified for those mothers and my heart goes out to those mothers and to their daughters who are victims of exploitation.
FEYERICK: Am I wrong? Isn't prostitution simply illegal?
MCDOUGALL: Prostitution is illegal and we do not permit illegal activity on the web site.
FEYERICK: What are they settling?
MCDOUGALL: There are legal adult entertainment services.
COOPER: I mean, if you look at backpage.com you know what is being sold on that site. The attorney for backpage.com, Liz McDougall is talking about shutting down the adult services section. She says does not answer.
In fact, she claims that Backpage actually helps in the fight against child prostitution because it keeps sex traffickers in one place making it easier for law enforcement to find them.
Now in an interview that I did with her, McDougall said to me that one of the biggest allies is the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. She says they work together.
But "Keeping Them Honest," when we asked that organization if they supported Backpage, the answer was an emphatic no. Listen what the head of the group, Ernie Allen told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: They portray themselves as the sheriffs of the internet and that they are all about stopping illegal activity. Do you buy that?
ERNIE ALLEN, NATIONAL CENTER FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: I don't. What is happening is that the internet has become the primary resource, the information clearinghouse for purchase of children for sex and for illegal prostitution.
COOPER: So while shutting down backpage.com would not end child trafficking and no one is making that argument, do you think it would be a step in the right direction?
ALLEN: I certainly do.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, the state of Washington agrees passed a law that sets to take effect today that would require Backpage to verify the ages of the people advertising in the adult services section.
But Backpage challenged the law and at the last minute, federal judges issued a 14-day temporary restraining order against its enforcement.
I spoke earlier today to Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna.
COOPER: Mr. Attorney General, the lawyer for backpage.com says that this law violates among other things the first amendment and that it's so broadly written adversely any web site that allows users to post their content could face criminal charges. Essentially that it would be a big blow to the internet as we know it. What is your response to that?
ROBERT MCKENNA, WASHINGTON STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: This law is actually very narrowly tailored. It's designed to get at ads for adult services as they're called. We're talking about ads for prostitution.
It's designed to prevent children in being advertised online with the publisher's participation. So actually since most people don't publish ads for prostitution and certainly don't publish ads for prostitution involving minors this is not broad and will not affect most web sites.
COOPER: Backpage is that they claim they are part of the solution. They claim they are the sheriffs of the internet and that if they shut down their site that these people are going to gravitate to other sites that don't have any kind of sense of responsibility. What is your take to that?
MCKENNA: Well, of course, Backpage wants to continue making, you know, $20 million to $30 million a year for its owners, Village Voice Media.
COOPER: And that's is what this is about for you?
MCKENNA: It's about --
COOPER: It's money?
MCKENNA: For them that's clearly motivating them because other websites like Craigslist have moved ahead already to take down their adult services section to put into effect policy policies against ads for escort services and prostitution. They police their web site now.
When they find ads, they take them down. Google does the same thing and so do other responsible internet web sites. They look for the ads. Some of them may slip through, but as soon as they are spotted they are taken down. Backpage is openly soliciting ads from pimps and prostitutes and encouraging them to place their ads with them.
COOPER: I mean, they claim that, you know, they do all sorts of enforcement. They say they have lots of letters from local law enforcement agencies who praise them for being proactive and being reactive.
MCKENNA: Well, as your own investigation revealed recently, law enforcement does not support Backpage as an ally. They don't view Backpage as part of the solution. They are actually to create the problem by facilitating these transactions. Your research corresponds to what I have found from talking to law enforcement from around the country.
COOPER: One of the things that I don't understand we asked the folks at Backpage about this, is that if they really wanted to check the age of the people involved who are advertising on their site, regardless of even whether or not they were, you know, having escort sites.
But just to check the ages, they could set up a local office in the various cities that they operate in and have customers come in personally with an ID and verify the person posting the ad is actually an adult.
I talked to the lawyer for backpage.com, Liz McDougall about that. I just want to play for you and for our viewers some of what she said.
MCDOUGALL: That is something that we have been exploring for months and are continuing to explore. When you're talking about --
COOPER: What does that mean? You have been in business for a long period of time and there's been plenty of people wanted you to do this before. This is not the first time you have considered this idea. So why not just say we are going to do this. I know it's going to cost you money, but if that's the right thing to do.
MCDOUGALL: Money is not the issue. The issue is how do you functionally implement this. If you have any knowledge and understanding of how the internet works it's a practical impossibility in the internet realm.
COOPER: Now I'm clearly not an internet expert, but I'm not an idiot. I mean, you can open up a local office. Clearly to me, it seems to be this is an issue of money.
MCKENNA: Well, for that matter they don't have to open an office. They can contract that work out just like some web sites contract out other verification procedures to outside parties who monitor the site for them.
So they can use local agents to represent them who are reputable who can take the ID from someone who wants to place the ad. By the way, we know from interviewing these young girls who are being trafficked that many times they are forced by the traffickers to place the ads themselves.
And they have been having the girls use gift cards like, like a Visa gift card, for example, in order to get around identification requirements. So you have to have an in person verification system to prevent bad guys from working around your rules. But, of course, Backpage doesn't really have such rules now.
COOPER: Attorney General McKenna, I appreciate you being on the show. Thank you.
MCKENNA: Thank you.
COOPER: A programming note, CNN's Fareed Zakaria has a new primetime special this Sunday looking at what is wrong with the American immigration system and how to fix it. Here is a sneak preview, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg weighing in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAREED ZAKARIA, HOST, CNN'S "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": You look at the danger of the current approach we have to immigration as quite substantial economically.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, NEW YORK: It is the biggest economic issue facing this country.
ZAKARIA: Just look at the nation's Fortune 500 companies. More than 200 of them were founded by immigrants or the children of immigrants including Google, Yahoo and Intel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Fareed says we're kicking those immigrants out or not allowing them here in the first place. Fareed looks for answers on how to fix the U.S. immigration policy. It's "Global Lessons, The GPS Road Map For Making Immigration Work." Sunday 8 p.m., 11 p.m. Eastern right here obviously on CNN.
It took more than straight A's and a load of honors for one graduating senior to earn her spot at Harvard this autumn. This is a story that truly going to amaze you and inspire you.
It's not often we find someone like this young woman, Dawn Loggens. We're going to tell you why she had to work harder than anyone else in her high school to pick up that diploma today and head to Harvard.
COOPER: So here at this point in the show we are usually doing much different -- much more different -- what? -- sorry. We're usually doing much different stories than the one we are about to show you tonight. When we heard about the story we really wanted to cover it today because we really think it's going to inspire you. Today is graduation day in Lawndale, North Carolina. You can forgive the crowd for saving their applause for one particular student.
It is not a stretch to say that Dawn Loggins worked harder for that diploma than any of her class. Not only she's graduating with straight As and landed a spot in the Harvard freshman class this fall.
But she did it all the while conquering more adversity than many of us will see over the course of our entire lifetimes. Martin Savidge has her story.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While other teens still sleep, Dawn Loggins is in the hallways, classrooms, and bathrooms of the high school where she is a senior and janitor. Each morning she cleans the rooms where she later returns to learn.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should be the root and father of many kings.
SAVIDGE: Then come seven hours of advanced placement classes and honors classes and two more hours of dumping trash and picking up after classmates.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't mind cleaning because if you have to wade through trash to get to your desk you're not going to have an environment that encourages learning.
SAVIDGE: Finally she tackles homework until 2:00 a.m. Besides being dedicated, school officials knew something else about Dawn. Life at home wasn't exactly perfect.
There were the eviction notices. The family moved a lot. Burns High was Dawn's fourth school since eighth grade. When she asked about candles, her boss realized the teen was living in a house with no electricity.
JUNE BARRETT, BURNS HIGH CUSTODIAL SUPERVISOR: She came to me and said I need something to be able to do my homework by. I said, OK, we'll get you some candles. We'll take care of that.
SAVIDGE: There is also no water.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We get water jugs and fill them up at the park using the bathroom and use that to flush the toilet and cook with and things like that.
SAVIDGE: It got worse. Last year when Dawn tried calling home from summer school the phone was disconnected. Her mother and stepfather had moved again this time leaving her behind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never expected my parents to just like leave. SAVIDGE (on camera): You were homeless?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Dawn would crash a few days on a couch here or a night or two on the floor there, but still cleaning and still keeping up her grades.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think what motivates me is the fact that when I was younger I was able to -- a look at all the bad choices at the neglect and the drug abuse. And I was not going to have to ask myself am I going to buy food this month or pay rent?
SAVIDGE (on camera): What makes this story so amazing is not just Dawn Loggins. It's what this school. It's what the community did. You see the moment it was realized that Dawn was abandoned and homeless.
She should have been turned over to the state, the Department of Social Services. That didn't happen. That didn't happen on purpose.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We kind of took it upon ourselves to become her village.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): So teachers and staffers made sure she was clothed and fed and had a place to live.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people are nice. We have good people in Lawndale. It's a nice community.
SAVIDGE: And it didn't end there. That same village was now to get her to college and not just any college, Harvard. History teacher Larry Gardner wrote the recommendation letter and simply told Dawn's story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This young lady has unlike most of us known hunger. She's known abuse and neglect. She's known homelessness and filth, yet she has risen above it all to become such an outstanding young lady.
SAVIDGE: Months passed and acceptance letters arrived from state schools, but nothing from Cambridge. Then one day, the envelope with the Harvard seal arrived.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm delighted to report that the admissions committee has asked me to inform you that you will be admitted to the Harvard College class of 2016.
DAWN LOGGINS, GRADUATING SENIOR: I didn't jump up and down and I didn't cry or anything like that. But it did get the largest reaction out of any of my acceptance letters. I sort of did this, like --
SAVIDGE: Not only was she accepted, but her tuition and housing would be paid for.
LARRY GARDNER, HISTORY TEACHER: Kind of teared up. This is a young lady who -- when I first met her and had her brother in class, they were living in a home without electricity, without running water. They were showering at a local park.
AARON ALLEN, BURNS HIGH PRINCIPAL: She has not let the circumstances hold her back. That is going -- she's going to be that symbol that you are able to achieve and meet your milestones and goals no matter what.
SAVIDGE: And that's how Dawn Loggins went from homeless to Harvard. Martin Savidge, CNN, Lawndale, North Carolina.
COOPER: What an incredible young woman.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What a young lady and she is so composed at well.
COOPER: I love her reaction is just covering her mouth. That is hard work.
SESAY: Wishing her the best.
COOPER: Yes. What do you have for us?
SESAY: We got some more headlines. Let's bring the viewers up to speed. Police are gathering evidence against the main suspect in the 1979 murder of Etan Patz. Officers removed a computer hard drive and a pair of satchels among other items from the home of Pedro Hernandez. Authorities say he confessed to strangling the boy and throwing his body away in a trash bag.
More than 2,000 former NFL players are suing the league for failing to address the neurological risks associated with playing football. This suit consolidates some 80 similar cases already making their way through the courts. The NFL says it has long made players safety a priority.
Anderson, a wild scene caught on camera in Canada. A convenience store owner using a can of bear spray to turn the tables on a pair of knife-wielding robbers. When one man made another attempt at the cash register, the owner pushed him over the counter and literally gave him a spanking. Yes.
SESAY: Not something you see every day. Yes.
COOPER: Who is that lady? Some other person just gets involved.
SESAY: Everyone getting a bit of a whooping there. Yes. One guy was arrested and the other one did a runner.
COOPER: Did a runner. Is that what you call it in England?
SESAY: He did a runner. It's when you leg it. COOPER: I don't understand a word coming out of your mouth.
Time for the shot, a little boy leaving a world of silence with his new cochlear ear implants, hears his mother's voice for the first time. You got to see this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Cooper. Hi, Cooper. Hi, Cooper. Hi, Cooper. Hi, baby.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He's had the implants about eight months now. His mom says his speech is coming along. We wish him the best. Just incredible.
Coming up next "The Ridiculist," parents be proud of your kids, but not too loud about it. It could land you in jail. "The Ridiculist" coming up.
COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we are adding folks who are calling enthusiasm haters. You see there have been two stories in the news this week about families getting in trouble for cheering at high school graduations.
You heard me correctly cheering not at libraries or church, but at high school graduations, events that tend to be, you know, pretty exciting and cheerful.
One incident was in South Carolina where the mother of a graduate was actually arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm thinking in my mind, you know I'm going to cheer. I went through too much to get her to this point. I can't show my excitement? I can't cheer? I can't applaud and let her know I'm so proud of you? Like all the other years when people graduate?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The superintendent said that cheering detracts from the dignity of the ceremony. He adds the parents were warned not to make noise and for much the graduation you could hear opinion drop.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were family members in the audience, and eyewitnesses that when their child graduated in obedience to the instructions that were given they stood up and they did this. They didn't yell. They just did this.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: The superintendent said that is a way to thank the almighty. But is verbal cheering really such a bad thing? Apparently so at least according to school officials in Ohio.
They are withholding t the diploma of this man. He received a letter from the school saying that he would not get a diploma until he or his family completed 20 hours of community service as punishment for excessive cheering at the graduation.
Anthony's mom says he's being wrongly punished and they're going to appeal the decision. The superintendent said that the parents were warned and that cheering takes away from other graduates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Had I not said to the people who were calling names, stop, the succeeding child's name would not have been heard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Look, I get it. You have a lot of names to read, but you know what, you wait for the cheering to subside. I hate to think that cheering at a graduation should be a roadblock to someone moving ahead with their life maybe becoming rich and famous.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spellman!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: That's right. Try telling Oprah not to cheer at your graduation. Maybe the schools are trying to impact decorum to their students. Maybe they will go to a subdued profession like a state legislator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not the American way. These damn bills that come out here come out here the last second. Trying to figure out -- for my people. You should be ashamed of yourselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: OK. Bad example. All I know is that a little enthusiasm never hurt anyone, not at work, not at school, and certainly at graduation. So cheer on your sons and daughters, be proud of what they've accomplished. Just try not to get arrested because the enthusiasm haters are out in force on "the RidicuList."
Hey, that does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now at 10:00 p.m. Eastern another edition of 360. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts now.