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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Taliban-Al Qaeda Partnership?; Face Transplant Patient Shares Story; Elizabeth Edwards Speaks Out about Husband's Affair
Aired May 5, 2009 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, we begin with breaking news.
The first American dies of swine flu, even as the government does a major about-face, telling schools not to close, saying the H1N1 strain of the flu is not as bad as first feared. Just the same, a Texas woman is dead, the second fatality inside this country. The first was a Mexican child. This time, it's an American schoolteacher named Judy Trennell (ph) who lived near the border with Mexico.
Sanjay Gupta has been following the story. I'm not even sure he has seen this yet. Local news media are reporting she was admitted to the hospital on April 19 with breathing problems, was placed on life support. She was eight months pregnant. And her daughter was delivered by C-section shortly before she died.
The very latest on her illness now and today's revised government risk assessment from 360 M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta -- Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it's interesting. We are getting some details, even as we're talking, Anderson, about this woman.
She apparently lived in a border community, Cameron County. And, as you mentioned, you know, she -- she had recently given birth to a child. She seemed to get sick around the same time, or a little -- maybe a week or so after we started really hearing about H1N1.
We do know certain people are more at risk for having some of the worst ramifications of this particular disease. But she came into the hospital, was sick for some time, and then died thereafter.
We don't know a lot of details about exactly what happened, what her treatment was. I think some of those details are still forthcoming -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. And, Sanjay, I understand we do now actually have a picture of her. This is the first time we have seen it, as well as you have. Judy Trennell (ph) is her name, gave birth shortly before she died by C-section.
The fact that she had chronic underlying health conditions, do we know how that would play a part in something like succumbing to the swine flu? Because, I mean, she is the only American to have died from this. GUPTA: That's right. And it's a little bit inconsistent, Anderson, as you and I have talked about, because, in Mexico, it seemed like the people who were -- who were dying from this were people more in the prime of their lives, 20s, 30s, 40s, who had robust immune systems, did not seem to have underlying illness.
But this woman seems to fall more in the pattern of people who we predict to have problems with flu, people who, if they have some sort of underlying medical condition, their immune systems aren't as strong. As a result, they can't fight off the infection.
The infection can start to spread within the body, first the lungs, then the rest of the body. That's typically what happens. And, Anderson, also, pregnant women often, as you may know, are recommended to get the flu shot, because their immune systems aren't as strong either right during pregnancy and immediately thereafter. So, there may have been several different things going on with her.
COOPER: All right. Sanjay, appreciate that.
We -- we don't, again, want to hype this story. We have been trying to avoid that for the last week that we have been talking about this. We do want to point out, again, today that the CDC said they believe this disease is not nearly as lethal as they had initially thought it could be, and they recommended on Tuesday that schools with confirmed cases in the United States no longer shut their doors.
So, that is good news.
Sanjay is going to be back with us shortly with details of the first American face transplant. The recipient comes forward, talks about her remarkable experiences. What they have been able to do to save this woman's face is just extraordinary. We will have all the details and show you what she looks like now and what she may be looking -- what she may look like down the road, when some of the swelling goes down.
But now a 360 exclusive allegation -- some stunning allegations of highway robbery in a small Texas town. Dozens of drivers claim they have been held up for cash and cars and jewelry. Now, they say it's happening here in Tenaha, Texas, just east of the Louisiana state line.
Now, even more shocking is who some victims are blaming. It's not -- not robbers or bandits or drifters. They say it's police, police who they say are no better than common criminals. Now, the police deny the accusations against them.
Gary Tuchman tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We have heard the same story over and over, drivers telling us this small stretch of Texas highway was a trap, a systematic ambush.
Amanee Busby of Maryland was forced off the road here.
AMANEE BUSBY, STOPPED BY TEXAS POLICE: They took everything out of the car. They took all of us out of the car.
TUCHMAN: Jennifer Boatwright and Ronald Henderson were driving through with their two kids. They tell us they had $6,000 with them to buy a car when they were stopped.
JENNIFER BOATWRIGHT, STOPPED BY TEXAS POLICE: He was already going through the glove box. And he had -- he got Ron's money.
TUCHMAN: Roderick Daniels was coming through from Tennessee. He says he had $8,500 in cash also to buy a car. They took all of it.
RODERICK DANIELS, STOPPED BY TEXAS POLICE: It makes me feel sad, not -- more than angry, I feel like, man, there's no -- no justice, even with the law.
TUCHMAN: Over the last two years, scores of drivers, virtually all of them African-Americans or Latinos, say they couldn't report these crimes to the police, because the men who forced them to pull over, the men who took so much from them, are the police.
(on camera): Roderick Daniels' journey took him here, to the tiny town of Tenaha, Texas, population about 1,000. On this portion of US-59, the posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour. Daniels says police pulled him over for going 37 in a 35.
(voice-over): Police asked Daniels if he had money. And he says he told them he had the cash to pay for that new car.
DANIELS: They said they were charging me with money-laundering. I actually thought that this was a joke. I'm, like, money-laundering? It's just -- it sounds so dramatic.
TUCHMAN: Two cops brought him to jail. He was frightened, had no idea what he had done wrong, but was told no charges would be brought if he left behind his cash and jewelry.
DANIELS: To be honest, I was 500, 600 miles away from home. I was very petrified.
TUCHMAN: So, he agreed to the deal.
(on camera): Roderick Daniels was released from this Texas jail without his money, without his jewelry, without the car he wanted to buy, and without any hope he would see his valuables again. But now he realizes he's not alone.
(voice-over): Jennifer and Ronald were also offered a deal, this one in writing. And the district attorney signed it herself. It's a form letter, the kind of get-out-of-jail card that says, in exchange for forfeiting their $6,000, "no criminal charges shall be filed and our children shall not be turned over to child protective services."
The cops certified their son Jonathan. (on camera): So, what did he say about your parents to you?
JONATHAN BOATWRIGHT, SON OF PARENTS STOPPED BY TEXAS POLICE: That they were going to be taken away. Me and Jacob (ph) would be put in CPS, or foster care.
TUCHMAN: His mom says the DA showed up at the police station, berated her as a bad parent, and also threatened to separate the family.
JENNIFER BOATWRIGHT: I said, if it's the money you want, you can have it. You can have it. If -- if that's what it takes to keep my children with me and not separate them from us, take the money.
TUCHMAN: Amanee Busby was with her young child.
BUSBY: The first police officer who pulled us over would say things to me like, "Um, your son's going to child protective services. He's going. He's going. You're not saying what we want you -- what -- what we want to hear."
TUCHMAN: So, what's going on here? This attorney has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 150 drivers who were stopped on Highway 59.
DAVID GUILLORY, CLASS ACTION ATTORNEY: They're disproportionately going after racial minorities. And my take on the matter is that the police in Tenaha, Texas, were picking on and preying upon people that were least likely to fight back.
TUCHMAN: The cops and the county took their money, and yet none of them was ever charged criminally.
GUILLORY: I believe it's a shakedown. I believe it's a piracy operation.
TUCHMAN: Records show this town and county have made a lot of money doing this.
Under Texas law, police, in fact, are allowed to confiscate money and other property if it's believed to be used in a crime. But if the person is not charged or is found not guilty, the valuables must be returned. The lawsuit claims Tenaha and Shelby County often keep the money, no matter what.
JOHN WHITMIRE (D), TEXAS STATE SENATOR: I was angry.
TUCHMAN: This Texas state senator is leading the fight to reform forfeiture laws, partly because he's shocked at what he's heard about in Tenaha.
WHITMIRE: To have law enforcement and a district attorney and the criminal justice system essentially be crooks, in my judgment, it should infuriate, and does infuriate, everyone.
TUCHMAN: The town has made many forfeiture arrests of people who really have been guilty of crimes. But, when you include the alleged fraudulent arrests, roughly how much money has the tiny town taken in?
The attorney has done some math.
GUILLORY: The amount is close to $3 million.
TUCHMAN: Three million dollars. So, what are they doing with that money? We found a $10,000 check from the DA directly to this man, the cop who pulled over most of these drivers.
We had questions for him.
(on camera): We're doing a story about this guy, Roderick Daniels. He was pulled over here by you a year-and-a-half ago. And you took his money and his jewelry. Do you recognize him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I cannot comment.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And we had questions for the DA. After avoiding us, we finally located her.
TUCHMAN: We were surprised to find her on center stage.
COOPER: This is unbelievable. You can hear the answers he got in part two of Gary's report coming up right after this break.
Let us know what you think about what is going on in Tenaha, Texas. Join the live chat at AC360.com. It's happening now, also, Erica Hill's live Webcasts during our breaks.
Later on the program, another 360 exclusive -- hear what America's enemy has in mind for Afghanistan and Pakistan. Nic Robertson interviews a shadowy Taliban member, as Pakistan, a country with dozens of nuclear warheads, erupts. We're going to talk about American options with Nic and Peter Bergen as well.
Also tonight, the remarkable surgery that gave one woman a new face -- the first American recipient of a face transplant revealed. You will see her and see what she looks like now. 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta is going to join with us that.
Plus, Elizabeth Edwards opening up about her husband's infidelity. She is speaking out -- ahead on 360.
COOPER: More now on our 360 exclusive: explosive allegations of highway robbery in Tenaha, Texas. Victims' accusations range from illegal search and seizure to official misconduct by police, even blackmail. They all deny the claims, the police do.
Here's what happened when Gary Tuchman went looking for answers.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Many of the drivers pulled over on Highway 59 tell us they are guilty of one thing, and one thing only, driving while black or Latino.
So, we didn't expect the cop who many are complaining about to be this man. His name is Barry Washington.
(on camera): It seems like you guys pull a lot of people over, though, and take their money and take their belongings, more than I have seen in any town before.
What's your response to that?
BARRY WASHINGTON, TENAHA, TEXAS, POLICE OFFICER: I cannot make a comment. This is under litigation. This is a lawsuit.
TUCHMAN: Well, I appreciate your -- your courtesy to me.
WASHINGTON: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.
TUCHMAN: But that's the story that we're doing, that it just seems like there's a propensity to do that.
WASHINGTON: I don't have anything to say to you right now.
WASHINGTON: And I have told you that twice.
Well, if I could just ask you one final question.
WASHINGTON: You guys -- you guys have a safe trip. Have -- have a good day.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The district attorney wasn't as easy to find. We made repeat visits to her office.
(on camera): We came here yesterday and we asked if she would be in today. And we were told she would be in today.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I thought she was going to be, but she's not. That's all I can tell you.
TUCHMAN: But you can't tell me if she's on vacation or just not wanting to talk to us?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... business what she's doing.
TUCHMAN: Well, it is her business, because the taxpayers pay her salary, so it really is her -- it really is the public's business. So... (voice-over): Ultimately, they told us she would have no comment.
So, we looked elsewhere for DA Lynda Russell.
TUCHMAN: And we found her on stage belting out country tunes at a fire department fund-raiser. We couldn't get near her until the event was over.
(on camera): Ms. Russell?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys -- guys...
TUCHMAN: Ms. Russell?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... she doesn't care to speak to anybody...
Ms. Russell, my name is Gary Tuchman with CNN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't have anything...
TUCHMAN: I want to -- I need to ask her.
Ms. Russell, I just want to see if you want -- I just want to see...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I keep telling you, she doesn't want to talk to you.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But we kept trying, because had found out even more about her that raised serious questions. Texas law states that, when money and valuables are legally taken from motorists charged with crimes, it can only be used for the official purposes of the DA's office and for law enforcement purposes for police.
We acquired copies of hundreds of checks the district attorney wrote over the last two years, the entire account funded only with money the cops took from drivers they stopped on the highway. Official purposes? The documents show the DA has given herself wide discretion on how she spends the forfeiture money.
Here's a check and receipt for a popcorn machine and popcorn costing $524. Here's another one, $195 for a poultry festival. She bought Tootsie Pops, Dum Dums and Dubble Bubble for the event.
Here's one, 400 bucks, for catering from Pete Jennifer's Barbecue. More records show she made donations to clubs and organizations she seems to like, including the local Chamber of Commerce, youth baseball. Good causes, but official business?
(on camera): According to the check registry from the district attorney's forfeiture fund, at least two checks totalling $6,000 were given to this Baptist church in Tenaha.
(voice-over): But this one, this check, really stands out. This is the check the DA wrote for $10,000 and paid directly to police officer Barry Washington for what are described as investigative costs.
So, we wanted to give the DA a chance to explain. Why would she write such a huge check directly to a cop and why, it seems, the cops are targeting so many minority drivers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't want to speak to you, guys.
TUCHMAN (on camera): Sir, I'm not asking you. If she doesn't want to comment, she can tell me. She's the district attorney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She doesn't even want to speak to you.
TUCHMAN: I know. I need to give her the opportunity. That's my job, to get both sides of the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She has -- she knows that she has the opportunity. She doesn't care to speak to you.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): The DA's personal attorneys did give CNN a general statement.
"Ms. Russell has denied and continues to deny all substantive allegations set forth. She has used and continues to use prosecutorial discretion and is in compliance with Texas law, the Texas Constitution, and the United States Constitution."
George Bowers has been mayor here for 54 years. The class-action suit also names him.
GEORGE BOWERS, MAYOR OF TENAHA, TEXAS: We try to hire the very best-trained, to have all the training, and we keep them up to date on their training, you know, where they -- where they will follow the law.
TUCHMAN (on camera): So, you have faith that they have done the right thing?
BOWERS: That's right.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): All the defendants in the lawsuit deny the allegations and say they followed the law. The Hendersons and Amanee Busby spent a lot of money on attorneys and eventually got their seized cash back.
But Roderick Daniels, like scores of others, who has been charged with nothing, is still out the $8,500 the cops took for him. For a husband and father of four, it's a lot to lose.
DANIELS: To this day, I didn't understand why -- why did they take my belongings off me.
TUCHMAN: Maybe he will find out someday, from the cop.
WASHINGTON: This is under litigation.
WASHINGTON: We will just have to see what happens in the courthouse.
TUCHMAN: Or from the country singer...
TUCHMAN: ... whose day job may be getting her in big trouble.
COOPER: Gary Tuchman joins us now, along with senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
Jeffrey, have you ever seen a story like this?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR ANALYST: You know, Gary has been talking to me as he's been reporting this story. And I kept saying to him, explain it to me again.
TOOBIN: This can't actually be happening the way you say it's happening.
But, I mean, it apparently -- it -- it is. I mean, this does seem like a theft operation on the part of -- of this district attorney. And there doesn't appear to be any legitimate explanation. You know, there are plenty of forfeiture laws in states like Texas and in the federal government.
But there are procedures. And, as Gary said in the story, you get your money back if you're not charged or if you're acquitted.
COOPER: And, I mean, when I first heard this, I thought, OK, maybe they're, like, shaking down drug dealers or something. And then I thought, well, maybe it's just one rogue police officer who's doing this, or -- or one or two.
But it seems like a -- a coordinated operation, and they're buying popcorn machines.
TUCHMAN: Yes. There are three cops involved and the district attorney, and the allegations are they're all involved in this.
And I think one thing you might wonder is, what do they want in this lawsuit? And what they're looking for is their money back. But, even if they win the civil suit and are ordered to get their money back, it's not clear they can get their money back, because the city and the county are spending the money fast and furiously.
TOOBIN: And how do you -- how do you prove that you had $8,500 in cash in a car? It's going to be very difficult for the plaintiffs here to establish to a judge. You know, cash does -- there's no receipt. There's...
COOPER: But there's no receipt given for the money handed over? Or is there?
TUCHMAN: Most of the people do get a form that says, here is what we took. We took your $8,500. We took a ring. We took this. And they also get these forms that say, OK, we are not going to file charges against you, but we keep the stuff.
So, there are forms that do save this information.
COOPER: Which seems monumentally stupid on the part of people -- if you're doing a shakedown operation, to give you a receipt for the money you're...
TUCHMAN: I think it's important to point out -- I think it's important to point out, they -- they claim in their legal filings that they're not doing a shakedown operation...
TUCHMAN: ... that this is within their discretion.
But what troubles most people are these waivers that say, if you don't agree to this, we're going to take your kid, bring your kid to foster care, and we're going to file charges against you.
COOPER: And could they do that? I mean, if you're stopped in some small town, can they suddenly take your kids?
TOOBIN: Well, if you're arrested, they can take your kids, but not if you're stopped for speeding.
And it does seem like -- and just a bald threat. But it is true that, if you arrest someone, and that person has a child with them, you have to do something with the child. And that's foster care. But, obviously, this is much more an intimidation thing.
COOPER: What's the next step in this? I mean, where -- how do -- where do we follow up on this?
TUCHMAN: Well, there's no court date set for this. But there will be a court date soon.
COOPER: For a civil case?
TUCHMAN: For a civil case.
But -- and this is something Jeffrey...
COOPER: But are federal authorities investigating this police department, this DA?
TOOBIN: Well, this -- this is what I found. I mean, I -- this is why we have a United States Department of Justice and a Civil Rights Division. If they aren't investigating now, they certainly should be.
TUCHMAN: I think one thing, real quick, Anderson, that needs to be pointed out, a lot of people who have decided that maybe they should fight this and have informed the district attorney about this have gotten a note from the district attorney that said, you made an agreement, and, if you decide to fight it, then we reserve the right to file charges.
And they get very scared, and they don't fight it.
COOPER: Well, we will continue to follow up.
Just, it's unbelievable what is going on.
Straight ahead -- great reporting, Gary. Amazing.
Straight ahead tonight, some other great reporting, Nic Robertson's exclusive interview with a top Taliban member. You're going to see him laugh when he talks about attacking U.S. troops, and he warns that more attacks are coming.
Also, her husband cheated on her and told her about it during the cancer fight for her and the presidential run for him. How did Elizabeth Edwards get through it? And how is she handling the betrayal of trust? She is speaking out tonight?
And what first lady Michelle Obama was doing at the U.N. today -- you will hear what she has to say -- that and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: We have got more breaking news for you tonight involving through authors of the so-called torture memos, Bush administration lawyers John Yoo, Steven Bradbury, and Jay Bybee, now Judge Bybee on the Federal Appeals Court.
Tonight, a draft report from the Justice Department Office of Professional Responsibility suggesting that they will not face criminal prosecution for the memos, which, legally and many believe dubiously, justified water-boarding and other rough tactics.
Meantime, the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan meet tomorrow with President Obama, with both countries under growing threat from the Taliban.
Today, Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's chief troubleshooter for the region, went before Congress, and got an earful.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. GARY ACKERMAN (D), NEW YORK: Let's say that your pants were on fire.
ACKERMAN: You would have to do two things to survive. First, you would have to recognize that the agonizing pain that you feel was the result of your pants being on fire. And, second, you would have to do something about it before you lost the ability to do something about it.
Let me be blunt. Pakistan's pants are on fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It certainly seems about to be getting worse. Towns in Pakistan's Swat Valley are being evacuated, as the Pakistani army prepares to take on Taliban forces, to blast them, a Pakistani diplomat said today, probably with a lot of collateral damage. They don't really have experience fighting a kind of counterinsurgency like the one they face now.
Across the border, Taliban forces are gaining strength, as Nic Robertson found out in this rare and exclusive interview with a top Taliban commander.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): I'm waiting for an exclusive interview with a top member of the Afghan Taliban. The room is small, few possessions, a gun by the computer. There is only one way in and only one way out at this safe house.
We agreed not to reveal the location, but, on the way here, we were watched. Could this be a setup? These days, the Taliban are kidnapping reporters.
Before the agreed time, Zabiullah Mujahid suddenly arrives. He has phones in both hands. He is nervous. And, although I only notice it later, he has pistol holsters under his jacket. He is spokesman for Taliban's top leader, Mullah Omar.
Before the interview begins, he covers his head, refusing to show his face to the camera. From the start, his message is clear: A new Taliban offensive is imminent.
ZABIULLAH MUJAHID, SPOKESMAN FOR AFGHAN TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH OMAR (through translator): This month, there will be more attacks, more suicide attacks, because the war policy has changed, as there are new U.S. troops coming.
ROBERTSON: Twenty thousand more U.S. troops are on their way to Afghanistan in the next few months. Mujahid has a warning for President Obama: However many come, it won't be enough.
MUJAHID (through translator): Afghanistan will be the Vietnam for them. I want to tell you clearly, we will win, and they will die.
ROBERTSON (on camera): You're laughing. But I -- I don't understand how you can laugh, when you're up against the strongest army in the world, with drones and missiles.
MUJAHID (through translator): This is the war of martyrdom. Don't worry about this. We want to fight. We want to fight for martyrdom.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): He tells me to watch this Taliban propaganda video to see how they're targeting U.S. helicopters. You can see the tracer fire from the left and what seems to be an explosion underneath the helicopter.
The helicopter appears to survive the attack, but the cargo beneath falls off, burning. Every attack like this is a victory for the Taliban, he says. The U.S. military is one target, and many think Pakistan's nuclear arms are another.
He claims the Taliban in Afghanistan are getting support from Pakistani Taliban across the border, but says they are not involved in the bloody conflict that threatens the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan.
But are they closely involved with al Qaeda? And terror networks that target the West? After the break, Mujahid talks about what binds the Taliban and al Qaeda.
Zabiullah Mujahid is getting impatient and warns me, we don't have much time. But I want to ask him about the Taliban's relationship with al Qaeda and foreign fighters, alliances that worry intelligence agencies in the West.
MUJAHID (through translator): We're not under the command of al Qaeda. Some people are coming to fight, and we say, welcome.
ROBERTSON (on camera): But they help you? But al Qaeda helps you?
MUJAHID (through translator): We are from this country. We are the boss.
ROBERTSON: Are you getting people that would have gone to Iraq before and now are coming to Afghanistan to fight the Americans there?
MUJAHID (through translator): We do not ask for any fighters from Europe. We don't ask them to come. If they come freely, yes. Also, we don't need for the foreign fighter. For example, in some provinces, we have suicide bombers for the next three or four months. ROBERTSON (voice-over): He says, Taliban sympathizers in President Karzai's inner circle helped try to kill him last year, and that the Taliban has informers inside U.S. bases.
The strict Islamic code called Sharia law that demands men wear beards and woman not show their faces in public has long been a hallmark of the Taliban. It was strictly enforced across Afghanistan before the Taliban fell in 2001.
I asked Mujahid, what is the Taliban's ultimate goal?
MUJAHID (through translator): To enforce the Sharia law and Islamic government in Afghanistan, and to remove foreign forces from our country.
ROBERTSON (on camera): Can the Taliban win by military means alone, or does there need to be some kind of talks?
MUJAHID (through translator): We believe by both, by negotiation and also by war. We ask them to leave the country. We are ready to talk. So, they are not ready to leave, so they want to talk by the mouth of a gun. We will talk by the mouth of a gun.
ROBERTSON (voice-over): Long before I have run out of questions, he is getting up to go. He had relaxed during the interview, but has been getting edgy for the last 10 minutes, still worried, it seems, the interview may have been an elaborate setup to capture him. As suddenly as he arrives, he leaves. The interview is over, but it is clear, this war goes on.
COOPER: It certainly does.
Nic, did he say anything that surprised you?
ROBERTSON: I think one thing that, really, was just the length of the interview. That surprised me.
But I asked him about the issue that United States has talked about its interrogation techniques, whether that makes its fighters bolder. He said, you know, "We really don't care." And I was surprised, because I thought they would have taken note from that -- Anderson.
COOPER: All right, Nic, stick around.
We're also going to want to bring in Peter Bergen to talk about the threats we just heard in your report and discuss why more people are questioning whether or not we can win in Afghanistan.
And, also -- so, we will -- we will have that right after this break.
Also tonight, take a look at this woman, Connie Culp. She was shot in the face by her husband. After this picture was taken, the damage was so severe, she need a face transplant -- tonight, Connie's new face revealed.
And President Obama and Vice President Biden out for an impromptu lunch today -- find out where they went and exactly what was on the menu and what happened.
We will be right back.
COOPER: Talking about the situation in Afghanistan as well as in Pakistan right now, following Nic Robertson's exclusive report with a member of the Taliban.
About a half million people are expected to flee Pakistan's Swat Valley. The Pakistan government ordered them out in advance of an expected offensive against the Taliban. Reports of panic and civilians getting caught in sporadic crossfire between Taliban and government forces. Forces trained to fight India, not handle a counterinsurgency, which requires limiting collateral damage and protecting the population. Hence the growing headache for leaders in Islamabad and Washington.
Let's dig deeper, now. Nic Robertson in Kabul, along with national security analyst, Peter Bergen, author of "The Oral History: The Osama bin Laden I Know."
Nic, the Taliban official you talked to said they're not under the command of al Qaeda, but they welcome their help. What is their connection?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, their connection is that they're both sort of fighting the same type of war. They both want to fight the United States and the European allies.
Al Qaeda seems to be funneling foreign fighters. There was a statement from al Qaeda just in the past few days, saying they've lost 13 foreign fighters, some from Iraq, some from Saudi Arabia, all in suicide bombing missions inside Afghanistan in the past two weeks alone. So there's clearly this funnel of people coming through.
Al Qaeda leadership, some people suggest they want to influence what the Taliban are doing on the ground strategically, operationally, but clearly the Taliban saying that, no, they're the boss in their territory. But one can imagine there are some tensions there.
COOPER: Peter, President Obama is going to be meeting with Afghan president and the Pakistan president tomorrow at the White House. There hasn't been much cooperation between these two countries. There's been a lot of animosity between these leaders. How important is it for them to get along, and how -- can Pakistan deal with this insurgency?
PETER BERGEN, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Well, as you say, there's been enormous animosity. You may remember in 2006, President Karzai and then the president of Pakistan, General Musharraf, were barely on speaking terms when they visited with President Bush. So I think the temperature will be a little bit better in these meetings.
But Pakistan, as you've said, you know, still doesn't have the counterinsurgency capability or doctrine. That's something that the -- Secretary Clinton, General Petraeus, is asking for money from Congress to help them with $400 million that they're trying to fast track to give that Pakistani military the -- the -- some of the equipment they'll need to do an effective counterinsurgency. We'll see what happens there.
COOPER: Yes, but Peter, fighting a counterinsurgency isn't just about, you know, suddenly getting new equipment. It requires training, and it requires finesse. It takes a long time to train a force...
COOPER: ... how to effectively fight like that.
BERGEN: Well, indeed. And I mean, these -- these massive refugee movements out of Pakistan. You know the situation is bad when Pakistani refugees are fleeing into Afghanistan to get away from the fighting. That's been the case in the last year in Pakistan. So clearly, this is not a good sign. This suggests, you know, punitive expeditions, not protecting the population.
COOPER: Nic, how does the U.S. go about defeating the Taliban? I mean, Obama sending -- President Obama sending in 20,000 more troops to the region, marines. Is that going to be enough?
ROBERTSON: Winning over local support, marginalizing the Taliban, making it harder for them to sort of move among the people. But, of course, that's so hard to do because the Taliban have gotten very good at intimidating the local population. It means larger Afghan security forces. It means a greater, sort of civil affairs, civil military affairs component alongside the military.
All these things take a long, long time to develop. And time, as we know from President Obama on this, is very, very short.
The Taliban have talked about the willingness to negotiate. that they can't win by fighting alone, but they've set the bar very high. They've said the only way they'll do that, the only way they'll begin those kind of talks is where the -- after the U.S. has pulled out.
COOPER: Peter, I guess the benefit of more troops, besides being able to frontally crush the Taliban fighters they need, is not only sweep areas but then hold them, keep troops stationed in areas where -- before U.S. forces have to move on.
BERGEN: Absolutely. I mean, in the south, there's been clearing of areas but not holding or building them.
But the fact that the Obama administration is ordering, you know, two Marine brigades and a striker brigade into the south, that doesn't suggest they're going -- they're not the kind of units that are going to go in, and it's going to be a very tough fight in the South. But any negotiations with the Taliban are going to proceed from a position of strength, not weakness. Right now the Taliban interpret all this discussion of perhaps negotiations with them as a sign of weakness.
COOPER: We've got to go, but I think I transposed the name of your book, Peter. It's "The Osama bin Laden I Know in Oral History." It's a great read. I appreciate you not calling me out on that.
Peter Bergen, thanks.
Nic Robertson, as well, thank you very much.
As always, a lot more online. Go to AC360.com for an extended portion of Nic's exclusive interview with that top Taliban member as well as a harrowing account of getting the interview himself. He took a lot of risks there.
While you're there, let us know what you think. Do you believe the U.S. is doing enough to stop the Taliban? Join the live chat right now at AC360.com. And also, check out Erica Hill's live Web cast during the breaks there.
So coming up, an amazing transformation. You've probably seen some of the pictures. The first American to receive a nearly full face transplant today shows the world just how far she's come. That's the animation of how the surgery was done. It's simply remarkable. Sanjay Gupta's back with that, explaining how surgeons rebuilt what a gun destroyed.
Also, Elizabeth Edwards going public for the first time about her husband affair. She tells Oprah Winfrey how and when John Edwards told her and where their relationship stands today. Is she still in love with him? That's one of the questions that Oprah asked.
And Michelle Obama's first trip to New York as first lady. What she said at the U.N. and how she was received.
Be right back.
COOPER: Today the woman who made medical history back in December finally went public, five months after receiving the first face transplant in the United States. The operation was performed at the Cleveland clinic. But until today we didn't know the patient's name and why she needed such extensive and risky surgery. Now we do.
Her name's Connie Culp. She's 46 years old, and about five years ago, her husband Shot her in the face, leaving her disfigured beyond recognition. Culp's story is simply remarkable. "360" M.D. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here to walk us through the dramatic transformation -- Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Anderson. It is pretty remarkable, and I think pictures do tell a thousand words when it comes to a story like this. As you mentioned, 46-year-old mother.
Take a look at this picture. This is what she looked like before she was Shot. This is sort of her face. And then take a look at these images here. These are images of her after they went through lots and lots of reconstructive operations, over 30 reconstructive operations. She was still unable to talk, unable to sip water out of a cup, eat.
And then today, Anderson, as you mentioned, the first of its kind in this nation, 80 percent facial transplant surgery. Pretty remarkable. There's the images there.
The thing that really struck me the most about this, Anderson, there's hardly any scarring. When you have operations like this, so many big operations, followed by this transplantation, I would have expected to see scarring. You still, obviously, have a lot of swelling. Her muscles aren't all working yet. But there you have it. This is medical history. It's a big deal in our world, Anderson.
COOPER: How did they -- how did they do it?
GUPTA: Well, you know, first of all, it was a big operation, 22- hour operation, eight surgeons sort of working almost an entire day. Let me show you here if I can using some of these animations.
First of all, this is the donor animation over here. Take a look here. As we sort of remove the skin here, removing the arteries, the veins, the nerves. And if you spin that around, you see they took the nasal cavity, as well.
Now, if you come over here to the recipient, this is sort of a 3- D reconstruction of what her face looked like. See that scar sort of socked in there? They had to remove a lot of that scar and they had to remove a lot of the bones and the plates from previous operations and then put in this donor graft, sew all this in. Anderson, this is the hardest part, right here, sewing in these arteries, sewing in these nerves. Over here, again. That takes a long time. And to get that facial function back, that's what they had to do.
It is a big operation. I have never seen anything quite like this. It is remarkable. And she looks pretty good.
COOPER: And she -- the way she looks is going to change over time. This is not the end of her journey, right?
GUPTA: That's right. So what we're seeing here is sort of a static image in time of someone who still has a lot of swelling and also has a face that hasn't quite innervated yet, meaning the muscles aren't activating. The face has a lot of function in it.
The doctors say here, "Look, if we had to sort of predict what she might look like in a couple years, they say this is it." It's worth pointing out, Anderson, we don't know exactly what the donor looks like, but we know that the donor didn't look like this. This also doesn't look like she did before all this. And that's an important point. These face transplants don't give you the specific look of somebody else, but oftentimes give you something very much in between.
COOPER: Just incredible. Sanjay, thanks. I understand you're on "David Letterman" later tonight.
GUPTA: Yes. That was -- that was an interesting experience. A lot -- a lot more nerve-racking than I thought.
COOPER: Was that your first time?
GUPTA: It was my first time.
COOPER: Ah, yes.
GUPTA: Live audiences, they can scare you.
COOPER: It's nice and cold in there.
GUPTA: I think for good reason, to keep you from sweating.
COOPER: Yes, exactly. All right. We'll watch that later on. Sanjay, thanks very much.
Coming up next, in the wake of the Craigslist killings, lawmakers want to ban all erotic ads on the site. I'll have details on that.
Also, Elizabeth Edwards speaking out about her husband's affair. When she found out, what she knew and if she thinks John Edwards is the father of Rielle Hunter's baby.
And later, saying good-bye to actor/comedian/chef Dom DeLuise, who made so many people smile over the years right along with him. Be right back.
COOPER: Coming up, Elizabeth Edwards speaking out, her candid conversation with Oprah Winfrey about her husband, John's, affair and whether he fathered mistress Rielle Hunter's baby.
First, Erica Hill joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, we begin with the business. Signs today of an economic comeback. Appearing before Congress, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke cited stronger home sales, increased consumer spending, and improved lending at banks as indications of growth. It wasn't enough, though, for Wall Street, which is still waiting on Thursday's bank stress test results. The Dow fell 16 points today, the NASDAQ off 9. The S&P slipped 3.
Craigslist's CEO Jim Buckmaster under fire today from a group of state attorneys general, determined to crack down on ads in the site's erotic services section. Now the pressure comes in the wake of the Boston murder of a masseuse and attacks on two other young women who also advertised in that section. Michelle Obama arriving in New York today, her first visit since becoming first lady. She's here to address employees of a U.S. mission to the United Nations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: There are people around the world counting on the success of your efforts. The young boy who was forced to carry a rifle and become a child soldier, he's counting on you. The girl locked out of the schoolhouse or attacked because she had the audacity to want to learn to read or write, she's counting on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Meantime, President Obama and Vice President Biden also on the road, but for lunch, slipping out to Ray's Hellburger in nearby Arlington, Virginia, where they ordered cheeseburgers, waited for their number to be called just like the rest and, despite reportedly being offered a comped meal, the president paid in cash.
And finally, comedic actor and chef Dom DeLuise has died. He was best known for his roles opposite Burt Reynolds in "Cannonball Run" movies and Mel Brooks films, including "Blazing Saddles" and "Spaceballs."
The 75-year-old had been battling cancer for more than a year, Anderson.
COOPER: That's sad news.
HILL: I was so...
COOPER: He was huge all throughout my childhood and all the '70s and '80s.
HILL: He was. And I didn't realize, but I learned today in reading his obituary, also wrote, I think, seven children's books.
COOPER: I didn't know that. Wow. I'll go rent "Blazing Saddles" this weekend.
HILL: Me, too.
COOPER: All right. Still ahead, until now, Elizabeth Edwards has not talked publicly about her husband's affair or rumors that the affair produced a child. Now she is speaking out, loud and clear, in a candid interview with Oprah, telling her side of the story. We'll have some of that ahead.
Also, tonight's "Shot," once again at my expense. Yesterday Jay Leno grilled me on my guilty pleasure, "American Idol." Again, a decision I regret. You can judge for yourself. Be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: It has been nine months since former presidential candidate John Edwards admitted he had an affair with a woman he hired to make campaign videos. Now federal investigators are looking into payments for those videos to see if Edwards illegally used campaign funds.
And that's not all. For the first time, his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, is speaking out about her husband's affair. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Edwards described how and when she learned about the affair and what Edwards' life is like today. She's promoting her new memoir. The full interview airs Thursday on "Oprah."
Erica Hill is back with the "Raw Politics."
HILL: Anderson, that new book coming out, where she talks about, as you mentioned, the other woman, although she never mentions her by name. "Resilience," which is the book, isn't available until next week. But parts of Mrs. Edwards' interview with Oprah Winfrey were made available today, including this revelation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: You asked your husband for just one gift when you got married. What was that?
ELIZABETH EDWARDS, AUTHOR, "RESILIENCE": I wanted him to be faithful to me. And it was enormously important to me.
WINFREY: You said no rings, no flowers.
EDWARDS: And this is a necklace of my mother's, but I'm not much of a jewelry person. I actually jammed my finger. So I can't even wear my wedding ring right now. But, you know, I don't care about those kinds of things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Although it appears that may not have happened ultimately, Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. When John Edwards admitted the affair, she released a statement at the time, I think, praising his courage in the face of shame. Is she still standing by John Edwards?
HILL: She did. And some of those questions were asked, I think, indirectly. We may get more on the actual broadcast. But from what we've heard in the interview, it doesn't sound like it's been an easy run.
In her words, though, neither of them is out the door. She tells Oprah they're taking it day by day. Sometimes it's month by month. And when asked specifically if she's still in love with her husband, Mrs. Edwards replied, quote, "That's a complicated question."
As for concerns over any other infidelities, here's her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: Did you believe that this was the only time?
EDWARDS: I did. I did. You know, I believed...
WINFREY: Only time with her.
EDWARDS: Only time with her.
WINFREY: Did you believe that it was the only time ever?
EDWARDS: I mean -- I -- I believe that. And I want to believe that, you know.
WINFREY: You still believe that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: A little bit of a cliffhanger there.
COOPER: What about Rielle Hunter's baby? Obviously, there's been a lot of speculation who the father is. Hunter famously said she'd never get a paternity test. And I know Mrs. Edwards refuses to mention her by name. That issue certainly must have come up.
HILL: It did come up. Mrs. Edwards was actually pretty guarded when she answered the question from Oprah, who also didn't mention her by name, by the way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: The other woman has a baby.
EDWARDS: That's what I understand.
WINFREY: And there is great speculation that your husband, John Edwards, is the father of that baby.
EDWARDS: Right. That's what I understand. I've seen a picture of the baby. I have no idea. It doesn't look like my children, but I don't have any idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: Now, John Edwards was also home for the visit, although the only tidbit of that exchange you can see right here. It is the only one released in advance, video without sound.
The interview took place in the Edwards' sprawling 28,000-foot home in North Carolina.
We should point out, too, while much of the attention is focused right now on Mrs. Edwards' reaction to the affair, when she knew, how much she knew, what it's done to their marriage, she is also a mother battling terminal cancer. And we are told by Harpo Productions, which of course, is Oprah's company, that that will also be part of the interview. The whole thing airs this Thursday on "Oprah."
COOPER: All right. We'll be watching. Thanks very much, Erica.
"The Shot" still ahead. I was a guest on Jay Leno last night. We covered a lot of ground, from swine flu, to Pakistan to "American Idol." That's right, "American Idol." The question is did I cross the line when Paula Abdul came up? See for yourself. I'm sorry. I don't know. You'll see ahead.
Also, the latest on tonight's breaking news. The first American death in relation to swine flu. Meantime, the government saying the new flu strain is not as bad as first feared. We'll have all the details ahead.
HILL: Time now for "The Shot." And we have no one else to thank but you, Anderson Cooper, for this little gem. You were a guest, of course, last night on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
Here you've covered a lot of serious ground. Swine flu, the challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Things were actually going really well. And then Jay switched gears. He asked you about your dirty pleasure, "American Idol." We know you love it around here. It's one of your favorite shows.
Let's revisit some of those answers you had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, NBC'S "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Now, do you analyze the "American Idol" situation the way you analyze Pakistan? For example, I have -- I have four possible "Idols" right here.
COOPER: These are -- yes, these are the final four.
LENO: OK. Now, let's pretend this is Afghanistan. Where do you see the...
COOPER: The problem is I don't know any of their names. I can never remember their names.
LENO: OK. I know that's Adam.
COOPER: I know that's Adam, and he has black nail polish, and he's really good.
LENO: Right, right.
COOPER: And that's...
LENO: That's the redheaded girl.
COOPER: And she's like 16. She just turned 17.
COOPER: She's amazing.
COOPER: He -- I forget his name. But all I've noticed is that he bites his lip. And like, you know. And this one I don't think -- I think he's going to get voted off.
LENO: Now, the rumor is that Simon is supposed to be leaving the show. What do you think? You're in the TV business.
COOPER: You know, I think it -- I think either way Simon wins. Simon makes so much money. I did an interview for Simon on "60 Minutes."
COOPER: I profiled him. And I really like him. I've hung out with him. And he's actually -- I'm sure you know him very well.
LENO: Yes, I thought he was a nice guy.
COOPER: I think he's a great guy. And he's the only one -- I actually tend to sometimes fast forward through the other judges when I'm watching "Idol."
COOPER: Well, yes. Just Paula, actually.
COOPER: Let me just say, I said that I sometimes fast forward. I don't always do it. Just sometimes.
COOPER: And sometimes Paula goes on a little bit long. But I have respect for her. She seems like a lovely lady.
COOPER: I did not mean anything negative toward her.
HILL: Just keep listening, Anderson Cooper.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LENO: You know what's amazing, though? We have talked about nuclear weapons, Afghanistan. Nothing. Paula. "Oh!" We could be blown off the face of the earth by an enemy that wants to enslave our women. Nothing! Nothing! You mention Paula.
COOPER: Paula is just watching her talk. You don't need to hear what she's saying. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: I'll give you this, Anderson. It is entertaining to watch -- to watch Paula talk. And I do have to agree with you on the fact that I think Simon is the most interesting of the judges, only because he's honest. Not everybody can be a star. They need to hear the truth.
COOPER: Also I'm watching it on TiVo, because it's late at night, because it's after work. So, you know, I'm fast forwarding, because I want to get to bed. So I watch the performances.
HILL: What, there are four judges now?
COOPER: If you're going to watch all four, just watch Simon. But you know, I do often watch all of them. I respect them all. I certainly apologize to Paula.
HILL: And now Paula's your favorite.
COOPER: And now she's my favorite. Absolutely. Now I'm only going to watch her.
COOPER: Look, you can check out all the most recent "Shots" on AC360.com and check out all the other stuff there, as well.
Coming up, more news. We'll have the breaking news at the top of the house, the first American death related to swine flu. Also, the remarkable story Gary Tuchman reporting on a situation -- well, that's Nic Robertson with a high-level interview with a member of the Taliban, an exclusive interview.
Also a situation in Texas. Police and a D.A. accused of basically shaking down motorists on the highway. Police deny the charges. We'll have a full investigation ahead. We'll be right back.