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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Accused Cop Killer at Large; Tiger's Crash, New Questions; White House Party Crashers Struck Before?; Chelsea Clinton Engaged
Aired November 30, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news tonight: late new reports that police have an alleged cop killer surrounded, cornered in a Seattle area house. A man with a long criminal record and a prison sentence to match until one time Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reduced his sentence and the parole board set him free.
The criminal justice system apparently broke down in two states. Judges granted bail on violent charges as recently as last week. Warning signs were missed and now four police officers are dead, gunned down execution style. How did it happen? And who should be held accountable? We're "Keeping them Honest" tonight.
Also, "Up Close" tonight, Tiger Woods turning tail, backing out of his own golf tournament, not talking to police, keeping quiet about what actually happened the night he crashed. Tonight, what could happen to Woods legally now and to his status as the biggest brand name in sports?
And later that couple who crashed the White House, the White House under fire today. New questions about how it happened. Did they think they had the Pentagon's ok to attend that state dinner? And are they now demanding big bucks to tell their story? Tonight: new questions and new answers.
First up: the manhunt, the breaking news reporting from the Seattle Times that police S.W.A.T. teams have surrounded a home in Renton, Washington that they believe is housing this man, Maurice Clemmons.
Now, he's been the focus since Sunday of a massive search, wanted for a monstrous and apparently senseless crime, the execution style shooting of four police officers in the Tacoma suburb of Lakewood, Washington. The officers, three men and a woman were at a local coffee shop when the gunman struck shooting them and no one else.
Now police in Seattle thought they had Mr. Clemmons cornered this morning. They did not. Now it could be happening for real. This is happening now in real time. And we're being very careful about what we're saying about this ongoing situation in a house because we don't want to do anything in case anybody inside that house is watching.
In a moment, we're going to investigate why this man was even out of prison in the first place. There's a long trail of mistakes that we're going to show you and we're going to show you what former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, the man who helped free him, now has to say about his decision. We'll also talk to the judge who recommended leniency.
First though Dan Simon with the very latest on the S.W.A.T. action tonight, new physical evidence in the case. Dan, what do we know?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, first of all, this S.W.A.T. search, we don't know a whole a lot about the situation. But apparently a S.W.A.T. team surrounding a home in the nearby community of Renton, apparently a lot of police officers there at the scene. We don't know how legitimate this truly is. After all, there have been a couple of false alarms already.
We also want to talk about what could be some crucial evidence in this case; authorities announcing tonight that they found blood in a pickup truck belonging to the suspect, Maurice Clemmons. That pickup truck found at a nearby grocery store only hours after the shooting.
SIMON (voice-over): The suspect, Maurice Clemmons, lived on a quiet Tacoma street but neighbors say he seemed troubled and paranoid.
We counted at least seven surveillance cameras around his property, apparently put there by Clemmons. There was an incident here last May when neighbors say Clemmons vandalized several homes, using baseball sized rocks to smash windows.
Paula Chalmers considered herself a friend of Clemmons but stopped associating with him after she came back from a vacation and saw something strange.
PAULA CHALMERS, NEIGHBOR: Everybody's windows were boarded up. And I couldn't believe I'm like what happened to our neighborhood while we were gone? And I guess he had picked up big rocks and thrown them through the windows in the middle of daylight. So I said that's really weird because it doesn't seem like his character to do that.
SIMON (on camera): One neighbor told us that Clemmons not only threw a rock through his window and also at him breaking his hand. He says Clemmons was arrested and the case was supposed to go to trial in January. That neighbor does not want to go on camera in fear of retribution.
(voice-over): Authorities had built up a profile of Clemmons from his past run ins with local law enforcement. One report said Clemmons thought he was Jesus and that he could fly. A history of violent and delusional behavior that allegedly reached a crescendo Sunday morning.
Authorities say the night before the coffee house shootings, Clemmons seemed angrier than usual, spouting off about killing police officers.
DET. ED TROYER, PIERCE COUNTY, WASHINGTON SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: He made some comments the night before to watch the news because he was going to go kill a bunch of cops. Those people did not report that until after the incident occurred. So we believe that he was just after police officers and unfortunately they were the four that were in that coffee shop when he went by and saw that they were there.
SIMON: The four officers had gathered prior to their shifts at the Forza Coffee Shop. Investigators say the suspected gunman entered the shop, went past the officers and three or four other customers and approached the counter as if he planned to order something.
Moments later, the man opened his jacket, pulled a handgun, turned toward the officers and started firing. Brad Carpenter, a former police officer, who owns the coffee shop, raced to the scene upon hearing the news.
BRAD CARPENTER, CEO, FORZA COFFEE: And the suspect apparently turned and fired upon two of them -- the third tried to return fire and a fourth, heroically, although wounded, forced the guy outside the store and probably saved the lives of our staff and customers.
SIMON: 39-year-old Sergeant Mark Rettinger had been a cop for 13 years and had a wife and three children. 37-year-old officer Ronald Owens, a dozen years of experience left behind a daughter. The lone female officer, Tina Griswold was 40 years old, with 14 years on the force and married with two children. And 42-year-old officer Greg Richards, an officer for eight years, left behind his wife and three kids.
CARPENTER: Four outstanding people who died simply because they were standing in front of harm's way for us is just senseless.
SIMON: Authorities believe that one of the officers was able to fire off a round and shoot the suspect, Maurice Clemmons, in the torso. They believe he is seriously injured. And they also say at least they believe that in the early hours after the shooting that Clemmons was getting some help either from friends or from family.
Authorities actually detained several family members and friends. They believe that Clemmons was getting help from them.
At this point they don't believe that he is getting any help. And as we mentioned, just a short time ago, it's possible that he might be cornered in a house in Renton, Washington where there's a S.W.A.T. team there right now trying to see if he might be inside -- Anderson.
COOPER: So Dan, they are pretty sure he was shot. You say either in the abdomen or in the torso or something?
SIMON: Exactly. They believe that one of the officers was able to lead the suspect outside and in the process got shot. And also when all this was going on, obviously a very frantic situation, so he's one of the officers was able to pull...
COOPER: So he's been wounded apparently...
COOPER: ... apparently wounded since the Sunday shooting but no -- but he hasn't shown up obviously at any hospitals or he hasn't shown up on the radar at all. So they think some people were helping him early on with his injuries?
SIMON: Exactly. Because here's a guy who is seriously injured and at least the theory is that he wouldn't be able to go that far without getting some serious help.
COOPER: Ok. Dan, I appreciate that. We'll probably be checking with you throughout this hour. Again, there is a S.W.A.T. situation at a house right now. And, again, we are being very careful about what we want to say about that. We may be getting some pictures of it. But we don't show pictures of S.W.A.T. situations as they're happening for obvious security reasons.
Before moving on, I just want to put up his picture one more time.
If you see Maurice Clemmons, do not approach him. Police say he may be armed. He is considered dangerous. But do call 911. And as Dan just reported, he's got a history of instability and violence.
The question is why didn't it show up on the law enforcement radar sooner? Why was he released several times early for -- in both states in Arkansas and Washington?
Even as late as last week, why didn't other warning signs get the attention that might have saved four lives? There is a manhunt tonight. It's also time to talk about accountability.
Joe Johns tonight is "Keeping them Honest."
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Maurice Clemmons has a criminal record spanning two states and two decades; A history of violence that many feel should have kept him locked up for life.
So why was this 37-year-old unstable felon ever set free?
BRIAN WURTS, LAKEWOOD POLICE INDEPENDENT GUILD: I can't believe he was out on the street. If what is true, I think this country needs to get together and figure out why these people are out.
JOHNS: "Keeping them Honest," we followed a paper trail that began in Arkansas when Clemmons was 17. In 1989, he was convicted of aggravated robbery and theft of property. The following year a jury convicted him of burglary and of carrying a gun on school property. Clemmons was sentenced to more than 100 years in prison but he would only serve a fraction of it.
Ten years later, in light of the severity of the sentence and because of Clemmons' young age at the time the crimes were committed, the parole board recommended his early release to then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
And in a proclamation dated May 2nd, 2000, he granted Clemmons a commutation. He also notified Clemmons directly in this letter he personally signed to the inmate.
(on camera): A year later in 2001, Clemmons was charged with aggravated robbery and his parole revoked. And yet, three years later in 2004, he was again released on parole.
On his radio show today former Governor Huckabee said "A series of failures in the criminal justice system may bear responsibility in this tragedy." He also added this:
MIKE HUCKABEE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR OF ARKANSAS: If I had known nine years ago and looked into the future, would I have acted favorably upon the parole board's recommendation? Of course not.
One of the things that is just horrible and just again, one of the realities that we're confronted by the criminal justice system is far from perfect. And in this case, it failed miserably on all times."
JOHNS (voice-over): Soon after he was released from prison in Arkansas, Clemmons moved to Washington State. Arkansas warned Washington he was coming and was, quote, "a high risk for repeat offending." As feared, in time, Clemmons would be accused of more violent crime.
TROYER: He has extensive background both in Washington as far as charges being filed for assault, three on a police officer, rape of a child, robbery, one charges.
JOHNS: Accused of raping a child and attacking a police officer but even facing those charges, Clemmons again managed to get released, freed on $150,000 bail just one week ago.
WURTS: We've got to hold these people accountable. And we've got to keep them locked up. If they want to rehabilitate them, you can rehabilitate them but you rehabilitate them in prison where they're supposed to be. This guy should have never been on the street.
JOHNS: Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, let us know what you think about this breaking story. Join the live chat at AC360.com.
Up next, you're going to hear what Governor Huckabee said tonight about how he made the decision to commute Maurice Clemmons' sentence. And we'll also talk to the judge who recommended leniency. Why did he do that? And what does he think about it now?
Later, Chelsea Clinton and the man she has just announced she's going to marry.
COOPER: All right, updating now tonight's breaking news: signs that Maurice Clemmons the Seattle Times area man now wanted in the murder of four police officers may be wounded. Blood found in his pickup truck and late tonight, word that a S.W.A.T. team had surrounded a home in the area. Authorities thought they had Clemmons surrounded once before though, so we're just going to have to see what happens.
We're not showing video of the S.W.A.T. teams in action so as not to put any lives or the operation itself in danger.
Of course, the big question tonight, what was this man doing out on the streets in the first place? As we told you earlier, he made bail last week on charges that's including assaulting a police officer and child rape which would seem to argue against any kind of bail.
He did get bail, however. In addition, the Washington court that granted bail was supposed to have known about his Arkansas record. We don't yet know if they did.
We do know that former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is taking a lot of heat for commuting Clemmons' sentence in the first place. He spoke about it tonight on another network.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUCKABEE: No, I look at every case file. And I had about 1,200 of these a year. This is what people need to understand. 92 percent of the time they were denied. But in this case, the judge in the case was also recommending and the parole board on a 5-0 vote because at the age of 16 the sentence he got for the crimes he committed back in 1989 was excessive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, "Digging Deeper" now with the judge that Governor Huckabee was talking about. Judge Marion Humphrey. Judge thanks for being with us.
So why did you strongly support parole for Maurice Clemmons. I have here his rap sheet. And on it I guess in your hand writing it says, "I strongly support parole in this case due to the length of sentence given." Signed by you in 2000, why did you say that?
JUDGE MARION HUMPHREY, PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS: Well, his rap sheet in the year 2000 is different from his rap sheet in the year 2009. Maurice Clemmons according to the records before me was 16 years old when the issues that were presented to me were committed. He was sentenced at the age of 17...
COOPER: On the rap sheet, there's burglary, burglary, probation -- two burglaries, theft of property, aggravated robbery, theft of property, burglary, theft of property, possession of firearm in a school. That's what he...
HUMPHREY: Yes and he also served time in prison. I think the point that's been lost among some people is that he actually served ten years, ten calendar years in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. So it's not as though his sentence was commuted immediately after he was sentenced. Maurice Clemmons was 16 years of age. And we're a country that says we believe in mercy. This is the advent season. And one of the things about our lord and savior Jesus Christ is that he promoted mercy. And that is a part of the makeup of some of us who serve on the benches, who serve on parole boards, who serve in governor's office.
COOPER: Do you regret it?
HUMPHREY: Well, I regret that he's killed these innocent people.
COOPER: But you don't regret trusting him?
HUMPHREY: Well, I regret it in the sense that if I knew that he was going to go out and commit this kind of atrocity, assuming and believing that he did commit it, then certainly I wouldn't do that. That stands without reason, Anderson.
COOPER: Do you think he tricked you? You talk about...
HUMPHREY: No, no, no. He didn't trick me. He didn't trick me. He didn't say anything about his belief in Jesus Christ. I spoke with my belief in Christ.
COOPER: Because he does talk about his belief in Christ to Governor Huckabee and this...
HUMPHREY: He did not speak of that to me, though.
HUMPHREY: That is to Governor Huckabee. And I think Governor Huckabee acted very responsibly in this whole matter. I think he's come under attack from some people because of his politics and being a Republican or whatever. I think the governor looked at this situation prudently. He looked at the fact that this is a 16-year-old person at the time those offense has been committed.
He had not killed anyone in 1989 which was the time that those cases that were before me were -- arose.
COOPER: So do you think the guy that we're seeing now, the mug shot we're seeing now and knowing what he's now accused of doing, is that a different person? I mean, do you think he changed in some fundamental way or he was that person back then and you just didn't see it?
HUMPHREY: His demeanor was not to me, what I'm seeing projected from the State of Washington. This psychotic behavior that's been described even by your people tonight is not what I saw when he appeared before me for post conviction relief, nor was it when he submitted requests to me.
The parole board has a policy of extending letters to judges when a person is coming up for some kind of relief. And we are invited to give our comments on them. That's what I did.
COOPER: So, let me ask you...
HUMPHREY: So I think that given what was presented to me then, I think my behavior was prudent. And I think Governor Huckabee's was also prudent and responsible.
COOPER: We've got another question because in 2004...
COOPER: ... you actually married Maurice Clemmons. He came to the court house to get married. He sought you out. I guess because he felt you had been lenient with him or understood him on some level. And we actually have a picture of -- I guess this is after the wedding. You're on the left. That's him on the right and his then bride.
But if the time line is accurate, he'd actually already violated his parole. He got out of parole based on you and the governor's commutation. The parole board...
HUMPHREY: No, no, that's not exactly correct now.
COOPER: Well, I mean, you recommended it, you recommended and the parole board granted.
HUMPHREY: I recommended that to the governor. The governor then acts to commuting. And by the way, the governor commuted to it to 47 years.
COOPER: Ok, but again -- right.
HUMPHREY: He didn't just commute it to zero or to time served. He gave the parole board the opportunity to review...
COOPER: Ok, my question is, he gets out by the parole board and immediately, within a year, violates his parole and is sent back into jail and then gets out three years later because they failed to follow up procedure. They didn't give him the arrest warrant until three years later.
So at the time you married him in 2004, he'd already violated parole and been back in jail and got out on a technicality. Did you know that when you married him?
HUMPHREY: Well, I did not and that didn't have anything to do with him getting married. I encouraged people to get married. I'm always encouraged because so many people don't bother about marriage.
COOPER: Right, but if a guy not only has been in jail once and then gets out and violates parole again, is that somebody you would want to be seen marrying? HUMPHREY: Well, you have to ask the young lady who married him. I don't have anything to do with that. He came into Pulaski County courthouse. He asked to be married. I had been compassionate to him in the past. He came up to my chambers. They wanted to get married. I accommodated their request.
Now I asked what occurred in 2004, that case was in another judge's courtroom. It was not mine...
HUMPHREY: I only deal with the ones in my courtroom. The one in 2001 in another county in the State of Arkansas, so I had nothing to do with that.
What I saw was what I based my decision upon. His demeanor was not one that I have listened to from people describe his situation out in Washington this evening.
HUMPHREY: That's not the kind of demeanor. If you see that picture there, that picture doesn't demonstrate that kind of demeanor. He doesn't even look the same. He doesn't look as rugged, as rugged as he does.
COOPER: If he's out there tonight and listening. He's still on the loose. There is a S.W.A.T. team that supposedly surrounded a house. But we don't know if he really is in it. They thought he was in a house before, he wasn't.
If by some chance he's listening, he knows you. What would you tell him now?
HUMPHREY: I'd say, "Maurice, for your own good, surrender before something even worse happens. Come in, face what you have to face. Face these charges. If you're not guilty of them, you'll have your day in court."
But I would hope -- and I would urge him to surrender himself for his own good, for the sake of everybody involved. For the sake of his family; this is heart wrenching to them. It is embarrassing. It is difficult, I'm sure, on his children.
I would say for him to come in and certainly it's painful for the families of those victims out in Washington. My heart goes out to each one of them.
Law enforcement people come to my courtroom all the time. I know how difficult their job is. I respect the work that they do.
HUMPHREY: And no one deserves to be treated in the way that they were, basically executed...
HUMPHREY: ... is what he seems to have done. As I said, I have to give him the presumption of innocence as a judge. But I wish that he'd come in and surrender himself.
COOPER: Judge Marion Humphrey, I appreciate your time, sir. Thank you very much.
HUMPHREY: Yes, sir.
COOPER: As always, you get extra information at AC360.com, including Maurice Clemmons' parole and clemency documents. You can also find out how you can make donations to help the families of the fallen police officers. There is a fund that's been set up.
A lot more ahead tonight, including Tiger Woods keeping quiet, ducking publicity and state troopers, not talking about the wreck that sent him to the hospital, landed him in the tabloids. Is the silent treatment a good idea legally and otherwise? We'll talk to a sportswriter Christine Brennan and senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin.
Also, the White House taking new heat over the dinner crashers: did a top official there dropped the ball in addition to the Secret Service? And what about this couple's connection with reality TV? New charges and counter charges tonight.
COOPER: The White House crashers. New details ahead about the security breach of President Obama's first state dinner.
But first, Erica Hill has a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson thanks. And welcome back.
The Supreme Court today telling a lower court to re-examine its decision from earlier this year which ordered the release of photographs apparently depicting abuse of detainees in Iraq in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan. President Obama signed legislation last month to keep those picture classified. The case stems from a lawsuit the ACLU filed under the Bush administration which denies request for the photos.
Just 32 states are now reporting widespread H1N1 viruses and that's good because it's actually down from 48 states three weeks ago. Those numbers coming from the Centers for Disease Control which also said 35 more children have now died from the flu including 27 cases, confirmed cases of H1N1. There are now more than 66 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine available.
A rally in banks that are fueling a late day run-up in stocks: the DOW adding nearly 35 points; the NASDAQ basically flat, but it did manage to pack on six while the S&P 500 was up four.
And the 12 Days of Christmas, well, they don't come cheap. To buy everything from the partridge in the pear tree to those 12 drummers drumming this year, you need more than $87,000.
HILL: Yes. That's according to financial firm PNC which tallies the so-called Christmas Price Index each year. But there is an upside here, Anderson.
HILL: The total is actually less than one percent higher than the bill was in 2008. So really, it hasn't gone up that much.
COOPER: Well, I read that partridge prices are actually dropped by half, although I...
HILL: Well that would help.
COOPER: But apparently the French hen prices are up like 50 percent.
HILL: To the roof, those import taxes.
COOPER: I guess. Yes, where do you get French hens these days? I don't know.
HILL: I could tell you but then I'd have to kill you. State secret.
COOPER: Just ahead tonight, America watched her grow up. Now Chelsea Clinton is getting married. Details tonight about the fiance, how they met and the connection between their families.
Plus, he's the biggest brand in sports. Yet, he also guards his privacy, well, like a tiger. How Tiger Woods is handling the tabloid publicity over his car crash when "360" continues.
COOPER: "Up Close" tonight: Tiger Woods. And if there's anyone adding to the mystery about that SUV accident outside his home early Friday morning, it's Woods himself. Today, he said he won't be appearing at his own golf tournament in California this week.
Also, police in Florida are still waiting for Woods and his wife to talk to them about the wreck that sent the golfing great to the hospital. Woods says it is a private matter, but it has been turning lately into a public relations nightmare.
Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT:(voice-over): Tiger Woods finds himself in a public-relations bunker, and police are in the rough. Three times, he's blown off scheduled interviews with investigators, who want answers about his mysterious one-car crash.
These photos just obtained by CNN from TMZ.com show the golfer's badly mangled SUV. Public-relations consultant Ken Sunshine says if Woods is hoping his silence will make this story go away, good luck.
KEN SUNSHINE, KEN SUNSHINE CONSULTANTS: Bad move. You look guilty. It looks like you're hiding something.
KAYE: Investigators had tried to get surveillance tapes of the accident from neighbors' homes, but no luck. Just today, authorities vowed to continue investigating even without Woods.
And, we have learned, they are considering a search warrant to seize the golfer's medical records and possibly learn more about just what caused his injuries.
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin:
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This was a single-car accident in which the driver had a slight injury; that's the whole case so far. And I don't see why the police need to conduct an investigation if that's all the evidence they have.
KAYE: Woods' squeaky clean image took a hit about 2:30 a.m. Friday morning when his SUV hit a fire hydrant and a tree outside his Florida home.
A neighbor called 911.
911 OPERATOR: OK, are you able to tell if he's breathing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I can't tell right now.
911 OPERATOR: OK, we do have help on the way. What color is his car, too?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a black Escalade.
KAYE: In Florida, Tiger Woods is not required by law to speak with police. And his agent told CNN, quote, "It has been conveyed that he simply has nothing more to add and wishes to protect the privacy of his family."
TOOBIN: Tiger Woods has a public relations problem, not a legal problem.
KAYE: The first statement Woods came via his Web site Sunday after days of silence. He called the accident "embarrassing" and wrote: "I'm human, and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again."
He added, "My wife acted courageously. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false."
SUNSHINE: He said it would never happen again. If you're innocent of something, you don't apologize for something that might not have happened. So very confusing.
KAYE (on camera): Woods spoke of, quote, "malicious rumors" in his statement. One of those may be a report by the "National Enquirer" and others claiming that Woods was having an affair with a nightclub hostesses. The woman has denied any romance with Woods.
Among other questions, why was he leaving his house at 2:30 in the morning? And what exactly caused him to hit a fire hydrant and a tree? We may never know.
Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.
COOPER: All right.
Well, joining me now are senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and "USA Today" sports columnist Christine Brennan.
So, Jeff, legally, as you say, this is done. I mean, he doesn't have to talk to police.
TOOBIN: He doesn't have to talk to the police. No American ever has to talk to the police.
COOPER: In every state; it's not just Florida.
TOOBIN: It's not just Florida. If the cops want to talk to you, and you say, "Go pound sand," you have every right to do that. But what makes this situation even more -- what makes this situation even less likely for him to have to talk to the police is what's there for the police to investigate? This doesn't sound like any crime took place. It was sort of a bad fender bender. The front of the car looks pretty damaged. But so what?
TOOBIN: I mean, there's just not much there, as far as I can tell.
COOPER: Christine, in terms of public relations, though, and is there a problem for him not talking to police, do you think?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "USA TODAY": I think it is. I mean, as you know, Anderson, from Friday morning until Sunday, there was this big vacuum, where we didn't hear anything, really, from team Tiger Woods. And this is a smart group of people. Tiger is a smart guy. He's hired good people.
I was a bit surprised that they let it go that long with the blogosphere, the Internet, "National Enquirer" filling that void.
COOPER: I kind of like the fact that they haven't said anything. It's no one's business. OK, so he had an accident. Other than that, who -- so what?
TOOBIN: And also, you know, people talk about innocence and wrongdoing. What is the alleged wrongdoing here? He -- his car went into a tree and had a minor accident. That's not a crime.
There's no evidence of alcohol. There's -- what does he have to explain himself for? BRENNAN: Well, here's a guy, of course, who has made millions, even a billion dollars -- as we know he's the first billion-dollar athlete -- by being a role model for kids and by being out there big time as someone that you can look up to.
I'm not saying that he has to talk or not. I do think though, by not talking he let that dead air...
COOPER: He let everyone else define it.
BRENNAN: ... define it. And I think, you know, for a guy who has guarded his image, Anderson, so carefully -- I mean there is no one maybe on the planet who is more disciplined about the image and the impression he's giving.
COOPER: It's interesting. I don't follow him that closely. But I mean, my understanding is he doesn't really talk much about his private life. He basically just -- I mean, when he needs to be in the public eye, he's in the public eye. Otherwise, he guards his privacy. And more power to him.
TOOBIN: He bought a yacht, and he named his yacht, Privacy. This is a guy who really cares about privacy.
The fact that the blogs are talking about him, I mean, you know, I don't have a lot of sympathy for Tiger Woods. He has the greatest life in the world. But if he has to live his life so that the blogs don't write bad things about him, that's a hopeless standard.
BRENNAN: Well, I'll tell you, he doesn't care about that. I mean, here's the guy who has used his Web site probably better than any other athlete in terms of announcing the birth of his daughter two and a half years ago, the birth of his son, his knee injury. So he is adept at being able to manipulate the Internet as he wishes.
COOPER: Do you think this will go away if he doesn't say anything?
BRENNAN: I think eventually it will go away. I think the first press conference that he has, Anderson, wherever that is, at a tournament next year, that will be a well-attended event.
TOOBIN: If he wins the Masters in April, no one will think two seconds about this. I mean, you know, athletes fundamentally are about winning.
And Alex Rodriguez, he you know, admitted taking steroids. But he was on a ticker tape parade a few weeks ago here in New York because he won.
COOPER: All right. Cynic. Jeff Toobin...
TOOBIN: It's not cynical, it's just true.
COOPER: Christine thanks for being on. Christine Brennan from "USA Today" and Jeff Toobin as well, thanks.
So what do you think of Tiger Woods' accident? Join the live chat happening now at AC360.com. Is it a story or much ado about nothing?
Coming up next, breaking news about the White House party crashing -- party crashers: the reports tonight the couple got into another formal event this fall that President Obama also attended. We'll have a live report from the White House coming up.
COOPER: Tonight, the reality TV wannabes who may have crashed the White House state dinner say they have evidence that proves they were invited guests. This even as we're just getting new reporting that Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed another big party earlier this fall.
The couple -- I think we have a picture of them, shown posing with Vice President Biden -- have reportedly given Secret Service investigators e-mails they claim shows they were welcome at the White House.
The Obama administration so far disagrees. And today, it offered some new details about the security breach. Senior White House correspondent Ed Henry joins us.
This wasn't apparently the first party that they had crashed, Ed? What are you hearing?
ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. All kinds of developments on this story tonight, including this in the last few moments. WTTG, which is a local TV station here in Washington, is reporting that this couple actually crashed a Congressional Black Caucus dinner here in downtown Washington about a month before the state dinner.
Why does it matter? Well, it turns out that President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were both at this dinner. And the station is quoting sources as saying that the couple did not have tickets so they snuck in, allegedly through a catering, a bus boy entrance.
If they did that, it's unclear whether or not they went through metal detectors. Did they go through the right security procedures?
Even though this dinner was not actually at the White House, I travel with the president all around the world. When he does a dinner somewhere at some other location, the Secret Service seals that place off. If these people really did sneak through some sort of a catering door, it raises a whole new round of questions about has the Secret Service been making all kinds of other mistakes here, Anderson?
COOPER: It also seems to me that only reason they go to parties is so they can be photographed at these parties. I've never seen two people at a party who were photographed more. They're like clinging on to just about everybody there.
There are reports, Ed, that a top Pentagon official may have actually tried to get the couple into the state dinner. What's that about?
HENRY: Yes, that's about Michelle Jones. She's a special assistant to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and is also the Pentagon's liaison to the White House.
What's interesting is the White House tonight, I can tell you, my sources are pushing back very hard on this report in the "Washington Post" which is saying that, basically, the Salahis have e-mails and correspondence with Michelle Jones in which they claim she suggested to them recently that they could get into the state dinner, that maybe she could help get them in.
The White House is saying that's nonsense. They put out a statement tonight from Michelle Jones saying, quote, "I did not state at any time, or imply, that I had tickets for any portion of the evening's events" -- this is the state dinner. "I specifically stated that they did not have tickets and in fact that I did not have the authority to authorize attendance, admittance, or access to any part of the evening's activities. Even though I informed them of this, they still decided to come."
That was the state dinner with the Indian prime minister, obviously.
Now, White House officials are also saying, "Look, even if there was some sort of lobbying effort going on here, they didn't get on the actual list. The couple snuck in. And they believe there was a breakdown by the Secret Service, not by White House staff.
COOPER: Well, the Secret Service got a lot of the blame. But I mean, is there more to this than the White House originally let on?
HENRY: Well, I was pressing and other reporters were pressing Robert Gibbs on this very matter because many people in Washington are pointing out that previous administrations, Democrats and Republicans, at these state dinners, didn't just have the Secret Service there. They had the White House social secretary's office clearing names off the list. And there was not that kind of a staffer at this dinner.
Was there a breakdown there? I asked Robert Gibbs that question today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: My understanding is that the Secret Service were doing what the Secret Service do.
HENRY: Do you think the White House staff should be looked at, as well? There were guests who came to this event who say that at previous dinners, there was somebody from the social secretary's office there who was checking names. That's not really the responsibility of the Secret Service, is it?
GIBBS: No, but I understand that the individuals that are listed weren't on any list.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HENRY: Now there's going to be a congressional hearing on Thursday, a House homeland security committee looking at all this. They're calling in this Secret Service director.
My colleague, Jeanne Meserve, says they're also calling in Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, and finally, they're calling in the Salahis. So this might be one invitation they just can't turn down.
COOPER: We'll see about that. Ed, appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Still ahead, what you might not know about women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, seeing combat like never before in the line of fire. But are their contributions and their medical needs being recognized? We'll talk about that.
And Chelsea Clinton is engaged: details on her fiance, when they'll wed, and how the happy couple made at announcement. Ahead, tonight.
COOPER: Tomorrow night President Obama is expected to announce his new strategy for Afghanistan, including sending more than 30,000 new troops to the war zone.
What you might not realize is how many of those troops will be women. Of the two million Americans who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001, more than 220,000 of them have been women, 11 percent. Women in combat seeing action, getting wounded, even killed. They have the scars to show for it even though military police technically forbids women from combat operations.
Earlier tonight, I spoke with former Marine Captain Vernice Armour. She was the first African-American female combat pilot who served two tours in Iraq. Also, former Army Sergeant Kayla Williams, who served in the Military Intelligence Company in the 101st Airborne Division and also went on combat foot patrol with the infantry in Baghdad. She is the author of "Love my Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army" and former lieutenant commander Heidi Kraft, a clinical psychologist in the Navy and author of "Rule No. 2."
COOPER: Kayla, you say the biggest misconception about women in the military right now is that they're not in combat.
KAYLA WILLIAMS, FORMER ARMY SERGEANT: Yes, absolutely. When I got back from Iraq, I had some people ask me if I was even allowed to carry a gun because I'm just a girl. And other people asked me if I was in the infantry.
So it became really clear that so many civilians really don't understand what roles women are playing in today's military.
And I was shocked to learn that even V.A. employees sometimes don't understand what women are going through. One of my friends was told by a V.A. doctor that she couldn't possibly have post-traumatic stress disorder because women aren't in combat which, as you pointed out, simply isn't true.
COOPER: Vernice how was it different being a woman combat pilot?
VERNICE ARMOUR, FORMER MARINE CAPTAIN: Well, some of the situations are where you sleep. You know, say there's a female tent, and it's separated and it's across the compound. And the alarm goes off, and you all have to go because you're the alert crew. And you're separated from where the guys are, that could be a problem sometimes.
But I was actually pretty lucky. I made sure I slept in the tent with the guys. You know, I'd just would go and change somewhere else. Or, you know, the guys would go out and I would change. And, you know, you're a team. So you make it work.
But the No. 1 deal I think, I think, out there is cohesiveness and getting the word and being ready when the alarm sounds.
COOPER: Dr. Kraft, I mean, as a mom serving in a war zone, how was that a different experience than for other people? I mean it's dual roles you're trying to balance.
DR. HEIDI KRAFT, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, NAVY: In my own case, I think it was difficult for me to balance the role of mother and also of doctor and officer and team member during a pretty tough time in Iraq. So for me, it ended up being a moment of compartmentalization. I basically had to put my children's pictures away and be able to go forward and do my job.
COOPER: Kayla, for you being on the front lines, what about your experiences as a woman in a war zone do you think would be difficult for maybe a male peer to understand?
WILLIAMS: One thing that I think is difficult for my male peers to understand is the way in which I often felt, especially towards the end, that I represented all other women. And that kind of added burden of knowing that whatever I did reflected not only on my own character but, if it were bad, it would reflect negatively on other women.
COOPER: Vernice, did you feel that, as well?
ARMOUR: Absolutely. There was a certain point where I failed a tactics test and I was absolutely devastated. Now, you know, I think 11 other guys failed the test. But that wasn't the point. I felt like I'd let so many people down. I let women down, black folks down, the Marine Corps down. But -- you know, because you're carrying the standard. And I knew that other women would be judged off of my performance.
COOPER: Kayla, you say that women veterans are treated differently.
WILLIAMS: Yes, when I first got back from Iraq, my -- a lot of the guys that I served with would go out and to the bars together. Not necessarily the best thing to do; when you're first home, you have no tolerance. But we'd go into the bar. And the bouncer would check all our IDs and call back to the bartender, "Hey, buy these guys a round."
By the time we made it back to the bar, it became apparent that the bartender interpreted that very literally: "buy these guys a round," the guys with the short hair and the good posture and assumed that we women accompanying them must be wives or girlfriends or just miscellaneous hangers on. We were so rarely recognized as veterans.
I don't think when somebody thinks of soldier that they get a picture that looks like me in their head. And because of that, not only did I miss out on a lot of free beer, but I think there was just a lot of -- I felt invisible so often as a veteran.
And even now as I'm active and do a lot more things with veterans groups and on behalf of veterans, I'm so often, as I was when I was still in the military, the only woman there or one of very few women there. And it can sometimes feel isolating.
COOPER: We've got to leave it there. Kayla Williams, Heidi Kraft, Vernice Armour. Appreciate you talking about your service. Thank you.
KRAFT: You're welcome.
COOPER: Coming up next tonight, Chelsea Clinton engaged? We'll tell you who she's marrying and how they made the big announcement, with details.
COOPER: Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton and her long-time boyfriend, Marc Mezvinsky, an investment banker, are engaged. The couple sent Friday -- sent out an e-mail on Friday announcing their news. And they wrote, "We're sorry for the mass e-mail, but we wanted to wish everyone a belated Happy Thanksgiving. We also wanted to share that we are engaged. We didn't get married this past summer, despite the stories to the contrary, but we are looking forward to next summer and hope you'll be there to celebrate with us. Happy holidays, Chelsea and Marc."
Those rumors of a wedding this past summer speak to the fact that this is not just any young couple. Ms. Clinton wasn't yet a teenager when she moved into the White House. She's now 29 years old and pursuing a second graduate degree. It has been a journey that all of us have watched.
Erica Hill has tonight's "Raw Politics."
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chelsea Clinton grew up before the country's eyes. Just 12 years old when her father took office, she spent more than half her life in the public eye, though her parents took great pains to keep her out of the spotlight. MARY STEENBURGEN, LONGTIME FRIEND OF HILLARY CLINTON: They were ferociously protective of her, the choices of where to go to school, her access to press. And fought to make sure that her friends felt comfortable and welcome and that she could go and develop friendships that felt normal and important to her.
HILL: The only child of one of America's most powerful political couples, Chelsea endured the scrutiny and even helped her parents get through the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
BETSY EBELING, LONGTIME FRIEND OF HILLARY CLINTON: Chelsea was the most important thing to both of them. And that's the way they found their way back to each other, was definitely through Chelsea.
HILL: She enrolled at Stanford University during Bill Clinton's second term and graduated in 2001 with academic honors in History. Next, it was on to Oxford for a graduate degree, where her own love life became tabloid fodder when she began dating Ian Klaus, a soccer player and Rhodes scholar. The one-time first daughter also began testing the waters of celebrity.
LLOYD GROVE, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, THEDAILYBEAST.COM: She was going to a lot of fashion shows, not only in New York but in Europe. And she was sitting with Gwyneth Paltrow and Madonna.
So she was quite aware, self aware of herself as a public figure. And I think she experimented with that. And she decided, "You know what? I like leading a normal life for now."
HILL: Chelsea's next stop, New York, where she eventually began dating long-time friend and fellow political offspring Marc Mezvinsky.
His mother was a Pennsylvania congresswoman. His father, Ed Mezvinsky, a close friend of the Clintons, a former Iowa congressman though he's known more recently for serving nearly five years in prison, convicted of fraud involving $10 million.
Both Chelsea and her fiance also know political scandals never entirely fade. For Chelsea, the reminder came while stumping for her mother's failed 2008 White House bid, with a question about Monica Lewinsky.
CHELSEA CLINTON, FORMER FIRST DAUGHTER: Wow. You're the first person actually that's ever asked me that question in the -- I don't know, maybe 70 college campus that's I've now been to. And I do not think that's any of your business.
HILL: A direct response from a woman who learned about the spotlight early on and who will do her best to control just how much of this next chapter the public sees.
HILL: And by control, understandably, Anderson, it's her wedding. She may not want everybody there, including all the helicopters.
COOPER: I wonder why.
HILL: She's also famously private. And she never grants interviews to the media. So I wouldn't really expect her on the cover of "Brides" magazine.
COOPER: All right. Erica, appreciate it.
There's a lot more happening tonight.
Authorities in the Seattle, Tacoma area say the SWAT situation at a home in Renton, Washington, is over. The suspected cop killer, Maurice Clemmons, was not in the home. This is not the first search to come up empty. So with any luck, the manhunt will be over soon, though. Authorities do believe Clemmons is wounded.
This is -- we want to put this picture up again. Again, if you have seen him at all or any information, you should contact police in your area. They warn and will underscore he's considered armed and extremely dangerous. Maybe shot in the torso or in the abdomen.
Hey, that does it for "360." Thanks for watching. "Larry King" starts now.