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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Pakistan Returning U.S. Helicopter Debris; IMF Chief Charged With Attempted Rape
Aired May 16, 2011 - 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: Good evening, everyone.
We begin with breaking news, a major new development in the wake of the bin Laden raid. Pakistan is returning the parts of that top- secret helicopter used in the assault perhaps as early as tomorrow, we have learned. Outraged Pakistanis seemingly more irked by the raid than the fact they'd been harboring public enemy number one reportedly had threatened to show the helicopter parts to the Chinese.
Today, however, they seemed to back down. Massachusetts Senator John Kerry won the concession while in Pakistan on a fence-mending mission. Secretary of State Clinton heads there shortly as well. But the relationship is still volatile. Almost anything could blow it sky-high, especially if this turns out to be true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We think that there had to have been some sort of support network for bin Laden inside of Pakistan. But we don't know who or what that support network was.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, Senator Kerry today downplaying those concerns, saying there's no evidence of a network that kept bin Laden hidden for five years.
The Pakistanis claim they're investigating, but they have got a credibility problem in this country, because, even before the investigation began, Pakistan's interior minister flat-out denied the possibility that bin Laden had Pakistani protectors.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REZA SAYAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In your investigation, have you found any evidence that bin Laden had a support network here in Pakistan?
REHMAN MALIK, PAKISTANI INTERIOR MINISTER: There is no such thing at all, not an iota of doubt...
SAYAH: So, you categorically deny that he had a support network here?
MALIK: Categorically deny it, no support network.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, the interior minister, by the way, once also flatly denied any Pakistani connection to the attacks on Mumbai, India, three years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very close to the metro theater.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: More than 160 people died in those attacks, including six Americans. The minister later conceded, well, the attacks were partly planned in Pakistan. And soon in a courtroom in Chicago, the government's star witness against one of the alleged plotters is expected to tie the attacks directly to the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service.
That's the same ISI accused of supporting elements of the Taliban in Afghanistan, that cut a deal with -- a peace deal with the Taliban in Pakistan, that American commanders have told us is protecting Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who they believe is currently living in, you guessed it, Pakistan.
And, of course, the ISI harbored knowingly or unknowingly Osama bin Laden for years just down the road from their military academy. Pakistani lawmakers recently passed a resolution condemning the U.S. raid that killed him, but not the fact of his comfortable existence in their country. They're also condemning the U.S. drone strikes on suspected militants. That same resolution demands that those drone strikes stop, even threatening to cut off supply lines to American troops in Afghanistan if drone strikes continue.
The U.S. upped the ante by conducting another strike today, a drone strike killing 10. It's the fifth drone attack in the last 10 days since the Osama bin Laden raid by President Obama. That's triple the pace of drone attacks since before bin Laden was killed.
There's a lot to talk about with Stan Grant, who is in Islamabad, Pakistan, for us tonight, and in New York CNN national security contributor Fran Townsend. She's also a member of the Department of Homeland Security and CIA advisory committees. Also with us, retired CIA officer and 9/11 commissioner member Michael Hurley, who spent years tracking Osama bin Laden.
Fran, it may be a day later and a dollar short, but is the return of the helicopter significant?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it is. It is, Anderson, in the sense of -- but let's compare it to what we know already. We got access to the bin Laden wives, but the ISI was there, of course, and we didn't -- they were all together in a group, which was not the way we would have done it. We have got this tail. And it is important. What you will find is American officials will take the tail back, compare it to the photographs that we have often shown of the tail section, and try to make sure that we're not missing any pieces, that there was nothing left behind that the Pakistanis could reverse-engineer or that they could still share with the Chinese.
COOPER: Stan, do we know -- I mean, it's possible, Stan, that the Pakistanis have, as Fran said, reverse-engineered this already, studied the technology.
STAN GRANT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We don't have any confirmation of that at all. But it's part of the mystery. It's part of the unanswered questions, Anderson, with this.
You just outlined what a hornet's nest we're talking about here. You know, John Kerry had one simple message to Pakistan. He said, you need to decide what sort of country you're going to be, whether you're going to be a haven for terrorists.
It's almost a moot question. Pakistan is a haven for terrorists. Osama bin Laden was here. Pakistan has hosted militant groups for decades now. It's part of the very fabric of the country. And at various times, Pakistan has either attacked or accommodated those groups, depending on its circumstances and its capacity.
What John Kerry's looking for here, though, is support from Pakistan to meet America's ends. And that is across the border into Afghanistan. He wants Pakistan to be able to disrupt the leadership of the militants here, to block off that border, to make America's efforts in Afghanistan easier and eventually be able to draw down the troops.
But, Anderson, it's so difficult because Pakistan immediately after the Osama bin Laden raid, rather than look at what its own culpability may have been, was pointing the finger directly back at the United States, accusing it of infringing on its sovereignty.
And that's where we get to this trust issue, the trust deficit between the two countries, Anderson.
COOPER: Michael, do you think it's possible that bin Laden did not have a support network in Pakistan? And if so, what kind of a support network do you think he might have had?
MICHAEL HURLEY, FORMER CIA OFFICER: I think it's very difficult to believe that he did not have a support network in Pakistan. I think someone must have been helping him.
It struck me that he seemed to think he was very secure in that redoubt he was in, in the compound that he was in.
COOPER: You're saying someone in the government or the ISI or the military, or civilians?
HURLEY: I think it may be possible. It may be possible that it may be retired intelligence people or military retired people as well. I think it could be coming from a number of different directions. But it seems fairly clear to me that there was some degree of support.
COOPER: Fran, what do we make of the fact that you had all this anger from Pakistanis over the past few weeks about U.S. strikes and raid, you have the Parliament saying there shouldn't be any more drone strikes, and yet drone strikes are actually up significantly since the bin Laden raid? Is this just the difference between what, you know, Pakistani officials say for local consumption to soothe anti-American feeling or to kind of placate it and, on the other hand, they're still cooperating?
TOWNSEND: You know, Anderson, I think we all expected that the parliamentary resolution was partly rhetoric meant for their own domestic consumption. But it really is extraordinary, not only the increase, but the fact that one of the drone strikes happened today while Senator Kerry was visiting.
Now, we shouldn't read too much into the timing. It was clearly operationally driven. There's reports that there were 10 militants killed. There happened to be a meeting. There was a targeting opportunity. But the clear message out of all of this from the United States to Pakistan is, we will continue to use drones and we will continue to target militants that threaten the United States, regardless of what your Parliament says and regardless to your objections on the basis of national sovereignty.
COOPER: Michael, the drone strikes have been critical. There's been a large tick of them under the Obama administration, but even the waning years of the Bush administration, there was a significant growth in them. They have been critical so far, and if they stopped, that would be a major blow in our efforts to kill terrorists, yes?
HURLEY: It would be a major blow. They have done some significant damage to our adversaries there, to the Taliban and al Qaeda. And it's been an important tool in our counterterrorism efforts. And I think to stop those would really inhibit our -- what -- our progress there.
COOPER: Stan, Secretary Clinton's heading to Pakistan soon. Do we have any sense of what's up for discussion in that trip?
GRANT: Yes. Before she even comes here, Anderson, there are several steps to go through. There are a couple of officials from the State Department, also a CIA official as well, coming here in the next week or so.
They're going to sit down with their counterparts and try to work through a process, you know, tick some of the boxes before Hillary Clinton actually arrives here. And, Anderson, the key to all of this is getting Pakistan to sign on to what America wants.
You know, the United States pumps a lot of money into Pakistan. We talk a lot about trust. We talk a lot about the relationship. It's not really about either of those things. This is a transaction. America puts money in here. It wants to see that it's money well spent, that it actually gets a return for that investment.
And before they get to the point of Hillary Clinton coming here, they want to see that those steps are actually in place, Anderson.
COOPER: Michael, there's a trial happening in Chicago right now which is really fascinating. I don't think a lot of us, a lot of the media or Americans have paid that much attention to it, but it's likely in that trial -- it's about the Mumbai attacks, the terror attacks, and it's likely that the ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, is actually going to be implicated in the planning of the Mumbai terror attacks.
If that is in fact what happens, that would certainly seem to inflame an already tense situation.
HURLEY: If that in fact does come out, I think it's going to be very, very serious, and it depends on the level of detail and who is identified in particular.
It will inflame the situation definitely. And the Indian government, of course, will be -- will be right to take some real umbrage at that.
COOPER: And, Michael, why would the ISI be involved in something like that? Why would they be involved?
HURLEY: Well, I think it's probably individuals and maybe a certain part of the ISI that might be involved. We will see what comes out in the trial.
But, if they are, they're going to have to be rooted out and removed from those services. The Pakistanis can't keep playing this double game.
COOPER: We're going to leave it there. Michael Hurley, Stan Grant, Fran Townsend, appreciate it.
Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook, of course. You can follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will try to be tweeting some tonight as well.
When we come back, what Syria's brutal dictatorship is doing to try and divert attention from the fact that they continue to kill their own citizens and a shocking new discovery that's been made about what they may be doing with the bodies of those they kill. You have got to see this. We will talk tonight to an incredibly brave woman in Syria. She's on the run right now being hunted by government thugs. Her husband has been taken, arrested last week, hasn't been heard from since. Tonight, she risks her life to speak out. Jill Dougherty also joins us, Fouad Ajami as well. And later, a banker to the world and a man talked about as the next president of France potentially, well, he is spending tonight in a New York jail on sex charges, could put him away for years, allegations he sexually assaulted a maid in a $3,000-a-night New York hotel room. Tonight, what we know about what happened inside that hotel, what we don't know, and also how police tracked him down. He was about to board -- he was on a flight about to fly to France.
Let's also check in with Isha for an update on what she's falling -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, remember the pageant mom who injected her 8-year-old daughter with Botox to get her young-looking for a beauty contest? Well, as if that weren't shocking enough, there is a huge turn in the story, and we will tell you about it just ahead.
COOPER: New developments to tell you about tonight in Syria -- they are horrifying, but, sadly, they are not shocking.
A mass grave outside the city of Daraa was discovered, as many as 20 bodies dumped, their limbs sticking out of the ground. Remember, this is a regime that says it really wants reform. They claim protesters are foreign agents and that the protesters are the one doing the killing. Well, this is a regime that consistently and constantly lies.
And every day, more video goes online like this showing ordinary Syrians being gunned down. We're not allowed in Syria ourselves. We can't independently confirm the specifics of a video like this. The precise details are unverifiable. But the images by now are unmistakable. Day after day, we continue to see images like this. At least 800 people have been killed in Syria since March, many of them in Daraa, where the regime that says it wants reform created another scene of remarkable cruelty.
We first showed you this on Thursday. Watch. Disturbing to watch, but we think it's a microcosm of so many other incidents that we have seen. The men are trying to retrieve the woman's body without getting shot themselves. She appears dead, though we can't be certain. Reaching the other man who was on that motorcycle is harder. First, they use a rope to pull the motorcycle out of the way. Watch. There's people on both sides of the street risking their lives to try to save this person, or at least retrieve his body.
We don't know if the person left in the street is alive or dead at this point. In the next part of this clip, you will see one of the men throw some kind of metal pole across a street where people we can't see are also trying to reach the man.
You hear them crying, "God is great." They were eventually able to pull that person back inside off the street, out of the way of the snipers. It's impossible to tell if the man, though, is alive or dead. That was on Thursday. An adviser to the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, telling dissidents that security forces were under orders not to fire on protesters the next day. Well, the next day, they did, killing protesters, killing mourning -- killing mourners, killing civilians.
So many dead and wounded are taken away in fish carts. According to the Assad regime, these protesters are foreign agents or criminals or killers themselves. That's what the regime claims. But we know by now, and we have seen it week after week, the regime lies. Elsewhere on Sunday, protesters say troops shelled the down of Talkalakh, killing seven.
And over the weekend, a new twist, what many are calling an attempt to shift global attention away from the mass killings -- about 100 Palestinians living in Syria were allowed to get up to a border fence with Israel. And Israeli troops killed four of them as they tried to breach the border fence. We will talk about that shortly.
First, though, the other part of what Human Rights Watch is calling the ground war against ordinary Syrians, hundreds arrested, including relatives and neighbors of government critics, including the husband of a woman named Razan Zaytouni. The husband was taken last week. He hasn't been heard or seen from since.
I spoke with Razan tonight. She is in hiding, fearful for her life, but determined to speak out because so many of those she knows and those she supports have already been taken and have already been killed. I spoke with Razan earlier tonight about today's grim discovery.
COOPER: Razan, a gruesome discovery was made in Daraa, as many as 20 bodies, possibly more, found in a shallow unmarked grave, including a woman and a child. What's the latest you have heard about what happened there?
RAZAN ZAYTOUNI, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We're still getting information.
Actually, we heard that it's more one -- it's more than one mass grave. There's -- until now, it's three got discovered by people of Daraa and in areas around Daraa, the city, today.
In one of them, there was the bodies of a whole family, a father and all his sons. And, actually, after that, the mother, when she heard about this news, she had a heart attack and was dead today. It's a tragedy in the whole -- we couldn't imagine that such crimes which was committed in '80s will be committed again these days in front of the whole world and with all this media, with all this international attention, but it happens, actually.
COOPER: For weeks now that we have been reporting on what's going on in Syria, we have heard from people like yourself and protesters who have said that the government is trying to take bodies of people that they have killed to deny a proper burial with their family, a burial that might become a protest movement in and of itself.
Do you think that this is what they have been doing with the bodies that they have taken?
ZAYTOUNI: That could be part of it.
There is -- I think those dead people could be tortured and killed during the torture, could be killed during the bombing and shelling on the cities. And during their escape -- because the areas where they were found, it's around the city of Daraa.
Some people, and eyewitnesses we talk to, they say they think people, while they were trying to escape from the city, they got shot and killed. And then their bodies was -- were collected and buried at these places.
COOPER: In the town of Talkalakh, the Syrian army has now been indiscriminately shelling civilians this weekend, driving many residents to try to get into -- across the border into Lebanon. What have you heard about the latest going on there?
ZAYTOUNI: It getting worse, actually. More -- today, we got news that more and more people got killed. More than 150 person got injured, in critical situation. They cannot take them to hospital. They cannot give them the medical emergency treatment.
And more and more people are trying to run away to the Lebanese side, but that security continued to shoot them and shoot to the Lebanese side in an attempt to prevent more people to escape that place. We also keep hearing about the security shooting the soldiers who are refusing to participate in attack and killing of civilian people.
COOPER: We see a video of a mother and her son who were shot while on a motorcycle. And people are risking their lives to try to save them, and those people are being shot at by Syrian authorities. What does that video tell you? What does it show? Is this the kind of thing happening all over Syria?
ZAYTOUNI: Every time we get some stories, for the first time, we cannot imagine even we can't see it by our eyes. But it's really repeated again and again.
COOPER: And with that, we lost our connection with Razan. We continued to try to reestablish contact with her about an hour ago. We were unable to. We hope to continue talking to her in the coming days. Again, she is in hiding. Her husband has been taken last week. And she has not gotten any word on his whereabouts or his condition.
I want to bring in two more voices now, Jill Dougherty at the State Department, and professor Fouad Ajami of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, as well as the Hoover Institution.
Jill, the White House, the State Department both publicly blaming the Syrian government for clashes between Israeli soldiers and unarmed protesters on the border yesterday, Palestinians who are living in Syria. Do they have the evidence to prove that?
JILL DOUGHERTY, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: You know, what they would say is look at the border and what's happening, or what did happen, because that border along the Golan Heights was actually very quiet. It was famous for being quiet, actually, going way back to 1974.
Then, all of a sudden, one day, people are allowed to come up to it as they had never been able to before. And so the State Department is saying that is an indication of what's going on, which is, they would argue, Syria is trying to destabilize the situation and do a couple of things, you know, send a message perhaps that they can create some real mischief if they are attacked and under pressure by the international community and the United States.
COOPER: Fouad, no one seems to be raising any doubts about the Palestinians who were the ones who went up to the border and the reality of their beliefs, but you have no doubt that this was a -- basically a well-orchestrated warning from the Assad regime, allowing these Palestinians to get to the border.
FOUAD AJAMI, PROFESSOR OF MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I have no shred of any doubt about this.
If you take a look, Anderson, at this border between Syria and Israel, this is the most quiet border in the Middle East. The terms of disengagement were negotiated many, many years ago by none other than Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in 1974, as Jill already said.
So if you go back and look at this border, this border is as quiet as a tomb. And the Syrians would never allow the Palestinians to come close to the Golan Heights and to come close to the border with Israel. This is completely a transparent ploy by the Syrian regime. They are killing their own people. They're at war with their own people. And I think this is just a very, very transparent action.
COOPER: You know, and, Fouad, we watch these videos, I talk to these truly heroic people who are willing to speak out even at great risk to their life, and we continue to follow this, but, you know, I get e-mails from people all the time saying, what can we do? It seems so heartbreaking. We're watching this, and it doesn't seem like there's anything that can be done about it from -- by outside governments or anything.
Do you -- is there anything that can be done?
AJAMI: I think I understand this helplessness. And if you take a look at the assets of the Syrian regime, if you compare the Syrian regime and the running room it has in the world, and you compare it with Moammar Gadhafi, look, as we know today, Gadhafi was -- a warrant was issued for his arrest. He's being treated as a war criminal.
The same must be true of Bashar al-Assad, but we still can't really break with him. I want to read you just a little note -- and maybe Jill may want to say something about this. This is from an exchange between Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic monthly and our chief diplomat, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
She's asked by Jeffrey Goldberg, "Would you be sad if Bashar al- Assad's regime disappeared?"
The answer: "It depends on what replaces it. It depends on at replaces it."
So, even American diplomacy -- as we point to the Syrian regime and what it's doing on the border with Israel, even American diplomacy hasn't seen fit to do the right thing, which is to declare this man, Bashar al-Assad, a war criminal and to give him the same treatment we have given someone like Gadhafi.
COOPER: Well, Jill, the president is giving a speech on the situation in the Middle East on Thursday. Do we have any indication that he's going to change his stance on Syria?
DOUGHERTY: Yes, that is what U.S....
DOUGHERTY: That's what U.S. officials are telling us, that they are -- the president is expected to move closer and go farther than he's -- or further than he's ever gone before in talking about Syria, a tougher tone.
And, also, the -- you know, the magic question is, would he actually get so far as to say that Bashar al-Assad is no longer legitimate, has lost his legitimacy, and should step down? That is not clear.
But it could be that he would get to the point of saying it's time for a transition, you know, give him a chance to once more, you know, move toward democracy or step down. But it is going to be harder.
And, also, Anderson, we're told that they will probably be announcing some more sanctions, and that those sanctions actually could be targeting Assad himself.
COOPER: Fouad, I guess the question is, in this day and age, can a dictator, can a ruler choose to murder his own people time and time again, day after day, and the world stand by and watch?
AJAMI: Well, that's...
COOPER: Because that's essentially what's happening right now. AJAMI: Well, that's the bleak question of our time, and that's the bleak question that Syria poses. You have a man and a regime with his own community, with the intelligence barons, with his own sectarian community -- alas, we have to be honest about this -- Bashar al-Assad comes from the Alawi community, and this war is being waged for the most part against the majority Sunni population.
So what you have here is a regime which -- a total brigand regime, a total outlaw regime, but then you look at the Arab League, and it's silent. You look at the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and it's silent. And the Syrian regime has sold this legend of its moderation in the world, and many takers have really bought this idea.
COOPER: Professor Ajami, I appreciate your time tonight, Jill Dougherty as well.
We will look for that speech on Thursday and see what happens with the U.S. policy.
Coming up, the floodgates are open, water from the Mississippi pouring across the lowlands of Louisiana, after the Army Corps of Engineers opens up a spillway. Homes and businesses are in the path, sure to be damaged. We will have the latest casualties of the historic flooding in the South. We will get a live update from Martin Savidge next.
And later: The head of the International Monetary Fund -- this story is just bizarre -- the man who was until a few days ago being talked about as perhaps the next president of France, tonight, he's locked up in Rikers Island. His name is Dominique Strauss-Kahn, accused of trying to rape a hotel maid, busted in the first-class section of an Air France flight about to leave for Paris.
We're going to focus on what allegedly went on inside this $3,000-a-night hotel room with the maid and how police caught him before that flight took off.
COOPER: Some new video just in to CNN. This is a burning government building in Tripoli, the result apparently of NATO air strikes and internal security. This building and others across the street were hit. No reports yet of casualties.
Literally this is the first that I'm seeing this video. We just got the news in. This is CNN video. Again, air strikes, NATO air strikes in Tripoli, you're seeing some of the results of it. No word yet on casualties.
We'll update this throughout the hour if the situation warrants it.
I want to turn now to what's happened in the United States with the floodwaters from the Mississippi River pouring across Louisiana at this hour, threatening thousands of homes and businesses, courtesy not just of Mother Nature but also the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a mission to protect some areas by intentionally flooding others.
Over the weekend the Morganza Spillway was opened, diverting the floodwaters to the Atchafalaya River -- excuse me, to the river basin. The idea was to spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
But meanwhile, about 2,500 people and 2,000 structures face guaranteed flooding, according to Louisiana's governor. The flood has already affected nine states as the worst in the lower Mississippi River Valley since at least the '30s.
President Obama was in Memphis, Tennessee, today meeting with the mayor and the local families affected by the floods. The river crested in Memphis six days ago, is still 11 feet above flood stage.
Let's talk now with Martin Savidge, who is in Vicksburg, Mississippi, for us tonight.
Marty, you took -- you took a boat tour today of flood-ravaged areas. What did you see? How bad was it?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, keep in mind this is the next city that's in line for this historic amount of floodwater that's coming down both the Mississippi River, in this case the Yazoo River, as well, and the tributary. So it's all focusing on Vicksburg. Vicksburg is next under the gun. Already, though, heavy flooding. We went on that boat trip.
These are suburbs that are found to the north of Vicksburg, about five different subdivisions. They're all underwater. Seventeen hundred people have been forced to flee the rising water in the Vicksburg area. But hundreds of homes have already fallen victim to it.
We went through this neighborhood. And what you find is, of course, that the water levels have risen to the point of not just to the roof but, in many cases, over the roof.
I looked at the depth finder on the boat we were riding in. We were driving down a city street in Vicksburg, and it's 11 feet deep. You went to the next block, it was 15 feet deep.
You did see houses that appear to be poking out of the water, but those were built on stilts, and again, like we've seen elsewhere, the owners thought they had built them so high they would never, ever flood, but this is the year that "never, ever" went out the window -- Anderson.
COOPER: Martin, what's that behind you?
SAVIDGE: Let me show you. The city of Vicksburg, as I say, is now under the gun. What they have built here is a wooden dike. This actually had to be constructed in three days. There was nothing here that prevented the river from flowing into the heart of downtown Vicksburg. So the city workers built this thing. It is built out of oak and popular. They started using railroad ties, but they ran out of those. So they began putting them down, layer after layer, tar in between, and then they've got these steel trusses right here that are also holding it up.
The chains, by the way, because the wood swells with all the water that's against it. And the water, by the way, on the other side, is about 3/4 of the way to the top. It is the entire watershed of the Mississippi River now pressing against this levee right here. And the real question, of course, is "is it going to hold?"
Well, take a look down here. It's already starting to gush out in a number of places down here. You can see on the walls how it's already seeping and weeping through the wood. The Mississippi and the Yazoo desperately want to come right through here. And this is the only thing, as we say, that is the protection for the downtown Vicksburg area.
I asked the guy who built it, I said, "Well, what do you think? Did you build it high enough?"
He took a long pause. He looked at it, and he said, "I sure hope so." And a lot of people are hoping that right now tonight.
And the other thing to point out, Anderson, this doesn't have to hold like, say, through Thursday, when the crest goes by. This has to hold for another three to four weeks, as do all the levees in the area. And that's the real problem.
COOPER: Indeed. How -- just briefly, how long is that wall?
SAVIDGE: Well, this one here probably stretches for about -- I don't know -- 75 yards. But they had to build it in a hurry. They got it accomplished. And the pumps are taking this water that's coming in and throwing it back on the other side. Hopefully, it will keep pace.
COOPER: Let's hope it holds. Martin, we'll check in with you tomorrow morning. Thanks a lot.
Isha Sesay is following some other stories for us tonight. She joins us with a "360 News & Business Bulletin."
Isha, what do you have?
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a flawless launch for the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Here's what it looked like lifting off from Kennedy Space Center on its final mission.
And here's what it looked like on Twitter. This picture taken by a woman on a passenger jet who caught the shuttle as it broke through the clouds.
Back on the ground at Cape Canaveral, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was cheering. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is commanding the mission. Giffords was shot in the head four months ago and is undergoing rehab in Houston.
It's official. The U.S. government has hit the debt ceiling. And today Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned Congress he would have to suspend investments in federal retirement funds until August 2 to allow the government to continue borrowing in the debt markets. Geithner urged lawmakers to raise the borrowing limit soon.
And Anderson, ABC News is reporting that a California mother has lost custody of her 8-year-old daughter after injecting the girl with Botox to prepare her for a beauty pageant. The mother and daughter appeared on "Good Morning America" last week, as you know, where the mum said she doesn't believe she's endangering her child's health.
Anderson, the same mother also saying on "Good Morning America" that she doesn't think wrinkles look good on little girls.
They're little girls.
COOPER: Yes. She also was saying that, well, she's not the only mom who does it, like sort of that's her -- that's...
SESAY: That's her kind of defense.
COOPER: Justifiable -- yes.
SESAY: Truly mind-boggling.
SESAY: Mind-boggling story.
COOPER: Yes. Still ahead, the head of the International Monetary Fund, another just incredible story, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is behind bars in New York tonight. You may not have heard of him. This guy who may have been the next president of France, he's charged with trying to rape a hotel maid in New York.
Coming up, we're going to take a look at what allegedly went on in this huge hotel suite of his, $3,000-a-night hotel suite, and why a judge denied bail to the former French finance minister earlier today. That's why he's in prison tonight.
Also ahead, why Donald Trump is not running for president after all.
COOPER: Well, tonight one of the world's most powerful figures in global finance, a man by the name of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who's the head of the International Monetary Fund, the IMF, is behind bars at Rikers Island in New York, facing charges of sexual assault and attempted rape.
At his arraignment today the 62-year-old French economist and former French finance minister was denied bail by a judge who agreed with prosecutors that he's a flight risk.
Seventy-two hours ago Strauss-Kahn was seen as having a bright -- as bright a political future as possible, possibly even winning the upcoming French presidential election. Now he's accused of attacking a 32-year-old maid in his Manhattan hotel suite and facing as many as 25 years in prison. Drew Griffin tonight investigates.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Detectives say they traced DKF because he had left a cell phone in his $3,000-a-night room right here in New York City's Times Square. Police recovered the phone and said they convinced a hotel employee to lie when Strauss-Kahn arrived about it. The French IMF chief said he was at the airport, about to board a plane to Paris.
Strauss-Kahn was detained by New York City police as the plane was aboard to take off. His attorneys say he was not escaping. But New York prosecutors say in fact he was.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given the strength of the case as it now stands and the potential for additional evidence to be generated, the defendant has additional motivation to flee.
GRIFFIN: Prosecutors say a maid had entered his suite at the Sofitel Hotel to clean, then was assaulted by Strauss-Kahn. He was naked, they said, and forced her to perform a sex act in the bathroom.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a French national.
GRIFFIN: A law enforcement source said the maid identified him in a line-up. Prosecutors later said he had engaged in what they called similar conduct on at least one other occasion.
In court Strauss-Kahn's attorney told a judge that, quote, "this is a very, very defensible case" and argued for bail.
BENJAMIN BRAFMAN, STRAUSS-KAHN ATTORNEY: There are significant issues that we have already found simply with preliminary investigation that, in our judgment, makes it quite likely that he might ultimately be exonerated.
GRIFFIN: Nonetheless, the judge refused bail, ordering him to remain behind bars, at least until the end of this week. The arrest dominated French television newscasts because Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a key figure in international finance and until now at least also a key figure in French politics. He was widely presumed to be the socialist candidate for the French presidency next year, running against incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. Polls had indicated he would easily beat the unpopular Sarkozy.
But this morning's headline in the French socialist newspaper "Liberation" may have summed it all up: "DSK," the headline read, "O- U-T."
Over the years in France his personal behavior has been the subject of criticism and complaint. In 2008 the IMF criticized him after an affair with a subordinate but he was allowed to keep his job because an investigation found he had not abused his position.
And a year before that a French newspaper said he had assaulted a young journalist and novelist. No charges were ever filed. But now an attorney for the woman is quoted as saying she now wants to file a formal complaint.
A high-level banking source in the U.S. told CNN rumors about, quote, "DSK's womanizing have always persisted," unquote. And DSK himself has been quoted recently by the French newspaper "Liberation" as saying, "Yes, I like women. So what?"
Drew Griffin, CNN, New York.
COOPER: Well, the next hearing that Strauss-Kahn faces is Friday. Until then he'll be in protective custody at Rikers, staying in a cell by himself, having no contact with other prisoners. That's according to the New York Department of Corrections. As you'd imagine, Strauss-Kahn is considered a high-profile detainee at Rikers.
Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins me now.
Jeff, I know you make the point that people are innocent, obviously, until proven guilty. That said, he's been picked out of a line-up. That certainly is not a good development for him.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, certainly the evidence looks awful so far. But we really have only heard one side of the story. It's important to remember the Duke lacrosse case, because that sounded bad initially, too.
But you have to ask yourself, why would a maid make this accusation against someone she apparently had never met before, didn't know who he was? Most Americans don't know who he is. I mean, it looks very bad for him. But there are a lot of questions still to be answered about the facts of this case.
COOPER: He also reportedly called back to the hotel, looking for his cell phone, and the security officer at the hotel lied, said that they had the phone, which they didn't, and asked him where he was. And that's how police realized he was at the airport.
And when they got him, he was actually on this Air France flight in the first-class cabin, ready to take off for Paris. There is obviously a concern that he's a flight risk, and that's why the judge ordered him held without bail, right?
TOOBIN: Well, you know, it's important to remember, in New York city non-citizens are arrested every day. It happens all the time. And most of them are not allowed bail, because one of the issues a judge always considers when it comes to bail is does the person have roots in the community? Are they a risk of flight?
And here you have a situation of someone who's very wealthy, that could buy a ticket, charter planes. So it is not surprising that he was detained and...
COOPER: If he'd gone to France, if he'd gotten to France, would he have been able to have been extradited? TOOBIN: Very hard question. Not at all clear. Extradition is always a lengthy and difficult process. France and the United States have not had very good relations when it comes to extradition.
And just one little factor here is that he's in state court, not in federal court. In federal court, they are used to more high- profile detainees. Remember, Bernie Madoff was allowed to stay out of prison for a long time, because he wore an ankle bracelet. They don't do that as often in state court. So he is where most non-citizens are who are arrested in New York state court, which is Rikers Island.
COOPER: His -- his lawyer, Ben Brafman, is pretty much as good as they get, right?
TOOBIN: Ben Brafman is the single best lawyer I have ever seen in a courtroom. But you know what?
TOOBIN: A good lawyer -- absolutely. I mean, he has done...
COOPER: What's so good about him?
TOOBINS: He got Puffy Combs -- well, you know, he has -- you know, there are a lot of flashy lawyers who are very good at cross- examination. But they don't prepare. He prepares like a boring sort of old-school lawyer, but he's got the flash and dash of a sort of a courtroom performer. I mean, he is the best of both worlds.
My first day as an assistant U.S. attorney, he was trying a case, an impossible heroin conspiracy case in Brooklyn federal court. He won that case. He won the Puffy Combs case. Very difficult case. I mean, this is a guy who wins cases.
And that said, the facts still matter more than the lawyer. And if the facts are as bad as they appear, if there's DNA, if there are injuries on either party, all of that is going to matter more than Ben Brafman, as good as he is.
COOPER: He pleaded "not guilty" at this point. Jeffrey Toobin, appreciate it. Jeff, thanks very much.
Coming up, Donald Trump is not running for president. In true Donald Trump fashion, he said he made this decision even though he would win the primary and the general election. Yes, he's humble. He's also on tonight's "RidicuList," not because he's ridiculous. Au contraire. What's ridiculous is the idea that he's going to deprive us all of his leadership. We'll explain that.
COOPER: Time now for "the RidicuList," and tonight I have no other choice but to add Donald Trump. Not because he's ridiculous. Certainly not. No, not in any way. No, he's on the list tonight, because it's ridiculous he has chosen to deprive us all of his leadership. As you probably heard, and we as a nation have to pull together now because it's new and, you know, we're all still trying to process it, Trump announced today he is not -- not -- running for president.
In a statement Trump said, and I quote, "This decision does not come easily or without regret, especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that, if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election."
And it's just that kind of modesty and self-awareness that would have made Trump best president ever. He knows he would have won. So why isn't he running? Well, in the statement Trump says he's just not ready to leave the private sector. Lucky private sector.
Over the past few months we got a glimpse of how amazing a Trump presidency would have been, as he campaigned unofficially with great ideas, solid plans, and nuanced strategies, commander in chief-wise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you would keep troops in Iraq after this year?
DONALD TRUMP, REAL ESTATE MOGUL: I would take the oil.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't understand how you would take the -- does that mean keeping troops there or staying involved in Iraq?
TRUMP: You heard me. I would take the oil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: "You heard me." That would have been a great campaign slogan: "You heard me." But alas, 'tis not to be. We shan't have a President Trump. But we'll also have the memories.
For instance, remember when Trump claimed President Obama wasn't born in the U.S. and when proven wrong somehow turned it into something oh, so right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am really honored, frankly, to have played such a big role. I am really proud; I am really honored. I've accomplished something really, really important. No, I'm taking great credit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Humility, thy name is Trump.
Trump as president wouldn't have needed a speechwriter' no teleprompter. His skills as an orator alone would have made us the envy of all other nations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You're not going to raise that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) price. Listen, you [ bleep ]. We're going to tax you 25 percent.
Those factories are cheap as hell and they don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED).
We can't get a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) school built in Brooklyn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: It's not only Trump's ability to inspire with language that would have made him a great president: It's his way with people. Trump doesn't turn the other cheek. When someone has done him wrong he helpfully points out the inadequacies of others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Well, he's not the brightest bulb on the planet. We're not dealing with Albert Einstein.
Rosie O'Donnell's disgusting. Both inside and out. You take a look at her, she's a slob. She's basically a disaster.
Most people are losers.
I thought Seth Myers, frankly, his delivery was not good. He's a stutterer, and he really was having a hard time.
GARY BUSEY, ACTOR: Donald Trump will turn that around. And I'm campaigning for him now. I will continue to campaign for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: I'm actually kind of a stutterer, too.
OK. Actually, the last one, of course, was Gary Busey. Gary Busey was even on Mr. Trump's side. He was campaigning for Trump.
I think Trump needs to reconsider. Just do it for Gary. Do it for the USA or at least the Miss USA pageant. Go to bat for your country the way you went to bat for Miss California after that whole same-sex marriage/topless photo controversy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If her beauty wasn't so great nobody really would have cared. Carrie will remain Miss California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Leadership in action.
Because you are depriving us of the greatest F-ing candidate who ever drew F-ing breath depriving all of us stuttering slob losers of and depriving Gary Busey, you're hereby elected to the RidicuList. Please, please reconsider. We'll be right back.