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Flooding the Border; Talking Immigration; Too Busy Working; Strictly Legal; Going Underground; Corps Admits Mistakes; Inside Iran; Duke Lacrosse Scandal

Aired April 11, 2006 - 23:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening again. The battle on the border. No simple answers, only complicated questions.

ANNOUNCER: Millions of illegals. Should they be forced out or given amnesty? Call in with your questions on immigration reform.

Iran's bold nuclear ambitions. Tonight, a rare look inside the country. You may be surprised what people there really think.

Plus, the Duke sex allegations. DNA tests and no matches. And the public battle continues.


MICHAEL NIFONG, DURHAM DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It doesn't mean nothing happened. It just means nothing was left behind.


ANNOUNCER: So what's next in the case?

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Live from the CNN broadcast center in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Thanks for joining us. A lot to get to in this hour. We begin at the nation's borders. Ask the agents who work hard to protect them, and they'll tell you they're busier than ever. And statistics support that.

It all comes down to one irresistible word, "amnesty." Whenever it's offered, the border explodes. There's CNN's Bill Tucker.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every time this country discusses amnesty for illegal aliens, the number of people entering the country illegally soars. This latest wave started two years ago.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I propose a new temporary worker program to match willing foreign workers with willing employers when no Americans can be found to fill the job. TUCKER: With those words in January of 2004, the president might have just as well fired a starter's pistol. The number of arrests at the southwestern border soared. Arrest rates which had been occurring at an average monthly rate or 75,400 in 2003 jumped to almost 95,000 a month in 2004, to nearly 98,000 last year. That monthly arrest average is now 106,000, a 40 percent increase since 2003.

In testimony before congress last month, the Texas border sheriffs warned of the message that Washington is broadcasting.

SHERIFF LEO SAMANIEGO, EL PASO, TEXAS: Anytime you give a group of illegal, undocumented aliens that are already here, amnesty or even anything that sounds close to amnesty, you're sending the message to the next 12 million that are going to come in after them.

TUCKER: The last time amnesty was debated was in 1986. An arrest of illegal aliens attempting to cross rose 23 percent from the previous year. Which means from a border agent's perspective, it's clear what should be happening now.

T.J. BONNER, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: I think before you start discussing how do we deal with the complexity of all of the millions of people who are here, you have to set in motion a mechanism to stop other people from coming in.

TUCKER: The official apprehension rate is on pace to top 1.2 million this year.

Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.


COOPER: Well, illegal immigrants find work where they can get it. And more often than not, that takes them to the usual locations. Here's a look at the raw data. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 33 percent of illegal immigrants are employed in service industries, like hotels and restaurants; 17 percent of undocumented workers find jobs in production, installation and repair; 16 percent are in construction; and surprisingly, just 3 percent are involved in agriculture. By the way, 25 percent of all illegal immigrants have some college education.

We're back with D.A. King, an activist against illegal immigration, and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez, a blogger and author. And we're taking your questions about immigration reform and your calls. The number is 1-877-648-3639.

Our first call is T.J. in California. T.J., thanks for calling. What's your comment or question?

T.J., CALIFORNIA (on the phone): I have a comment. My comment as an African-American is, I am outraged that these people would think it's all right to hijack the civil rights movement. We were enslaved. We were brought here unwillingly. And when I see people saying it's the same thing as jumping the fence for domestic upgrade, it's not fair. I think it's a horrible thing. I think that if you have a car, do whatever you have to do. And I don't care, by the way, if they're from Saturn. Whatever your cause is, it's not the same as being a slave.

And I think they need to find their own song and find their own martyrs or whatever they want to call them. But terrorist to slavery, and the African-American experience is a slap in the face to every African-American in the United States of America.


ALISA VALDES-RODRIGUEZ, BLOGGER AND AUTHOR: I'd like to answer. I want to answer her.

COOPER: Go ahead, Alisa.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: The first slave rebellion in the Americas was held in Cuba. Led by a woman named Carlotta at the Triumvirato mill in Matanzas in the country of Cuba. I would say 80 percent of the people living in Cuba right now are of African descent. Five of every six people living in the Dominican Republic are of African descent. At least 40 percent of the nation of Columbia is of African descent.

The African slaves that were brought to the United States were brought to replace Native Americans who were killed through genocide and disease. These are the very same faces that you are seeing pouring over the border from Mexico because not as many of them were killed there. They have the same history that you do. It's just that the imperialist power was...

KING: Nice try, Alisa. Nice try.


VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: ...was from Spain and speaking Spanish, not from England and speaking English. So these two struggles are extremely related.

COOPER: All right, D.A., go ahead.

KING: I very much disagree with not only the words, but the intent of what Alisa just did. For somebody to come into this country illegally and then demand a civil right to remain here illegally and then hijack the movement, the effort, from black Americans in the 1960s...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: So you're saying that it was...


COOPER: Alisa, let him finish his thought. Let him finish his thoughts.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: Was it legal to bring slaves to the United States? That was legal?

KING: Let me know when it's my turn, O.K.?


COOPER: Come on, hey, come on...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: Let's talk about the bigger crime. Slavery or immigration? Slavery -- if you want to talk about the big criminals in this entire equation, they are the slave masters, my dear.

COOPER: All right, let him finish his thought please.

KING: Thank you very much.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: The people that you probably...

COOPER: Alisa, Alisa, you -- hold on. Just hold on, both of you.

Before you came on this program, Alisa, you specifically were concerned about it not being a shouting match. So, I know a lot of shows -- I know a lot of shows...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: Well, this is...

COOPER: I know a lot of shows...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: But it's outrageous.

COOPER: I know a lot of shows...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: It's outrageous...

COOPER: I know a lot of shows -- Alisa, no. Listen to me for a second. I know a lot of shows enjoy shouting matches. This is not one of them. Other networks may enjoy it. I prefer an intelligent discussion.


COOPER: So let the guy finish his thought, and then you can finish your thought. D.A., go ahead.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: But when I'm the one voice...

KING: Thank you, sir.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: I'm having to shout because...

COOPER: No, you don't have to shout. You're being...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: 98 percent of what's on the media.

COOPER: D.A., go ahead.

KING: Alisa. Thank you. For someone here illegally to demand the civil right to become legal or to remain here illegally, whatever the present drone is, to compare that to the struggle of black Americans, to have their constitutional rights and have the laws enforced equally is shameless. And most of my black friends are not falling for this, no matter how much Alisa and company try to over talk.

One more thing. Alisa is very, very apparently detailed on terms. But I've heard her use the term "immigrant" when we are obviously talking about people who are here illegally. My sister is an immigrant. She's a real legal immigrant who joined the American family lawfully, which is the definition of the word.

It would be very nice if we could all agree on a term that's either illegal immigrant or illegal alien or immigrant. But don't mix the two. It's an insult to people who joined the American family according to our laws.

COOPER: We're getting a lot of calls and I do want to get them in...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: I would like...

COOPER: Lisa from Michigan has a call or a comment. Lisa?

LISA, MICHIGAN, (on the phone): Yes, hi. I have this family who we've been friends for like 20 years. They've been here about 20 years ago. Some of their kids came here. The oldest was like 4, and the youngest was like 9 months. And they have citizen kids here. Now, if our state says that the only way citizens -- are considered a citizen if you have, you know, you're a citizen here, where would those kids that are citizens in that family would fall if anything else were to happen? Is it fair for us to say that OK, we'll take the father, the mother, and the other brothers, but we will leave the two that are citizens?

I mean, I always thought that my grandparents were Polish. They're here legally. And we've been here three generations. But I've always thought that we're a compassionate country. I just don't see that compassion.

COOPER: Alisa, what do you think?

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: Well, I'd like to point out that the only illegal immigrant in my family history came from Ireland and he was a murderer, on my mother's side. And he was told you can either stay in Dungarven or you can go to America, and he came here.

So I don't want people confusing criminality with legal status and so on and so forth. It's a non-debate. Actually, I mean, my -- the whole point that I come to this from is that we have 1,000 other issues that are more important in the United States right now than this.

This has been in my opinion a consistent and conscientious effort on the part of the right wing to distract from the White House, take all of the problems that we have. You have the Republican party self- destructing. You have the president with the lowest approval ratings ever. Problems in our schools that Anderson just had a piece on...

COOPER: But isn't this a valid debate?

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: And this is taking -- it's really not a valid debate because this was an issue two years ago -- it was three years ago. You need to -- you all need to ask yourself why this is an issue now because it's deflecting attention from the White House onto brown people.

KING: Again, nice try with the brown people. It's the last ditch of people who cannot make a point because there is none.

Whatever the president's popularity -- and by the way, I did not vote for the man, Alisa, if that helps you. If this is not the most burning issue in this country right now to you...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: No, it's not...

KING: ... now, to you, Madam, you are not the only one who thinks so.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: No, I think that the fact that we have the largest trade deficit in history is a bigger issue. I think the fact that 45 million American citizens are without healthcare -- 5 million of them since the year 2000 is a bigger issue.

KING: Sounds like you're on the wrong show.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: I think that our schools are more segregated than ever before. That's a bigger issue. There are a million bigger issues...


COOPER: Well, let me...



VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: ... a million bigger issues...

COOPER: There are...

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: The fact that our president leaks the name of a CIA operative is a bigger issue.

COOPER: Well, there clearly are a lot of people who do think this is a big issue. We're getting a lot of reaction on the blog, as well, as well as a lot of callers.

I want to read some of the reaction we're getting on the blog. Let's take a look at what some of you had to say. Adam in California asked, "Wouldn't it be easier to enforce immigration laws by going after businesses who hire illegal immigrants, rather than by raiding homes and breaking up families? If there's no work, they'll stop coming in such large numbers."


KING: I absolutely -- nothing -- do I disagree with nothing in there. The criminal employers and the criminal bankers who are making mortgage loans to people in this country illegally in further violation of existing laws are the magnet that is drawing illegal immigration into this country.

The concept that we cannot survive as a nation without open borders is nonsense. I'm 54 years old. I grew up in a neighborhood where people built houses for a living, and I just will not sit here and be told that America can't survive if we enforce our laws. It's nonsense.

COOPER: Alisa, a final thought from you.

VALDES-RODRIGUEZ: We don't have open borders, and people should stop pretending that we do. Furthermore, the people who say that the children of immigrants should not be entitled to a public education because they're not homeowners and they're not paying taxes, unless your landlord is really stupid, if you pay rent, your landlord is paying property tax through your rent money.

COOPER: I appreciate both of your passion and you guys represent yourselves very well. And I really do appreciate having you on the program. D.A. and Alisa, thank you so much. We'd love to have you back on another time. Thank you.

Well, there's one city where immigrant workers are too busy to march for immigration reform, whether legal or illegal, they've got plenty to do, and their employers are delighted. Can you guess where it is? Well, we'll tell you.

Also ahead, how difficult is it to become a legal immigrant? Wait until you see.

Plus this...


REP. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: What's scary to us is not only looking back at what caused the last failure, but thinking about what's going to be fixed for June 1st. Because if it took this long to admit there were design failures it makes us less confident in remaining levees.


COOPER: A story we will not let go of, of high anxiety in New Orleans. Hurricane season is on the horizon. Why are there new fears about the levees? Coming up on 360.


COOPER: Well, have you noticed that despite the high number of immigration rallies across the country, one big southern city has been absent from the mix? New Orleans. It's not because of a shortage of immigrant workers. In fact, the city is becoming indebted to them, both legal and illegal.

CNN's Susan Roesgen takes a look.


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you want to work in New Orleans, you can wait for it, you can run for it, and you can bargain for it. Hundreds of people do it every day. They're day laborers, mostly Hispanic, hanging out at a couple of gas stations waiting for contractors to pick them up.

(On camera): When this red truck pulled up, we dove into the crowd to see who was hiring.

Come with me.

Turns out the driver was a local woman who said she couldn't afford local labor to gut her flooded home, and she'd heard these guys were cheaper. She was willing to pay four of them each $100 a day.

ELAINE WYLIE, HOMEOWNER: I understood that they came here with contractors who left them here.

ROESGEN (voice-over): Does that bother you that they might be in this country illegally?

WYLIE: It bothers me that they came to -- the way they came to this country, but they're here, and they have to eat.

ROESGEN: In fact, Elaine Wylie wound up hiring one local guy who saw an opportunity.

(On camera): Sir, do you speak Spanish?


ROESGEN: So what's your role here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just trying to get some work, that's all. I just got back in town, you know, from the storm. You know, I just came down here, you know. I see all the guys around here. So I just came -- the first thing was roll, I go with the punches, you know?

ROESGEN (voice-over): There is plenty of work to go around. Cole Cantrell supervises a crew cleaning air ducts. He says his company doesn't hire illegal immigrants, but understands why some do.

COLE CANTRELL, CREW SUPERVISOR: Pretty much money. You know, they come in and do the job a lot cheaper than most around here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our price is through the roof...

ROESGEN: It's that cheap labor Contractor Hector Pulles says he can't compete with.

HECTOR PULLES, CONTRACTOR: And we have workmen's comp, we have insurances we have to pay. We go by the letter of the law. And they have guys here that are coming in, immigrating from, you know, not even citizens of America, and they're coming over here immigrating and taking all of our work.

ROESGEN: In the past few weeks, U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement agents say they've rounded up more than 140 illegal immigrants across the New Orleans area. But they released those who didn't have a criminal background. That leaves the rebuilding of New Orleans wide open for anyone who wants to work at any price.

Susan Roesgen, CNN, New Orleans.


COOPER: We'll have more from New Orleans later in the program.

So no matter how many times and how many different ways you cut it, immigrant workers want jobs in America. And Americans are happy to provide them in many cases. So why don't they all just enter the country legally, you might ask?

Well, CNN's Tom Foreman investigates that angle on the story.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look at the pictures, hope and inspiration of legalized American citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ...and justice for all.

FOREMAN: And the question about illegal immigrants seems obvious.

(On camera): Why don't people come here legally?

And the answer is just as clear to Brent Wilkes, an activist for immigrant rights.

BRENT WILKES, LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS: Well, they can't play by the rules when the rules are you can't play.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Well, you can play, but the rules are strict. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, first, through family.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no. Look, for the Green Card, I do anything. FOREMAN: As the movie "Green Card" portrays, immediate families of U.S. citizens can come in with relative ease. As long as they prove the relationship is not a fraud.



FOREMAN: But bringing in others is difficult and time consuming. If you were from the Philippines and want your grown, married son to join you this year, you should have applied for his legal entry in 1988, because that waiting list is 18 years.



FOREMAN: Immigrant sports stars, celebrities, people with highly specialized skills or advanced educations can be brought in by employers. But the less special they are, the harder it gets.

People seeking political asylum are legally admitted while their cases are evaluated. So are investors who commit $1 million to build a U.S. business -- a half million if it helps a struggling industry.

And finally, there is the diversity lottery. Out of the millions of low-skilled and unskilled laborers who want to move to America every year, 55,000 essentially have their names pulled from a hat. But -- and this is important -- if you are from Mexico or a handful of other countries that already send a lot of immigrants, the State Department has said your name cannot be in the hat.

Immigration was once much more open. When the nation needed many workers, people hopped on a boat overseas and hopped off here.

WILKES: That was it. It's nothing like that anymore. It's much more complicated and it's much harder to come into the country legally. And for that reason, that's why we've got illegal workers.

FOREMAN: Taking the citizenship quiz, saying the oath, those are the easy parts. Getting legally in line for the test, that can be hard.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Well, the lengths or rather the depth that people will go to get into the United States illegally from Mexico, or bring in drugs, a massive tunnel discovered under the San Diego border. We'll take you inside. That's coming up.

And as hurricane season approaches, there is concern about whether New Orleans' levees will hold if there's another big hurricane. Is there more heartache in store for New Orleans? That story, coming up on 360. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Over the past couple weeks, we've looked at the very many ways a determined illegal immigrant can get into this country or the way that cartels can smuggle in drugs. One of the most audacious schemes was discovered recently. It is a tunnel between San Diego and Tijuana, a shockingly long tunnel, a very long time in the making.


COOPER: The exit to the tunnel isn't much to speak of. It's basically a three by three foot hole that's been knocked in the floor of this industrial warehouse south of San Diego. There's a concrete piece of tiling was removed and they found the tunnel here. When you go down the ladder you enter another world.

So this is the tunnel. It is 2,400 feet all of the way through to Mexico. It's the size of about eight football fields in length. Seven of the football fields are underneath U.S. territory. One football field is in Tijuana. It goes from this warehouse here all of the way to a warehouse in Mexico.

The tunnel immediately starts to slope down from ground level and goes down about 60 feet. If you look down at the ground here, this is all concrete. The walls down here, it's a soft rock. They don't know exactly how this tunnel was dug, but you can tell some sort of a drill was used. You can actually see the markings here on the side of the wall.

They also don't know how long it took to actually carve out this tunnel. But they found out about this operation about two years ago and there's no doubt it took years to dig a tunnel like this.

As you walk deeper down into the tunnel it really slopes down and gets to about 60 feet deep here. On the Mexican side it gets as far as 90 feet down, 90 feet deep. They've actually poured concrete here and they formed steps, which makes it easier for whoever was bringing drugs into the United States to actually climb up through the tunnel. It's a really sophisticated tunnel, though. There are also electrical cables running all through the length of it, and if you look here there's a light bulb.

They've actually -- these are actually light bulbs that the U.S. authorities have put in. They've removed the original ones to fingerprint them all. But there are light bulbs all throughout the tunnel. Those were put in by the cartel or whoever it was who built the tunnel.

There's also some support beams every now and then to just try to make sure the wall and ceilings don't collapse. All throughout the tunnel you can still find these ropes. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents believe that these ropes were actually used to help carry the bales of marijuana that they found. A worker would wrap it around a bale and maybe put it on their back like this or somehow use it to just carry it. But the ropes are spaced out all throughout the tunnel.

Also there is this, which is actually just another sign of how sophisticated this tunnel is. This is a pipe used to pump in fresh air. The pump goes all the way over to Mexico. This would be used to pump in fresh oxygen.

On the U.S. side, this is about the deepest part of the tunnel. It's probably estimated about 60 feet deep. And as you can see, it starts to get very slippery here. There's a lot of water, a lot of condensation on the ground. It is actually coming from the ceiling. Water has become a real problem for federal authorities. They've actually installed these pumps to try to get the water out.

This is an intersection in the tunnel. And they're not quite sure exactly what happened here. That way is Mexico. And as far as the eye can see, if you look down, the tunnel just goes straight ahead. But it also goes for a couple dozen feet over in this direction. And they're not sure if the people who were tunneling, if the smugglers made a mistake and just tunneled off the wrong direction and had to backtrack the tunnel in this way; or if they were originally trying to find a different warehouse or had a different warehouse in mind. At this point they simply don't know.

They're hoping to bring some miners in here who can examine the way the tunnel was made and that might give some clues about what the smugglers were thinking and also when this tunnel was built.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have issued a warning to anyone who was involved in the construction of this tunnel or the operation of the tunnel itself. They are warning them that their lives could be in danger. In past tunnels they discovered, the cartel has tried to kill the people who built the tunnels, that the information about the construction and who built it doesn't leak out.


COOPER: Well, if you're wondering how many have been arrested in connection with the tunnel, federal immigration authorities say the answer is a grand total of one. The arrest was made in Mexico the week after the tunnel was discovered.

Another potential crisis in New Orleans. New concerns about the city's levee system. Past mistakes finally admitted by the Army Corps of Engineers may haunt the repair effort. We're "Keeping them Honest."

Plus, a rare look inside Iran. Christiane Amanpour brings back a portrait of a people and a culture that may contradict everything you imagine. This, on the day Iran says they've gone nuclear. When 360 continues.


COOPER: You're looking at a live picture from New Orleans, at the work being done at the 17th Street Canal. The Army Corps of Engineers has finally admitted there were structural deficiencies in the work they did at that canal. They say they've learned a tremendous amount from their mistakes. Let's hope so. Those mistakes led directly to the flooding of New Orleans.

The trouble is, some residents have lost total faith in the corps' ability to get it right the next time. They're looking at the calendar and they are frightened. And they have good reason to be.

Here's Sean Callebs "Keeping them Honest."


SEAN CALLEBS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arguably, nothing is more important to the recovery of New Orleans than rebuilding and strengthening the levee system.

LIANE BUCHERT, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: If the levees break again, I doubt that I'll be back. I couldn't afford it. I couldn't afford to do this.

CALLEBS: Liane Buchert is again selling boiled crawfish. But her east New Orleans restaurants and home were destroyed by Katrina. She says another failure would be a death blow to this city.

BUCHERT: I think everyone here has had such a huge emotional and financial loss that I think it would be hard to come back if this happened again.

CALLEBS: The region's future is in the hands of the Army Corps of Engineers, racing to repair levees before the start of hurricane season June 1st.

But many here don't trust the corps. Just last week, the corps admitted for the first time, its design flaw a half century ago led to Katrina's catastrophic flooding.

LT. GEN. CARL A. STROCK, ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: There's some things there that we should have anticipated or could have anticipated and didn't.

CALLEBS: Here's what the general is talking about. Levees were braced by a section called an I-wall. Churning water fueled by Katrina led to erosion beneath the wall. It collapsed. This was the result.

The corps now wants to reinforce the levee with something called a T-wall. They say it's more resistant to erosion.

REP. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: What's scary to us is not only looking back at what caused the last failure, but thinking about what's going to be fixed for June 1st. Because if it took this long to admit there were design failures, it makes us less confident in the remaining levees.

CALLEBS: Congressman Jindal and other residents feel blindsided by the Corps of Engineers' new cost estimate for fixing the levees, $10 billion. Not the $3.5 billion it originally projected. JINDAL: We cannot afford to have a catastrophic failure of those levees again. We cannot afford to have massive flooding.

CALLEBS: Here's why levee improvements are essential to the rebirth of the city -- flood maps.

(On camera): Insurance rates for homes and businesses are based on FEMA maps that calculate how much flooding areas can expect. Without improved levees, there are no maps. Without maps, there is no federal flood insurance. Without insurance, no loans for rebuilding.

(Voice-over): And even with the billions in improvements, there is no guarantee of protecting New Orleans.

STROCK: Without being trite or cute here, how do you say that to people in San Francisco, that no one will die in an earthquake?

CALLEBS: Improvements are visible. Massive floodgates are going up on canals to the north that connect to Lake Pontchartrain to keep lake water from pouring into the city during a massive storm. And the corps says by June 1st, enough repairs will be done so the city will be safer than it was before Katrina. But for many residents in the area, that provides little comfort.

BUCHERT: It scares me, but I think as a major American city, I think we all deserve better protection.

CALLEBS: Better protection, however, is a long time and many billions of dollars away.


CALLEBS (on camera): But crews are out here working around the clock. They have been for the past two and a half weeks. And you can see what is at stake. Just across there, there are some houses that have been vacant since Katrina blew through this area.

The rush is on trying to beat this June 1st deadline, and there is a great deal of work. To give you an idea, these giant circular areas here, where outtake pipes will go through and pump any kind of floodwater that could threaten this area back out into Lake Pontchartrain, which is just a couple of hundred yards down there. And then massive floodgates will come and sit on top of these pipes up here, going 40 feet into the air. And once all that work is done, Anderson, they have to also get the flood wall and a levee built that goes all the way around here. And all this has to be done in just a matter of about six weeks.

COOPER: Sean, you know I'm a big believer in admitting mistakes. What has the Army Corps of Engineers now said was the mistake they made, the mistakes they made in the building process of these levees?

CALLEBS: Well, firstly, they point out that this happened back in the '50s. So, I mean, this happened some time ago. It wasn't something that happened in the past couple of decade. And as the flood wall was set up on the levee, the earthen levee, and the wall went into it, it went straight down. So over the years, and especially when Katrina came roaring and pushing water down these canals, the water ate away at the bottom where the soil was. So instead of the water going over top of the levee, it simply collapsed the levee, allowing the floodwater to just pour into the city. And they blame that on about 70 percent of the damage.

COOPER: So it was shoddy construction back in the '50s?

CALLEBS: Poor design.

COOPER: Poor design. All right. Good to have it out.

Sean Callebs, thanks.

Here's a problem that could make levees look simple. What if Iran gets the bomb? All right, kind of an awkward transition, maybe. Iran has announced its bold nuclear ambitions, but what do ordinary Iranians think? CNN's Christiane Amanpour gives us a rare look inside Iran.

And the Duke University sex scandal. The DNA tests came back negative. That means there's no case, right? Well, not necessarily says the district attorney today.

Around the world, you're watching 360.


COOPER: Well, with tension already high and people in Washington and elsewhere talking about possible American air strikes on Iran, Iran's president today kicked up the tension another notch. He announced that Iran has produced enriched uranium, low-grade stuff, good enough to run a nuclear reactor, but not make a bomb -- not yet. The process, though, is exactly the same for each.

And the news today raises all the familiar questions about what Iran is really up to and what Iranians really think about it.

Recently CNN's Christiane Amanpour went inside the country. It's a rare look. Here's part of her report.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bandarabbas is Iran's biggest commercial port, but many of its people are poor after three decades of economic mismanagement.

Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has come here today to promise that he'll change all that. An important message, especially now that he's confronting the West over Iran's nuclear program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): All of our neighbors, Pakistan, India have nuclear technology. So why is the U.S. barring us from having it?

AMANPOUR: Most Iranians agree. But they also want to tell their president about their troubles at home. Today, these special mailboxes have been set up so they can send him their personal letters.

Tell me why you're sending letters to the president?

Because we really think he'll deal with our problems, she says. He's ready to listen to our complaints and resolve them, like our job and housing problems.

He may or may not help us, says this woman, Zora, but his presidency is enough for us and we thank God.

Partly because of his humble background, partly because of his fundamentalist Islamic faith, the president has many supporters here, like this local government official.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I want Iran to be developed, an Iran that will fight global arrogance. A fully pure Iran. And our president, Mr. Ahmadinejad, is really doing that.

AMANPOUR: But there are skeptics looking on like Ali whose letter to the president is an invitation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): He says, he's one of us. So I ask him, please, spare a moment to come and see how we live. There are 11 people in my house and I am the only breadwinner.

AMANPOUR: Ali lost his job two years ago, but somehow he has to provide for all those who depend on him.

(On camera): President Ahmadinejad says he has come to help the poor, people like you. Has he done?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We haven't seen anything tangible so far. Mr. Ahmadinejad, instead of dealing with our problems, is confronting other countries like the U.S. and Israel, and that will make things worse. Today when I saw you, I just wanted to spill out all of my troubles because nobody in this country listens to me.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But President Ahmadinejad's fiery rhetoric does draw crowds. His speech in Bandarabbas the night we visited was packed as he continued his trademark attacks on the U.S. And despite threats of harsh economic sanctions which could drive the country further into poverty, he defiantly pledged not to be bullied into abandoning Iran's nuclear program.

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRANIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): I declare to the big powers of the world that Iran and the Iranian government will follow the path to achieve peaceful nuclear technology.

AMANPOUR: Later, back in the capital Tehran, the president held a press conference.

(On camera): You have said over and over again that your priority is to serve the people. We've been talking to some of the people, particularly in Bandarabbas, which you just visited, and they tell us that they've heard these slogans over and over again and their life doesn't change and they get poorer.

AHMADINEJAD (through translator): I don't know which people you've interviewed. If you mean the tens or hundreds of thousands of people who were there and were chanting slogans in support of the government, the president and his programs, if you mean those people, the answer is clear. But if you mean imaginary people that you have interviewed, so be it.

AMANPOUR (voice-over): But there's nothing imaginary about poverty in Iran.

(On camera): This is southern Tehran, an Ahmadinejad stronghold. He based his presidential campaign around a promise to make life better for Iran's poor. But if Iran is further isolated, if sanctions are imposed, he'll have a hard time delivering. Iran itself says that 20 percent of its people live below the poverty line while many outside sources say it could be double that figure.

(Voice-over): Back in Bandarabbas, poverty is driving Ali to despair. Tonight, like every night, he'll cruise the streets using his own car as a taxi. On a good night, he can make $8. But gypsy caps like his are illegal and if he's caught, he'll get a $10 fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This dilapidated car is my only source of income and I have nothing else. I see absolutely no light for the future.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN, Bandarabbas, Iran.


COOPER: Other news tonight, the Duke sex allegations story. Today the D.A. warned that even though the DNA results were negative so far, the case is far from over.


MICHAEL NIFONG, DURHAM DISTRICT ATTORNEY: It doesn't mean nothing happened. It just means nothing was left behind.


COOPER: Well, he had more to say. So did some students. We'll have the latest when 360 continues.


COOPER: Well no charges have been filed, but this case is not going away. Those were words today from the district attorney for Durham County, North Carolina. The case, of course, is the alleged gang rape of a black woman by members of Duke's Lacrosse team.

Yesterday results from some initial DNA tests were touted by defense attorneys as exonerating team members. The D.A. has a different take.

CNN's Jason Carroll has the latest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They should have been handcuffed. They should have been arrested.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a vocal audience that gathered for a legal forum at North Carolina Central University, this same school attended by a young woman, an exotic dancer, who says she was raped by three Duke University Lacrosse players. The forum was arranged last week in response to the accusations. Most students here came to listen and respond to what Durham's district attorney would say about the case. And what he said did not disappoint.

MICHAEL NIFONG, DURHAM DISTRICT ATTORNEY: A lot has been said in the press, particularly by some attorneys yesterday, about this case should go away. I hope that you will understand by the fact that I am here this morning that my presence here means that this case is not going away.


CARROLL: District Attorney Michael Nifong told the audience he's still waiting for more DNA test results. As for the results that are in, showing no match between the players and the accuser, Nifong explained it this way.

NIFONG: It doesn't mean nothing happened. It just means nothing was left behind.

CARROLL: Feelings about the fallout from the case were expressed here, too. Mostly from students at the historically black university who criticized the media and Duke University's handling of the case.

SHAWN CUNNINGHAM, NCCU STUDENT: You have minimalized my sister to a stripper and an exotic dancer. She walks this campus every day going to class, trying to provide for her family. You don't identify her as a mother. You don't identify her as a student. You don't identify her as a woman.


TOLOUPE OMOKAIYE, NCCU STUDENT: We all know that if this happened at Central, and the young lady was from another school or another persuasion, the outcome would have been different. They would have been in jail.

CARROLL: Defense Attorney bill Thomas says the district attorney's refusal to drop the case could inflame lingering sentiments in Durham. He appealed to the accuser to put the case to rest.

BILL THOMAS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I would say to her, it's OK to come forward. To come forward and to tell the truth in this case. The agony that these young men and their families have been put through, I simply cannot describe to you in words.

CARROLL: DNA from 46 players was tested. The lone player, not tested is black. The accuser says the three players who assaulted her were white. The father of the African-American player stands behind his son's team.

CHARLES SHERWOOD, FATHER OD DUKE-LACROSSE PLAYER: I think there was a slight overreaction. But now that the DNA's coming and showing that the players are pretty much innocent of any physical wrongdoing, that's a good thing. And maybe the rest of the Durham community can find that out and maybe some peace will be restored down there.

CARROLL: Here at Duke University, the DNA test results brought some satisfaction.

KATIE GRANT, DUKE STUDENT: I was actually kind of happy because I really felt like the boys were treated unfairly, you know, by the community.

STEPHANIE OKPALA, DUKE STUDENT: It was like a sigh -- like a breath of relief. I really, really hoped and prayed that it would come negative. But there's still talk about, you know, it not being 100 percent sure.

CARROLL (on camera): Since the D.A. won't drop the case, they must prepare themselves for what could be his next likely move. That, they say, is going to be when he presents his case to the grand jury, seeking formal charges against the three players.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Durham, North Carolina.


COOPER: Well, we want to examine this further with Larry Kobilinsky, forensic scientist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, here in New York; and with Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University. I spoke with them earlier.


COOPER: Professor Kobilinsky, is it possible that a rape occurred even though there's no DNA evidence?

LARRY KOBILINSKY, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Indeed, it is. There's always the possibility that a condom was used. And there are other possibilities as well. Now, it gets a little difficult when you're talking about multiple assailants. And then...

COOPER: Which is what's alleged here.

KOBILINSKY: That is what is alleged, and I would expect to see some other DNA evidence, some other semen specimens found either on her body or in the bathroom where the alleged attack took place. And failing to see that really raises some very serious questions.

COOPER: Well, Professor Turley, certainly in the mind of a jury, if this actually goes to trial, it would really -- without DNA evidence or a DNA match, it would seem to boil down to the credibility of the accuser, correct?

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: That's right. I mean many of these cases, when you don't have DNA evidence turns ultimately on the credibility of the parties. But there is a significant gap here that's going to be hard for a jury to overcome. You have a 30-minute alleged assault with four individuals who are restraining the alleged victim. And you don't have any saliva, semen, hair samples that come out of that struggle. That's a very curious thing. It is certainly inconsistent with the prosecution theory. And it is something that the defense can hammer away at. And so the jury has to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. And one of the things that they look for is some physical evidence to corroborate the testimony of either side of a criminal case.

COOPER: Well, Professor Kobilinsky, I mean, there was a -- nurses allegedly found some evidence of some form of sexual assault and also some bruises. The question, of course, is when did those occur?

KOBILINSKY: Anderson, that's the critical piece here. Because what happened was, a sexual assault nurse examiner examined this alleged victim and obviously did see signs that were consistent with a rape. However, however, this kind of nurse is not really trained to age trauma like that. It takes a board-certified forensic pathologist trained to look at a bruise, for example, to determine how old it is. The same goes for a cut or laceration.

COOPER: Can you do that from pictures after the fact?

KOBILINSKY: Well, no, I don't think that that can be done. It's possible that this medical center took what they call a culposcope, which is internal photographs, but even there, it would be very difficult.

COOPER: Professor, tell me, what do you think? I mean, the D.A. participated in this legal forum at the alleged victim's school today. What did he accomplish with that?

TURLEY: Well, I have to tell you, I thought that was entirely improper. You know, the district attorney in this case has to look at the possibility of two crimes. One is a possible assault. The other one is a possible case of false reporting to a police officer.

And what happens is that an early stage of an investigation, he's appearing at the forum for one of the parties. And I think that that, in anyone's judgment, has to be something that was poor judgment. That he seems to be losing his neutrality and he seems to be being pulled into the vortex of the public controversy, instead of remaining independent.

KOBILINSKY: I thought the D.A. did a fairly good job today because basically what he said is, we have to continue to investigate before bringing charges. I think what happened with the D.A. is he stuck his neck out way too early, and he basically looked at the victim and said, you know, I believe you, a sexual assault took place, and I'm going to move forward on it. And he did that much too early, before he had all the facts.

In fact, now we're hearing that not all the DNA evidence is in. So, you know, I think, quite frankly at this point, I don't think there's enough evidence even to indict, let alone to have a trial and convict. And I think when you don't have enough evidence to convict, there shouldn't be an indictment.

COOPER: Appreciate both your comments, Professor Jonathan Turley and Professor Larry Kobilinsky, thanks.

TURLEY: Thank you.


COOPER: We're going to have more on 360 in a moment. Stay with us.


COOPER: Tomorrow, on "AMERICAN MORNING," a popular online community wants young users to know the dangers of the Internet.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really didn't think about the dangers of being -- of posting something online.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's a fear of every parent, that your kid will get in trouble because they are too innocent.


COOPER: We're talking about You can learn exactly what is doing to keep your kid safe online on "AMERICAN MORNING," with Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien, the O'Brien twins, tomorrow at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.

Before we go, a programming note. Tomorrow, a special edition of AC 360, an hour on the serial killer that terrified one community for decades, "BTK, Hiding in Plain Sight." That's going to be 11:00 o'clock Eastern Time. At 10:00 o'clock we'll be on our normal time.

"LARRY KING" is next with discussions about the Duke University scandal and the Natalee Holloway case.


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