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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Civil Rights Leader Makes Controversial Comments; Journalist Shares Inside View of bin Laden
Aired August 22, 2006 - 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 again, everyone.
Just when you thought you had heard it all, John Karr has even more to say.
ANNOUNCER: Call him John "Motor Mouth" Karr.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... be alone with that little girl, that doll face.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Hear what he reportedly said about his role in JonBenet's killing, years ago, and today.
Almost 10 years since the killing, who else have police suspected, and cleared, and possibly suspected again?
Plus: the man Wal-Mart hired to improve its image with minorities...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I blew it.
ANNOUNCER: ... on putting his racial foot in his mouth.
ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: And we begin tonight with a possibility, perhaps tantalizing -- or maybe just pathetic -- that John Karr has been trying to confess to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey for years. It's one of several stunning new developments in the case today, a day that began with Karr waiving extradition in Los Angeles. It ends with a few more answers and a lot more questions -- so, tonight, all the angles, first, on a tape, purportedly of Karr, made five years ago, surfacing only now, the voice talking about entering the Ramsey house and more -- also, what Karr's former lawyer is saying now about her one-time client, with whom she spoke, and what he has been saying since his return, at his extradition hearing, which was not much, and elsewhere, which certainly could be.
Here's CNN's Dan Simon with this exclusive report.
JOHN MARK KARR, SUSPECT: I love JonBenet, and she died accidentally.
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Mark Karr's statements about the Ramsey case didn't end in Thailand. CNN has learned, he gave additional details about his supposed involvement to law enforcement here in the U.S.
A source familiar with John Karr's transfer back to the United States says, he began speaking freely.
Referring to the night of JonBenet's murder, the source says Karr blurted out -- quote -- "Everybody says I couldn't know my way around the house, but I got in the house around 5:00 and I stayed there all night. They" -- meaning the Ramseys -- "didn't come back until 10:00."
It is true that the Ramseys were out late the night of the murder, but there's no evidence made public tying Karr to the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remain seated when we order the court to get in session.
SIMON: Karr's latest public outing at a Los Angeles courthouse for an extradition hearing -- he appeared stoic and somber, as he faced a judge for the first time in connection with the Ramsey case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is it that he would like to do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your Honor, Mr. Karr has elected to waive extradition, and he has filed the paperwork.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has?
SIMON: The judge wanted to make sure Karr fully understood his decision.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand that, by signing this form, you are agreement to be extradited to Colorado?
KARR: Yes, Your Honor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. The court finds that the defendant, knowingly and intelligently, waived his right to the issuance and service of a governor's warrant.
SIMON: Karr requested, an L.A. public defender represent him in court. But he has been seeking the advice of two Northern California lawyers, who say they met with him at the jail. One of them, Jamie Harmon, refused to say that Karr has made a murder confession.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you an innocent man?
JAMIE HARMON, ATTORNEY: His statements are taken out of context. They're sound bites. I consider them as statements made by Mr. Karr in the throng of the media.
SIMON: Harmon declined to say if she think he was involved in JonBenet's death, but did say Karr is an intelligent person, who is being misportrayed in the media.
HARMON: My overall opinion of him is that he's a very intelligent man, that he's a different sort of person than most of us walking around the face of the planet. And that differentness has been construed in the media as wrong or somehow unbalanced. And I don't find that to be true at all. I found him to be very engaging, very bright, very articulate.
SIMON: She says Karr is anxious and ready to begin the next phase of the case in Colorado. It seems he won't have to wait much longer.
COOPER: Dan, why would this guy Karr continue to talk, continue to make statements, as, allegedly, he -- he made in the company of police officers?
SIMON: Well, according to my source, he got the distinct impression that Karr had been, you know, basically keeping up on all the press reports when he was in Thailand, and basically wanted to state things on the record.
He was the frustrated, according to my source, that people were sort of doubting his involvement in the crime. So, when he first landed at LAX, and made the trek to the -- to the jailhouse, which is behind me, he began making statements. And one of the things he said is that: How -- how does everybody -- why -- why don't people think I know my way around that house? Well, the reason is, I came in the house at 5:00, and nobody was there. And I stayed there until late -- meaning that he had several hours to kind of poke around, and wait for the Ramseys to arrive -- Anderson.
COOPER: A fascinating development.
Dan, appreciate it. Thank you very much.
More now on this newly revealed tape that we told you about at the top of the program, billed as a conversation, or conversations, between John Karr and a childhood friend of Polly Klaas' killer. The Klaas murder, you may remember, seems to have been another fixation of Mr. Karr's.
CNN's Brian Todd now has the specifics.
WENDY HUTCHENS, CLAIMS CONTACT WITH JOHN MARK KARR: And he opened up and he started telling me...
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Northern California woman, Wendy Hutchens, says John Mark Karr came to her in 2001, just before he was arrested in Sonoma County, on charges of possessing child pornography. Karr pleaded not guilty to those charges, but skipped bail, and never stood trial.
Hutchens' representative tells CNN she was a childhood acquaintance of Richard Allen Davis, the man convicted of the 1993 kidnapping and murder of Polly Klaas. Hutchens told "The Santa Rose Press Democrat" newspaper and CNN affiliate KRON that she corresponded and talked on the phone with Karr at that time, initially about Klaas, then about the Ramsey case, conversations she says she recorded.
HUTCHENS: He knew JonBenet's family, because his brother worked for the Ramseys, worked for Mr. Ramsey.
TODD: CNN has tried, unsuccessfully, in recent days to reach Karr's brother. Hutchens told KRON, Karr told her that he his brother went to a Christmas party at the Ramseys' house in 1996. The Ramseys did have a party on December 23.
HUTCHENS: He met JonBenet, sat on the stairs with her by the kitchen, ate pineapple with her, and talked to her, and, you know, did just funny voices, and some magic tricks, you know, quarter-behind- the-ear kind of thing, and, you know, got her confidence at that time.
TODD: Then, Hutchens says, Karr claimed he found a storm window in the house, unlocked it, returned later, and snuck in, then hid in a guest bedroom, until JonBenet's parents were asleep.
HUTCHENS: He came -- got out from under the guest bed, and went into her room -- and she was just only barely asleep -- and woke her up, and said, her parents wanted her to come downstairs. And she remembered him from the party, and, so, she willingly went with him.
TODD: Karr has since claimed that JonBenet's death was an accident. Hutchens does not mention any specific confession from Karr.
This is an excerpt from an audiotape she gave to KRON, a voice she claims is Karr's.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: JonBenet. God, what a powerful thing, to just be alone with that little girl, that doll face. You know, she -- she was just so incredible in mind, and so unreal in death. She's just so alive. She's so alive. She's so alive. She's so alive. I mean, she's wonderful.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TODD: Karr also said on the tape, according to Hutchens: "How would that person apologize for such an atrocity? Would that person say, I strangled your daughter, and it was so accidental, and I was so afraid?"
CNN has not been able to independently verify the authenticity of the tape. And no law enforcement agency involved has been willing to say they are genuine, despite extensive efforts.
When we spoke to Hutchens' representative, asking to interview her, and for copies of the audiotapes and e-mails, the representative didn't provide them.
"The Santa Rosa Press Democrat" also says it cannot independently verify the voice on the tapes or the copies of the e-mails. Hutchens told the newspaper and KRON, she recorded Karr at the request of local investigators and the FBI. An FBI official in San Francisco would only say the bureau had assisted the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office in its 2001 investigation of Karr.
The sheriff's office did not respond to our repeated calls. But Hutchens' name does show up in one document related to Karr, obtained by CNN, a Sonoma County judge's order in October 2001, granting Karr's supervised release from jail in the pornography case.
The line reads, "Do not contact victim directly or indirectly," then has Hutchens' name next to it, with a slightly different spelling. That same line appears again in divorce papers filed by Karr's now ex-wife.
(on camera): So, should investigators have gone after John Mark Karr five years ago? The Sonoma County sheriff told "The Santa Rosa Press Democrat," his department did not have clear evidence tying Karr to JonBenet Ramsey's killing.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: Well, Jamie Harmon is one of the two lawyers Dan Simon mentioned in his report. Patience Van Zandt is the other. Both spent several hours with John Karr. And, in addition, Ms. Van Zandt was John Karr's lawyer back in 2001 on those child pornography charges.
Both attorneys join me now from Los Angeles.
Thanks very much for -- for being with us. I know it has been a busy day for you.
Patience, we -- we just heard portions of this alleged conversation with John Mark Karr. That was recorded, allegedly, in 2001. You were representing Karr in 2001. Do you know anything about these tapes? PATIENCE VAN ZANDT, JOHN MARK KARR'S ATTORNEY IN 2001: I had heard about them in 2001, but the charges in Sonoma County where I represented him as a -- as a deputy public defender with the Sonoma County public defender's office, were misdemeanor charges, having to do with the allegation that there was contraband material on his computer that had already been previously deleted.
So, although I was aware that the tapes existed, I don't think that they were taken seriously by the district attorney's office at that time.
COOPER: Jamie, while he was being transported to the L.A. County jail, officials say that Karr talked about being inside the Ramsey house, that he got there around 5:00, stayed there all night.
Why is he making these statements, to your knowledge?
HARMON: He isn't making them anymore.
COOPER: You have advised him not to?
And I think that there are a variety of psychological factors which I couldn't even begin to address, Anderson, concerning why he might feel compelled to talk under the circumstances.
COOPER: Because, I mean, anyone who -- I mean, who clearly is a -- is a student of -- of crime, and anyone who watches any crime shows knows not to make statements without the presence of an attorney. He's now seemingly made several.
HARMON: A number, from what I gather.
I was asked earlier today whether or not I had heard about those statements. And, frankly, when we got to the studio at CNN, that was the first time I had heard of it in all of the maelstrom today. So, I really can't address whether or not he made actually those statements or not.
COOPER: You saw the statements he made out of Thailand. Do you view those statements as a confession?
HARMON: No, because a confession, as I'm sure you understand, Anderson, is a -- a legal term of art. And, so, a confession has a technical meaning. You know, I think those are statements that he made that have the potential to incriminate him.
COOPER: You know, as we're looking -- we're looking at these pictures from that -- that bizarre Thailand news conference, press conference, whatever you want to call it, when you see these pictures, what do you see? Because, I mean, when many people see them, you know, they see this -- this man who seems rather mysterious or -- you know, some have called him strange -- and -- and, you know, making public statements.
When you see these pictures, what do you see?
HARMON: Well, I see the same person that I saw yesterday, under inordinate amounts of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual strain.
I think you have probably heard by now that he was injured by the throng of reporters in Thailand. And if you watched...
COOPER: Injured how?
HARMON: He was physically injured. He bruised three ribs. And he has bruises on various parts of his body, from where he was banged into and shoved and grabbed.
So, it was -- it was a very stressful time. And I think he was -- I -- I don't know. It would be impossible for me to address his -- the reality of his mental state, to tell you the truth. But it had to be, you know, a 12 on a scale of 10, in terms of stress.
COOPER: Patience, what do you make of his mental state?
VAN ZANDT: I agree with Jamie.
I think that Mr. Karr had -- has gone through, in the last week, things that a person would have to be Superman to hold up under. He has been taken from his home, held in custody, mobbed by the media, transported across the world, and told that he's facing charges that are potentially capital charges.
And he hasn't had much of an opportunity to settle down and -- and come to terms with all of that. And, so, I think -- I think he's holding up remarkably well.
COOPER: Does he...
VAN ZANDT: But I think that he's under a great deal of stress.
COOPER: Does he understand the -- the deep waters that he is now swimming in?
HARMON: Who are you asking?
I think -- the conversation yesterday, as I have indicated, was very pointed in that connection. We have informed him, in no uncertain terms, that he is no longer to make any kind of statements to anybody. And I -- honestly, Anderson, I don't think he understood the kind of serious situation that he found himself in.
So, to answer your question...
COOPER: How -- how is that possible?
HARMON: ... I don't think he did.
COOPER: How do you mean?
HARMON: Well, you know, it's -- it's difficult to explain. It's such a complex thing, and we have so little time to talk about it.
But this is a human being who is being bombarded, and who is looking -- my sense of him was -- and I think our interview with him yesterday was really helpful in this regard -- my sense of him was that he is looking somewhere for a place to land, someplace for -- where he can be safe, where he can speak freely, and he can unburden himself in a way that's meaningful, without everybody misconstruing the words that come out of his mouth.
COOPER: Do you have a sense of how he will plea? I mean, if he is charged with the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, either accidental murder or intentional, would he plead guilty?
As a technical matter, I'm confident that whatever lawyers are advising him in Boulder, should it come to that, will advise him to plead not guilty. And -- and -- and I believe he will accept their advice.
COOPER: Jamie, you described him, also, earlier as a different sort of person. And that may be part of the perception people have of him, part of the problem of the perception is that he is a different sort of person.
What did you mean by that?
HARMON: I mean -- I mean different in a way that has no pejorative meaning.
He is unusual. He lives differently than you do or than I do. And his value system is different. That doesn't mean it's wrong or bad. But in -- in our rush to categorize him and make him simple for our consumption, we turn that into something evil and something insidious. And I think that's not true about him.
COOPER: Would you be his attorney, if he asked you?
HARMON: Well, we have just -- we're already in that conversation. So, absolutely, we would.
COOPER: So, you're -- and that conversation continues?
COOPER: With both of you?
HARMON: Correct. We work together, Patience and I.
COOPER: Jamie Harmon, Patience Van Zandt, appreciate you being on, on the program. Thank you. HARMON: Thank you.
VAN ZANDT: You're welcome.
COOPER: While many Americans may not know what to think about John Karr, it seems, sometimes -- well, it seems like everyone these days in America is following the story.
There's a new poll out by "USA Today" and Gallup. Here's some of the "Raw Data" on it. Forty-five percent of those polled said the anticipated murder charges against John Karr are definitely or probably true. And 43 percent said they are probably or definitely not true -- pretty divided there. Roughly six in 10 respondents said they are following the story closely. More than one-third are not.
Two nights before JonBenet was murdered, the Ramseys had a party in their home. A couple playing Santa and Mrs. Claus at the party were there. They soon caught the eye of those investigating the death of the child beauty queen. And they were not alone -- a look at the many people who have been under a cloud of suspicion and then cleared through the years.
Also tonight, civil rights leader and former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young here to set the record straight on his comments about mom-and- pop stores run by Jews, Arab and Koreans ripping off inner-city African-Americans. What did he mean, and what does he think now?
And later: tracking the most wanted terrorist in the world, a preview of the CNN special "In the Footsteps of bin Laden," and a conversation with CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, who met bin Laden face to face -- all that and more when 360 continues.
COOPER: Well, John Karr is still talking. So are the people who know him well, including his former lawyers, who say Karr isn't crazy. And his family attorney believes they may have the evidence that could give him an ironclad alibi -- a lot of legal issues to get to.
For that, let's turn to CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.
First of all, you just heard these two lawyers, who have been meeting with him, talking. What did you think?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I thought, you know, it would have been nice to have a simple declarative sentence like, he didn't do it.
Instead, there was all this touchy-feely stuff about, he's kind of different and all that. I mean, yes, obviously, he's not a -- you know, what we think of as normal. But, I mean, if you're going to be his attorney, you might as well say he didn't do it, because there's not much evidence that he did do it.
COOPER: Do you think it likely that they will be his attorneys? TOOBIN: I -- I think it's extremely unlikely. He's going to be -- he's -- they're -- they're California lawyers. This case takes place in Colorado. I think he can and he should get a lawyer in Colorado.
COOPER: What happens to him now? I mean, you -- you -- there was the hearing today.
And -- and, in the next couple days, he will be brought from L.A. to Boulder. And, then, at that point, soon thereafter, they're -- the -- he will be brought to an appearance in front of the judge in -- in Boulder. And they will decide, are they going to bring charges or not?
The arrest warrant will be presented. He will have bail. And, at some point, the DA there is going to have to decide, is he going to forward -- is she going to go forward with a preliminary hearing, or open a grand jury investigation, but, you know, proceed with this investigation or not.
COOPER: I do not understand -- I mean, anyone who has watched any police shows, at the very basic -- even if you don't know anything about law -- knows not to make statements, I mean, not to talk to police, not to make statements.
We have this statement, Dan Simon reporting that, according to a source, he said -- where's -- Where's the quote? -- that: "Everybody says I couldn't know my way around the house, but I -- but I -- I got to the house around 5:00. I -- I got in the house around 5:00. I stayed there all night."
COOPER: Why would he be making these statements?
TOOBIN: But -- but, as we also know from cop shows and from real life, people do make statements...
TOOBIN: ... which is stupid, but -- but they do.
In a perverse way, though, the more he talks, the less believable this all is. I mean, remember, the only evidence that we know about this in this case is his statements. There is no corroboration. There is no evidence that he was in Boulder, no evidence that he was in the house. We just have this obsessed man talking about what he did in Boulder. And, you know, it...
COOPER: Do you believe him?
TOOBIN: It does -- I -- you know, I don't know whether I believe him or not.
TOOBIN: I mean, I -- I -- I mean, I think you have got to look at...
COOPER: ... clearly was what -- what is the core of people's fascination with this case.
COOPER: I mean, you can go round and round for hours discussing...
TOOBIN: Well, and -- and...
COOPER: ... in minute detail.
TOOBIN: And you start with a case that is so hard to figure out what happened in the first place.
Then, this guy comes in out of nowhere, sort of waving his hand, saying: I did it, or I sort of did it.
And you think, well, why would he say that in the first place? And then you think, well, but his story doesn't make any sense, which it doesn't.
COOPER: And -- and, still, the story of what happened inside that house is really a mystery all these years later.
TOOBIN: And -- and -- and -- and, you know, it is what's so intoxicating about -- about this case, because there is all this contradictory evidence.
There's this bizarre, long ransom note, three pages, that was written inside the house, something that took a lot of time. Whoever wrote that note took a lot of time. So, it was someone who was apparently comfortable there...
COOPER: And who knew details of the -- the ransom -- you know, the amount John Ramsey had made, or at least who John Ramsey was.
TOOBIN: ... certainly knew who John Ramsey was.
And, you know, again, everything he has said so far could have been something he picked up as a buff...
TOOBIN: ... everything that we have heard that he said.
Now, it is true that some people say he has said some things that -- that betray an extremely detailed knowledge of the case. But anything that's public certainly just could have come from reading books or...
COOPER: And, also, I mean, the, you know, autopsy photos are on the Internet. There -- there's no telling how much information..
TOOBIN: And the autopsy report.
TOOBIN: I mean, lots of detail are -- is on the Internet.
And, you know, Larry Schiller's book is 500 pages long. I mean, there's a lot of -- there's a lot of information out there.
COOPER: Right. It is fascinating.
Jeff Toobin, thanks.
COOPER: Before John Karr became the prime suspect, there were scores of other people, more than 100, actually, who were under a cloud of suspicion at one time or another. They included JonBenet's mother, Patsy, the father, John, and brother, Burke. Tonight, you're going to hear about two men who, for reasons you will soon find out, quickly got the attention of investigators.
CNN's Randi Kaye reports.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Two days before JonBenet Ramsey died, Bill McReynolds played Santa Claus in her home. His wife, Janet, played Mrs. Claus. After JonBenet's death, investigators instantly became curious about the couple.
BILL MCREYNOLDS, RAMSEY FAMILY FRIEND: No, I didn't do it.
KAYE: That was Santa Bill back in February of 1997. But too many eerie parallels between the McReynolds and the Ramseys told investigators not to the give up. Trip DeMuth was a prosecutor on the case. He says Santa Bill gave JonBenet a card that read, "You will receive a special gift after Christmas."
TRIP DEMUTH, FORMER BOULDER, COLORADO, DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Statements like that led -- led me to have some suspicion about him, I mean, what was going on between Santa Bill and JonBenet. You know, again, here's an individual who's involved with her, has an interest in her, was seen with her shortly before the murder.
KAYE: And then investigators discovered this: The McReynolds' daughter had been abducted 22 years to the day before JonBenet's death. And Janet McReynolds had written a play about a child who was molested in her basement, then murdered. Santa Bill and his wife submitted hair, handwriting, and blood samples.
They talked about the ordeal on "LARRY KING LIVE".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE")
JANET MCREYNOLDS, RAMSEY FAMILY FRIEND: We had nothing to hide. We had no reason to not cooperate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Long before his death in 2002, Santa Bill was cleared. Trip DeMuth recalls, his DNA wasn't a match. But there was more than 100 other potential suspects that needed investigating.
(on camera): Including Michael Helgoth, the Colorado native who died shortly after the murder. But his death left more questions than answers. It appeared to be a suicide. And what about the stun gun discovered next to his body? Investigators believe a stun gun had been used on JonBenet.
DEMUTH: I remember that -- that he had footwear that was consistent with the footprint evidence. He had a stun gun. He had reportedly made statements to a friend, very similar to the types of statements that we're hearing about today in the press with the arrest of John Karr.
KAYE (voice-over): Plus, a baseball cap with the letters SBTC was found near Helgoth's body, the same letters found in the ransom note at the Ramsey home. DeMuth says, he believes Helgoth's DNA was tested and didn't match up.
Hundreds of interviews later, still an open case -- will John Mark Karr close it, or just add himself to the list of names that never panned out?
COOPER: How many suspects have there been over the years?
KAYE: Well, he doesn't like to call them all suspects, Trip DeMuth. He said they -- they were inter -- they were interviewing more than 100 people, people of interest, he called them.
But there were six very serious suspects, including one man, a pedophile, who lived a block away from JonBenet. He didn't have the name for me today when we spoke, but he said that this man would show up at all of the -- the memorial ceremonies on the front lawn of the Ramsey home. He was a pedophile. They were very interested in him. He called it an unusual, extraordinary interest that this man had in JonBenet. So, he was eventually cleared, just like the others. One more interesting note: Trip DeMuth said that there were other people just like John Mark Karr over the years, at least two other people, who also said that they had committed this crime. And their statements turned out to be false.
COOPER: It's bizarre.
Randi Kaye, thanks very much.
COOPER: A lot more to -- stories to cover today, the latest from Lebanon, also out of Iran.
Also: Wal-Mart hired Andrew Young to help its image. Well, now the civil rights leader's image needs help, after he says that -- he said that Jews, Koreans and Arabs take advantage of inner-city African-Americans. My conversation with Andrew Young is coming up.
And tomorrow night: a special CNN prime-time first. Sheryl Crow talks about Lance Armstrong and more on "LARRY KING LIVE." That's at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
Then, at 9:00, CNN takes you on a two-hour investigation, "In the Footsteps of bin Laden." We have got a preview of that coming up.
And, at 11:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow, a special 360 -- five years after September 11, are we any safer? We look at the facts on the war on terror. That's tomorrow night, only on CNN.
COOPER: Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, is used to feeling heat. Critics accuse it of paying low wages, skimping on benefits and destroying smaller stores that can't afford to offer steep discounts.
The company has been taking steps to polish its image and to convince local politicians to allow Wal-Marts in their communities. To do that, they recently turned to a man with an extraordinary resume of accomplishments, Andrew Young. Wal-Mart didn't expect what happened next. No one did.
COOPER (voice-over): Andrew Young's resume is filled with achievements: a key lieutenant to Martin Luther King Jr., a giant of the civil rights movement, the first southern African-American since Reconstruction elected to Congress, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and the mayor credited for prosperous times in Atlanta who later helped steer the Olympics to the city.
ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: To bring our city together and to move it forward.
COOPER: But now Young's reputation may be in trouble. In February, the retail giant Wal-Mart hired the civil rights icon to help boost its image, but the spin they got from him soon spun out of control.
In an interview last week, speaking about the inner cities, Young said it's a good thing Wal-Mart drives mom and pop stores out of business, saying, quote, "Those are the people who have been over charging us, selling us stale bread and bad meat and wilted vegetables. And they sold out and retired to Florida. I think they've ripped off our communities enough. First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs. Very few black people own these stores."
The backlash was immediate.
NIDAL IBRAHAIM, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARAB-AMERICAN INSTITUTE: Having some knowledge about his relationship to Dr. -- to Dr. Martin Luther King and his efforts in fighting bigotry. It was surprising and disappointed that he would make those comments.
COOPER: Wal-Mart issued a statement saying Young's comments do not represent our feelings. We were outraged.
For his part, Young apologized, saying those comments run contrary to everything I've dedicated my life to.
He's no longer working for Wal-Mart. He resigned. What he hadn't done on television until tonight is explain why he said what he did, leaving even some of his supporters to search for answers.
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER: I think that his statements reflect a frustration of a community that has had any number of generations of people not behaving in a way that is conducive to good business. That should not be broken down by ethnicity.
COOPER: Coming up, my exclusive interview with Ambassador Andrew Young, his first televised interview since the controversy erupted.
Plus, the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Coming up, another exclusive on al Qaeda, and how the evil organization now operates when 360 continues.
COOPER: Before the break, we heard about Ambassador Andrew Young, a civil rights leader hired by Wal-Mart to help its image, now coming under fire for accusing Jews, Arabs and Koreans of ripping off inner city African-Americans.
Andrew Young agreed to talk to me earlier today, his first televised interview since making those controversial remarks.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Professor Young, I want to read you something that the national director of the Anti-defamation League Abraham Foxman said about your comments. He said that "a leader of the civil rights movement and one who knew discrimination firsthand would make such comments, demonstrates that even people of color are not immune from being bigoted, racist and anti-Semitic."
Do you think you were bigoted, racist and anti-Semitic?
YOUNG: I don't, but I do think that those statements, as they were reported, were bigoted and anti- everything and everybody.
But my attempt in that entire meeting, and in the rest of that story, was to try to discuss a complicated issue of the problems of the poor in our central cities, the fact that they don't have access to goods and services at an economic war.
COOPER: The comments, though, do reflect -- I mean, a widespread belief and perception that is held in a lot of inner city neighborhoods. I mean, there is a lot of resentment over, you know, mom and pop stores, whether they're run by Koreans or Arabs or Jewish people or African-Americans. What is that about?
YOUNG: Well, it's about deprivation, and it's about lack of transportation. It's about lack of jobs. It's about the bitterness of being poor in the midst of society that right now is flourishing. We have a government that's forgotten the poor.
COOPER: It's interesting. Do you think in this day and age in America we can have a conversation that does take into account ethnicity? I mean, it's -- it is such a minefield that any mention of any race, one risks, you know, offending people? Is that a problem, do you think? Or do you think that's a good thing?
YOUNG: No, I think that's a problem. And I think that -- well, it's a good thing, too. It's a good thing that we're sensitive to ethnic diversity. But it's also necessary for us to talk about complex social issues.
And I think the only way we can do that is not talk about complex social issues and diversity together. Let's talk about diversity when we're celebrating our cultures, when we're praising our foods or enjoying our jazz or our folklore.
But when it comes to complex social issues, we've got to leave the ethnic labels behind. And I didn't do that, and that's the only thing I was apologizing for.
We do have to deal with these complex issues, though.
COOPER: Why did you resign from this group? You were a spokesman for Wal-Mart trying to convince local government officials around the country to allow Wal-Mart into their areas. Why resign from the group last week?
YOUNG: Well, I resigned because I'm a professional and I goofed. I shouldn't have lost my cool with that reporter. And for me to make this kind of almost hate speech should not reflect on any of my associations. And rather than have it reflect on my associations, I would rather separate myself from them.
COOPER: It's -- do you really view it as hate speech?
YOUNG: Well, it was getting close, because I think we have to be very sensitive. That's the way it was interpreted by the "New York Times" and "The Los Angeles Times" that I was a new demagogue on the rise and that they'd better shut me up quick.
I pleaded with them. You know, I told them, I welcomed the Hispanic community into Atlanta as mayor. I've been to Korea five times, trying to work with the Koreans. My relationship with Jews and Arabs has gone all the way back to early childhood, frankly.
And for me to be labeled as somebody trying to stir up racial discord offended me, but I had to say I contributed to it. And that's what I was sorry for.
COOPER: That was part of our conversation with Ambassador Andrew Young.
Coming up, "In the Footsteps of bin Laden", tracking the mass murder. We'll talk with terrorist analyst Peter Bergen, one of the few western journalists who actually sat face to face with Osama bin Laden.
And the politics of terror. Do Americans feel safer with Republicans or Democrats in charge? Who do you feel safer with? Results of a new poll and what that -- those numbers might mean come November, ahead on 360.
COOPER: And some breaking news to bring to you. Take a look at the satellite loop way out there, near the Cape Verde Islands. What was a tropical depression has just been raised to a tropical storm. You're looking at Tropical Storm Debby there. That is on the right side of your screen, swirling white mass there above the Cape Verde islands.
We just got the word from the National Weather Service. The winds, not much yet. About 40 miles an hour, well below hurricane strength. And as for when and where it might hit or if it may hit, it is way out there. Not even expected to be approaching Bermuda until sometime early next week. And no doubt we will be tracking it.
Tomorrow night, CNN Presents "In the Footsteps of bin Laden", a two-hour investigation into the leader of al Qaeda. Unprecedented look at the life of Osama bin Laden and the motivations of him.
Tonight a short preview. As chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports, bin Laden simply wasn't well-known in the west during the 1990s, but that didn't stop him from trying to seize the spotlight and declare war on America.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mountains of Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden would feel most at home, the place he came to when he was in trouble, safe behind these walls.
By 1996 Osama bin Laden was a man on the run, stripped of his Saudi citizenship and banished from Sudan. He came to this, now destroyed, compound in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. It was from here that he would galvanize his followers by declaring war on America. He had a chilling message, and he delivered it to CNN in his first-ever television interview.
PETER ARNETT, JOURNALIST: My name is Peter Arnett. I met bin Laden as a CNN correspondent in Afghanistan in March 1997. While bin Laden was not well-known to the American public or to the world. Within the news media there was quite a lot of competition for that interview.
AMANPOUR: Spearheading CNN's effort was then producer Peter Bergen. He negotiated for months with bin Laden contact in London.
PETER BERGEN, JOURNALIST: And then we basically got the green light. About a month later I got a call saying a man in Kuwait wants to see you, which was the code for go to Jalalabad, see bin Laden.
Mr. Bin Laden, you have declared a jihad against the United States. Can you tell us why?
OSAMA BIN LADEN, LEADER, AL QAEDA: (speaking foreign language)
GRAPHICS: We declared jihad on America because the U.S. government is unjust.
BERGEN: Basically, he was declaring war against the United States for the first time to western reporters. That was the message.
COOPER: Earlier I got more insight on bin Laden from the man who helped set up that interview, Peter Bergen. I talked earlier to him.
COOPER: You know, Peter, what's fascinating about that interview is that you basically hear bin Laden using your interview to declare war against the United States. At that time, I mean, did you know the meaning of it? Did you know the significance of it?
BERGEN: I don't know. Part of me was saying is this rhetorical? The people around him seemed very serious. He seemed very serious.
But, you know, until the embassy bombings in August of '98, there was a part of me that was saying is this guy just a blowhard? And, in fact, they invited me back to come to a press conference they were giving in late May of '98. And basically, I just said no because I felt like why go to the effort expense and trouble of being in Afghanistan, hear the same old things, and then, you know, al Qaeda does nothing.
But of course, that press conference is really their -- they were sort of getting press coverage, and they knew the embassy bombing attacks were going to happen. So they had this press conference to really announce it.
So anyway, I didn't go. But, you know, by a year after our interview with the guy, I was just beginning to think that he was just a blowhard and, of course, unfortunately, I was wrong.
COOPER: It's amazing, though. Scheduling this press conference. And I mean, it sounds like he had a media strategy.
BERGEN: I think he's had a media strategy for a long time. You know, he -- in the mid '80s he funded something called "Jihad Magazine", which was sort of the in-flight magazine...
COOPER: Wait. There was really something called "Jihad Magazine"?
BERGEN: I kid you not. It's the in-flight magazine of the jihadis fighting the Soviet Union, and bin Laden funded it. And of course, the magazine gave him pretty favorable coverage.
And as early as '87 he was inviting Saudi journalists from sort of the mainstream press to come in and cover his exploits in Afghanistan. So he's been keenly aware of the power of the media.
COOPER: What is his strategy? What is his master plan? I mean, did he have a master plan, and did it get diverted by attacks on America? Or are the attacks of America just part and parcel of the master plan?
BERGEN: Well, that's kind of an interesting tough question. I think his master plan, if you were interviewing him now, he would say it's the return of the caliphate, by which he meant restoring, you know, putting Taliban south, bureaucracies and countries into Indonesian to Morocco. That's the master plan.
Now, the likelihood of that happening is practically nil. I think he did get a little distracted with his attacks on the United States.
In his analysis, the way to basically change the whole of the Middle East and including getting rid of all of the secular regimes he doesn't like is by attacking the United States because he thinks that without the United States support, the regimes wouldn't exist. And that basically, if you attack the United States, hit it hard enough, it will withdrawal from the Middle East and these regimes will fall.
That analysis turned out to be flawed, because 9/11 provoked the United States to actually occupy Afghanistan and then Iraq. So I think his strategic -- bin Laden likes to think of himself as a big thinker but his strategic analysis of the United States is pretty flawed.
COOPER: It's interesting, though. I mean, there are a lot of people who described him as really charismatic. What is he -- what's he actually like in person? When you sit there, when you're sitting across from him, does he look you in the eye? Does he -- what does he seem like?
BERGEN: He didn't strike me as charismatic. You know, I don't speak in Arabic. He was speaking in Arabic. I may have lost something. But he didn't strike me as any kind of -- I actually found him hard to read. He didn't really have much of a personal affect. He was very low key, and he didn't make much of a big impression, personally.
COOPER: Did he -- did he answer questions directly? Or did he sort of go off into, you know, soliloquy?
BERGEN: Well, a little bit of soliloquizing. But he also did occasionally not for translation, so he clearly understands English pretty well. But for ideological reasons, he wasn't going speak English in the interview, because that's the language of the infidel. And he wanted to stick to Arabic.
COOPER: All right. It's fascinating. Peter, thanks.
BERGEN: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: You can see more of Peter and Christian Amanpour's work tomorrow night right here at 9 p.m. Eastern, "In the Footsteps of bin Laden", only on CNN.
And in a moment some of the other headlines around world, including a terribly deadly plane crash and what might have caused it.
Plus, John Karr, the man suspected of killing JonBenet Ramsey. A look of some of the disturbing new details as we emerge today, ahead on 360.
COOPER: Some bad news tonight about the stranded shrimp boat that became a symbol of Hurricane Katrina's destruction, a shrimp boat you saw right here on 360. We'll tell you about that in tonight's "Shot". But first, Randi Kaye joins us with the "360 Bulletin" -- Randi.
RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Anderson.
No clear word from Iran today about whether it's going to halt the uranium enrichment program. Iran gave a lengthy written response to a package of incentives offered by western nations, but the details have not been made public yet. Iran's nuclear negotiator says the country is willing to resume negotiations but won't say whether it will stop its nuclear development program.
A U.N. resolution passed last month says Iran must suspend the program by the end of next week.
One hundred seventy people are dead after a plane crash in Eastern Ukraine near the border with Russia. The Ukrainian authorities said the pilot reported a fire on board along with heavy turbulence. There were no survivors.
President Bush has authorized the Marine Corps to call 2,500 troops back to active duty to fill gaps created by those who left for service in Afghanistan and Iraq. The call-ups will start in spring of next year with tours of duty that could last up to 18 months.
And Paramount Pictures has ended its relationship with Tom Cruise's production company. Viacom's chairman says the actor's off- screen behavior is unacceptable. Cruise jumped on Oprah Winfrey's couch and also publicly criticized the use of antidepressants like in this exchange with NBC's Matt Lauer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, CO-HOST, NBC'S "THE TODAY SHOW": Aren't there examples where it works?
TOM CRUISE, ACTOR: You're glib. You don't even know what Ritalin is. If you start talking about chemical balance, you have to evaluate and read the research papers on how they came up with those these theories, Matt. OK, that's what I've done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KAYE: Cruise's production company has confirmed to "Daily Variety" that it has parted ways with Paramount and is in discussions with several distributors -- Anderson.
COOPER: Thanks very much, Randi.
Tonight's "Shot" is close to our hearts. In New Orleans last year we got to know a shrimp boat pretty well. It had been stranded by the receding storm, propped up high and dry in St. Bernard Parish.
Do we have a picture of that? It became a symbol of Katrina's destruction, as well as the neglect and the clean-up effort. This weekend it was damaged in a fire that officials say is suspicious. Took 12 hours for about 15 firefighters and rotating shifts to put out the blaze. In the end, a backhoe was needed to get the fires on the deck. The burned out boat is yet to be removed, and we have no pictures of it. But they do exist somewhere and maybe some day we'll show them to you.
Oh, there they are. That's what the boat looked like. Is that before or after the fire? That's after the fire. There you go. We'll fix that and do it again tomorrow.
When we return, the latest developments in the John Karr/JonBenet Ramsey case. New details that the suspect has been talking in the presence of police. And two timelines: one, the sometimes strange and sometimes sad upbringing of John Karr, and the fateful last days of JonBenet Ramsey. Details that may turn out to be decisive in court. Next on 360.
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