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The Lies of John Edwards; Southeast Floods Turn Deadly; The Fight For Afghanistan

Aired September 21, 2009 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

Tonight, we begin with a story about lies, a politician's lies, the lies of John Edwards, the former senator who wanted to be president, or vice president after that didn't work out. Look, we have known for a year now that John Edwards had an affair while running for president and lied about it to his wife and to the country, to all of us. That's old news.

But now, according to "The New York Times," Edwards may soon admit to yet another lie. "The Times" reports, Edwards may soon admit he did in fact father a child with his former mistress. They cite associates of Edwards as their sources.

Now, the child is 19 months old. You see her there. What is so stunning about is that John Edwards was running for the highest office in the land. And not only did he lie about the affair. Even when he was supposedly coming clean publicly, he was lying even then.

And, if published reports are accurate, he continued to lie even to interviewers. The damage he could have inflicted on the Democratic Party, had he won, not to mention the country, is incalculable -- incalculable. He is also now being investigated for possible misuse of campaign funds for the payments that were made to his mistress.

Now, we now know that Edwards had been having an affair back in -- in March of 2007 and when he held this emotional press conference standing side by side with his wife Elizabeth, announcing that her cancer was back, but that his campaign for the president would go on, and that he would stand by her side.



JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER U.S. SENATOR: I intend to -- to do the same thing I have always done with Elizabeth. We have been married 30 years, known each other longer than that. And we will -- we will be in this every step of the way together.


COOPER: OK. So, we know Edwards was having -- had been having an affair with Rielle Hunter, a woman who allegedly had been hired and paid to shoot behind-the-scenes video of his campaign. We also now know that, even at that news conference, his wife, Elizabeth, knew about the affair. In her book, "Resilience," Mrs. Edwards reveals that her husband first told her he had an affair three months earlier.

Publicly, at the time, of course, Edwards continued to lie, denying rumors of the affair. And, then, in July of 2008, "The National Enquirer" published these photographs of Edwards having a secret meeting with Rielle Hunter and her daughter at a Los Angeles hotel. Edwards there is seen holding the baby.

A couple days later, Edwards goes on "Nightline" and admits he had an affair with Hunter, but insists that Hunter's daughter could not be his. Listen.


EDWARDS: I know that it's not possible that this child could be mine because of the timing of events, so I know it's not possible. Happy to take a paternity test, and would love to see it happen.


COOPER: Yes, there's been no paternity test.

Now, according to a former aide, that was also a lie. The aide's name is Andrew Young. And, in a book proposal obtained by "The New York Times," he Edwards knew all along he was the little girl's father. He says Edwards pleaded with him to claim that Hunter's daughter was his, which Andrew Young did.

He also says he helped set up secret meetings between Edwards and Hunter. And, what may be the most shocking allegation, he said Edwards promised that, after Elizabeth Edwards died, he would marry Hunter in a rooftop ceremony in New York City complete with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.

According to "The Times," Rielle Hunter is now moving to North Carolina, where Edwards lives with his wife. Some associates tell "The Times" that Edwards may admit the baby is his. But they say Elizabeth Edwards is resisting the idea of her husband claiming paternity, saying she -- quote -- "has yet to be brought around."

Here's what Mrs. Edwards told Larry King last month.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": And the continued questions about the paternity factor, is there any solution there? DNA test? Do you know if anything is going to happen?

ELIZABETH EDWARDS, WIFE OF FORMER SENATOR JOHN EDWARDS: I -- my expectation is, at some point, something happens. And I hope, for the sake of this child, that -- that it happens, you know in, a quiet way.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, the reason any of this matters, beyond just a politician lying, is that, last month, Rielle Hunter took her daughter to a courthouse in Raleigh and she testified before a grand jury about her relationship with John Edwards and the money she received from his supporters and his campaign.

Charges could be brought against Edwards for misuse of campaign funds.

Joe Johns is down in Raleigh tonight. He is working the story. He joins us with all the "Raw Politics."

Joe, we mentioned a lot of this new information is coming from a book proposal by this former Edwards staffer, Andrew Young. What do we know about him? What's his angle?

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, talking to lawyers around town and others who are familiar with this case, it seems pretty clear that this is a guy who believed in Edwards and worked for him for a long time.

And when Edwards allegedly came to him and asked him to take responsibility for fathering the child of Rielle Edwards, he said he would do it. Of course, he would do it. He would do it because he believed in this man, and he also felt very strongly that he had to support him.

So, you go through this thing for a while. You find out that this man, Young, effectively, did not sign any affidavits, any other documents, because he was worried that it might come back to haunt him legally at some time down the road.

All of this, of course, changed some time later. We read have in the newspapers again and again how he recanted; he changed his story. What are the factors? Among the things we're hearing, he has a wife. He has children. He had to think for himself. He had to think about himself and his family. At the end of the day, he decided to recant his story, Anderson. He went back on that, said later, hey, I was not the father of this child.

COOPER: He also says, according to "The New York Times," that Edwards at one point had asked him about finding a doctor who could fake a paternity test. And now there's this grand jury investigation. What are they exactly looking into?

JOHNS: Well, the questions about campaign funds and how they were used.

We do know that there are a number of reports out there that there were some campaign funds which, in fact, went to Rielle Hunter. The question is whether those were legitimate campaign funds. She said she was there as a producer. The question is whether that's why she got the money.

There was also some money that changed hands that came from friends of John Edwards. That also, we're told, went to Rielle Hunter. The question, of course, is whether that was a legitimate campaign expense or whether it should be a tax legally. All these things, we're told, are being looked at in the grand jury -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Joe, thanks for the reporting.

Pigeon O'Brien is a friend of Rielle Hunter, spoke to her often during the time Hunter was having an affair with the presidential could. She joins us now for a 360 interview.

John Edwards, at least according to "The Times," is apparently moving closer to claiming paternity of Rielle Hunter's baby.

Pigeon, do you have any doubt that this baby is his?

PIGEON O'BRIEN, FRIEND OF RIELLE HUNTER: None whatsoever. No doubt whatsoever.


I know the relationship they were in at the time of conception. And I know the context of the untruths that Mr. Edwards has spoken. So, I -- I'm able to read between the lines in what he's saying and point out significant inaccuracies in them. And I know the relationship they were in at the time of conception, when...

COOPER: I want to talk you -- I want to talk you to more about that in detail. We have got to take a quick break, a lot more to talk about.

Also, join the live chat at Let us know what you think about this story, which is still developing. We thought this thing was over. Clearly, it is not over -- a lot more ahead tonight.

Also, Afghanistan in the news -- the -- the -- the general in command has ordered -- has said he needs more troops on the ground in a report to the president. We were there just a few weeks ago. We will talk to our panel of experts, Michael Ware, Peter Bergen, and Rory Stewart, about that.

Plus, breaking news tonight out of the Southeast, where floods have turned deadly and more rain is on the way. We will have the latest coming up.


COOPER: Well, we should point out, we asked John Edwards to come on the program tonight. He declined. We wanted his take on the revelations that he may be ready to admit he is the father of Rielle Hunter's daughter, according to "The New York Times," a 19-month girl named Frances Quinn.

Hunter chose the middle name Quinn, according to "The Times," because it resembled the Latin prefix for five, and she is John Edwards' fifth child.

Before she was at the center of this scandal, Rielle Hunter was a woman in a hotel bar. Here is how Elizabeth Edwards described how Hunter and John Edwards met to Oprah.


E. EDWARDS: John has said, as this woman had spotted him in the hotel in which he was staying, he was meeting with someone in the restaurant bar area. And she had verified with someone who John worked with that it was John.

And then John had gone to dinner, didn't speak to her then. But he had gone to dinner at a nearby restaurant. And then he had walked back to the hotel. And, when he walked back, she was standing in front of the hotel, and said to him, "You are so hot." I can't deliver it, but...


COOPER: We're back now with Rielle Hunter's friend Pigeon O'Brien.

You said you know for a fact that -- that they were still having an affair, and the timeline would make it possible that this child is, in fact, his. When he went on "Nightline," he said point-blank that the chronology just didn't work out. The baby was born in February. That means he would have -- the baby would have been conceived in June.

He was claiming the affair was long over by then. But you're saying it wasn't.

O'BRIEN: No, it was not. And, yes, he -- they were involved at the time, yes.

COOPER: "The Times" is reporting that Edwards told Rielle Hunter that he would marry her after his wife, Elizabeth, died and -- and would have this wedding on the roof top in New York with the Dave Matthews band.

To you knowledge, did she expect to one day marry John Edwards?

O'BRIEN: He assured her that -- that their relationship was a serious thing and that -- they had a future together, uh-huh, yes. Uh-huh.

COOPER: And what did she see in him?

O'BRIEN: He has a powerful ability to effect change in people, as you see from Mr. Young's loyalty to him. He's a -- seems a charismatic and compelling figure who is able to do good things in this world.

And he has a remarkable amount of that charisma. People all over the country followed him and gave up their livings to go and work for him. He's an enormous motivator and -- and speaks passionately about issues that really mean a great deal to people.

COOPER: At the time... O'BRIEN: And he's -- he has a spiritually aware side that would appear to Rielle as well.

COOPER: At the time she was e-mailing you and talking about this relationship, she didn't tell who you it was with. She said it was John in North Carolina, right?

O'BRIEN: Correct. Right.

COOPER: And she had another name for him also, right?

O'BRIEN: You know, girlfriends use nicknames with one another, honey buns, you know, yes.

COOPER: What -- what was her nickname for him?

O'BRIEN: We referred to him as "Love Lips."

COOPER: And -- and what did she say about him during the time she was e-mailing you?

O'BRIEN: How interesting he was, and how happy they were, and what a compelling person he was, and how difficult it was to be involved with a man who was married and -- and had a family.

COOPER: You say that Rielle Hunter actually met Elizabeth Edwards once. And what -- to your knowledge, what was that meeting like?

O'BRIEN: I believe -- I don't know firsthand. I don't have a firsthand account of that. But they encountered one another at a function. And I think it went about the way you would expect a mistress and a wife encountering one another to go, enormously uncomfortable all around and very traumatic on all -- all sides.

COOPER: Why you are speaking out? Because, clearly, you know, I understand Rielle Hunter does not want you to be talking now.

O'BRIEN: I don't know what her feeling is today.

I'm speaking out because it bothered me that so many people did put their trust in him, and he told untruths, and -- and implied that she was blackmailing him. And I -- I -- it bothered me greatly that someone who has a child with someone would call that person or imply that that person is a blackmailer.

I think that, what you do, you have to live within the light of day. And it dismayed me to see him telling untruths about it.

COOPER: Do you think she was on the payroll for valid reasons?

O'BRIEN: Her -- the Webisodes were groundbreaking at the time. It was a time before YouTube, if you recall. YouTube did not exist yet. And she produced citizenry documentary Webisodes about this candidate behind the scenes. It was enormously groundbreaking at the time, really, in context, tremendously innovative, and a great use of video technology, and a great piece of -- at that point, it wasn't campaign. It was his PAC.

And it was a great piece of -- of documentary footage. They were quite -- quite groundbreaking.

COOPER: When was the last time you -- you were in communication with her?

O'BRIEN: I -- I don't know the exact date. Last year at some point.

COOPER: All right.

Pigeon O'Brien, appreciate you being on. Thank you.

Again, this matters because John Edwards is now under investigation for the payments that were made to his mistress by his campaign. She says the payments were legitimate.

Joining me now is senior political analyst David Gergen and attorney Sunny Hostin.

David, beyond the -- the moral lapse, which, frankly, is none of my business, the recklessness of all of this is stunning. I mean, this guy was a serious presidential contender, a vice presidential contender, cheating on his cancer-stricken wife, and then alleging -- telling his mistress, you know, that, after she dies, he would marry her on a rooftop in New York.

Have you ever seen anything like this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we have had a lot of tawdry cases in politics. And this is yet another one. And one takes no joy in talking about it.

But I do think, Anderson, the reason it's a story is because John Edwards, you know, basically, during the lead-up to the 2008 election, went and camped out in Iowa. And he was ahead there in the -- heading into the caucuses.

And this is the very time this woman was pregnant, knew the story was coming. There was a very good chance John Edwards was going to win the Iowa caucuses, first -- you know, the first event out of the box, in effect. He had won in Iowa, as expected, President Obama would have been knocked out of the race. It would have been John Edwards vs. Hillary Clinton.

John Edwards might well have wound up with the Democratic nomination. And if you think about the country seeking a change, and it's the recklessness that would go into his whole nomination potentially unraveling in front of the country's eyes, I -- I think that's sort of keeps it in perspective of why this is even a story.

Otherwise, it's just tawdry and it's extremely sad for his family.

COOPER: And there are legal proceedings, Sunny, under way now. A grand jury has been meeting in Raleigh. What are the issues they're trying to determine?

SUNNY HOSTIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, it's really interesting.

And grand jury proceedings are secret. So, we don't really, really know. But what -- if what is being reported is true, they are investigating whether or not the payments made to his mistress can be considered campaign donations.

And, if so, then they should have been reported. And if he knew and willfully failed to report the donations, then he would be guilty of a felony, and he could be put in prison for up to five years. So, it's very serious.

COOPER: I mean, Ms. O'Brien's characterization of these things as groundbreaking aside, I have seen them. I mean, they're basically kind of poorly put-together videos that maybe could have had a life on the Internet, but just about nowhere else.

HOSTIN: Exactly.

And I think prosecutors are likely going to look at that. She got paid $100,000 for those videos, and then, afterwards, about $14,000. And we know that some of his campaign contributors gave her a BMW, allegedly. We have also heard that she got lodging, she got other expenses paid.

That could really be considered a campaign donation. And I have to say, it's really novel. It's complicated. But it is possible. And, in terms of an indictment, there is that adage you can indict a ham sandwich. And I really think that that is a possibility here.

COOPER: David, you know, John Edwards had a chance to come clean about all this on "Nightline." The fact that you would sort of have a public mea culpa and still possibly lie just seems, again, to be an incredible lapse of judgment.

GERGEN: Well, at some level, there is something pathological about this, about the -- the way the story has been told, and then retold and retold.

I have to believe that, you know, with a wife who's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, there must be some part of him that's also felt, the more I tell of this, the more pain it causes.

And "The New York Times" reported that one of the reasons that he's -- has not yet really -- quote -- "come clean" is Elizabeth Edwards has been resisting that. And one can certainly understand that. I mean I mean, after all, I think it's also bizarre that it's been reported that this woman is now moving to North Carolina, down in the Wilmington area, right near where John Edwards has a second home.

You can imagine how that's going down in the Edwards household.

COOPER: Is -- I mean, yes, it's stunning on a lot of levels. Campaign finance law is intricate, to say the least, and hard to understand. I mean, could he -- what are the possible penalties? I mean, not -- we're not talking -- is he talking jail time or fines?

HOSTIN: Usually, I will say, a lot of this comes down to civil penalties, $5,000, $25,000, $50,000.

But there are also criminal penalties. And when a grand jury is convened, that usually is what the prosecutors are looking for. They're looking for a criminal indictment. And, really the catchphrase, the most important thing is, did he know? Was it willful?

And, if that is true, then, certainly, he's looking at up to five years per count. So, this is a very serious matter. And I have got to tell you, as a former prosecutor, I would take that case. I don't think it's that far of a stretch.

COOPER: You don't think he's very sympathetic either for a jury?

HOSTIN: He's not sympathetic. I mean, he cheated on his terminally ill wife. And I would like to present a case like that in front of a jury. Who wouldn't?

COOPER: David, politically, his career is dead. I mean, there's no way, politically, he could come back from this?

GERGEN: Yes. And I just -- you know, I'm told, in North Carolina, people actually want to move on. They would like -- they would like to just sort of forget John Edwards. It's been an unhappy episode for the state.

And I -- you know, I think he has no future there. It's conceivable he could do community service of one sort or another. He does care about poverty. He has a passion for that. But, you know, people have -- people who are in politics, just as in business and other walks of life, are three-dimensional people. They have bright sides and they have dark sides.

And, sometimes, the dark sides conquer them and -- you know, and undo them. And that seems to what have happened here.

COOPER: Well, it's just -- I mean, it is sad all the way around for everyone involved.

GERGEN: Yes, it's very sad.


COOPER: David, appreciate your time tonight -- David Gergen.

And, Sunny Hostin...

GERGEN: Thank you.

COOPER: ... glad to have you on the show as well. Thank you. (CROSSTALK)

COOPER: To read more about these kind of scandals, you can log on to right now.

Let us know what you think. A live chat at is happening now. I'm about to log on.

Up next, some breaking news: massive flooding in Georgia. Have you seen these pictures, guys floating around on air mattresses there on the water after some torrential rain? At least five people are dead. Others had to be rescued from the roofs of their homes. We are going to have a live report from the ground.

Also ahead, a strange new twist in the Jaycee Dugard case -- like it couldn't get any stranger -- a mysterious black box kept inside of Phillip Garrido's home. He claimed it had special powers. It certainly provides insight into his warped mind. For the first time tonight, we will show you the black box and the strange story behind it.


COOPER: Some other stories.

Erica Hill joins us with a 360 news and business bulletin -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, Anderson, we begin with breaking news out of Georgia, where torrential rain and flooding have now killed at least five people, parts of the state just inundated with 20 inches of rain over the past three days, creating major stress on levees in some areas. There are flooding alerts that have also been issued in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and North Carolina.

David Mattingly will have a live report for us coming up a little bit later in the program.

Meantime, officials say children are showing a good immune response to the H1N1 vaccine in government trials and don't appear to be experiencing any side effects. Early data on roughly 600 children shows adolescents seemed to be protected by one dose of the vaccine, but those under 10 may need a second dose.

President Obama lashing out at American banks today, this time for trying to block legislation aimed at overhauling federal student loan programs -- Mr. Obama noting, banks have already received bailout money, yet are still fighting to hold on to a subsidy which they received for providing student loans.

And a good reason for all the customers who noticed just how much co-workers Gary Nesbit and Randy Joubert look alike. It turns out they're brothers. They were born just a year apart. They worked at a furniture delivery company in May, and that's where people started noticing the resemblance.

They did a little digging. They were both adopted at birth nearly 35 years ago by different families.


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: That is crazy.

HILL: They grew up in neighboring towns. They attended rival schools. And, after they figured this out, information got out, and a half-sister came forward as well.

COOPER: That is unbelievable.

HILL: Uh-huh.

COOPER: It was the hats that I think that they looked -- they wore the exact same hats.

HILL: It's usually the headgear that tips you off, yes.


HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Sure. That's a dead giveaway.

That's great news, though. That's really nice. They're all reunited.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: Just ahead, we're going to -- story -- the story, the -- the leak reported on the war in Afghanistan, where the top U.S. commander says he needs to win the mission, and why that has put President Obama between a rock and a hard place.

And, later, the new video showing Michael Jackson rehearsing for his comeback concert series shortly before he died, it's a video you haven't seen before. How healthy does he look? We will let you judge for yourself coming up.


COOPER: In the last 48 hours, Afghanistan has become an even bigger problem, at least publicly, for President Obama. A confidential report by his top commander in Afghanistan was leaked.

Now, in the report, General Stanley McChrystal says he needs more troops in the next 12 months, along with a new strategy. Without both those things, he says the mission in Afghanistan is going to fail.

Now, remember, President Obama has already ordered in 21,000 new troops. By the end of this year, there is going to be 68,000 American forces on the ground. There's already about 38,000 NATO troops there. And one of the major things this new report says is that more Afghan troops need to be trained, and that needs to happen fast. Now, we were just there two weeks ago in Helmand Province, saw firsthand that training Afghan forces not easy. It's going to take an awful lot of time. And while this mission is being sold by politicians as a hunt for al Qaeda, much of what has happened -- much of what is happening on the ground right now is nation-building.


COOPER (voice-over): It is the most dangerous position on patrol, out in front, on point. Lance Corporal Phil Howard quickly waves a metal detector in front of him, searching for signs of an IED.

LANCE CORPORAL PHIL HOWARD, U.S. MARINE CORPS: It's kind of scary being up on point and knowing that, if somebody is going to pull something on you or you step on something, it's going to be the front guy.

COOPER: Every second, Howard has to remain alert. One mistake could kill him or a fellow Marine behind him.

(on camera): That can be tough, too, because you never really know who's a friend and who's an enemy.

HOWARD: Exactly. Like, you can look around right now and, you know, that guy....


COOPER: Sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's all right.

HOWARD: ... who's over there could be a good guy, could be a bad guy. You never know.

COOPER (voice-over): IEDs have become the number-one threat to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. In Helmand Province, they're responsible for some 80 percent of all casualties.

(on camera): They can either be buried in the road or detonated by a member of the Taliban who's hiding in underbrush like this.

That's why it's important for the Marines to keep ten or 15 meters in between each Marine on patrol so that, in the event that an IED is detonated, the damage is limited.

(voice-over): Since they arrived in Helmand Province a little more than two months ago, the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment has lost one Marine to IEDs. Forty-eight others have been wounded.

In July, Lance Corporal James Buttery's vehicle was hit. He escaped with just a concussion.

(on camera): And where did you -- you landed literally right over there? LANCE CORPORAL JAMES BUTTERY, U.S. MARINES: Yes, the front of the truck was pretty much where that tree was. Knocked the tree out, and I was laying right there. The front end was just in there, and I was able to crawl out. And other -- other Marines here were able to jump in and grab the Marine that was in the canal.

And we were all conscious, no serious injuries.

COOPER: You're lucky.


COOPER (voice-over): The Marines collect parts of the IEDs they discover. Pressure plate devices like this one are common.

LANCE CORPORAL REESE BARNETT, U.S. MARINES: When you step on that, this charge goes off. And that's how you get your explosion.

COOPER (on camera): Yes.

BARNETT: They make a lot of stuff out here that -- for the pressure plates, you see how they do it. Look. Little metal strips right there can make it real hasty-like. Put the sticks on there. It goes down. And then that's how it connects, and they also make...

COOPER (on camera): So, that's what -- I mean, that's amazing, something as primitive as that. It's basically just two pieces of wood with some metal.

BARNETT: Yes, sir. They're going to put -- a lot of them are very small, but we're finding them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you seeing anything out of the ordinary around here, around the village? OK.

COOPER (voice-over): Today's patrol is not just about finding IEDs, however. It's about meeting local residents, building their confidence in U.S. forces and in the local Afghan government. It's not exactly what 1st Lieutenant Chris Conan (ph) expected to be doing in Afghanistan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initially, I thought I was going to have pretty much just a fire fight every day, just a run and gun fight. What I've seen is that we haven't taken contact in maybe a month or so in terms of small arms, which is a good thing. And right now we're simply just having tea with village elders.

COOPER (on camera): Tea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Exactly. I've had -- I can't even remember how many cups of tea and a couple dinners, which is always an interesting experience.

COOPER (voice-over): Building trust, however, takes more than tea. It takes time. And with the Taliban growing in strength in many parts of Afghanistan, U.S. officials acknowledge time is not on America's side.

(on camera) Do you think the people believe you're here to stay or do you think they're still kind of on the fence?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the majority of them are on the fence. We have some supporters, and we have some people that think that we're going to leave tomorrow. But for the majority of people, I think they're on the fence.

COOPER (voice-over): To get them off the fence and on the side of the Afghan government, the Marines are trying to fund local development projects and show residents they're not going to let the Taliban return.

In the town of Kajibaba (ph), the Marines meet with two village elders. Both are courteous but aren't willing to say if they support the U.S. or the Taliban.

Lieutenant Colonel Bill McCullough (ph) tells them Marines will be here at least until next summer. But beyond that, he can't promise.

(on camera) So a lot of people here aren't willing to choose sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're waiting for more bona fides from us that we are here to stay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's what we're trying to develop here. They trust us. They trust their own government. And once these folks pick sides and say, "No, we're with the government," I believe that is not a win, but it's a sign that we're winning.


COOPER: That's what it looked like on the ground at Helmand Province two weeks ago.

In a police report, General McChrystal describes how Taliban insurgents are more dangerous than ever. We know they're operating now in the north and the west, not just in the traditional south and east.

He also says Afghanistan's government is riddled with corruption. We know that. And that, as a result, Afghans are suffering a crisis of confidence. Those are his words.

The general says he needs more U.S. troops to win the mission.

To President Obama, none of this is welcomed news. Let's dig deeper with CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen. Also, Rory Stewart, a former British soldier and diplomat and now director of Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights. He also wrote a great book, "The Places in Between," about his solo walk across Afghanistan in 2001, our own Michael Ware.

Rory, you don't support sending more forces into Afghanistan. What do you think needs to be done there?

RORY STEWART, DIRECTOR, HARVARD'S CARR CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: I think what we need to define is that a long-term sustainable strategy, the last thing Afghanistan needs is for us to increase troops and then run out the door again. We've seen a lot of boom and bust. It needs a patient, long-term relationship. And that probably means a lighter relationship. Because I don't think the U.S. taxpayers, U.S. voters are going to put up with having 100,000 or 200,000 troops on the ground indefinitely.

COOPER: Peter Bergen, is that how much it would take?

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, you know, classic counter insurgency doctrine suggests that you would need 600,000 soldiers and cops in Afghanistan to control the place.

Right now there's about 150,000 Afghans and some 100,000 international forces. So do the math. I mean, it's nowhere near the point where you -- where you need to be. In General McChrystal's assessment, he's asking for an Afghan army of 240,000. That's going to take a long time.

It's not really a matter of, you know, clearly, there's no political will to send large numbers of American forces into Afghanistan now. And the way out, the only effective way out is to build up the Afghan national army. Not an easy thing to do.

COOPER: And Michael, I mean, everyone seems to admit, look, there is no military solution. And, yet, politically, there's hardly any civilians on the ground in a lot of these areas. And the Afghan government is just riddled with corruption. And so we're trying to bolster in these areas a government which has not traditionally represented its people.

WARE: The government that doesn't exist. I mean, America is not going to win this war. Let's face facts. I mean, we're now at the point where we could lose this war. The Taliban will continue to fight as long as U.S. troops or foreign troops want to be there.

So the whole idea is to put enough military pressure on the Taliban war machine to parlay that pressure at the negotiating table or to bring a political solution.

Now President Obama has to man up on this side. He is going to fight this war or is he going to oversee an American defeat?

Now, he needs to put more troops on the ground. That's not going to be the only solution. You're not going to build the Afghan forces up in time; no way in hell. But there is something else that's in the wind. We saw it in Iraq. It's already begun in Afghanistan. The U.S. is backing a program by the Afghan government to draw upon the old warlords, to draw upon the tribal forces just like we saw at the awakening councils...

COOPER: And to pay off the people, people who might have been fighting us. WARE: Might have been fighting or have been sitting on the sidelines or drawing upon the traditional tribal system that's being ignored by America.

Now these people will be able to fill the vacuum. If you put a local warlord or tribal leader in command of his area, you give him the money to pay his troops and to arm them, you put them in their interest, there will be no Taliban in that area. And if there are, they'll be dead.

COOPER: I want to get Rory's opinion on this, and Peter's, as well, in a moment. We're just going to take a short break. We'll have more on the other side. Peter Bergen, Michael Ware, Rory Stewart, stay with us.

Let us know what you think at, the live chat.

And coming up, breaking news out of the southeast. This flooding has turned deadly. We're going to have the latest from Georgia, where some levees are at risk and the floodwaters are rising.

And new details about a bizarre obsession of kidnapping suspect Phillip Garrido: this black box he kept at home, the voices he says he heard through it. We'll show you the box, ahead.


COOPER: We're talking about Afghanistan with Rory Stewart, Peter Bergen and Michael Ware.

Rory, a couple things. You say more troops is not the answer because why? You think it alienates more people than it actually helps?

STEWART: I think the fundamental problem is about public opinion in the United States. I think it creates an unsustainable presence. A very big fragile edifice that we're not going to be able to maintain.

And a country like Afghanistan is going to take 30 or 40 years for us to make much difference there. It's such a fractured society, the federal literacy, the federal capacity in government, it's not likely that you're going to turn anything around in two, three years.

So we need to reframe this. I think General McChrystal will get his troops. I don't think the president has much choice now. He should have never allowed the general to submit this report, if he wasn't going to give him the troops. But those troops won't last long. They'll come down again in four or five years time. And my guess is we won't be in a significantly different situation when those troops come down.

Then we have to begin the very long, difficult process of dealing with a very poor developing country, facing a very wild, tribal fringe. COOPER: Peter, what is happening now is essentially nation building. I mean, it's what the Marines are doing in Helmand province. And it's really not, A, the traditional purview of the Marines. And there are not enough forces to go into all the areas that -- that the Taliban is in right now.

BERGEN: Well, one of the striking things on our trip, Anderson, one of my takeaways, was that a classic counterinsurgency doctrine would suggest that 80 percent of the effort be nonmilitary and there would be 20 percent military.

Yet, in Helmand, you know, 99.9 percent of everybody you encounter on the U.S. side is -- is a soldier. I think we met maybe two or three civilians in Helmand who actually worked directly with the U.S. government. So there's a real mismatch between the resources that are available and the resources that are really needed.

The Obama administration has talked about a civilian surge for Afghanistan. It hasn't really -- that hasn't really happened yet for all sorts of reasons, including the security situation and recruiting the right people.

COOPER: Peter, you -- I'm sorry, Michael, you talked about the likelihood of more troops actually going. The mission, though, is very different than hunting al Qaeda. That's sort of the way it's being presented as, you know, these troops are kind of knocking down doors, looking for al Qaeda. But you don't hear commanders on the ground talking about al Qaeda.

WARE: What does al Qaeda have to do with the war in Afghanistan? They're not in Afghanistan. And they haven't been, basically, since the invasion. They're in Pakistan.

You've ended up with an eight-year fight for Afghanistan against Afghanis, against the Afghan Taliban. Now, we don't know how to fight that fight. You need Afghanis doing it. But not enough of them have enough interest to oppose the Taliban.

So President Obama's dilemma is going to have to be fixed with some creative solutions. He's just got a few years left in this term where he can actually fight this war and get it to a better position before his next electoral cycle. And I think he needs to do that by thinking outside the box.

Sending more troops is going to be a part of it. But unleashing local forces, whether they're in Afghan uniforms or not, who are on the U.S. side for one reason or another, is going to be the only way. That's going to sate the people back home; it's not going to take as many troops. And it's actually going to be the only way, an Afghan solution. It will be bloody; it will be messy. And there will be knock-on effects later, but what else are you going to do?

COOPER: Rory, there are some who say, well, look, we did that before with, you know, the Mujahideen against the Soviets. And it ended up having long-term results, which you know, hurt the United States. STEWART: And the problem is that none of this adds up. As Peter Bergen has been pointing out, what we're doing at the moment doesn't fit the counterinsurgency doctrine or the theory that we've been given. We don't have enough troops. We don't have a credible effect as a legitimate Afghan government. We don't control the borders.

So what exactly is happening here? I think we're pursuing a policy which is really a half policy. It's not properly resourced. It's not properly thought through. And we're dealing with a country that's so fragile, so poor, so traumatized.

All those things you talked about -- the problems after the Soviet Union, the problems when we left before -- will occur again, because we don't necessarily have the wherewithal or the resources or even the ideas as to how we're going to fix it. So what I'd like to see is the present administration acknowledging that and coming up with a strategy which doesn't attempt to do the impossible.

COOPER: So what is that, protect the cities? Don't -- don't kind of chase after the Taliban in remote areas? I mean, sort of conserve where the forces are?

STEWART: I think we need to focus on only two things. One of them is a very narrow definition of U.S. national security, which effectively is about al Qaeda. And as we heard, al Qaeda are basically in Pakistan. So that's not very difficult. That's something we can do with Special Forces.

The second thing is to try to see what we can do with the Afghan people. Not a blank check obligation. But we can aid the Afghan people in ways over a long period, and that's going to be the kind of project we do all over the world. It's going to involve development. It's going to involve diplomats. And it might involve a light troop presence, which stops the Taliban from taking the city. But it's not about building the states, and it's not about winning a counterinsurgency.

COOPER: We're going to have to leave it there. Rory Stewart, I appreciate you coming on the show. We'd love to have you on again. Michael Ware, as always. Peter Bergen, as well.

A lot coming up. The black box kept by Jaycee Dugard's alleged kidnapper, Philip Garrido. He claimed to have extraordinary powers. What is this thing? What did Garrido say it did? We're going to show it to you and tell you.

And later, Michael Jackson's performance of "Human Nature," a new video of the last days of rehearsals. They said he was in the best shape of his life. You'll see the video for yourself and judge for yourself. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Tonight, a stunning revelation from Jaycee Dugard. She reportedly told law enforcement officials her accused kidnapper, Philip Garrido, never molested, never touched her two children, children that he himself had fathered.

Also tonight, police continue their search of his property, looking for bones. Authorities want to know if Garrido is linked to two other child abductions.

He's the first focus in our weeklong series on prime suspects in high-profile crimes. Starting tonight, we're going to take you inside the investigation into some new information on the search for the suspects, how they lived, how they were caught. We begin with Garrido and perhaps the strangest piece to this bizarre puzzle, a black box he kept in his home.

Dan Simon reveals what's behind the mystery.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When the call came from out of the blue early last year, the man on the line identified himself as Phil Garrido. He was calling this man, a private investigator.

(on camera) What was he like in that time you spent with him?

RALPH HERNANDEZ, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Well, way much more different than what you're seeing on the latest news broadcast. He was like you and I are right here. We're speaking normal, dressed normally, acting normally.

SIMON: Of course, we now know that, when Garrido placed that phone call, 11-year-old Jaycee Dugard had been missing for 17 years. She was now 28, and Garrido had fathered two daughters with her. And they were living in secret behind his house.

So why would Garrido be calling a P.I.? He needed help, he said, convincing people that he had an extraordinary invention.

HERNANDEZ: He had developed some -- or invented some device that would allow a person to speak without physically speaking and be heard by the listener.

SIMON (voice-over): People who know him say in recent years Garrido had been talking more and more about God and the apocalypse. He demonstrated the device, a black box with headphones, to Tim Allen, a local businessman.

(on camera) He told you he was starting a new religion and had some revelation from God?

TIM ALLEN, GARRIDO ASSOCIATE: Yes. And then he also had a box. And when he first brought it in, he said this box, you can hear voices from the other side. You can hear people telling you how -- what's going to happen and what's going to happen. What the future says.

SIMON (voice-over): This is it, Garrido's black box. Until now, only a handful of people have seen it. He became obsessed with his so-called invention. (on camera) Basically just a black case with a handle, a couple of jacks. Very light.

(voice-over) It turns out just a few days before Garrido was arrested for his alleged crimes against Jaycee Dugard, he asked a friend to keep the box for him. His friend wants to remain anonymous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He plugged into it. He would give you a set of headphones and he would have a set of headphones. And he would manipulate his hand, basically, over the top of the box, and it would have sound coming out of it, emitting sound like distortion noises, like whales and all sorts of little interference noises. While he would move his lips and not speak but yet move his lips, and you would be able to hear his voice through the headphones.

SIMON (on camera): Did he ever do it on you?


SIMON: And what happened?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Notice we're smiling at one another?


(voice-over) Among those he asked to try his invention, we couldn't find one who took it seriously.

ALLEN: I didn't want to tell him, "You're a kook, and you don't know what you're talking about." I just didn't want to say that to him.

SIMON: But Phil Garrido believed he was on a special mission from God. In this press release, he declared a Bay Area man has made a major discovery. In fact, he was talking about religion more and more obsessively. At this point, it was about two years before he would be arrested.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I had any idea this was the type of madman that we now know he is, he would never have been anywhere in my inner circle.

SIMON: They all think of Garrido as a madman now. His twisted double life, his black box, his voices, and his growing fixation with religion. All of it would soon lead to a confrontation with the police in Berkeley and then an arrest. His biggest secret finally exposed: the hidden compound and Jaycee Dugard found after 18 long years.

Dan Simon, CNN, Contra Costa County, California.


COOPER: Bizarre.

Along with the black box and some pictures of other things found inside the Garrido home, check them out at

Coming up, breaking news. Five people dead now, floodwaters rising in the southeast. We'll have a live report from David Mattingly on the ground.

Plus, a new video of Michael Jackson surfacing, showing him rehearsing for his comeback concert series. You can be the judge of how healthy or sick he looks. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Breaking news out of Georgia. Extreme weather is taking a deadly toll tonight. Heavy flooding has killed five people so far. Some areas have received more than 20 inches of rain over the last couple days. It is a very dangerous situation, to say the least. Look at those pictures right there, a house on fire in the flood.

David Mattingly joins us live from Atlanta with more.

David, what's the situation where you are?

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, really extraordinary weather event for Atlanta. Normally, to see this kind of rain and this kind of flooding, you have to have a hurricane. But officials are saying this is historic flooding, because the rains have been absolutely relentless.

As you said earlier, we've had 12 inches in about 12 hours, 20 inches in the last couple of days. This water saturated the ground and didn't have anywhere to go. Areas that never saw flooding before is seeing it now in a very big way.

Some extraordinary pictures from throughout the day. Major roads have been blocked off by water, some completely cut through by the running waters. Many of the people who have been killed, the five who have been killed, many of those people were caught in these rushing waters while they were in their automobiles trying to drive through them.

What we're seeing right now -- we have some pictures from tonight -- rescue boats going out into neighborhoods where the waters came up so quickly it caught people unaware. These are areas that normally don't see flooding. And, yet, they were -- it was the water coming up into their streets so quickly to the point where they aren't able to drive out. They had to wait for the boats to come in and take them away and take them off to higher ground.

Those rescue operations in this part of Atlanta for now have stopped because of darkness. But they're expecting to see more problems in the morning as these floodwaters continue to rise -- Anderson.

COOPER: Is it rising where you are now or is the water kind of stabilized?

MATTINGLY: Oh, yes. It is coming up very much. In about the last half hour, I noticed the water coming up about a foot just since we've been standing here. It is really moving through here. We're going to give you a little bit of a lay of the land. This is a shopping center.

And this is a popular restaurant in the Atlanta area called Canoe. You can see the water is almost halfway through that building. Over here, we have a cleaners. The lights were on there. They just had a big neon red light saying open. Well, that light has since shorted out, as the waters have come up. That's just since we've been standing here.

I want to show you, these bumps in the water over here, these are two cars that did not get out in time. You could see the hoods of the automobiles when we got here about an hour ago. You see how much of them now is left.

And officials are warning people to please stay away from this water, treat this water with a lot of respect. We'll try and demonstrate something for you. We've got an empty water bottle. You see how fast this water is moving. I'll throw this bottle out there. There it goes. The current is going to take it. This water is really moving.

Officials are telling people if you're having problems with flooding in your area, stay home tomorrow and stay dry as best you can. Don't try to get out there and maneuver through these waters. Don't get out there in an automobile. A lot of school systems have been closed. People urging people to take precautions -- Anderson.

COOPER: Yes, it's really deceptive. From here it looks very calm. But obviously, as you showed, that current is moving fast.

David Mattingly, appreciate it. Thanks, David.

Coming up next, Michael Jackson, new video of the pop star rehearsing in his final days. We'll bring that you and you can judge for yourself how he looks to you.

And a potential political bombshell. Reports that John Edwards may soon admit to fathering his mistress's child and that he promised Rielle Hunter an extravagant wedding. The details ahead.


COOPER: Erica, for tonight's "Shot," Michael Jackson, new behind-the-scenes footage, taken shortly before he died. Now, in this clip you're about to see, Jackson performs a run-through of his hi, "Human Nature." Watch.


MICHAEL JACKSON, POP STAR: Bam. Something like that.


COOPER: Jackson obviously seems very thin. His voice, however, sounds like it's him singing; sounds sharp.

HILL: Sounds exactly the same, doesn't it?

COOPER: Yes. I wonder if he is singing or if he's lip-synching. I don't know.

The short video was released by the producers. The upcoming "This is It" movie, it captures Jackson's preparations for what obviously would have been a series of concerts in London. It's going to be released at the end of October. It's kind of strange to see that after so long.

You can see all the most recent "Shots" on our Web site,

And up next, new details about John Edwards' affair. And reports the former presidential candidate may be ready to admit he's the father of his mistress's child. We'll be right back.