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President Obama Announces End of Iraq War; Gadhafi's Final Moments

Aired October 21, 2011 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone. It is 10:00 p.m. here on the East Coast. We begin tonight "Keeping Them Honest" with what President Obama did not say when he made his surprise announcement that nearly all American troops would be home from Iraq by year's end.

It's a fact that raises questions about whether the administration really intended the American presence in Iraq to end this way, whether today's stunning statement by the president was in fact plan A or plan B.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After nearly nine years, America's war in Iraq will be over. Over the next two months, our troops in Iraq, tens of thousands of them, will pack up their gear and board convoys for the journey home.


COOPER: Up on the White House Web site, the headline reads, "President Obama Has Ended the War in Iraq." The White House take on this is pretty simple. President Obama promised to end U.S. troop involvement in Iraq and today he fulfilled that promise.

In one sense, it's absolutely true. Here's what he said when he launched his campaign nearly four years ago.


OBAMA: America, it is time to start bringing our troops home.


OBAMA: It's time -- it's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war.


COOPER: Now here's the president last year.


OBAMA: Consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all U.S. troops will leave by the end of next year.


COOPER: And here's Mr. Obama today.


OBAMA: The last American soldier will cross the border out of Iraq with their heads held high, proud of their success and knowing that the American people stand united in our support for our troops.


COOPER: Sounds relatively simple, but "Keeping Them Honest," it leaves out a key fact, one that President Obama made no mention of today. Almost right up until the moment he made his announcement, American negotiators were trying to hammer out a deal with their Iraqi counterparts to keep a substantial troop presence in Iraq. The present agreement between the two countries to keep U.S. forces in Iraq expires at the end of the year.

But in his announcement today, President Obama made no mention of that nor did he say the administration was working to renew it. But we know that was the hope. Here's Defense Secretary Panetta on Monday.


LEON PANETTA, U.S. SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: We're still in negotiations with the Iraqis.

General Austin, the ambassador continue discussions with the Iraqi leaders, and we're hoping ultimately that they will be able to find an agreement here. So, at this is stage of the game, you know, I think our hope is that the negotiators can ultimately find a way to resolve this issue in terms of what are the Iraqi needs and how can we best meet them once we have concluded our combat operations?


COOPER: That's what the president did not mention today. Had a deal been reached, the administration reportedly wanted to keep as many as 5,000 troops in Iraq, mostly as trainers, because some U.S. military leaders are concerned Iraq cannot properly control its own borders and its airspace.

Some lawmakers wanted even more than 5,000. Most of the GOP presidential candidates are weighing in. Mitt Romney slamming the president for what he called a -- quote -- "astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq."

Rick Perry released a statement saying -- quote -- "I'm deeply concerned that President Obama is putting political expediency ahead of sound military and security judgment."

Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann also criticizing the White House for not finding a way to keep troops in Iraq.

Jessica Yellin first alerted us to the difference between the president's words today and the administration's actions regarding troops in Iraq. She's been talking to her sources about what really led to today's announcement. She joins us now.

So, even though total withdrawal is not what the administration would have wanted politically, it does probably play well for the president.


Yes, Anderson. Look, there's no question that the Pentagon wanted to keep some forces in Iraq beyond the new year, as you say mostly for training and advising. And the breakdown was that the U.S. and Iraq could not reach agreement on immunity, getting U.S. troops immunity from the Iraqi laws into the new year, anyone who stayed.

So, as you heard the president say, they're all coming home now. But you asked about the politics of it. The bottom line is go back to 2008. President, then-candidate Obama ran against the Iraq war. That's what distinguished him from Hillary Clinton. And he promised to bring all the troops home. He said today, his first words when he stood behind the podium were, I have made good on a campaign promise.

He also ran promising to take out terrorists and refocus away from the wars on to al Qaeda. And he emphasized that he killed bin Laden today. So you see the politics of this. Heading into a campaign year, he's emphasized that he made good on what he pledged to do as a candidate, Anderson.

COOPER: Republican candidates, some of them were critical of the president for not being able to guarantee immunity for the U.S. combat troops. As we said earlier, Republican candidates have now also come out swinging over the White House -- at the White House for pulling them out because they couldn't get that immunity.

Has the White House responded to what the Republicans are now saying?

YELLIN: The White House hasn't directly responded, but the Obama campaign has.

And I will tell you, talking to the Obama aides, I characterize their general position on this as bring it on. If they want -- if the Republicans would like to make foreign policy part of this campaign, the Obama team would be thrilled, because they think that foreign policy is a strength for this president. They think that if you add up his what they perceive as successes, taking out Osama bin Laden, taking out now Gadhafi, being part of that, going after al Qaeda terrorists and the drone attacks, it all adds up to leadership strengths that help the president.

And they say contrast that with the records of the leading Republican contenders, Mitt Romney, Perry and Cain, who don't have foreign policy experience. The Obama campaign, Anderson, also put out a statement on Mitt Romney that said in part -- quote -- "His foreign policy experience is limited to his work as a finance executive shipping American jobs overseas."

Meow. I mean, it's a sense of how snarky this campaign ahead will be.


YELLIN: You know, the final point I would make is Americans just aren't that interested in foreign policy right now. I would be surprised if this really plays large in the campaign at all.

COOPER: Jessica Yellin, appreciate it. Thanks.

The last American fatality due to hostile action came on the 29th of last month. In all, more than 4,400 Americans have lost their lives in Iraq since the war began, more than $700 billion have been spent. Iraq, in many ways, is still only a barely functioning state.

However, this endgame developed. And whether in fact the White House wanted this outcome, the question remains can Iraq cope on its own? Will that heavy price in dollars and lives be squandered by a premature pullback? Would a few thousand troops make any difference either way?

Digging deep now with former CIA officer and intelligence columnist Bob Baer, also John Burns of "The New York Times," who has covered this war from the beginning, and Robin Wright, Arab affairs analyst at the Woodrow Wilson Center. She's the author of "Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World," a new book just out. It's an excellent read.

Bob -- John, let's start with you. Were you surprised by this announcement, and what do you make of it? What does it mean for Iraq?

JOHN BURNS, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, I think the Iraqis made it inevitable by resisting any legal grant of immunity to American troops. That's self-evident.

I do think that it has very ominous implications. I think a trip wire of a few thousand American troops, combat-capable, if not actually engaged in combat, could make the difference or could have made the difference in offering a sort of stabilizing factor for Iraq at a period which is going to be fundamentally unstable.

I think it's worth remembering that nothing politically has been resolved in Iraq. All or almost all of the sectarian geographic, regional, religious, political, ideological disputes that have plagued the American presence in Iraq remain unresolved.

Without American troops there as a guarantor of at least a final degree of stability, I think you could see a descent into instability pretty quickly.

COOPER: Robin, do you agree with that? And, also, why wouldn't the Iraqis grant immunity to a few thousand troops?

ROBIN WRIGHT, Well, immunity is a big issue, and it was a defining issue in, for example, bringing Ayatollah Khomeini to power in 1963 in Iran. He made immunity the biggest issue, putting himself on the map, because Iranians could be prosecuted for hurting or robbing Americans, whereas Americans would be immune from any kind of prosecution, for even killing an Iranian.

So, this is an issue that resonates not only inside Iraq, but in terms of what Iran next door wants. I don't share John's concerns in terms of how dangerous Iraq is going to be with, you know, just 5,000 -- without 5,000 American troops.

The fact is the United States has an enormous number of troops in the region, ships. The Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain. This is -- it doesn't change the dynamics all that much. Iraq has sectarian problems that are reflected across the region. But I don't think this is a moment that's going to make or break what happens in Iraq next.

COOPER: Bob, despite the White House, the way they're spinning it, I mean, there wasn't much choice, right? They wanted us out.

ROBERT BAER, FORMER CIA OFFICER: There's no choice at all. It was clear three years ago the Iraqis wanted us gone.

This agreement was made under Bush. It was inevitable that they were going to not vote immunity. And I think this White House is making the best out of a bad situation. But I would like to agree with John. He's absolutely right. I don't think we're done with the civil war in Iraq.

And it may not be such a bad thing that they resolve their problems, and we can just hope that it's limited fighting. But, you know, frankly, it's time to go. We have been there too long, we have done what we could, and let's come home.

COOPER: John, what kind of a role do you see Iran playing? There's a lot of concern expressed, especially by Republicans these days, about Iran now moving in to fill a vacuum in Iraq.

BURNS: Well, I think that's a guaranteed intervention.

The Iranians will do everything they can to extend their influence. Of course, the equation will change a little bit with the United States gone because their principal objective in recent years seems to have been to frustrate the American presence, rather than to create a stable environment for a Shiite government.

But I think that anybody who's worked in Iraq knows that there's a limited tolerance amongst Iraqi Shiites who are, for the most part Iraqis first, Shiites second, for Iranian intervention. There are thousands upon thousands of Iraqi Shiites who fought in the Iran/Iraq war who will tell you that.

And I think that the Iranians, as in so many other ways, will, in effect, be the force for their own undoing in this. I don't think that they are going to succeed if what they want to do is to create a kind of satrap government in Baghdad. I don't think that's going to succeed.

But I think the problem is going to be internal dynamics, which will destabilize matters rather quickly. And I think there are a lot -- not -- I don't think, I know that there are a lot of Iraqis tonight who would agree with that, who will be very sorry -- for all of the clamor that there has been about the American occupation, in the end, there will be many Iraqis who will be very sorry to see the last American troops go.

COOPER: Robin, can Iraqis -- I mean, can Iraq secure itself? Can they take care of themselves?

WRIGHT: No, the Iraqis are not at that point that they can take care of all their issues.

But when you compare Iraq to Afghanistan, for example, the Iraqis are much better off than the Afghans will be in the -- three years, when the United States proposes to leave Afghanistan. And I think John's right. The Iranians and the Iraqis fought the grisliest modern Middle East war. The Iranians are in many ways a threat to Iraq in terms of their kind of aggressive promotion of whether it's really just ideology or their political system.

And I think there will be a resistance among the Iraqis politically, militarily, economically, to prevent Iran's influence from encroaching that much deeper than it already is.

COOPER: And, Bob, there's still going to be a lot of U.S. contractors over there. They will not have immunity. They will be open for prosecution if they get involved in shootings and things like that, right?

BAER: Oh, absolutely. I think we're going to sort of be moving into a citadel until that place stabilizes.

But, Anderson, you also have to keep in mind, taking American troops out of Iraq, the Iranians no longer have a hostage in that sense. And if we move toward any conflict with Iran, it will be a lot easier, simply because our troops won't be in striking distance.

COOPER: Interesting perspective.

Bob Baer, John Burns, Robin Wright, as always, thank you very much.

Let us know what you think. We're on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper. I will be tweeting tonight. People already weighing in on Twitter.

Up next, late new developments out of Libya and a closer look at Gadhafi's final movements. This new video that we have gotten today, another angle, it really shows people hitting him, hitting him, pummeling him about the head when he's clearly very badly wounded. What we're learning from the fighters who captured him, we will have that.

And later, "Up Close": stunning revelations how Steve Jobs fought the cancer that ultimately killed him -- why he waited nine months to have the tumor inside him removed and how he finally turned to the best science that money could buy and why, in the end, it was not enough. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains when we continue.


COOPER: Late word tonight NATO is setting a preliminary end date of October 31 for operations in Libya. Also new video of Gadhafi's son Mutassim in captivity seemingly, well, kind of relaxed there, even smoking a cigarette at one point, shortly before he was killed.

Meantime, precisely how his father came to be killed is still being disputed. The usual warning applies here about what you're going to see, very grisly stuff. It is not pretty. But we're learning more what happened in this video of fighters knocking Gadhafi around, shoving him into a pickup and taking him away, even though questions still remain about what happened between this scene and the final scene. Libya's former strongman dead on the floor in the morgue in Misrata.

In a moment, a correspondent who spent time with the fighters who first grabbed Misrata.

But, first, what we're learning about the dictator's chaotic final moments.


COOPER (voice-over): The new video shows Colonel Gadhafi being marched away by revolutionary fighters moments after they found him hiding inside a drainage pipe underneath the road.

He's beaten, kicked and shoved to the ground. His face is covered in blood. "Film him, film. God is great," the fighters are heard saying. In another video, you can see Gadhafi being slapped, kicked, but he says defiantly: "Shame on you. You're sinning. You're sinning."

A fighter replies, "You don't know about sin.'

The question is how he got from here, clearly alive, to here, dead, with an apparent gunshot wound to his temple in a morgue in Misrata. A soldier told "The New York Times" that Gadhafi was bleeding from the head and chest when they found him. Another fighter told Reuters Gadhafi had gunshot wounds in his back and legs. This fighter says he was the one who captured the colonel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Then we went to the other side and four or five ran out from under the road and surrendered. One of them told us that Gadhafi was inside and wounded. When we entered the hall, I saw his bushy head and I jumped on him immediately. Then all the fighters came and surrounded him. COOPER: The Libyan interim government still insists that Gadhafi was not killed intentionally. They say he was killed in crossfire between his own men and his captors as he was being taken to a hospital in Misrata.

Gadhafi was first shot in the feet and then in the head, according to the Libyan interim government, and later died of that head wound in the ambulance. But Human Rights Watch in Libya told CNN they're concerned Gadhafi's bullet wounds didn't come from crossfire, suggesting he was perhaps executed.

They say they found 95 bodies at the site where Gadhafi was captured and at least 10 of them were shot at point-blank range. International human rights groups have asked for an investigation.


COOPER: More is coming to light as correspondents on the ground keep adding to the story.

Earlier tonight, I spoke with Dan Rivers in Sirte and Lindsey Hilsum, who spent the day with the people you saw there who captured Gadhafi.


COOPER: Lindsey, there are a lot of conflicting reports on Gadhafi's final moments. You spent the day with the brigade that captured Gadhafi. What details were you able to glean about his final moments?

LINDSEY HILSUM, ITN REPORTER: They say they did not kill him. They say they were fighting near Sirte and then they realized there were people down this culvert, this drainage ditch.

And they were -- they went in there and started shooting. And then some people came out who they said were mercenaries -- well, they (INAUDIBLE) that they were black, probably Africans, and said, we surrender, we surrender.

And one of them said, we are injured. I have a broken leg. And I have Colonel Gadhafi, Moammar Gadhafi down here.

And the young man I spoke to said that, at that moment, he dropped his Kalashnikov, he shouted God is great, and then he jumped on top of Gadhafi. That's what he told me.

And he said he realized it was really, really Gadhafi when he (INAUDIBLE) him. He said, I have never seen him face to face before. I had never seen him in the flesh.

And then Gadhafi said, what's happening, what's happening? And he said his voice sounded just the same as it did on television.

Now, Gadhafi was obviously alive at that point. He was speaking. These men say that they took him to an ambulance, that he was injured, that he was bleeding. So they took him to an ambulance and sort of put him on the front of a vehicle and they showed me a vehicle where they said the blood on it was Colonel Gadhafi's blood.

They say they don't know what happened to him after that.

COOPER: Clearly in the video that we're watching right now, you see people hitting him with fists. His head is clearly bloody. People are slapping him, punching him in the head and in the face.

And then later, he obviously shows up dead. What do they say about those reports though that he was executed, or do some still say that he was caught in crossfire, which was the story floating around yesterday?

HILSUM: Nobody said to me today that he was caught in crossfire. The people who I spoke to were talking about the actual capture of him, and they say they really don't know what happened to him after they put him in the ambulance.

COOPER: Dan Rivers, what sort of reaction today have people been telling you about what went on?

DAN RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In terms of what we have gleaned about what happened, and it sort of chimes in with what Lindsey is saying, we were speaking to one Human Rights Watch investigator on the ground in Sirte.

He is fairly certain that Gadhafi was not killed in the crossfire. He says that there was no reports of any shooting or fighting in that area after they caught Gadhafi. I spoke to a Reuters reporter here who has seen the ambulance Gadhafi was put into and says there was no trace of any bullets going into that ambulance.

They have seen his body in the morgue here, which they say has got a gunshot wound to the head. The question is how did he get that gunshot wound to the head? And it seemed it must have happened between him being taken in that video clearly still alive and at some point before he gets in that ambulance, being apparently shot in the head.

COOPER: Lindsey, have you heard from anyone you talked to today in the brigade about what happened to -- you said there were other fighters, possibly African fighters with Gadhafi. Were they killed as well?

HILSUM: Some of them were certainly injured. It's not clear whether they were killed or not.

But I learned that the defense minister, Colonel Gadhafi's defense minister, was already dead they said when they found him. And one of the fighters I spoke to was wearing the defense minister's watch. He had taken that off the body.

I have to say that to us this may sound extremely grisly. But here, many Libyans are a little confused about why the international community is so worried about the manner of Colonel Gadhafi's death, because what they say Islam, he killed tens of thousands of people and now it's over. And they are relieved. They have a very different way of looking at it.

COOPER: And, Dan, Lindsey raises a good point, which is, does it really matter how Colonel Gadhafi died given his history, given what he did? To the people you talk to, does it matter today to the Libyans you talk to? Does it matter?

RIVERS: I don't think to the Libyans I talk to, except for one, Anderson, one man that we met in Sirte, who was angry about everything that happened.

He was clearly a Gadhafi supporter. He was very angry with the state that Sirte is left in now. It's a decimated city. And he was furious that his home had been destroyed and that the Colonel Gadhafi had been killed. So there are people out there, amazingly, who do -- or did support Colonel Gadhafi.

In terms of whether it matters how he was killed, I think Human Rights Watch put it quite well. They put it like this. This is the first day of a new Libya. And the first day of a new Libya has been marked by they think the execution of a man that should have been put on trial. And that is a terribly kind of worrying way to start a new country and potentially a new democratic process.

COOPER: Dan Rivers, stay safe, Lindsey Hilsum as well. Thank you for your reporting.


COOPER: Up next: surprise new details on Steve Jobs' battle with cancer. Was he close to a cure and didn't make a decision that ultimately cost him his life? Now new details being revealed in a new biography. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is here. He's talked to some of his doctors also for an "Up Close" look.

And police bust a so-called black market baby ring, children sold before they were even born. We're going to tell you how many they finally -- how they finally were able to bring this ring down. We will be right back.


COOPER: Tonight, we're learning new information about Steve Jobs and his battle with cancer.

The Apple co-founder kept his treatment private from everyone but those closest to him. But in an interview with biographer Walter Isaacson, Jobs opened up about one particularly painful decision. He initially chose to put off potentially life-saving surgery and go with alternative treatments instead.

Isaacson recounts their conversation on "60 Minutes."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALTER ISAACSON, BIOGRAPHER: Steve Jobs doesn't get operated on right away. He tries to treat it with diet. He goes to spiritualists. He goes through various ways of doing it macrobiotically and he doesn't get an operation.

STEVE KROFT, CBS CORRESPONDENT: Why doesn't he get it operated on immediately?

ISAACSON: I have asked him that. He said: "I didn't want my body to be opened. I didn't want to be violated in that way."

He's regretful about it. And his wife, who's a very solid, decent person, understood it, but said, no, no, the body is there to serve the spirit. You should get this operated on.

And soon, everybody is telling him, quit trying to treat it with all these roots and vegetables and things. Just get operated on. But he does it nine months later.


COOPER: I discussed all this with chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


COOPER: So, Sanjay, it's interesting. Jobs waited nine months to have surgery. Based on what we know, how much of a difference could that have made had he acted sooner?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I think the mantra is always that you want to try and treat things as early as possible. But there's a couple things to keep in mind.

First of all, people are probably going to try and figure out exactly how much of a difference that made, and I think that's probably impossible to do. I don't think it can be done, certainly not now.

But I think the more important point, Anderson, was the second part of that which is that at the time he did have surgery ultimately after his biopsy and then surgery, in a few months later, as you mentioned.

They were able to remove the tumor according to the reports that I've read, the doctors that I've spoken to, some who cared for him. So if the concern was I wait and therefore, the tumor becomes inoperable, that wasn't the case even several months later, the operation was still, quote/unquote, "successful" in terms of removing the visible mass of tumor.

COOPER: According to Isaacson, Jobs didn't want his body open because he didn't want, quote, "to be violated in that way." How common is it for patients to have that kind of reaction to surgery? GUPTA: You know, it's pretty common, in fact, I've had patients say that to me about you know operations that I thought were necessary for them.

And it's understandable I think to some extent, it's a spiritual thing. You know, your belief in in just how connected are the spirit and the body, for example. So, you know, people are going to approach that in different ways.

COOPER: Jobs also chose to rely on fruit juices, acupuncture, herbal remedies. A lot of people initially opt to take that route as well, don't they?

GUPTA: Yes, you know, I think they do. You know, this is obviously a very dicey sort of line for people to be walking because on one hand, you know, obviously, there are some tumors we just don't have the great treatments for, so to say look, I'm going to try something alternative may make perfect sense.

The flipside of that is with these types of tumors the question you raise in the beginning will always remain -- that had he not done that and done some of the more mainstream approaches in terms of surgery, in terms of potential chemotherapy, would it have made a difference.

But, you know, a lot of patients do think about what are all my various options out there and some of them aren't sort of square with mainstream medicine.

COOPER: He was one of I think only 20 people in the world to have all the genes of his cancer tumor and his normal DNA sequence -- DNA sequenced. What is the purpose of having that done? It costs like $100,000.

GUPTA: That's right. You know, at the time, you know, when you look at the tumor and try and look for the specific defects, genetic defects, there's two things that you're really trying to answer.

First of all, can you -- can you address the particular defect that's allowing this tumor to grow? Number one. And number two, you know, based on the genetic sequencing of the tumor, might you find medications that are going to be more effective?

So it can kind of give you two areas of guidance on this. It doesn't always work and in part it doesn't always work because there's not enough tumors that have been sequenced to say convincingly say what's going to work and what's not going to work.

But that that sort of a route and that's why people pay that kind of money to get this done.

COOPER: In 2009, there were reports he gone a liver transplant. How was his liver transplant necessary? How is that connected to the kind of tumor he had?

GUPTA: Well, you know, this is interesting. We've been reporting on this for sometime almost since, you know, he announced it, which was two months, by the way, after he had the liver transplant. You'll remember, Anderson, it was sort of done very covertly at the time.

The best answer that I really received on this and again, it is rare, it is rare to do a liver transplant for this reason and this is a rare tumor. So, you know, in combination this isn't something that's done often.

But if the tumor had spread, it was most likely to spread to the liver. At that point, one of the treatments that can be very effective is a liver transplant -- as opposed to just continuing chemotherapy or even operative therapy at that point.

A liver transplant can take care of the metastatic, the spread of this particular tumor. I think that was the goal.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks very much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: We're following a number of other stories tonight.

Susan Hendricks joins us with a "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, the death of Moammar Gadhafi inspiring new protests in Yemen and Syria. Demonstrators in the city of Homs sending Syrian dictator Bashir Al- Assad a message by waving Libya's revolutionary flag along with their own. Security forces there responded with force. Opposition groups report at least 24 protesters killed.

New Hampshire TV station WMUR is reporting all five of Michele Bachmann staffers in the state resigned and at least one is jumping ship to Rick Perry's team. The Bachmann campaign says it is unaware of the staff members quitting.

Wal-Mart is rolling back health care benefits, you could say, for part time employees and raising premiums for those who work full-time. The nation's largest private employer blames rising prices.

You got to see this -- a bench-clearing brawl at the Arizona UCLA football game. It happened moments after a streaker dressed as a referee stormed the field. Two players were kicked out. The streaker faces felony charges. Arizona won, by the way.

COOPER: I don't get it. They were fighting over the streaker?

HENDRICKS: I think they were just angry and distracted.

COOPER: All right. Susan, thanks very much.

Coming up at "360 Follow," after the tragic events in Ohio that left dozens of wild animals dead. A move today by the governor, we'll tell you what action he is taking. Also ahead, heart breaking story about babies for sale, sold to the highest bidder before they were even born. And the women who set out to be surrogates who wanted to do the right thing and unwittingly ended up involved in a black market baby ring.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. I wanted to separate myself from the situation and you can't do that when you're pregnant.



COOPER: In "Crime and Punishment" tonight, black market babies sold before they're even born. Authorities busted up a ring that sold unborn babies to the highest bidder that used unknowing surrogates as pawns and preyed on the emotions of everyone involved.

Sandra Endo has the story.


SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Behind the eyes of this 8-month-old girl is a story of corruption.

HEATHER ALBAUGH, SURROGATE: Surrogacy is something that gives for a lifetime. And in this case, I wanted to help a childless couple.

ENDO: But that desire to give put Heather Albaugh on a path towards a very dark and criminal place. Her journey began like many surrogates. She posted online ads on fertility Web sites and hoped to find the right fit with prospective parents.

ALBAUGH: It's almost like dating. You kind of put your ad out there.

ENDO: Early last year, this woman, Carla Chambers from Las Vegas, answered her ad. She said she was with a surrogacy agency and worked with two of the most prominent and well renowned fertility attorneys in the field.

ALBAUGH: She was looking for future surrogates for an Eastern Europe transfer.

ENDO: Chambers told her she would be flown to a clinic in Ukraine to get implanted with embryos from unknown donors. She was promised $38,000, slightly more than the average surrogacy rate. But she would have to pay up front for her own medical costs.

And if she had a viable pregnancy into the second trimester, then and only then would she be matched with intended parents. So she decided to do it. So she decided to do it. Cancer survivor, Alecia and her husband, Scott who do not want their last names disclosed were not able to have kids on their own. They were friends with Heather.

So they contacted the agency she was working with to find out about using a surrogate, but something didn't feel right.

ALECIA, PROSPECTIVE PARENT: We'd like you to wire $35,000 and then we'll move into the contract phase. Something was odd at that point.

ENDO: In total, the agency was asking intended parents for up to $180,000 per baby. More than double the average cost promising designer babies, in race and gender.

Heather was also starting to feel unsettled.

ALBAUGH: About the eighth week, I was a little uncomfortable. I was being presented with all these couples that supposedly wanted to match with me and then I'd never hear about them again.

ENDO: Her suspicions were confirmed. At 18 weeks pregnant, Heather found out she was a pawn in an operation to sell babies.

(on camera): So, what went through your mind when you found out the FBI was investigating the people you were working with?

ALBAUGH: I was scared. I was shocked.

ENDO: Scared and shocked because the FBI told Heather she was carrying a baby created just for profit and she wasn't alone. At least 11 other surrogates were also involved in the scam.

And all of them say they didn't know it was actually illegal to start a surrogacy pregnancy before being matched with intended parents.

ENDO (voice-over): As part of their case, the FBI wiretapped conversations with the ringleaders. Here an intended parent confronts lawyer, Hillary Neiman after things didn't add up.

UNIDENTIFIED PARENT: We had a huge problem.

NEIMAN: What's going on?

UNIDENTIFIED PARENT: My child now has zero genetic information. You have sent meet lies. This is a fraud and you are a flesh peddler.

ENDO: And listen as Carla Chambers gets defensive when questioned by a surrogate's lawyer.

UNIDENTIFIED LAWYER: I do not comprehend or find any legality in why you think this is still a surrogacy when you didn't have a contract before she got pregnant. I'm not sure what makes you think you can get away with that.

CARLA CHAMBERS: I'm not a lawyer. I'm not a lawyer.

ENDO: Officials say Carla Chambers, Hillary Neiman and Teresa Ericson preyed on unwitting surrogates for at least four years, selling unborn babies to the highest bidder. Here's how it worked.

Chambers duped unknowing surrogates and arranged for them to be impregnated with donor Ukrainian embryos. Neiman preyed on intended parents desperate to have a child.

Ericson falsified documents in San Diego Superior Court to close the transaction.

FBI Special Agent in Charge, Keith Slotter --

SAC KEITH SLOTTER, FBI SAN DIEGO: Trafficking in human life without having a parent ahead of time is really I think quite troubling. It crosses that line I think from the surrogate adoption type world to simply dealing with children as commodities.

ENDO: Officials say they pocketed millions from their scheme, which produced about a dozen babies. Authorities say there could be more.

(on camera): All three women who ran the ring refused CNN's repeated requests for comment and they pleaded guilty to charges of wire fraud and conspiracy. They face a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

(voice-over): Law enforcement officials say in exchange for their guilty pleas, they're recommending home detention for the three women instead of serving time in jail.

All three will have to pay restitution. Even though officials successfully shut down the illegal operation, Heather was still pregnant with no parents in place to claim the baby.

ALBAUGH: I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. I wanted to separate myself from the situation and you can't do that when you're pregnant. With a baby that's almost viable. I mean, she's kicking, she's moving. She's a constant reminder.

ENDO: Having never been paid a dime, Heather ended up giving birth to this beautiful baby girl. The wary couple she was friends with, Alecia and Scott never did sign with the illegal agency, but still wanted to have children. So the couple legally adopted Heather's baby. Now they all have a lifelong bond.

(on camera): How will you explain to her, her birth story?

ALBAUGH: I will tell her how much I love her and that -- that I did this because I love her mom and dad. And that she is forever going to bless so many lives and that she's here because of a bad choice that I made, but in hindsight it wasn't so bad.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Sandra Endo joins us now live from Kansas City. Your piece mentioned this had been going on for a while and there were a number of babies produced natural legally with parents. What's going to happen to them?

ENDO: Well, Anderson, authorities were able to track down most of the babies produced in this scheme and they found that they are in loving homes.

The intended parents, the surrogates, and the babies produced from this the scam are victims here. So they're not going to be punished and authorities say they're not going to take these babies from their new families.

COOPER: Yes. I've actually met a number of these surrogates involved in this, unbeknownst to themselves. What does the surrogate sit community hope is going to change following this crime?

ENDO: Well, it's interesting, Anderson, given that you have met a lot of the victims. They all say that surrogacy is a beautiful thing, especially for families who can't have kids of their own. So obviously, they want surrogacy to be available for people.

However, there's only a patchwork of laws throughout the country regarding surrogacy, and it's really surrogacy agencies that are largely unregulated.

And there is really no oversight over them as one surrogacy pert told me, it's easier to open up a surrogacy agency than it is to get licensing for a food truck to sell tacos on the sidewalk. So clearly, they want new rules implemented.

COOPER: These embryos were being created in labs overseas and the surrogates were actually being sent overseas, which experts say raises a lot of question.

If you're involved in a surrogate sit involved overseas, there's less oversight.

Sandra, appreciate your reporting. It's a fascinating story.

Coming up: the latest in the Michael Jackson death trial. The defense getting its chance to grill a key prosecution witness.

Also, a 360 follow on the wild animals let loose in Ohio. How the governor wants to make sure it never happens again.


HENDRICKS: More from Anderson ahead. But, first, a 360 Bulletin.

A tough message for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the U.S. He supports President Obama's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of the year, but he stays it has taken much too long, way too long. He should it have happened years ago. Here is what he told CNN's Fareed Zakaria, host of "GPS, " just moments ago.


PRES. MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD, IRAN (through translator): This is going to be a very good idea. I think we should have done it sooner, maybe seven or eight years ago and they could avoid killing so many Iraqi people or Americans as well.


HENDRICKS: You can see more of Fareed's interview Sunday, 10:00 a.m. Eastern, on "GPS."

At least two dozen people including Princeton University Professor Cornel West were arrested tonight in New York. They were apparently blocking a Harlem police precinct while protesting a policy that allows officers to frisk suspects during questioning. They say the policy discriminates against minorities.

In the Michael Jackson death trial, during cross-examination that got heated, the defense questioned the motives of the prosecution's star witness, anesthesiology expert, Dr. Steven Shafer. He claims Michael Jackson died because Dr. Murray failed to notice the singer stop breathing when he was administered Propofol.

A "360" follow, Ohio's governor has signed an executive order, instructing police to identify places were dangerous wild animals are being held and enforces through keep them safe -- that is after, you know this story, owner of a preserve in the state freed 56 wild animals before killing himself. Six of those animals are now at the Columbus Zoo. The rest were killed due to public safety concerns.

In tonight's connection, the Department of Defense wants to take recycling to new heights, you could say. As you can see with the help firm robotics, it would remove working from satellites that are no longer in use then reuse those parts in new satellites.

Back to Anderson now with the "Ridiculist" after this. You don't want to miss it. Stay with us.


COOPER: Time now for "The Ridiculist."

And tonight, we're adding the Turtle Man's makeover. If you're a regular viewer of 360, you know that we love Ernie Brown Jr., also known as the Turtle Man.

Now a few years ago he was featured on Kentucky public television catching turtles with his bare hands as he wants to do. And while it's hard to explain, you have to behold the glory that is Turtle Man.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stir it up more here. They got one. Whoo- hoo!

Just reach down and whoo, whoo!

I don't have no horns. So I just do this. That's why I do it.

I try not to smile because I got my teeth knocked out by a chain saw.

Whoo-hoo. Whoo!



Turtle Man's cry, his back woods wisdom, his dental work via chain saw, I would love to know the rest of that story, by the way.

Anyway, we just immediately loved everything about this guy. We showed the clips and recently Turtle Man sent us this. Take a look.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anderson Cooper, I'm challenging you to a contest to come on down and do a turtle hunt with me, the Turtle Man, Ernie Brown, Jr., right here in Kentucky. The pond is waiting for you live action. Yee-yee! Live action.


COOPER: Best invitation ever, ever. Yee! I got to work on my yee, yee.

I'm going to have to check my schedule, but I am seriously getting me some of that live action.

The pond is waiting. We're not the only ones who noticed Turtle Man because big news, he's going to have his own TV show. It's called "Call of the Wild Man." It starts November 6th on Animal Planet. We are thrilled for Turtle Man.

We really are, but we're also just a little bit worried. Take a look at some of these promo shots for the new show.

Does it look like a spread from "G.Q."? Seriously, it looks like he has a new haircut. He's clean shaven. He's all dressed up, dare I say stylized? Could it be that Turtle Man has gone Hollywood?

We liked him just the way he was and the new gussied up Turtle Man, I don't know, Turtle Man, it makes me worried. But before we jump to conclusions, take a look at the new show.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I love all animals and I saved his life. And, of course, I like to save all animals lives.


COOPER: No, no, where is the algae-covered swamp, where's the mud, the bare hands, extracting snapping turtles from the murky depths? Where is the signature yell?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Battle royal just like wrestling. He was all over that turtle and that turtle was all over him. He's never thinking of the consequences, all about the turtle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here he comes. He's got him. Yes!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ernie's a whole different critter.


COOPER: Yee, yee. All right. Good, I couldn't have said it better myself. He's a whole different critter.

Thankfully, it looks like he has not totally changed. He took off the fancy clothes and the hat and got right back down in that swamp? No, I think it's just algae-covered lake.

I'm not sure why he's doing this. That doesn't matter I guess. We are grateful because he's one-of-a-kind. So, Turtle Man, we wish you the best of luck with your new show. We will definitely be watching.

Hey, that's it for us. Thanks for watching. Have a great weekend.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now. See you Monday.