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Will U.S. Strike Syria?; Safety of Sleeping Pills?

Aired August 29, 2013 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everyone.

We begin with breaking news, action tonight by America's key ally, Great Britain, slamming the brakes on any immediate military action against Syria, unless President Obama wants to go at it alone, which the White House is signaling he might.

Parliament in England this evening weighing a resolution that would have OKed the use of force, weighing it and finding it wasn't enough. Here is the key moment as the measure failed loudly in the House of Commons.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. MacNeil, you're like an exploding volcano erupted. Calm yourself man. The ayes to the right, 272. The nos to the left 285. So the nos have it. The nos have it.


COOPER: Moments after the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron assured members he would not exercise what is known as the royal prerogative to go to war without parliamentary approval.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I strongly believe in the need for a tough response to the use of chemical weapons, but I also believe in respecting the will of this House of Commons.

It is very clear tonight that while the House has not passed a motion, it is clear to me the British Parliament reflecting the views of the British people does not want to see British military action. I get that, and the government will act accordingly.


COOPER: Well, M.P.s voted down the measure by the way despite a report from Britain's Joint Intelligence Committee calling it "highly likely that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons" last week outside Damascus.

The U.S. intelligence community is expected to release its own report to the public some time tomorrow. We got a hint tonight of what the administration knows. Senior U.S. officials telling CNN's Elise Labott intelligence reveals senior members of the Assad regime preparing for a massive chemical attack and discussing it afterwards.

Those intercepted conversations included -- or include regime members acknowledging the attack was getting a great deal of attention, discussing the wisdom of lying low for awhile and forgoing such massive chemical attacks in the near future.

On the ground, meantime, U.N. inspectors kept up their work today and their boss, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, saying he expects them to leave Syria by Saturday morning. In New York, members of the U.N. Security Council gathered behind closed doors, the meeting called by Syria's close ally and arms supplier Russia, which is expected to veto any resolution approving the use of force, which leaves the White House in a lonely place.

Top administration officials working the phones again today talking to key lawmakers, a senior official telling CNN's Jim Acosta unilateral action may be necessary. Now just yesterday, the president made the case that curbing Syria's use of chemical weapons is in America's national interest.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, what's happened has been heartbreaking, but, when you start talking about chemical weapons in a country that has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the world, where, over time, their control over chemical weapons may erode, where they're allied to known terrorist organizations that in the past have targeted the United States, then there is a prospect, a possibility in which chemical weapons -- they can have devastating effects -- could be directed at us.

And we want to make sure that that does not happen.


COOPER: To that, as we said, senior officials have been reaching out to lawmakers. A short time ago, they wrapped up a conference call.

More now from Dana Bash, who joins us now.

This conference call between the White House and members of Congress, what do you know about it?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I just talked to a lawmaker who was on that call and it lasted for more than an hour, close to an hour-and-a-half and the gist of the administration's message was what we have heard publicly, that they believe that Assad's regime did use chemical weapons, that was the main message.

They insisted that no decision has been made with regard to military action. There is no timetable on what or when that would be, but I'm also told even though there were 20 to 25 people of both parties on this call with administration officials, we're talking about the secretaries of state and defense and others, it wasn't antagonistic. I'm told it was a good discussion. They listened to everybody's opinions. The opinions, as I'm sure as you would suspect, were varied, but no one actually said don't do it.

One of the questions that I had is what the effect of that vote in Parliament in Great Britain would have been on members of Congress. The answer that Obama officials gave is that the U.S. is going to do what it needs to do, and another country will not dictate what the U.S. does.

So no one I'm told from the administration conceded that the U.S. would ultimately have to go without Great Britain, but they made very clear that it's not up to Great Britain what the U.S. decides needs to be done with regard to national security interests. The other thing I can tell you, though, is that this was a non-secure phone call.

Members of Congress, senators were in their districts and states, some of them on cell phones, so they couldn't do this on a secure line. So I'm told there were some answers that they simply couldn't give because much of this is still classified.

COOPER: And Congress isn't scheduled to come back for another two weeks. Is there any chance they will come back early and vote on Syria like their British counterparts did? Doesn't seem like it.

BASH: Very unlikely. First of all, look what happened in Great Britain, Anderson. I was told even before that happened that one of the reasons why even Republicans who run the House don't want to call the House back is because they don't want to have that kind of result.

For the most part, even though they are not happy, necessarily, with the way the president is or isn't making his case publicly, they generally support the idea of making sure that Syria doesn't have chemical weapons, perhaps using some surgical military strikes. They wouldn't want to put the U.S. in a position having an authorization vote, even just a resolution the went down that would embarrass the president of the United States.

One more thing I can tell you is that as we were talking, I got an e-mail from Senator Bob Corker, who not only was on this call tonight, but also had a classified briefing earlier today. He was sort of circumspect before. He said he now, seeing what he saw with regard to intelligence, feels that he would support surgical military strikes against Syria.

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

Joining us now, Fouad Ajami, senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, national security analyst Fran Townsend, who currently sits on the Homeland Security and CIA external advisory boards, Christopher Dickey, Middle East editor for "Newsweek" and The Daily Beast, and chief national correspondent John King.

Fouad, we heard the president yesterday saying that national security is at stake, when you have a country with a huge stockpile of chemical weapons like this. But if this strike isn't actually designed to change the calculus on the ground, isn't designed to actually strike at those chemical sites, what does it do to protect national security? FOUAD AJAMI, HOOVER INSTITUTION: Anderson, the president is doing it because he said he would. This is a very, very reluctant leader. This is not a war leader.

He's not eager to go to war. He put his fate in the hands of Bashar Assad. That's the dilemma of Barack Obama.

COOPER: You're saying he put his fate by saying a year ago this red line.

AJAMI: Absolutely.

And then not only that, he made this crisis. He made the world we're in now, Barack Obama. He refused to back the Syrian rebellion. He refused to arm the Syrian rebellion. He overrode four of his top advisers when in 2001 who said let's arm the rebellion. A while ago, he refused to give weapons against that he promised.

There were many, many options. All the good options were on the front end. He has very, very tight options now, and he will do this very, very unhappily, and in my opinion it will not be convincing. It's not somehow or another he will alter the logic of the situation on the ground with some pinpricks.

I have written a piece which I sent you in Bloomberg which basically said either destroy the regime or hold your fire. If you're not going to destroy the regime, there really isn't that much use for just simply a show of force.

COOPER: Christopher, what do you think?

CHRISTOPHER DICKEY, "NEWSWEEK": Destroy the regime, like we destroyed Saddam Hussein's regime, which is something that Fouad advocated, then get involved on the ground and occupy the country, spend $2.5 billion a week, kill 100,000 people?


COOPER: Not realistic.

DICKEY: I don't think that's a particularly good idea and I don't think Obama thinks it's a good idea and I don't think the American people think it's a good idea.

COOPER: What about this idea of this limited strike, this shot across the bow?

DICKEY: On that point, I agree with Fouad completely. Either do something that really has an effect on the ground or don't do this, don't have a limited strike. This idea of punitive limited strikes is something that's been used by the Reagan administration, by George H.W. Bush, by the Clinton administration. They almost never work and they're almost always counterproductive.

You wind up rattling the cage of what's already a caged animal, an angry animal, and you wind up with more terrorism, you wind up with more action on the ground. I think another point that Fouad made that's very important is that Bashar al-Assad probably feels he's in control of the situation.

I don't think we can dismiss the possibility that he carried out this chemical attacks not in spite of the American warnings, but because of the American warnings, knowing the response was going to be very limited and that by his terms the American image would be one of inadequacy.

COOPER: It's interesting. You look at that vote in England and you look at everything, the way everybody is looking at Syria, it's impossible to escape the specter of Iraq. Everybody seems to be looking at this through the lens of Iraq or through the lens of whatever -- Russia looks at it I guess through Chechnya.

AJAMI: You're exactly right. The shadow of Iraq hangs over this. But I think everybody has overused Iraq as the precedent. There are many other precedents.

I will give you one precedent which Barack Obama could opt for, and in a way that would see us to a proper conclusion, a good conclusion. Look at Kosovo in 1999. It was waged by a dove. Bill Clinton has never been viewed as a warrior. Bill Clinton and Tony Blair went at Slobodan Milosevic and we bombed Serbia for 78 days. We destroyed the Serbian war machine and we saved the Kosovars without any American losses.

There are many other models. Everybody jumps at Iraq as the only template. There are other templates. It's the only template. Iraq looms large because it looms large in Barack Obama's mind.

COOPER: Christopher, you don't buy it, that Kosovo...

DICKEY: I was on the ground for most of those templates that you're discussing. I was in Belgrade. I was in Pristina during the Kosovo war. And it was a very different kind of situation.

First of all, can you imagine this administration or any administration now mustering support for 78 days of bombing, 38,000 bombing sorties? I don't think so. Also, Syria clearly is not Serbia and Syria is not Kosovo. And all that was following on what had happened in 1995, when you had the Croatians roll against the Serbian army with American backing. We don't have any equivalent of the Croatian army. Maybe if Turkey wants to invade, we could support it.

COOPER: That's unlikely as well.

DICKEY: But I don't think that's likely.

COOPER: John King, what are you hearing about the impact of this vote in England?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Obviously, it's very discouraging. I will use the words certainly discouraging that come from a senior U.S. official I was communicating with just a short time ago. Oddly, though, the impact of this, Anderson, could be, emphasis on could be, to accelerate the timetable. Remember the conversations we have been having in recent days that Prime Minister Cameron said he would try to help the president here but he needed the United Nations. Again, part of the Iraq hangover or Iraq legacy. He needed a vote in the United Nations.

Now that the Brits are essentially off the table, the prime minister said right now he can't participate. A second U.S. official told me it's possible now, because the Obama administration has no expectations for anything to happen productively in the United Nations, it is possible the timetable could be accelerated and the one thing to watch for from the administration's concern is getting the U.N. weapons inspectors out and they're due to leave Saturday.

COOPER: Fran, so they leave Saturday. Do you think -- England earlier was talking about waiting for an actual U.N. report. Do you see the U.S. actually waiting for that? Do you see action as inevitable by the U.S.?



But I will say I share the concern, as you know, about this sort of limited one-off strike not having any real strategic effect. And we don't understand what the president's strategic objectives are. I will tell you I think we have to act not just because his credibility is at stake, but because the threat of the use of chemical weapons.

All these other countries, the Arab League, Great Britain, many of our allies, have condemned the use of chemical weapons but not done anything about it. This is a message that is not only being heard by Bashar al-Assad in Syria, but in Iran and in other places around the world. There is strategic geopolitical importance to what weight do we put on the use of these chemical weapons against civilian populations.

COOPER: Christopher, do you buy this national security argument?


DICKEY: I can't make the connection. I was listening to the president just now, and I listened to him yesterday. I don't see how you go from the kind of threat that he's talking about to the United States to a limited strike having any impact on that. If it's not targeting the weapons, and probably it's wise not to, then what is it going to do?

COOPER: I kept making the argument of this being a horrible, horrific humanitarian situation. We have watched the slaughter of innocents for a long time. We have a moral obligation to act. I get making that argument. The national security argument, do you buy it?

TOWNSEND: I buy we cannot permit the use of chemical weapons. What the president was saying on PBS, I do agree with. This is about there are things that we should be roundly against and be clear about that.


COOPER: Why chemical weapons? I mean, 100,000 people have been slaughtered, children have been tortured for two years. Peaceful demonstrators in the beginning were ruthlessly crushed. Why is the line chemical weapons?

Fouad, does that...


AJAMI: This is one of -- if you look at this conflict and say why did we draw this particular red line, I will tell you what would have been a more legitimate red line. The red line would be the use of airpower against a civilian population.

Airpower. This man has had his own air force, his own air force shell and destroy Aleppo, shell and destroy Homs and nothing was said. You can look at Bashar's logic. Look in the bunker where Bashar lives. He's broken every code in the world, and no one did anything to him.

COOPER: We have got to take a quick break.

Later on, what can American forces actually do to Syria? What can Syrian forces do in return? We will talk to some military experts. Let us know what you think. Follow me on Twitter @AndersonCooper.

And later, a wakeup call on sleeping pills. What you don't know about them is enough to keep anyone up at night. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some important information. We will be right back.


COOPER: Welcome back, breaking news tonight.

A major setback for American efforts to win support for military action against Syria, Britain's House of Commons tonight rejecting a use of force measure and the White House again signaling it might take action unilaterally.

Back with our panel, Fouad Ajami, Fran Townsend, Christopher Dickey and John King.

There is this real concern, Christopher, and we were talking about this right before the break, about say the regime does fall and you then have some rebel groups, the Al-Nusra Front, other al Qaeda- inspired groups and what they may do, a slaughter that could occur against the Alawites, against Christians who had been supportive of the regime. DICKEY: Well, look, first of all, the Al-Nusra Front is intimately tied to the al Qaeda in Iraq as well. It's part of the international al Qaeda presence.

COOPER: And they are some of the most effective fighters as well on the ground.

DICKEY: Bin Laden tried for years either to cook up his own chemical weapons or to find them someplace else and now there is the potential for them all to be delivered in -- a number of them to be delivered into the hands of really bad guys who are opposing the regime of Assad.

It's a real mess. What I don't see, we don't want to beat this to death, but I don't see is how anything we're talking about doing limits that possibility and if -- in fact, if we move to bring down Assad you might increase the possibility al Qaeda might get these kinds of weapons.

COOPER: Fouad, do you buy that?

AJAMI: I don't. I will tell you why.

I think the population rose under such an incredibly awesome tyranny, the tyranny of the Assads and the terror that that country lived under. The people rose in rebellion against that kind of regime. That they're going to barter their freedom and give it to some guys from Libya or some guys from (INAUDIBLE) who came -- and they only came because the great powers didn't come.

This whole idea about the Nusra Front came to Syria. The Nusra Front came to Syria because nobody else came to Syria, because the powers didn't come to Syria. I have faith in the Syrian people. I have faith in the Free Syrian Army. I have faith in the Syrian center.

We have already witnessed that in many towns where the Nusra Front has power, people have risen against them. Syrians have demonstrated against the Nusra Front. So we have to have courage. If you want to do war, you have to have faith in yourself. You have to have faith in other people.

I have faith in the Syrians I know that they don't want to live under the tyranny of al Qaeda or the Nusra Front. If we don't believe that, then we shouldn't even do any of this.

TOWNSEND: What Fouad is saying is exactly right, and I don't worry nearly about al Qaeda as much as I do about Hezbollah. Hezbollah has a far greater presence there, far greater aligned with both the Quds Force...


COOPER: Right. They're fighting on the side of the regime.

TOWNSEND: That's right. They're a pro-regime force entirely bankrolled by the government of Iran and have enjoyed safe have in Syria for decades.

So the chemical weapons falling into their hands is a real risk. When you talk about a limited tactical strike, and will it have any effect, what I worry about is the use it or lose it syndrome. So if you're Bashar al-Assad and you feel only more cornered by even a limited strike, perhaps you launch what chemical weapons you have got against the population, because you're afraid there will be further bombings.

I'm sure military planners are looking at that possibility, but that's a real risk. And so this notion of a limited -- if you're going to go in, you better go in with a full comprehensive strategy. I'm not advocating boots on the ground, but there can be an air campaign taking out integrated, taking out the airpower that's been used against the Syrian people.

COOPER: A lot of people, just hearing you talk, throughout the United States -- polls show this -- are just thinking, this just sounds like Iraq, the U.S. yet again -- at time when we're trying to get out of Afghanistan, when we're seeing Iraq already now starting to blow up literally every day with car bombs again, although nobody is really paying much attention to it.

John King, where is the calculus for the White House in this? Are they looking at this in sort of the wider geopolitical conflict? Is that the calculation?


COOPER: Go ahead.

KING: I think the conversation you're having with very smart people right now underscores the problem for the administration and the challenge for the administration right now.

If this happens, and we assume it will, and if it goes well, however we define well, we will forget ant this. But at the moment, there's a great deal of confusion. This is one of the most confused, messed-up neighborhoods in the world. And there's no clarity of what the U.S. position is right now.

Even on this phone call tonight with members of Congress, the frustration after it is, yes, it was not a classified call, is that the administration cannot clearly explain what is the goal of these military strikes, what do they want Syria to look like the day after, the week after, and the month after they do this. That's the challenge for the administration because of all the complexities you're talking about.

The communications up to this point from the administration have frankly been very confusing. You have State Department people saying one thing, Pentagon people saying another, people at the White House saying something else. And so again that will all be forgotten if it goes well. But if it doesn't go well, imagine you're having this conversation. This was the president who made his name in national politics saying he was going to get us out of the Middle East, that he was not going to act unilaterally, that he was going to reestablish U.S. credibility among all these Arab nations.

At the moment -- and I think your guests would agree with me -- one of the challenges for the president and one of the reasons people think we're past the point of no return is that he believes and he's being told his very credibility is at stake now if he does nothing.

COOPER: You don't put much stock into this credibility argument?

DICKEY: Look, Anderson, if making war gives you credibility as a president, then we would have to say George W. Bush has more credibility happen than just about any president in history.

I don't think most Americans feel that way, frankly, because I think that they feel that we got into a very bad war in Iraq that paid very few returns for the American people. Fouad says, if you want to make war, you have to do this. But the American people don't want to make war, Fouad. They don't want to do it.


AJAMI: Forgive me. And I think you have said Iraq too many times.

But, nevertheless...


DICKEY: I think we were in Iraq too long.


AJAMI: I think part of the job description of a leader is to explain to the public, a reluctant public -- the public is reluctant about all wars, all wars.

But the job description of a leader, we elect a president who will explain to the American public what the stakes for them are in a world where chemical weapons and mass murder in a country on the Mediterranean, land like Syria, that this goes on for three years and we pay it no attention. It's part of the job description to explain to reluctant people.


DICKEY: If you don't have a force on the ground that can take over, then what do you accomplish with even a much more significant operation against...


COOPER: Fouad, your final thought, and then we have got to go.

AJAMI: I think we have already talked about this. I think that were many, many good choices on the front end of this and Barack Obama did not make those choices.

COOPER: Fouad, appreciate you being on, Christopher Dickey as well, Fran Townsend, John King. Thanks for the reporting.

Coming up, Assad's firepower. We will take a look at what the United States has to consider when it comes to the military capabilities of the Syrian regime. Exactly what do they have on the ground there? We will talk to Major General Spider Marks and naval analyst Christopher Harmer coming up next.

And later, when was the last time you had actually a good night's sleep? A new CDC study says almost nine million of us in the United States are taking prescription sleeping pills. I will talk it over with Dr. Sanjay Gupta ahead.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight on what the Obama administration knows about the chemical weapons attack that has the United States considering military attack in Syria, an attack the regime has blamed on the opposition.

Senior U.S. officials tell CNN that intercepted conversations reveal senior members of the Assad regime preparing for a massive chemical attack and discussing it afterwards, saying it was getting a lot of attention and would be wise to lie low for a while. Intelligence also showed increased shelling in the area outside Damascus after the attack.

Now the question becomes what are the Syrian regime's military capabilities right now and what does the United States have to consider in making a decision about whether to launch a strike?

Joining me now are retired Army Major general James "Spider" Marks, who is a CNN military analyst, and Christopher Harmer, senior naval analyst at the Institute for the Study of War.

General, let's start with you.

We know a lot about what the U.S. has in terms of capabilities, five destroyers in the Mediterranean, other assets in the regime. What do we know about Assad's capabilities at this point?

BRIG. GEN. JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Assad's military is still very capable.

The Syrian army, let's be frank, has a very short track record in terms of military successes. They have not been successful for years in terms of their application of force in the region. Clearly, since the insurgency has been in place, they have achieved a good deal of success. We thought Assad was losing momentum. And, in fact, we thought he was a dead man walking about a year ago.

He has since reinforced his position and he has gained some incredible strength.

So Assad has capabilities, and a lot of that is very kinetic. He also has Hezbollah on his side, which is part of his force, not fully integrated but part of the fighting force on the ground right now. So it's a capable military. It's not been completely degraded. His air force remains in place, and he still has a navy. So he's got conventional forces and has not demonstrated any hesitation to use it.

COOPER: And General, in terms of chemical weapons, I mean, is it true you can't -- you can't strike the sites, because that could actually detonate the weapons themselves?

MARKS: Without getting into a full explanation, you can strike the sites; and you can destroy them; and you can minimize the downwind hazard that would ensue. So there is a way to do that, to control it. All the discussions so far have been we intend not to do that. What the intent is, is to strike Assad's ability to deliver the chemical munitions. So in terms of a military imperative, there doesn't seem to be one right now relative to the issue of chemical weapons.

COOPER: So Chris, we hear a lot of bluster from Russia and Iran, specifically the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Council, warning, quote, "the imminent destruction of Israel." Is a lot of that tough talk from Russia and Iran, is it just talk or is there a real concern?

HARMER: At this point I would say there is a very real concern, but we have to look at the Iranian history of how they project force. Overwhelmingly, that is through surrogate forces, proxy forces such as Hezbollah. Right now, Hezbollah is completely task saturated. On the one hand, they've got significant forces engaged in Syria on behalf of the Assad regime. On the other hand, they're completely busy back in Lebanon defending themselves against car bombs from Sunni activists who are reacting to the Hezbollah presence in Syria.

So I just don't think that Hezbollah right now has sufficient bandwidth to engage against either the U.S. or Israel. It is a consideration we need to take into our calculations, but it's not something that should deter us from acting in our strategic interests.

COOPER: Thanks very much.

Up next, a reality check on sleeping pills. Important new information you need to know. A new study's out. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me ahead.

Also, investigators say the Hannah Anderson kidnapping case is cut and dried. The teenager's great aunt isn't so sure. What she told our Drew Griffin ahead.


COOPER: Americans are relying on sleeping pills more than ever before. Prescription sleeping pills. A five-year government study found that nearly 9 million American adults now use prescription sleeping pills or sedatives. That's not all. Experts believe there are millions more who use over-the-counter sleep aids, as well.

The study doesn't say if that's good or bad, but what does it say that so many of us are using drugs to help us sleep?

Chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, joins me now.

Sanjay, 9 million Americans using sleeping pills, I was surprised. That's a huge number.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a huge number, and more people are turning to sleeping pills than ever before, but it's been going up for some time, Anderson. I mean, people are turning to these pills more than they have, I think, in years past, and oftentimes turning to them very early on, so as quickly after they develop sleep problems, going to the sleeping pills earlier than they had before.

COOPER: And the study found that certain groups of people -- women, older individuals -- they're taking sleep aids more than others, right?

GUPTA: I think it's going to surprise a lot of people. The most common group of people who were taking it were actually people who are in their 80s. So older people. They were typically more likely to be women versus men, and more highly educated. So you have highly educated, older women the most common category using the sleep aid.

COOPER: I thought middle-aged TV anchors would probably be in the highest category, actually.

GUPTA: Some that I know are.

COOPER: It's interesting -- yes.

GUPTA: A representative.

COOPER: Yes, sadly. The same study also suggested that a lot more people who are trying nonprescription remedies. Does that concern you?

GUPTA: Well, I think there's some good options out there for people who don't want to go straight to a prescription medication. The problem is that potency can vary in some of these medications, so one time you may get a certain effect; the next time not the same effect. And they can also linger into the next day quite a bit. So you may have some significant daytime sleepiness.

COOPER: Is it the same kind of sleep? I mean, is the sleep you get taking -- after taking an Ambien or something, is it the same as a regular sleep?

GUPTA: It doesn't appear to be. I mean, that sort of deep sleep that you get, the amount of time you spend in that deep sleep may be reduced in response to some of these sleep aids. You may still wake up thinking, "Wow, I just slept, you know, a very good night," and I think it would be very helpful for people who have had -- having trouble sleeping. But overall, you may not have gotten the same amount of deep sleep. You may still have drowsiness the next day. And you may need to -- people will take these sleeping pills over and over again. Really, they're not designed to be taken for more than, you know, several -- maybe a few weeks at the most in a row. After that, it may not offer as much benefit and could even offer some harm.

COOPER: And they certainly don't come without risk. You and I have talked about Ambien and the fact that I've taken it after having a glass of wine or on an airplane, especially if I want to try to sleep while, you know -- I'll have a glass of red wine and Ambien. You say, in no uncertain terms, that's a big mistake.

GUPTA: I was pretty hard on you, wasn't I?

COOPER: Yes. I've still done it, I must say.

GUPTA: You still do it?

COOPER: Every now and then.

GUPTA: Only because I care, Anderson. Seriously, the way that a lot of these drugs work is essentially by depressing your central nervous system, sort of slowing it down. And by itself, again, it can be very effective as a sleep aid.

But once you start to layer in other things -- in this case alcohol or something else -- you start to get an exponential effect here. So what happens is you're actually fine when you're still awake, but when you go to sleep eventually, your drive to breathe may be impaired, and that's what can cause some real problems.

By the way, people also on Ambien, you can have these sort of complex disorders. You hear about sleep driving, for example, people sleep text. You sleep text. You've sent me some crazy texts. You were under Ambien at the time.

COOPER: That's not true.

GUPTA: It can have these sort of strange effects. And I think that's part of the reason the FDA and other people are looking into it.

COOPER: I'll lay off the wine and the Ambien. Sanjay, thank you very much.

GUPTA: Yes, sir. You got it.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight, why would Hannah Anderson's kidnapper, James DiMaggio, destroy a family he was once so close to? Hannah's great aunt is speaking out about what Hannah's mom told her just days before she was murdered.


COOPER: "360 Follow." Nearly three weeks after Hannah Anderson was rescued from the Idaho wilderness, there's still no clear answer to where James DiMaggio, longtime family friend, did what investigators say he did. The tragedy has spun out a half a dozen theories.

One of the most stunning came from DiMaggio's sister, Lora, who told Piers Morgan it's possible her brother was a victim. Here's what she said about Hannah Anderson.


LORA DIMAGGIO, JIM DIMAGGIO'S SISTER: I remember very vividly telling my brother, "She's -- she's trouble. She's going to -- she's" -- I said, "You need to watch out for that one. She's trouble."

PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: If you believe she was trouble, it may well be that your brother became infatuated with her.

DIMAGGIO: I know that she -- I know that Jim did express at that time that he was -- she stated that she was very upset with her mother. She blamed her mother for her father moving to Tennessee.

In my heart of hearts, I think that Hannah perhaps got herself into a situation that she couldn't get herself out of, and I do believe that my brother gave his life to protect her.


COOPER: Gave his life to protect her. A lot of people obviously found those remarks incredibly offensive.

Hannah Anderson is a 16-year-old girl who's lost her mother and brother. We don't know what she endured before her rescue. CNN's Drew Griffin has the latest.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hannah Anderson arrived at the memorial service for her mother and brother seemingly in an upbeat mood. Family members say it is a facade. They tell CNN she's confused, not sure how to act in the face of terrible tragedy.

But according to even those in her family, there are many unanswered questions. Why did a long-time family friend, named Jim DiMaggio, kill Hannah Anderson's mother, Christina, and Hannah's 8- year-old brother, Ethan? What led DiMaggio, as authorities believe, to leave behind timers that would set his California desert cabin ablaze with the two murder victims inside?

And a question just as mysterious, and far more delicate for members of Hannah Anderson's own family, why did DiMaggio allow Hannah to survive? And in fact, kidnap her on a 1,000-mile journey to Idaho?

DAVID BRAUN, CHRISTINA ANDERSON'S UNCLE: There's some thinking along that line that maybe this man was terribly infatuated or more with Hannah. And it looks like it was very premeditated, in my view.

GRIFFIN: In fact, there is more evidence DiMaggio may have been infatuated with a 16-year-old girl, who grew up calling him Uncle Jim. Hannah Anderson's friend, Marissa Chavez, recalled a car ride with Uncle Jim and an awkward admission.

MARISSA CHAVEZ, FRIEND OF HANNAH ANDERSON: He said, "Don't think I'm weird or creepy Uncle Jim. I just want you to know that if you were your age, I'd date you."

HANNAH ANDERSON, KIDNAPPING SURVIVOR: And they're thinking I was a victim. But now, knowing everyone out there is helping me, I consider myself a survivor instead.

GRIFFIN: Hannah Anderson's brief comments on the NBC "Today Show" confirm what little police have said. Hannah Anderson is a victim.

SHERIFF BILL GORE, SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA: I want to emphasize that during the law enforcement interviews with Hannah, it became very clear to us, very clear, that she is a victim in every sense of the word in this horrific crime. From the time of her abduction at Boulevard to her recovery in Idaho by the FBI's hostage rescue team, she was under extreme, extreme duress.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Two weeks after making that statement, nothing's changed here at the sheriff's department. Their investigation has found Hannah Anderson was nothing more than a victim in this case, pure and simple. Jim DiMaggio was the perpetrator, and he is dead. The case closed. It is cut and dry.


GRIFFIN: Jennifer Willis is the late Christina Anderson's aunt, born three years apart. They were more like sisters, she says.

WILLIS: I just get this feeling that it's not as cut and dry as it seems. I just get the feeling that I don't know how he could have done something like that to his friends. I just don't feel at ease about it at all. It's not cut and dry.

GRIFFIN: For years, Jim DiMaggio was the family friend. The cabin DiMaggio owned an hour outside of San Diego was the Anderson family getaway.

But Willis says in the past year, the family dynamics had changed. Christina and Brett Anderson, Hannah's parents, had separated. Brett Anderson moved to Tennessee. Then, according to Jennifer Willis, DiMaggio began to face financial troubles that eventually led to foreclosure on the cabin they all loved.

Jennifer talked to Christina just days before her murder.

WILLIS: She came to me. She said, "He's having a hard time. He's losing his house. He's short on money, doesn't know what to do. He's depressed." And she went there to be by his side one last time. That's the kind of person she was. Dropped everything and went there for him.

GRIFFIN: That's apparently when DiMaggio snapped. Christina and Ethan's bodies, or what was left of them, were found in this burned- down cabin. Court documents show Ethan's body so badly charred, an autopsy could not determine the exact cause of his death. Christina Anderson had been hit in the head, wrapped in a tarp and left to burn, leaving a host of unanswered questions, including why.

WILLIS: Beside the fact that he's sick, he's a monster, he did what he did, why did it have to happen to them?

GRIFFIN (on camera): Why did it happen to Tina and Ethan and not to Hannah?

WILLIS: Right.

GRIFFIN: I mean, I hate to ask these questions almost, because we're dealing with a teenager, but was there any relationship between her and Jim DiMaggio?

WILLIS: None that I am aware of. None that anyone was aware of. I would never have imagined anything like that with her.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Amidst all the turmoil, Hannah Anderson's family is now trying to determine what happens next. The teenager is dealing with the loss of her mother and brother, and the sudden return of her biological father. A man who returned from Tennessee hiring a publicist who is talking book and movie deals and telling Hannah's extended family his daughter will now live with him.

Through that same publicist, Brett Anderson turned down CNN's request for an interview.

WILLIS: Hannah is back. She's safe. She's OK, and from there I think it should be left alone.

GRIFFIN: Relatives say Hannah will return to high school here in the next few days and try to live, quote, "as normal a life as possible."


COOPER: Drew, there are a lot of unanswered questions, especially by the families on both sides of this tragedy. The sheriff's office, they've basically stopped talking, right?

GRIFFIN: That's right. Really, they have not released anything in the past week. The only thing left to learn here, Anderson, and possibly to be released publicity is the toxicology report on Jim DiMaggio. Was there anything in his system that could explain why he did what he did? Those results should be back within a couple of weeks and maybe, maybe released, Anderson.

COOPER: And as for the connection between DiMaggio and Hannah Anderson as well as any motive, police are still investigating, correct?

GRIFFIN: They are. And what is taking place is they're wrapping up their reports. That doesn't mean those reports are going to be released.

I talked to the sheriff's department today. They believe the case is wrapped up. Jim DiMaggio killed two people, kidnapped a third, died in a police confrontation. That's the end of the story, according to the police. California law does not require those investigative reports, which is what's being put together now, to be released. And they most likely won't be.

As far as Hannah Anderson is concerned, I've got to tell you, Anderson, I talked to Sheriff Gore this past Sunday night. Most of that conversation was off the record. But he did say this: This girl is a minor. Her privacy is protected and it be protected by his office, even if that means not sharing information with members of Jim DiMaggio's family or even Hannah's family.

COOPER: Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Thanks. We wish her the best.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: Across the southeast, many farmers say that torrential rains have virtually wiped out some crops this summer. That can mean lower supplies and higher prices this fall. But no matter what, business in the fruit market will no doubt go on in one Atlanta neighborhood, where Tom Foreman takes us on this week's "American Journey."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's going to be our naturally sweetest fruit.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As sure as peaches pop out in summer, every day customers pour into LottaFrutta, seeking something fresh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fresh-cut coconut. That is a Mema Lotta (ph).

FOREMAN: And Myrna Perez knows how much that matters. When she moved to this struggling neighborhood, it was an urban food desert, with plenty of fast food but almost no fruit and vegetables that she grew up with on the Texas-Mexico border.

MYRNA PEREZ, OWNER, LOTTAFRUTTA: I figured if I could not find this anywhere, why not open up my own establishment and be able to offer every single day for me, for selfish reasons, and for everyone else?

FOREMAN: Some predicted locals would not support her, but that was seven years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

FOREMAN: And LottaFrutta has been growing ever since. Its elaborate fruit cups, ice cream, smoothies, sandwiches and much more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's nothing like this anywhere around here.

FOREMAN: LottaFrutta has become so important to the community's identity, it's just been given a $50,000 expansion loan from the city.

BRIAN MCGOWAN, CEO, INVEST ATLANTA: This is an up and coming neighborhood being revitalized. So we're always looking to incentivize and assist investments that help attract and keep residents in neighborhoods like this.

PEREZ: I am a self-accredited, self-appointed fruitologist, only because I have a love and passion for fruit. All my life.

Mangos. Mangos.

FOREMAN: Perez's secret is simple. The first part...

PEREZ: Everything that we do here, we would want to eat. And we put a lot of care and consideration into what we do and how we prepare it.

FOREMAN: And the second part?

PEREZ: A lot of work.

FOREMAN: That's made this combination of fresh fruit and a fresh idea into a homegrown success.

Tom Foreman, CNN.


COOPER: We ran out of time for "The RidicuList" tonight. That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks for watching.