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Alleged Audio Recording of Brown Shooting; Second Dead American ISIS Fighter?; Minnesota to Jihad, A Mother's Search for Answers

Aired August 28, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Another name to add to a disturbing list. The list of Americans killed while fighting for jihad. A family friend told CNN this is the second American killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria last weekend. U.S. intelligence officials still will not say for sure but they are getting closer.

And a college football captain told a heroic story how he sprained both ankles jumping off a balcony to save his nephew from drowning. It turns out, though, it wasn't just that. It was a story completely made up. A lie. What's behind the tall tale? We'll have details on that ahead.

But we begin tonight in Ferguson, Missouri, with new evidence that someone who was using a video chat service just so happened to record audio of the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Now the company that makes the mobile app called Glide says it can verify down to the second the time the audio was recorded which was right around the time Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown.

CNN cannot independently confirm whether the shots heard are from that incident, but it is another piece of the puzzle. We'll have more about this new information from the company in just a moment. But first Ted Rowlands has this report on the audio that we're talking about.


TED ROWLANDS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the critical moment caught on audio tape, and it could be a key piece of evidence as investigators work to determine exactly what happened between Michael Brown and Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. The shots can be heard in the background of an online video chat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are pretty.


You are so fine. Just going over some of your videos.


How could I forget.

PAUL GINSBERG, FORENSIC AUDIO EXPERT: It's electronic, it's objective. It doesn't take sides. ROWLANDS: Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg analyzed the nine-

second clip and created a way form graphic highlighting the gunshots. He counts a total of 10 shots with an approximate three-second pause after the sixth shot. Take another listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are pretty.


You are so fine. Just going over some of your videos.


How could I forget.

ROWLANDS: The three-second pause could be very significant.

GINSBERG: It could be, depending upon what the witnesses say they saw and what's in the police report.

ROWLANDS: Several of the witnesses do mention a pause.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They shot him, and he fell, he put his arms up to let them know he was compliant and that he was unarmed, and they shot him twice more.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He put his hands in the air, and he started to get down, but the officers still approached with his weapons drawn, and he fired several more shots.

ROWLANDS: An independent autopsy determined that Michael Brown was shot at least six times, all to the front of his body. The other four shots heard on the recording could have missed.

(On camera): The man who inadvertently recorded this audio wants to remain anonymous. He lives in one of these apartment buildings, which, as you can see, is very close to where Michael Brown was shot and killed.

LOPA BLUMENTHAL, ATTORNEY: He was in his apartment, he was talking to a friend on a video chat. He heard loud noises and at the moment, at the time, he didn't even realize the import of what he was hearing until afterwards.

ROWLANDS (voice-over): The recording could prove critical, should this go to trial, a tool both the prosecution and the defense could use to bolster their case.

GINSBERG: This has a bearing on really everything else. This is a piece of the puzzle that has to fit.

ROWLANDS: Ted Rowlands, CNN, Ferguson, Missouri.


COOPER: Now again, CNN cannot independently confirm that the shots heard were from the Brown shooting, but now the company whose video chat service captured the audio has said that it was recorded around the same time as the shooting.

Let's listen again.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are pretty.


You're so fine. Just going over some of your videos.


How could I forget.


COOPER: Well, CNN's Don Lemon reported from Ferguson extensively during the height of the protests. He joins me now.

So this company Glide app, they say it was recorded around the time and we know that this guy who recorded this actually does live in that complex.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: He lives very close to where the shooting actually happened and this Glide company says, according to them, Anderson, 12:02:14 p.m. Central Time and that's around the time of the shooting.

CNN had been reporting that it happened shortly after noon and so 12:02 would be right after noon.

COOPER: We know the FBI has apparently interviewed this guy. They are also analyzing this recording, we know, and don't know the results of that. But he only recorded 12 seconds. Why is that significant?

LEMON: Yes. And you said it right. You said record. Because initially everyone thought it was sort of an interactive chat.

COOPER: Like a live chat. Right.

LEMON: Right. Like you and I chatting on Facetime or something like that.

COOPER: Right.

LEMON: It wasn't like that. He was recording a video to send to her in response to her video. That's why you hear him say, "I've been going over some of your videos." So he was recording and only recorded 12 seconds and inadvertently just happened to be recording at the time. And that's why you possibly don't hear that one shot that has been reported about in the car?

COOPER: Right. Yes. LEMON: Remember we've been reporting.

COOPER: Right. There are some eyewitnesses said there was a shot while the officer was still in the vehicle.

LEMON: So if that -- if that indeed happened, if there was a shot and this is indeed the audio, then that -- then the recording probably started after that one shot.

COOPER: What do we know about this person? How did this come into --

LEMON: This person lives in the neighborhood. Many of our -- a number of our reporters and producers know who he is. He did not want attention. He was not seeking attention. What happened was we found out about a possible recording the week before, because I think it came out on -- on Monday when I was there on Monday, we aired it. But the week before we had heard about it but nothing came of it.

And so a source called and said, have you heard about this audio? I said I have, but we haven't been able to track it down and said this is possibly the attorney. I called the attorney, Anderson, and got someone on the phone, a secretary, who said she cannot speak right now, she's in a meeting. When she called me back, she said, I was just meeting with the FBI. How strange that you would call at that same time? So she and her client were both meeting with the FBI when I called about that.

COOPER: And she has appeared on your air and she's talked to you.

LEMON: She has spoken to me on the air about that. And again, it should be known he was not seeking attention. He was very adamant about not having his -- he didn't want his voice on there. He didn't want -- there is video that goes along with the audio. He did not want that on there at all.

COOPER: Right.

LEMON: And because he has an accent, he was worried about people, you know.

COOPER: Being --

LEMON: Being able to identify him.

COOPER: Identify him. Fascinating stuff, Don, thank you very much.

And joining me now are Frank Piazza, an audio forensic expert, CNN legal analyst Mark O'Mara who represented George Zimmerman, of course, and legal affairs commentator and attorney, Areva Martin.

Mark, if it's confirmed that this is the audio of the shooting of Michael Brown, do you see it bolstering either side, the prosecution or the defense, or do we simply not -- I mean, obviously we don't know any of the forensic evidence. Is it simply too early to tell?

MARK O'MARA, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, a couple of things. I do think it's going to be authenticated. It seems to be relevant in time, place and the way it happened. So I think it's probably going to get authenticated which means it's going to show up in a courtroom.

What's interesting it does it sort of sets the audio stage for what happened. I agree with Don, it seems as though it's missing that first shot that was testified to by Dorian, but the other ones I think are fairly significant. Now whether or not they help the state or defense, according to what side you want me to take, and you and I have both talked about not speculating, but one thing that's interesting about that is the family's autopsy suggested that Mike Brown was hit six times in the front.

If we presume that Dorian was right and one of those shots came at the car, then five other shots came to his front, but if they came at the last four, there's not enough shots. Meaning that at least one of those five shots in the front had to come from the first volley. That might indicate that Mike Brown turned around during the first volley or was actually at the officer during the first volley.

There was this -- there was an intervening three seconds and then he continues to shoot, including the two fatal shots. So from a defense perspective this could fit in very well. Prosecutor perspective might say, you know, he waited three seconds when he should have done something else besides continue to shoot.

COOPER: Areva, what do you think about that three-second pause between the round of what appeared to be the shots? How significant is that for you?

AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: I think it's very significant because, again, we have an unarmed teenager who what we've been hearing from the eyewitnesses, he was defenseless and he was actually surrendering. So when you hear a pause in the gunshots, it causes you to think, could there have been something else this officer, you know, maybe could have done to apprehend Mike Brown rather than continue to shoot after the first, you know, six shots we hear on the audio?

So I think it's also interesting, Anderson, because we've heard a lot about, you know, the Ferguson police not having dash cams or body cams. And so this is an audio that presumably would be very similar if there had been a dash cam or, you know, some other kind of camera in place. So more reliable than eyewitness testimonies, which we know at this point seemed to be conflicting. So I think a very important piece of information that hopefully will show up in the grand jury.

COOPER: I want to play the recording again, Frank, before I just ask you about it. Do we -- can we -- do we have that ready to play? Let's just listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are pretty.


You are so fine. Just going over some of your videos. (GUNFIRE)

How could I forget.


COOPER: Frank, is it possible with the sophisticated kind of equipment that you have and that other audio experts have that there's a lot more information on the audio tape, stuff that cannot easily be heard?

FRANK PIAZZA, AUDIO FORENSIC EXPERT: Well, you know, we spoke earlier about this a couple of days ago. There are three sections that we're hearing in the audio. There's the sound of the male voice. There is the sound of the gunshots or the environment behind it and then there's the sound of the actual room where the microphone in the phone is picking up that environmental sound.

And you listen to all those things and you listen for something that's continuous and in the case of what we're hearing there, and again I'm hearing it right now with -- just an ear piece, there seems to be a consistency in the environment of the room where the person actually speaking into the microphone was. So that's something to pay attention to.

COOPER: You said also the other day, and I found it fascinating, is that you can actually kind of get a signature for the ac current that's in the room? Can you explain that again and why that's significant?

PIAZZA: Sure. I'll give the shortest version I can. There's a newer technology that's been used by some forensic audio professionals that's referred to as ENF. And basically what it is, the current, the electrical current is actually giving out a time signature and the electrical grid that exists here in the United States, that can be tracked and mapped. And you can create that same timeline if the electrical power current is picked up within the recorder that made the recording and then do a comparison in a wave form.


PIAZZA: It's newer technology. And it definitely can be helpful.

COOPER: That's fascinating.

And Mark, you said the other night that you take issue with recordings like this being released because the effect it can have on other eyewitness testimony. People basically kind of adapting their testimony to what they hear in the media or they hear other witnesses talking about.

O'MARA: Well, here's -- this is going to happen. It's very normal human behavior. Now that we know and everyone knows who hasn't given their testimony yet that there were 10 shots with three seconds in between are going to naturally or maybe intentionally craft that and bring that into their testimony. So I think you'll see witnesses start to say when they talk about this event that's what they heard.

The other side of the coin is just as important, though. Every witness who has given a statement who has not stated affirmatively there were a number of shots, a pause of a few seconds and a number of other shots, now those witnesses are going to be impeachable potentially because of this new piece of evidence. That's why getting this out piecemeal is really interfering with the validity maybe or the integrity of the investigation in both sides preparing their case.

COOPER: Well, Areva, which is why it's crucial that investigators get as quickly as possible and have been getting as quickly as possible to any potential witnesses. That's why they want to get to those eyewitnesses as quickly as possible before people start to hear, you know, what another people in the crowd are saying or what people on television are saying.

MARTIN: Absolutely, Anderson. And there are some concern already that people are starting to mimic what they're hearing the other eyewitnesses talk about. But you can hear the people who are lined up for Brown and believe that this was an excessive shooting saying that they're concerned that Darren Wilson is hearing all of these accounts and it's giving him an opportunity to craft his version of events to fit with the evidence and to fit with his shooting being justified so I think it works on both sides, both on the witnesses supporting.

COOPER: Interesting.

MARTIN: And those who are opposed.

COOPER: It's an interesting perspective.

Frank Piazza, appreciate you being on. Areva Martin, Mark O'Mara, as well.

A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR so you can watch 360 whenever you want.

Just ahead tonight, is this the second American who was killed fighting for militant extremists in Syria? What U.S. officials are saying about him, next.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back. The United States seems close to verifying the identity of the second American killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria.

Our chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins us now.

So what do we know about this guy?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, so far we know that a family friend has said that it is indeed him, the pictures that have showed up online. The U.S. still working for final confirmation. He's also from Minnesota, which is the original home of Douglas McCain, the other American killed this weekend, 29 years old. Different from Douglas McCain, who was a convert, African-American convert to Islam.

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: He was a Somali American. And this has been a problem that's been existing for some time. Somali communities in the U.S., particularly in Minneapolis and also out on the West Coast that have been a pipeline not to Iraq and Syria, but to Somalia.

COOPER: Right. In fact the first American who died in a suicide blast was a Somali American.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. Fighting for al-Shabaab.

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: Another al Qaeda group there. So now you have Somali Americans. In fact it's believed that about a dozen Somali Americans may have been recruited into Iraq and Syria.

COOPER: Do we know if he and the -- this other guy, Douglas McAuthur McCain, again, I keep -- can't get over that name, it's such kind of iconic American name. Did he -- did they die in the same battle, do we know?

SCIUTTO: It's believed they fought in the same battle. It's quite a big battle that's been going on over several days. And what's really interesting about this battle, it's a battle against ISIS. Douglas McCain, this other American fighting for ISIS. The groups fighting against ISIS is an incredible coalition. It includes the Free Syrian Army, which is the moderate rebel group that the U.S. supports.

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: But also the al-Nusra Front, which is an al Qaeda-tied group.

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: So they're fighting together against ISIS.

COOPER: Which is -- the al-Nusra Front is the one who had held Theo Curtis.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. And they've committed their own atrocities there. But they're all fighting, that entire group, ISIS, al-Nusra, Free Syrian Army, all fighting against Bashar al-Assad.

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: So it's just an example of how confusing it is, whose side are you on?

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: And this is one of the dilemmas that the Obama administration is dealing with when they come to the question of military action in Syria. Who do you help by attacking ISIS there?

COOPER: Right.

SCIUTTO: Because in effect you're helping -- you're hurting ISIS, you help the Free Syrian Army but you also help Bashar al-Assad.

COOPER: And by giving weapons to the Free Syrian Army, if the group changed sides, do those weapons then end up with the al-Nusra Front or with ISIS?

SCIUTTO: Just like Iraqi army weapons that ended up at the hands of ISIS in Iraq.

COOPER: Right.


COOPER: Jim Sciutto, appreciate the update.

When you follow the path of Douglas McAuthur McCain, and you see his roots in the United States, as Jim said, they're in Minnesota. He was friends with another teenager at the time, Troy Kastigar. They both ended up killed while fighting for extremist group far from the Minneapolis suburb where they went to high school together.

Now McCain died just recently in Syria fighting for ISIS. Kastigar died in 2009 in Somalia while fighting for the group al-Shabaab, as Jim had mentioned.

Jason Carroll sat down with Troy Kastigar's mom who is still trying to understand how all this happened. This is the first time she's spoken out on television. Jason joins us now live.

So what did she have to say?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, you know, there's so many questions about why did he make this turn. I mean that's the obvious question. And Anderson, the simple answer is she just doesn't know. I mean, when she looks back at what happened with her son, she knows that at around age 16 he really started to have problems, had troubles in school. Started to turn to drugs.

But what he also did was he was looking for spirituality. He was looking for answers. He turned to the Quran. And I asked her about that when I spoke to her a little earlier this afternoon.


CARROLL (on camera): And he found comfort in turning to the Quran?

JULIE BOADA, TROY KASTIGAR'S MOTHER: So then he became Muslim. And I don't know exactly how that happened. He had some friends who were Muslims. There was some friends who were Somalis who had immigrated here. But he -- it was great for him. Like he all of a sudden was like I have my boy back. His eyes were bright again. He was focused. He really was excited about what he was doing about finding meaning. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CARROLL: Again, as you can see there from that interview, at one point it turned out to be something positive in his life. But obviously at some point he made that turn to something far more evil.

COOPER: Well, it's interesting because she also knew Douglas McAuthur McCain who was just killed in Syria. He was close with her son. Did she see any warning signs from him, from either of them?

CARROLL: They were very close, you're absolutely right about that. She said she remembers Doug coming over to the house. They spent a lot of time there together. They played basketball together. They were really basically thick as thieves. And, you know, again, when it comes to Doug, when it comes to her son, the question is how. How did these two so-called all-American boys make this turn to a terrorist organization. And we spoke about that as well.


CARROLL: Were there any warning signs along the way? With either one of them?

BOADA: With Doug for sure there were no warning signs because I just haven't been around him for a long time. The one thing that I thought was really strange with Troy is that they -- that someone, they, were willing to pay for him to come to Kenya. And I really questioned that. So I think they were manipulated. And I don't think they knew what they were -- fully what they were part of.


CARROLL: And, Anderson, one of the other things I noticed about talking with her is that it was very difficult to speak about her son. And I think the reason for that is that she's very conflicted. Obviously she is still mourning. This is a mother mourning for her son, regardless of what he did. But she feels conflicted talking about his death because of the way he died and because of what he did. And this is something that she says she's just going to have to live with for the rest of her life.

COOPER: Jason Carroll, thank you. Fascinating interview.

Joining us now live are David Gartenstein-Ross, senior fellow at the Foundation for the Friends of Democracy, and Philip Mudd, former senior official with the FBI as well as the CIA.

Philip, you say that once foreign fighters go into Syria and Iraq, when it comes to getting intelligence on these guys, it's almost like they're going into a hole. It's just virtually impossible. Explain what you mean by that.

PHILIP MUDD, FORMER SENIOR OFFICER, FBI AND CIA: Most of the folks that go over, we think of them as going over for terrorism and I felt for Mrs. Kastigar in that interview. I feel like I want to talk to her. I understand her son because I watched 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 kids like this. They're going over because they're inspired to protect innocent women and children. They have been told by an --

COOPER: We're obviously having trouble with the satellite.

David, what he's saying, though, is interesting. The idea that they may not know the full ramifications of what they're doing, although I find that hard to believe, given, you know, all the videos that are out there on YouTube. I mean, if you know you're going to go sign up with al-Shabaab in Somalia, I would think you'd have a pretty good idea what that means, no?

DAVID GARTENSTEIN-ROSS, SENIOR FELLOW, FOUNDATION FOR THE FRIENDS OF DEMOCRACY: Shabaab had an interesting trajectory. I mean, initially when people were being recruited out of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, there was this overlap between Shabaab's predecessors, the Islamic Courts Union, which is regarded a bit more moderate than Shabaab. Shabaab is an offshoot. Then Shabaab really stepped to the fore. And, you know, the views of Shabaab within the community ended up really shifting.

This is actually a tremendous counterterrorism success because initially what Philip Mudd talked about this idealistic reasons and especially nationalistic reasons really pervaded but over time when members of the community saw their sons going over and fighting and dying, sometimes killed by Shabaab and they saw the first American suicide bomber, a graduate of Roosevelt High School, Zuhur Ahmed, you had the community really turn against the Shabaab recruiting networks, which like I said it's a real success in terms of drying up what was once a very fertile pool of recruits.

COOPER: But, Phil, and you're back, setting aside Somalia, I mean, can somebody who now goes to fight for ISIS, they can't claim they don't know what they're getting into, can they?

MUDD: Anderson, I don't agree with that. I think what we're misunderstanding is the psychology of the youth that I follow. Remember, these kids often are 17, 18 or 19 years old. As Troy Kastigar's mom mentioned, they are looking for an anchor, they are looking for an answer. They're brought in by people who are inspiring them to believe that they're fighting for the cause of right to protect women and children in the face of an onslaught by Bashar al- Assad who is killing innocents.

I don't believe, and I absolutely agree with David, that community in Minneapolis changed. When I was at the bureau and testified on the Minneapolis problem, I had family members call me and they were appalled about what had happened to their children, how their children had been warped to believe -- by a child I'm talking about 17, 18- year-old -- that they were going to fight for the cause of right in Somalia and they're actually going to join a terrorist organization.

I still think there are kids who are going to believe I'm going -- I'm going out there to fight for a good cause.

COOPER: David, are there -- are there recruiting networks that we know about in Minneapolis, and in other parts of the United States, that funnel these kids overseas? GARTENSTEIN-ROSS: Yes, I believe that there are. We know for a fact

that there were recruiting networks in the case of Shabaab. That there were people who were funneling recruits over there and Troy Kastigar's mother refers to that when she talks about how there were people who would pay for his way to get over to Kenya.

I mean, getting over to Somalia and liaising with Shabaab is not an easy thing. And there were clearly people who were helping them along the way. There are multiple testimonies from members of the community that attest to this.

I think that the same thing is now going on with Syria. It's a little bit more shadowy, at least on the open source side. You don't have a lot -- you have indictments handed down about these recruiting networks, but I believe that they're there. And there's some testimony related to people from Europe who have gone over to Syria that strongly suggest that recruiting networks are in place and helping people who get to southern Turkey to liaise with jihadist groups and other groups in Syria.

COOPER: David Gartenstein-Ross, appreciate you both being on. Philip Mudd as well.

As always you can find out more on the story and others at

Just ahead tonight in this hour, on the very same day that ISIS says it's executing hundreds of Kurdish soldiers in Iraq and the video is just gruesome, lined them up, shot him, President Obama says he doesn't have a strategy yet for going after ISIS in Syria, where it has its home base.


COOPER: Welcome back. ISIS said today it's executed at least 250 Syrian soldiers at an air base in the north eastern city of Raqqa. It also posted a video, which shows captured Kurdish soldiers in Iraq wearing orange jump suits just like the one journalist, Jim Foley, was wearing when he was beheaded.

The video also shows three masked men appearing to decapitate a man in front of a mosque in Mosul. CNN cannot independently verify the claims or authenticity of the video. There's a lot of reports that has been building that the U.S. may soon go after ISIS with airstrikes in Syria, the terror group's home base.

Today though President Obama flat out said he doesn't have a solid plan on that yet.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As I've said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy, but I'm confident that we can and we will working closely with our allies and our partners.

I do think it will be important for Congress to weigh in or that our consultations with Congress continue to develop so that the American people are part of the debate. But I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We don't have a strategy yet.


COOPER: The White House later made a point of saying that President Obama was only talking about a potential military plan for Syria, not his overall strategy for ISIS, which they said they do have.

Senior White House correspondent, Jim Acosta joins me now. Certainly the president was looking to tamp down, you know, reporting that air strikes in Syria were imminent, but he actually inadvertently created more of a controversy.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Anderson. The president was indeed trying to end the speculation that he was on the verge of ordering air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria. One White House official told me they thought the speculation was getting out of control.

And it was in that context that the president used those words "we don't have a strategy yet." As we all know in this age of social media, a poorly phrased sound bite can go viral instantly and that's exactly what happened.

So the White House jumped into damage control mode instantly and Josh Earnest, the press secretary, went on Wolf Blitzer later basically within an hour after the president wrapped up his remarks in the briefing room and said the president was referring to his strategy on ISIS in Syria.

The White House argues the president has an overall strategy for ISIS, but they want more international cooperation and that's why the president is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the region after the NATO summit next week.

But Anderson, it sort of reminds me of covering the 2012 presidential campaign when the president said you didn't build that when he said the private sector is doing fine.

You know, you take those sound bites in the context that they're in and sometimes they can be in the eye of the beholder and it was one of those days where a poorly phrased sound bite just blew up in his face.

COOPER: Yes. Also Ukraine was talked about. Stern words yet again for Vladimir Putin, but what is the administration prepared to do to stop him? It seems like they're talking about potentially again more sanctions.

ACOSTA: That's right. The president chose his words carefully. He did not call Russia's apparent military activity in Ukraine an invasion, but instead a continuation of what's been happening over the past several months.

The president did pretty clearly say as you mentioned, Anderson, that more sanctions are on the way and that will be one of the big topics when the president meets with NATO next week.

The president also reiterated he does not see a U.S. military solution for the crisis in Ukraine. However, speaking of NATO, the president warned Russia not to meddle with NATO member nations like Estonia, for example, where the president will be visiting next week before going on to NATO in Wales.

Other small countries that are in the NATO alliance in Eastern Europe. The president is making it clear and he said it today that he holds that part of the NATO contract with these member nations sacred, that if a NATO country is invaded, the U.S. is bound by that partnership to intervene militarily, so the president did offer that stern warning to Vladimir Putin today.

COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta, thanks from the White House.

ISIS has taken control of cities, oil fields, military bases in Iraq and Syria. Whether it's going to be able to hold on to them and actually govern the areas that it now controls is a question that remains open.

Ben Hubbard of "The New York Times" joins me tonight. Ben, you wrote a fascinating piece for the "Times" and the thing that really struck me is how organized ISIS is. There's a management structure. There are departments. It's really remarkable.

BEN HUBBARD, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Yes, I mean, I think the reason that we wanted to work on this topic was there seemed to be a very big disconnect between what we see in ISIS' very aggressive social media campaigns, which tends to be lots of young, excited men with guns driving around and carrying out various types of mayhem.

But at the same time we have noticed that the results of what these guys do is very, very effective. They have military strategies. They have ways of making money. It's obviously not these fighters we're seeing in the videos who are making the decisions.

And so that's why we dove into this project and discovered that there's this group of roughly two dozen middle-aged Iraqi men who have sort of a very mixed background, but have come together and created this structure.

These guys have a lot of experience. They have been doing this for over a decade. They have lots of experience fighting against American forces and perfecting their techniques there.

I think that the bigger surprise was about a third of the top leaders in ISIS are actually former trained military officers from the days of Saddam Hussein. So these are guys that have brought something that most other terrorist organizations have not had at their disposal, which is people that really have an understanding of military tactics and not just insurgency tactics.

COOPER: The fact that they are part army and are in some ways fighting a conventional, you know, force with technical, fast-moving vehicles and increased weaponry that they have gotten, it makes it somewhat easier for the United States through an air campaign to try to at least whittle down their forces.

HUBBARD: My guess is that if the United States did decide to get much more heavily involved, they're going to run into the same problems that they have had in fighting this kind of force before.

I mean, obviously the United States is the greatest military power that the world has ever known. If they wanted to destroy -- you know, if they wanted to wield great military might against ISIS, this would not be a very difficult thing to do.

It's just that the background of is also has a lot to do with the social context in which they're operating. This is a group that's found a decent amount of support. Maybe not for all of its tactics but for its ability to fight against the Iraqi state.

And American air strikes are not going to fix that. The only thing that's going to be a long-term solution is going to be restoring some kind of governance to these areas.

So that the local populations are not going to want these guys in their areas and also political systems that are going to build their own militaries and their own forces that can face up to this threat.

COOPER: You also report that of the 25 deputies that ISIS has across Iraq and across Syria, nearly all of them have been imprisoned by American forces in the past.

HUBBARD: Right. This was another big surprise. A number of the analysts that we've talked to who have studied ISIS' structure have said that this is a deliberate choice by the leader of ISIS, who considers himself of the world's Muslims, but he has chosen to rely on people that he has very tight personal bonds with.

So this is one way that the organization remains cohesive over the large amount of territory that it covers right now. And it's probably a good chance this played a role in these people's radicalization as well. The time being spent in these prisons and then being released from the prisons.

COOPER: Which we've seen with a lot of Islamists becoming radicalized or more in the time they were in prison. Ben Hubbard, appreciate you being on. Thanks, Ben.

HUBBARD: Thank you very much.

COOPER: Well, up next tonight, he's no hero. A captain for the USC football team is suspended indefinitely after admitting to lying about how he injured his ankles. He never saved a drowning nephew, as he claimed. So how did he get hurt and why do police want to talk to him about it? New developments on that ahead.


COOPER: Well, it's an incredible story. A college football player sprains both his ankles jumping from a balcony into a pool to save his nephew from drowning. That's what USC cornerback, Josh Shaw, told his coach, a great story.

But it turned out it was a lie. It wasn't true. The team captain confessed and is benched indefinitely. So how did he sprain his ankles? Sara Sidner reports.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Josh Shaw was already considered a leader on the field. Now he was suddenly a hero off of it. Just days ago, Shaw said he rescued his 7-year-old nephew from drowning, forced to jump from a second-floor balcony to get to the boy in time.

In the process, he injured both ankles after hitting the concrete. He told the university web site, "I would do it again for whatever kid it was. It did not have to be my nephew." Shaw told USC's web site.

"My ankles really hurt, but I'm lucky to be surrounded by the best trainers and doctors in the world. I am taking my rehab one day at a time and I hope to be back on the field as soon as possible." And who would doubt him?

JOSH SHAW: Although I play in front of 90,000 fans on the field, I am much more nervous today.

SIDNER: Shaw was a highly regarded student at USC. In May, the Trojan's starting quarterback was asked to give this commencement speech to his fellow graduates. He was also chosen as team captain for his final year.

SHAW: When I was first asked to be a speaker at today's commencement ceremony, I was truly humbled, honored and overwhelmed with joy.

SIDNER: But questions started surfacing this week about Shaw's story about his nephew. Head Coach Steve Sarkisian was pressed for clarification.

STEVE SARKISIAN, HEAD COACH, USC FOOTBALL: It's pretty clear there's quite a bit -- there's quite a few conflicting stories out there. Any information that we've been provided up to this point we've pushed along to campus authorities. We're really going to let it play out in their hands up into this point and quite honestly we're in somewhat of a holding pattern so that's where we're at.

SIDNER: Then late yesterday there was this. A statement released through his attorney. On Saturday, August 23rd, 2014, I injured myself in a fall. I made up a story about this fall that was untrue. I was wrong to not tell the truth. I apologize to USC for this action on my part.

SIDNER (on camera): While Shaw admitted his story was a lie, the Los Angeles Police Department tells us there was a burglary at the apartment complex where Shaw's girlfriend lives, and they say they have interviewed his girlfriend, but Shaw is not a suspect in the case. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously we thought very highly of him. He spoke at our commencement this past spring. So when he came to the story with us, I didn't have a reason not to believe this guy. I think that's where the level of disappointment kicks in.

SIDNER (voice-over): A disappointment with significant repercussions. Shaw has been suspended from the team indefinitely. Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: The whole issue of lying is really fascinating. Why people make up, especially big lies. Joining me now is Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and author of "The Honest Truth About Dishonesty."

Dan, what do you make about this? The football player, he didn't just make up any lie. He made up a lie about saving his drowning 7-year- old nephew?

DAN ARIELY, DUKE UNIVERSITY: That's a good story. No. So here's how I view it. You know, I haven't talked to him and I don't know the story in great details, but if I try to generalize what's going on, I would say there are three elements here.

The first element is what we think about gains versus losses. The second one had to do with self-deception and the third one has to do with how our lies impact other people.

COOPER: In this case, I mean, he injured his ankles and he was going to be out probably for the season and so he had to come up with an explanation I assume for why he was not going to be able to play football?

ARIELY: That's right. So it wasn't that here was a guy who wanted to become a hero and he kept on thinking -- by the way, it was not a thoughtful lie. If he really wanted to plan something, he should have really thought about it better, but he came up with something at the spur of the moment to protect himself.

He probably wanted to basically portray something that would not make people think he's stupid and therefore, they are losing this valuable player for no good reason.

The second thing has to do with self-deception. Self-deception is just fascinating. It's about our ability to convince ourself that we've done something that we haven't done.

And we all have this capacity and it's really amazing. I'll tell you a story about how we study this. So we give people a test and they have the test and for half of them we give them the answers on the bottom.

So as you do the test, you can look at the bottom and see if you actually got it and you can basically trick yourself into believing that you knew the right answers. And then when people finish doing it, we give them another test and we say, hey, this test, here it is, have a look at it. It's clear that it doesn't have the answers at the bottom.

And we say how do you think you will do in this task? When people do the first task and they cheat, they should know that the reason that they got so much money and solved so many problems is because they cheated. But they forget about it very quickly.

COOPER: So people are deceiving themselves. They quickly buy into the lie?

ARIELY: That's right. I'm so good at this. I'm a real good test taker. Look at me, I did so well in the last time, completely discounting that they lied.

And I think this guy probably started telling this story at some point and maybe told it even in colorful ways and it stuck into his mind. I don't think he 100 percent believed in it, but he started believing it to a higher degree.

COOPER: Do you think people are being too harsh on this guy? I know you say basically everybody lies to one degree or another.

ARIELY: People are very harsh on him. Like the reporters saying, people saying I can't believe he's saying that. In some sense I think we're too harsh, in some sense I think we're not harsh enough.

He is a public figure in many ways. Admirable in all kinds of aspects. From that perspective if we did not punish him harshly it could create a really bad signal to the people around him.

A new understanding of what is acceptable and not acceptable. So from that perspective, I think we have to be very harsh because if we're not, we're really sending very bad signal to other people.

COOPER: That's really fascinating. When I was a kid I always thought if I was going to lie, I should just lie big and make it such an outrageous lie that people would either think I'm either a psychopath or it must be true. How's that? Would that hold up?

ARIELY: I'm not sure you want to be considered a psychopath. But it is interesting that sometimes people lie in a very big way for it to both be a lie, but not be perceived as a lie, right? So most lies are actually things that we hope that the other people would not question.

COOPER: Maybe I'm lying that big because I'm a psychopath after all.

ARIELY: I don't think so, but here's a question for you. We give people a task and it's a die. You throw it and before you throw it I say, think about whether you want to get paid on what's the top or what's the bottom. So if it's 6/1, if you said top you get 6, if you get bottom, you get 1.

I say think about what you want, top or bottom, but don't tell me. Then you roll the die and let's say it comes with 5 on the top and 2 on the bottom. I say what did you think, top or bottom?

Now, if you thought top, you say top and get $5. If you thought bottom, you have a question. Do you say the truth and say bottom and get $2 or do you lie and say top and get $5. We get people to do this about 20 times. On those 20 times, we can basically find out if people are lying or not lying.

COOPER: Really?

ARIELY: What we find, like much of our research, is that lots of people lie a little bit.

COOPER: Wow, it's really fascinating. Dan, thank you so much for being on. Fascinating stuff.

ARIELY: As always, a pleasure to be here.

COOPER: All right. Up next, comedian, Joan Rivers was rushed to a hospital after she stopped breathing during surgery. I'll have the latest on her condition ahead.


COOPER: Welcome back. Legendary comedian, Joan Rivers, is hospitalized tonight. The 81-year-old was rushed to New York's Mt. Sinai Hospital after she stopped breathing during throat surgery at an outpatient facility.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us from the hospital with more. What do we know about her condition?

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we know that she came here in critical condition. That surgery was being performed at a nearby clinic. That's when Joan Rivers stopped breathing. The Fire Department here in New York City said they responded from a patient suffering from both respiratory and cardiac arrest.

Mt. Sinai tonight is only saying that they are attending to Joan Rivers. They say that they'll be giving an update on condition when they have one. They have added a statement from her family just thanking fans for the outpouring of love and support.

This news is upsetting to so many people because at 81 years old Joan Rivers is still very much at the height of her career, hosting a weekly show on the E! Network.

That network also putting out statements today saying that Joan, while in critical condition, is now in stable but critical condition. They're also saying that that surgery that was being performed on her throat had to do with her vocal cords -- Anderson.

COOPER: She still does stand-up comedy late at night in comedy clubs. I understand her daughter flew to New York to be with her?

FIELD: Yes, she was performing last night. Her daughter lives in Los Angeles. We know that Melissa and Melissa's son left Los Angeles this morning, came to New York and they were making their way here to the hospital to be with Joan Rivers tonight.

Joan and Melissa part of a reality TV show, so Joan has been in the industry for decades. Is still very much a prolific comedian.

COOPER: We wish her the best. Alexandra, thanks very much. We'll be right back with another live hour of 360 and what President Obama said about how he is approaching the situation.


COOPER: Good evening. Thanks for joining us for this extended 360 edition. A lot to get to this hour starting with a frank admission from President Obama. He flat out said he doesn't have a plan yet to go after ISIS in Syria, its home base. Here's how he put it.