Return to Transcripts main page


ESPN: Rice Told Goodell in June About Punch; Boxer Floyd Mayweather Defends Ray Rice; James Foley's Mother Speaks Out; CIA: ISIS Can Muster 20K+ Fighters in Iraq, Syria; Pistorius Cleared on Murder Charge; Remembering the Sept. 11 Attacks

Aired September 11, 2014 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for joining for another live hour of 360.

We begin with breaking news tonight, word from ESPN and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell knew months ago exactly what Ray Rice did to his then-fiancee in a casino elevator because Ray Rice told him.

Four sources tell the ESPN's "Outside the Lines" that when Rice and Goodell met back in June, Rice told him that he punched his then- fiancee, Janay Palmer, in that elevator. That directly contradicts what Goodell said just this week on CBS.



ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: When we met with Ray Rice and his representatives, it was ambiguous about what actually happened.

NORAH O'DONNELL, CBS ANCHOR: But what was ambiguous about her laying unconscious on the floor being dragged out by her feet?

GOODELL: There was nothing ambiguous about that. That was the result that we saw. We did not know what led up to that.


COOPER: Again, sources telling ESPN tonight that Goodell knew exactly what led up to that because Rice told him in June.

Now, remember, Goodell says it wasn't clear what happened until he, along with the entire country and the world, saw the video that TMZ released despite an associated press report that the NFL had the video for five months. Before the video came out, Rice's punishment were just a two-game suspension, a fine and an agreement to go to rehabilitation program and NFL has hired former FBI director to sort all of this out

Back with me are CNN supporters, Rachel Nichols, Host of Unguarded and Senior Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Jeff, when Roger Goodell says, "it wasn't clear what went on that elevator", I mean he was in that mean. I don't understand when you just sit there and say, "Well, exactly what happened? Explain what happened."

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right. And that would be the natural thing to ask and according to the four sources who told Don Van Natta of ESPN. They did tell him. They said the completely obvious thing which was he hit her but apparently, Roger Goodell thought the answer was ambiguous. Just one of the several bizarre statements he made in that interview with Norah O'Donnell of CBS and yet another reason why the NFL has embarrassed himself and needs an independent investigation which fortunately he's going to get.

RACHEL NICHOLS, HOST OF UNGUARDED: It's just -- the credibility here is just getting strained and strained, further and further and further. Now, he comes out and says, "No, no. We didn't really get the full story about what happened in the elevator. It was ambiguous." and of course now, we have a very well source report saying of course they did. He says, no, no. We never saw the tape. We never got the tape. We never had the tape. But there's a very good chain of electronic custody of the fact that they did get the tape in their office whether Roger Goodell himself saw it or not. So it is harder and harder to believe anything that comes out of the offices on Park Avenue.

TOOBIN: And he said in that interview that it would've been illegal for the NFL to obtain the tape...

COOPER: Come on...

TOOBIN: ... in the elevator which is simply not true...

NICHOLS: And when he was sort of breaking it down. He said it would've been illegal from law enforcement which of course completely misses the point that there are 30 other ways that they could've gotten it because there was another ESPN report yesterday that 25 to 30 casino employees had access to that tape regularly and dozens more, just pop by the office to see it because it was a compelling video.

COOPER: And according to DAP, it was a law enforcement person who sent the tape to the NFL even though they were not authorized to, they felt the NFL to see it.

NICHOLS: Had to see it.

TOOBIN: And to continue what that report said, and the woman mysterious, we don't know which woman it is, calls back and says in effect, "Wow, that's a pretty devastating tape." Somehow that tape doesn't get...

NICHOLS: You're right. That's terrible...

TOOBIN: Right. You're right. That's terrible. Somehow, that tape never got to Goodell

COOPER: So an investigation by Robert Mueller, formally with the FBI, I mean how does that work? What does that look like?

TOOBIN: It's a fairly standard thing. The NFL says to its employees, you better cooperate with this guy. It is part of your job to talk to them. So I'm not worried about them taking the fifth or anything like that and, you know, we're not talking about an investigation...

NICHOLS: Why aren't you -- When you have Roger Goodell on TV, waffling over the truth, when there are several instances we've seen in this entire thing where they're not being straight with us, why are suddenly thinking that in this investigation, they're just going to come out and open all the closets?

TOOBIN: Well, because I have to say, you know, Bob Mueller is one of the most distinguished law...

NICHOLS: He could be great but if they're not telling him what happened...

TOOBIN: Well, you know, let's give him a chance. I mean, I have to say, Bob Mueller is one of the most distinguished pubic servants in recent American law enforcement history. He knows how to conduct an investigation and also, you know, we're not talking about an investigation of a something the size of the pentagon.

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: You know, this is a few dozen people who could possibly be involved here.

COOPER: And how many personnel are there? Do we know at the NFL offices?

NICHOLS: At the NFL Offices? Yeah.

TOOBIN: Several hundred work there but not several. I mean, a lot of them work at marketing and in places that would have nothing to do with this particular investigation. So, you know, I don't have any doubt that he will be able to get a quick sense of the lay of the land.

NICHOLS: Do you say that the person -- Let's say that Goodell is telling the truth and that he never saw the video, do you think the person that was responsible for having the video and not seeing it will get fired? And if you think, therefore if that is true, we all assume that they would get fired...

COOPER: Or was it a case...

NICHOLS: ... would they tell the truth in that investigation?

COOPER: Or was it a case of employee saying, "You know what? You know, we have a meeting, let's give him deniability. Let's not show him, you know," if there's some things you don't -- the CEO doesn't want to see.

TOOBIN: These are all possibilities. I, you know, maybe I'm not cynical enough. I trust Robert Mueller to be able to figure out what happened here...

NICHOLS: I'm cynical enough for both of us.

TOOBIN: I mean, I -- yeah.

COOPER: OK. So Jeffrey Toobin thanks, Rachel Nichols as well.

There are already serious questions about how Roger Goodell handled the case even before the latest news that ESPN is reporting, ramblings about whether he can continue to leave the NFL or is this scandal going to be his legacy?

Gary Tuchman takes a look.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN ATLANTA CORRESPONDENT: The Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue passed the baton in 2006.


TUCHMAN: And Roger Goodell begun his tenure as commissioner of America's most popular team sport. NFL owners believed he was calm and intelligent and early on, he spoke these relevant words.

GOODELL: We are in a position where people are watching and you're in a different world right now and you have to be responsible. You are going to be held accountable.

TUCHMAN: And now, the question is being asked, has he been responsible? Has he been accountable?

O'DONNELL: The question becomes did the NFL drop the ball? Or was the NFL willfully ignorant about what was on this tape?

GOODELL: Well, we certainly didn't know what was on the tape. But we have been very open and honest. And I have also -- from two weeks ago when I acknowledged that we didn't get this right. That's my responsibility. And I'm accountable for that.

TUCHMAN: Goodell has had his hands full during his eight years as commissioner when it comes to discipline. Perhaps the most well-known case involves quarter Michael Vick who was accused of operating in a legal dog fighting ring in which under performing dogs were abused, tortured and killed. Vick pleaded guilty and went to prison.

GOODELL: Michael did and then we just think he has paid a very significant price for that.

TUCHMAN: Goodell allowed Vick back in the NFL. He currently plays for the New York Jets. Then there is Pittsburgh Steelers veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger accused of sexual assault in Nevada in 2009 and Georgia in 2010. No criminal charges were filed but Commissioner Goodell said he violated the NFL's personal conduct policy and the quarterback was suspended for the first four games of the 2010 season. GOODELL: You don't have to be convicted of a crime. You're going to be held accountable for that standard and we expect them to meet them.

TUCHMAN: Currently, other players accused of abuse and convicted of abuse are unactive NFL rosters. So as people continue to watch the elevator video, it is making blood boil.

Twelve Democrats on the House of Representatives' Judiciary Committee have sent a letter to Goodell demanding the highest level of transparency concerning the investigation of the Ray Rice incident. And 16 female U.S. senators have also sent Goodell a letter in which they say they are shocked and disgusted by the elevator video and want the NFL to have a real zero tolerance policy. There are also calls for Goodell's resignation.

TERRY O'NEILL, NOW, PRESIDENT: We're insisting that Roger Goodell must resign and we want a truly independent investigator with full authority and full power to do a top to bottom review of all of the domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking incidents within the NFL community.

TUCHMAN: By any standard, this is a crisis for the National Football League and its commissioner but no team owner has spoken out against Goodell which seems to indicate they trust him as of now.

O'DONNEL: Do you feel like your job is on the line?

GOODELL: No, I'm used to criticism and I'm used to that. Every day, I have to earn my stripes.

TUCHMAN: At least, in public, Roger Goodell appears calm just like he's been since he took over his commissioner.

Garry Tuchman, CNN Atlanta.


COOPER: Just ahead, while Ray Rice is out of a job at least for now, there are of course other athletes with domestic violence convictions in their past who are still very much active in their sports including America's highest paid athlete boxing champion Floyd Mayweather who has made millions upon millions of dollars after multiple incidents of domestic violence. Mayweather has spoken out in defense of Rice.

That's next.


COOPER: Ray Rice's domestic violence had him causing his job but not until the video tape was made public. For many other athletes this type of criminal behavior caused them absolutely nothing. Take the case of boxer Floyd Mayweather, one of the few people who actually defended Rice publicly. Mayweather himself has multiple domestic violence charges in his past and it hasn't affected to his career or his bank account one bit.

Sara Sidner, reports.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: America's highest paid athlete boxing champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. defending more than his 46-0 winning streak this week after comments he made about Ray Rice's punishment for this disturbing incident

Tuesday, Floyd Mayweather told reporters, the NFL was wrong to increase Rice's punishment after this video surfaced adding, "I think there's a lot worst things that go on in other people's households, it's just not caught on video if that's safe to say. You know, I wish Ray Rice nothing but the best."

The boxer is no stranger to the issue of domestic abuse. In 2011, he was convicted of it for beating and kicking his children's mother, the children watched.

Given your domestic violence history, why did you feel the need to just say anything about him and defend him?

FLOYD MAYWEATHER, PROFESSIONAL BOXER: I'll say what I had to say, you know, I can't just keep dwelling on this, you know, it's time for me to focus on my fight, you know. I'm not an NFL player, you know, I apologize to the NFL for whatever I said or for whoever I offended, you know, I'm not -- like I said before, I'm not perfect.

SIDNER: Unlike Rice, Mayweather's career is still going strong when Mayweather was convicted of domestic violence soon after a judge in 2012 allowed him to delay going to jail so that he could take part in a big money highly publicized bout.

Why do you think he was treated differently than Rice?

YOLVIS RODRIGUEZ, MAYWEATHER FAN: There was no video tape like he said. I believe if the video tape was out, it would've been a different story.

SIDNER: After this video went public, the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely. His team cut him.

Contrast that with Mayweather who made $32 million in the fight after being convicted and sentenced for domestic violence. Boxing fans didn't desert him, that fight in 2012 generated 1.5 million pay per view buys which translated into $94 million according to Mayweather's publicity document.

Mayweather's attorney argued in court back then that canceling the fight would hurt the local economy. Several local businesses told us, that's true.

PHIL LITTLE, BOXING FAN: It's the almighty dollar, I'm quite certain but he is also -- I wanted him to -- I used to be a fan of his but not anymore after I heard that.

SIDNER: But there are plenty of others in his corner. Mayweather stands to get a $40 million plus payout in his upcoming fight against Marcos Maidana.

So do you think that athletes such as yourself that make big money for yourself and for, you know, the city itself. Do you think you'll get preferential treatments because of what you do even if you're convicted of domestic abuse?

MAYWEATHER: As of right now, you know, no disrespect but my job is to focus on Maidana, you know, I'm time for me to leave that in the past and focus because I have a tough task in front of him this Saturday.

SIDNER: Because he's still has a job to focus on.

Sara Sidner, CNN, Las Vegas.


COOPER: Rachel Nichols is going to have an interview with Floyd Mayweather tomorrow night on Unguarded at 10:30 Eastern Time right here on CNN.

Joining me right now, our CNN Legal Analyst and Former Federal Prosecutor Sunny Hostin and domestic violence survivor Leslie Morgan Steiner who wrote about her experiences in a memoir called "Crazy Love".

What do you making of the fact that Floyd Mayweather has had no impact on his career based on what he's done? Is it just that there's not a video tape of it?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I think it has to do with sort of the way that we treat domestic violence in this country. It's very difficult to prosecute these types of cases. I know that first hand. And I think it has a lot to do with the culture of sports quite frankly, Anderson. I think that we lionize these athletes. We hold them up as role models just because they can play a sport.

I also think it's remarkable that someone like me whether who has had this incredibly, you know, just terrible track record on domestic violence would feel the need to be able to be a spokesperson for Ray Rice.

I mean, are we going to have Jerry Sandusky talk about child sex abuse now? I mean, it's just unbelievable that he is so cloaked in his celebrity and so protected that he actually thinks that he can make comments like the ones that he made.

COOPER: Leslie, I want to read something that an NFL -- excuse me, an NBA player named Paul George tweeted in support of Ray Rice and he said, "If you in a relationship and a woman hit you first and attacking you then you obviously ain't beating her." What do you think of that?

LESLIE MORGAN STEINER, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVOR: Yeah. Totally horrifying. And, you know, if celebrity athletes are saying these things about domestic violence for public consumption, I can only imagine what they're saying and doing in private and it really goes to show how so many people in this county don't take domestic violence seriously.

COOPER: Why do you think that is?

STEINER: Well, because I think we have generations and generations of, you know, history where it was OK to abuse your wife and where women didn't have the right to speak out and didn't have the right to prosecute their abusers and they weren't taken seriously when they did and I can't think of any other felony crime that is publicly mocked the way these athletes did today. I think it's horrifying.

COOPER: It is -- I mean, Sunny, there does seems to be this double standard that somehow this kind of violence is in a different category.

HOSTIN: It's absolutely true and it was always so difficult for me when I was prosecuting these cases that they just weren't treated the same. I think that often times we know that the victims of these terrible crimes stand by their abusers, stand by their man, do not want to testify and there's always this sort of narrative that a woman somehow provokes this.

We've heard a lot about that I think in this, the Ray Rice case. And I know for a fact having looked at the video, having looked at the case, he got celebrity justice. Let's make no mistake about it. He got treated differently than other people would've been treated and there was a video here and there's never a video.

I prosecute a lot of these cases. I've seen of course photographs of the aftermath but to actually show, be able to show the world, this is what domestic violence looks like and he gets no jail time.

COOPER: You know, Leslie, we talked to you, I think, I don't know if it was yesterday or the day before and you said that you didn't believe this is the first time. And one of the things you said during your Ted talk has really stuck with me and I've been thinking about it a lot, that a lot of times in your case, domestic violence that it starts A, it's targeted against very young women who were perhaps more vulnerable. But it also starts with these suggestion of violence as a test to see how the woman response to that. Can you explain that?

STEINER: That's exactly what happened to me and it happens to many, many victims.

So the first stage is the seduction, the fairy tale stage, then isolation and then quite often abusers will introduce the threat of violence and then see how she reacts. And if she doesn't leave then, then they gradually escalate it. And maybe they punch a wall and say, "If I weren't such a gentleman, I would be hitting you because what you did was so awful."

So, they're grooming the victim, exactly the way a pedophile would groom a young child and letting her know, or sometimes him if the victim is a man, that violence is coming and that it is somehow her fault.

And I just want to disagree that there's celebrity justice here because I tell you, this is just not a crime that is prosecuted even when the abuser is a no-name person on the street. It's just not a crime that is taken seriously enough. And part of it is a problem that victims are really hamstrung and we can't come to our own defense because we're in denial and in shock.

But we know enough about domestic violence in this country now. That we could prosecute abusers without cooperation of the victim and we should.

COOPER: Leslie, it's great to have you on again. Sunny Hostin as well.

We got a lot more ahead. More of my interview with Jim Foley's mom, Diane Foley. She shares her fond memories of her son. She's a remarkable woman whose strength is extraordinary.


COOPER: Earlier this evening, we played part one of my exclusive conversations with Diane Foley, the mother of slain reporter, Jim Foley. It's her first interview since President Obama launched the military campaign against the ISIS terrorists who murdered her son and who murdered Journalist Steven Satloff and have slaughtered thousands more in Iraq and Syria.

Diane Foley is a mom who's determined to keep her son's legacy alive. She's honoring his strength during nearly two years in captivity, revealing details of what she says happened behind the scene during that time. She's also candid about her belief that the U.S. government did not do enough to bring Jim home safely and just by kind words did not do a good job of working with her family during their long ordeal.

I spoke to her earlier today. Here's part two of the interview.


DIANE FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY'S MOTHER: Jim was very passionate about freedom, freedom of the press, freedom for disadvantaged children for a chance for education. But I know had he survived this ordeal, he would've been very passionate about the need to make kidnapped citizens a priority, a priority for our country and internationally to try to promote dialogue for some consensus and strategy.

COOPER: Because right now, there's no consensus. I mean...

FOLEY: There is not

COOPER: ... European nations pay for their hostages, the U.S. says they are unwilling to do that.

FOLEY: Exactly and...

COOPER: You're saying that the country needs to be in the same page?

FOLEY: Absolutely. And not only that, there needs to be the international dialogue. The risk is becoming higher and higher. And I really feel that our country let Jim down. And...

COOPER: In what way?

FOLEY: Well, Anderson, I -- we met wonderful people within our government. Good people who care, who wanted to help but the reality of the bureaucracy and really was such that we were not helped. We really weren't. And it...

COOPER: You didn't feel like they were there for you. That they were really the U.S. government...

FOLEY: Not at all and yet we don't blame -- I don't blame people because that's not going to help.

COOPER: So you didn't -- did you feel that your family -- that Jim was a priority for the government?

FOLEY: No. We really didn't. You know...

COOPER: And you saw that in what? In the resources that they -- had you interact with the -- the people they have you interact? What -- How did you get that sense?

FOLEY: Anderson, As an American, I was embarrassed and appalled, you know. I think our efforts to get Jim freed were an annoyance, you know. And...

COOPER: An annoyance to the government?

FOLEY: Yes. Jim would have been saddened. Jim believed till the end that his country would come to their aid.

COOPER: Did you know that what was happening to him and where he was?

FOLEY: Well, that's what -- Anderson, to be honest, that part was rather frightening. We intended to know everything before the FBI or anyone else.

COOPER: How so?

FOLEY: Because we did everything we could. I went to Europe several times to interview the European freed hostages, just so I can find out how Jim was. What's going on? Where are they? What are the chances of this or that? It was a frightening thing. And the FBI was -- Everyone was kind and supportive but the FBI used us for information.

COOPER: Really? They came to you for information?

FOLEY: Absolutely.

COOPER: About his location, about how his...

FOLEY: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.

COOPER: It's amazing to me that you flew overseas to actually interview... FOLEY: No, it's not...

COOPER: ... the hostages...

FOLE: ... Anderson, as a mother, I was frantic.

COOPER: You would do anything?

FOLEY: I -- Anderson, Jim was an incredible human being. He was very courageous and he had a heart. I mean, anyone who knew Jim loved him. Jim had an ability to be present, to listen, unlike so many in our world. Jim had many gifts, Anderson. I did all I could but I was unable to do enough.

COOPER: What did you learn from the hostages who had been with him and who had been released?

FOLEY: That he continue to have that compassion and goodness to the very end. That he continued to believe that our country would find a way to free them. He passionately believed in America and our goodness and that he was valuable as a citizen. And I also -- It was found that the prayers of people from all over the world gave him an incredible courage.

COOPER: He felt that?

FOLEY: Absolutely, without a doubt, Anderson.

COOPER: I don't understand. He actually got a letter to you through one of the other hostages?

FOLEY: He did, Anderson.

COOPER: Which is an extraordinary thing. Not -- It wasn't actually a physical letter, the other hostages memorized the letter.

FOLEY: Yes, exactly.

COOPER: I have an excerpt from the letter. Can I read part of it? Because it's really, I think, just extraordinarily moving.

"Dreams of family and friends take me away and happiness fills my heart."

That must -- I mean, it's such a sign of resilience that in the midst of this...

FOLEY: Well, Jim knew, Anderson, that he was privileged, privileged in a very ordinary American sense. He was very loved. He grew up in a community of love, of crazy family. He was the oldest of five children, lots of crazy wonderful memories. He was privileged. He was privileged as many of us Americans are. And he knew that. And I think the more he saw suffering, certainly when he became a journalist in conflict zones, his heart just got bigger and he just realized he became more and more compelled to -- and committed to bringing the voice of that suffering to us Americans who were all too comfortable at times and spoiled and Jim was very committed to that, Anderson.

COOPER: To walk in other people's shoes?

FOLEY: Yeah. And to listening and to somehow find a way to get voice to that.

COOPER: To bear witness.

FOLEY: Bear witness. To bear witness, Anderson.

COOPER: I started out as a young reporter going overseas and working in war zones and my mom, who was a single mom, my dad passed away, never once told me not to go. And I look back on that and I think, you know, what extraordinary strength for her, clearly she was worried about me but she didn't -- she knew it was important to me so she never said don't, don't do this.

FOLEY: Right. Right.

COOPER: You must have worried? Terribly.

FOLEY: Terribly and I think -- We believed, we were moved by Jim's commitment and we just were.

I did try at times to talk to Jim and say, "Jim, you have so many gifts, you know. This is, you know, dangerous work." And -- But he could not be dissuaded. He really couldn't. I mean at times, even his siblings were angered that he would return after his captivity in Libya. I mean, it was hard as a family to understand because Jim was so loved, Anderson, and we were selfish. We wanted him with us. We wanted him safe. But Jim was not. Jim was selfless and he had the courage and the compassion to, you know, he was compelled. He was compelled to bear witness to what was happening in Syria.

COOPER: For you, are you able to see Jim as he was in life or is that image of him at the end something that is...

FOLEY: Yeah.

COOPER: ... seared in your...

FOLEY: Anderson, what keeps us going is definitely the way Jim lived. Jim will live on. And that is our deepest desire that this foundation make that happen. In the best sense that our government can have a better response to American hostages and their families that we can continue to promote freedom of speech and education in the world, that the best of America can be promoted. That's our hope, Anderson.

COOPER: And that's his legacy?

FOLEY: That is his legacy.


COOPER: And Diane Foley mentioned the foundation the family has just established in Jim's name. For information or if you want to make a donation, you can go to jamesfoleyfund, one word, dot org. We also have a link on our website. I also just tweeted it out in my Twitter account.

As to her criticism of the administration, we invited the White House to come on the program and comment, they decline.

However, Wolf Blitzer managed to ask National Securities Advisor, Susan Rice, about it earlier this evening. Ms. Rice says that she and others in the government worked hard to be supportive, that everyone is heartbroken by what happened then she pointed to the military mission, the White House ordered in search of the captives.


SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: As you know, the President ordered a very daring and very well-executed rescue operation when on the only occasion we had, what we thought was fresh and we hoped actionable intelligence about the whereabouts of Jim Foley and the other hostages.

Unfortunately, they were no longer there but I think that effort which involved hundreds of American personnel and a very sophisticated effort underscores the importance that we attached to doing everything we possibly can to bring Americans in captivity back home.


COOPER: That was Susan Rice earlier this evening.

Coming up next, a unique perspective of what Jim Foley endured and the hard choices that have to be made about how far to go to bring hostages home. Former captive David Rohde joins us.


COOPER: Jim Foley had in his mother, and father, and family members, or siblings, tireless advocates and he still does. Jim's mom, Diane, the entire family could be so single-minded because they had a single mission, getting him home safely and getting the other hostages home. They were dealing, though, with the government that for better or worse had much more than a single life to consider.

The question we all can ask is how well did they and do we balance sort of or sometimes competing interests in situations like these?

Joining us now, Investigative Reporter David Rohde who endure seven months in the Taliban captivity before escaping one night. He and other hostages then at last try for freedom.

I know you know the Foleys well. It seems to me there's several components to her concerns and criticism. One is, you know, she wishes more had been done to free James with -- through the military with possible discussions with ISIS and then there's comments to her feeling that as a family, they were isolated and other hostage families feel that and that the government didn't do all they could in terms of communicating with them and sharing information. That truly seems to be an easier piece to work on than the -- should there be ransom paid or negotiations.

DAVID ROHDE, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, REUTERS: Yeah, and that's a fair, I think we had to do with it. It is very difficult to resolve these cases, you know. Bringing them home to the Middle East, Syria, if you're not going to pay a ransom, it's very difficult for the U.S. government. But what is easy is more attention being paid to these cases and these families and the complaints, you know, the Foleys are talking and the Sotloffs are talked about, they're nothing new.

I mean, there is a similar problem from my family. I think they were treated better than the Foleys but this system doesn't work.

COOPER: In what way? What doesn't work?

ROHDE: Well, you talk to different government agencies. The lead agencies, you know, the FBI and they're actually very good individual FBI agents that work with families. There was a great one who helped us.

But you get a sense that government agencies aren't talking to each other. You get one sort of signal from the State Department, something different from the FBI and something very different from the White House.

She mentioned being told by the White House, you know, that she would be prosecuted if she paid a ransom. My family never heard that. And that's -- as far as I know isn't government policy and it's just a general sense that, you know, the government, you know, sort of -- she told me she felt like she's being sort of patted on the head...

COOPER: Right, yeah.

ROHDE: ... when she would come to Washington. And I think you're going to hear more from these families, the Sotloffs, the Foleys. One of the goals of this legacy foundation is to try to create some kind of group to coordinate and have families being represented and speaking with one voice.

COOPER: Well, that's the other thing that Diane Foley was saying is that for a long time they felt -- for the first year at the very least, they felt all alone in this. They didn't even know other hostage families. Part of that is, you know, some hostage families don't want any publicity for a number of reasons. But even not to be known among other hostage groups because I imagine that can be a tremendous well of support.

ROHDE: It is and they ended up contacting me from past experience. And other families have come to me, you know, for help and other kappas (ph). So it's this very informal network but there's real desire from the Foleys and other families to try to make something more powerful, some sort of group that the government will listen to more.

You know, media companies of Health GlobalPost who, you know, employed Jim was incredibly helpful to them but there's a desire among the families to have someone who is looking out for just their interest. And that, you know, companies who have interest and the government, you know, has its interest as well as you talked about.

COOPER: Do you think there is any change by European nations given the brutality of ISIS or reconsideration about paying ransoms? Because that's -- the other thing Diane Foley says that she's not saying ransom should be paid, she says that in fact there's other things that could be discussed beside just money but the very least everybody needs to be on the same page. Because you can't have a situation where if you're a French hostage, your government pays a few million dollars and you get out and the American hostage or the British hostage doesn't.

ROHDE: Well, that's exactly what happened and, you know, this all makes the one who memorize the Danish hostage that, you know, memorized this message from Jim. They're free because their governments did pay.

I don't see any big change in Europe's approach. And again the Foley's have, you know, more to say, there's a real problem with coordination. Again, not that the U.S. government should be paying ransom but are American intelligence agencies talking to European agencies.

Diane Foley herself had to go to Europe...

COOPER: That's what incredible...

ROHDE: ... to talk to this freed captives.

COOPER: Right. I mean -- and she said, "Look, any mom would do that." and I totally get that but the idea that it's her job to go and interview captives who have been with her son to try to gain information. That's...

ROHDE: American intelligence agencies, law enforcement agencies and the FBI should have been all over those European captives as soon as they came out.

COOPER: I can't imagine they -- I mean, were they not, do you think?

ROHDE: I'll let the Foley's describe that in detail...

COOPER: Right.

ROHDE: ... but I think they feel there was not enough coordination...

COOPER: That's incredible to me because that's a source of actionable intelligence.

ROHDE: No question. And again, there'll be more I think from the Foley's more from these other families. The system now is not working, you know, hostages deserve better.

You may not be able to free these hostages but you can do more to help their families and give them a sense that everything at least was tried.

COOPER: And that's where this Jim Foley Fund which is We're going to put the address up on our webpage. I tweeted it out tonight. So go to my Twitter page, you can see it. And there's also their own Twitter handle which is @jimfoleyfund.

David, thank you very much. David Rohde.

ROHDE: Thank you.


As we've mentioned there's a late word tonight in the conflict itself and a new assessment of how strong ISIS maybe as a fighting force.

Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto working in his stories as he joins us for the breaking news.


COOPER: So, Jim how many fighters does the CIA now believe that ISIS has in its ranks, because the numbers have been all over the place for the last couple of months.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. And this is a major increase that's doubling or tripling the number of fighters. The estimate had been about 10,000 now they say 20,000 up to 31,500 and they say the reason is that recruitment is up. That ISIS's battlefield games in Iraq in particularly had drawn more fighters in from the region and internationally. And that's a real problem because, you know, when the president said he's going to degrade and destroy this group. You know, it has -- as many as three times as many fighters as we thought he had just 24 hours ago.

COOPER: Does that also include Sunni supporters or people that have been under -- in Saddam's army?

SCIUTTO: It could include. The way the CIA describes this as fighters that ISIS can draw on in both Iraq and Syria and we do know that some of the Sunni tribes as well as just Sunnis living in that area have come along side them. But either way, this makes it a very formidable fighting force.

COOPER: And U.S. officials today, I also understand, confirmed that there are U.S. surveillance flights over Syria.

SCIUTTO: That's right. U.S. officials telling me that now U.S. surveillance aircraft are flying over Syria. This had been for some time limited just to the Iraq-Syria border. Now they're over Syria and of course this is to gather the intelligence they need to pick targets for airstrikes to be carried out, the airstrikes that the president mentioned in his speech. But I'm told they're still continuing to refine that intelligence.

COOPER: And in terms of challenges -- I mean, there are so many challenges this operation faces not the least of which is who on the ground in Syria is actually going to be an ally with the United States, who will the United States going to be giving weapons and training to.

SCIUTTO: No question, who and how capable they are because this has been a real concern. The president himself said a few weeks ago that it was a fantasy in his words that arming some of these groups who were -- in his words again doctors and farmers, et cetera would build formidable fighting force.

Now, the president and other administration officials say that now that forces more contiguous and that with U.S. -- when Western help and weapons and training, there will be more formidable force.

But so far Anderson, on the battlefield they've been overmatched and that's not just in Syria, the more moderate Syrian rebels it's in Iraq. Remember, you know, that Iraqi military that the U.S. spent a lot of money and spent a lot of time training did not do very well on its own against ISIS. And the question is, will airstrikes, will training, will U.S. advisers on the ground change that?

COOPER: Yeah, all right. Jim Sciutto, I appreciate it. Thanks Jim.

SCIUTTO: Thank you.

COOPER: Just ahead tonight. Oscar Pistorius breaking down in tears again today in the courtroom as the judge begin delivering her verdict. He will not be going to prison for murder. Tonight, though, his fate is still unclear and we'll tell you why.


COOPER: Crime punishment tonight.

Tonight, Oscar Pistorius is no longer an accused murderer. South- African judge has cleared the Olympic track star of that charge. She began reading her verdict today 18 months after Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

The fact that Pistorius kills Steenkamp on a Valentines Day 2013 that was never dispute while he's been cleared of murder, he could still end up in prison on a lesser charge.

Robyn Curnow on today's dramatic cliffhanger.


JUDGE THOKOZILE MASIPA, GAUTENG DIVISION, HIGH COURT OF SOUTH AFRICA: The accused therefore cannot be found guilty of murder...

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not guilty of murder but still not free to go. Oscar Pistorius sobbed and heaved that he exhausted unbroken.

MASIPA: No more relationships are dynamic and unpredictable.

CURNOW: As the judge delivered her verdict, calmly explaining why she thought the state did not prove he intended to kill his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

MASIPA: The state clearly has not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of premeditated murder.

CURNOW: The judge threw out much of the state's case against Pistorius but found his actions that night and on the witness stand questionable.

MASIPA: What we are dealing with here is the fact that the accused was amongst other things an evasive witness.

He failed to listen properly to questions put to him under cross- examination, giving an impression that he was more worried...

CURNOW: Just before the judge adjourned for the day, she said that Pistorius had time to act "reasonably" without firing full shots into the toilet cubicle.

MASIPA: I am of the view that the accused acted too hastily and used excessive force. And the second sense is it is clear that his conduct was negligence.

CURNOW: Experts say it points to a possible conviction of culpable homicide or manslaughter.

KELLY PHELPS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Legally, he has to be convicted of culpable homicide because the judge found that he failed the reasonable man test for negligence. A reasonable man would have foreseen the chance that someone would be killed by shooting in to about toilet. A reasonable man would have taken steps to avoid that death occurring and Pistorius did not take those steps.

CURNOW: Pistorius exited through gauntlet of waiting photographers.

Friday, he'll make the same walk again expecting to hear the judges' final verdict on all charges.

Robyn Curnow, CNN, Victoria, South Africa.


COOPER: On this, the 13th anniversary of the September 11th attack, the twin beams of light are shining again over Lower Manhattan and near with the Twin Towers once stood

Just ahead, some of the most striking moments on today's remembrances.


COOPER: Here in Manhattan tonight, two beams of light are shining once again, illuminating the sky over Lower Manhattan, the former side of the World Trade Center Towers. The twin beams representing those Twin Towers. They'll shine until dawn, a dawn that back in 2001 was the beginning of a new era for this country. One we're still living through in many ways. People used to call it the new normal but there was nothing normal about it and we hope there never will be. This is the 13th year the beams appears to the sky and the site has lost known of its power.

Today, the nation paused again to mark their September 11th attacks.

Here are some of those moments.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thirteen years ago, yesterday, it put me to bed not knowing this will be your last time. I miss you much. Daddy you're my hero. I love you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It means the world to me. I was his younger brother, one of his younger brothers. This means everything that's why I'm here every year. I got to be here. This is where passes away, his spirit is.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My family remembers, I was five, what my mother was able to do on that most horrific day. In our hearts and mind she will forever remain our hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By climbing today, you honor the memory of those that have gone before.

BARACK OBAMA, CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Beginning tomorrow, there will be teenagers, young adults who are born after 9/11. It's remarkable. And while these young Americans did not know the horrors of that day, their lives have been shaped by all the day since, a time that has brought us pain, but also taught us endurance and strength, a time of rebuilding, of resilience, and of renewal.


COOPER: Yeah, we of course will never forget.

That does it for this two-hour edition of 360. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again at 11:00 p.m. Eastern tonight for another edition in 360. I hope you join us for that.

CNN Tonight starts now.