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Three U.S. Navy Sailors Assaulted in Broad Daylight by Men Shouting Anti-American Slogans; Two Window Washers Trapped on Scaffolding Dangling From One World Trade Center; Chase Merritt Pleads Not Guilty

Aired November 12, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening. Thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with breaking news in Turkey where three U.S. Navy sailors were assaulted in broad daylight by a group of men shouting anti-American slogans. It happened in Istanbul where the sailors' ship is docked. It was caught on video. The protesters were yelling "Yankee go home" and other anti-American slogans. They threw red paint at the sailors and then put bags over their heads.


COOPER: We are going to show the assault in slow motion. You can see the alarm in the sailors' faces, apparently, caught them entirely off guard. They eventually did get away. They were not hurt, thankfully. They were on shore leave. And as you can see were not even in uniform. The U.S. embassy in Turkey condemned the attack.

Chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto joins me now with some details. What is the Navy doing this incident?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Navy has canceled shore leave for all sailors on the "USS Ross" which is the ship where the sailors came from. It's a guided missile destroyer that was going into the black sea.

That in itself not a hugely significant step because the ship was going to leave tomorrow anyway. But what it has done, the Navy is for shore leave for future Navy visits to Turkey, those are all to be determined based on the investigation that happens now with Turkish authorities in conjunction with the U.S. embassy there.

The U.S. ships go through Turkey. They then go to the black sea and stop in Turkey eight to ten times a year. So, they are going to be watching this very closely to see if they allow soldiers in the future if they consider safe enough to take shore leave as well.

COOPER: And the white bags that they tried to put over the sailors' head, I understand that's a reference to an incident that happened during the Iraq war?

SCIUTTO: It is, that's right. A number of years ago, U.S. forces, they detained a number of Turkish soldiers allegedly put bags over their head. That became seminal point in Turkish opposition to the war and Turkish sort of anti-Americanism.

The thing is in Turkey, you see this on both sides. You see this from leftist and rightists there. And this group that carried out this attack, Anderson, it is interesting, is not an Islamic group, it is a nationalist group. And it's a real measure of that kind of feeling there which frankly feeds some of Turkey's hesitance to get involved in the U.S.-led campaign against ISIS.

COOPER: So -- I mean, the bears repeating. This is a nationalist group. This doesn't have anything to do with ISIS or with an Islamic group.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely not. It doesn't. And it shows you this anti- American feeling, particularly in Turkey, which if you remember, it is a NATO ally, very even a decade, long NATO ally that it extends through many layers of society there. It's not just confined to that very limited group that might have an affinity towards ISIS.

COOPER: But, it certainly looks like this was preplanned. I mean, they had the bags, they had the video cameras. They were clearly waiting for these guys.

SCIUTTO: Absolutely. No question. The real concern from the Navy, from the military is hat how did they know that these guys, as you saw in that video, they were not dressed in uniform as you often see some sailors on shore leave will be in uniform. They were not. How did they know? Did they follow them from the ship? Essentially, that becomes a security concern going forward and something they are looking at closely.

COOPER: All right. Jim Sciutto, scare stuff. Appreciate the reporting. Thanks very much.

Another breaking story tonight, a heart-stopping drama that just hours ago had many New Yorkers holding their breath. There is a broken scaffold had just been raised to the roof of the new one world trade center building. It is the tallest building. And that shock there earlier.

That scaffold was hanging 68 floors above the city with two men inside it. No way to know if rescuers would reach them in time. The whole city, frankly, and much of the country held their breath watching this take place. Here's what happened earlier.


COOPER (voice-over): At about 12:40 this afternoon, the first sign of an emergency at the newly opened one world trade center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: We have some breaking news, wanted to just let you know about right now. Crews are on their way to one world trade center. That is scaffolding hanging, dangling from one world trade center.

COOPER: Sixty-eight floors above ground zero, two window washers are trapped on the scaffolding. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm seeing two heads dangling over their

scaffolding. And one of the guys, they just keep looking down.

COOPER: The two men, ages 41 and 33, were headed to the roof of the so-called freedom tower when something went terribly wrong. Slack developed in the cable in one side of their scaffold then dropping it from horizontal to nearly vertical. Authorities are on the scene within four minutes.

DANIEL NIGRO, COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY FIRE DEPARTMENT: Firefighters went to the roof and to the 68th floor. From the roof, they dropped rope down to secure -- additionally secure the members that were the workers on the scaffold.

COOPER: There are critical decisions to make. Either lower down another scaffolding and attempt to rescue at a dizzying height or cut through three layers of a glass window and haul the two men out. They decide to rescue them through the 68th floor, but still ready a scaffolding from the roof as a backup plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In case we ran into trouble from the inside, that would be another option to remove the victims there.

COOPER: At about 1:45, after dangling 68 stories up for over an hour, the firemen start to cut.

NIGRO: There are three layers of glass. Two inner layers were cut first with diamond saws. When they were finished with that, they then cut finally the outer layer of glass.

COOPER: With an opening now on the 68th floor, firefighters attach what appears to be a safety line to the first window washer and slowly bring him inside. One minute later, the same drill. Attach a safety line and bring the second window washer inside.

Both men are taken to the hospital with mild hypothermia, lucky that they survived hanging on the side of the tallest building in America.


COOPER: A lot of heart-stopping moments watching that. It is hard to imagine anything more terrifying than what these two lived through. Granting most window washers by definition likely don't have a fear of heights, but still.

Gerard McEneaney is a field representative for the window washers union in New York. He joins me tonight.

So, you were there when the people were rescued. What was that moment like? How are they doing?

GERARD MCENEANEY, NEW YORK CITY WINDOW WASHERS UNION: It's a frightening situation. I arrived on the scene there. And the fire department was busy cutting the glass in order to rescue these workers. But when you see a scaffold at a 45-degree angle dangling and two workers lying on the bed of the scaffold there waiting to be rescued, it's a frightening situation.

COOPER: How -- I mean, are the workers themselves attached to the scaffolding or attached to separate cables?

MCENEANEY: They are attached to separate cable. They have a body harnesses and they use a Lanyard and they attach it to a rope that should be tied on the roof.

COOPER: So, is it a metal cable or actual rope.

MCENEANEY: It's actual rope.

COOPER: And then is it what's attaching the actual scaffolding, is at a cable or is that a rope?

MCENEANEY: That's a cable.

COOPER: So, do you know how it broke?

MCENEANEY: I'm not sure yet how it broke or what actually caused the problem for them. One of the workers mentioned to me that's one side of the scaffold actually stopped at one point. It stopped winding. And it's only a matter two of seconds before something like that can happen because you ha have one side going up and stopping and you have about two seconds before that scaffold can go sideways on you. So, it's --

COOPER: Does this happen a lot?

MCENEANEY: It doesn't happen a lot. We train our window cleaners. I am a representative of local 32 BJ. And we have an apprenticeship program that we teach window cleaners every facet of window cleaning and safety is our number one priority.

COOPER: Sure. How do you train for something like this. I mean, are they supposed -- if it does happen, are you suppose to not move at all or --

MCENEANEY: Well, it depends on the situation. Where these window cleaners were at that point, there was nothing they could do. There is no way to move. Nowhere to go. They called on their radio to the third person. Because usually, there's always a person inside the building that's in radio contact with them. And they radioed and they called the fire department.

COOPER: It's so -- I mean, it has got to be just terrifying. How are these guys doing?

MCENEANEY: They were good. They were shaken, obviously. I mean, it's a harrowing experience and anyone would be frightened. But they were good. They weren't injured that I saw. And I asked them both, you know, are you guys, OK? They said we're fine. A little shaky.

COOPER: And at a height like that, I mean, there is -- it's not a particularly windy day, but there can be winds to contain with, right? MCENEANEY: The wind swirls are horrible the higher you go up. And

that's about 1200 feet in the air, I'm estimating more or less. And they are totally different than what you'll see or what you will experience on the street.

COOPER: Do you end up, I mean, even on a regular day with regular winds at that height, do you end up banging against the building?

MCENEANEY: Well, I mean, it's an actual occurrence, though. But what we have, we attach the scaffolds and they attach to the facade of the build which keeps them stable. In New York City, the law is continuous stabilization of all power platforms.

COOPER: So, had -- I mean, had the scaffold itself broke, the guys themselves would have just been able to hold with their, because of the rope?

MCENEANEY: Right. The ropes would act -- they would just dangle there, you know, thank God. And they wouldn't fall, you know, if they are attached properly.

COOPER: Do they get a couple days off now, these guys?

MCENEANEY: They're going to have a couple days off after this. They needed.

COOPER: I mean, as you are, I'm just so glad it ended OK.

MCENEANEY: Yes. I am, too. I'm very happy about that. It's scary to see that and scary to experience that.

COOPER: Well, I mean, in a city like this, we depend on what your men and women do. So we appreciate it. Thank you.

MCENEANEY: Thank you.

COOPER: Amazing stuff.

Quick reminder. Make sure you set your DVR so you can watch "360" whenever you want.

Coming up just ahead tonight, the forensic evidence that the grand jury is weighing right in the Michael Brown case with all the leaks and confusion. Tonight, a look at what facts if any, seem certain and what's in dispute.

Also a CNN exclusive, details you'll only hear here on CNN about the McStay family murders. How and where police are saying the four victims were actually killed. Plus how long they had their prime suspect in their sights.


COOPER: Tomorrow, the grand jury that will decide whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson is going to hear testimony from Dr. Michael Baden. He is the pathologist who performed a private autopsy on Michael Brown, the teenager that Wilson's shot.

Brown's family hired Dr. Baden, the former medical examiner for the city of New York. Obviously, a very high-profile expert. And as the grand jury continues its work, state and local authorities are bracing for protests if the jurors do not indict Wilson.

Michael Brown's parents, meantime, flew to Geneva, Switzerland to testify before United Nations committee against torture.


LESLEY MCSPADDEN, MICHAEL BROWN'S MOTHER: To make the world to know what's going on in Ferguson. And we need justice, we need answers and we need action. And we have to bring it to the U.N. so that they can expose it to the rest of the world what's going on in small town Ferguson.

MICHAEL BROWN SR., MICHAEL BROWN'S FATHER: Tried to ask for justice for our son. We need Wilson to be accountable for his actions.


COOPER: Well, no one disputes that Officer Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown. How the deadly encounter unfolded, though, is anything but clear. That's what is in dispute. The jury, no doubt, will be weighing a lot of forensic evidence. There have been plenty of leaks about blood spatter, bullet wounds.

CNN's Jason Carroll tonight has been looking more at what we know.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Michael Baden's testimony isn't the only forensic account of Michael Brown the death rangers (ph) we will hear. They'll also take into account the official report completed by the St. Louis county medical examiner.

Each report reach some similar results. Both concluded Brown was shot at least six times. Both show Brown had a gunshot wound to his right hand. But where the reports differ is key in how it's interpreted could make a huge difference in the case.

The county report states materials were found on Michael Brown's hand quote "consistent with products that are discharged from the barrel of a firearm." In other words, probable gun residue on Brown's hand.


CARROLL: Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky is a professor of forensic science at John Jay College of criminal justice.

KOBILINSKY: So for this testing, I would say it's very consistent with gunshot residue and supports the contention of Darrel Wilson that there was a struggle for the gun, very close and shot.

CARROLL: Ferguson's police chief told CNN in August officer Wilson was hurt during a struggle.

TOM JACKSON, CHIEF, FERGUSON POLICE: The officer was treated to the hospital and treated for a swollen face. That's pretty much all I know.

CARROLL: Swollen face. Did you see the officer's face?

JACKSON: I did not.

CARROLL: But others disagree. One witness, Dorian Johnson, told CNN Brown did struggle, not for Officer Wilson's gun, he says, but to get away from him.

DORIAN JOHNSON, FRIEND OF MICHAEL BROWN AND WITNESS: Officer then reached out and grabbed his arm to pull him in the car. So now, it's like the officer is pulling him in the car. He is trying o pull away. And at no time the officer said that he was going to do anything until he pulled out his weapon, his weapon was drawn and he said I'll shoot you or I'm going to shoot. In the same moment, the first shot went off.

CARROLL: And as for the final moments, whether Brown had his hands up to surrender or whether he was charging at officer Wilson, there are conflicting eyewitness accounts that the grand jury will have to consider. Like the forensic evidence in this case, much is up for interpretation.

KOBILINSKY: No question about it. You have to interpret it. And some people will interpret it differently than others. And that's why this is an adversarial system. This is an art. It is not just a science.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN. New York.


COOPER: And joining me now is CNN legal analysts Mark O'Mara and Sunny Hostin.

Mark, how unusual is it to have Dr. Baden who was hired privately by the Brown family testify in front of the grand jury. Because he actually wasn't able to examine, you know, clothing or other forensic evidence. He was only able to examine the body.

MARK O'MARA, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: At first, it was some of what's happening is sort of unique. But I think one that colors is doing the prosecutor is giving them every shred of evidence that they can, every witness. So I think what he's doing is trying to in effect galvanize or immunize the grand jury for whatever decision they make by giving him everything they can, including the defense, the defendant testified, and even those witnesses the Brown family have presented so that they have the complete picture.

COOPER: Well, Mark, let me push back on that for a minute. Because Sunny Hostin, who I'm going to go in a second, she has said that they are giving too much information and that it's really an attempt to kind of overwhelm them by prosecutors.

Is this unusual to give so much information? Don't prosecutors usually kind of pick and choose what they are going to present? Because things may not be admissible actually in the trial.

O'MARA: I agree. This is not the usual case. I think what McCulloch is doing is doing everything that he can do to show the whole process is being transparent. Is this more than usual? Yes. But to suggest that what's happening is the prosecutor is now trying to overwhelm the grand jury so they don't know what to do I think minimizes the reality that a grand jury pretty much does do a good job.

They are going to be given the evidence and quite honestly, if they are given a lot of information, that might lead to more chance of an indictment because probable cause is the standard for indictment. If they are given a confusing amount of information, they probably take that to an indictment and not a (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Sunny, what about that? I mean, do you think that it's more likely to lead to an indictment if they are confused?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: No, no. I don't. But I think Mark is correct that that is the standard, right, in front of a grand jury. It's just probable cause. It is just like more likely than not that a crime occurred.

But I think where Mark is really being, in my view, sort of intellectually dishonest, Mark, is that this is just not done. Mark, you were a prosecutor. You know very well that prosecutors do not provide grand jurors over 700 hours of conflicting testimony. This has never been done. I don't think we've ever seen anything like this in the grand jury system.

O'MARA: It is very unique.

HOSTIN: And so, to suggest that it's very unique, I think we have to go a step further and admit to ourselves and to the viewers this is beyond the pale.

COOPER: So Sunny, you really believe -- you believe that they are intentionally tried to overwhelm the jurors. Because, again, just like push back to Mark.

HOSTIN: Absolutely.

COOPER: Let me push back on you. Couldn't you make the argument that they are trying to protect the grand jurors from being attacked for not having been given enough information, even protect prosecutors from cherry picking information.

HOSTIN: No, no. And the bottom line is a prosecutor can make a charging decision on his own. We know that Angela Corey in the Trayvon Martin charged without a grand jury. And so, that usually is the court in many, many cases. And I will say that, again, this is so unusual that a prosecutor would provide this much information to a grand jury. It has just not done. COOPER: Mark, I want to hear your respond.

O'MARA: Sunny, I agree that it's unique. But what I don't agree with and I won't agree to intellectual dishonesty. If they are doing it in a way where they are giving the grand jury everything, if they are giving him (INAUDIBLE), if they are giving them every witness, eyewitness, ear witness, what they are doing is they are giving a full picture to the 12 people who have to make the decision. How can you suggest that the intent of that is to confuse?

Because the opposite -- hold on. The opposite could be true. If Baden didn't testify, then people could say, wait a minute, you didn't even hear from the defense from the family's expert. Giving them everything in a fashion they can interpret it, understand it and decide upon it, I think is the best way to do a grand jury particularly --.

COOPER: Sunny, do you think it's inappropriate to have Baden testify?

HOSTIN: Well, I think what we need to be talking about is why Baden is testifying now. We're talking about months and months of testimony and he just was requested to appear tomorrow after all of these months? So I wonder if the prosecutor's office really requested it or did perhaps one of the grand juror's ask for that information.

And so, I don't think that we should say at this point or that we can say that this was the prosecutor's office deciding to be so transparent to give the grand jurors all sides of --


COOPER: Mark, are you saying it's possible the grand jury could have asked for it?

O'MARA: Absolutely. If they are doing their job, they can tell the prosecutor, go get us this witness, go get that witness, get this piece of information, can you look into this source?

If they are doing that, and we will know, we see the transcripts, how wonderful and transparent would it be if the grand jury is actually acting in an activist way to get all the information they need to make a very important decision.

HOSTIN: But what's more important, Mark, is that it's very telling as to what this prosecution is doing. It's very telling that the prosecution wouldn't call Dr. Baden before --

COOPER: But we don't know that for a fact.

O'MARA: I don't know that.

HOSTIN: But the timing is odd. I'm sorry. You've been providing, you know --

O'MARA: Thank God we'll see the transcripts.

HOSTIN: Hours of information to a grand jury and you just now call Dr. Baden, a renowned clinical pathologist.

COOPER: Well, let me just suggests here. I mean, you can also look at it different way. And again, I'm not arguing one way or the other. But you could also say wait a minute, so the last piece of testimony the grand jury is going to hear is Dr. Baden, the private pathologist for the family. You could argue that's actually going to weigh more heavily on the juror's mind than somebody they heard months ago.

HOSTIN: I think that would be very interesting if the government decided to put him on --

COOPER: If it was the government's choice.

HOSTIN: If it was the government's choice. But I also think that you can't interpret autopsy reports in a vacuum. And so, the fact that, you know, we have the autopsy report from St. Louis county medical examiner where we don't necessarily have it from Baden. We don't have the justice department's autopsy report.


COOPER: And also, in all honestly, Baden has been at a disadvantage because he wasn't able to examine the crime scene. HE wasn't able to examine the clothing. He wasn't able to examine a lot of the things that the others do.

We've got to leave it there. Mark O'Mara, Sunny Hostin. Appreciate the good discussion.

Up next, the suspect accused of killing a San Diego family. The story is remarkable. Accused of dumping their bodies in the desert, the suspect has gone to court. Our Randi Kaye got an exclusive interview with the district attorney who is revealing why he thinks they have the right guy. And also, how the murders were actually committed.

Plus, a space drive (ph) on another amazing story, Spacecraft landing on a comet more than 300 miles from earth making space history. There was a glitch. We have details on this remarkable mission ahead.


COOPER: Crime and punishment tonight. The man accused of killing a California family burying their bodies in Mojave Desert was in court today. Chase Merritt is his name. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in a Victorville California courtroom.

He was a business partner of Joseph McStay who was found dead one year ago along with his wife and his two sons. That's the McStay family right there. They vanished in February 2010 from their San Diego County home.

Now tonight in an exclusive interview, our Randi Kaye who has been on this story from the beginning, talks with the D.A. handling the case. Here is Randi's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) When we finally put the case together and the circumstantial evidence and the direct evidence, there was no doubt this was the person that committed the murders.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And that's when investigators pounced on Chase Merritt just last week. A stunning turn for a man who called himself one of the victim's best friends.

San Bernardino's district attorney spoke exclusively with us about the case.

At what point do you believe Chase Merritt became the prime suspect?

MICHAEL RAMOS, CAN BERNARDINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: As early as, I would say, six months ago, you know, when things started getting clear and we started putting pieces of the puzzle together.

KAYE: D.A. Michael Ramos shared for the first time that long before Chase Merritt was the prime suspect, investigators were suspicious of him very early on in the investigation. Merritt had told us in an exclusive interview in January, long before he was arrested, that he'd taken a lie detector test, but insisted he wasn't asked directly if he killed the McStays.

You passed the polygraph.

CHASE MERRITT, SUSPECT IN THE MCSTAY FAMILY MURDER: Apparently. I mean, I haven't -- after I took the polygraph test, law enforcement has not contacted me at all since.

KAYE: But that doesn't mean they weren't watching him.

MIKE RAMOS, SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: We knew where Mr. Merritt was on a daily basis for the last year.

KAYE (on camera): Watching him closely?

RAMOS: Watching him closely.

KAYE (voice over): Merritt raised red flags because he apparently couldn't keep his stories straight.

RAMOS: His story is all over the place.

KAYE (on camera): And was that the big tip for you, an indication?

RAMOS: I think that's one of the many indicators.

KAYE (voice over): The San Bernardino sheriff says the family died from blunt force trauma and that they all died at their Fallbrook, California, home. But today the D.A. revealed new information about how quickly the murders occurred and what Merritt might have used to kill.

RAMOS: We know that the main weapon was enough to cause a blunt force trauma to the victims. KAYE (on camera): In one strike?

RAMOS: Yes. It could be several, but, yes, one strike with the object could have done this. Especially to the children.

KAYE: Can you say anything about, you know, is this an object that would have been found in the home? Is that why they believed they were killed in the home? Is this an object that would have come from somewhere else?

RAMOS: It's an object that could have come from the home or somewhere else. It's an object that we would be familiar with.

KAYE: The common object?

RAMOS: There you go. It's a common object.

KAYE (voice over): The McStays' remains were found buried in the Mojave Desert a year ago this week in two shallow graves, each about one to two feet deep. Investigators were intrigued that Merritt lived about 20 miles away. Ramos told us investigators recovered more than 100 pieces of evidence from the desert.

(on camera): Could you pick up tire tracks all those years later in the desert? It was nearly four years later.

RAMOS: Yes. We've been known to be able to do that. Especially in the part of the desert. A lot of folks aren't driving to those secluded isolated places.

So, any tire tracks or any evidence would be preserved.

KAYE: Could one person kill a family of four, bury the bodies a hundred miles north in the Mojave Desert, drop the car 250 miles south at the Mexico border. Could one person do all that and then return home to make it look like he was home that night to receive a phone call from Joseph McStay?


KAYE: It's possible?

RAMOS: And we have the evidence to prove that.


COOPER: Oh, they seem confident. Randi joins me now. What about the house? I mean if they were killed at home, wouldn't there have been a lot of evidence there?

KAYE: There absolutely would have been, Anderson, especially if it was blunt force trauma. The D.A. says there would have been a lot of blood spatter and a lot of blood on the walls. But here's the thing: San Diego handled this case to begin with before San Bernardino. And they considered it a missing person case. They thought this family fled on their own to Mexico. So, they never sealed up the home. So, the D.A. talking hypothetically, of course, he did couch at it, but he said that Chase Merritt would have had enough time to go into that home. They didn't close off the home, Anderson, for 15 days. So, he would have had enough time to go in there and clean it up if he did indeed do this. And here's the thing, though, he said that the San Bernardino sheriff's department has special technology that still, even if all that blood spatter had been cleaned up by whoever did this, they have technology that would go in, they can use it to pick up the chemicals that would have been used to clean up all that blood in the home. So, even if the blood was gone, they could still trace it back to whoever was inside. And the fact that the home had been cleaned up, Anderson.

COOPER: Right. If it had been cleaned with bleach or something you would think that they'd be able to at least identify, OK, bleach has been used or whatever else the chemical is. All right, Randi, again, great job following it.

Thanks very much.

Look at some - some of the other stories we are following tonight. Susan Hendricks has "The 360 News and Business" bulletin. Susan.

SUSAN HENDRICKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Obama may be reconfiguring his strategy on ISIS. Senior U.S. official say the president has asked his national security team to take another look at the U.S. policy towards Syria after realizing ISIS may not be defeated without removing President Bashar al Assad. The initial strategy was to tackle ISIS in Iraq first and then take them on in Syria.

Also, President Obama and China's president have made a deal on climate change. The leaders announced both countries will curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. It's the first time China has agreed to do so.

And marijuana sales in Colorado fell in September. For the first time since this state legalized pot for a recreational use, that's according to tax data that was just released. Now, some say the drop is because September just isn't a big month for tourism in Colorado and that sales will pick up again once the ski resorts open. We shall see. Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Susan, thanks very much.

Coming up next, touchdown. A historic landing in outer space. This is just a remarkable achievement. Landing a spacecraft on a speeding comet. Our science expert Miles O'Brien and "The Science Guy" Bill Nye are here to explain it all.


COOPER: Hey, welcome back. A new giant step for mankind in outer space today. Just incredible. Man has landed a spacecraft on a comet. Let me say it again, Man has landed a spacecraft on a comet. Here's animation of how it played out. The 220-pounds Philae probe about the size of a washing machine detached from its orbiter, seven hours later made a soft landing on the 67P comet some 300 miles - million miles from Earth. Crazy. It's like a bullet catching a bullet.

The comet speeding between Jupiter and Mars is only 2 1/2 miles wide traveling fast, about 34,000 miles per hour? Philae was carried to the comet by Rosetta, which is an orbiter that took ten years to reach 67P. The project is a work of the European Space Agency and its partners. Now, during Philae's descent it took this photograph from one of its seven cameras. You can see the comet is a very rocky terrain. And as you'd expect, there was a celebration at mission control in Germany where they confirmed that Philae had touched down. Take a look.




COOPER: Later in the news conference, scientists said there was a glitch. Philae may not be firmly secured to the comet. They believe the anchoring harpoons failed. Still, they hope it can conduct its planned research on the comet. Already, there was orbiters discovered a mysterious song that the comet is basically singing in space. Listen. Scientists believe that singing is caused by the release of electrically charged particles. They don't fully understand why. We want to talk more about today's amazing landing with CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien and Bill Nye, "The Science Guy". Bill, it's great to have you here. I mean this mission today, everything really had to go perfectly to land this thing. It's kind of - it's hard for me to wrap my mind around the technology of all of this.

BILL NYE, "THE SCIENCE GUY": Well, just imagine trying to do something ten years from now within a few seconds, for a second. It's almost incredible. But these guys have been at it for a long time. They have big plans. It really is rocket science. You saw the graphic of the orbit needed to get close enough to it. And so having it not drill an anchor is probably OK because, strange as it may seem, these things have mutual gravity. Even though it's a small - I mean by outer space standards, it's a small object, they still have gravity. So, it will probably stay there.

COOPER: So, it won't just like fly off.

NYE: Probably not, but these things are always tumbling. The objects in space have got axis, they've got pings - doing this and this, what makes it very difficult.

COOPER: The fact that they can project ten years ahead.

NYE: I know.

COOPER: To know exactly.

NYE: To the second, right. Fraction of a second.

COOPER: Yeah. NYE: Yeah.

COOPER: I mean I - I don't know where ...

NYE: This is rocket science.

COOPER: Right.

NYE: So the thing that makes this extraordinary, there's two questions that we all wonder about. Where did we come from? Are we alone? And if you want an answer to those questions, this is just the kind of mission you need. How did all the water get on Earth? What are we doing here? Are there amino-acids? What if one of these things has our name on it and we need to give it a nudge. How do we go about doing that?

COOPER: And we might be able to find out some of those answers.

NYE: Absolutely. Miles, I mean ten years in the making, 4 billion mile journey. It actually had to slingshot three times around Earth and once around Mars before it could even speed to get to the comet. It's incredible.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Yeah, it's like some really bad directions from your GPS to get there or something. No, it's a long way to get there when you are using gravity assist to get out there. Imagine, you know, kind of like - it's kind of like a race car moving out on the lanes as it - it goes around and around and around and finally getting out to where the comet is. I always think, you know, when you see those engineers and scientists, and the jubilation is hard to comprehend for me when you think their entire careers are on the line there, Anderson. They are like riverboat gamblers. All the chips on the table. And it's all in or nothing. And, you know, yes, they aren't anchored firmly but they're on the comet and there's going to be some science that will come out of this.

COOPER: And Miles, do we know what happened with the thruster failure?

O'BRIEN: Well, we don't know. But you know, imagine when you got - if you left your car for ten years and you went to, you know, start it up, you might have some problems with it. And this thruster, which would have pushed it onto the comet, was one of the things that failed. The harpoons did not deploy. There's a lot of science they can do of this. Just sitting there lightly. You know, if you are on the comet and you jumped, you'd just keep going. There's - it's about 1/1,000 of the gravity we have here on earth. So, the one experiment, which might be on the bubble here, Anderson, is the drill. Scientists would love to drill into the surface. I think it's about eight inches or so and get a little taste of what that is there cooking in an oven and see what's in there. And, you know, Bill was talking about the organic compounds. The amino-acids. How much - what kind of water. How much water constituent is in the minerals? All of those things are really interesting stuff and have a lot to do with why we're sitting here talking to each other.

COOPER: And Bill, the lander only has what - like 64 hours before the batteries drain. And they are solar paneled.

NYE: Ten years!

COOPER: Right! I know, right!



COOPER: They are solar panels that will recharge.

NYE: Yeah.

COOPER: Explain a little bit more about what this will show us. You talked about this - about kind of what the early stages of earth were like.

NYE: Oh, it was early stages of the Solar System. So, what's the earth made of? How do we all get here?

COOPER: But why would this comet have it?

NYE: Well, all comets do. This is just one you can reach.


NYE: And so, we were talking about it. You use the motion of a planet like Mars and you take a little bit of that planetary motion and add it to your spacecraft to get all the way out to this comet. I mean this is a hard thing, it's a long way out. Ten years. And so it is to be hoped that we'll do chemical analysis and also what I will call structural analysis. Like you can see like pebbles or rocks attached to it. They are held there by gravity. And these guys love to use this expression of rubble pile. But it's not a pile. It's in space. It's in zero gravity. Just a minute. So if you were to deflect one of these things and suppose it just kind of falls in half and then you really haven't deflected it at all, you know, this is the kind of thing you try to figure out. Or your landing there - so, it's very exciting that these people have invested in it for so long. And it's the European Space Agency. And you would say, why are they doing this? Because they know that -- first of all, we want to know the answers to these questions. Where did we come from?


NYE: What are we doing here? The other thing is, when you have a space program it just raises the expectations of your society. You solve problems that have never been solved before.

COOPER: It's a remarkable thing and is going to get a lot more people probably interested in space. Miles O'Brien, Bill Nye, thank you. And Bill, by the way, I didn't say your new book is "Undeniable Evolution and the Science of Creation." It's out now.

NYE: Yes.


NYE: It's going to be number eight next week on the best seller list, which is huge.

COOPER: Congratulations. All right. Bill Nye, thanks so much.

NYE: Thank you.

COOPER: More information tonight about the extraordinary survival of the pilot, Peter Siebold in the crash of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship 2. National Transportation Safety Board investigation update release today, revealed that shortly after the plane broke up, listen to this, above the Mojave Desert, he was still strapped into his seat, he began free-falling from about 45,000 feet. Remarkably managed to unbuckle from his seat while freefalling. His parachute then deployed automatically. Siebold suffered a shoulder injury. His co-pilot Mike - Mike - Mike Alsbury was killed.

COOPER: Up next tonight, breaking news, the scaffolding that was dangling from the new World Trade Center now back on top of the building. What about the guys who are trapped inside? Details on that. Window washing a dangerous job. Somebody's got to do it. Mike Rowe is going to join us next as well. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Breaking news tonight. As we mentioned earlier, the scaffolding dangling on the side of the tallest building in America has just been raised to the roof of one World Trade Center. It's now finally off the side of the 1700 foot building. As you know, earlier today, emergency crews rescued two window washers who were trapped on the hanging platform dangling at the 68th floor. The two men were - who were trapped today, they were taken to the hospital, mild hypothermia. It's really a tough job. "Somebody's gotta do it," which, as you may know, is the name of Mike Rowe show here on CNN. And Mike joins me now from Los Angeles. Mike, I'm sure you are watching this today. I understand that you actually washed windows in Hawaii once where you were basically sitting on a 2 by 4.

MIKE ROWE, CNN HOST, "SOMEBODY'S GOTTA DO IT": It's the last place in the country where it's I think legal to wash windows in that fashion. So, these guys go up the high rises. The same basic way, but rather than scaffolding, they are using a chair. So, you are literally sitting on a 2 by 4. Essentially, essentially, you are mountaineering, you know, you are rappelling down the side of a building. In this case, that's on the main island not too far from Perl Harbor, about 500 feet up. And it's a singular feeling, Anderson. You are on a little piece of wood with a bucket of suds next to you. And a squeegee in your hand. And the glass in front of you will get up to 150, 160 degrees. It's right in the sun. It's a really hard job to do. And, yeah, I mean top of mind constantly is the fact that you're dangling.

ANDERSON: What is it like going over the edge? I mean I can't - I mean I have a fear of heights. I don't know if you do. But that sensation of actually going over must be terrifying. ROWE: Yeah, I mean I have a fear of wits basically.


ROWE: And that's basically a gantry crane that you are looking at there. And look, this is a very, very efficient way to wash windows. The truth is, in terms of calamities and disasters and problems, these guys have a much smaller per capita rate of drama because they are just very, very self-contained. They have got their hands on everything that they are dealing with. Those scaffolds, it's a whole different deal. You are just basically standing on a platform and hoping for the best.

COOPER: Unbelievable. Your program tonight, "Somebody's Gotta Do It," coming up at the top of the hour. What can we expect?

ROWE: Not this.


ROWE: No, tonight's really a lot of fun. We go down to Laguna where the temperatures have plunged into the 60s. And we basically bear witness to a thing called the pageant of the masters. And this has been going on for decades. Something like 80 years in Laguna where they bring famous works of art to life in what's called Tableau vivants.

COOPER: Oh, sure.

ROWE: 500 volunteers. I mean you say, oh, sure. You're sophisticated. You've seen ...

COOPER: No, I've heard of it.

ROWE: But I'm telling you, people will freak out when they see this. I got to participate in da Vinci's "The Last Supper."

COOPER: So, you appear in "The Last Supper." A living "Last Supper"?

ROWE: I was Bartholomew all the way on the right.


ROWE: But basically, the job is awesome. All you have to do is hold perfectly still for 90 seconds in front of 2500 people.

COOPER: That's going to be fun. All right, that's up the top of the hour. Mike, thanks very much. Look forward to you. Mike Rowe "Somebody's Gotta Do It." Just a few minutes here on CNN.

Coming up, friendly reminder, the 911 is not a dating service. I just want to make you smile before the end of the night. Ridiculist is next.


COOPER: Time now for the Ridiculist.

And tonight, we have what I - I really hope is not a burgeoning trend, the 911 calls. Now, I thought we pretty much heard it all. People calling 911 because they didn't like the way someone made their sandwich or refused to give them their fish or more fish in an all you can eat fish fry. People calling 911 because they couldn't figure out how to enable an iPhone. Or thought time slowed down because they ate a bunch of pot brownies and thought they were dead. Classics all, each driving home the point that you should not call 911 about stupid stuff. But never in a million years did I think we'd have to address this particular misuse of the 911 system. Listen, if you will, to this incredibly inebriated gentleman from Georgia.


CALLER: (INAUDIBLE) you sound sexy as hell. You know ...

DISPATCHER: Sir, you don't talk to me about being sexy. All you need to do is give me the information. What is your phone number?

CALLER: What's your phone number?


COOPER: How about we don't call 911 looking for dates? Unfortunately, this isn't even the only time this has happened recently. Some guy in Florida did it as well.


CALLER: What's your name?

DISPATCHER: My name is Sandy.

CALLER: Sandy, I'm Steve. Looking for a date?



DISPATCHER: No, I don't think I would call 911 looking for a date. That's not something you do.

CALLER: You're not into handcuffs.

DISPATCHER: I'm sorry?

CALLER: OK. This is like just ...

(CROSSTALK) DISPATCHER: Yeah. 911 is not a number to call to be saying this.


COOPER: Clearly the common denominator here is alcohol. These guys sounded bombed out of their minds. But even so, how in the span of less than three weeks do two different guys in two different states both call 911 and decide to hit on the dispatcher? That's like getting struck by lightning twice. Really drunk, sloppy lightning. Both of those guys, by the way, got arrested. Those calls wouldn't even qualify for the nonemergency line that set up - in many places to fuel calls like this one from Portland.

DISPATCHER: Nonemergency.

CALLER: Hi, this is actually not a prank call, but there's a chicken trying to cross the road in Linton on highway 30 across from the lighthouse.

DISPATCHER: Is it causing traffic problems?

CALLER: Yes, it's really trying to go into the middle of the road.



COOPER: The responding officers by the way were unable to locate said chicken, apparently had already crossed the road although his motive does remain unclear. The police department by the way public -- publicly recommended that call after using the non-emergency line. We want to throw or support as well and remind everyone, if you're drunk and looking for a date, do not call 911. Maybe just call it a night, how about that?

That does it for us. We'll see you again 11:00 P.M. eastern for another edition of 360.

"Somebody's Gotta do it", start now.