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"American Sniper" Trial begins; Obama Asks Congress To Authorize Three Years ISIS War; Obama: "ISIS Is Going To Lose"; The Rescue That Nearly Succeeded; CBS 60 Minutes Correspondent Bob Simon Dies; Vigil For Murdered Muslim Students; Sister Of Murdered Muslim Student Speaks; Three Muslim Students Murdered; NBC Yanks Brian Williams Name From Branding

Aired February 11, 2015 - 21:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: Hey, thanks for joining us for this extended edition of 360. We begin in the courtroom in Texas picking up with the Blockbuster movie American Sniper left off.

A trial of the man charged with murder and the death of Former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle back in 2013. The accuse was a troubled veteran that Kyle himself was trying to help. An unemployed marine who was diagnosed with PTSD and someone the defense says was suffering from a psychosis so severe. He didn't know what he was doing was wrong. That's the claim by the attorney.

Martin Savidge tonight reports.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Like the Blockbuster movie about his life, the trial over how American sniper Chris Kyle died is also packing them in.

The line to get in to the small town courtroom in Stephenville, Texas begun forming before the sun came up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do the defendant plea?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not guilty, your honor.

SAVIDGE: There is no debate over this. Twenty-seven year old former marine and Iraq veteran Eddie Routh killed Kyle and his best friend Chad Littlefield. It happened at a gun range in February 2013.

The legal debate is over. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At this time, I'll allow the state to present the opening statements.

SAVIDGE: In opening statements District Attorney Alan Nash, said Routh knew what he was doing, when he shut both men multiple times in the back and the hip. He used two different guns even taking the time to reload before fleeing in Kyle's pickup truck, the same truck Routh was driving when he was arrested after a police chase. ALAN NASH, ERATH COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: (inaudible) of the death of these two men. And when he did so, did he know what he was doing was wrong? Those are the two ultimate issues. We're going to ask him to decide.

SAVIDGE: The defense are, is Routh is innocent by reason of insanity. They blamed it on posttraumatic stress as a result of his service for his country overseas.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (inaudible) Eddie Routh with insanity, was not only is he suffering from a severe mental disease or (inaudible), not only did he not know his conduct is wrong, he thought he had to take their lives because he was (inaudible).

SAVIDGE: Then the defense delivered a bombshell. Chris Kyle's own words, in the form of a text Kyle sent Littlefield at the time they were in the front seat of his truck with Routh seated behind them on the hour and a half drive to the gun range that deadly day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He texted him that this dude is (inaudible) nuts. This dude is (inaudible) nuts.

SAVIDGE: Moments later.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chad Littlefield text Chris Kyle back, watch behind me, watch my six.

SAVIDGE: Watch my six is military speak for "watch my back." A short time later both Kyle and Littlefield would be dead and the messages they have shared could be a key assist to the defense of the man who killed them.

The first witness was Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle's widow. Under the trial rules, we can broadcast the video of her testimony but no sound even without words, it was emotional. As the mother of two choked up and wiped their eyes as the courtroom was shown pictures of her husband.

Chris Kyle is known as a hero who was a sniper watched over his troops in Iraq and as a civilian reached out to those, who like himself, struggled with the aftermath of war.

A life so remarkable, it would become a Hollywood hit. American Sniper has broken box office records.

BRADLEY COOPER: I just want to get the bad guys, but I can't see him, I can't shoot them.

SAVIDGE: And continuous to play at the Cinemark 6 just three miles from the courtroom where a jury must decide if Kyle's killer is villain or victim.


COOPER: Martin Savidge joins me now. So according to testimony from Taya Kyle, Chris Kyle's widow today, she said, she briefly spoke to him on the phone before he was killed. What was said in that conversation?

SAVIDGE: Anderson, she was asked to sort of walk through that horrible day. She talked about the last time she saw her husband, they met in the house. They exchanged a hug and a kiss and I love you and he was on his way.

And a couple of hours later, she said she reached out to him by a telephone. And apparently got him at that gun range and she noticed that he was uncharacteristically different. When asked how different, she said, "Well, it sounded like he wanted to say something more but couldn't because of someone nearby."

It turns out that was the last conversation the couple would ever have, Anderson.

COOPER: Martin Savidge, I appreciate it. Thanks very much for the update.

Joining me, CNN Senior Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin and Former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, author of the book "Lone Survivor" which tells the story of his survival and the deaths of his fellow SEALs on their mission in Afghanistan.

Marcus, first of all, I mean, just talk to me a little about Chris Kyle. What kind of a guy was him? We've all read the book, we've all seen the movie, you know, saw him on television. I know, you know, his lovely wife. What are your memories of him?

MARCUS LUTTRELL, U.S. NAVY SEAL: We obviously became friends when we were young frogs. I mean, we're not even frog, we're tadpoles, so we were still going through training. We met in Buds (ph), went through SQT (ph) together, went to the teams together. And I obviously, you know, outside in our community is we just kind of grew from there in there and both be an Texas boys. Once we have both got out we stay in touch and stay together.

Our wives are very close. And I mean he is a great man. And I can say that until I'm blowing the face. I mean his a great father and I can't (inaudible) a good husband, I mean I'm not married to him but I know that Taya loved him very much. So...

COOPER: And he, I mean, he cared about veterans. I mean as you do he cared about helping guys who are coming back, men and women coming back.

LUTTRELL: Absolutely, I mean, the way he stayed connected like a lot of the veterans do is we do stuff with veterans outside of the military. And that's what he did. I mean, he took the guys in a range. He talk to them, he help them learn how to shoot and that was kind of he is connected. That's the way he stayed kind of intoned with the military.

COOPER: And, you know, there was has been so much written about, talked about PTSD now and people are so much more informed about it. And rightly so, the fact that this guy who allegedly kill Chris Kyle, the fact that his attorney's plan to use insanity defense and, you know, there's a lot of people I know who are concerned that who have gone through PTSD, who are concerned that linking insanity to PTSD just fuel people's misconception.

LUTTRELL: I think that's kind of a slippery slope. I mean, being insane and being and having PTSD or I would it, they are two different things. And just because you're in the military and wear the uniform, that doesn't automatically mean you have PTSD. Just because you went over to the sandbox and were over there for a little awhile or six months, whatever it was, it doesn't mean you saw combat or -- I mean, yeah, it's stressful. I get that. And people handle stress differently but the fact that you claimed that PTSD drove me to murder, I think it is kind of crap. I don't necessarily agree with that.

COOPER: And just because you have PTSD, it doesn't mean you don't know right from wrong, because that's what the attorney is, you're going to say that he didn't know right from wrong when the shooting occurred.

LUTTRELL: Yeah. Everybody has stressed in their life, everybody. You don't have to be in the military to have a stressful day. And top to that because that's the reason you will shot to people. I mean I'm not a lawyer. I don't believe that one bit.

COOPER: Jeff, I mean, insanity defense is just legally in murder cases are difficult to mount, right?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: They are very difficult to mount. We talk about them a lot but they actually almost never succeed with the jury, just for the obvious reason that jurors are ordinary people and they believe in person with responsibility and if that person has any sort of control over themselves, the jurors almost always vote to convict.

COOPER: And Jeff, somebody using PTSD as Marcus said, PTSD is not insanity. I mean it's just because you have PTSD it doesn't mean they're eligible for insanity.

TOOBIN: By no means. And in fact PTSD alone is almost by definition not insanity, because it is obviously like most mental illnesses, there's a range. Most people who have PTSD get over it and return to society and do fine, but PTSD alone by no means is legal insanity.

COOPER: And Marcus, I mean the horrible irony, the sad irony of the whole situation as Chris, you know, died trying to help somebody who, you know, had served this country, someone who allegedly was suffering from PTSD or something else and that -- in fact that person ended up being the one who killed them. It's just -- I mean, it's just such a horrific irony. It is awful.

LUTTRELL: It is, I mean, I guess the best word to describe it is tragic irony, but I feel -- Melanie (ph) is up there right now at the trial as she was texting me during the...

COOPER: Melanie (ph) is your wife. LUTTRELL: She got out of there -- yeah, I'm sorry. My wife text me while we were -- while she was up there with Taya and she's stressed out. So I know if my wife is stressed out and Taya is stressed out, she had to get on the stand today and testify.

And I mean, it's been two years and the kids are old enough. I mean, the two kids are old enough to know what happened to their father, with everything that's come out now and it's kind of -- you try and move fast something that it gets jerk back down like this. It's got to be difficult for everybody -- on both sides of that too.

I would imagine that, you know, that guy's family is going through a lot too and I don't want to take anything away from them. I mean, that's going to be just absolutely horrible for them. But bottom line is, they went down and we went down.

COOPER: Yeah. Taya obviously is Chris Kyle's wife who was continuing on with his legacy. What do you think Chris would think of all these? I mean, the fact that all these went down the way it did.

LUTTRELL: I mean, you're shot in the back. How do you go through -- I mean, make it through everything that he went through, to all those deployments, come back and shot in the back?

And that part that gets the most is the neighbor, Chad Littlefield. I mean, he -- Chris called him up, he was like, "Hey, I want you to come up to the range with me, I kind of get uneasy feeling about these old deal." And he had no idea what was going down. I mean, he is just standing there when the guy took Chris out and then turn the gun on him, that had to be terrifying. I mean, because I know you guys aren't military. I mean, it's just -- I don't men, it's bad news.

COOPER: Marcus, it's great to have you on this always. Thank you very much for joining us. I appreciate it. And Jeff Toobin as well, thank you.

LUTTRELL: Absolutely, (inaudible).

COOPER: A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR. You can watch 360 whenever you'd like.

Just ahead, President Obama is sending his strategy for fighting ISIS to Congress. We'll talk about whether it will survive the scrutiny, whether it's likely be effective on the ground.


COOPER: President Obama today said that ISIS will be destroyed and asked for Congress's formal approval to do it. He sent them a proposed authorization for the use of the force to sign off on or more likely modify.

Now it's limited in duration through years and limited in scope, no long-term use of ground forces. However, he also said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, 44TH AND CURRENT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: If we had actionable intelligence about a gathering of ISIL leaders, and our partners didn't have the capacity to get them, I would be prepared to order our special forces to take action, because I will not allow these terrorists to have a safe haven. So we need flexibility but we also have to be careful and deliberate.


COOPER: President Obama said that members of both parties were consulted in the making of this. And now, that said, so on each side have already spoke out against it for doing too little or to some not going far enough.

Let's get perspective now from Senior Political Commentator and President Obama's Former Press Secretary Jay Carney, also Mike Doran, Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute.

So Jay, I mean, first of all, what do you make of the fact that it's not the Republicans but some Democrats who have problems with this? John Boehner is saying it's to restricted, Nancy Pelosi's support was pretty lukewarm saying, "Congress still has to craft something better."

JAY CARNEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well it sounds like the Goldilocks AUMF, right, authorization for the use of military force, which means it basically pleases almost no one. Democrats are very weary having live through the Bush experience with sort of open- ended blank checks provided by Congress to the President for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

They don't want any kind of engagement that's not completely constricted. And obviously there is wiggle room in this one and a three-year duration.

Some Republicans on the other hand, although, not all of them but some Republicans including leaders and major voices like Senator McCain and Senator Graham believe it's not enough. They would prefer something war open-ended. They would prefer giving the commander-in-chief, all the authority he might need under any potential circumstance.

But I think what is clear is that we're not going to invade with ground forces Syria. And we're not sending massive ground troops back to Iraq. So there's no support for that in the public and there's no real majority support for anything like that in Congress.

So having a resolution that honors that reality is I think the right thing to do.

COOPER: Well, Mike, I mean, as Jay just said a lot of Republicans are saying that this proposal puts too many restrictions on the U.S. is open-ended on check warfare really good idea, the war in Afghanistan has going on 14 years now.

MICHAEL DOCAN, SENIOR FELLOW, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Well, the question is, what restrictions are we putting on? And for me the elephant in the room is Syria. We have to realize that this is -- there is actually no Syria strategy right now. And many are saying that we need to build up forces in Syria, partner forces on the ground that can actually take territory and hold it from ISIS. And then in order to do that, we're going to have to train forces to fight Assad.

And I think that the commander-in-chief could very easily argue and probably would argue that this authorization on military force would not allow him to do that.

COOPER: Are you saying the U.S. forces on the ground in Syria training Syrian rebel forces?

DOCAN: The Special Forces like we're -- just like we're doing in Iraq. We're building up forces in Iraq on the ground. We've got Special Forces on the ground doing that. We might want to do the same thing. I personally think we should be doing the same thing in Syria.

The President has the -- actually decline to put together a Syria strategy and that's the elephant in the room.

COOPER: Jay, what about Mike's point?

CARNEY: Well look, I don't disagree with Mike about the problem post by Syria and the fact that the strategy that we have now hasn't achieve success. I think that a lot of critics in the strategy haven't got one that's possible to put forward as an alternative.

I actually think this AUMF and the existing authority the President has would allow him to use U.S. military personnel to train rebels whether or not it's the wise course of actions to stick U.S. troops even in a training capacity on the ground in Syria is another question. They're clearly doing it in Iraq and they've been doing it. And this AUMF, this authorization would allow more room for that as well as Special Force's operation.

COOPER: Mike, do you see a difference between in terms of danger, between having U.S. ground forces, Special Forces on the ground in training capacity in Syria versus then in Iraq?

DOCAN: Well, it's just a much more complex political situation there which the President has wanted to deal with but...

COOPER: And much less was secure military situation.

DOCAN: And much less secure military. But to Jay's point, this authorization is actually taking power away from the President. It's amazing. Because it's going to supplant the 2002 authorization a force for Iraq, which was much more open-ended.

I've never seen a President go to Congress and say "Take authorization away from me."

COOPER: Well, Jay.

CARNEY: I'm not sure that's a bad thing. Again we as a nation live through the consequences of the authorization in 2002, in particular for Iraq and pay a heavy price for it with pretty mix results. I think it's fair to say. And I think again for the President who served in congress to say that, you know, "Congress needs to join me in this effort." And I believe this is the limit that -- these are the limits that make sense given what's possible in terms of military action in this arena.

COOPER: Right.

CARNEY: I don't think it's a bad thing. And I think most American or a lot of American will go along with it.

COOPER: Jay I appreciate you're being on. Mike Doran as well. Thank you very much.

DORAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next, I'm going to tell you about newly revealed rescue attempt that nearly brought Kayla Mueller to safety.


COOPER: It will surprise no one that this country makes every effort to locate and free American held captive overseas. By now you're probably familiar with operation that came within hours of rescuing James Foley and possibly Kayla Mueller as well.

Tonight though another rescue attempt is coming life, one might have worked but narrowly tragically just fell short. Detail now from Brian Todd.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kayla Mueller was in captivity at an ISIS camp in Syria. Out of nowhere a man appeared in the camp. He told her captors he was her husband and appealed for her release. It was rose that Mueller wasn't in on.

REP. PAUL GOSAR (R) ARIZONA: And of course she said she wasn't married and she didn't lied to her captors that she was married and so that spoiled that plan.

TODD: Congressman Paul Gosar doesn't know who the man was but says he could have been a fellow aid worker who been captured with Mueller and later released.

GOSAR: I think this is orchestrated from the folks that she was associated with, you know, people very concern for a young lady caught behind militant lines and her safety was a fair amount to them, so they wanted to try to get her home.

TODD: Gosar represents Mueller's home district in Arizona and has had extensive contact with her parents she was captured in 2013. Gosar was brief on that attempted rescue by state department sources, members of Mueller's family and fellow Arizona Senator John McCain.

Tonight, CNN is learning of exhaustive and daring effort by Gosar, McCain and others to when the release of Kayla Mueller. McCain himself travel to Iraq, Qatar, met with Syrian rebel leaders to try to get Mueller out. Gosar says his own chief of staff ventured into a refugee camp just across the Turkish boarder from the Syrian city of Kubani, to try to get information on Mueller. It was an enormous risk.

GOSAR: It is overrun with the number of terrorist soldier, so in that stand point he was being watch very carefully.

TODD: Gosar's aid came up empty. The U.S. military took on dangerous mission to rescue Kayla Mueller.

OBAMA: I deployed an entire operation at significant risk to rescue not only her but the other individuals that have been held and probably missed them by a day or two.

TODD: July 2014 navy seals and delta force commandos move in by helicopter to an abandon oil refinery near the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa Syria. They get to a building where they think Mueller, James Foley and other hostages are being held. No one is there but they find strands of hair believe to be Mueller's, a firefight in (inaudible), the mission last two hours. Former seal John Mcguire was not on that raid by knows how risky it was.

JOHN MCGUIRE, U.S. NAVY SEAL (RET.): The intelligence is, you know, we do the best we can of what we have. It's never perfect, it's not perfect world. And the situation and the training are not exactly perfect.

TODD: Even with all of that and all the risk involve both Congressman Gosar and Senator McCain have told reports they fail Kayla Mueller's family because despite those exhaustive efforts, she wasn't returned home safely. Brian Todd CNN, Washington.


COOPER: Let's dig deeper now with retired army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, also retired Delta Force Lieutenant Colonel and CNN Global Affair Analyst James Reese.

Colonel Reese, a mission like the one to rescue Kayla and the other hostages. I would imagine it's got to be the most difficult kind of thing to actually pull off successfully. What is it -- what are the key elements?

JAMES REESE, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Anderson there's three key elements to any hostage rescue, its speed, surprise and balance of action. The forth element here is, the hostage rescue force had to cross a boundary or into enemy territory that I would call they were doing in way game. You know we were in Iraq for all these years, we did several hostage rescues, we have spent so much time, it was like actually being a home game. We knew the area, we knew the people, we could actually get people close by where we thought this hostages are. When you have to fly several hours deep across enemy territory, this is the forth element that just really takes us into a very difficult situation. COOPER: And General Hertling I mean the intelligence needed to make this work, I would assume it's got to be, I mean, nearly perfect. And to have people close enough to have even eyes on in advance, you know.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, Jim is talking in primarily about what the operators do, Anderson. And what I'd tell you is as he knows as commander in Iraq I use to have the special operators coming to me every morning to talk about anywhere from five to 20 operations they had that night. Each one of those operation has all the components that Jim just mentioned. But they also have very extensive target packages with unbelievable intelligence associated with that.

When you have something like a hostage rescue from a strategic level, you have to have not only the intelligence in the package. But you have to continue lead feed additional intelligence to the commander who's overseeing the operation. So when they leave with whatever type of equipment they have on whatever type of aircraft their device. Their going to have a one pocket, their going to receive updated information in the air, their going to have new information that's going to tell them to continue to proceed or not. And the further those distances get with the greater amount of support the more intelligence you need. It's a continual action. These are tough missions, these are really tough missions.

COOPER: And General, I mean, do they even have enough intelligence to try to pull this off because the U.S. intelligence situation obviously on the ground in Syria by most accounts is, I mean, less than optimal to say it at least.

HERTLING: Well, Jim can talk more about this Anderson, but I think over the last 10 to 14 years of combat, you know we used to rely almost exclusively on human intelligence human, but I think we've gotten really good.

The special operators have gotten really good with combining human intelligence, signal intelligence, overhead intelligence, mason (ph), the kinds of things that you have, it will all contribute and you can get as simple a thing as a telephone hit and say, they're still there or you can get an overhead platform saying, I still have eyes on the target, we drone or even non-air breather aircraft.

It isn't all human intelligence but all three of those will combine to give you some really good information on what's going on at the target site.

COOPER: And Colonel Reese, I mean, the things about these kind of operations, public really only typically hears about them when they are successful. Once that don't succeed, the government usually doesn't talk about for understandable reason.

REESE: Yeah, it is Anderson. And I will tell you I disagree with that. You know, we're very protective on our special operation forces and we should be, but we need to be very protective of the tactics, techniques and procedures that they've go through. What we're missing here is the propaganda or the counter propaganda that there forces can provide because I will tell you specially with this, out (inaudible) raid and these other things that I did around the world is when they know that they are constantly being hunted, it's a though thing to look up in the middle of the night. I think there's a set of green eyes coming at you.

COOPER: General Hertling, I mean it's surprising to hear the President talk about the rescue mission in an interview yesterday. (inaudible) is a mistake for the administration to talk about an operation like this.

HERTLING: I did say that, Anderson. There's a reason that the special operators call themselves quite professionals. They don't talk about the things that they do. And I think in this case with what happened with the rescuer attempt, possibly and I don't have insight info on this, but possibly ISIS had many captives in one location because they may have felt they were safer in Syria. But as Jim said, when you start again special operators are coming at you and you're the enemy and you suddenly realize there is no place to run, and no place to hide. That's critically important so you start spreading those things out.

I personally just don't like to see as much reporting going on to the media with former special operators talking about how things are done.

COOPER: All right, General Hertling, I appreciate your perspective and Lieutenant Reese as well. Thank you. Tonight, the University of North Carolina, vigil to honor the three Muslim students murdered in an off campus apartment.

Was it a hate crime, that the father of two of the victims believes? New development, tonight.


COOPER: We've got some incredibly sad news to report about a colleague and inspiration, and friend. Just a short time ago we got word that a veteran CBS News and 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon has died.

According a source in law enforcement, he was passenger in a car that was involved in a two vehicle accident tonight here in Manhattan.

Bob was and I'll tell you it's very hard to talk about him in the past tense, but Bob was for the last five decades something one of the best, on my opinion, the best in the world of getting a story, telling a story, writing a story, and then making it simply unforgettable.

He covered virtually every major overseas conflict since the late 1960s and most notably in the Middle East.

His reporting earned him 27 Emmy awards and just about every other honor a journalist can get. Bob was a fetcher (ph) on 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes too, his daughter Tanya is a 60 Minutes producer. He was a warrior, poet who loved the life and loved people. He was 73 years old.

Brian Stelter of CNN Reliable Sources is joining us. And I got say just on a personal basis, I mean I grew up admiring Bob Simon. And whenever I gave talks at schools I'd always say Bob Simon is the greatest writer and the person I most looked up doing this business.

And to -- when I started working at 60 Minutes, to even be in the same halls, in the same offices as Bob Simon, it was such an honor and it's just a huge a lost for CBS and for everybody.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: You said warrior poet, those are two beautiful words to describe him. He was a 60 Minutes correspondent for 19 seasons. This was his 19th season. He just had to report on this Sunday about Selma. And he, as you mentioned, won so many awards, earned so many awards over all those seasons.

COOPER: Yeah. I mean the thing that Bob, his writing was so distinctive and he had such a voice as a writer and could write in his voice and he would walk by an edit room in 60 Minutes, and Bob Simon who was always in the edit room, because he wanted to look at all the footage that he wrote to the pictures.

He wasn't somebody who just kind of wrote a story and then other people edit it. He was (inaudible) involve in the story time and he was incredibly respected figure at CBS and extremely at 60 Minutes. And, you know, I worked with a number of case a long time producers who all have say what just say what intruder it was to work with Bob in the field and how much they learned from watching him work.

STELTER: The writing is often what separates the good from the great.


STELTER: And you can see on 60 Minutes the story telling, that is what is so special about the program. It's what makes it at the preeminent news magazine of our country and you know that every well, Anderson, better than anyone.

Bob is one of the very few number of full time correspondent and here I am still speaking in the present tense, even though we have lost him tonight, in the most tragic and random of ways to be in a car accident apparently heading home from work tonight, this is news that is going to break the hearts of people at CBS. They are unfortunately just learning it as we're speaking here.

COOPER: And I mean Bob survives so much in the field. I mean he worked in the Middle East for years and years and years. You may remember he was captured actually in Iraq. He was held under the reign of Saddam Hussein.

STELTER: I think for 40 days under...


STELTER: ... that imprisonment. COOPER: Right. He and, I believe, a camera crew as well. And for him to have survive all of that and the times he put himself at risk. And again to just watch him in the field, I mean, I remember in Haiti in 94, I think it was right before the U.S. landed or maybe -- or soon after the U.S. landed, I was young sort of punk correspondent on my own, one man band. And seeing him at a riot and I think I actually followed him around from a distance just to kind of see what Bob Simon was seeing and then to see his piece that night, to see how, you know, what he saw through his own eyes made it up into piece.

And when I started 60 Minutes, I was too intimidating to even really talk to him much. I actually went up and introduce myself and stuff. But it was a long time before he even started really talked to me and then he started like making fun of my hair and whatever.

And so I was just pleased, it's even a Bob Simon making fun of you, I was pleased with.

STELTER: Right, right.

COOPER: But just, you know, in the last year or two I've talked to him more and more and I don't want to pretend he was a friend but I -- he was just somebody I hugely admired. And I've just -- it's just stung to me.

STELTER: He is a man who represented the best of the craft of journalism and the best of the craft of storytelling.

You know, we were talking about Iraq in his time being held there during the Persian Gulf War but he got his and starting combat reporting in Vietnam...


STELTER: ... in the 1960s. And after that experience being imprisoned in Iraq in 1991, he went back to Baghdad in 1993. This is a man who has experienced American history for 50 years and that is the kind of legacy that he is going to leave behind.

COOPER: There used to be -- CBS had a -- for brief moment, a cabled network called "I Am People." I think I was the only one who actually watched it, but I watched it because they used to rebroadcast old CBS news reports and they would broadcast ones that Bob Simon did from Vietnam. And I would watch it, I would tape them because I just loved watching to see how he can morphed as a writer.

STELTER: There was such a diversity in his portfolio. He covered the Olympics. He was the Middle Eastern Correspondent then he joined 60 Minutes too, that's been off that was on during the weekdays.

When that ended, he took, he came to 60 Minutes, the (inaudible) broadcast. He's been there for many years and he is going to leave such a whole in 60 minutes.

COOPER: Yeah, it's just devastating. And it's really -- our thoughts are with his daughter, with Tanya and with his entire family. Brian, thank you very much for being with us. We'll have more on Bob Simon as news develops. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Right before the break, we have reported on the shocking news of the death of CBS Correspondent -- 60 Minutes Correspondent Bob Simon, who was killed in a car crash short time ago.

Today, I just received a statement from Jeff Fager, the Executive Producer of 60 Minutes and I just want to read out what he has said about his longtime friend and colleague.

Jeff writes, "It's a terrible lost for all of us at CBS News. It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any one journalist in modern times. Bob was a reporter's reporter. He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable. There is no one else like Bob Simon. All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes, we will miss him very much."

Jeff Fager on Bob Simon.

There is vigil (inaudible) at the University of North Carolina campus in Chapel Hill. People comforting one another, lighting candles, gathering to remember three local students, two from UNC who were murdered an execution-style yesterday.

They are killing racist and especially ugly question beyond the simple and horrible fact that three young accomplishing very deeply while people were erased from this world. That is were they murdered because of their religion and because that religion was Islam.

The victims, three students, a dental student, his new wife and her sister were all Muslim. The suspect, a 46-year old man name Craig Hicks, who turned himself in last night. It appeared to have made strong anti-religious statements online but it's unclear whether they target Islam specifically or all religions.

His wife says this had nothing to do with that, however, the father of two of the victims calls it a hate crime and the case is now getting national as well as global attention.

In our last hour, I spoke with the sister of one of the victims, UNC dental student, Deah Barakat, about the kind of brother that he was.


DR. SUZANNE BARAKAT, DEAH BARAKAT'S SISTER: My brother Deah was a six foot, three inch young man who has a kindest of heart, who loved everyone he met, greeted strangers with hugs, and dedicated his life to service. He loved his family. He loved his wife Yusor. He loved his in-laws. And it's a very sad day for both of our (inaudible).

He was happy in everything that he did and he made it light and people loved being around him for that. And selfishly, as the older sister who thought like a second mom to him, I will miss him adoring me and the way he loves me and the way he looked up to me and so many phone calls where we would talk and we would give each other advise and he's like, "OK, I see your point." And he was the best friend, kind of brother.


COOPER: Incredible strength. There is much pain tonight in her community and deep hunger for answers. Our Jason Carroll is in Chapel Hill following the investigation. So what is the latest?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, the Chapel Hill Police Department says that they are going to do is exhaust every lead possible to make sure that their conclusions are correct.

Their preliminary conclusion is that this was a case of a man, Craig Hicks, who has an ongoing dispute with these neighbors, that dispute ended in gunfire. Apparently, a dispute over a parking space.

Hick's wife also speaking out today saying this is -- that this had nothing to do with religion, she said, or faith that again this had to with his ongoing dispute.

Chapel Hill police say they are going to continue to investigate this to make sure that that was the case, what you've heard there from the victims and victims' family and from -- also from what we've been hearing from a number of people in the community. They simply do not believe that.

COOPER: Yeah, I mean, you spoke with the girls -- young women's father. We played that interview in our last hour. What's his response to what the police are saying about not being a hate crime? He just -- he doesn't believe that

CARROLL: Absolutely not. He says that actually, Deah, who you heard about, they're actually lived in this apartment complex for sometime without having any problems with Craig Hicks. This is what the girl's father says.

And the father says it was only until his daughter move into this apartment complex. And other young Muslin women who came to the area wearing head scarves. That was about December. He said, that's when the problem started. He said it was more than a parking space. He said Hicks would bother them about noise. He would bother them about a number of issues. He would show up at door with gun in the past, complaining about various issues.

The father -- their father is firmly, firmly believes that this had everything to do with their faith in their religion.

COOPER: Jason I appreciate the update. Thank you very much.

Just ahead tonight, will Brian William return anchor desk. My conversation in New York Times media reporter David Carr is next.


COOPER: As we reported short time ago legendary CBS News correspondent Bob Simon has been killed in a car crash. We reported on that just a short time ago. And on a night in which we just learned of the passing of Bob Simon, it seems tribute to talk about NBC's Brian William. That said though, his recent troubles are certainly also blow to the profession.

Brian William is being suspended as, you know, for six months without pay. We don't know as whether he actually will return to the anchor desk at NBC Nightly News at the end of that suspension. And then there the matter of whether he even should return after exaggerating stories from Iraq War mission in 2003.

Tonight William's name was cut from the opening of NBC Nightly News. An anchor Lester Holt called his suspension enormously difficult story to report.


LESTER HOLT, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Brian is a member of our family, but so are you our viewers who able to work every night to be worthy of your trust.


COOPER: And in the New York Times media reporter David Carr note that really no play book and how to balance back from this kind of fall. Now I spoke to David Carr before we went on air tonight, before we learned of Bob Simon passing, otherwise, I wouldn't have made this interview all about Bob Simon. But here is what I spoke to David Carr about earlier.


COOPER: Do you think it's likely the Brian Williams will actually return after the six months.

DAVID CARR, MEDIA COLUMNIST THE NEW YORK TIMES: You have to wonder what that would look like, what would be the instrumentality of it. How would it get done? The -- I mean there has to be the possibility they left the door open. But I just have trouble figuring out how it would get done.

COOPER: Seeing the path.

CARR: He can't on talk shows.

COOPER: Right.

CARR: Maybe he can go and meet the press. Can he go to work at wounded warrior? I don't know. It just what is this (inaudible). He has this huge fan base of people who care and like him, and that matters in television a lot. But sort of how do you get from here to there. COOPER: The idea of wounded warriors, because I was thinking about that today as well. Does he start working for veterans organizations, you know, even kind of without much fan fair just, kind of doing it and seeing how that goes. I don't know.

CARR: Well, it seem...

COOPER: Because there hasn't been a fall like this for somebody in the news business. I mean there are celebrity issue, you know, go up to rehab or, you know, go on Oprah and make can try statement. He can't really do that.

CARR: We're in the new land. There's no -- there's never been a number on anchor that stumbled all the way like this and to begin with and another were going well, probably too big to fail.

COOPER: Right.

CARR: I mean really.

COOPER: I though that initially.

CARR: And I just said. And I think Brian thought that too is I'll spread the needle here and people know that I'm patriot and that care about our country and may have over spoke it as it turned out. You know, if you're going to tell a (inaudible) story probably it shouldn't be about war. That's going to make it specific problem.

COOPER: It interesting though, I was watching -- looking closely the language that he uses, even in his interview there was reveled with star and stripes.

CARR: Right.

COOPER: The language he uses is very much he use military terminology, he says we were on the mission to put a bridge down, we were, you know, we were doing this as if he is part of the mission. I think when you're reporting you usually say the troops I'm accompanying...

CARR: Yes.

COOPER: ... their mission is this and this. He seems to say we a lot, which I found kind of just interesting. I don't know what to make of it, but I...

CARR: What's one of the dangers of embedding, right, is when you depend on people for transportation, when you're involve in their mission, when you're expose to same or similar (inaudible). It easy after awhile that I think we're talking about we. And we're not. We're talking about your subject and you're the journalist.

COOPER: As somebody has said, you know if this had happen to one of the other anchors and one of the other networks, it would not have as big impact perhaps because there not as well known as Brian Williams. I mean because Brian has been on all these shows and has multiple talent. He obviously appeared on, you know, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, (inaudible) the news, on Letterman, shows which I appeared on as well.

I do think there is this sense in day in age that you need to try to be on as many platforms as possible, and if you have a variety of interest. I mean you have sense of humor, if you willing to like propound it yourself. Then all these other outlets sort of make sense.

CARR: The problem is of course is when you work on the studio there's no one applauding, right? And then you get in these venues where people applaud or don't applaud and you want to make the room bounce, even as print reporter I get on certain public situation and I end up cracking lines because you want the room to bounce, you want the room to love you. It's only natural. We're all at bottom entertainers. Nobody wants to be the boring guy sitting up there.

And so you could see how that could get away from you...


CARR: ... a little bit. Especially him, he's got very significant skills.

COOPER: Absolutely. I mean...

CARR: He super funny.

COOPER: Yeah. Well you're never the guy on the room. I appreciate you been on. Thank you.

CARR: All right. Thanks in a million for having me, Anderson.


COOPER: David Carr from the New York Times. That does it for this edition of 360. Thanks very much for watching. CNN Tonight starts now.