Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
CIA Targets al Qaeda's Number Two; Florida Boy Shot By Police; Personal Cell Phone Records Up For Sale?; Donner Family Not Cannibals, Archeologists Say; Boy, 15, Shot for Wielding Pellet Gun; Convicted School Shooter Shares Insights on Motives; School Shooters Share Some Trends; Study: Teens Have Different Sleep Requirements
Aired January 13, 2006 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
In a remote corner of a distant part of the world, the CIA launches an airstrike -- the target, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man.
ANNOUNCER: Dead or alive? Tonight, possibly dead. Did al Qaeda's number two man walk into an American ambush from above? Tonight, breaking news on the operation and on what it could mean if Ayman al-Zawahri is dead.
Fear and panic at a Florida middle school -- a 15-year-old boy with what looked like a handgun is chased and shot by police -- tonight, anatomy of a tragic showdown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The individual then raised the firearm. And the lieutenant decided to use deadly force.
ANNOUNCER: No one was ready for what happened next.
Every call you make and every call you receive -- for a fee, anyone anywhere can buy your entire cell phone record. And, tonight, 360 investigates.
ANNOUNCER: From across the U.S. and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
Live from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.
COOPER: And good evening again.
A busy night, also, potentially a big one -- killing the man who has become the face of all those al Qaeda videos, not to mention the operational brains behind the organization, would be very big news indeed. So, that's where we begin tonight, with the fact, according to our sources, that the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA, went gunning today for Ayman al-Zawahri, that and the possibility -- for now only a possibility -- that they succeeded.
Reporting for us tonight, working their sources, CNN's David Ensor, Nic Robertson and Barbara Starr, along with insight from Peter Bergen.
First, David Ensor.
DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Knowledgeable sources tell CNN the airstrike on the Pakistani village of Damadola was ordered and conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency, based on what one called good reporting that Ayman Al-Zawahri, al Qaeda's number two, might be in one of the buildings hit.
Sources say the U.S. does not know whether Zawahri was killed in the attack or not. Pakistanis are quoted as saying, about 18 died in the attack on the village. The attack came just days after a videotaped message from Zawahri was broadcast on an Arabic-language network in which he called U.S. plans to reduce troop levels in Iraq a victory of Islam.
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If Zawahri has been killed, it punches a huge hole in their management structure. If bin Laden is the chairman of the board, Zawahri is the CEO. He's the guy who runs the organization. And he's already lost three COOs, three operating officers, underneath him.
ENSOR: Former Deputy CIA Director John McLaughlin says, if Zawahri is confirmed dead, the U.S. will need to brace for reaction.
MCLAUGHLIN: If Zawahri has been killed, the United States has to be on alert around the world. Al Qaeda may not have plans on the shelf for some sort of counterattack, but the rage provoked by killing Zawahri will undoubtedly provoke a counterattack of some sort by al Qaeda, or at least the planning of such.
ENSOR: (AUDIO GAP) spokesman are declining comment on this story. But knowledgeable sources say there is at least guarded hope at the CIA and throughout official Washington tonight that one of the country's most deadly enemies may finally be out of the picture. They are waiting for more word from Pakistan -- Anderson.
COOPER: David, we will talk to you more in a moment, along with our panel.
But, again, we cannot emphasize it enough tonight. We have been here before, waiting for confirmation that a high-ranking terrorist was caught or killed or slipped the noose or was never even there at all. The people being hunted, after all, are not just professional killers. They are professional survivors.
Ayman al-Zawahri is all that and then some, a medical doctor, once a member of Egyptian high society, al Qaeda's unofficial spokesman, and yet also still a mystery in many ways.
Just ahead, we are going to talk with terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, who knows him almost and Osama bin Laden perhaps as well any outsider can.
First, here's CNN's Nic Robertson.
AYMAN AL-ZAWAHRI, AL QAEDA LEADER: We want to speak to the whole world. Who are we?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): By the time Ayman Al-Zawahri burst onto the world scene after the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, he was already a committed jihadi.
The young doctor came from one of Egypt's leading families. There is an al-Zawahri Street in Cairo, named for his grandfather. Al-Zawahri spent three years in prison after Sadat's assassination. After he got out, he made his way to Pakistan, where he treated those who fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. That's where he met Osama bin Laden. And, by the mid-1980s, they had found a common cause. He talked about it a decade later.
AL-ZAWAHRI: We are working with brother bin Laden. We know him since more than 10 years. We have fought with him here in Afghanistan. We are working with him in Sudan and many other places.
ROBERTSON: Al-Zawahri was at bin Laden's side when he declared war on America in May 1998. Weeks later, they launched an attack on U.S. embassies in Africa. And after the 9/11 attacks, al-Zawahri began to come out of the shadows, taunting the U.S., making it clear that he was al Qaeda's number two.
AL-ZAWAHRI (through translator): Oh, American people, you must ask yourselves, why all this hate against America?
ROBERTSON: Along with bin Laden, al-Zawahri became a man on the run after the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. His wife and daughters were killed in a U.S. airstrike aimed at him.
Al-Zawahri's frequent messages in recent years on subjects ranging from the war in Iraq to the London subway attacks showed he was up to date on the news.
ROBERTSON: An example of that, just a month after those London subway attacks, he blamed British prime minister for the attacks and said there will be more to come -- Anderson.
COOPER: Fascinating that he would have access to whatever technology allowed him to get information relatively quickly.
ROBERTSON: And disseminate his own information. He watches it. He sees it. And then he says to somebody, OK, I want to record a message. Now we need to get it out. He turned it around in -- in a month. COOPER: And, in that last tape, he certainly looked in pretty good shape. It didn't look like he had been living in a cave, bathing out of a bucket, for -- for years.
ROBERTSON: No. He looks fine.
COOPER: Let's bring in Barbara Starr now, our Pentagon correspondent, also bring back national security correspondent David Ensor, also CNN terrorism analyst Peter Bergen, keep in keeping Nic with us as well.
His -- Peter Bergen's latest book is an oral history titled "The Osama bin Laden I Know."
Barbara, I want to start with you. What are your hearing from Pentagon sources?
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, tonight, the Pentagon is saying absolutely nothing officially. But, unofficially, we know this region, this border region, is some of the roughest, most remote terrain.
U.S. military and intelligence officials have been keeping their eye on it now literally for years. I was on that border with the 82nd Airborne back in June. And the soldiers who worked that border region will tell you that there is no way that they can keep control of that completely, or the Pakistanis.
People do move back and forth. And, tonight, our sources are telling us that there have even been recent intelligence indicators in recent weeks that both bin Laden and Zawahri have moved back occasionally, they say, indicators they have moved back across into Afghanistan at certain points to meet with Taliban leaders, members of the former regime, and then quickly gone back into Pakistan.
Our sources also telling us that Zawahri, there had been recent indicators by the intelligence sources of his locations -- one person describing it to me as pinpoint accuracy. These are indicators, things that they were following up on. Perhaps, today, they got both smart and lucky in tracking him down -- Anderson.
COOPER: So, just to clarify, you were hearing from your sources that there have been movements with bin Laden and Zawahri back and forth across this border?
STARR: Let's be very clear.
What we are talking about is intelligence indicators that officials say they receive from their sources in the region. They try to evaluate them. They try to determine their credibility and follow up on them.
Perhaps, this attack will indicate to us how credible some of these recent reports have been. At this point, we don't know, but they do in fact continue to get these reports in, you know, ever since 9/11. They continue to get these reports in. Some of them have been very recent.
COOPER: Of those reports, is it that they are traveling together?
STARR: No indication of that at this point.
And, by most accounts, that would be extraordinarily unlikely. They are very security-conscious. I think Peter will probably tell you there is no indication that they are together.
COOPER: And, Peter, what about that? And, also, talk about this region a little bit more. You have spent an awful lot of time in -- in Afghanistan.
PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Well, I think common sense indicates that they are unlikely together.
And, as Barbara just pointed out, these are a rather paranoid bunch of people and very security-conscious. And I don't think -- I think it's unlike -- I think they would be in communication, but not physically together.
That particular area, it is -- it is, you know, as -- as -- as Barbara also mentioned, one of the most difficult regions in the world. I also was down on that border with the 82nd Airborne a couple of years back, and it was -- you know, it's -- it's just a very intense environment, and also not one that is easily controllable.
The border itself is 1,500 miles long. That's the -- you know, it's like flying from Washington to Denver. So, that is a very long border and a border which is impossible to plug.
COOPER: You know, we are -- Peter, we are seeing this video of -- of what -- of this area, where -- and there are people milling around. And you see a dead cow at one point in some of this video, not the video we are showing right now, but some of the video we have from -- from the aftermath, apparently, of this attack.
And you see all these people standing around. This may be an idiotic question. But wouldn't all those people standing around know who was living there?
BERGEN: I think so.
I -- I think one of the arguments that has been made against, in fact, Zawahri and bin Laden being in these tribal areas is that everybody knows what's going on. It would be impossible to keep a secret, and that this might be a reason that they weren't hiding in these areas.
On the other hand, it is -- it does seem that they have been hiding in these areas. Because of the nature of the tribal system there, that would be something I think that a number of people would know.
COOPER: David Ensor, what are you hearing, either about the -- the -- well, about the methods of this attack, if anything?
ENSOR: Well, on the methods of the attack, it was an air attack. And it was using missiles or bombs from aircraft. So, that's all I know about it at the moment.
I would just point out that there was another air attack, according to Pakistani reports, on Saturday, in Waziristan, in which eight were killed. And, last month, the CIA, according to sources, killed Egyptian Hamza Rabia, who was, at that time, they say, the al Qaeda operations chief.
So, I think the CIA is really going on the offensive rather aggressively at the moment. And they seem to have some intelligence upon which to base these attacks. We -- we could see more of them -- Anderson.
COOPER: Nic Robertson, we just saw some video of -- of a Predator drone, possibility, I guess, that, if it's an airstrike, possible that a Predator would be used in -- in this attack.
But it is interesting, the accounts from some of the villagers -- from the villagers who told journalists who came to look at the scene. They said that villages two or three miles away could feel the impact of the strikes. That would make one think that these were perhaps quite large missiles, perhaps heavier than a Predator can carry. But, of course, these are just the first accounts. We don't have real eyewitness of what -- what exactly happened.
COOPER: Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, would this be -- I mean, this is being said to be a CIA operation. How does the CIA work in conjunction with -- with U.S. Army or special forces in a case like this?
STARR: You know, Anderson, we don't know the details.
But whatever went on here, it may turn out to be quite extraordinary. The CIA, by public accounts, has unmanned drones that fire those Hellfire missiles. If this was a manned aircraft, this would be an extraordinary mission, because what you are talking about is putting a pilot at risk of being shot down.
Pakistani radars would have had to have been told to have turned off or been blinded in some fashion. They would have seen a manned aircraft coming. They would have known it was not one of theirs. You are talking basically about an invasion of the airspace of an ally, so what went on here may be quite extraordinary.
Nic's accounts that the villagers say they heard...
COOPER: And -- and, then, Barbara, I just want to interrupt to tell our viewers what they are looking at. These -- this is new video in from the scene where the attack took place.
We saw villagers holding up a piece of metal. It looked like a piece of either debris from the attack or perhaps from a -- from whatever device was used to implant or to attack.
Go ahead, Barbara.
STARR: Well, what I was going to say, Anderson, going back to what Nic was saying about villagers some distance away hearing the reverberations or hearing the -- the blast, that could suggest perhaps -- we don't know -- maybe it was an air-launched cruise missile. Maybe it was a submarine-launched cruise missile.
These are much heavier missiles. They are targeted to specific areas. And they do create quite a blast and reverberation. But, of course, we don't know. However, it would be extraordinary and it would be extremely significant in the war on terror if a piloted manned aircraft was sent over Pakistani airspace and launched one of these lethal strikes.
By all accounts, that has not happened in the past in this conflict -- Anderson.
COOPER: Just want to remind our viewers what we are looking at and also what we are talking about.
What we are looking at is the scene. This is new video in a very remote region of Pakistan, where, according to multiple sources from our various correspondents who we're talking to right now, an airstrike has taken place against a suspected hideout of Ayman Al- Zawahri. We do not know whether or not he has been killed or not.
Barbara, what is it going to take in order to find out this information? Is this something that is hours away? Or are we talking weeks for DNA? Are they -- are they on the scene?
STARR: Let's go back to the notion. This is a very remote area. Pakistani forces may be on the ground. As David has indicated in his...
COOPER: The fact we are getting this video tells me that somebody is on the ground there.
STARR: Well, indeed.
But let's look -- I mean, let's be very frank here, Anderson. In a blast like this, what is going to be left. There will be human remains left. The Pakistanis will recover them. They will work with the U.S. intelligence community on trying to identify them.
But here is what we are looking at. Are -- is there going to be visual identification, dental records, DNA? Does the U.S. have DNA of Zawahri? These are all questions to be answered.
And, of course, let us remember, culturally, this is a fundamentalist Islamic area. And, under Islamic tradition, human remains are buried as quickly as possible. That is their religious custom. And, so, by the time any remains are found, will they be recovered? Will they be available for identification? All questions to be answered. COOPER: Peter Bergen, what's the likelihood that American troops were on the ground or that Pakistani troops were somehow involved in this operation?
BERGEN: Well, I mean, U.S. troops aren't supposed to be in that area. It is a very sensitive issue for Pakistan.
And my understanding is that the CIA might have some presence in this area. But, technically speaking, the Pakistanis have made it very clear that they don't want U.S. troops wandering around that area. Of course, the border itself and parts of the -- of that region isn't very well demarcated. And it is quite possible you would wander across the border without knowing it.
But I doubt that there were U.S. troops in that area.
COOPER: It is a fascinating discussion.
David Ensor, Barbara Starr, Peter Bergen, and Nic Robertson, thank you.
We are going to continue to monitor this situation throughout this hour and into the next hour of 360, all the way up until midnight. And we will bring you any developments as warranted.
There are a number of other stories, though, we want to tell you about happening that we have been following this evening. Here's some of the stories we are covering at this moment.
A Saddam surprise -- the chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein is planning to call it quits, this according to a source close to the Kurdish judge telling Reuters News Service he will oversee the next hearing later this month, and then is going to announce his reason for stepping down. When asked why the judge would want to withdraw, the source would only say -- quote -- "It is too difficult."
A Florida eighth-grader who appeared to be carrying a handgun was shot today by a SWAT team member after a chase through a middle school. He is hospitalized on advanced life support, we are told right now. The Seminole County sheriff says the teenager had pointed his weapon at a classmate, later threatened to kill himself. The weapon turned out to be a pellet gun. We are going to have more on this on 360.
A huge fire in New Orleans -- firefighters letting a scrap yard blaze burn itself out. The fire started late Saturday night and has burned through heaps of rubble left from Hurricane Katrina. It may be releasing dangerous chemicals. A hazardous materials crew is testing the air.
And Alaska's Augustine volcano is still alive, erupting three times today and sending plumes of ash more than six miles into the sky. Two explosions on Wednesday were the volcano's first in 20 years. It is expected to keep erupting over the next several days or weeks. Well, the details of your life up for sale. Imagine that. Well, it is a reality -- your whereabouts, your intimate confidants easily obtained by someone just going online. This is an invasion of privacy on a whole new level -- a shocking study that we just find out about today. A major cell phone provider moved today to control the problem, but, for many people, the harm has already been done.
Anyone with $100 can get access to all the numbers you have called. We will talk about that coming up.
And crisis survivors have resorted to it in the past, cannibalism. Now the possibility that one of the most lurid chapters in American history may have to be rewritten. We are talking about the Donner Party and what they did and did not eat.
Across America and around the world, you are watching 360.
COOPER: Well, you might want to think twice before you dial another number on your cell phone.
We were shocked to learn today that anyone who knows your phone number and is willing to pay a couple of -- well, about, basically, 100 bucks can access a complete record of all the calls you have made and all the calls you have received. It's a stunning invasion of privacy and leaves us all vulnerable to identity thieves and who knows what else.
Today, one telecom company, Cingular Wireless, took legal action to protect their customers.
CNN's Internet correspondent, Jacki Schechner, is covering the story, joins us now.
How is this possible?
JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Well, let me show you how this works.
This is not my cell phone, Anderson. And, yet, in my hand, I have the last 100 outgoing calls made from this phone. It belongs to one of our producers. Let me show you what we did. We took that phone number. We plugged it into this Web site, Locatecell.com. That's all we gave them, a cell phone number and $110.
By the way, over the course of the last few days, we have tried to call this company. We have tried to e-mail this company. They have not gotten back to us.
This was at 2:15 yesterday. According to several representatives at Sprint customer service, at about 3:52 yesterday, somebody called Sprint and somebody at Sprint pulled up our producer's records. That's about all we know was done from them.
Then, this morning, at 9:55 a.m., we get this e-mail detailing the last 100 phone calls made from the cell phone number that we gave them. It looked like they were hand-typed. We compared these to the actual records that you can get from your Sprint account online. And you know what? They matched up.
There were some transposed numbers, kind of looked like typos, something like this. This number, 669 right here, was actually typed as 339. But, other than that, everything else was in order. Everything else seemed to be in place.
We called Sprint customer service. They couldn't tell us who made the phone call. They couldn't tell us who the representative was that took the call. You know what they offered our producer on the phone? A $20 fee, nonrefundable, to get a kit that he could send to their corporate security to get this looked into. But that's about all they could do.
Now, we did call Sprint corporate. This is their response. Let me read it to you: "Sprint Nextel does not condone these types of firms and has well-established processes to verify the identity of authorized account holders. Nevertheless, these firms have managed to make a business out of selling such information based on fraud. Sprint Nextel is not the only wireless carrier to have discovered this problem."
That is, in fact, the case. There are several others, like Cingular, that you mentioned, who are now taking action. But I have spoken to several experts over the course of the last week, and they all told me the way to protect your account is to put a password on it.
But, Anderson, I will tell you something. Our producer had a password. And that didn't make one ounce of difference.
COOPER: And just remind me. When -- when the producer called up Sprint, what did they offer in return for -- for this?
SCHECHNER: They said, for $20, nonrefundable fee, they would send him a kit in the mail. He could fill out that paperwork, send it back to Sprint security, their corporate security, and someone would get back to him.
COOPER: Wait. So -- so, the producer had to pay $20 for this kit?
SCHECHNER: Yes. The producer had to pay $20 to get all of this information looked into, according to the customer service representative that he spoke to.
COOPER: That is unbelievable.
Cingular, as we said, has taken legal action, apparently, today to try to stop this. You know, let's follow this tomorrow and every day until Sprint does something, because, I mean, this is just incredible, that anyone can access the phone numbers. All they need is the number.
Jacki Schechner, appreciate the report.
SCHECHNER: Sure. Of course.
So, who would be interested in this data? And what could they learn about you from it?
CNN's Brian Todd has that side of the story.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Phil Becnel is a private investigator in the Washington, D.C., area. He says he doesn't use so-called data brokers to find private cell phone records because of the legal implications. But Becnel believes he knows why people use them.
PHIL BECNEL, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR: Spouses wanting to determine if their other is cheating on them by determining who they've called recently, stalkers possibly.
TODD: Other security experts we spoke to say online data brokers can be used in many devious ways. Companies can find out if employees have contacted their competitors with their cell phones or if they've called psychiatrists.
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan believes the law enforcement implications are enormous. Madigan's office recently subpoenaed Locatecell.com, one of the most prominent data brokers, to find out how it operates. She hasn't heard back from the company and is preparing her next move.
CNN was unable to get a response from Locatecell.com. Madigan says among the most vulnerable are victims of domestic abuse. Many already don't establish land phone or utility accounts fearing their abusers may find them.
LISA MADIGAN, ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL: It's very difficult for you to protect yourself if you are using a cell phone or any phone for that matter if you know that somebody can for $100 get a hold of the information that would allow them to find out when you're at work, when you're at home, where you are, who you're talking to. And, therefore, they can potentially stalk you and track you down.
TODD: Other law enforcement officials say criminal gangs can pay these services to see if any suspected informants have contacted police using cell phones.
Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
COOPER: It is just remarkable. We will continue to follow this story.
Erica Hill from Headline News joins us with some of other stories we are following right now.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Anderson.
In Iraq, troubles over the skies of Mosul -- two U.S. pilots were killed when insurgents shot their helicopter down. Witnesses say they heard machine gun fire coming from at least three directions and that the chopper was flying erratically, likely in an attempt to escape the bullets. The crash brings the total U.S. death toll to 2,214.
Atlanta, Georgia: baby Noor released from the hospital, after undergoing surgery for spinal birth defects. She was brought to the U.S. for the life-saving surgery after U.S. soldiers found her near Baghdad. Her doctor says her prognosis is excellent, although she won't likely regain the use of her legs. Baby Noor is staying with a host family. She faces at least one more procedure.
Racing toward Earth at this hour, NASA's Stardust probe -- on Sunday, over Utah, the probe is set to release a 100-pound capsule by parachute. It's a precious payload of dust particles from the Wild Two comet. And then Stardust continues on its journey, making another orbit around the sun. That trip, oh, it will take about four years.
And, in the Florida Everglades, the last homesteader relents. For years, 70-year-old Jesse Hardy tried to fight the state's plan to return the Everglades to its natural state. But, in July, he accepted a check for almost $5 million and left his home for good this week. He says he will miss the home, but, with that load of cash, he is moving on to a bigger and much nicer home, although, he told John Zarrella it was overpriced at 800 grand.
COOPER: All right. Erica, we will check in with you a little bit later. Thanks.
A horrific scene at a school in Florida today -- an eighth-grader brings to school what looked like a handgun. A SWAT team is called. What happened next is likely going to haunt the people involved for years to come. We will get the latest.
And a notorious chapter in U.S. history, the Donner Party and cannibalism on the trail West. New evidence today suggests, for 150 years, well, historians might have had the story all wrong.
This is 360. Stay with us.
COOPER: More breaking news -- this video is just coming in, this the scene of an attack along the border with Afghanistan in Pakistan. It is the result of what is believed to be a CIA airstrike on al Qaeda's number two, or at least a position where he was believed to have been. It is not known at this time if Ayman Al-Zawahri, the -- the right-hand man of Osama bin Laden, the man some call Dr. Death, responsible -- really who has become the public face of al Qaeda in these last several years.
Whether or not he survived this attack is not known. You see people there moving through the wreckage. We do not know what type of device was used -- the sources telling CNN that it was some sort of an airstrike. Whether that means a Predator drone, a cruise missile launched from a submarine or a ship, or a -- some sort of a bomb dropped from a plane, is simply not known.
Nic Robertson had reported that there were others in the area, villagers in the area nearby who said they felt -- they could feel the explosion ricocheting, echoing in the ground, which would indicate some sort of large explosion. But these pictures just coming in. We continue to follow this story throughout the hour, and we'll have updates as warranted.
It is only a coincidence that on this Friday the 13th something as ghoulish as cannibalism is part of the mix tonight in our stories. Yesterday, Germany's so-called Internet cannibal went on trial for murder. He used the Web to solicit a victim he could eat, if you can imagine that.
Under German law he could be found guilty of the lesser charge of killing on request. They don't have cannibalism charges in Germany.
Meanwhile, in this country turns out a name that has long topped the list of America's best known cannibals might not actually belong there.
COOPER (voice-over): It was April of 1846 and, like thousands of Americans, George and Jacob Donner and their friend James Frazier Reed, heeded the call to go west.
JULIE SCHABLITSKY, ARCHEOLOGIST: It was the whole concept of manifest destiny and being able to start a new life, and a new life for your family.
COOPER: Thirty-two men, women, and children left Springfield, Illinois, and headed into the unknown in search of a better life. What they met with instead was disaster.
Their decision to take a shortcut left them stuck in the Sierra Nevada Mountains for months. The number in the party had risen to 87 along the way. And with winter setting in and a shortage of supplies, they set up camp along two lakes in hopes someone would come to their rescue.
One by one members of the Donner party died from starvation, illness, and cold. Forty-six in all. They ate everything they could: their pack animals, bones, raw hide and leather, even the Donner family dog. And when there was nothing left, the story goes they ate their dead. Instead of being praised as pioneers, the Donners would be remembered as cannibals until now.
SCHABLITSKY: As archaeologists we did not find any evidence of not only cannibalism but human remains.
COOPER: Archaeologists Julie Schablitsky and Kelly Dixon spent two summers excavating the site of the Donner camp at Alder creek.
SCHABLITSKY: And at this point when we couch the historical record and with our ecological findings what we're looking at and understanding is that the Donners may not have had to turn to cannibalism, because they were so successful at hunting.
COOPER: And that is very good news for Lochie Page, great-great- granddaughter of George Donner.
LOCHIE PAGE, DONNER'S GREAT-GREAT-GRANDDAUGHTER: I was delighted is the good word. We're very relieved and joyful.
COOPER: While their findings don't exonerate all in the Donner party from the charges, they do appear to exonerate the Donner family themselves. And that is all that Lochie Page needs to know.
PAGE: While cannibalism is part of their story, and I accept that, it is not the most important part of their story. Their story is a story of perseverance, courage, and a dream. And they did what they could and what they had to to reach that dream.
COOPER: Well, this is an ongoing mystery. More than a century later, a lot of people are still searching for clues. Yet the truth is they may never exactly know what happened.
Today in Florida an eighth grader brought a pellet gun to school, but the police thought it was real. Tonight that child is on life support. What happened? Why did a SWAT team member feel he had to shoot first?
And new research, new advice on the mystery of sleep, and teens could be the biggest beneficiary. We'll tell you why.
COOPER: In Florida, a SWAT team shoots an eighth grader wielding a weapon that turned out to be a pellet gun. Did they make the right call? We'll have that story, but first some of other stories were following at this moment.
We begin with breaking news and a burning question tonight at the Pentagon and White House: did they finally get one of their most wanted men? This is new video of the scene. U.S. sources say that Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man, was the target of a CIA air strike in Pakistan today some witnesses say killed more than a dozen people.
The CIA apparently had intelligence suggesting al-Zawahiri was in one of the buildings that was hit in a remote village near the Afghan border. We continue to follow this throughout the hour.
The nuclear standoff with Iran is heating up. Today the United States and five other nations, including all the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, decided to meet on Monday to discuss their options. Three days ago Iran restarted its nuclear research program, something it had promised it not to do. Iran maintains that it has no intention of building nuclear weapons.
Senate Democrats are pushing to delay a vote on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, whose confirmation hearings wrapped up today. Ranking Democrat Patrick Leahy has indicated he wants a one-week delay which the rules do allow. Democrats also refused to publicly rule out a filibuster, but Senate sources say that scenario is unlikely.
And in the southern Californian desert, a major drug bust. Drug enforcement agents seized 31 pounds of Mexican heroin with an estimated street value of $1.3 million. That is enough heroin for as many as 280,000 doses. Three people were arrested.
Well, a 15-year-old boy brought what looked like to be a gun to school today. It turned out to be a pellet gun. Right now, the boy is near death in a hospital in Orlando, Florida, shot in school after aiming that gun at a police officer.
The story of Christopher David Penley, an eighth grader at the Milwee Middle School in Longwood, Florida, is already a sad one, and yet be truly tragic, depending on how the boy fares.
CNN's John Zarrella reports.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were like talking and everything. We had our seatbelts on and everything. And then we heard -- it was like boom and everybody stopped talking.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Fear and panic as a Florida middle school went into lockdown after a 15-year-old boy was found in class with what looked like a .9 millimeter handgun. After a scuffle, he ordered a classmate into a closet and began roaming the campus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He kept on being like get on the floor and shut the door, shut the door and saying oh he's got a gun, he's got a gun.
ZARRELLA: Police soon caught up with the eighth grader, who they say was suicidal.
BILL VOGEL, SEMINOLE COUNTY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT: The student as he was walking around was isolated into a particular area, and students were moved away to ensure their safety. SHERIFF DON ESLINGER, SEMINOLE COUNTY, FLORIDA: During that foot pursuit, he had made statements that, "I'm going to kill myself" or "I'm going to die somehow," I think is what he said and then pointed the gun to his neck during that -- those minutes.
ZARRELLA: Police say they pleaded with the boy to drop the gun, but he refused, and when he raised the weapon towards officers, a member of the SWAT team shot him. It turns out the student's weapon was a pellet gun, which police say had been painted to look like a handgun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the actual firearm that was held by the subject inside of the one that I'm holding. During the incident, and as you can see, it looks almost identical to the one that Sactali (ph) is holding, which is the actual real .9 millimeter handgun.
ZARRELLA: Now, police tell us that there was absolutely no way that they could tell the difference between the pellet gun and the real gun. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating this police-involved shooting, which is standard procedure. School officials told us that they had never in the past had any problems with the teen -- Anderson.
COOPER: Let's take a look at that video again, if we could, of the gun. It does look incredibly realistic.
ZARRELLA: Yes, there's no question about it, Anderson. And for anybody who has teenagers or kids, the guns are -- these kind of guns are fairly, you know, easily obtainable at sporting goods stores, and lots of kids play with them out in the woods and things. And they do look extremely realistic, particularly when you take that red tip, which is on those guns that distinguishes them from a real gun, and then paint that red tip.
COOPER: Man, tough choice. John Zarrella, thanks.
The closest we could come to getting into the mind of that young man in Florida, the closest we could come to understanding why any teen would bring a gun to school, or would even try to shoot their classmates is to do what we did earlier this evening, put in a phone call into Evan Ramsey in his prison cell in Arizona.
In 1997, Evan Ramsey was 16, and he walked into a school in the town of Bethel, Alaska, pulled out a 12-gauge shotgun. He's been hiding it in his pants. He rode the school bus with it. It was a three-foot long shotgun. He ended the lives of two people, one student and the principal of the school.
You're going to hear him talk about the fact that he discussed his plans in some detail ahead of time with friends. One of his friends even told him how to reload the shotgun. That, of course, was not the first thing we asked Evan.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Evan, I want to talk about the day that you went to school and shot a classmate and shot your principal. Why did you do it? Why did you shoot a classmate and a principal back in 1997?
EVAN RAMSEY, HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTER: Because I had been picked on by peers, kids that I was in the same grade with, people that were in a lower grade.
COOPER: You boarded the school bus that morning. You had a shotgun hidden in your pants. You were wearing baggy pants. You had a 12 gauge shotgun. I think it was about three feet long. What were you thinking when you put the shotgun in your pants and you were waiting for the school bus?
RAMSEY: I will finally be able to get people to leave me alone.
COOPER: Was it an exciting feeling as you approached the school and the bus?
RAMSEY: No, it was more of a sense of relief.
COOPER: That's interesting, relief in what way?
RAMSEY: In my mind at the time, I told myself I got to do something. For about two years I got picked on, and the last six months that I was in school, I got picked on every day. I've been spit on. I've been called names. I've had things thrown at me. I've been in fights.
I told myself I've had enough. I got to do something. What can I do? And I took the first idea that came to mind, and I ran with it.
COOPER: You say it was a feeling of relief when you pulled the trigger. I suppose those -- I read a report that you yelled out, "You guys better run" after you shot into that crowd, and then you for several minutes were walking around shooting into lockers until the principal came, and you ended up shooting him in the back of the shoulder. Is that correct?
RAMSEY: Fairly correct. Near the ending of my whole crime, I shot into lockers, but keep in mind that I've never had any experience with weapons. Mr. Edwards died. I had come around the corner, and I shot at him. Unfortunately, he got shot.
COOPER: But at the time you meant to shoot him. I mean, you shot at him, so you intended to hit him.
RAMSEY: There was so much planning that the three of us had set up, and the only plan, the only part of the plan that went through is the way it was supposed to was me shooting into a crowd of people.
COOPER: So really once you started -- you shot into the crowd. That was part of your plan, but after that kind of the plan went out the window?
RAMSEY: Yes, everything went pretty much went to crap. COOPER: You say everything went to crap. In what way? It was just -- was it that you were more nervous, or you felt differently, or it just wasn't -- you weren't able to control it?
RAMSEY: I honestly didn't think people would get up and run. It never dawned on me that I'm going to kill people, and people are not going to sit around and just let me shoot them.
COOPER: I mean, in video games, do people run?
HAMMER: No, through playing video games in the last few years, I've learned that in a lot of them types of games the things that you kill for lack of a better term are all out to get you. They don't run. They come at you.
COOPER: What was the game you played?
COOPER: It's fascinating to me, though, that you kind of thought shooting people in your school was kind of going to be like shooting people in Doom or shooting creatures in Doom, that you didn't think they would run, you didn't think...
HAMMER: That's part of the whole mental state of a child, like in my case. I was not aware that people dying when they get shot and that these people were going to run when I started firing the gun.
COOPER: As you look back on it now, I mean, how do you feel about what you did?
HAMMER: I have to deal with knowing that I took away something that can't be given back to these people.
COOPER: Evan Ramsey.
Tonight the dishonor role grows longer. We're going to look back to see what we have learned of the growing list of young people who turn what should be the safest of all places, their own school, into killing fields.
And a memorial service for the men who died in the Sago mine disaster. Those who knew them plan to come together to share memories and to offer one another comfort. More on that ahead on "360."
COOPER: The very idea of kids carrying and using guns on their own classmates or on others at school would have been dismissed as preposterous not all that long ago. Now, awful to say, though these incidents certainly continue to sadden us, they no longer come as a surprise. We've seen it too often.
CNN's Heidi Collins reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Columbine, Paducah, Jonesboro, Springfield, Pearl, Sante (ph), a list that conjures up images of screaming children, injured victims and gun- wielding kids. Different towns with tragically similar stories.
What made eight young men snap, and what qualities, if any, do school shooters share? According to the FBI, there are dozens of risk factors when it comes to school violence, but there is no one definitive profile of this type of criminal.
And yet there are certain similarities in all of these cases that are hard to ignore. In each shooting, the perpetrator was a white male age 11 to 18 who was described as feeling picked on or bullied by his peers.
DAN KINDLON, AUTHOR, "RAISING CAIN": We allow boys to be angry and aggressive, but we don't allow them to express fear and sadness and other more vulnerable emotions, and so hence when they get rejected or they get disappointed, they have a harder time dealing with that, and it often comes out in anger.
COLLINS: Most of the shooters had a fascination with firearms or violent video games.
ERIC HARRIS, COLUMBINE SHOOTER: You got some beef with me?
COLLINS: And while there were signs or warnings about their intentions, they were not taken seriously at the time.
RANDY BROWN, FATHER OF COLUMBINE STUDENT: The sheriff's department didn't respond to our reported threats by Eric Harris against our son for 13 months. Columbine would not have happened if they would have investigated that to begin with.
COLLINS: Two of the boys, Luke Woodham and Kip Kinkel, had a history of abusing animals.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They liked any kind of weapon. They like tortured animals.
COLLINS: Classmates say Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, and Jeff Weiss from Red Lake, Minnesota, all wore dark trench coats and were fans of Marilyn Manson. Kip Kinkel was a fan of Manson's music as well.
And according to the FBI, all of the shooters may have felt the desire to defend narcissistic views of themselves, but at the same time had very low self-esteem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess the world is going to remember me now. I'm probably going to get pretty famous.
COLLINS: Sadly, what perhaps most unites these young men is that no one believes they were capable of committing such horrible acts. And that meant no one was able to stop them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you've seen this kid, you just never believe something like this could happen. I've seen him every day, you know, right by my bus, and happy kid, happy go lucky.
COLLINS: Heidi Collins, CNN, New York.
COOPER: It is just an unbelievable tragedy.
Well, last night we explored some of the misconceptions about sleep and probably surprised a lot of you. After the break another tidbit you might not know. This one involving what time you go to bed and wake up. It could make all the difference, especially for teenagers.
And our lead story tonight did a U.S. Strike kill al Qaeda's No. 2 man. We have breaking news on what could be a major blow to the terrorist organization. We'll have the latest when "360" continues.
COOPER: Well, yesterday we explored some misconceptions about sleep. And one thing we learned is that the amount of sleep you need does not adjust with age.
Tonight CNN's medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us that the right time to sleep does change, and apparently many teenagers are waking up at the wrong time.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's not even 6 a.m., and high school sophomore Catherine Petrick is already getting out of bed. She has to get dressed, eat, get her school things together, and be out the door before 7 a.m. That's because by 7:30 she'll be sitting in Latin class, reciting Plato.
Millions of high school students start their days before the sun comes up. By 8 a.m., many of them have already been inundated with Cervantes, Pascal's triangle or calculus. Sometimes it's not easy.
CATHERINE PETRICK, STUDENT: It's not fun. I mean, especially with like studying that night and just with extracurriculars, it's hard.
GUPTA: Not only is it hard, it turns out, it's actually counterproductive. Sleep specialists are now finding that teens not only sleep in order to function properly, they need that sleep at certain hours of the day.
DR. DAVID GROSS, WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER: Teenagers generally have what we call delayed phase sleep syndrome. They're just on a different clock. GUPTA: Dr. David Gross is the medical director at the sleep center at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. He says schools are doing a disservice to their students by getting them up early. Simply put, many teenagers are dead to the world first thing in the morning.
Researchers at Brown University say that's because levels of melatonin, the sleep promoting hormone, rise later at night for teens, at about 11 p.m., and stay high at about 8 a.m. The result: their bodies want to go to sleep later at night and sleep later in the morning. When that doesn't happen, teens suffer.
GROSS: They don't do as well in school. They can have symptoms of ADD, learning disabilities, depression, substance abuse, weight gain, and automobile accidents.
GUPTA: For years school systems have been looking for ways to start high school days later, but economics come into play. Pat O'Neill has been a member of the board of education for Montgomery County, Maryland, for seven years. Twice the board of education voted against changing school hours.
PAT O'NEILL, MONTGOMERY COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION: It was too pricy and our efforts had to be focused on student achievements.
GUPTA: Some school systems are waking up to the needs of their teenage students. Counties and cities that have changed their school's hours find that students benefit, and extracurricular activities and after school jobs have not been affected
GROSS: The children's performance has improved. And their mood has improved. And they feel better. And most of the people involved in the system don't go back to the old way.
GUPTA: At least two studies involving several thousand students showed they were less depressed, more alert, and more interested in their studies.
Doctors say the best way to help kids get enough sleep through their high school years is to keep them on a routine. Make sure that homework comes first before activities. And this is a hard one, limit electronic devices. As tempting as it is for teenagers to retreat to instant messaging, video games and downloading, it won't help them get ready for that next morning with Plato.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN reporting.
We want to thank our international viewers for watching. If you're just joining us, we have a lot to tell you about coming up on "360." The man behind the $25 million reward, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man. Who exactly is Ayman al-Zawahiri? And what difference would it make if he were captured or killed? We'll have the latest on the CIA airstrike and whether or not -- what we know about whether or not he was in fact hit in that strike.
Also what first lady Laura Bush said today about one of her husband's closest advisors and why it made such a splash.
Plus, is it possible to live longer by eating right? Best selling author Dr. Andrew Weil thinks so. We'll look at his somewhat controversial prescription as we continue our special series, "Mind and Body," coming up on "360."
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com