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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Iraq: Breeding Terror; White House Rebuttal; Failing Health?; Prince of Pork; Clinton vs. Wallace; Gloves Come Off; Recruiter Sex Scandal

Aired September 25, 2006 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANNOUNCER: A look at al Qaeda's future with or without the most wanted man in the world.
And sex scandal, from military recruiter to sex predator.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JILL GIUNTA, VICTIM: He had that uniform on and everybody trusted him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Widespread and shocking, the charges that are plaguing the Pentagon.

Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360. Reporting from CNN studios in New York, here is Anderson Cooper.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to get to that recruiting scandal in a moment, but we begin with new calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. The answer to a very good question he asked nearly three years ago.

In a memo to his Deputy Paul Wolfowitz and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Richard Myers, Secretary Rumsfeld wondered, are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists everyday than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?

Today, leaked portions of a report from the nation's intelligence community would seem to say no. The reason, the war in Iraq.

In a moment, the political fallout and there is plenty of it. We begin with CNN's Tom Foreman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's billed as the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the worldwide terror threat since the shock and awe offensive that launched the war. The headline, the struggle to stabilize post-Saddam Iraq has energized terrorist organizations worldwide.

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: It's increased anti-Americanism around the world. It's contributed to other crisis. It strengthened Iran. Those are simple facts.

FOREMAN: The classified assessment should not be a surprise. Some U.S. officials and civilian security analysts have been saying for past two years that radicals are using Iraq to advance their own agendas.

The findings, Iraq is serving as a training ground for young jihadists, a battlefield on which to learn and test their skills against the greatest military power on earth. Iraq is a shipping out point from which these newly-trained terrorists may be embarking for other nations. And Iraq is a recruiting tool.

The White House already said as much in a public report earlier this month. "The ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq," it says, "has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry."

Some Republicans, like Senator John McCain, are sounding a cry of their own.

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This is an argument for prevailing in Iraq and succeeding in Iraq so that they won't be further encouraged.

FOREMAN: And supporters of the war say that even if it energizes the terrorists, so what. 9/11 happened when the United States wasn't fighting anyone and only parts of the classified reports have been leaked, they say. Other portions may paint a less ominous picture.

(On camera): Still, opponents of the administration are using this report to renew their calls for the White House to change its policies and its personnel.

(Voice-over): The secretary of defense heard that question again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you considering resigning at all and if so, why not?

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I'm not. Question?

FOREMAN: And again, he made it clear. The White House is convinced staying the course in Iraq will prove good for America, not for terrorists in the long run.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, that's the long run. Getting there, though, means getting through the short term, which runs about a month and a half until Election Day. For better or worse, whatever the administration says on the merits of the report, the response and the Democratic reply is playing out inside a political firestorm over the war.

More on that now from CNN's Susan Malveaux.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUSAN MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): White House officials are on the defensive and crying foul.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It does not say that. It does not say that the war in Iraq has worsened the terrorist situation for the United States.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think there were some characterizations made in the papers that I think leave a wrong impression.

MALVEAUX: Since the leaked parts of the National Intelligence Estimate are classified, top Bush administration officials said they could not talk about its contents. Instead, they took on their critics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We ought to question the motives of the individual or individuals who leaked this. It was written in April. It is more than sort of a coincidence to me that we are now in almost October before a midterm election and now, once again, we are seeing the leak of classified documents and taken out of context to make a political point.

MALVEAUX: Democrats are taking advantage of the opportunity to score political points that Mr. Bush's Iraq war plan is a failure.

SENATOR HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: We know this is not working and we know that it is creating, you know, very difficult problems for us down the road.

SENATOR HARRY REID (D), MINORITY LEADER: The present course is doing more harm than good.

MALVEAUX: But the Counselor to the President Dan Bartlett did not hesitate to make a political point of his own.

DAN BARTLETT, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: The reason why Democrats can't win any control of the Congress or the presidency is because one of the most central issues facing our country is national security. And they don't have a clue how to do it.

MALVEAUX (on camera): But convincing the American people that the Republicans know how to do it could be in jeopardy if voters believe that the administration's own intelligence does not back the president's rhetoric.

(Voice-over): That is why some members of Congress, including the Republican Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee Pat Roberts is calling for the White House to declassify the National Intelligence Estimate and do it quickly.

Susan Malveaux, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, as that was playing out, Senate Democrats were holding hearings, at which three top former commanders in Iraq slammed the administration's conduct to the war and called on Secretary Rumsfeld to resign.

We spoke with one of them, Retired General Paul Eaton earlier tonight, along with Retired Lt. Colonel Bob Maginnis.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: General Eaton, the White House is saying now that Islamic fundamentalists have hated us for years, and Iraq hasn't fueled the global jihadist movement. You were there. Do you think the threat of terrorism has gotten worse?

MAJOR GENERAL PAUL EATON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Well, Anderson, I think the stage was set for where we are right now by a failure on the part of the administration, specifically Secretary Rumsfeld, to plan adequately for what we predicted would be a pretty tough phase four.

COOPER: When you talk about phase four, you're talking about what?

EATON: Phase four was the reconstruction phase for Iraq and always destined to be a little bit more problematic for us.

COOPER: Lieutenant Colonel Maginnis, if all of the U.S. intelligence agencies are saying that Iraq has made matters worse, how can the president continue to say the exact opposite?

LT. COLONEL ROBERT MAGINNIS, U.S. ARM (RET.): Well, intelligence is an art and not a science, Anderson. Recognize that there were mistakes made early on, but the fact is on the ground, we can't change what has happened. What we can change is what hopefully is going to happen in the future. They have a plan in place, a strategy that was published in November of '05. It outlines the security, the economic, as well as the political.

COOPER: Do you believe, though, that this has made the war on terror more difficult, that it's emboldened the global jihadist movement?

MAGINNIS: Well, in a global way, it is a different composition. I go back to what Osama bin Laden said. He said that Iraq is the epicenter of the global war on terror and Zawahiri, his deputy, said basically it is the arena of the jihad. And what that means to me, Anderson, is that it's like bees on beehives. They just congregate there. They are getting some training. We're killing a lot of them. And they're inspiring a lot of others through their Internet access recruiting systems.

But I think it was inevitable what we are seeing, the jihad movement. It is just a matter that we are able to kill them over there and not here.

COOPER: General Eaton, do you agree with that? And it is essentially echoing what John McCain said today, which was, look, if it wasn't in Iraq, it would have been in Afghanistan. EATON: Anderson, that's a reasonable comment, and I can't disagree with that. What I do disagree with is this administration and this secretary have not moved out in a Manhattan project approach to solving the security problems as well as a full frontal approach on the economic and diplomatic arenas to solve the problem that we have in Iraq right now.

COOPER: You were basically the guy in charge of standing up the Iraqi security forces. First started with the Army, then they gave you the border, then they gave you the police, as those clearly weren't working out with other folks. How is that going? I mean, is there progress there? Is there -- I mean, are they on the way to standing up?

EATON: Anderson, they are. General Dempsey is doing a superb job, as did General Patrias before him. We've got the right men in place doing superb work. They are undermanned right now and they are not getting the equipment that they need.

COOPER: General, you testified today that Secretary Rumsfeld has proven himself incompetent, strategically, operationally and tactically. You basically saying he's tried to fight this war on the cheap. Do you think he's still doing that?

EATON: This war -- and we go back to the decision to grossly under man the phase four. The lack of security and the problems that we established immediately after the takedown of Baghdad have created the environment that we are in right now.

There has been a failure on the part of the administration and on the part of the secretary of defense to properly man and properly equip the forces destined to stand up to the Iraqi security forces. We are still not pursuing this as a Manhattan project. The Iraqi security forces are arguably the second most important security forces on this planet and you would not know that looking at how we have proceeded with their main train equip programs.

COOPER: Obviously, the first most important security forces in your opinion would be U.S. forces. Is that correct?

EATON: Absolutely. And we are not doing well there either with this administration.

COOPER: General Eaton, appreciate your perspective. Lt. Colonel Maginnis, as well. Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Politicians can fight over the intelligence report, but there is no debating this raw data. The Pentagon announced that a U.S. soldier who died today at a military hospital has become the 2,700th U.S. service member killed in Iraq. Of that number, 2,153 U.S. troops were killed by hostile fire.

Osama bin Laden is not brought to justice yet, but the question is, is he even still alive? Some reports over the weekend suggested that he may be dead. So what might have actually killed him and what could that mean for the future of al Qaeda? That story, coming up.

Plus, they were supposed to persuade young people to serve their country. Now, some recruiters are accused of unspeakable acts. We're not just talking about a handful either. Tonight, the sex scandal plaguing the U.S. military, a 360 exclusive, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Over the weekend a French newspaper published what it claims is an intelligence report suggesting that Osama bin Laden may have died. Of course, reports of bin Laden's death may have been greatly exaggerated, but reports on his illness may not be.

CNN's Brian Todd investigates.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. intelligence officials tell CNN, it is remarkably difficult to confirm anything about Osama bin Laden's health.

But if a source close to Saudi intelligence is correct, and bin Laden has a so-called water borne illness, experts say that could mean typhoid fever, dysentery, possibly E. Coli, all potentially fatal, but also recoverable.

That same Saudi source says bin Laden may be hiding somewhere at high altitude, a mountainous area thousands of feet up from sea level. If that's in northern Pakistan or somewhere in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, near the Afghan border, can the al Qaeda leader survive for any length of time with one of those diseases?

DR. SHMUEL SHOHAM, WASHINGTON HOSPITAL CENTER: They may have an immune response. If they have been in these conditions for a while, they may have become accustomed to those conditions.

TODD: But Dr. Shmuel Shoham, an infectious disease specialist at Washington Hospital Center, says bin Laden also has some disadvantages if he has come down with a water-borne illness.

SHOHAM: Just by virtue of constantly being on the run, one's immune system may be weakened by the physiological stress of being on the lam.

TODD: Or the lack of access to antibiotics or hospital treatment, according to Dr. Shoham. Another possible complication, terrorist experts cite a claim by bin Laden and others close to him that he suffered a significant physical setback long ago at the hands of Soviet forces.

PAUL CRUICKSHANK, NYU CENTER ON LAW AND SECURITY: Ever since bin Laden suffered a serious gas attack in the 1980s in Afghanistan, he has had serious health problems arising from that. It seems he has had very low blood pressure. He has had acute dehydration. He has had chronic back pain. He has had very severe problems with his voice.

TODD: Experts say if that gas attack affected bin Laden's kidneys or bone marrow, his immune system could be damaged, making a recovery more difficult.

(On camera): Some important signals? No taped messages from Osama bin Laden on the fifth anniversary of September 11th, no videotape of him in almost two years. But terrorism experts say all these reports about his health may inspire bin Laden to put out another tape very soon.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, if indeed Osama bin Laden's health is on the decline -- and a lot of people have been saying that for an awfully long time, keep in mind -- what, if anything, does it mean for the future of al Qaeda? What would it look like without him?

CNN's Senior International Correspondent Nic Robertson took a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): To understand what al Qaeda must be like after Osama bin Laden, you must listen to Mohsen al-Awajy. He was a Saudi extremist who spent time in jail. Now, he is a lawyer, trying to convince al Qaeda's fugitives to give themselves up.

MOHSEN AL-AWAJY, SAUDI LAWYER: I suggested to some of them during a dialogue that what will happen if Osama bin Laden is captured or killed? They lost, I would say you know, concentration, but please don't say this, because for them, it would be the end.

ROBERTSON: Osama bin Laden, always larger than life, creating his own cult of personality, demanding from his followers by act or personal allegiance, not to al Qaeda or his deputies, but to him.

For example, the now dead Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was more than a year into his bloody Iraqi killing spree before he gave bin Laden his oath of loyalty. Only then did bin Laden anoint him as his man in Iraq.

NAWAF OBAID, SAUDI SECURITY CONSULTANT: We do see that him and three or four of the people around him still really hold the main reigns of the big attacks, of the big planning.

ROBERTSON: But Obaid believes bin Laden's ideology may be larger than the man.

OBAID: This will not end al Qaeda. This will continue certain groups which are attached, claim to be al Qaeda. They will continue to operate independently as they do today. ROBERTSON: Groups like the Madrid train bombers in 2004 who killed more than 180 people, and the London bus and underground train bombers who killed 52 people in July 2005.

Jamal Khalifa married bin Laden sister, fought alongside him against the Soviets in Afghanistan, quit when bin Laden formed al Qaeda.

JAMAL KHALIFA, BIN LADEN'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: The problem here, it is an ideology. So if any person in the war on terror think that this war against group or network is 100-person strong.

ROBERTSON: Wrong, because it won't be bin Laden's lieutenant, but an increasingly radicalized ideology that will drive al Qaeda if bin Laden dies.

KHALID BATARFI, BIN LADEN'S CHILDHOOD FRIEND: It will be a disaster, it will be something that might motivate radicalism. And with the fate, his followers or even possible followers will become followers. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and he would become a saint.

ROBERTSON (on camera): Whatever the analysis of a post-bin Laden era now, it is impossible to know the final chapter until it is clear how he died and how his followers viewed it.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, a lot of people are asking why is bin Laden still on the run and why hasn't he been caught? Former Bill Clinton was kind of grilled about that on FOX on Sunday. He says he was the victim of a right wing attack. We'll let you judge for yourself.

Plus, take a look at this, clogging and homeland security? Why it is connected to your tax dollars. We're keeping them honest -- two, three, four -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers is a big player on Capitol Hill, there's no doubt about it. He is the chairman of the Subcommittee on Homeland Security and he is responsible for funding and oversight of the Department of Homeland Security. But how Rogers is spending some of your hard-earned tax dollars has nothing to do with protecting our country. In other words, get out your clogging shoes, kids.

CNN's Joe Johns is "Keeping them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): What you are looking at is clogging. That is right, clogging, old-time Appalachian dancing. In fact, it is the Kentucky state clogging championship.

We went to Kentucky to find out how precisely it is tied into homeland security; and frankly, the answer surprised us.

It is because of this powerful Congressman and your tax dollars. The driving force behind this sprawling multipurpose center in Somerset, Kentucky, where the cloggers danced, is also a major force when it comes to deciding how your homeland security dollars are spent.

As a subcommittee chairman, Hal Rogers has a big say on domestic security spending. He's often vilified as an old-school politician who uses his influence to funnel vast sums and jobs to his home district. A local newspaper once called him the prince of pork. What do you think of that?

REP. HAL ROGERS (R), KENTUCKY: Well, I think it is a bunch of bull.

JOHNS: Rogers doesn't deny he brings home the bacon. In fact, he fiercely defends the practice of earmarking federal funds for specific projects. He does see it as a way to help people in one of the nation's poorest districts, his own.

ROGERS: There are big slices of the country, like this, that are poor and without and having to fend for themselves, facing a transition from a coal industry to something else to try to make a living. Having the federal government look at your area and say, yes, that is a good idea.

JOHNS: Like the multipurpose building, official name, the Center for Rural Development. Critics call it the Taj Mahal. But to Rogers, it is a crowning achievement.

ROGERS: That this center has helped our whole region redevelop.

JOHNS: Among the new sparks to the economy here, is a concentration of high-tech security firms specializing in biometrics.

(On camera): Congressman Rogers and others have taken to calling this part of Kentucky, silicon holler. The hope is that high tech firms will take root here and grow. But the use of federal dollars to help do that is creating controversy.

(Voice-over): For example, critics have charged that Rogers has effectively lured businesses here using his power over homeland security spending, starting when Rogers demanded the federal government give his district the work of producing new biometric identification cards for transportation workers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think to refuse funding of any homeland security program based on where the various components of that infrastructure are manufactured puts us all at risk.

JOHNS: Rogers denies pressuring businesses to move to the district and says he was trying to jump start the transportation ID project.

ROGERS: I think they have been dragging their feet in certain areas. And so I've pushed and shoved them to get things done.

JOHNS: Rogers' message to government, get it done or he will. And if it helps improve the lives of people in southeastern Kentucky in the process, so much the better.

Joe Johns, CNN, Corbin, Kentucky.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Clogging, looks like fun there.

He was supposed to talk about global warming, but Bill Clinton says he was ambushed by a right-wing attack, trying to blame him for not catching bin Laden. We will have the exclusive interview coming up.

And later, in Afghanistan the Taliban resurges and with more terror. And tonight, a women's rights activist, just their latest victim, when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, it is definitely the water cooler story of the day, Bill Clinton's confrontation with Anchor Chris Wallace. It happened, of course, during a taped interview that aired on "FOX News Sunday."

The sparks flew when the former president accused Wallace of ambushing him and pushing a conservative agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): President Clinton is usually polished and polite, but yesterday, he seemed to lose his cool with Chris Wallace.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And you got that little smirk on your face and you think you are so clever, but I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it, but I did try.

COOPER: In his first interview on "FOX News Sunday," Clinton forcefully defended his efforts to track down Osama bin Laden, contending that his Republican successors didn't finish the job.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Do you think you did enough, sir?

CLINTON: No, because I didn't get him.

WALLACE: Right.

CLINTON: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terrorist strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.

COOPER: Clinton surprised many when, not far into the interview, he accused Wallace of setting him up for an attack.

CLINTON: So you did FOX's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is...

WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir, I'm asking a question. You don't think that's a legitimate question?

CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you ask this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you ask, why didn't you do anything about the Cole?

COOPER: And then Clinton took his argument in another direction, citing his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, the man who owns the company that runs FOX News.

CLINTON: You set this meeting up because you're going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers, because Rupert Murdoch is supporting my work on climate change.

And you came here under false pretenses and said that you'd spend half the time talking about -- you said you'd spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7 billion plus in three days from two -- 215 different commitments. And you don't care.

WALLACE: President Clinton, if you look at the questions here, you'll see half the questions -- I didn't think this was going to set you off on such a terror.

CLINTON: You launched a -- it set off on a terror because you didn't formulate it in an honest way, and because you people ask me questions you don't ask the other side.

COOPER: Wallace told his friends at FOX today that he was surprised by the president's reaction.

WALLACE: I just asked, as I say, a non-confrontational question and whether it's the ABC docudrama or whether, you know, it's defensiveness or whatever, it just touched off something inside him. And he had -- I don't think this was preplanned.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): Well, for more of the heated interview and what it could mean for both parties, I spoke to Former Presidential Adviser David Gergen. I talked to him earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: David, what did you think of it?

DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Well, I think that the president felt he was sandbagged when he walked in there. He'd just come off the best week of his ex-presidency. You know, he raised over $7 billion at the Clinton Global Initiative Conference, and so he was very happy about that. Thought he was walking into an interview in which at least half of it would be devoted to that. He could showcase his accomplishments.

And boom, one of the first questions out of the box is how did you let -- how did you drop your guard on bin Laden, basically? Why are you responsible for the 9/11? So I think he was -- I think he was angry.

COOPER: William Kristol, the weekly editor -- standard -- the "Weekly Standard" editor, is essentially saying now that that Clinton maybe planned this and said that if Democrats do well in November, and I quote, "Bill Clinton can take credit at a crucial moment for discrediting the terror issue as a mere political ploy and showing Democrats how to fight back and how to stand up to the right-wing propaganda machine."

Was Clinton sending a message, you think, a calculated response?

GERGEN: Well, I think this, Anderson, that he went in there anticipating that he might get a punch and he was going to be ready to counter punch.

My understanding is he did not expect this tough a question, especially so early. And it just hit a hot button for him.

You know, he felt that the ABC miniseries on "The Path of 9/11" had been terribly unfair to him and to his administration. And that the writer of that was somehow -- or the person very deeply involved with it was close to Rush Limbaugh.

And he feels that there, this conservative effort to paint him as the guy who was soft on bin Laden, opened the door to bin Laden, and therefore bears responsibility. And that goes very deep. He gets very angry about that.

And, you know, he's a sunny fellow, but when you hit that button, the storm comes and it comes quickly. There's a lot of thunder and a lot of lightning and the storm passes.

Now, whether he -- I don't think he calculated it, but I will tell you this. Symbolically, I think it's taking on an importance within the Democratic Party just here in the last 72 hours that far exceeds the -- what actually happened in the interview itself.

COOPER: How do you mean?

GERGEN: Well, I think that his -- his office today was flooded with calls and e-mails and the like, congratulating him, saying, thank you for rallying us.

And I think that there is -- you know, Bill Clinton is very sensitive to symbolic moments. Sister Soldier way back in the 1992 convention, when he went to Oklahoma City when he was president and that was sort of a turn around moment for his administration when he was in trouble after Newt Gingrich and company took the Congress.

Here I think that he was trying to show Democrats, in effect, listen, when they start to bully you from the right, when they try to roll over you, don't just sit there and take it. Push back, fight back, counter punch hard. That's his belief.

You know, there's a whole sense, a larger sense in which Democrats are viewed as weak. You know, they're weak on terrorism. And in effect they can be pushed around. And I think Bill Clinton is trying to send a message to other Democrats, if you fight back we'll have a much better chance in this election.

So even though conservatives look at this and say, well, you know, he sort of blew his top here. It shows, you know, he's got this temper, I do think that underneath Clinton was pleased about the impact. I don't think he planned it, but I think he was pleased that he was able to show you can fight back, you can make your argument.

COOPER: Bill Clinton, even though he's out of office, man, he's still got a lot of power.

GERGEN: He does. He's -- you know, it remains true that he's the best champion of the Democratic Party for his own values.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, the Clinton/Wallace showdown is serious stuff. Not everyone is taking it seriously. Some are, well finding plenty of humor and at least one hidden surprise in the interview.

CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Technically, Bill Clinton's face never actually got purple, but he did seem to boil.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Took off the gloves...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And a kind of smack down with "FOX News"...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, he looked like he was going to kick some (expletive deleted).

MOOS: At least they never had to bleep the former president.

CLINTON: You did FOX's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.

MOOS: But it was President Clinton doing the hitting, or at least the jabbing at FOX's Chris Wallace.

CLINTON: I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.

MOOS: It was the talk of the tube from "You Tube" to Imus. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could have been in a bar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Wallace should have smacked him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Chris had any (expletive deleted), he would have said, just keep your hands to yourself there, powder puff.

MOOS: And it was all because Chris Wallace questioned whether Bill Clinton had done enough to get Osama bin Laden.

CLINTON: No, because I didn't get him.

WALLACE: Right.

CLINTON: But I at least I tried. That's the difference between me and some.

MOOS (on camera): Did you think he was acting or really mad?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh no. I think he was and I think he was justified.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bill Clinton, of course he's acting. They're all actors.

MOOS (voice-over): It didn't take long for comedians to act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That FOX is saying my response was coolly calculated, well who do you think you are dealing with, Holmes (ph)? I'm the pope of charisma. I got 70 IQ points on Chris Wallace.

MOOS: And then there was the smirk factor.

CLINTON: And you got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever.

MOOS: Chris Wallace's own colleagues on FOX kidded him about the smirk.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just don't smirk.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, Wallace, you're unflappable. Good job.

MOOS: And Wallace, himself noted, the president said I had a smirk. Actually it was sheer wonder at what I was witnessing.

In addition to finger jabbing, there was finger wagging.

CLINTON: They ridicule me for trying.

MOOS (on camera): Sort of takes me back to the last time Bill Clinton famously wagged the finger. Remember that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, right, right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's not all he was wagging.

COOPER: And as if all that wagging wasn't enough, writer Nora Ephron blogged on "The Huffington Post," "What surprised me most about the Clinton meltdown was that no one told him to pull up his socks." She's right. Look at all that exposed skin for an interviewer to get under.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: I didn't notice the socks.

Straight ahead, we'll go back to Afghanistan, a country still up for grabs, struggling with a Taliban past and its Taliban present. We will show you the growing vice problem and go out on patrol with the throwbacks, the old Taliban morals police.

And the recruiter sex scandal. They're supposed to get teens to serve in the military. Instead, some are recruiting victims with unspeakable acts. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, for many Marines and soldiers, their first encounter with the military is through recruiters. It's their job to hit the malls and high schools and encourage young men and women to join the armed forces. But scores of young recruits have come forward to say that they were raped or otherwise sexually assaulted by recruiters. The allegations are widespread, involving more than 700 cases of alleged misconduct.

CNN's Randi Kaye has more on a report that was a joint project of the "Associated Press" and 360.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shedrick Hamilton was a Marine sergeant, a popular and respected recruiter.

JILL GIUNTA, VICTIM: He had that uniform on, and everybody trusted him.

KAYE: Yet, he had a terrible secret.

TRISH GIUNTA, JILL'S MOTHER: I had no idea. I didn't ever think anything happened. I vouched for this man when my husband questioned why, why was calling all the time? It's Hamilton. Everybody -- the kids loved him.

KAYE: Especially Trish Giunta's daughter, Jill, until... J. GIUNTA: He threw me in the back of the car. And, you know, again, like, I kept saying, no, like, you know, I mean, I didn't want to do it.

KAYE: Sergeant Shedrick Hamilton first raped Jill Giunta on Valentine's Day nearly three years ago. She was just 16 years old. Sergeant Hamilton was 34, married, with two children.

T. GIUNTA: I woke her to go with him.

KAYE (on camera): As a mother, do you feel -- am I seeing guilt? Is that what that is?

T. GIUNTA: There's a lot of guilt. I handed her to him. I signed permission slips for her to go with him. I thought she was safe.

KAYE (voice-over): The sergeant drove Jill to Marine Corps physical training, a program to involve kids in the Marines in hopes they will join. Nearly every week, he picked up Jill at her home in his government car and drove her to this New York recruiting center, until, one day, he made a sharp turn down this deserted road, not even a mile from Jill's home.

J. GIUNTA: He just started doing what he wanted to do. And, you know, I would just like sit there and just, like, you know, look off. And tears would just come down my face and stuff like that. And he just would finish up what he wanted to do.

KAYE (on camera): Help me understand why, after the first incident, or even the second incident, why didn't you run home and say, Mom, help me. This guy is attacking me?

J. GIUNTA: He kept making sure that I knew, that he would repeatedly tell me that nobody would find out about this, nobody would believe me.

KAYE (voice-over): As disturbing as it is, Jill's story is not unique. An investigation by the "Associated Press" found last year at least 35 Army recruiters, 18 Marine Corps recruiters, 18 Navy recruiters and 12 Air Force recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct or other inappropriate behavior with potential enlistees.

MARTHA MENDOZA, ASSOCIATED PRESS: In 2005, 80 recruiters were disciplined for sexual misconduct, with more than 100 victims.

KAYE: AP Reporter Martha Mendoza found across all services one out of 200 recruiters, those who deal directly with young people, was disciplined for sexual misconduct. The abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to rape.

In Pennsylvania, an Army recruiter pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old girl. In Wisconsin, a Marine Corps recruiter was recently charged with sexual assault and false imprisonment of a potential female enlistee. He has pleaded not guilty. In Indiana, a National Guard recruiter was indicted for allegedly assaulting eight different potential recruits outside schools, in cars, and in recruiting stations. He's out on bail, pending trial.

(On camera): Why are there so many cases of sexual misconduct among recruiters? Remember, the No Child Left Behind Act was passed in 2001, in part to help grow the military's ranks.

No Child Left Behind guarantees schools federal funding, as long as they grant recruiters access to students on campus. Unlike the rest of us, who have to show ID, recruiters can walk right in, no questions asked.

J. GIUNTA: I would be sitting in class and then my teacher is like, tapping me on my shoulder saying that -- to go outside the classroom, that somebody needs to speak to me and it was him.

KAYE (voice-over): No Child Left Behind also mandates recruiters be provided with students' home phone numbers and addresses.

J. GIUNTA: I definitely feel like he was stalking me. There were times when he would call the house, and he would tell me to look out my bedroom window. And he would be sitting in the government van right on the corner of the street.

SHEDRICK HAMILTON, FORMER RECRUITER, CONVICTED OF RAPE: I'm sorry.

KAYE: Shedrick Hamilton pleaded guilty. He was convicted of rape and endangering the welfare of a child and sentenced to prison. At sentencing the judge called Hamilton a child molester and a disgrace to his country and his uniform.

Sergeant Hamilton spoke with the "Associated Press" from jail.

HAMILTON: I ended up putting myself into a position to where I sought out comfort in a young lady that I shouldn't have done. I allowed myself to -- to get caught up into the wrong situation at the wrong time and I have no one to blame but myself.

KAYE: The Department of Defense declined our request for an on camera interview, but issued this statement to CNN. "All military recruiters are briefed in regard to the conduct and ethics required of them and receive training. The Department of Defense has zero tolerance for misconduct by military recruiters."

The Pentagon says it is now monitoring its recruiter and will evaluate whether it needs to change its policy. But that comes only in response to the A.P. report and a Congressional Accountability Office study which found the DOD does not track all allegations of recruiter wrongdoing.

In January, having served two years for rape, Shedrick Hamilton is expected to be released.

T. GIUNTA: This is my child. He hurt my child. So, I'm going to watch him.

KAYE: Jill Giunta, now 19, has decided not to join the military, but to go to college and become a police officer instead. And she's made a promise to herself. When she puts on that police uniform, never to abuse her authority.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Monroe, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Coming up, the brawl that is the shot today, but first, Thomas Roberts from "HEADLINE NEWS" has the 360 news and bulletin -- Thomas.

THOMAS ROBERTS: Hi Anderson.

It was not the apology that some people wanted, but Pope Benedict, XVI, met with about 20 Muslim diplomats today, telling them that he has profound respect for their faith. He also said Christians and Muslims must work together, as they already to in many ways, to reject intolerance and violence. The unusual meeting was the pope's latest effort to ease tensions nearly two weeks after he used a medieval quotation describing Islam as violent and inhuman.

To California, where Sunday a DC-10 jet dumped at least 48,000 gallons of fire retardant ahead of a massive wildfire. Since Labor Day, this so called day fire has burned nearly 135,000 acres in Los Padres National Forest. It is now 41 percent contained, and that number may rise since cooler temperatures and calmer winds are helping the fire crews.

The average price of gasoline nationwide has now dropped to $2.38 a gallon. That is the lowest level since March. While today, oil futures briefly dipped below $60 a barrel, but climbed up more than a $1. Some analysts say that is a sign the market declines could soon be over.

And working moms, listen up, "Working Mom" magazine has released it's annual list of top 100 companies. The magazine looked at child care leave time for new parents and other criteria. Abbott Laboratories with headquarters near Chicago is ranked number one, followed by Bon Secours Richmond Health System in Virginia, and Ernst & Young ranked third.

Anderson, back to you.

COOPER: Thomas, thanks.

Time for shot today. Some major road rage at a race in Toledo over the weekend. Did you see this? Take a look at the driver sprinting down the track. There you go. Well, doing a little of Three Stooges meets Bruce Lee impression on a car. Michael Sincos' (ph) dropkick followed a wreck involving both cars. The two drivers also went at it, throwing punches until the fight was broken up. Don't know exactly what the fine is going to be. Maybe both men will have to teach drivers ed to high school students, but that may be too much of a penalty.

Well, something a bit more serious coming up. Imagine a place where women are beaten for showing their wrists. In parts of Afghanistan, that is the reality with the resurgence of the Taliban and their own medieval laws on morality. We will take you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well, a women's rights activist ran an underground school for girls in Afghanistan, and she paid for it with her life. Today, gunmen on a motorbike killed the advocate, who in the eyes of the Taliban, was the enemy. In the days after 9/11, U.S. troops drove the Islamic militants out of Afghanistan, but now the Taliban have returned. They are growing in number and they are growing in power. They use terror to get what they want. And one of the most fearsome tools they have is the vice and virtue police.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): The video is grainy. Taken surreptitiously in an illegal Kabul brothel. The women are Chinese prostitutes. The men, Afghans and Westerners paying for sex. A brothel in Kabul would have been unthinkable under the oppressive rule of the Taliban. Now it's one sign of just how much here has changed.

In the markets there is music, once outlawed by the Taliban. CDs are everywhere. You can also buy DVDs. Jean-Claude Van Damme is popular. So is American wrestling.

There are beauty parlors and bridal stores, even a modern mall, where 21-year-old Narula (ph) sells perfume.

Under the Taliban, he says, I couldn't have had this business. They would have taken all of this from me.

(On camera): Despite Democratic reforms and newfound freedoms, Afghanistan remains a very strict Islamic society and many people here are simply uncomfortable with the pace of social change. There is widespread corruption, the drug trade is booming and the Taliban is on the rise. Now the government is threatening to crack down. Police are raiding restaurants that are accused of serving alcohol to Afghans. They've arrested dozens of suspected Chinese prostitutes and now they're threatening to bring back a government ministry, which under the Taliban became synonymous with human rights abuses.

The so-called Department for the Promotion of Virtue and Discouragement of Vice.

(Voice-over): Under the Taliban, the vice and virtue police patrolled the streets, enforcing strict, sometimes arbitrary Islamic law. Women could be beaten if their ankles or wrists were visible. Men could be arrested if their beards were too short.

The government minister who would be in charge of the new Vice and Virtue Department insists the mistakes of the past won't be repeated.

We wouldn't be punishing anyone, he says. All we'll do is advise people and show them the right way. While most Afghans are outraged by the growing corruption and illegal activity, some are afraid the move to police morals will once again go too far.

The Taliban doesn't have a presence here, she says, but their mentality is present here. Members of the parliament have a Taliban mentality. Sometimes they're worse than the Taliban.

Malica Deama Amene (ph) was whipped by the Taliban and worries the few rights Afghan women have won in recent years may now be in jeopardy.

Women are still scared of intimidation, she says. They don't feel comfortable when they are outside. Afghan women haven't received 10 percent of their rights.

While the resurgence of the Taliban is not yet a threat to the democratically elected government of Hamid Karzai, it may yet threaten many of the freedoms that have come along with it.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (on camera): We'll have more of 360 in a moment. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: To many people, of course, the bible is a source of spiritual salvation, but can it also help you achieve financial success?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Word of God is the gateway to the world of wealth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: A pastor at a southern church says that bible holds the secret to prosperity in all areas of your life, including material wealth. You will see how tomorrow on "AMERICAN MORNING" with Soledad O'Brien and Miles O'Brien, starting at 6:00 a.m., Eastern.

That's it for 360 tonight. Thanks for watching.

"LARRY KING" is next, and his guest, Oprah Winfrey and her friends. Stay tuned.

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