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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Obama to Continue Terror Tribunals; Pelosi Accuses CIA of Torture Lies; Government Will Stop Using "War on Drugs" Phrase; Pot's Effect Increasingly Powerful; New Details about Deadly Plane Crash; Mom Says Son Was Bullied to Death

Aired May 14, 2009 - 23:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking news from the White House on President Obama's stunning reversal on prosecuting suspected terrorists. He blasted President Bush for his use of military tribunals -- remember that? He promised to abolish them. But it appears that Mr. Obama has apparently changed his mind about a very explosive subject.

Ed Henry joins us now from the White House live with more -- Ed.

ED HENRY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, that's right. Tonight we've learned that the president tomorrow is going to reinstitute the highly controversial Bush military tribunals to try some of these terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay.

Others we're told are going to be tried in a civilian court on U.S. soil; that could be very controversial as well. A lot of lawmakers in both parties want to know where these detainees, where these alleged terrorists will be held while those trials are going on in America.

It's going to be a big issue, and I have from several top officials a pivotal moment in this decision came Thursday night. A very quiet meeting, a high-level meeting here at the White House where top officials came to the conclusion that there's really no easy way to try these suspects. And they had no other choice but to revive the Bush system with some key changes.

They insist they're going to have some more due process rights for these detainees, but it's going to be interesting to see whether it's enough to appease liberals who are wondering whether this is going to be the same old Bush system. And also you're going to have some conservatives saying look, we told you so, the Bush system wasn't so bad, Anderson.

COOPER: And Ed, this is one day after the president reversed course on the release of more detainee photos. His base on the far left is certainly not going to be happy about this development tonight.

HENRY: Absolutely. There are officials at the American Civil Liberties Union amid all this speculation already saying this is going to be due process light, that it's not enough and that they're basically building on a flawed Bush system. And they're worried, frankly, that the Obama administration is backpedaling on some of their key campaign promises. What's going to be interesting tomorrow is the president is probably once again, going to be in the awkward position of having more Republicans than Democrats supporting this move.

But top White House aides say they don't care about the politics. This is about getting this right. Let's not forget that some of the terrorist suspects include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the 9/11 mastermind. It's critical to get this right -- Anderson.

COOPER: Another big decision in Washington today, Dick Cheney's request for more of those so-called torture memos to be released. What happened?

HENRY: Well, the CIA said we're not turning over those documents. What's interesting here is that Dick Cheney's stated reason for getting these CIA memos is to include them in his memoirs. That's why he wants it declassified.

But we all know the real reason here beyond the memoirs. It's that Bush -- that Dick Cheney wants to relitigate what happened over the last eight years. And he clearly wants to try and show he believes these memos would prove that these enhanced interrogation techniques worked in some cases and helped prevent terror attacks. And he believes these memos would show that.

And so, this is not happening in a vacuum. It's happening at a time when the former vice president is putting a lot of pressure on this administration, on all these very sensitive terror issues.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY (voice-over): While in Office, Dick Cheney was arguably the most secretive vice president in history. He once went all the way to the Supreme Court to block release of White House records. But now a new approach when it comes to anti-terror policy.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, I made a request that two memos that I personally know of written by the CIA that lay out the successes of those policies and point out in considerable detail, all of -- all that we were able to achieve by virtue of those policies, that those memos be released.

HENRY: In an array of TV interviews, Mr. Cheney has become a cheerleader for transparency, so long as it vindicates his push for enhanced interrogation tactics.

CHENEY: But when you've got memos out there that show precisely how much was achieved and how lives were saved as a result of these policies, they won't release those.

HENRY: The CIA officially denied the request today, pointing to an executive order preventing release of documents tied to pending litigation and making it clear the current White House had no political influence on the decision. A loss for the former vice president, though a Cheney biographer argues he's succeeding in another way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What he's managed to do very effectively is frame a public debate and keep that debate focused on the things Cheney wants to talk about, which is do harsh methods work, rather than are they legal or are they moral or are they something we want to do?

HENRY: But some Republicans are squeamish about Mr. Cheney refusing to leave the stage which may explain why President Obama has not been shy about countering the former vice president's campaign.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The public reports and the public justifications for these techniques, which is that we got information from these individuals that were subjected to these techniques doesn't answer the core question, which is could we have gotten that same information without resorting to these techniques?

And it doesn't answer the broader question, are we safer as a consequence of having used these techniques?

HENRY: Mr. Cheney is showing no signs of giving in.

CHENEY: No regrets. I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. I am convinced, absolutely convinced, that we saved thousands, and perhaps hundreds of thousands, of lives.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HENRY: Now, a Cheney spokeswoman tells CNN that the former vice president is already preparing his appeal to the CIA. The stated reason, again, is to get these memos for the memoirs that he's putting together. But clearly there's something else going on here. The former vice president wants to make sure he gets his own twist on history as well -- Anderson.

COOPER: Ed Henry from the White House, Ed thanks.

A lot of ground to cover here. Joining us now -- former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and Democratic strategist and political contributor Paul Begala.

Paul, as a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama then Senator Obama, said the methods had been an enormous failure, these military tribunals. He declared as president he would quote, "reject the Military Commissions Act."

If he brings back the commissions, how is that going to reflect on him now?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: You know, it'll be a flip-flop. But what he'll do is dress it up. And there are some valid distinctions, I think what you'll hear from the White House is an expression that we're going to have more process, more due process. We're going to be more careful that the act itself was too limited and restricted in terms of providing for due process in these cases.

But I don't think there's anything wrong with the president, particularly on national security, seeing that the world as it is in the White House is kind of different than it seemed on the campaign trail.

Every good president goes through that.

COOPER: But isn't that essentially saying that what you say on the campaign trail doesn't necessarily matter and that once you get in the office you're just going to change it? I mean, he said on the campaign trail that these military commissions were not effective. That they didn't convict anybody and that they were not effective at all.

BEGALA: Right. But what he's doing is he's going to change them. He's going to bolster them. He's going to try to make them work in a way now that he's in control that he can do. So I do think there is a legitimate point of departure with Bush.

But also, I think, look, I do campaigns. I think campaign promises are sacred. And by the way, most politicians try to enact as many of their campaign promises as they can. There's a lot of data that says that. But I think things have changed.

I remember working for Bill Clinton, he's a wonderful president. He said, "I will let the Haitian boat people come to America." And it was a great thing. And we got whatever Haitian-American votes we got out of it.

During the transition, then, the CIA showed him photographs of people on their roofs in Haiti ripping their shingles off of their roofs to try to make these rickety rafts. They were going to die. He had to flip-flop on that even before he became president.

Why? It was harder to be president than it is to be a presidential candidate.

COOPER: Ari, is this a vindication of some more of President Bush's policies?

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY FOR GEORGE W. BUSH: Of course it is. I think it's a recognition of how President Bush made a lot of unpopular decisions. He was vilified for it. And I think the three words Barack Obama ought to use in explaining this flip-flop is, "I was wrong."

He ought to say that just as he was wrong when he wanted to release all those additional photos to comply with the ACLU lawsuit. He should have fought that lawsuit. He flip-flopped on that this week, too.

COOPER: So, Ari, you don't buy this whole -- the situation has changed, it's a different world we face now?

FLEISCHER: No. It was the same world; he had access to those same Central Intelligence briefings when he was a senator. He knew these things at the time.

And what I think would be cynical, as Paul says, he's going to dress this up. This is not meant to be dressed up or dressed down. These are serious terrorists who need to be kept. And it shouldn't be a matter of politics dressed in one way or another. That's why he ought to say I was wrong in what I said about the campaign.

I also predict to you, Anderson, there'll be another major flip- flop coming. He's not going to be able to close Guantanamo for all the same reasons that he's finding he needs that military commission.

COOPER: Let's move on to Dick Cheney. He wanted the CIA to release two memos that he says showed the efficiency of some of these techniques and what kind of an impact they actually had.

He says they had a positive impact, that it saved lives. Paul, should the CIA release them? I mean, they say they can't because they're involved in litigation.

BEGALA: It's not for me to say. I don't know enough about it, Anderson, to tell you the truth.

COOPER: But if the Obama administration is releasing some memos...

BEGALA: Right.

COOPER: ... which indicate one thing, isn't it only fair to release all the memos?

BEGALA: Oh, yes, as much as they can. That's very different. They released some legal memos from the Justice Department. That's very different from information from the CIA.

But I don't want to gainsay the CIA's legal judgment on this because I'm pristinely ignorant. I know that's generally not something on cable television we're allowed to say. But I don't have enough knowledge to know whether the CIA was right.

I know this. Dick Cheney has a long track record of cherry- picking intelligence. Let's follow Nancy Pelosi's leadership here and set up a truth commission. I'd like to see Dick Cheney called for that. I'd like to see Mr. Fleischer called for it.

If Mr. Cheney wants to look back just enough to find one memo that he claims says that torture was really keen and helpful and really neato, OK, I'll be open to that.

But let's have a real process where Speaker Pelosi is saying open this thing up. Put what we can out into the public record and we'll be a lot wiser for it.

COOPER: Ari, does -- is Dick Cheney doing more harm than good to the Republican Party right now?

FLEISCHER: Well, I think, frankly, Nancy Pelosi's doing more harm than good to the Democratic Party now. She's kind of taken that role.

Dick Cheney is a controversial figure. And I think he is speaking out now because he feels a real sense of obligation on national security issues. He knows he's not popular. I think if Dick Cheney is an issue in 2010 in September, October 2010, it's not going to be -- it means Republicans aren't in the right spot. This is May of 2009. I think he's speaking out on substance.

Politically, of course, elections are about the future. I anticipate, Anderson, you're going to have a whole series of other people who are much more prominent next year when things count politically.

Now, it's a substantive matter. He wants to speak out about it.

COOPER: Well, what do you think about the president's decision and Nancy Pelosi's accusation that the CIA misled her? We're going to talk about that in a moment.

You can join the live chat at AC360.com happening now and also check out Erica Hill's live Web casts.

Also tonight, marijuana, a new study shows it's become more potent than ever. We're going to show you just how strong some of today's pot is and why the new drug czar says we should no longer call it a war on drugs.

Also ahead tonight, an 11-year-old boy bullied to death, taunted, called gay by his classmates. We know that he hung himself. We told you the story. Now his family is fighting back. We'll tell you how.

And then ambushed, Donald Rumsfeld taunted by protesters. See what they said to the former defense secretary when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Talking about waterboarding and the sleep deprivation techniques an FBI agent yesterday who interrogated Abu Zubaydah called slow, ineffective and unreliable.

Tonight, the extreme measures taken to get suspected terrorists to talk under the Bush administration continue to make news in Washington and at the highest levels. Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that back in 2002, the CIA misled Congress, misled her, about the enhanced interrogation techniques that have now been banned by President Obama.

Here's what Speaker Pelosi said today about a briefing she attended back in '02. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: In the briefing that I received, we were told that they had legal opinions that this was legal. We were not told that it was -- that there were other legal opinions to the contrary in the administration, and we were told specifically that waterboarding was not being used.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, she says the CIA told her waterboarding was not being used. Now, immediately Speaker Pelosi came under fire by some leading Republicans implying that she's the one not telling the truth, and the CIA also insisted she was briefed on the methods.

Here's what House Minority Leader John Boehner said earlier.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BEOHNER (R-OH), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: And when you look at the number of briefings that the speaker was in and other Democrat members of the House and Senate, it's pretty clear that they were well aware of what these enhanced interrogation techniques were.

They were well aware that they had been used, and it seems to me that they want to have it both ways. You can't have it both ways.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, is Speaker Pelosi trying to have it both ways, or is she telling the truth when she says the CIA misled Congress about water-boarding?

Let's talk to our guests, former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer and Democratic strategist and political contributor Paul Begala.

Paul, if Nancy Pelosi knew about the waterboarding, didn't try to stop it, isn't that complicity?

BEGALA: I don't know if its complicity, but it's not the same as conducting it. We do know that one of the Democrats in power to object apparently from press reports did object, and the Bush administration did nothing about it. We do know...

COOPER: Are you talking about Harman?

BEGALA: This is Jane Harman, a fellow Democrat from California who was also on the Intelligence Committee.

We know that Bob Graham, hardly a partisan guy, retired senator, was a Democratic senator, a leader on the Intelligence Committee at that time. He generally corroborates Nancy Pelosi's version of this. He says, you know, they didn't brief me on this when they claim they did. We know that Jay Rockefeller, another Senator, Democrat, who had been briefed, said today that the memo that was released had it completely wrong as to when he was briefed on water-boarding, had it off by several months.

So, the weight of the evidence, what little we have, is all kind of rolling toward Nancy Pelosi on this.

COOPER: Ari, do you buy that? FLEISCHER: Only if you ignore what the CIA said. And I think the problem here is that Nancy Pelosi's torturing logic to support what she's trying to say now. And she's changed her tune on so many occasions.

The fact is the CIA says they informed her that water-boarding was being used. She now says that wasn't what they said. All they said is that it's allowed. To me it's almost a meaningless distinction because if she objected, that she could have and should have done something about it from her role as chairman of the intelligence committee at the time or a ranking member.

COOPER: Pelosi now says she wants this truth commission established to investigate. Do you buy that? Should that happen?

FLEISCHER: Anderson, the problem we have is all of this doesn't serve a public good. What does this accomplish? Do we need a truth commission to go back to Paul Begala's administration and say did you exercise any renditions?

Who did you send back to Saudi Arabia or Yemen where we know torture gets carried out? Where do you want to draw the line about the people who acted diligently, believing that they obeyed the law to defend this country? There's no end of the finger-pointing here.

And as we saw today, at least the people like the speaker, saying the CIA misleads. This doesn't serve the nation any good.

COOPER: Paul?

BEGALA: Well, I just -- let me get it straight. In Fleischerland, it does the nation no good to look back and hold the president, the vice president and powerful officials accountable, but it's just fine to spend the last 15 minutes on your program beating up Nancy Pelosi about the past, about briefings that were confidential, that she was sworn not to speak about.

FLEISCHER: There's a whole different investigation...

BEGALA: Just so I understand how Fleischerland works.

FLEISCHER: ... and people talking on TV, Paul, it's not quite the same. I don't think the CIA is tuned into what you and I are doing right now.

But I do think they would be tuned in if they got distracted from their jobs because people make a supposition that is not even supported because people assume a crime was committed. I don't think that's the case.

BEGALA: Mr. Fleischer's White House also opposed the 9/11 Commission until the 9/11 families...

FLEISCHER: So, do you support an investigation of the Clinton policies on rendition?

BEGALA: I support a truth commission if it goes there. Ari, you keep making...

FLEISCHER: Do you think rendition is wrong, and did the Clinton administration engage in it?

BEGALA: I think rendition is not wrong. When you knowingly send someone to -- excuse me for talking, and you're not -- to be tortured the way that the Bush administration did, with for example, Mr. Al Libby, they sent him to Egypt knowing the Egyptians would torture him.

The Egyptians did torture him, and then he made up this fabrication about the link to...

FLEISCHER: And then the Clinton administration arrest on anybody in Saudi Arabia and the Yemen who you captured.

BEGALA: ... about in 9/11 which Saddam and Al Qaeda, rather...

FLEISCHER: Did the Clinton administration ever engage in rendition to those nations?

BEGALA: I didn't work on national security, Mr. Fleischer.

FLEISCHER: Yes. That's a good duck.

BEGALA: But I want is the truth...

FLEISCHER: That's a good yes.

BEGALA: No, the dodge here is for you to throw things out and try to accuse Bill Clinton of things, and I'm sure you'll want to go back to John Kennedy, too, and any other Democrat you might think of. It's not a partisan issue.

FLEISCHER: No, you just want to go after George Bush and call that nonpartisan.

BEGALA: Would you stop? I want a truth commission to put all this out. I don't want my country to torture. I want my country to advance its national security, which torture does not. Torture is detrimental of our national security, and I want to get this out there.

And if Mr. Cheney wants things -- he wants a few things released, and Ari wants to give all the bang on Speaker Pelosi, why not some kind -- look, it's either going to be do nothing, which apparently is your preferred option, or have criminal prosecution, which I don't think is the right way to go.

FLEISCHER: No, my option is win the war. That's what I want to do. I want to win this war and protect our crucial and let the CIA do its job within the law.

BEGALA: Another option is congressional hearings -- another option is congressional hearings, and then the fourth option is some sort of truth commission.

I think of those four, the best is have some bipartisan, independent truth commission.

COOPER: We've got to leave it there. I appreciate the visit to Fleischerland and Begalaland. Paul, Ari, thank you very much.

BEGALA: Thanks.

COOPER: Let us know what you think about a truth commission. Should there be one? Join the live chat at AC360.com.

Coming up, the nation's new drug czar saying he's dropping the term "war on drugs." This is a new study, shows just how strong today's pot is. Guess how much stronger the pot is now than it was 20 years ago? You're going to be stunned. That's coming up.

Also tonight, crash questions, the latest on the investigation of Flight 3407, as officials take a closer look at the pilot's experience and pay. How much do you think the pilots were actually making? That's also going to surprise you.

And breaking news on the swine flu: Tonight, some disturbing reports out of New York. The virus spreading, public schools being closed and an assistant principal's in critical condition.

We'll have the latest on the breaking story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: The nation's new drug czar is raising some eyebrows tonight, for promising to drop the phrase "war on drugs." He says he favors treatment and prevention over locking up drug users.

Now, at the same time, a new government report says marijuana that's making the rounds these days packs a huge wallop. Here's Randi Kaye.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Looking to get high? Be warned, this is not your mother's marijuana. The drug on the street today, stronger than ever.

JOHN WALTERS, FORMER U.S. DRUG CZAR: We have more people getting in trouble because there's a wolf in sheep's clothing here.

KAYE: Former U.S. drug czar John Walters worries not only that the marijuana being sold is more potent, but that smokers, especially those who are inexperienced, may not know it.

(on camera): A new study by University of Mississippi scientists in which thousands of samples were tested found the level of THC, the ingredient in marijuana which gets you high, has reached nearly 30 percent in some samples.

Compare that to an average potency of just four percent back in 1983 and about seven percent in 2007. By last year, it had jumped to more than 10 percent. Now, if it keeps getting stronger, as scientists predict, it will likely level off at about 15 percent or 16 percent in the next five to ten years.

(voice-over): But such high potency doesn't concern Bruce Mirken with the Marijuana Policy Project who thinks pot should be legal.

BRUCE MIRKEN, MARIJUANA POLICY PROJECT: They've used these sorts of statistics every year going back 20 or 30 years as an attempt to scare people. "Oh, my God, it's a whole new marijuana. It's way more potent. Be afraid." It's nonsense then, and it's nonsense now.

KAYE: The way Mirken sees it, a more potent marijuana is actually a good thing.

MIRKEN: THC is essentially nontoxic, so in some ways higher potency marijuana is actually healthier because the main health risk associated with marijuana is the respiratory harms of smoking. And when it's more potent, people smoke less.

KAYE: Not true says our former drug czar.

WALTERS: There is no evidence of that. If anything, the higher potency creates a greater risk of dependency.

KAYE: This back-and-forth comes as the country's new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, announces he wants to do away with the idea of a war on drugs. He's emphasizing treatment over jail time; part of a different take by the Obama administration on the nation's drug problem. A red flag for his predecessor, John Walters, who says users of such highly concentrated marijuana are already showing up more often at the ER.

Walters says users may lose control, have trouble concentrating and sleeping, teenagers especially may feel suicidal. But proponents of legalizing marijuana are questioning the study's reliability.

MIRKEN: The change in potency from one year to the next in these samples may just reflect what the cops happen to see is on any given year.

KAYE: And so the argument goes. As marijuana smokers continue to light up in search of the next high.

Randi Kaye, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, eight-time gold medalist Michael Phelps returned to swimming competition. He returns tomorrow for the first time since the Olympics and for the first time since the picture in the "Star" made him the cover boy for the celebrities caught smoking pot. Today, reporters ask Phelps if he thinks the public has forgiven him. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MICHAEL PHELPS, OLYMPIC SWIMMER: That's the question I should be asking you. I don't know. You know, I don't know. You know, like I said before, it was a bad judgment and a very stupid mistake that I made, and something I've already learned from, and something I'll continue to learn from.

And like I said before, hopefully I can help people never make the same mistake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, Phelps says from now on he'll be more careful about who he associates with.

In a moment, our Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers questions about the dangers the new superpotent marijuana may pose for everyone especially young people.

And later, bullying, bullying that pushed a little boy over the edge. That's the little boy. His mom is pointing her finger at his school system. There could be lessons for other schools in there as well and other parents out there. You'll want to see that report.

Also tonight, Karl Rove has an appointment with the special prosecutor tomorrow. We'll tell you what the questions will be about.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: There's brand-new warning today that marijuana is a lot more potent than a lot of adults ever experienced. Its psychoactive ingredient, which is THC, is more than twice as strong as was the pot in the 1980s, for instance, and it's actually getting stronger.

The government says that could especially affect young kids' developing brains and bodies.

Our chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is here to talk about what modern marijuana does to everyone. So how significant is this report?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, it kind of depends who you ask. There's pretty charged people on both sides of this issue.

COOPER: Sure.

GUPTA: And they look at some of these same numbers. And there are some exact numbers in terms of how potent this is. As you mentioned and Randi mentioned in her piece as well, you can measure THC levels back into the 1980s and 3.5 percent to 4 percent as you mentioned. But you can see sort of that rising scale, 10.1 percent now most recently when it was measured. They expect it will go to 15 percent or 16 percent. As Randi mentioned, there are some samples that are being checked that are up to 30 percent. So there can be a wide variation in the amount of this active ingredient.

What was interesting, Anderson, I found when we were interviewing some of these people, they say more experienced marijuana users, people who smoke it more regularly, might use less because the THC is more potent than Bruce Mirken in that piece was making the same point.

COOPER: What impact does it have? Ok, so it's more potent, what does that actually mean? Is it more -- I mean, is pot addictive?

GUPTA: Well, some people say it is and some people say it's addictive to the point where it might be a gateway drug. But that is also a controversial point.

What it does in the brain is sort of more well-defined. There are these receptors in the brain called cannabinoid receptors. They do all sorts of things. They're located in specific areas of the brain, responsible for memory, responsible for decision-making, cognition as well.

What is interesting is when these receptors are activated it also releases dopamine, which the feel-good hormone that we talk a lot about, and that's the thing that makes people -- gives people that high. What's also interesting, Anderson, is that cannabinoid receptors, when they're flooded, they make you hungry. That's what gives you the munchies.

COOPER: Oh, really?

GUPTA: Some diet pills will actually sort of trick the cannabinoid receptors into seeming like they're filled, and that actually makes people decrease their appetite. So, it works both ways.

COOPER: So, does more serious or stronger pot cause greater side effects?

GUPTA: Well, it seems to. And specifically with some of these areas of memory, of cognition, the question is -- and again, people are very, very vocal on both sides of this issue, do those side effects last? Are they short-term side effects or are they something that persists?

The data that we saw for the most part suggests that the short- term side effects are clearly there. And it's associated with that euphoria or that high. But in terms of long-term, how much of an impact does it have, that's much harder to say.

COOPER: Does stronger pot affect young people differently?

GUPTA: Well, the younger brain is still developing. So, the studies that we've looked at say that it should affect, at least theoretically, younger brains more so because they're being more affected by this psychoactive substance. So again, memory problems, problems with cognition, decision-making, judgment overall be affected. But again, it is hard to say for sure with any conviction that those side effects last into the future or long term.

COOPER: All right. Interesting stuff.

GUPTA: Yes. Thank you.

COOPER: Sanjay, thanks, appreciate it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

We have a lot more information for you online. Go to ac360.com for some other fast facts on marijuana.

Also, you can join the live chat right now at ac360.com, let us know what you think and check out Erica Hill's live Web casts during the breaks.

Coming up next, some eye-opening lessons from the Buffalo crash hearings. Did you know pilots make so little money and how many others are overtired and undertrained?

Later, a mother accuses a school system of turning a blind eye to bullying until it was too late for her son. He was called gay in school and ended up hanging himself. He was 11 years old.

And Donald Rumsfeld back in the public eye and still a magnet for anti-war hecklers. We'll show you what happened ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It was the deadliest U.S. air disaster in seven years. And tonight the investigation into Flight 3407 is revealing new information about the pilot's experience, training and pay. All 49 people aboard and one person on the ground perished when the continental connection flight crashed near Buffalo in February.

Now hearings raised questions about the captain and the first officer. The new details are at once startling and if you're flying, pretty frightening. Jason Carroll tonight is "Keeping Them Honest."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The investigation into the Colgan Air crash revealed something most of us probably weren't aware of.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER NTSB INVESTIGATOR: Dirty little secret that we're not paying these folks enough to fly safely.

CARROLL: Investigators raised concerns about first officer Rebecca Shaw's salary, less than $24,000; a shock to her mother.

LYN MORRIS, MOTHER OF REBECCA SHAW: When she told me what she was making, I was amazed. I thought she would be making a lot more.

CARROLL: Shaw lived with her parents in Seattle but worked out of Newark. She commuted across the country overnight before the doomed flight, and investigators have asked, did that prevent her from getting sleep?

MORRIS: I don't think she came to work too tired. I think she came to work ready to do her job and do it to the very best of her ability.

CARROLL: investigators are also asking about pilot training. Colgan and the FAA say the pilot, Marvin Renslow, was fully qualified. But hearings revealed Renslow failed test flights called check rides five times before passing. Pilot and former NTSB investigator Ben Berman says that should have been a warning.

BEN BERMAN, PILOT AND FORMER NTSB INVESTIGATOR: If a pilot has a pattern of failing multiple check rides over their careers, it should and usually does raise a red flag for the airline.

CARROLL: On the key piece of equipment Renslow mishandled during the crash, the so-called stick pusher that warns a plane may stall, Renslow was trained only in a classroom, not on a flight simulator.

Former transportation inspector general Mary Schiavo says that's inexcusable.

MARY SCHIAVO, FORMER INSPECTOR GENERAL: It's a co-dependent relationship. The airline only did what the FAA required even though going above and beyond would have been prudent.

CARROLL: Since the accident, Colgan says it has instituted stick-pusher demonstrations in a flight simulator even though it is not required by the FAA. Still, some experts say low pay could mean trouble in the cockpit.

CAPT. PAUL RICE, AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: All passengers should care about having what all crew members want to be, well rested and fit for duty when they report to work. Flying is an exacting business, and as such, you have to have all your capacities available to you.

CARROLL: The president of the Regional Airline Association takes offense at that.

ROGER COHEN, REGIONAL AIRLINE ASSOCIATION: This kind of linkage just doesn't make any sense to any average layman out there that someone would do less of a job to protect his or her own life, let alone their responsibility to the passengers simply because they weren't paid as much.

CARROLL: Starting pay for a regional pilot, about $18,000 compared to a janitor, $21,000; a New York City cab driver with few years experience, $22,000. Passengers we found say it's time to pay pilots more.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am putting my life in their hands. And so I do think that they need to up that, whatever it takes.

CARROLL (on camera): But after the crash killed 50 people, "Keeping Them Honest," it is unclear whether the government will require that pilots get more training or more pay.

Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, new details on a story we've been following. Students bullied to the brink in Georgia. An 11-year-old commits suicide. His mom blames the local school. Now she is fighting back. We'll have that story.

But first Erica Hill joins us with a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we begin with breaking news tonight where a New York City assistant principal hospitalized now with swine flu. Mayor Michael Bloomberg today announcing four students from that principal's middle school in Queens have also been diagnosed. An additional 50 students sent home with flulike symptoms. In response, three Queens public schools will be closed effective tomorrow through next week.

President Obama today, urging Congress to send him legislation to end abusive credit card practices. Appearing at a town hall meeting in New Mexico, he spelled out several unfair practices saddling consumers with unexpected debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: These practices, they've only grown worse in the midst of this recession when hardworking Americans can afford them least. Now fees silently appear. Payment deadlines suddenly move. Millions of cardholders have seen their interest rates jump in the past six months.

You should not have to worry that when you sign up for a credit card, you're signing away all your rights. You shouldn't need a magnifying glass or a law degree to read the fine print that sometimes don't even appear to be written in English or Spanish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The president, though, did also call on consumers to rein in their spending habits and stop spending above their means.

Chrysler closing 789 dealerships by June 9th; that announcement today is part of the company's restructuring plan although the move must still be approved by government regulators. It amounts to about a quarter of the company's dealers, but Chrysler says that move will not affect sales.

Former Bush advisor Karl Rove will reportedly face questioning tomorrow in the 2006 dismissal of a number of U.S. attorneys. Prosecutors are investigating whether Bush officials broke the law in connection with the firings. A Justice Department report last year found the firings of some U.S. attorneys were influenced by political considerations. Alaska governor Sarah Palin, back in the headlines tonight, this time in support of California beauty queen Carrie Prejean. In a statement, the governor called attacks on the 22-year-old a, quote, "liberal onslaught" and both malicious and despicable.

And Donald Rumsfeld accosted by protesters and the video goes viral. The former secretary of defense and his wife arriving at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last weekend to find members of Code Pink lying in wait.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here comes the war criminal, Donald Rumsfeld. War criminal. He kills people in Iraq. War criminal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Security eventually dragged both women away -- you see another woman there -- while the Rumsfelds continued very calmly to make their way into the reception -- Anderson.

Wow.

Time for our "Beat 360" winners; our daily challenge to -- I'm not really sure what to say about that video, it's surreal -- daily challenge to viewers a chance to show up our staffers by coming up with a better caption for the picture that we post on our blog every day.

Tonight's picture: President Obama shaking hands with Governor Bill Richardson after talking about credit card reform in that town hall meeting in New Mexico. Staff winner tonight: Candy Crowley, her caption, "President Obama greets total strangers at a rally in New Mexico." Ouch.

Our viewer winner is Bob from Ohio. His caption, "The bromance is gone."

HILL: I love that. If only if it were followed by "dude."

COOPER: Bob, dude, your "Beat 360" T-shirt on the way -- dude.

Coming up, a heartwarming story; the extent one dog goes to protect his injured mom in the middle of rush-hour traffic. We have the amazing video on that.

And new information about Jaheem Herrera. We brought you his story a few weeks ago. His mom says he was bullied relentlessly. Kids made fun of the way he talked. They said he was gay. He ended up taking his own life. He was just 11 years old.

She says the school should have prevented his death, and now she's taking action. We'll tell what you she's doing when we continue.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: Tonight an update on a heartbreaking story we brought you a few weeks back. Jaheem Herrera was 11 when his mom says bullies in his Georgia school drove him to his death. She says kids made fun of the way he spoke. They called him gay. Unable to take the abuse, Jaheem hanged himself.

His mom says she complained to school officials, but the abuse continued. Now her attorneys are taking up the fight.

Gary Tuchman has the latest in tonight's "Crime and Punishment" report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He was only 11 years old and had just moved to Atlanta this school year. Like any child, Jaheem Herrera was anxious about being the new kid. And now his mother no longer has her son.

MASIKA BERMUDEZ, JAHEEM'S MOTHER: He was a nice little boy. He loved to dance. He loved to have fun. He loved to make friends. And all he made there were enemies.

TUCHMAN: After Jaheem came home from school one afternoon, his mother found him hanging by a belt in his closet. An 11-year-old child had committed suicide.

GERALD GRIGGS, ATTORNEY FOR MASIKA BERMUDEZ: We want justice for this young man.

TUCHMAN: And now this attorney for the mother has announced he'll file a lawsuit against Jaheem's school and school system for allegedly tolerating bullying.

GRIGGS: It was the amount of bullying. We believe that school had an environment of terror where students were being routinely beaten up, routinely harassed and routinely threatened by other students, and the administration did nothing.

TUCHMAN: Jaheem's mother says on at least eight occasions she reported her son was bullied, and nothing was ever done.

BERMUDEZ: That last day I saw him alive, he said he didn't want to go to school.

TUCHMAN: The school district has 30 days to respond to the claim. But this is the response officials gave to us. "We never speak on any pending legal issues, but we will have a press conference next week regarding the findings on an independent review into this matter."

The school has said it participates in anti-bullying program. The lawyer says the lawsuit will ask for the resignation of the school principal and assistant principal. And that financial damages will go to a fund named after Jaheem to end bullying.

Barbara Coloroso is an expert on bullying and the author of "The Bully, The Bullied and The Bystander."

BARBARA COLOROSO, AUTHOR: And I don't like frivolous lawsuits. This is not frivolous at all. A child is dead. Other kids participated in putting this kid at the brink where he couldn't take it anymore.

TUCHMAN: The author says every schoolchild should know there is a responsible and sympathetic adult in the school whom he or she can confidentially talk to about bullying before it's too late.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Atlanta.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, Jaheem's story is just one of several stories we've uncovered on the tragic consequences of bullying.

Go to ac360.com to watch more on our reporting on students bullied to the brink.

Here's a story you're going to be telling everyone about tomorrow: an injured dog and a loyal protector that just won't give up or give in. Stick around and see how this standoff ends. It's tonight's "Shot."

And later, a little Jeopardy one-on-one, me versus Ellen.

Also the breaking news, serious stuff, President Obama reversing course on the military tribunals for terror suspects; the change of heart and his major announcement for tomorrow. We'll have the latest on that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, my return visit with Ellen DeGeneres. Just a couple of weeks ago she put my game-show skills to the test with a quiz that literally made me sweat. On today's show after doing her best to get me to dance, Ellen and I went head-to-head for round two of our game show showdown.

Erica Hill has the gory details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL (voice-over): Anderson Cooper always comes prepared.

COOPER: I've got a gammy (ph) leg.

ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, "THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW": Come on. Every time, I try to get you to dance, it's this song. You dance everywhere but here. Earlier, before the show started I saw you in the audience and...

COOPER: Yes.

I'm actually not a terrible dancer. I enjoyed the dancing. I just -- then it lives on YouTube forever. On your 2,000th episode, I will dance.

DEGENERES: Really?

COOPER: Yes.

DEGENERES: All right. Now I have a goal.

HILL: In the meantime, a different challenge for our Jeopardy champ. Last words. Thirty seconds on the clock, one category. The topic, reality shows.

DEGENERES: "Real Housewives of New Jersey."

COOPER: Amazing? Descriptive or...

DEGENERES: No, you say a reality show, too.

COOPER: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't understand. "Real Housewives of Atlanta."

DEGENERES: "Real Housewives of New York."

COOPER: "Real Housewives of Orange County."

HILL: We're on a roll, but what about his number one show, A.I.

COOPER: "American Idol."

HILL: Finally.

DEGENERES: "Amazing Race."

COOPER: "Amazing Race 2." No?

DEGENERES: "Survivor."

COOPER: "The Mole."

DEGENERES: "American Idol."

COOPER: I said that. Yes. I like this game.

HILL: Round two, TV hosts.

COOPER: Ryan Seacrest.

DEGENERES: Barbara Walters.

COOPER: Starr Jones.

DEGENERES: Craig Ferguson.

COOPER: Ellen DeGeneres.

DEGENERES: David Letterman.

COOPER: Who's that one? Craig Ferguson. Oh, you said that.

DEGENERES: You lost. All right. Anderson Cooper from "360."

COOPER: It was a tie.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: It was a tie.

COOPER: It was a tie.

HILL: But you won last time you were there.

COOPER: Did I? I can't remember.

HILL: You were convinced that you did today on the show.

COOPER: I don't -- I think I did.

HILL: You know, as long as you think it. It's kind of like when you think you're...

COOPER: It's a little pathetic how into those games I actually get.

HILL: It's a little pathetic that you won't shake your groove thing on Ellen, Anderson, that's what's pathetic.

COOPER: Yes, I know.

HILL: Wolf Blitzer does it, the president did it, the first lady. We see you all the time around here dancing on the set.

COOPER: I bet you do. Yes.

HILL: Don't worry, I took jack gray's camera. It won't be on the YouTube.

COOPER: Very good.

Still ahead, a story you kind of have to see to believe involving a dog.

HILL: Which we love a good dog story.

COOPER: This morning on a busy New York City thoroughfare, an injured dog lie helpless on the street until another dog literally stopped traffic coming to its aid. It's tonight's "Shot." It is an amazing story.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Erica, time for the "Shot," a story that would make Lassie proud. It started during rush hour when a dog, a yellow Lab, was actually hit by a car. But don't worry. It only suffered a broken leg, thanks in part to one heroic German shepherd. Take a look. There is the lab lying in the street. When police arrived they find another dog, the shepherd charging at cars, protecting her from oncoming traffic. How cool is that?

HILL: I love this.

COOPER: Takes a couple of attempts but police finally get the Lab on a stretcher and into a waiting patrol car. It's only then when the police drive away that the shepherd gives up its vigil and trots off apparently back home.

But here's the unbelievable part. Turns out the shepherd is a mix and the yellow Lab is actually his mom.

HILL: Isn't that great? They still live together. They're still in the same house.

COOPER: That's incredible.

HILL: I think the mom is, like, 9; I forget how old the son is.

COOPER: Look at that. How cool are dogs?

HILL: I love it. Dogs are the best.

COOPER: Dogs truly are the best.

HILL: Our dogs would do that for anyone that they love. Mine would, anyway.

COOPER: Yes. Mine, too.

HILL: I think my dog would do that for our cat.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: They do. They love each other.

COOPER: Really?

HILL: Seriously.

COOPER: That's sweet. You can see all the most recent shots on our Web site, ac360.com.

That does it for 360. Thanks for watching. I hope you have a great night.

"LARRY KING" starts right now. I'll see you tomorrow night.