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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Terror Suspect Admits Ties to al Qaeda; President Obama's Media Push; Michelle Obama's New Mission

Aired September 18, 2009 - 22:00   ET

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


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We begin tonight with breaking news involving plans for a possible terror attack in America.

CNN has learned that a young Afghan national living in this country now admits to having ties to al Qaeda. That is the man. He is undergoing thinks third straight day of questioning by federal authorities, possibly -- and we say possibly -- in connection with a terrorist plot, possibly involving an attack on transportation targets in New York City.

Now, there's a lot we don't know. But this is all coming to light after a series of raids and searches in New York and Denver, where, as we said, right now, this man appears to still be with the feds still answering questions.

Details now from Jeanne Meserve, who joins us from Denver.

Jeanne, what you have learned?

JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we have two new pieces of evidence which would appear to substantiate law enforcement's case that this is the real deal, a genuine terrorist threat.

One, officials who are familiar with the matter say that Najibullah Zazi -- he is the man at the center of this investigation, a 24-year-old Afghan national who has been questioned for three days -- this official says he has now admitted having ties to al Qaeda.

Number two, two sources familiar with the investigation say that Zazi was carrying with him videotape of Grand Central Station in New York when he traveled to New York last week. It was that trip, one day before 9/11, that triggered searches in New York and here in Denver, searches that sources tell us turned up maps and backpacks.

Backpacks, you will remember, were used in the transit attacks in Madrid back in 2004. And, tonight, we have learned that Homeland Security has sent out an advisory note to law enforcement and transit authorities, urging them to be vigilant.

DHS says that neither it, nor the FBI, however, has any information about the timing, location, and target of any attacks -- back you to, Anderson.

COOPER: All right, Jeanne, a lot to talk about.

Do we know, first of all, has this guy been arrested, Zazi?

MESERVE: We don't know that, Anderson. All we have been told is that we should not expect to see him emerge from that building tonight. We do know that an official said earlier today that the feds were exploring what kinds of charges they might be able to bring against him.

COOPER: Jeanne, stay with us.

I also want to bring in CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen, who is recently back from Afghanistan, with us for more to talk about the al Qaeda angle -- this story, of course, coming, as it does, right after an audiotape believed to be from Osama bin Laden.

Jeanne, just on the -- on the details of this, did the authorities the authorities are saying he has ties to al Qaeda or a connection to al Qaeda. Do we know what form of connection that is?

MESERVE: No. They are saying no more about it. They're still being very close-lipped about this investigation, because it is ongoing -- Anderson.

COOPER: Peter, how significant do you think this is? Because, I mean, I have got to say, I am, and I think there's a lot of people who are very skeptical when they hear about these kind of raids or -- or arrests. Oftentimes, kind of on further inspection, it turns out to be just a couple guys sitting around talking, who never had any access to any weaponry or anything.

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. Well, we have seen a lot of plots, Anderson, which have been really aspirational, and not operational, where people are talking about doing things, and never really actually implementing anything.

This case may be different. One thing is, we haven't -- it doesn't seem to be informant-driven. It seems to have been driven more by intercepted -- telephone intercepts. That may make this case more -- more real.

Another unusual thing is the allegation of a direct tie to al Qaeda. Many of the cases in the United States that we have seen don't have that tie. And, finally, another thing that is kind of unusual about this case, that this is an Afghan. Actually, there are very few Afghan members of al Qaeda.

And I think is the first Afghan national who is accused of this kind of tie in the United States. And, you know, it -- the Afghan war, it's surprising hasn't radicalized more Afghans living in the United States. And this may well be the case in -- in Zazi's case, if the allegations are correct -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, it's interesting, Peter, because there are media reports, which his lawyer denies, that he visited Pakistan for bomb training and that law enforcement picked up what they described as deeply troubling conversations from him there. How does -- I mean, what do we know about how al Qaeda operates in Pakistan? A lot of people think they're operating in Afghanistan. As we saw when we were in Afghanistan last week, that -- they're not present, or at least visible, in Afghanistan on a day-to-day basis. But, in Pakistan, it's another story.

BERGEN: Yes.

In the last several years, I mean, the -- the -- the training camps that al Qaeda has in Pakistan are not large-scale. They are small houses where you can train, you know, 10, 20 people. As a result of the U.S. drones' attacks, I think the -- that even those training camps are under a lot of pressure right now.

But we have seen, you know, a fair number of Europeans going for training in the last two or three years in the federally administered tribal areas or people who are living in Europe. If the allegations are true, this is an unusual case of an American actually going, or somebody living in the United States going for training there.

We also -- Anderson, you may remember there was this guy from Long island called Vinas who traveled there in 2008. So, it's not unheard of, but it is quite unusual.

COOPER: I mean, his case was so bizarre because he -- basically, this guy from Long Island goes over there and is able to kind of get access to al Qaeda, which makes you wonder how easy it is to get access to al Qaeda in Pakistan.

Jeanne, are authorities confident that they have found everyone involved in this alleged plot? Because, I mean, if they're talking about some sort of Madrid-style bombing, that involved a number of people.

MESERVE: We have absolutely no idea, Anderson, to be frank.

We know they questioned a number of people in New York. We know that Zazi's father was brought in today for three hours of questioning by the FBI. One has to believe that there are a lot of threads that they have to follow here, and we don't know how many people those threads will lead to.

COOPER: Peter, it also bears repeating that we have seen a kind of morphing of tactics used by whether it's the Taliban or al Qaeda- related groups. We saw it in Mumbai. We saw it in Kabul. We have seen it, I think, in -- in Lahore, small groups of even sometimes lightly armed people doing multiple attacks at once, not just suicide attacks, not just IEDs, but -- but people kind of taking over buildings and -- and -- and kind of paralyzing a city.

BERGEN: No, there has been a trend over the last couple of years where it's not a conventional suicide attack. It's a group of people armed with weapons who go into a situation probably knowing that they're going to die.

But it's not at all clear what -- what Zazi's -- you know if, he had a plan similar to that. But the tie to al Qaeda is -- is certainly worrisome.

COOPER: All right. Peter, Jeanne Meserve, appreciate it. We will continue with the reporting on it.

And, as we said, he's in custody right now, apparently talking to -- to feds. Any developments in this hour, we will let you know.

Well, let us know what you think. Join the live chat. It's under way right now at AC360.com.

Up next: President Obama's new push on health care. He has been giving interviews to just about everyone today. And, in each one, the subject of race is front and center. Stick around to hear what he has to say about that.

And, later, new details in the Yale grad student murder and why police say they may never learn the motive for this young woman's killing.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight: President Obama on race. Safe to say it is not what he wants to be talking about. He wants to be talking about health care, and today launched an all-out media blitz for it.

But ever since South Carolina Congressman Joe Wilson called him a liar during his health care speech to Congress, and then former President Jimmy Carter charged racism, and then Bill Cosby agreed, and then Joe Wilson angrily denied it, and then Rush Limbaugh weighed in, well, you get the idea.

So, today, he sat down with five major TV networks, including CNN, for interviews airing this weekend to talk health care and, yes, race.

The "Raw Politics" from Joe Johns.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president could no longer avoid talking about it: race. It came up in interview after interview, this one with CNN's John King.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JOHN KING")

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are there people out there who don't like me because of race? I'm sure there are.

That's not the overriding issue here. I think there are people who are anti-government. I think there are -- there's been a longstanding debate in this country that is usually that much more fierce during times of transition or when presidents are trying to bring about big changes. I mean, the things that were said about FDR are pretty similar to the things that were said about me, that he was a communist, he was a socialist. Things that were said about Ronald Reagan when he was trying to reverse some of the New Deal programs were pretty vicious as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: On ABC, Mr. Obama pointing out that strong views on race don't always hurt him politically.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, ABC)

B. OBAMA: Are there some people who don't like me because of my race? I'm sure there are. Are there some people who vote for me only because of my race? There are probably some of those, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNS: The message much the same on CBS and NBC, too. It's territory his press secretary has already covered.

ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We all have to check our of emotions, despite the depth of our beliefs, that we can have these kind of debates, important political debates, without doing so in a way that makes anybody feel uncomfortable.

JOHNS: And that was one side of the story. On the other side, one of the guys whose own conduct helped ramp up the debate was back home in South Carolina holding his first news conference since he shouted out "You lie" at President Obama.

REP. JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Let's close the book on last week.

JOHNS: Was race a factor in Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst?

WILSON: I appreciate very much President Obama has indicated this is not correct.

JOHNS: Also talking about how awful it's been. Even though he's gotten well over $1 million in political contributions, he's also become a target...

WILSON: It was speaking at the wrong place, wrong time.

JOHNS: ... asserting that, if he had it to do over again, he wouldn't, sending a message to the folks back home that he's not a ruffian.

WILSON: That I grew up in the holy city of Charleston, south of Broad. It is the center of civility and a civil state. And, so, I -- I truly support civility.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Let's dig deeper now with Joe Johns, also Tony Perkins of the conservative Family Research Council, and, on the liberal side, Jennifer Palmieri of the Center For American Progress.

Jennifer, you heard what the president had to say. You hear what Joe Wilson had to say. Is this conversation over now? I mean, is -- is, next week, the story actually going to be about health care?

JENNIFER PALMIERI, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR COMMUNICATIONS, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I think that, barring any other developments, that, you know, any other outbursts from congressmen like Joe Wilson, I think, barring that, that you will probably turn back to health care.

And, you know, it is -- I'm sure the White House...

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Because Republicans are saying that the Democrats want...

PALMIERI: No.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Republicans are saying the Democrats want this to be the conversation.

PALMIERI: We -- I -- I promise -- I promise you -- I mean, I think it's pretty clear that the president does not want that to be the conversation. It doesn't -- I mean, it's not a huge problem in terms of affecting the health care debate, but it does distract from -- from a little -- does distract from it a little bit.

But, you know, moreover, I don't -- think that the president feels that most of this anger is not about racism. And to suggest -- you know, for -- for people to suggest that it is, that alienates people. And that -- you know, that -- so, it doesn't actually help the Democrats politically to say this is about racism.

COOPER: Tony, do you believe the Democrats want to have this conversation?

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: You know, I don't know. It -- it clearly is convenient that this -- this card of racism is often played when they get down to the bottom of the deck in their ability to debate the real issue here.

I hope it's true that, next week, it's over and we can go back to talking about health care, and talk about these -- the really fundamental things of health care in which we agree upon. And that is that everybody in this country should have access to affordable health care. I'm hoping we can get to that debate and get this behind us, because it's not constructive.

COOPER: Joe, from -- from a political perspective, certainly, the president clearly does not want to be discussing this.

JOHNS: It doesn't seem like it. On the other hand, there are some congressional Democrats who, frankly, think it's a little bit simpler. And there is also that question of bringing in the Democratic base.

They have been all over the place. You get on something like this, and the base is going to sort of move to support the president of the United States. He's -- he's their guy.

But, as far as the president is concerned, health care is the main issue he needs to push through. It's his biggest domestic agenda item. And he has a congressional calendar that is simply running out. He doesn't have a whole lot of time to fool around with this, although there are a lot of Democrats who say we need to have the -- this discussion, just not right now.

COOPER: Jennifer, if -- if Democrats don't want this discussion, how come House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday, you know, gave that answer about political violence, and, you know, was quite emotional about it? I mean, that's -- that certainly...

PALMIERI: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: ... seems to be churning the waters.

PALMIERI: I was -- I was -- yes, I was also surprised to see that, then, that she was particularly emotional about it. And I think that shows I don't -- I don't think that there was any sort of political motivation in what she was saying.

You know, her own personal experience in San Francisco with Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were assassinated, I mean, it's -- it's -- I found it very telling that she chose to -- to speak out about it in -- in this this way, that it must be affecting her that way. But I don't -- that was not politically motivated.

And I don't think that -- you know, there's nothing more divisive than a discussion about race. And that doesn't -- that just doesn't help the Democrats politically. I mean, the president wants this -- this debate to be divisive.

And I think that's why -- and they also -- they also don't believe it's true. I mean, they -- they don't believe that most of this anger that's out there is about race. They think -- I mean, there's no question, in my mind, that, if Hillary Clinton were president today, she would be getting the exact same kind of protests.

PERKINS: Absolutely.

COOPER: Tony, do you believe, though, that race plays any...

PALMIERI: I mean, this is about politics.

COOPER: Tony, do you believe race plays any role in some of the criticism that has been directed toward the president?

PERKINS: You know...

COOPER: I mean, you see those signs of him portrayed as a witch doctor. Do you think it's any different than -- than what we have normally seen in past years?

PERKINS: I mean, there may have be of that out there. I'm not going to deny that there might be some. But it's -- it's minuscule. And I haven't seen it at any of the town halls or events that I have been in. And it's certainly not a part of the main debate.

What you said about Nancy Pelosi, I would say, I think it was politically motivated. I mean, I look at Nancy Pelosi and, in her own state of California, after Proposition 8 passed last summer, that there was no real outrage -- or last fall -- there was no real outrage from her with the -- the violent response after that.

I'm very concerned that -- that, when you see what she is saying and how she's responding to this, that I think it's really kind of setting the stage to clamp down on -- on those who are expressing themselves against these big-government policies like health care takeover.

So, I'm -- I'm -- I'm more troubled about her statements than I am these statements about racism.

COOPER: Jennifer, is this an attempt to clamp down?

PALMIERI: No. I really don't think so. I mean, I think that that was a -- it was a very personal reaction from her. It is it not in -- her you know, it -- it's not in Democrats' political interests to try to tamp down -- to try to tamp down these protests.

I mean, the -- you know, in some ways, the Joe Wilson outburst is what put Republicans on the -- on the defensive. I think that what you saw from her was a very emotional and personal reaction. And I don't think that there's any question in most of our minds that the debate has gotten more intense than it has in political -- in -- in past years.

And, you know, we're moving beyond civil discourse in many of these arenas. And I think that that was the concern that she was expressing. But it was very personal to me. And I -- I really don't see any political gain for her in saying that.

COOPER: Well, we're going to leave it there.

PALMIERI: I mean, you know, and I think Tony's -- Tony's -- Tony's criticism sort of proved that point, that there is not a political gain for this for her.

COOPER: Jennifer Palmieri, Tony Perkins, Joe Johns, thank you very much. Appreciate it. Have a good weekend.

Plenty more on the story at AC360.com, including Joe Wilson's complete news conference without edits or interruptions today.

Also, up next, the White House today began using first lady Michelle Obama to fight for health care reform. You're going to see the part she is playing and what it says about what the White House thinks about their chances right now for a real reform.

We will also hear from Democratic first lady, former first lady Hillary Clinton, now secretary of state, about what she says about the health care battle today.

Also, the alleged young Yale University killer, find out how early in the investigation police actually began suspecting him. We will also dig deep into the controversial choice authorities made to wait and tail this guy, instead of picking him right up.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Another sign today how important health care reform is for President Obama -- his wife, Michelle, was enlisted into the public relations push. It's acknowledgment, also, perhaps, that they need all the help they can get these days.

She was not the only first lady talking about health care reform, however. Here is former first lady, now secretary of state, Hillary Clinton today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: But I'm very optimistic. I think that, you know, it won't be pretty. It's like sausage-making. But we will end up with a bill for the president to sign that will be an advance. And that's what I think is in the best interests of the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: As we said, for the first time today, Michelle Obama was front and center pushing health care reform.

Erica Hill takes us "Up Close."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her audience and her mission are clear.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: For two years on the campaign trail, this was what I heard from women, that they were being crushed, crushed by the current structure of our health care. We know the pain, because we are usually the ones dealing with it.

HILL: The first lady today appealing to women as mothers and as caregivers in her first official pitch for President Obama's plan to reform the nation's health care system, a very personal pitch, including a story about first daughter Sasha's meningitis scare. She was just four months old.

M. OBAMA: It is that moment in our lives that flashes through my head every time we engage in this health insurance conversation. It's that moment in my life, because I think about, what on earth would we have done if we had not had insurance?

HILL: Putting Mrs. Obama and the first family's story squarely in front of the American people may be just what the president needs.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not only is Michelle Obama popular, but she has a 75 percent approval rating with women. Women make a lot of the health care decisions in their families. And they're often the ones who end up taking care of their elderly parents.

HILL: A former hospital administrator, Mrs. Obama understands the current health care system and the problems many women face.

M. OBAMA: Women in this country have been denied coverage because of preexisting conditions, like having a C-section or having had a baby. In some states, it is still legal to deny a woman coverage because she's been the victim of domestic violence.

HILL: First ladies have long pushed agendas. Nancy Reagan championed the "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign in the '80s. Laura Bush was a literacy advocate.

But health care hasn't always served first ladies well -- prime example, Hillary Clinton.

CARL SFERRAZZA ANTHONY, HISTORIAN, NATIONAL FIRST LADIES LIBRARY: There's a very fundamental difference. Hillary Clinton was charged with running the health care reform effort. Mrs. Obama is taking a much more traditional first lady venue. One is initiating, and one is supporting.

Even conservatives see the benefits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER")

ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Smart political move on the part of the Democrats. Michelle Obama is the popular Obama...

(LAUGHTER)

CASTELLANOS: Democrats have had a lot of success with the gender gap, driving female votes on the caregiving, nourishing issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: But can Mrs. Obama reach across the divide and the picket lines to win over conservative women? In the coming weeks, she will certainly try.

M. OBAMA: We have to be, what, fired up and what? AUDIENCE: Ready to go.

M. OBAMA: And ready to go.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HILL: Anderson, one other thing that Mrs. Obama talked about on a personal level today, not just her daughter Sasha, but, also, she talked about he father, who was of course diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in his 20s.

She said she thought a number of times about what her family would have done if they didn't have insurance in that case for her father or if had ever lost his job, how they would deal with finding more insurance with this preexisting condition. And so that, she said, is something that is also very near and dear to her heart.

COOPER: All right.

Erica, I know you're also following a couple other stories in the 360 news and business bulletin. What do you got?

HILL: Anderson, we start off in Iran, where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is railing against Israel again, as Iran celebrates a pro- Palestinian day -- speaking to a crowd at Tehran University, the conservative leader once again declaring the Holocaust a myth and called the -- quote -- "Zionist regime" an insult to human dignity -- the comments, of course, coming also as Jewish people across the globe begin to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year.

Meantime, thousands of opposition leaders -- or opposition protesters, rather, clashing with pro-government groups -- reports of violence here in a massive rally near Tehran's Revolution Square.

In Washington, seven former CIA chiefs urging President Obama to stop the probe into harsh interrogation techniques. In a letter sent today, they argue the investigation would put intelligence officers in -- quote -- "continuous jeopardy."

Jobless rates topping 12 percent in five states now, unemployment in California, Nevada, and Rhode Island hitting record highs in August -- the rates there hovering between 12 percent and 13 percent -- Oregon also scoring a top spot at 12.2 percent. But it is Michigan again leading the nation. The jobless rate there? Fifteen-point-two percent.

Finally, let's end on a up note for you with a 360 follow here: the 5-year-old pulled from a burning SUV in Milwaukee over the summer released from the hospital. D.J. Harper suffered second- and third- degree burns on his scalp, face, back, and arms. And two off-duty firefighters managed to cut the boy from his seat belt. While he does face years of rehabilitation, doctors say little D.J. is making great progress.

He looks good in that fire hat, too.

COOPER: Wow. Well, that's great news. Good to hear that, finally.

So, Erica, do you know, like -- do you know about your roots? Do you know where your ancestry comes from?

HILL: I know a little bit here and there, yes. I'm a mutt.

COOPER: Yes. You're a mutt?

HILL: I am.

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: From where? Do you know?

HILL: Mainly Western Europe, and just a tiny little bit of Native American.

COOPER: OK, because, for a lot of Americans, particularly African-Americans, the question "Where do you come from?" is a difficult one to answer.

And coming up, we have got this story that I want you to see about one young man tracing his roots. And you are going to see what he learns about himself, where his family comes from, and how that knowledge changes his life.

Coming up next, though, the Yale murder -- the new details on how police tracked down the man charged with killing Annie Le.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Now to Yale University and the murder of grad student Annie Le, whose body was found Sunday stuffed into a wall at a research building where she worked. And that, of course, was supposed to be her wedding day.

Tonight, Randy Kaye has new details about how police tracked down Le's alleged killer, Raymond Clark. That's him. The lab technician was arrested yesterday. Turns out that, even as police were still searching for Le, they had Clark in their sights. Here's Randi's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ray Clark knew he was in trouble. He knew he was being followed by more than half a dozen police investigators. He likely also knew where the investigation into Annie Le's death was heading.

New Haven Police Chief James Lewis told me he had his narcotics unit which specializes in surveillance, track Clark's every move. Even before they found Annie Le's body, Chief Lewis says he knew Clark was their prime suspect. The head of the unit, Lieutenant John Valeka, began following Clark Saturday night, the day before Le's body was found, strangled and hidden inside a basement wall at the lab building where she worked alongside the man now accused of killing her.

(on camera) At first, narcotics officers didn't want Clark to know they were on his trail. That first night they camped outside his parents' house in Cromwell, Connecticut, about 24 miles from Yale's campus. The day Le's body was found, Clark played softball. Detectives were in the crowd.

(voice-over) By Monday, the day after Le's body was discovered, investigators changed their tactics. They wanted Clark to know they were tailing him. They parked right in front of his apartment and let their badges show while they walked around. Mind games they were hoping would lead Clark to talk to them and maybe even confess. It didn't happen.

Tuesday morning, investigators went to him, armed with search warrants. They wanted hair and fingernail DNA samples.

(on camera) Investigators focused on Clark in part because of what they saw in the more than 700 hours of videotape from the lab building security camera. On that tape, Ray Clark stood out.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told me Clark was seen leaving the building after someone, possibly him, pulled the fire alarm. He had his head in his hands and looked distraught.

After Clark gave a DNA sample on Wednesday, he got a room at this Super 8 motel in his family's hometown. He stayed there with his parents hiding from the media, likely knowing it wouldn't be long before officers came knocking again.

By this time, investigators had interviewed about 150 people and had collected 300 pieces of evidence. Then came the DNA match our source says clearly connects Clark to the murder, indicating the victim's DNA was found on Ray Clark.

Early Thursday morning, Clark was arrested and charged with killing Yale medical student Annie Le. He's being held on $3 million bond. He hasn't entered a plea. His lawyers aren't talking, and neither is he.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Randi is on the Yale campus tonight. What about that card that lab employees have to swipe to get in and out of the lab? Did that tip off investigators to Clark's actions?

KAYE: Anderson, I asked the chief of police about that, and he wouldn't really say much about that swiped card or how long it may have indicated that Ray Clark was in the building that day, if, indeed, he was.

But I did speak with a technology expert who told me that there is no doubt that authorities would have looked at that card to find out and figure out Ray Clark's whereabouts in the lab building that day. That card would have told them how long he was in the building, how many different rooms he was in inside that building and whether or not he was in the room where Annie Le's body was found.

And it's not just the card, actually. I'm told by these technology experts that authorities would also look at cell-phone signals. That if Ray Clark was in the building at that time and if he had a cell phone with him, they would be able to track that signal and know, again, how much time he spent there and where he was.

Also, if he happened to log onto the computer, Anderson, they would know how long he was there and when he might have logged off and left the building.

Really, they say that -- that people who commit crimes give away a lot more of themselves electronically and technologically than they ever would have imagined possible.

COOPER: Good news for that. Randi, appreciate it. Thanks.

You can let us know what you think about this case at the live chat, happening now at AC360.com. Just ahead, we're going to dig deeper on the Yale murder with two prime experts: criminal justice professor James Allen Fox, and law enforcement vet Lou Palumbo, who says the police went about getting this guy all the wrong way. Hear why, ahead.

And later, police teams in California are doing everything they can to force a junk-filled backyard to give up more secrets. Could kidnapping suspects Phillip and Nancy Garrido be linked to other cold cases? New details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We're back with the murder of Annie Le. The suspect, as you know, now in custody, Raymond Clark, the lab technician who worked with Le, charged with the killing. He did actually enter a plea. And police have not identified a motive. In fact, here's what they said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF JAMES LEWIS, NEW HAVEN POLICE DEPARTMENT: The only person that really truly knows the motive in this crime is the suspect. What made him do what he did? We may not know until trial. We may never know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: May never know.

As Randi Kaye reported before the break, police were trailing Clark even before they found his alleged victim's body. Joining me now is James Allen Fox, professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University of Boston and retired law enforcement agent, Lou Palumbo. Lou, when you heard that the police went about tracking Raymond Clark, a kind of cat and mouse strategy, were you surprised?

LOU PALUMBO, RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENT: Yes, the first time I've ever heard of this type of technique, in I guess trying to solicit a confession from an individual. You know, I think it was a little risky. You know, they came out; they landed on their feet. But quite frankly, there were a couple of concerns here.

First, that this individual was clearly a flight risk, No. 1. And No. 2, he was certainly someone they should have considered might have committed suicide. I mean, this is a young man at a very young age and has watched his life unravel.

You know, his pedigree isn't consistent with the act he committed. I mean, and I know everybody has alluded to an incident that took place back when he was in high school. But I don't see any correlation to what happened here.

I was a little surprised that they played it pretty close to the cuff on this young man.

COOPER: James, you know, when the police yesterday said, "Look, this is a case of workplace violence," a lot of people heard that and thought, "Well, OK. That sounds like it's somebody angry about, you know, some employment situation." We don't really know what went on. But there clearly seems to have been some sort of exchange between these two.

JAMES ALLEN FOX, LAW PROFESSOR: Well, they were co-workers in a sense. And, sure, this may not be your classic case of workplace violence when someone is angry about not getting a promotion or a raise, but, still, there are many issues that can come up in a workplace. This being somewhat unusual, a scientific research building.

But there are issues that likely arose between the two of them that may have been part of the precipitant here. We may not know -- know, but whether we call it workplace violence or not is really not an important issue.

I agree with Lou about the way this was handled. I was concerned with the fact about this use of person of interest over and over again. You know, going back decades, police would basically not share this kind of information with a media and a public that's swarming all about.

When a person is a focus of an investigation, that name, that identity should not be in the public. Once there's an arrest, well, that's fine. So I think that the release of his name and being all over the media is really premature. This has happened before where some innocent people have been unfairly named persons of interest.

COOPER: Lou, what's your -- I mean, when you're investigating a crime like this, do you need to know a motive? Or does that -- I mean, it's probably -- it's obviously a bonus. But you can -- you can catch somebody without knowing the motive ever, as long as there's physical evidence.

PALUMBO: That's correct. I mean, in a lot of times we never find out what the motives are. The most important thing is the apprehension.

The one thing I did want to mention in reference to this whole issue about person of interest, you know, if anyone goes back a little ways to 1996, with Richard Jewel and the Olympics in Atlanta. He was referred to consistently, I believe, as a suspect. And there was a tremendous amount of fallout to him personally as a result of that.

You know, part of this "person of interest" thing is a politically-correct way to label somebody that you're looking at them.

And the thing I do want to say also, Anderson, in defense of the police department, is that no one really understands or is aware any external pressures they may have been receiving from the mayor's office, for example, or a city council or any number of other entities that wanted this address. They wanted some information disseminated to the public to try to ease anxiety and fear without giving the whole ball away.

But, you know, bottom line is my real contention with this also dealt with them taking him into custody and then releasing him after they had probable cause. And the reason I know they had probable cause is because they had to go to a judge, convince this judge that he's an individual we should issue a search warrant, not only to search his home but to search his person. So they had a lot of information.

And I think the icing on the cake today was the conversation with Randi where the judge -- excuse me, where the chief said that this individual was not just a suspect but a prime suspect even prior to them locating...

FOX: That doesn't mean there is enough to make an arrest, though. I agree with you on most things. But the fact that they get a warrant for a search and for some body samples does not mean they have enough for an arrest. So I think that...

PALUMBO: I don't...

FOX: It's not clear.

(CROSSTALK)

PALUMBO: ... either. But I will tell you they had sufficient amount of information to take him into custody and interrogate him and take him off the street. And, you know, this whole tactic about trying to sweat him, so to speak, by following him and making him uncomfortable, it was very risky.

FOX: I agree with that.

PALUMBO: That's a clear-cut opinion I think a lot of people hold at this point. COOPER: We going to have to leave it there. Lou Palumbo, appreciate it. James Allen Fox, as well, thanks very much.

On Monday, we're going to take a look at the twisted obsession of Phillip Garrido. He may have had a missing woman and the two children fathered with her living in his backyard. But Dan Simon reports Garrido's most closely-guarded secret may have been his black box. Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): People who know him say in recent years Garrido had been talking more and more about God, the apocalypse. He demonstrated the device, a black box with head phones, to Tim Allen, a local businessman.

(on camera) He told you he was starting a new religion and had some revelation from God?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-huh. Yes. And then he also had a box. When he first brought it in, he said, "This box, you can hear voices from the other side. You can hear people telling you how -- what's going to happen and what's going to happen. What the future says."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: We'll show that you black box and the man accused of kidnapping Jaycee Dugard for 18 years. We'll show you what's behind that black box. Few have seen it. You'll see it on Monday. It's the launch of our weeklong series, "Prime Suspect."

Still ahead, new details in the Phillip Garrido kidnapping case. Why police believe human remains may be buried on the Garrido property and what they're doing to find them.

Also a Brooklyn teen's powerful journey of discovery. How a trip halfway around the world revealed a long-lost family secret that opens the door to a brighter future.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight, searching for who we are. It's something many of us have done, looking for our family roots, where we come from. But for many African-Americans, who are the descendents of enslaved Africans, it can be hard to actually trace the past.

Tonight, one Brooklyn teen, Donovan Rogers, learns his past. He was one of 30 kids to take a trip to Africa featured in the CNN special, "Black in America." But for Donovan, that was just the beginning. Last night, as his service with a group ended, he got another gift, his own past.

Soledad O'Brien has the story in tonight's "Uncovering America" report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In a Houston lab they're searching for a secret. They're looking for an answer to a question that haunts a 14-year-old boy in Brooklyn, New York. If successful, they'll be able tell him exactly who he is and where he comes from.

DONOVAN ROGERS, JOURNEY FOR CHANGE PARTICIPANT: All I know is that I'm Donovan, Donovan Rogers, 14 years old. That's it. I'm from New York.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now tell me why...

O'BRIEN: Though he didn't know it then, when Donovan met Malaak Compton-Rock a year ago, he was on his way to discovering his roots. Malaak runs a program to empower kids called Journey for Change. She took Donovan and 29 other Brooklyn teenagers to Africa to show them the advantages they have at home, letting them see firsthand how kids in Africa live.

To mark one year in her program, Malaak offered the kids DNA tests, a possible key to their past.

MALAAK COMPTON-ROCK, THE ANGELROCK PROJECT: I cannot think of a greater gift to give these kids than their genealogy. I think that any of us who don't know our ancestry, our heritage more than one or two generations feel a sense of not being complete.

O'BRIEN: Slavery has robbed many African-Americans of their family histories.

COMPTON-ROCK: My husband was fortunate enough to already do his DNA.

CHRIS ROCK, COMEDIAN: So he was in the service?

O'BRIEN: Her husband, comedian Chris Rock, says he fell into comedy as a 20-year-old. DNA tests traced his roots to Cameroon. More research showed he was related to a freed slave who fought with union soldiers. It was information he wished he'd had as a child.

ROCK: It would have taken away the inevitability that I was going to be nothing.

O'BRIEN: The kids began DNA testing a month ago.

COMPTON-ROCK: We need you to bite (ph).

ROGERS: All I know is that my grandmother, she had a dark complexion. My father has a dark complexion. Heritage is not a color. It's more of a cultural thing, like their religion and where they've been, what they've gone through. Black is not who I am and it's not what I'm going to be.

O'BRIEN: After years of wondering, Donovan and the other kids had to wait four weeks until they got some answers. ROGERS: It's like I have a heart in my body and my answer is inside of me, but it's chained up. Once that key is handed to me, who knows what could happen.

O'BRIEN: They could be disappointed. There's a chance that DNA tests won't give definitive answers.

(on camera) It's been a long wait. You're taking it well.

ROGERS: Yes. I'm jittery.

O'BRIEN: Yes.

ROGERS: Like this.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Weeks of waiting ends on this night before an auditorium full of people who have come to support Donovan and the other kids.

HENRY LOUIS GATES, PROFESS, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: All right. Guys, ready for the truth? Here it comes.

O'BRIEN: Dr. Henry Louis Gates of Harvard University was there to reveal the answers.

GATES: You are descended on your momma's side from the Temnes people in the country of Sierra Leone.

ROGERS: I'm complete now. I know more about me and where my ancestors come from. And now that I know this, I'm going to take it further and discover more of that culture, because that's who I am.

O'BRIEN: So what's next? Maybe another trip to Africa.

(on camera) Want to hop on a plane and go there?

ROGERS: Yes. I'm going to make a way. As little as I am, I'm going to make a way.

O'BRIEN (voice-over): Soledad O'Brien, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: No doubt he will make his way.

Up next, a new discovery in the case against Jaycee Dugard's alleged captor.

And former Miss California, Carrie Prejean, speaking in Washington today about how God put her in that pageant that made her a household name. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: To get a quick update on some other stories, Erica has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica. ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, we begin in California, where investigators searching the property of kidnapping suspect Phil Garrido have found another bone. They will run tests to see if it's human or animal. They've also removed five to six truckloads of debris as they tried to determine whether Garrido had any connection to the disappearance of two other young girls in the late 1980s.

And former Miss California USA Carrie Prejean says God chose her to speak out in opposition to same-sex marriage at the Miss USA pageant in April. The comment, part of a speech to a group of conservatives in Washington today. Prejean said she is proud of what she said, and she says God had a plan for her that day.

COOPER: Well, apparently, Erica, God did not have a plan for Wolf Blitzer.

HILL: Ooh, ouch.

COOPER: Yes. He went on "Jeopardy," and it wasn't pretty. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY": The name of this pasta, similar to penne, means little mustaches. Doesn't sound so tasty now -- Wolf.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: What is fettuccine?

TREBEK: No. I'm informed that you put an "S" on Julia Child's name. It's Julia Child.

BLITZER: Who is a defendant?

TREBEK: No.

BLITZER: Annotated?

TREBEK: No.

BLITZER: What is a crash?

TREBEK: No.

BLITZER: Jerusalem?

TREBEK: No.

Wolf, things have not worked out as well as we had hoped for, I'm sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Poor Wolf.

COOPER: Ouch.

HILL: Did he call you for counseling ahead of time?

COOPER: Excuse me. Yes, that made me laugh. No, he did not. You know, it's really all about timing and pressing the button. So I'm sure it wasn't about actual information.

HILL: It wasn't about knowledge. You know, that's very generous of you, Mr. Cooper, Mr. "Jeopardy" champion.

COOPER: Yes. I remember.

HILL: I don't know if you remember, but look at this little bit of tape we found.

COOPER: Oh, you have tape. Excellent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TREBEK: This diva, seen here, was renowned for her romance with Aristotle Onassis. Anderson?

COOPER: Who is Maria Callas.

TREBEK: Correct.

COOPER: What is Germany?

TREBEK: West Germany, correct.

COOPER: Who is Archie Bunker?

TREBEK: He's the one.

Canada is right.

COOPER: That's it?

TREBEK: That's it.

Yes, indeed.

You're the leader and the winner today. And that means your charity, Anderson Cooper, gets $50,000.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: All that, timing and the buzzer.

COOPER: Excuse me. Yes. I was -- you know, what can I say? I'm a "Jeopardy" champion.

HILL: You are.

COOPER: I'm hoping to come back this week year. They told me I might be able to come back on this year.

HILL: Really? COOPER: I'm going to avenge Wolf Blitzer on "Jeopardy."

HILL: I look forward to that. Maybe Wolf Blitzer then can come back with his band, and he can play the "Jeopardy" theme song for you.

COOPER: That would be good. The Monkeys. The original Monkeys.

HILL: Yes.

COOPER: On one other note, Erica. It is -- it's very, very good news for the folks at "LARRY KING LIVE" here in Los Angeles, bittersweet news tonight for us. Our crack producer, Jason Rovou is leaving us, leaving New York and heading west.

HILL: In his convertible.

COOPER: That's right. To join Larry King's team here in Los Angeles. Jason's been a part of our team for several years now. Incredibly hard-working, very smart, fun to be with. Sure, he could use a shave. But we hear the kids out west dig that sort of thing. So we want to say to Jason, thanks very much for all your hard work. And we wish you the best out west.

HILL: You will be missed.

COOPER: Coming up -- yes, he definitely will be. Coming up at the top of the hour, our breaking news: a man in Colorado admitting an al Qaeda connection. The question is, did authorities break up a terror plot involving targets in New York? We have late details ahead. Be right back.