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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Terror Suspect Admits Ties to al Qaeda; President Responds to Race Claims; Michelle's New Mission to Push for Health Care; Tracking a Murder Suspect; Teenager Traces His Roots

Aired September 18, 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: 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 his third straight day of questioning by Federal authorities possibly -- and we say possibly -- in connection with the 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 have you 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's 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 travelled 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 targets 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've 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. The story, of course, coming as it does us right after an audio tape believed to be from Osama bin Laden.

Jeanne, just on the details of this, the authorities are saying he has ties to al Qaeda or 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've got to say I am -- and I think there's a lot of people -- who are very sceptical when they hear about these kinds of raids or arrests. Oftentimes kind of on further inspection it turns out to be just a couple of guys sitting around talking, who never have any access to any weaponry or anything.

PETER BERGEN, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, well, we've 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 intercepts -- 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 we've seen don't have that tie.

And finally, another thing that is kind of unusual about this case is that this is an Afghan. Actually, there are very few Afghan members of al Qaeda. And I think this 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 just surprising it hasn't radicalized more Afghans living in the United States. And this may well be the case in Zazi's case if these 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 and the last several years, I mean, the training camps at 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 travelled there in 2008. So it's not unheard of. But it is quite unusual.

COOPER: I men, in his case, it 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 actually get access to al Qaeda in Pakistan.

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

MESERVE: We have absolutely no idea, Anderson, to be frank. We know they've 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 Kabul, we've seen it I think in Lahore. Small groups of even sometimes lightly armed people doing multiple attacks at once, not just suicide attacks, not just IEDs, but people kind of taking over buildings and kind of paralyzing a city.

BERGEN: Yes, there has been a trend in 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 Zazi's, you know if he had a plan similar to that. But the tie to al Qaeda is certainly worrisome.

COOPER: All right. Peter Bergen and Jeanne Meserve, appreciate it. We'll continue reporting on it.

As we said, he's in custody right now, apparently talking to Feds. Any developments in this hour, we'll let you know.

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

Up next, President Obama's new push on health care. He's 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'll 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 he launched an all out [AUDIO GAP] 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 CORRESPONDENT: The president could no longer avoid talking about it: race. It came up in interview after interview; this one with CNN's John King.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now there are people out there who don't like me because of my race I'm sure there are. That's not the overriding issue here. I think there are people who are anti-government, you know. I think that there are -- there's been a long standing 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 pretty similar of the things that was 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, you know, were pretty vicious as well.

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

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. 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 emotions despite the depth of our beliefs. That we can have these kinds of debates, important political debates without doing so in a way that makes anybody feel uncomfortable.

JOHNS: 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 vote from last week.

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

WILSON: I appreciate very much President Barack 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 at the wrong time.

JOHNS: Asserting that if you 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 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 heard what Joe Wilson had to say. Is this conversation over now? I mean is next week the story actually going to be about health care?

JENNIFER PALMIERI, 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, you probably will turn back to health care. And you know, it is -- I'm sure the White House is...

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

PALMIERI: No. 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 it a little. You know, 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 people to suggest that it is, is that alienates people. And that you know so, it doesn't actually help the Democrats politically to think 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 clearly is convenient that this card of racism is often played when they get down to the bottom of the deck and 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 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 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's also that question of bringing in the Democratic base. They've 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 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 that say we need to have this discussion just not right now.

COOPER: Jennifer, 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 seems to be...

PALMIERI: Yes...

COOPER: ...churning the waters.

PALMIERI: Yes, I was also surprised to see that she was particularly emotional about it. And I think that shows I don't think that there is any sort of political motivation in what she was saying. That you know, her own personal experience in San Francisco when Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone were assassinated.

I mean, it's -- I found it very telling that she chose to speak out about it in 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 think the president doesn't want this debate to be divisive. And I think that's why -- and I also -- they also don't believe it's true. 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...

COOPER: Absolutely.

PALMIERI: ...the exact same kind of protest.

COOPER: Tony, do you believe...

PALMIERI: I mean this is about politics.

COOPER: Tony, do you believe that race plays any role in some of the criticism that's been directed toward the president? I mean, you see the signs of him portrayed as a witch doctor. Do you think it's any different than what we've normally seen in past years?

PERKINS: I mean there may be some of that out there. I'm not going to deny that there might be some. But it's miniscule and I have not seen it in any of the town halls or events that I've 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, there was no real outrage or last fall there was no real outrage from her with the violent response after that.

I'm very concerned 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 those who are expressing themselves against these big government policies like health care takeover.

So I'm more troubled about her statements than I am the statements about racism.

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

PALMIERI: Yes -- I really don't think so. I think that that was a -- it was a very personal reaction from her. It is it not in her -- you know, it's not in Democrats' political interest 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 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 the political -- in past years.

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

COOPER: We've got to leave it there...

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

COOPER: Jennifer Palmieri, Tony Perkins and Joe Johns, thank you very much. I appreciate it. And 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'll also hear from Democratic first lady -- former first lady Hillary Clinton, now Secretary of State, about what she says of the health care battle today.

Also, the alleged Yale university killer: find out how early in the investigation police actually began suspecting him. Also "Dig Deeper" into the controversial choice authorities made to wait and tail this guy instead of picking him right up.

We'll 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 an 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 CLINTON, 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 interest 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 OF THE UNITED STATES: 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 ANALSYT: 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 pre-existing 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 is a very fundamental difference. Hillary Clinton was charged with running the health care reform efforts. Mrs. Obama is taking a much more traditional first lady venue. One is initiating and one is supporting.

HILL: Even conservatives see the benefit.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: A smart political move on the part of the Democrats. Michelle Obama is the popular Obama. Democrats have had a lot of success with the gender gap. Driving female votes on the care giving, nourishing issues.

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

M. OBAMA: We have to be what, fired up and what? 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 her 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 he'd ever lost his job. How they would deal finding more insurance with this pre-existing conditions. So that she said it's something that's 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 have you got?

HILL: Anderson, we start off in Iran where President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is rallying against Israel again, as Iran celebrates their pro-Palestinian Day. Speaking to a crowd at Tehran University, the conservative leader once again declaring the Holocaust is a myth and called the, quote, "Zionist Regime an insult to human dignity."

The comments of course, coming also Jewish people across the globe begin to celebrate Rosh Hashanah (ph) 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 will 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, 15.2 percent.

Finally, let's en on an up note for you with the "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 scalp, face, back, and arms. Two off duty fire- fighters 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 apparently.

So, Erica, do you know about your roots? Would you know where your ancestry comes from?

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

COOPER: Yes. You're a mutt, 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 got this story that I want you to see about a one young man tracing his roots. And you're 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'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

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

Here is Randi's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAY, 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 move even before they found Annie Le's body. Chief Lewis says he knew Clark was the prime suspect.

The head of the unit, Lieutenant John Valeka (ph) 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 tactic. 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 was distraught.

(voice-over): 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 Yale's 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: I asked the chief of police about that today. He wouldn't really say much about that swipe 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, 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. 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 on to the computer, they would know how long he was there and when he might have logged off and left the building. Really, they say 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 crime experts: criminal justice professor James Alan 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 do 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 more in the murder of Yale grad student, Annie Le. A suspect, as you know, now in custody, Raymond Clark, the lab technician who worked with Le, charged with the killing. He didn't 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: You know, 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: We 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 Alan 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, it's 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 it with 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 ALAN 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 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: Yes 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 of 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: ... there's an ipso facto there 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 Alan Fox, as well, thanks very much.

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 shanty towns 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.

C. 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 come -- you move your body (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 it, 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): Has it 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, PROFESSOR, 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.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Let's get a quick update on some other stories, Erica has a "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we begin in California, where investigators searching the property of kidnapping suspect Phillip 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 -- Anderson.

Hey that does it for "360." Thanks for watching.

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