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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Scientology: A History of Violence; Homegrown Plot Against America?

Aired March 31, 2010 - 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: Tonight and all this week, our series of special reports on the Church of Scientology, allegations by former insiders that the church's top leadership condoned, encouraged, even committed acts of violence, also, the denials just as vigorous from the church itself, which is blaming the violence on those former insiders -- two starkly different versions. Only one of them can be the truth. Someone is lying.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): First coming forward last year in "The Saint Petersburg Times " with allegations of abuse against church leader David Miscavige, Marty Rathbun and five other former high- ranking Scientologists have found themselves under vigorous attack by the church they once dedicated their lives to.

The former Scientologists are accused of working together to destroy the church. Tommy Davis is the church spokesman.

TOMMY DAVIS, SPOKESMAN, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: The church is going to defend itself. It's going to defend itself for its own sake, and it's going to defend itself for the sake of its parishioners. And the fact of the matter is, is these individuals are out there, and they're lying.

COOPER: Current and former senior Scientologists sent CNN dozen of declarations, e-mails and affidavits defending the church and its leader and attacking the credibility of those who have spoken out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you very much.

COOPER: In sworn affidavits, a number of church members make specific allegations against Marty Rathbun, including more than a dozen instances of physical violence.

(on camera): The affidavits are from people who -- who said -- within the church who said that the beatings and the physical abuse was not perpetrated by David Miscavige, but was perpetrated by you.

MARTY RATHBUN, FORMER CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY MEMBER: Right. Outright lies. I did some. And I didn't come in ever telling you I was the Little Lord Fauntleroy and never did anything wrong. I'm no angel. I'm going to tell you, I was involved in this. But, for God's sake, to try to make it sound like I perpetuated the whole thing is just a complete and utter fabrication. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: You can decide for yourself who to believe, but even these competing versions of what happened still raise questions that the public is entitled to know. What was going on in the church and why were the police never called to investigate? "Scientology: A History of Violence," that's tonight and all week just ahead.

But first up, "Keeping Them Honest" on a nationwide problem that is terrorizing and killing our kids. We're talking about bullying. Why isn't more being done to stop it? That's what the parents of Jon Carmichael want to know. Jon was just 13 years old. He was small for his age. And, of course, that made him a target for bullies at his middle school in Joshua, Texas.

Apparently, staff and students at the school knew what was happening, but nothing was done. This Sunday, Jon went to a barn and took his own life. He hanged himself, 13 years old. We are going to talk to his mom and dad in just a moment.

But what makes his death even more shocking is that we have heard of so many others like it, kids taking their own lives after months of harassment and worse. Earlier this month in northern Michigan, 12- year-old Kimberly Linczeski did something she had never done before during months of bullying. She actually hit back.

The school then sent her home. But that very same day, she died by self-strangulation. Then 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, we talked about her last night. She was also allegedly bullied until the day that she died, reportedly all the way up to her front door.

Last night, her school in South Hadley, Massachusetts, expelled a number of students. Nine others face criminal charges.

So, where are the parents of these bullies? That's what we're wondering. Where are the principals, the teachers? Why isn't this taken as seriously as it could be?

Tonight, we're "Keeping Them Honest," starting with the latest on Phoebe's case and Alina Cho.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the press release that some are calling a slap in the face. In the wake of 15- year-old Phoebe Prince's suicide and immediately following the indictment of nine classmates who allegedly bullied her, South Hadley Public Schools announced: "We have taken additional disciplinary action with an additional group of students. And they have been removed from the high school."

It looks like a proactive move on the school's part. But guess what? The students they're talking about are not the nine students who have been charged in Prince's death. That's because the school hasn't taken any disciplinary action against them. So, is the school now trying to look like it's on top of the problem that some say it completely missed? "Keeping Them Honest," we went to the school, looking for answers.

CHO: Hi there, sir. My name is Alina Cho. I'm with CNN.

DANIEL SMITH, PRINCIPAL, SOUTH HADLEY HIGH SCHOOL: We don't -- we're not allowing any media on the property...

CHO: OK.

SMITH: ... at this point.

CHO: You're the principal, right?

D. SMITH: I am the principal.

CHO: Yes.

(voice-over): The same principal who many say has been avoiding questions about what happened inside his school, why multiple faculty members allegedly witnessed Prince being bullied and did nothing to stop it.

This is his first television interview since the indictments against the nine teens were handed down. We asked him about the anti- bullying task force created following Prince's death.

D. SMITH: We're working through and revising our procedures and policies and so forth, yes.

CHO (on camera): And are you encouraged by the results so far? Do parents seem to be encouraged by the results?

D. SMITH: So far, I think we -- we are. I mean, we're working on that.

CHO (voice-over): On local talk radio...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rock 102. Good morning. Who is this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. My name is Al.

CHO: ... callers say that is not enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to make a statement that, I mean, I think the administrators should be held accountable for what's going on.

CHO: Not likely. Even though the district attorney called the inaction by school administrators troublesome, failure to act in the Prince case did not amount to criminal behavior.

But don't tell that to parents in this tight-knit New England community.

SUSAN SMITH, PARENT: They haven't apologized to this family. They haven't apologized to this community.

CHO: Susan Smith's son, Nick (ph), was a close friend of Phoebe Prince and a pallbearer at her funeral. She says parents have been complaining for years about bullying by students, and that the district didn't listen. Now it needs a fresh start.

S. SMITH: We have been saying from early on that the administration needs to resign. It's despicable.

CHO: The school district says it is conducting its own investigation, plans to meet with the district attorney, and will take disciplinary action based on any new evidence.

Back at South Hadley High School:

(on camera): But what do you say to all the parents who are outraged and who are calling for your resignation?

D. SMITH: At this point, I'm not going to talk any further.

CHO: Will you resign when your contract is up?

D. SMITH: I have no comment at this point.

CHO: And your contract is up in May, sir?

D. SMITH: I have no comment.

CHO: I hope you understand, we -- we just...

D. SMITH: If I need to, I will call the police, because there's no media on the property.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So, the nine students who have been charged -- and that's different than the ones who were -- were suspended last night, are those nine still in school?

CHO: Well, incredibly, Anderson, the assistant DA says that three of those nine students charged are still officially enrolled at South Hadley High School.

Now, keep in mind that none of these nine students have been officially expelled, even as they face criminal charges. But it's entirely possible, many parents say, that some or all of those students have left the school.

One highly placed source tells me tonight, Anderson, that he believes that all of the students have left voluntarily, ironically, because he believes these students who are charged criminally are afraid of being harassed themselves.

COOPER: Hmm.

Alina Cho, appreciate it. Alina, thanks very much. Let's dig deeper now into how this happens, I mean, almost in plain sight. And, frequently, both the victims and bullies are girls.

Rosalind Wiseman is the author of "Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World."

The book, by the way, was the basis for the movie "Mean Girls," right?

ROSALIND WISEMAN, AUTHOR, "QUEEN BEES AND WANNABES: HELPING YOUR DAUGHTER SURVIVE CLIQUES, GOSSIP, BOYFRIENDS, AND THE NEW REALITIES OF GIRL WORLD": Yes, it was.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: It seems to be like this is very different now. I mean, people say, well, look, this stuff has happened all the time. What's different now is -- is the computer allows the bullying to be not just in schools and not just on the way home, but 24 hours a day.

WISEMAN: Well, it is. But there's also a really big issue here. And this goes right to, how do we teach children to believe in adults, that they are competent, and that kids can take the risk to go talk to adults when they're having problems?

Because what we're dealing is, kids will say, well, this is just what happens every day. It's normal. And the adults say, OK, that's just what happens.

Well, just because it's been happening all the time, this is injustice. This is bigotry.

COOPER: So, what -- you actually worked in this school district in Massachusetts...

WISEMAN: I did, in 2006.

COOPER: ... on this very issue.

WISEMAN: Right, and trained people there. I did.

COOPER: What -- what can actually be done?

WISEMAN: Well, what can be done is that we can give teachers really concrete, very -- really concrete skills that say, this is what you do.

When you see a kid, for example, walking down the hallway, you're walking down the hallway and you see somebody being bullied, you don't address the target, because the target -- if you say, "Are you OK?" the target has no choice but to say, "Yes, I'm fine."

You address the person who is perpetrating it, and you are trained to know how to handle this, because it's a not just the kids in that moment. It's also the kids all over the hallway that see you. And what is absolutely clear to me is that, if we don't do this, then administrators look like they're incompetent and they are not running the school. The kids who have social power are running the school.

COOPER: And is that the case? I mean, do schools not get this? I mean, do they have this training at this point?

WISEMAN: I think some -- some administrators -- I work all over the place. Some administrators get it.

Some administrators feel like, oh, you know what? There's just too many tasks I'm trying to do. There's too many things I'm trying to do. And they don't get that this goes to the absolute core of what a school's sacred responsibility is to do. And it absolutely is absolutely connected to how kids can function in a classroom.

COOPER: And if a parent knows that their child is being bullied, what should that parent do? I mean, who does the parent go to at a school?

WISEMAN: Well, first of all -- yes. First of all, you say, I'm so sorry that this is happening to you. Thank you for telling me, because it registers that this is a huge risk that the kid is coming to you and telling you. Together, we're going to do something about it.

Now, the kid might say to you, OK, I don't want you to do anything. Don't say anything.

The parent needs to say, look, I cannot promise this to you. We have to find somebody maybe who can help us with you. But I can promise you, you will never be surprised by the person I bring in.

And then they are going to sit down and figure out who is the non-useless, non-clueless adult in the community, in the school that can help? Because there are counselors who are great and there are counselors who are incompetent. And we have got to get to a place where the banners that say "Be kind" are taken off when we actually give competent programs to children, so they believe that what we do matters.

Otherwise, kids will not take the risk to reach out and do something and help themselves and help us solve this problem.

COOPER: Well, we have got to leave it there, Rosalind. I appreciate you joining us. Thank you very much.

WISEMAN: Absolutely.

COOPER: Good advice there.

As always, there's additional information online at AC360.com. You can actually read a sample from Rosalind's book "Queen Bees and Wannabes."

You can also let us know what you think. Log on to the live chat at AC360.com.

Coming up next, we're going to talk to the parents of Jon Carmichael, the 13-year-old boy who hanged himself just this Sunday. We will talk to them about what can be done to stop bullying before another tragedy happens.

Also tonight, with former insiders speaking out about violence they say they witnessed inside the Church of Scientology, the church saying they were the violent ones, tonight, we investigate why the police were never called.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: "Up Close": We're talking tonight about the estimated 160,000 kids in America who say they stay away from school some days because they don't want to endure the terror of bullying and the pain that doesn't go away even after the immediate torment stops, kids like Jon Carmichael, who took -- took it and took it, until he simply could not go on.

His parents, Tami and Tim, join us now, along with their pastor, the Reverend Lara Whitley.

Tami and Tim, I'm -- I'm so sorry for your loss. And I appreciate your strength in being with us tonight.

What happened to -- to Jon? How long did this bullying go on for?

TAMI CARMICHAEL, MOTHER OF JON CARMICHAEL: Since seventh grade.

COOPER: And what sort of bullying -- what did people -- what did people say to him?

TAMI CARMICHAEL: I don't have a clue of what the sayings were or anything. I just know that he got his books knocked out of his hands and things, and pushed up against the walls and the lockers.

TIM CARMICHAEL, FATHER OF JON CARMICHAEL: He was put in a dumpster. And my wife went to eat lunch with him one day. And, after she left, they jumped him and forced his face into a toilet.

And it just -- it just needs to be stopped. You need to open your eyes to it.

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Teachers need to open it up and look at what's going on. And they do it where the cameras aren't shown. They know where to go, where they can do this to these children and not be seen. And they say, if it's not on the camera, an adult doesn't see it, they can't do anything about it. The teachers need to broaden their...

COOPER: So, the school was saying they didn't know about it?

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes. Yes. They had no clue, supposedly, when I went up there Monday and had a meeting with all of his teachers and his counselors. COOPER: And you...

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes, they said they knew nothing.

COOPER: And you knew about this, but -- but -- but he didn't want you to do anything about it because he was afraid it would get worse, right?

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes, exactly.

TIM CARMICHAEL: Yes, exactly, because -- right. He thought they would retaliate more.

COOPER: Do you have any idea what...

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes.

COOPER: ... what the final straw was, I mean, what pushed Jon to take his own life?

TAMI CARMICHAEL: No. No. No. I have no clue.

TIM CARMICHAEL: I would ask him everyday how school went. And...

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes.

TIM CARMICHAEL: ... he would say it was OK...

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes.

TIM CARMICHAEL: ... it was OK, even though, in his heart, he knew it wasn't.

COOPER: Reverend Whitley, what -- what -- what has this done to the community? A 13-year-old boy, this is -- this is -- it's just -- it's un -- it's unspeakable.

REVEREND LARA WHITLEY, CARMICHAELS' PASTOR: Yes.

There's been an incredible community response, an outpouring of love, and a lot of people asking the question that really is unanswerable, the question of why, but a lot of people beginning to really talk about the issue of bullying and how we treat one another.

And I think that, in the midst of the tragedy of Jon's death and the recognition of how much pain he was in, people are beginning to realize, in this community, at least, that our -- our words and our actions have consequences, consequences that we may not realize in a given moment, but that are far-reaching.

COOPER: And, Tami, that's your message to parents out there, to teachers out there, to -- even to other kids out there who may be watching, that -- that this has got to stop, this has got to be taken seriously? TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes. Yes. And if the students see it, they need to report it. They need to do something to protect these children, yes, please, yes.

COOPER: Tami, what was Jon like?

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Jon was a wonderful child. He was a straight-A student. He loved his family. He spent 90 percent of his time with his father and I, just doing things around the house, or going to the movies, going to the parks and museums.

And he was our heart and soul. He was my husband's best friend that he no -- no longer has anymore. He's not only our child, but our best friend.

COOPER: Well, Tami and -- I'm so sorry for your loss. I mean, I have lost a brother to suicide, and I know it's -- it's -- I mean, it's just -- it's an inexplicable thing. And, in this case, just to lose a child at 13, it's -- it's -- it's unthinkable. And I appreciate your strength in being with us tonight...

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes.

COOPER: ... because I know you want to get the message out to other parents out there and to other kids how important this is.

So, Tim and Tami, thank you very much.

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Yes.

TIM CARMICHAEL: You're welcome.

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Thank you.

COOPER: All right. I wish you strength in the months and years ahead. Thank you.

And -- and, Reverend, thank you for being with us as well.

TAMI CARMICHAEL: Thank you.

COOPER: Coming up next: the Hutaree militia in New York and new details about it from the federal informant who infiltrated the group.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: In "Crime & Punishment" tonight: new information, some of it quite surprising, about those members of a militia group accused of plotting to wage war against the U.S. government and murder federal police officers.

Now, eight of the suspects shown here were in a Detroit courtroom today. They all pleaded not guilty to charges alleging they were attempting to launch a violent revolution against the U.S. Now, their group, which they call themselves the Hutaree, authorities say its members view law enforcement as the enemy and believe armed conflict is the only way to destroy them.

Now, this is the leader of the Hutaree. His name is David Stone. Now, according to court documents, Mr. Stone certainly voiced very bad intentions and he certainly had a big enough collection of weapons to do some damage.

But some of the details in the indictment make this group out to be, well, not exactly brain surgeons. Stone and his followers, including his wife, Tina and son Josh, wanted to create a country carved from four Michigan counties and then defend it as the one world order.

They allegedly had gotten information about making bombs off the Internet. Only, they made theirs with cardboard tubes. And though they did have some explosive material, they did not have any filled with shrapnel. And prosecutors also reveal they had audiotapes of the suspects that made clear their plot.

In apparent conversation between Josh Stone and Tina Stone, his mom, when Tina told her son he needed to find work, Josh Stone allegedly says to her, "I can't get a job; I'm preparing for war," to which his mother allegedly replies, "Well, I'm preparing for war, too, but I still have a job."

Special investigations correspondent Drew Griffin is at the -- correspondent -- joins us now.

Drew, was this group a real threat?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, I don't want to minimize what the prosecutors say these guys said.

The undercover agent infiltrated this group, trained with them. They certainly looked really scary. But as the details, the onion began to get peeled back, there was a lot of just unbelievable stuff said today about how dangerous this group might have been had they had the capability to begin their own country and fight a war with the new world order that would come racing to try to get them.

But -- but, deep down, I really -- after being on this story for like three days, I don't think these people had the capability to do much at all. You know, several details in this case talk about how, you know, they couldn't get the bomb-making material, they couldn't get the bombs to work.

The undercover agent actually had to assist them in trying to help them to show them how to make these things. All their information and their planning basically came from the Internet. And they put it all on the Internet. So, it was all there for anyone who wanted to take a look to see.

COOPER: Because it does seem like, a lot of times, there are these stories, they make a lot of headlines. You know, they certainly cause a lot of attention. And then, as it -- as the details emerge, it seems like there's an undercover person in there, and, as you say, oftentimes, we have seen that undercover officer has had to kind of help them along in their plans to get them to a place where they may be operational.

I mean, I'm not -- I don't know that that's the case in this one. Other than, you know, voices on a tape and what sound like sort of half-baked plans, is the feeling that prosecutors have enough to convict these people?

GRIFFIN: It sounded to me like there was a lot of hateful and dangerous talk, killing a police officer, burning down a police officer's house and then shooting the police officer and his family when they came out the door, right?

But there was no specific plot, no specific police officer they were going after. It sounded just like a bunch of crazy talk. After the court hearing, I asked the prosecutor when he came out the door, "Look, the attorneys say this is nothing but just a bunch of bad talk."

Here's -- here's what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: I mean, the attorneys are arguing you really don't have anything other than people expressing their free speech.

RONALD WATERSTREET, ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, we have a public information officer who would be probably the best person to discuss the matter.

GRIFFIN: Can I ask you just one factual matter? The 37 guns confiscated, were any of them illegally obtained or illegal?

WATERSTREET: As I said, I don't want to try the case out here on the courtyard -- I mean, the courthouse steps. The best place is in the courtroom. So, I don't want to go into any facts that haven't been presented. And the best way, if you need information, is to go see our public information officer.

GRIFFIN: Is this going to be a...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Well, the facts are, Anderson, that they did confiscate 37 guns, but they aren't charged with having any illegal possession of guns. They did confiscate some bomb-making materials, or material that could be used to make bombs. But, again, there are no bomb charges here.

It's a conspiracy case. The attorneys, the court-appointed attorneys, all say, look, this is a free speech case, and that's what it's going to come down to when this gets into the courtroom -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, we will continue to follow it. Drew Griffin, appreciate it. Drew, thanks a lot.

Coming up: A former insider speaks out about the Church of Scientology. He says he was attacked. The church says he was the attacker. Tonight, we will hear what the church says about the charges and why the police were never called, as our investigation into Scientology continues.

But, first, some important stories we're following.

Joe Johns has a 360 news and business bulletin -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a daylong conference at the United Nations secured major promises of long-term aid for Haiti. More than three dozen nations pledged nearly $10 billion to help the quake-battered country recover, the U.S. promising $1.5 billion.

Two bombs exploded in Russia's southern republic of Dagestan, killing at least 12 people. Police said at least one suicide bomber was involved.

Meantime, a video released online -- a Chechen rebel leader says he personally ordered Monday's deadly bombings on Moscow's subway. Those attacks killed at least 39 people.

Stocks fell today, but posted a strong first quarter. The Dow ended the quarter up 4.1 percent, its best first quarter since 1999 and its fourth straight quarter of gains. The S&P is up 4.9 percent for the quarter, Nasdaq 5.7 percent.

And British researchers say they have found evidence that toads may be able to predict earthquakes. The witness -- the scientists witness a mass exodus of toads from a breeding colony in Italy days before a magnitude-6.3 quake struck. Every single toad left the area. A day after the quake, they started coming back.

Tells you something about nature, huh?

COOPER: Yes, amazing, that.

All right, Joe, it's time for our "Beat 360" winners. It's our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than the one we can come up with for a photo that we put on the blog every today.

So, tonight's photo: a trader at the Chicago Board Options Exchange signaling offers in the S&P 500 stock index options pit.

Staff winner tonight, Tom Foreman. His caption: "Yes, two burritos, one for me and one for Lyle Lovett here."

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Lyle Lovett.

JOHNS: Cute, Tom.

COOPER: I got it. Lyle Lovett is behind him there. OK.

Our viewer winner is Adam from Chicago, his caption: "I have got Dick Cheney on line two. Who wants a million on Halliburton?"

(LAUGHTER)

COOPER: Adam, your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. Congratulations.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: All right, still ahead: President Obama ripped his opponents on the campaign trail when they said, "Drill, baby, drill," so why is he now pushing for more drilling in U.S. waters? We're "Keeping Them Honest."

Also tonight, the 360 special report on Scientology: Former members say they were beaten by the leader of the church. A Scientology spokesman responds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVIS: The church is going to defend itself. It's going to defend itself for its own sake, and it's going to defend itself for the sake of its parishioners. And the fact of the matter is, is these individuals are out there, and they're lying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, are the former members lying, as he said, or is the Church of Scientology hiding the facts? We will let you be the judge -- ahead on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: President Obama today drew cheers from big oil and left environmentalists crying foul with these words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, we're announcing the expansion of offshore oil and gas exploration. But in ways that balance the need to harness domestic energy resources and the need to protect America's natural resources.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, you heard right: Mr. Obama unveiled plans to open large areas of U.S. coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. Now, the plan includes lifting a 20-year ban on drilling off the Virginia coastline. It would also allow drilling in a big expanse in the Gulf of Mexico and in parts of the Arctic Ocean.

"Keeping Them Honest," though, tonight, how does that stack up against what the president promised before he was elected? Tom Foreman looks at the record.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president's plan to open vast new coastal waters for oil and gas exploration in much of the east and the south and far north, too, brought immediate fire, even as he insists it fits his strategy to move toward a greener energy supply.

OBAMA: The only way this transition will succeed is if it strengthens our economy in the short term and the long run. To fail to recognize this reality would be a mistake.

FOREMAN: "Keeping Them Honest," that does not sound like the Barack Obama from the campaign trail.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We'll drill here and we'll drill now. Now, you can chant. Drill, baby drill.

FOREMAN: Back then, he ripped his Republican opponents over the emphasis they put on new drilling as a key to energy independence.

OBAMA: We can't simply pretend, as Senator McCain does, that we can drill our way out of our problem.

We can't drill our way out of the problem.

If we started drilling today, the first drop of oil wouldn't come for another seven years.

FOREMAN: He insisted oil companies had enough unused, unexplored acreage.

OBAMA: If they don't use it, they should lose it.

FOREMAN: While the administration has slightly cut back on the length of some oil and gas leases, as a practical matter, nothing has come of that campaign threat. To the contrary, the American Petroleum Institute is now generally pleased with the president's stance, and environmentalists are howling.

MICHAEL BRUNE, SIERRA CLUB: It takes us a step in the wrong direction right at the time the administration is doing so many good things on clean energy. One spill, one tiny spill off the coast of Delaware or in Virginia could easily contaminate much of the entire seaboard. This is -- this is not something that I think most of the American public supports, but it's clearly not something that our country needs right now.

FOREMAN (on camera): But beneath the campaign headlines, there was some fine print in candidate Obama's speeches. Time and again, he said in the short term, domestic oil production would have to be stepped up. And he signaled that he might be willing to strike a deal with Republicans on drilling to bring them on board for his broader energy plans.

(voice-over) Will it work? For his part, John McCain tweeted after the announcement, "Drill, baby drill. Good move."

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Let's get an insider briefing now from senior political analyst David Gergen.

So David, is this about politics?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think so, Anderson. The national security advisor to the president, Jim Jones, has studied energy for a long time, is absolutely convinced that this is a matter of national security. We have to become more energy independent.

Others are very worried that, as economies get back online, they grow again, that the price of oil and energy stocks will go way up and crimp the recovery.

So there are big, strong, persuasive reasons. I think it has political repercussions. Tom Foreman said the overwhelming emphasis of the Democratic Party was to hiss and boo when Republicans said "drill, baby, drill" at their convention. The president did say, in fine print, "I'm going to do that."

And I think what we're seeing here, Anderson, is what he said, again, in the State of the Union just this January, that drilling offshore is part of a broader, more comprehensive strategy on his part. I don't think there's a big surprise on the substance.

I think the surprise to me, Anderson, is that he didn't, as he promised, use offshore drilling and nuclear power as bargaining chips with Republicans to get them to come on board, not only...

COOPER: Because the assembly has to take up the energy bill. If the president wants concessions from Republicans, you would think he would try to use that as kind of a bargaining chip?

GERGEN: Exactly. He's already now made peremptory concessions on nuclear power and on oil and gas. It's not clear what he was going to get from Republicans back in terms of price, from that point of view. I thought he would get them to come on board not only with wind and solar and other renewables, but they might get them to come on board with some modest form of what's called cap and trade in the utility industry. That's what Congressman Markey thinks may be more doable in this environment.

But I have to say, Anderson, all of this is -- points to the fact that we're on the front edge of a sweeping transformation of energy overall for this country, and that oil and gas, this offshore drilling is a bridge to a very different future.

Just in the last couple of years, Daniel Yourkin (ph) was pointing out, the energy expert, that we've made major advances in technology. So we have -- now have access to vast pools of natural gas, in shale, that was not easily accessible to us before. Bill Gates has gotten very interested in nuclear energy and safe nuclear energy, new technologies for that. And beyond that, Anderson, 20 percent of the faculty at MIT is now engaged in energy research.

COOPER: Twenty percent?

GERGEN: That kind of -- 20 percent. So not the -- the president is very proud at MIT that they...

COOPER: So what does that tell you?

GERGEN: All of that says, there are going to be new discoveries, the likes of which you and I haven't seen before in our lifetimes that are going to begin to transform, over time, our -- the energy landscape. But for now, what President Obama is saying, we need a bridge to that future, and this is the oil -- the offshore is a bridge to that future.

COOPER: Interesting. David Gergen, thanks very much. Insider briefing. David, appreciate it.

We have the maps of the offshore drilling area in the U.N. on our Web site. Go to AC360.com and check it out.

Coming up, the Church of Scientology. They say former insiders accusing their leader of violence were themselves the violent ones. But if that's true, was the head of the church told about the violence? The church says it wasn't necessary for him to know. We're asking why as our special investigation continues.

And later, the fatal killer whale attack on a SeaWorld trainer. Remember that? Well, the autopsy report was just released today. We'll tell you the findings, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Over the last two nights, we told you about allegations of physical abuse made by former high-ranking members of the Church of Scientology against the church's leader, David Miscavige. Now the church not only denies all those allegations but says they come from people who are working together to destroy the church, and the church says one of the people making allegations was demoted and then removed from his senior position precisely because he was violent.

Well, tonight, how even the competing versions of what happened ultimately raise questions that the public is entitled to know. What was going on in the church, and why were the police never called to investigate?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTY RATHBUN, FORMER MEMBER, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY: In late '03, there was a beating every day. And if it wasn't him doing it, it was from him inciting others to do it to others.

COOPER: In front of other people? RATHBUN: In front of other people.

COOPER (voice-over): Since first coming forward last year to "The St. Petersburg Times" with allegations of abuse against church leader David Miscavige, Marty Rathbun and five others, former high- ranking scientologists, have found themselves under vigorous attack by the church they once dedicated their lives to. The former scientologists are accused of working together to destroy the church.

Tommy Davis is the church spokesperson.

DAVIS: The church is going to defend itself. It's going to defend itself for its own sake, and it's going to defend itself for the sake of its parishioners. And the fact of the matter is, is these individuals are out there, and they're lying.

COOPER: Current and former senior scientologists sent CNN dozens of declarations, e-mails and affidavits defending the church and its leaders and attacking the credibility of those who have spoken out.

The church says former construction manager Tom Devocht was violent and wasted millions of church dollars during his time with the Sea Organization, the church's religion order.

They alleged former spokesman Mike Rinder physically attacked his subordinates and say former marketing manager Jeff Hawkins has attended rallies with an anti-scientology movement called Anonymous, which protests against the church.

Most of the church's affidavits specifically name Marty Rathbun, who they say assaulted members of the Sea Organization on numerous occasions.

(on camera) The affidavits are from people who said -- within the church who said the beatings and the physical abuse was not perpetrated by David Miscavige but was perpetrated by you.

RATHBUN: Right. Outright lies. I did some, and I didn't come in here ever telling you I was Little Lord Fauntleroy and never did anything wrong. I'm no angel. I'm going to tell you, I was involved in this, but for God's sake, to try to make it sound like I perpetuated the whole thing is just a complete and utter fabrication.

COOPER (voice-over): In sworn affidavits, a number of church members make specific allegations against Marty Rathbun, including more than a dozen instances of physical violence. One person writes she witnessed Rathbun hitting a colleague, quote, "about the head and in the face, while yelling at him."

Another writes Rathbun, quote, "walked into the office and appeared upset with me," adding, "He suddenly punched me in the stomach."

And his own ex-wife says Marty Rathbun lives for war.

(on camera) People, many of them who you know very well, they all say David Miscavige is kind. They say he's hard-working, that he's a passionate man who's done really nothing but good for the church.

RATHBUN: They will say anything they need to say, Anderson.

COOPER: Current senior members of the Sea Organization say that, while their former colleague, Marty Rathbun, was repeatedly violent, for many years, none of them informed the church's leader, David Miscavige.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That guy had a streak of violence.

COOPER: On four occasions between 2000 and 2002 to you, Mr. Starkey, as well as at least five incidents in 2001. So that's nine incidents between 2000 and 2002.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marty Rathbun is gone. When we found out he's out of the church.

COOPER: No one's answering me why David Miscavige was not informed for several years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me just finish.

Mr. Miscavige was not informed for several years.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Miscavige was not there.

COOPER: He's not there, but you have telephones. There are fax machines, e-mails? Why wasn't anybody informed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, when somebody blows up like a Marty Rathbun and called you something, you don't immediately pick up the phone and call the leader of a world-wide religion.

COOPER: Well, you had four years to do it here. So no one over the course of four years informed David Miscavige that a high-ranking member of his church was mistreating people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we have -- there's something you don't understand.

COOPER: You can say yes or no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Marty Rathbun was not in a top position when that happened at all.

COOPER: Well, he was -- he was a member of the Sea Organization. He was important enough to have an office next to you. Nobody informed David Miscavige this was going on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the point, is that when -- the point is that, when Mr. Miscavige was informed, Marty was removed. That's what matters.

COOPER (voice-over): There's no physical evidence proving the former scientologists' charges just as the affidavit supporting Miscavige and attacking his critics also cannot be verified.

But surprisingly, although they disagree on who was perpetrating it, both sides describe a work environment inside the church where punching, choking, kicking as a means of discipline and intimidation occurred on numerous occasions, and no one ever filed criminal charges or even called the police.

Tommy Davis is the church spokesman, and Monique Yingling is an attorney for the church.

(on camera) How is it possible that a member of the church could assault a dozen people and nobody come forward about it and nobody file any charges? How come the church didn't file any charges if, in fact, Marty Rathbun was really beating people up?

MONIQUE YINGLING, ATTORNEY: People did come forward about it, and there were reports written, as Mr. Davis pointed out. And the reason that there were reports written was because it was very untoward. There may have been some people who decided they didn't want to report it, and they suffered it in silence. But there were, indeed, reports written.

COOPER: So why didn't the church then decide to proceed with charges? I mean, aggravated assault is -- it's a felony; it's against the law.

YINGLING: The church treated it as internal matter, and he was disciplined internally.

COOPER: You said that Marty Rathbun beat people more than a dozen times. You said Mike Rinder has beat people and that was known. Apparently, at the time, at least some of it was known at the time.

And yet, that seemed to be acceptable behavior in the church and no charges were ever filed against any of these people. It seems remarkable if, in fact, that is really the truth, unless the opposite is true and their charges are true and it was the head of the church who was doing these beatings, in which case, it would make sense that no charges would be filed or no one would come forward.

DAVIS: Well, they were removed. The point is, is that they were removed. The choice of the individuals who were attacked whether to file charges or not is completely their choice.

COOPER: This is so abhorrent to scientology's beliefs, beatings, why then -- it doesn't seem that it was taken all that seriously?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It absolutely was.

DAVIS: It was taken very, very seriously.

COOPER: I mean, if my boss started to beat me up here, and the head of TimeWarner said, "Oh, you know, we're going to deal with it as an internal matter, I mean, I think that would be pretty shocking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the thing. The point is, is that when it was discovered, he was disciplined and he was removed.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, David Miscavige, the chairman of the board of scientology, rarely meets the news media. He's not done a news interview since 1998. We've offered many times for Mr. Miscavige to appears on 360 for the series, but his spokesman, Tommy Davis, ha declined for Mr. Miscavige. Our invitation is still open. We'd love to have him on the record.

Tomorrow night on 360, what hopes to those who leave the church and speak out.

You can go to AC360 to watch parts one and two of our investigation. Again, our series continues tomorrow and Friday night.

Coming up next, getting to the truth behind Climate Gate. A new development involving the controversy over global warming, and it involves the scientists who leaked e-mails -- whose leaked e-mails triggered the uproar.

And later, the shock, declawing the claw game. We've all played this annoying game, but how do you actually master it? How do you win? Tonight, you can watch a kid show us how.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: All right. Let's go to Joe Johns. He joins us again with a "360 Bulletin" -- Joe.

JOE JOHNS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Anderson, new details on the SeaWorld tragedy. The autopsy report on the trainer who was fatally attacked by a killer whale was released today.

The medical examiner said Dawn Brancheau sustained traumatic injuries to her head and body. The report also said she drowned. Branchau was pulled under water last month by Tilikum, a 12,000-pound whale.

Jesse Jones is entering rehab. What's what a representative for Sandra Bullock's husband tells People magazine, Elle Leopantao says Jamaes checked into a treatment to deal with his personal issues. He moved out of the home after four women said they had affairs with James.

A never development over Climate Gate. The scientists accused of data tampering to heighten the threat of global warming is cleared of all wrongdoing, but British lawmakers, who make that decision, murdered all information all research is to be made public.

And heated out of a fortune. That's what one Colorado woman says after winning more than $42 million on a penny slot machine, or so she thought. The casino said the jackpot was a mistake. They called it a glitch, and gaming authorities are investigating. The woman wants her money. So far, all she got was a free breakfast. And Anderson, I would be bitter right now. COOPER: Can you imagine seeing that, winning that and then being told it's a mistake. There's got to be some sort of a gaming law that doesn't allow it, I would think.

JOHNS: Surely, a little check, maybe.

COOPER: You would think. Or a couple million. Throw a couple million her way.

JOHNS: Suffering.

COOPER: Pain and suffering.

All right, Joe. For tonight's "Shot," conquering the claw machine. This game has infuriated me for years. you see it at fairs and amusement parks. You try to use a crane to try to grab a toy or a gadget from the machine. It's some sort of a scam, I'm sure.

This is a tutorial we found on YouTube that actually offers tips and solutions on how to get the goods. The advice is helpful. I should look at it myself. I've actually never been able to get anything.

But there really has to be a better way to grab the prize. And we think one toddler has come up with the best method. Take a look. This is the "The Shot" tonight from FailBlog.org.

The kid is crawling into the machine. And then he -- look, he's inside the machine. Oh, yes, and they're like, "I better put the drink down," and the kid is picking all the toys he wants. I love this. Then they pull him out. Oh, well.

I hope he at least got a couple toys when he left. And Mom yanks him out. Kids, do not try this at home. Could be dangerous.

JOHNS: Hazardous.

COOPER: Yes. And adults, don't try this at home.

Joe, thanks very much for everything. We'll have more news at the top of the hour. Be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Tonight and all this week, our series of special reports on the Church of Scientology. Allegations by former insiders that the church's top leadership condoned, encouraged, even committed acts of violence.

Also, the denials just as vigorous from the church itself, which is blaming the violence on those former insiders.