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Wildfires Threaten Southern California; Senate to Issue Report on U.S. Intelligence; Solar Storm Bombards Earth This Week

Aired October 24, 2003 - 18:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Friday, October 24. Here now, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening.

Tonight, nearly 1,500 firefighters are struggling to contain a huge wildfire in Southern California, a wildfire that is threatening to engulf a heavily populated suburb of Los Angeles. The fire has already destroyed 4,000 acres of the San Bernardino National Forest. Officials say that fire is also threatening now power lines that supply 25 percent of the electricity to Los Angeles County, an area with a population of almost 10 million people.

Miguel Marquez reports from Rancho Cucamonga, California -- Miguel.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, we have been watching this fire all day. And I can tell you, just some dramatic happenings out here in Rancho Cucamonga.

This is the San Gabriel Mountains behind us. And that fire has just run up that mountain at an incredible speed, with flames just bursting out, completely up the mountain in a sort of chimney effect -- over 1,000 evacuations last night, about 1,000 today. We do have word that one of the neighborhoods here is back open to its residents, because firefighters were able to burn out everything that could burn near the neighborhood, and so allowed residents back into it.

What's driving this fire, winds. Santa Ana winds coming from the north-northeast have driven this fire overnight. It had burned for two days before this. But, overnight, it really took off. Firefighters expect two more days of those winds before they can get a handle on it.

I can tell you, on the structure side of it, the firefighters say that they have protected about 125 structures already today, that is, the fire was threatening them and they were able to keep it off of them. But there's another 300 to 400 structures that they're not so sure about. Firefighters also believe that this is a case of arson.

And resources, I can tell you, are pouring in from all over the area our here. Both fixed-wing and helicopters are on the ground here or in the air here. Choppers are fighting the fire. The fixed-wings, because of the wind, haven't been able to get to it -- Lou.

DOBBS: Miguel Marquez, thank you, reporting from Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Those Santa Ana winds, with gusts of 40 miles an hour, are pushing those flames towards suburban areas in Southern California. Many people receive very little warning of that fire's quick advance.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, let's get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Oh, my God! Get out of here. Oh, my God!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right. We're going -- we think we're going to move.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Santa Ana winds came in late last night. They were high level. And they started surfacing around 4:00 this morning, turned the head of the fire. And it has actually done a 180. It's come back on top of itself and it's come down into the foothills, bouncing into the houses in here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Even in these strong winds, you're still able to launch aircraft, to drop water on check on these fires?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. The big, heavy helicopters aren't buffeted as badly as the smaller ones. But the wind will increase to a point where they have to sit down because it will be too dangerous for them to fly.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What you're looking at, this is stringer video, John Caspar (ph) feeding it hot right out of his camera. And he said that this is a contract helicopter. And the flames actually overcame this helicopter earlier this morning. So this is one less helicopter that can be launched to fight this fire.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to leave.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, we have to leave.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll leave it up to the hand of God. Only the winds can tell us where we're going to be tomorrow.


DOBBS: And a political firestorm threatening now CIA Director George Tenet. The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing what is expected to be a scathing report about U.S. intelligence on Iraq before the war against Saddam Hussein. At issue is the intelligence that the president used to justify the war.

National security correspondent David Ensor reports -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Lou, as you say, the political pressure is growing the longer the team headed by the CIA's David Kay fails to find weapons of mass destruction.

And George Tenet, head of U.S. intelligence, finds himself on the hot seat, with some Republicans and committee staff charging that what he gave the president on Iraqi weapons was not good enough. Today, a senior intelligence official strongly defended the intelligence on Iraq before the war in an exclusive interview with CNN. Stuart Cohen, vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council, said, he fears all the political charges and countercharges may hurt the ability of U.S. intelligence in the future to tell it like it really is to a president.


STUART COHEN, CIA: I'm afraid. I worry constantly about their willingness to make the hard calls, when we're being second-guessed, second-guessed in a process that is much too early.

David Kay needs to be allowed to do his work. And when the time is right and when it is appropriate to reach conclusions, we will reach them and they will be shared with the public. U.S. intelligence has done its job and done it well.


ENSOR: Cohen rejected arguments by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts that the intelligence on Iraqi WMD was -- quote -- "sloppy" and did not serve the president well.

Senate sources also say their review of what supported the case made in NIE the document that was written under Mr. Cohen's oversight and their interviews with over 100 professionals suggest, the CIA relied too much on single-source information and circumstantial evidence about Iraqi WMD. But this evening, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts put out a statement, saying that the newspaper article today that suggested his committee is about to finish its report and has concluded that U.S. intelligence failed the president goes to far.

He suggested that his words have been taken somewhat out of context -- Lou.

DOBBS: In other words, these judgments are well premature, at least according to the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

ENSOR: Well, that's right.

They still have yet to hear from the intelligence community, with witnesses, including Mr. Tenet, explaining how they drew the conclusions that they did before the war. And, by the way, in talking to Mr. Cohen, they stand by those conclusions very firmly -- Lou.

DOBBS: There is obviously here, David, great room for criticism and even, perhaps appropriately, second-guessing. But, at the same time, what in the world do people expect of intelligence? It's all about circumstance, assessing a host of variables. It's very seldom direct intelligence, if you will, isn't it? ENSOR: Well, that's right.

And CIA officials, Mr. Cohen and others, point out that they weren't the only ones who had concluded, for many years, in fact, that Iraqi had a weapons of mass destruction and probably still had chemical weapons. The French thought so. The Germans thought so. The United Nations thought so, too -- Lou.

DOBBS: David Ensor, thank you very much, our national security correspondent, reporting from Washington.

The CIA director isn't, of course, the only member of the president's national security team who is facing mounting criticism on Capitol Hill. So is Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. His critics say Secretary Rumsfeld has mishandled the leak of a memo saying the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be a long, hard slog, in his words. Those same critics say it is the latest in a series of missteps by the defense secretary.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr has the report -- Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, at least the latest political two-step here at the Pentagon.

Now, that is, of course, the matter of general -- Lieutenant General William Boykin, the top intelligence aide that is under fire for making religious comments about the war on terrorism. Now, today, it all turned very political when the Christian conservative movement weighed in. Secretary Rumsfeld's personal office phone number was broadcast on a Christian radio program. And the phone calls started coming 7:00 this morning. The phone in Secretary Rumsfeld's office started ringing. It hasn't stopped all day.

And officials say most of the calls from the Christian conservatives, of course, were in support of General Boykin. But this is putting a lot of people in Washington in a very tough position. Senator John Warner, the powerful Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee from the state of Virginia, a state with many Christian evangelicals, of course, he has come out and said that Boykin needs to step aside -- Secretary Rumsfeld, holding firm to his position -- no matter what the political pressure, Boykin will stay in place. The two men had a private lunch today at the Pentagon.

Now, about that memo, of course, the other political two-step this week for Rumsfeld here at the Pentagon, the memo about the long, hard slog, about just how tough the war on terrorism is going to be, that, of course, provoking an unexpected appearance by the secretary yesterday here in the press room, where he defended that memo. Still, a lot of talk around Washington about that.

Now, Pentagon aides say there's really still nothing new that, the secretary has repeatedly said the war would be a tough proposition, other critics saying, maybe the secretary wasn't too candid in public and that the memo reflects his real views that there is a much grimmer outlook. But, no matter what, all of this also becoming a political controversy. Here's what one Rumsfeld watcher had to say today.


MICHAEL O'HANLON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It's a naturally difficult time, probably the low point of his tenure as secretary of defense. That means that his political capital is not as high. And, in fact, many Republicans are going to start to ask if he's even a net benefit to the president.


STARR: And, Lou, when you ask yourself where that long, hard slog stands at the moment, well, in Iraq, here are the latest statistics: 106 American troops killed since the war in Iraq, major combat, declared over by the president back on May 1, U.S. troops still facing about 25 attacks a day across Iraq.

But there is no indication tonight from the White House that President Bush is dissatisfied with Secretary Rumsfeld. And around the Pentagon, that's the only vote that counts -- Lou.

DOBBS: Barbara, turning to those two controversies, first, in sticking with the general, that's pretty smart in terms of the loyalty that any general or any officer or any enlisted person would want to see on the part of the secretary of defense, is it not?

STARR: Absolutely, Lou.

Officials around here, as uncomfortable as they may be about it, they point to the fact that General Boykin is one of the most decorated, most respected officers in the U.S. military for more than 30 years, serving in U.S. special forces in every serious covert combat mission around. He is very respected. And one of the key issues is, what message would it send if Secretary Rumsfeld moved him aside?

Special forces, often asked to go in harm's way, they want to know that they get political support, they get political top cover when the going gets tough.

DOBBS: And the general, in point of fact, said he was talking about the very radical Islamists that the United States military is trying to kill. There is something incongruous about worrying about political correctness, isn't there, in this mission?

STARR: This is a question that is very sensitive. No one has questioned whether General Boykin, as a U.S. citizen, as a military person, even, has right to express his personal religious views. There is no question he can say anything he wishes about his personal religious views.

The question on the table, the question that the inspector general is now looking at, General Boykin made these appearances in military uniform. He spoke about his professional military responsibilities. The question is, one, did he violate any rules? No one's very sure about that. But, two, as Senator Warner has said, did General Boykin use sound judgment when he made these comments at such a sensitive time, when the president has made it so clear that the war on terrorism has nothing do with religion? -- Lou.

DOBBS: Which is, in itself, I think, according to many critics, somewhat incongruous, since all of the terrorists that the United States seeks to destroy all have one thing in common. They are radical Islamist terrorists.

STARR: Indeed, Lou, radical terrorists, but the president, the United States, has continued to make the point that they believe that these people have hijacked, if you will, the religion of Islam to their own purposes and that they have nothing to do with the actual Islamic faith -- Lou.

DOBBS: Absolutely. But, again, the point being, they are radical Islamist terrorists. And this administration, for whatever reason, has been loathe to actually speak the name of the enemy of the United States.

Thank you very much, Barbara Starr, as always, reporting from the Pentagon.

The United States today praised other countries that have offered to give Iraq at least $13 billion in loans and grants. That is on top of $20 billion promised by this country.

But three countries are conspicuously absent from the list of donors. Those countries are France, Germany and Russia. All three countries have been, of course, vigorous opponents of U.S. policy in Iraq.

Kitty Pilgrim is here now and has the report for us -- Kitty.

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, the White House is putting a pretty good spin on this. They're calling the conference a success. But the worry leading up to it was, it would be a failure.


PILGRIM (voice-over): Seventy-three country attended the conference in Madrid, the biggest bucks coming from the United States, $20 billion promised by Washington. That's the single biggest chunk of the $33 billion in aid and loans promised over the next four years, short of the $56 billion estimated by the U.N. and the World Bank that Iraq will need.

COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: We are confident that security will improve in a manner that will permit the reconstruction to accelerate.

PILGRIM: A bigger issue is actually getting the money. E.U. Commissioner Chris Patten said there's a big difference between a promise and a payout.

CHRIS PATTEN, E.U. EXTERNAL AFFAIRS COMMISSIONER: We need to get the money out of the bank and into Iraq as quickly as possible.

PILGRIM: False promises have been made before. Less than half of the $5 billion pledged at an international donors conference for Afghanistan has turned up. The United States repeatedly upped its share to now more than $1.5 billion.

For Iraq, Japan pledged $5 billion in total. The European Union previously pledged $236 million. France and Germany pledged no additional money today. But Spain and Italy pledged $300 million and $235 million at the conference. Britain's contribution adds up to more than $900 million, the World Bank, $3 to $5 billion over the next five years, the IMF, $2.5 to $4.25 billion over three years.

There was a garage-sale aspect to the conference; 100 tons of tea pledged from Sri Lanka, $500,000 worth of rice from Vietnam. Iran pledged 100,000 tourists a month would visit the holy shrines in Iraq.


PILGRIM: Now, some contributions were in loans, not quite what was asked for, but the general feeling was the donors conference did better than expected -- Lou.

DOBBS: But not nearly as well as had been desired.

PILGRIM: That's right.

DOBBS: Kitty, thank you very much -- Kitty Pilgrim.

Coming up next: American troops in Iraq, they're there, many of them, without protective vests, while the Pentagon outfits foreign troops. Bill Tucker will have that report. Casey Wian will report on one Marine hero who says his bulletproof vest saved his life.

And a solar storm that has hit Earth's atmosphere, airlines and cell phone users feeling the effects. Astrophysicist Charles Liu join us.

And we introduce you tonight to three inspiring examples of "America's Bright Future." Tonight, we'll introduce you to a bright young artists and two young athletes who demonstrate why the future looks so promising.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: As many as one in three American troops in Iraq now doesn't have the latest bulletproof vest, vests that can stop bullets from assault rifles used by terrorists and insurgents.

The shortage of those bulletproof vests has almost certainly cost several American lives. And, incredibly, the Pentagon has reportedly offered thousands of the new vests to international troops before giving them to American soldiers.

Bill Tucker is here with the report -- Bill.

TUCKER: Lou, when it comes to the body vests, the interceptor body armor has no peer, which is why everybody wants it, as a matter of fact. But 45,000 American troops don't have them. And now comes word our own Department of Defense is issuing it to foreign troops before our own.



TUCKER (voice-over): The Army says it's on top of the situation now, seven months after going to war, six months after Congress approved $310 million to purchase interceptor vests. But, still, one- third of our troops in Iraq don't have state-of-the-art combat protect.

But, by December 3, the Army's now saying our troops will have interceptor body armor. In addition to the three original contractors, another three have been added to increase production to a maximum of 25,000 vests a month. But that does not answer the question, why weren't we prepared in the first place?

REP. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: A young soldier from my district, a West Point graduate, a gung-ho Army guy, not a complainer, but someone who just simply wrote me and said, "Congressman, my men are asking me why they do not have this protection." That was in May. And here we are in October and there is still no solution to this problem. It's outrageous.

TUCKER: Congressman Strickland has other questions he'd like answered, too, simply ones, ones that have laid unanswered since the beginning of the month in a letter to the Pentagon. How many soldiers have been killed or injured as the result of not having interceptor vests? And will the Pentagon assure the American public that Americans will get the vests before foreign troops?


TUCKER: And as much as we'd like to be able to answer those Pentagon questions by talking to them this afternoon, Lou, they didn't address them directly. And, unfortunately, we have no answers to those questions either, the Pentagon saying simply that these are matters of Central Command and then refusing to answer the questions that were put to them.

DOBBS: Well, good for Congressman Strickland trying to get the answers. Talking here last night with General David Grange, the military has opened up the number of manufacturers that they're buying the vests from, from three U.S. companies to six American companies. Is that correct?

TUCKER: That is correct.

DOBBS: All of those are American companies now manufacturing the interceptor vests for those troops? TUCKER: That is correct, yes. They're all American companies.

DOBBS: And do we have any idea of how long it will take to get those troops equipped?

TUCKER: December 3. They're at maximum production now, 25,000 vests a month. And the Pentagon will say that, by December 3, all U.S. troops will have the interceptor body armor vests.

DOBBS: And, as General Grange pointed out here last night, we have known for some years that we needed these vests, another question that has yet to be answered by the Pentagon.

Thank you, Bill Tucker.

A flak jacket saved the life of the Marine in our "Heroes" feature tonight. Marine Corps Private Joshua Doyle, was sent to fight in Iraq after major combat operations were ostensibly ended. He was there for just a short while, before an attack changed his life. Now he's struggling to rehabilitate his body and his mind and preparing for life after combat.

Casey Wian has his story from Corona, California.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Look at Joshua Doyle's face and you see youth. Look at rest of him and you see a body torn apart by an Iraqi land mine.

PRIVATE JOSHUA DOYLE, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I got there two months after the war has been officially over.

WIAN: The 19-year-old Marine Corps private served as an infantry tailgunner for original a month before he was wounded. Doyle was driving this Humvee on nighttime patrol near Baghdad.

DOYLE: All I remember is there's a really big explosion. My ears were ringing. I was looking around. And then everyone was screaming. I couldn't really hear nothing at all.

WIAN: His helmet and night-vision goggles were blown off his head, his M-16 blown out the door.

DOYLE: From there, I blacked out. And I woke up probably about two or three seconds later. And then we hit a berm and rolled over into a ditch. And I blacked out again. And I woke up all twisted up inside the Humvee. We were upside down. There was gas was leaking everywhere. My foot was still on the gas. The wheels were still -- my vest saved my life.

There was a piece of metal about this big stuck in the neck piece of my vest. There was blood coming out of my leg. My leg was twisted from like about here down. It was all twisted this way, under this leg. And my heel and my toes were about right here, under this leg. So the most pain I have ever felt was when they pulled me out of the Humvee.

WIAN: Doyle has undergone three surgeries and faces more. Despite almost daily physical therapy, he still can barely bend his knee and doesn't know if he'll ever walk normally. He's also battled nightmares. And a military psychiatrist has prescribed medication for post-traumatic stress.

DOYLE: He says I'm still pretty messed up, but I feel like I'm back to my old self.

WIAN (on camera): You still having nightmares?

DOYLE: Every once in a while. Like, if I see something bad on TV, like, if I see a car crash on TV or if I see something get blown up on TV, I'll have nightmares that night. I was afraid to drive on the streets because I was afraid I'd hit a land mine or get ambushed again. Just, for a while, I was afraid to get in a car again.

WIAN (voice-over): Home since August, his recovery has been helped by a family with generations of military service, including his mother.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's grown up a lot.

WIAN: The experience has helped repair his relationship with his father, who served in special forces during the first Gulf War.

Doyle's own Marine Corps future is uncertain.

DOYLE: If I'm not able to continue doing this, then I'm probably going to go to college and become a teacher. I want to become a history teacher in high school.

WIAN: One who can say he knows the president.

Casey Wian, CNN, Corona, California.


DOBBS: Coming up next, "Newsmakers." From hundreds of illegal aliens at Wal-Mart to the long, hard slog four in Iraq, to a market that didn't do quite so well this week, the editors of the nation's leading business magazines share their views on the week's news.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The federal government today refused to identify the name of the contractor or contractors accuse of using illegal aliens to clean all of those Wal-Mart stores. The government said that information is still under seal by a federal grand jury.

Federal agents detained about 250 illegal aliens when they raided 61 Wal-Mart stores in 21 states. Law enforcement sources say, however, several Wal-Mart executives and store managers knew the contractors were hiring illegal aliens.

For more on the critically important Wal-Mart raids and other major news of the week, we turn to our weekly feature, "News Makers," tonight.

I'm joined by Jim Ellis, the chief of correspondents for "BusinessWeek" magazine, Rik Kirkland, the managing editor of "Fortune" magazine, and Bill Baldwin, editor of "Forbes."

Good to have you all here.


DOBBS: Jim, were you surprised that Wal-Mart would have any association with any organization that might be employing illegal aliens?

JIM ELLIS, CHIEF OF CORRESPONDENTS, "BUSINESSWEEK": Well, I have to admit that we don't know yet that they actually knew that the contractors were having illegal aliens do the work. But there is quite a lot of pressure on Wal-Mart, as well as any other company now, to get a lot of those sort of selling costs down as low as possible. A lot of people are using outside contractors. And that's the problem. You can't say that the outside contractor is doing the I-9 or looking for the immigration forms, the way that a real company would.

RIK KIRKLAND, MANAGING EDITOR, "FORTUNE": Put it this way, Lou. Anything...



KIRKLAND: When you employ 1.2 million people, which is far and away the biggest employer in the country, anything that affects the labor market in the U.S., you're going to be involved in it.

And know companies, knowingly or unknowingly, are using illegal labor. And so Wal-Mart -- we'll find out what the facts are, as Jim says. But it doesn't surprise me that they would be targeted by the government. They're the big dog.

BILL BALDWIN, EDITOR, "FORBES": The interesting thing is that Wal-Mart's whole business model is built around getting cheap labor. Most of it is legitimate, its Chinese labor making American apparel. So this is just maybe part and parcel of that, lower your costs, look the other way.

DOBBS: Well, don't you think it's about time we got ahold of cheap labor as a solution

BALDWIN: Well, how about we legalize some of the people who are streaming across the border, so that they don't die in the desert trying to get here for our jobs?

DOBBS: You think that's the solution?

BALDWIN: Well, how about if we did that, but put limits on it and tighten the borders? How about if we tighten the borders, actually police them?


DOBBS: Are we talking about actually having a national immigration policy, Bill?

BALDWIN: How about a national identity card, electronic?


DOBBS: Let's take one step at a time.


DOBBS: How about first we take control of our borders? And it's just astonishing. And we have labor unions pushing for more illegal aliens in this country, while they -- as if they don't understand that the reason business is supporting these open borders and the lack of a national immigration policy is so they can keep labor costs lower.

Do you get that, Jim?

ELLIS: Well, actually, I understand That a lot of businesses want to have the flexibility to bring in workers that they might not be able to get here, either because the type of work is something That American workers don't want to do or it's the kind of work that they can't do.

That had been the argument back in the late '90 and 2000, when we went to bring in lot of tech workers on H-1 visas. Now we don't need those people as much. But, still, I don't think we're ready to say we've got to sort of close the borders off. We need workers.

KIRKLAND: We don't have a lot of unemployment here either. For all the one to two million illegals a year -- I'm not saying we don't need a policy. We do. But, you know, it's -- they are taking jobs from people who weren't going to take them anyway, in a lot of cases.

DOBBS: They're not going to take them at $5 an hour. At this point we have a $5.15 minimum wage in this country. Businesses fighting like the dickens every time you talk about raising minimum wage. We have a middle class that's being squeezed from every end. And the more illegal aliens that walk through the door -- or across the borders, the less pressure there is.

JIM ELLIS, "BUSINESSWEEK": This is going to be a bigger issue in the future simply because we're arguing about people who are doing low end jobs now. In five years this argument will be more about white collar workers, knowledge workers, college educated workers competing against people in India and South Asia.

BILL BALDWIN, "FORBES": Now it's a big issue. Next year's election it's a big issue. This outsourcing, we're talking, many millions of white collar jobs going to India and China over the next five years, even the next year. But I think we need more. I disagree with you on something, I think we need more H-1 immigrants.

DOBBS: More?

BALDWIN: I think we need more Ph.D's. I think we need more inventors in this country. They come here, get the M.I.T. Ph.D. go back to India and the entrepreneurial verve and power that comes from that...

DOBBS: There are so many misconceptions about this. I agree with you. I think everybody at this table would agree with you and probably everybody watching and listening to you. The problem is, I think they would probably think they would like to see more Americans have the opportunity to be educated in math and natural sciences and move into our colleges and universities and get those degrees.

KIRKLAND: That's the answer. You need -- also we need take money that we're currently spending subsidizing three industries of the future, agriculture, soft wood products, steel and spending it on things that might actually create wealth for a great number of people going forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like biotech for example.

DOBBS: Well, biotech -- how about, first, if we're going to subsidize anybody, why not subsidize the youth of this country. Make sure that the top students can get into the college or university which they receive an education?

KIRKLAND: Because you know, if we don't raise the H-1 visas and let more foreign workers come in -- and that debate is going on. They're just going to be able to use cheap broadband laid out by the late global crossing and do it in India anyway. So you have to think about this stuff holistically.

DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more. And I think outsourcing American jobs to India, to China, and the Philippines is as just as short sided as one can be here, because all it is is another ruse to maintain cheap labor costs for business.

BALDWIN: You'll find a lot of people like us are in favor of free trade, but there might be some connection to the fact that Wal- Mart, for the moment, has not found a way to import cheap business magazines from Shanghai. When that day comes, maybe we won't love free trade so much.

DOBBS: This free trade thing, it's wonderful to listen to the language here, it's Orwellian, free trade. We've got a half trillion dollar current account deficit. We're running a $120 billion trade deficit with China. I'm missing the free part.

ELLIS: We get a lot of benefit out of that especially with China. Talking about Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is responsible for about 10 percent of all of our current account deficit with China. And what that means is that we're able to have cheaper clothing, cheaper goods that the average consumer can go and save a lot by shopping at Wal- Mart, that's because Wal-Mart sources heavily in China.

Basically what they have done is, they have used China as their sourcing place to allow Americans to have a better life at cheaper prices.

KIRKLAND: I would argue the real Orwellian term is "fair trade" because that's always in the eyes of the beholder. It's fair according to my definition. If you're a real free trader, you at least just say don't have any barriers and may the best man win.

DOBBS: All right, best -- the best man or woman win. In this case, what we're talking about is not the best, we're talking about the lowest cost labor will win under comparative advantage in trade. What you're saying is the ultimate efficiency is the lowest labor cost in this country's middle class is going to get wiped out as a result. That's the full extension of so-called free trade. The U.S. trade representative, what in the world is he doing here?

ELLIS: What you have to think about is since the beginning of time industries have sort of gone through this ebb and flow. What happens is that we have to basically move away from these industries that are going to meet that kind of competition, continue to innovate and look for ways. It's the same way the steel industry was once something that we ran.

DOBBS: And now...

ELLIS: Now we don't.

DOBBS: And I was with you all the way right up until what Bill just said. Until we started shipping literally hundreds of thousands of high-valued jobs overseas.

It is good to have a little light conversation with the editors and journalists of great distinction from the three leading "Businessweek" and "Forbes" and "Fortune." Thank you, gentlemen, for being here.

And now that we've reached unanimity with you...


Well, Citigroup says predicting customer information -- protecting customer information is one of its top priorities, but the Foundation For Taxpayer and Consumer Rights has a somewhat different view. That group today try a unique way of protesting a piece of legislation before the Senate. The legislation would preempt strict state privacy laws with a single federal law.

Despite their best efforts to write the Social Security number of Citigroup, CEO, there it is, above the Manhattan skyline, mother nature chose to offer privacy to Charles Prince.

The California consumer group was able, however, to buy Prince's Social Security number on the Internet. They paid $30 we're told. They also the numbers of the Attorney General John Ashcroft and CIA Director George Tenet. The total investment of $90 and there is a number of some sort being formed in the sky high above Manhattan.

That brings us to the topic of tonight's poll, "Do you think there should be a federal law to protect your privacy? Yes or no." Cast your vote at We'll have the results later in the show.

The Concorde has flown into history. The supersonic jetliner completed its final Trans-Atlantic flight today, landing at London's Heathrow. Tonight's quote comes that flight, and we quote, "There are three great lady loves in my life: my wife Chris, my daughter Amy and the Concorde. There is only one of those I can control, and that is, the Concorde." No more. That quote from the man who piloted the last flight of the Concorde, Mike Banister.

Coming up next, call it perfect storm, an event that began on the surface of the sun. It is threatening cell phone service and satellites back here on Earth. We'll find out what else is threatened. I'll be talking with astrophysicist Charles Liu. Join us next.


DOBBS: A solar storm sparked by a giant explosion of gas and particles on the Sun struck the Earth this morning. It's threatening satellites, power grids, cell phones around the world. The storm, in fact, interfered with some airline and radio communications, but U.S. officials have not reported any major problems, at least not yet.

My guest tonight is an astrophysicist and is with the Rose Planetarium at the American Natural History Museum here in New York City. Charles Liu joins us now. Good to see you.


DOBBS: This solar storm is -- we're supposed to be in the, if you will, the nascent cycle of the 11-year cycle of solar flares, what's going on?.

LIU: Well, it's just unusual. It happens sometimes. Usually these things happen in solar max which passed in the year 2000. But people can't remember really the last time they had two storms of this power happen one day apart.

DOBBS: This coronal ejection, we're looking at the video, this is coming off of what we all talk about a huge sunspot. Huge sun spot on the surface of the sun. How big is it?

LIU: Each sun spot that sent off one of these coronal mass ejections is ten times the size of the planet Earth. You could drop 100 Earths in its area and have plenty of room leftover.

DOBBS: That is amazing. And as this energy, these particles are shooting out from the sun, how long does it take for them to reach earth?

LIU: Usually 24 to 48 hours, a couple of days.

DOBBS: And how long do we expect to be inundated with this enormous charge of energy crossing over from the sun?

LIU: Typically a few hours to a few days. Fortunately we're protected by our magnetic field so we see very little of it affecting us here on Earth. Mostly beautiful Northern Lights and possibly, as you said, communications problems and satellite problems.

DOBBS: We've heard of some problems today. They're not particularly huge problems. We have not, as we have in years past, as in '97 or 1989 had satellites knocked out, at least as far as we know.

LIU: Yes.

DOBBS: How powerful is this storm compared to others that we have experienced in the last decade or two?

LIU: Fortunately, this one is not so bad. Although the flux from the sun is very strong, the Earth's magnetic field is lined up with the sun's magnetic field in just such a way that the effects are mitigated this time around.

DOBBS: Good deal.

LIU: Yes.

DOBBS: We'd like to keep it that way.

LIU: We're just fine.

DOBBS: I can't have you here without asking you about the rediscovery of an asteroid, Hermes. It's been gone -- what? -- 66 years.

LIU: Yes.

DOBBS: How did you guys lose it?

LIU: They did it in 1937, 66 years ago this weekend, in fact, was when it was first found. It was moving very quickly. At that the time it was known to be 400,000 miles away from Earth. Gave everyone quite a scare. And we lost it. But now we found it again, so we know it's not going to hit us.

DOBBS: And we have nothing be afraid of?

LIU: Zero.

DOBBS: And it looks a little bit like these.

LIU: A little bit like these. These are actually models of the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, but Hermes probably has two components as well, orbiting around each other once every 21 hours and they're about the same size, maybe the size of Central Park. But they're not going to hit us. We're fine.

DOBBS: Again, good news. Charles Liu is always the bearer of good news and always educational. And we certainly appreciate your helping us understand these complex stories.

Charles Liu....

LIU: My pleasure.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

LIU: Thank you for having me.

DOBBS: Good to see you, Charles.

Coming up next, "America's Bright Future," the talented and motivated young people who inspire us all, who are responsible for our bright future. Tonight, we'll introduce you to a young artist who mastered realist painting before the age of 10. Peter Viles will have her story.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: All this week, we've introduced you to some remarkable and inspiring young people in our series of special reports "America's Bright Future."

Tonight, we introduce you a 9-year-old girl from Idaho who has mastered the art of realist painting. Her unique and very special paintings sell for as much as $25,000 a piece already.

Peter Viles is here now and has her story -- Pete.

PETER VILES, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT: Lou, all of the young people we have met this week have been remarkable in their passion and their achievement. But nothing prepared us for this 9-year-old who signs her paints simply "Akiane."


PETER VILES, CNNfn CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Self portrait at the age of 8. Akiane Kramarik is now 9 years old. This painting isn't finished, but it's already sold. The price -- $25,000.

How does this happen? How does a girl in a small town of Idaho teach herself how to paint like this?

AKIANE KRAMARIK, ARTIST: I don't know. God just gave me just right away. He knew that I was ready.

VILES: At the age of 4, Akiane gave her mother a present -- this image of an angel.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very special because there is something when I look at the eyes that I just -- every time it's different. It's flawless to me personally.

VILES: And then she began to paint -- the family dog, a tiger, a photograph she had seen in national geographic, the self portrait, and Jesus Christ. The model is a carpenter from Idaho.

There is more. She writes poetry.

KRAMARIK: Just a crumb God saved. For me it's a loaf. I'm turning like wind towards your love.

VILES: Agent Ben Valenty discovered Akiane this fall.

BEN VALENTY, AKIANE'S AGENT: It's not so much just her paintings. It's that she imbues her paintings with sort of a piece of her heart and a piece of her soul.

VILES: Her parents have nurtured her talents.

KRAMARIK: Ninety and then 90.

VILES: She is home-schooled with two older brothers, partly so she will have time paint every morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you really follow her from morning to night she seems like everybody else, except for that her passion is once (ph) that if someone else is going to the mall, she goes to the easel.

VILES: For two to four hours every morning, she paints.

KRAMARIK: I want to paint all my life. I want to write poetry all my life.


VILES: Now what sets Akiane aside from other child artists is that her paintings are realistic and so full of emotion. It is much more common for child prodigies to produce abstract art. Realism, Lou, of this quality in a child is extremely unusual.

DOBBS: When you -- when I saw the first painting that she had done, I am not sure what I was expecting. But to see this kind of detail, this flair was just incredible.

VILES: It is a gift. But one of the gifts is she works extremely hard on these paintings -- hours and hours, 75 hours on that painting of Christ.

DOBBS: Amazing. And a remarkable young lady.

Well, we have been talking about a lot of remarkable young people this week. And we will continue to do so on the show. The intellectual, the artistic accomplishments of the children we featured are an inspiration to all of us.

We also, however are inspired by other young people, also almost as much for their physical accomplishments that certainly are no less an inspiration.


DOBBS (voice-over): At 14, this young lady can hit the ball farther, straighter and with more consistency than most adult males.

Hawaiian native Michelle Wie has been playing golf since she was 4 years old. In 2000, at the age of 10, Michelle became the youngest person to qualify for a United States Golf Association amateur event. Two years later, she became the youngest player to qualify for an LPGA tournament. And this year she won the U.S. Woman's Amateur Public Links, becoming the youngest person to ever win a USGA adult championship.

MICHELLE WIE, GOLFER: Everyone thinks I should turn professional -- like, and they don't understand why I should -- I'm staying amateur right now. But I feel like I'm really happy where I am and I don't want to really rush being a professional because I know it's a lot of stress going out there and I'm really carefree right now. So I'm truly happy.

DOBBS: Mitchie Brusco rules an altogether different course. One laid out with half pipes and skid rails, but he does so with no less grit and determination.

Like most 6-year-olds, Mitchie is a dynamo of energy and motion. But unlike most other kids his age, Mitchie has corporate sponsorship, those sponsors racing to sign the pint-sized, skateboarding virtuoso.

But even with all of that corporate involvement, Mitchie hasn't lost sight of why he skates.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When you've worked really hard and you finally get something that you've been working really hard on, how do you feel?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE" What is the best part about skateboarding? What do you like most about it?

BRUSCO: When I learned a trick that I haven't done before.


DOBBS: Well, sportsmen, the arts, the sciences -- these young people who are demonstrating so much remarkable talent. We feel fortunate to have been able to introduce them to you. In the days and weeks ahead here we'll be introducing you to more of those represent this country's bright future. And, in fact, you can e-mail us if you have any suggestions about those you found particularly inspiring.

Tonight's thought is about children. "How beautiful is youth. How bright it gleams with its illusions, aspirations, dreams." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. One piece of personal news to share with you tone. We're wishing a fond farewell to a friend and long time colleague tonight. Jan Hopkins is leaving CNN after being part of our team after nearly two decades.

She's covered everything from the oil markets to the New York Stock Exchange and has been a part of this show since 1984. In 1987 her reporting during the market crash helped CNN win its first ever Peabody Award.

Jan also played a key role in helping to build CNN Financial News, the financial network. She even filled in here for me from time to time over the years. Tonight, we just want to say, thank you Jan, and we wish you all the very best.

Coming up next a shocking end to the trial of star investment banker Frank Quattrone. Christine Romans will have the story and a great deal more. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The preliminary results of tonight's poll, "Do you think there should be a federal law to protect your privacy," 94 percent of you said yes, 6 percent said no.

On Wall Street stocks managing to cut losses before the close, but losing nonetheless. The Dow down 30, the Nasdaq down 20, the S&P down almost 5.

Just blocks away in lower Manhattan a bombshell today in the trial of star investment banker Frank Quattrone. Christine Romans has the story.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN FINANCIAL CORRESPONDENT: This jury had been urged to go back to deliberations, Lou, but on the 18th day that it had been talking about what to do with Frank Quattrone, the judge finally declared a mistrial and told them all to go home.

Quattrone was accused of obstruction of justice for ordering staff at his former bank, Credit Suisse First Boston, to destroy documents. Now his attorneys said they were disappointed at this outcome. The U.S. attorney's office says no decision will be made on whether there will be a new trial and when, Lou.

DOBBS: And Putnam, more people being fired in the mutual funds scandal.

ROMANS: Four fired today. This has to do with these fund managers trading for their own accounts back in 2000 in some international funds they managed. Massachusetts top regulator called it a new low for mutual fund misconduct. Civil securities fraud charges against Putnam are expected as early as necessary week. And Massachusetts Pension Fund is considering firing Putnam as its fund manager. And, of course, we've already heard about market timing allegation by union members who had 401k's with Putnam. We'll see how this all unfolds. DOBBS: It's unfolding in the middle of a week in which a little more result.

ROMANS: First lower week for stocks in 4 here. We'll be closely watching to see if people will be pulling money out of some of these mutual funds.

But Microsoft, the culprit today, with its shares down 8 percent. Disappointment overall in the earnings reports. But Lou, two-thirds of the S&P 500 companies are reporting revenue growth 7.5 percent, almost 20 percent profit growth, best quarter sense 2000. So the market coming off this week, but overall a really good quarter for earnings.

DOBBS: So, we shouldn't be depressed about the week's performance?

ROMANS: Just a week does not a whole market make.

DOBBS: Christine Romans, thanks.

Taking a look at some of your thoughts from Keller, Texas, "I really like your content. It's timely and a great alternative to the right positions to Fox (fair and balanced what a joke) or MSNBC that is so left, it's annoying." That from Richard Schmitter.

And from Atlanta, Georgia, "I have heard an alarming report on your program referring to American troops in Iraq resorting to buying their own bullet proof vest. This is preposterous considering the fact that $370 billion was spent on defense in 2002. By the way, I really enjoy the program. Excellent reporting on the tough issues." Zack West, thank you very much.

And from paradise, California, "None of our representatives should get any raise as long as our soldiers are not even getting the supplies they need. Hurray for Senator Feingold." That from Barbara Sweeney.

From Gainesville, Florida, "Lou, I'm a great fan of your show, however, I'm deeply disturbed by your incredible phobia of illegal immigrants. As a proud American citizen, I thank and pray to God everyday for those who work in near slavery conditions so I can have thousands of cheaper products and services." That Bernado Bianco.

Well, Bernado, we wouldn't want anyone to have to work in slavelike conditions. And that's one of the reasons that we are very much opposed on this broadcast to illegal aliens crossing our borders. And we seek a national dialogue on a national immigration policy.

From Milwaukee, Wisconsin, "Mr. Dobbs, I recently became aware of your segment on America's bright future. Thank you for focusing on this subject. As role models, these young people can inspire our youth to better use of their talents." Edward Griesemer.

We love hearing from you. Email us at And that is our show for tonight. For all of us here, good night from New York. Have a very pleasant weekend. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" next.



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