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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Iraqis Have Mixed Feelings About Elections; Questions Raised About Syrian Cooperation; Congress Raises Objections Over IBM Deal With China

Aired January 27, 2005 - 18:00   ET

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


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
LOU DOBBS, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a campaign of violence, insurgents escalating their attacks in Iraq. Two more Americans killed. U.S. forces striking back at the enemy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the last 30 days, we have pressed the insurgent hard, ruthlessly.

DOBBS: A leading member of the House Armed Services Committee calling for hearings into the Pentagon's secret spy unit. Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher is our guest.

Red star rising: three of the most powerful members of Congress intervening in the sale of IBM's personal computer business to China. They say the deal could threaten our national security.

Celebrities and illegal aliens. Now, there's a combination. Are some high-profile stars putting their own interests ahead of the country's? They're lobbying to give illegal aliens the right to drive, legally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our drug smugglers would like this bill to pass because that will enable them to get a California driver's license.

DOBBS: Actor Mike Farrell says what's the big deal? We'll find out tonight when he joins me for a frank and open discussion.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Thursday, January 27. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion, is Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening.

Tonight American military commanders in Iraq are declaring they will pursue terrorists and insurgents hard and ruthlessly. American troops in Baghdad today moved out to forward operating bases, there to protect Iraqi voters from the insurgents' escalating campaign of violence.

Two more American troops were killed today. A Marine was killed in a mortar attack south of Baghdad. A soldier was killed in an accident. Jeff Koinange reports from Baghdad.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A last-minute campaign blitz, as candidates in the predominantly Shiite town of Najaf canvass the city. These are supporters of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution, part of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, which expects to do well in this weekend's election.

The alliance has the blessings of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Shiite spiritual leader who lives in Najaf. Al-Sistani has urged his supporters to turn up in numbers on election day and to refrain from taking revenge against the mostly Sunni insurgents.

Those insurgent attacks continue with more explosions at schools that are due to be polling stations on Sunday.

And in Kurdish northern Iraq, a suicide bomber commandeered a tractor and detonated in the gates of the Kurdish Democratic Party, killing five. And in Taramiyah (ph) in the Sunni triangle, a roadside bomb exploded just after the U.S. convoy passed, killing two Iraqis.

Despite the violence, the Baghdad neighborhood of Adamiyah (ph) is getting into election mode, even as the ever-present U.S. military swings through in its armored vehicles, and the voters' shopping list is familiar.

"We only want security," says Mohammed Jabbar (ph). "If whoever wins the election will bring security, we will be very happy."

Others are more cynical. "This election is controlled by the Americans, and the evidence for this is there," says Ahmed Hassan (ph).

Among one of the Iraq's many minorities, its small Christian community, there's a simple wish.

"Whoever will rule Iraq should do so, but he needs to be a good and honest person who loves Iraq, who is fair," says Aiman Victor (ph).

(on camera) Fairness and love are two things Iraqis haven't witnessed in a long time. Some, at least, are hoping against hope that Sunday's election will at least be the beginning of the end of the chaos.

Jeff Koinange, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: Yesterday, the deadliest day for our troops in Iraq since the war began nearly two years ago. Among the casualties were four U.S. Marines killed in a fierce firefight with insurgents in a town northwest of Baghdad. Reporter Jim Dolan and photojournalist Joe Tesaro (ph) of New York's WABC were with those Marines when insurgents ambushed their convoy. They shot this dramatic video of the insurgent attack.

Insurgents blasted the Marines with rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and assault rifles. The Marines responded with devastating counter fire, but four Marines were killed when a rocket- propelled grenade hit their vehicle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The casualties we took last night, our wounded and our KIAs is something that we carry with us forever.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOBBS: There's no word tonight on the number of insurgents killed or wounded in that firefight.

Iraq's national security adviser today declared that Syria is failing to stop terrorists and insurgents from crossing the border into Iraq. The Iraqi officials said some members of the Syrian security services are even collaborating with the insurgents.

The official's remarks came one day after President Bush warned Syria not to interfere in Iraq's elections.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr records.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin meeting in Moscow this week to discuss their economic and military ties, Syria possibly looking to buy more arms.

The meeting comes as the U.S. military continues to watch Syria, trying to determine to what extent Assad may be granting official sanctuary to Ba'athist leaders of the Iraq insurgency. Syria says it is not helping the insurgents.

FAROUK AL-SHARA, SYRIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: If they are crossing the Syrian border, they are crossing the Syrian border against the will of the Syrian government, no doubt about this.

STARR: The region's top U.S. military commander recently offered his views.

GEN. JOHN ABIZAID, COMMANDER, U.S. CENTRAL COMMANDER: I won't go so far as to say that they have the blessing of the Syrian government, but the Syrian government can certainly do more to control their activities on their soil. We know this for a fact.

We also know without any doubt that Syrian borders are being used by foreign fighters as -- as the crossing point into the insurgency.

STARR: Senior military officers see some progress.

LT. GEN. JOHN SATTLER, 1ST MARINE EXPEDITIONARY FORCE: On the Syrians have really stepped up on their side of the border to go ahead and ensure that any cuts through the berms were filled back in, and to ensure that they have more active, proactive patrols working -- working the Syrian border from the Syrian side.

STARR: A senior defense official says the next step may be sharing intelligence and providing Syria with communications gear for its border guards.

The U.S. still warns there is a long way to go, recently moving to shut down alleged financing networks inside Syria.

RICHARD BOUCHER, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: When Syria's taken what we think are positive steps, whether it's cooperation with us on al Qaeda or some of steps they've taken with Iraq to improve the situation along the border, or returning some assets, we've pointed to those.

STARR (on camera): U.S. military officials say until Syria can control its own borders and what goes on inside its country, the shelter for the insurgency will likely remain.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: The United Nations is not well known for either its flexibility or its speedy decision-making, but a comment last night by one of its bureaucrats on Iraq has forced the U.N. to beat a hasty retreat.

As we reported here last night, U.N. bureaucrat Carina Perelli provoked a storm of protests when she declared our troops in Iraq should not be handing out leaflets to Iraqis, urging them to vote.

And as I pointed out, the bureaucratic arrogance of the United Nations had not exceeded her statements in some time.

Just hours after her statement, the United Nations said Perelli misspoke. The U.N. secretary-general's personal spokesman said, "Perelli's role was to brief the press on the technical preparations for the election and that she did not intend to criticize the U.S. military."

You will note that the United Nations spokesman did not offer an apology for Perelli's misstatements.

No apologies from IBM about its plan to sell its PC business to a Chinese company that is controlled by the Chinese government, but there's rising anger on Capitol Hill about that deal. Powerful Republicans are demanding a full review before American computer technology is handed over to China.

Christine Romans reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There is another hitch in IBM's plan to sell its PC business to a Chinese company.

Three Republican committee chairmen want a full review of the billion dollar-plus sale of intellectual property and technology to China. And they want more scrutiny of the unprecedented transfer of 25 years of IBM research and development to the Chinese government.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow, Congressmen Duncan Hunter Henry Hyde and Don Manzullo asked for more time to determine whether the deal is a threat to national security.

"Given the relationship between so-called 'private companies' in communist states and their government, there should be a broad review to ensure that there are no adverse national security ramifications of the sale."

They're worried about transferring U.S. corporate assets and export controlled technology to China. And they fear some U.S. government contracts involving IBM's personal computer division could be infiltrated by Chinese spies.

Concerns about the deal have been building for six weeks now.

RICHARD D'AMATO, U.S.-CHINA COMMISSION: There are parts of the Chinese government's policies that we think are dangerous, particularly in the proliferation area, and, certainly, any kind of high technology that they get is going to be used by the government for whatever purposes they're involved in. So there are all kinds of ramifications for us.

ROMANS: IBM says it is following all the normal and routine procedures in the review of this transaction.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: Now those procedures include a national security review underway by the powerful Committee on Foreign Investments. Lou, that committee has until the end of the month to order a full-blown investigation, just a few days away. More and more people in Washington want that full investigation.

DOBBS: The -- certainly, IBM thought this deal was a done deal. I'm sure Lenovo as well. The fact that these three very powerful congressmen have stepped in -- this all but assures that there's going to be a serious review of this deal, doesn't it?

ROMANS: This is kicking up some dust in Washington, indeed, Lou.

DOBBS: Perhaps the beginning of an awakening in Washington?

ROMANS: We can only hope.

DOBBS: We'll be able to find out in the weeks and months ahead.

Christine, thank you.

Well, Mexico -- Mexico's double standard. Why the United States has issued a travel warning for Americans in Mexico, and why the Mexican government has come up with a response to that warning that is -- well, we normally would say truly unbelievable, but, after all, we are talking about the Mexican government.

And a former high-ranking Bush administration official who says the Republican Party is headed in altogether the wrong direction.

Those stories coming right up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Mexico's government appears to be testing its limits for hypocrisy and double standards. The Mexican government officials frequently criticize the United States for the way Americans treat illegal aliens in this country.

But, incredibly, the Mexican government is not prepared to accept any comments by the U.S. government about the escalating crime wave along our border with Mexico. That crime wave has led to the abduction of at least 27 American citizens along the Mexican border over the past six months.

The State Department has now issued a travel warning to Americans, but the Mexican government today declared the United States has "no right to interfere in Mexico's affairs."

Those comments coming from Mexico's Interior Minister Santiago Creel who recently met with Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Creel, obviously, believes he has the upper hand in this relationship with the United States. You may remember that Tom Ridge said at that meeting -- Ridge declared he likes to think of Creel as his amigo.

Well, state lawmakers are increasingly taking action to crack down on illegal aliens in this country. One Oklahoma State senator has now proposed tough, new legislation that targets employers who hire illegal aliens. The legislation would, for the first time, impose harsh penalties on those employers.

Lisa Sylvester reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Oklahoma, the median income is $8,000 below the national average. The poverty rate in 2003 was at 16 percent. Good jobs are become increasingly hard to find. That's what motivating Democratic State Senator Tom Adelson.

TOM ADELSON, OKLAHOMA STATE SENATOR: We're in danger of having just a permanent underclass stuck in poverty wages that can't move themselves up because employers will simply increase the supply of labor. SYLVESTER: Adelson introduced a bill that would for the first time make hiring illegal workers an unfair labor practice in the state. Companies could lose their corporate charter, be barred from state contracts, prohibited from deducting any wages to illegal aliens from their state taxes and they could be sued by laid-off Americans who are displaced by illegal workers.

DAN STEIN, FEDERATION OF AMERICANS FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM: All over the country now, people are going to be seeing laws like this. People have had enough, and they want to take it to the employers who have been the ones who have been defending this system and making everybody else deal with the consequences.

SYLVESTER: Critics say if this bill becomes law, it will make groceries more expensive, dampen the tourism industry and slow economic growth.

TAMAR JACOBY, MANHATTAN INSTITUTE: Half of the new workers in recent years -- in some industries, 90 percent of the new workers in recent years -- are immigrants. Without them, the economy wouldn't be growing, and not just those industries, but all the industries that -- and businesses that depend on them.

ADELSON: To the extent that people believe in free markets, I do, too, but it is not a free market to artificially or illegally increase the supply of labor through illegal immigration.

SYLVESTER: Adelson's bill is aimed at not only protecting Oklahoma's workers, but also the local companies that do not hire illegal workers and have been at a competitive disadvantage.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: A separate proposal seeks to increase the number of customs and immigration agents assigned to Oklahoma. The state has an overall population of 3.5 million people, but only 12 immigration agents -- Lou.

DOBBS: Do we have a sense yet, Lisa, of how likely that this legislation will become law?

SYLVESTER: The State Senator Adelson -- he is extremely optimistic that this will move forward through the legislature, but it remains to be seen what happens after that. One of the things that he does have going in his favor is that public opinion seems to be on his side, Lou.

DOBBS: As it is across the country on the issue of reforming our immigration laws.

Lisa Sylvester, as always, thank you.

Senator Dianne Feinstein today introduced bipartisan legislation that would reimburse state governments for some of the $13 billion they are spending incarcerating illegal aliens. The proposed legislation would raise federal funding for state reimbursement programs, a program that required federal assistance expired in October.

Feinstein's proposal would reinstate that program and raise funding from the original $500 million to nearly $1 billion over the next seven years. Senator Feinstein says the goal is to remind the federal government to fulfill its duties and to remove the burden from the state governments.

Senator Feinstein will be our guest here tomorrow night to discuss her new proposal.

Congress is also considering legislation that would stop illegal aliens from obtaining driver's licenses in this country. While that effort is now underway, another high-profile group is pushing to legalize licenses for illegal aliens. A group of Hollywood celebrities, in fact, now saying illegal aliens have earned the right to drive.

Casey Wian reports from Los Angeles.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An ad this week in Daily Variety says illegal aliens deserve as award, specifically a California driver's license. It's called a civil rights message to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from the entertainment community.

The ad nominates this woman, purportedly an illegal alien, for best nanny in a supporting role. It quotes her saying, "I am trusted every day to use my hands and my heart to nurture and care for children who are not my own, but I'm not trusted with a license to drive a car."

Thirty-two names are listed, including Danny Glover, Diane Keaton, and former Screen Actors' Guild President Ed Asner. He dismisses the idea that terrorists could take advantage of an illegal alien driver license bill.

ED ASNER, ACTOR: A terrorist has no problem at all getting fake I.D. up the wazoo. They have millions and millions. These poor immigrants have nothing but the desire to work and earn a living.

WIAN: The Oscar-nominated writer of "Million Dollar Baby" is himself an immigrant from Canada.

PAUL HAGGIS, SCREENWRITER: I think we owe it as a country to be compassionate, and we don't owe it to them to make their lives that much more difficult and to make it impossible for them to drive their kids to school or their -- to go to work.

WIAN: Supporters of illegal alien driver's licenses, who include many local law-enforcement agencies, say they would improve highway safety and national security because of fingerprinting and proof of identity requirements.

Opponents counter that fingerprint data would not be shared with federal authorities, and acceptable I.D. cards include the Mexican matricula consular which are easily forged.

RON PRINCE, CO-AUTHOR, PROP. 187: Our drug smugglers would like this bill to pass because that will enable them to get a California driver's license, a valid California I.D., by showing nothing more than a consular I.D. card from Mexico.

WIAN: Because of those concerns, the only actor who really matters in California politics, the governor, remains opposed to any illegal alien driver's license bill, until the proof of identity issue is involved.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WIAN: As for the nanny in the ad, she's not even a real illegal aliens, which goes to show that Hollywood is usually much better at dealing with fiction than reality -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much, Casey.

Casey Wian reporting from Los Angeles.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. The question is: Do you believe issuing illegal aliens driver's licenses is a matter of immigration, national security policy, both or neither? Cast your vote, please, at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results alter in the broadcast.

We'll have much more on this issue of driver's licenses for illegal aliens coming up later. Actor Mike Farrell will be here. He's one of the sponsors of that ad that ran in Daily Variety. He says it makes good sense to give driver's licenses to millions of illegal aliens. He'll be here to tell us why. We'll have a full and frank discussion.

Also ahead, a former Bush Cabinet member who says the Republican Party has taken a dangerous turn to the right. I'll be talking to the author of "It's My Party, Too."

And "Rush-Hour Horror." New information tonight about the man who's now accused of causing the California train crash that killed 11 people and injured more than 100 others.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANNOUNCER: LOU DOBBS TONIGHT continues. Here now for more news, debate and opinion, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: In just a moment, I'll be talking with a former Bush Cabinet member who says now she's building a grassroots movement to take back a moderate Republican Party.

But, first, these stories.

Remarkable new pictures tonight from the United States Navy of the submarine USS San Francisco. The San Francisco slammed into an underground mountain earlier this month while underway, reportedly near 500 feet in depth.

The nuclear submarine is in dry dock in Guam. Experts there are trying to determine whether it can return to sea. They're assessing the damage, making repairs. The crew of the nuclear sub may have been using an outdated map of the ocean floor when the accident occurred.

In Detroit, an outbreak of the flu shut down three schools today. Officials at one of the schools said nearly 200 of 900 students were out sick with the virus.

And Boston setting a new record for snowfall. The National Weather Service says Boston has had more snow this month than in any other month since it began keeping records back in 1892. More than 43 inches of snow have fallen. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is asking President Bush to declare a state of emergency in 10 counties because of all that snow.

The man police say is responsible for the deaths of 11 people in yesterday's train crash in California now faces trial for the death penalty.

Ted Rowlands reports from Glendale, California.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-five-year-old Juan Alvarez remains in custody at this hour. However, he did not make a scheduled court appearance today. His arraignment was postponed for medical reasons. Alvarez is suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

He is facing the possibility of the death penalty. The Los Angeles County district attorney announced today that 11 charges of homicide have been filed against Alvarez, and they make seek the death penalty. A special circumstance has been alleged in the case making him eligible.

The fact that Alvarez was committing -- trying to commit suicide and may not have intended to hurt anybody, according to the district attorney here, means nothing.

STEVE COOLEY, L.A. COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The train's been derailed. It was his car that caused the derailment. He put the car there. He certainly intended to commit the act of train derailment, and, under California law, committing that act alone, whether one intended to kill anyone on the train or not, can lead to murder charges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first name is Leonard Romero, age...

ROWLANDS: This morning, the names of nine of the 11 victims were read aloud. The other two have not been identified.

Some good news to report from here. There was a missing person earlier this morning, a woman who was feared dead and in this wreckage. It has now been determined that there are no more victims here and that that woman has been accounted for. Still, investigators sift through the wreckage and plan to be here for some time.

Ted Rowlands, CNN, Glendale, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: A prominent Republican is launching a campaign to take back her party, a party she says that's headed in the wrong direction.

Christie Todd Whitman is the former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under President Bush, former governor of the State of New Jersey. She's written a new book entitled "It Is My Party, Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America."

I asked her earlier today if she really believes what she calls social fundamentalists have taken over the Republican Party.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRISTIE TODD WHITMAN, FORMER EPA ADMINISTRATOR: They've certainly taken over a lot of the leadership and the impression that the people are getting of the party, which is that there are only certain ways to be a good Republican.

And I use that term -- I mean, I know it's a kind of a lightning rod term, but I use it to distinguish them from the people that are true conservatives that believe that there's a difference of opinion, but they have very strong beliefs in certain areas. These people -- there's only one way to be a good Republican.

DOBBS: Well, who is -- who is the leader of this social fundamentalist movement, who is the one maintaining the protocols and, if you will, holding the pass keys to the entrance to the party?

WHITMAN: I'm not sure there's any one person, but there are a group of people who will do things like go like Arlen Specter -- Senator Arlen Specter -- in a primary saying at the time that they do it that they're sending a message to the other moderates in the Senate that they'll be next if they don't tow the line.

They're the people who say to the president they're not even going to talk about Social Security until he becomes more outspoken on support for an amendment to ban gay marriage. They're the people who say you cannot have any role for government in environmental regulation, you've got to get out of that.

It's more a movement that worries me than any individual person. It would be nice if there was just person, you could say don't pay any attention to them, but it's not that.

DOBBS: Within the administration, would you style this administration then as a social fundamentalist administration?

WHITMAN: No, but it's a very conservative administration, and, certainly, as I have said, I believe it's probably the most socially conservative administration. That's not -- neither good nor bad, but that's what it is.

DOBBS: It seems to me that over the course of the past two decades really, there's been a migration (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for the Republican party but for the Democratic party and where there was once a liberal and conservative and moderate wing in the GOP party, the Republican party, the fact is today one scratches their heads wondering what happened to fiscal discipline. Republicans were styled as much in their rejection of imprudent fiscal management, trade deficits at record heights. Where is the Republican party in your judgment headed? Where should it be going?

WHITMAN: I think it's headed frankly in the wrong direction, which is why I wrote the book to try to get back to some -- remind people of what the Republican party stood for and how it moved forward from the days of Eisenhower forward when I first became sort of cognizant of what was going on, and to try to get it back on that track, to understand that it's our party, it has room for a lot of different opinions, but there are certain basic beliefs that distinguish the Republicans from the Democrats, and we need to get back to those.

DOBBS: And for those who style themselves as moderates, what are they to do in this context, what can they possibly do to regain influence and a feeling of, if you will, both belonging and some influence within the party?

WHITMAN: Well, they can support other moderates. That's why at the end of the book we put a Web site, www.mypartytoo.com to serve as a place for moderates to go to hear one another, to support one another and to find ways to support other candidates. You've got the Main Street Coalition made up of congressmen and senators and governors who are moderates. They need support, they need to hear that there are people are out there that really do believe the way they do, that there's a place for them in the party, that there is a more moderate tone that would be more productive. Because my real fear is -- I agree with exactly what you said -- I'm putting words in your mouth, but you said about the extremes...

DOBBS: They would be more eloquent with your help.

WHITMAN: Not at all. But the Democrats have gone as far to the left as the Republicans have gone to the right. There's a whole group of people in the middle who are sitting there saying neither party is talking to me, I don't know where to go or what to do, I'm frustrated and the issues aren't getting solved because the bitterness, the partisanship in Washington now and the bitterness is so deep that they don't even like each other anymore.

DOBBS: And issue, too, for working men and women in this country, the middle class in this country, under assault from so many directions. There's very little representation for those people which are not the silent majority, but the working majority, the people that are paying the taxes and make this country work. Hope for them?

WHITMAN: I think there is hope. I believe there's hope. I've always believed there's hope, but we have to speak out, and we have got to remind people that there are big issues out there, we want them talking about them, we want them solved, we don't want people -- I don't think that most of the working men and women would say that going after Spongebob Squarepants is more important than discussing what to do with Social Security or Medicaid and Medicare. We need to check our priorities.

DOBBS: I think what you hear are cheers of unanimity on that particular issue. Christie Todd Whitman, thanks for being here.

WHITMAN: A pleasure.

DOBBS: Taking a look now at some of your thoughts on the invasion of illegal aliens into this country, a need for immigration reform.

Shaun in Chandler, Arizona wrote in to say, "it is so vital that we stop illegal immigration. Only then can we raise the minimum wage, have more healthcare coverage, reduce crime, and raise the quality of life for Americans."

And Bettijean Powell of Clovis, California, "how in the world can an intelligent person decide it's all right to allow illegal aliens to break our laws and take advantage of our hospitals and welfare programs especially when our own people can't qualify for aid. Our seniors are deciding whether to eat or buy pills. How insane can we be? Our borders are wide open and we want to give them driver's licenses?"

And Judy Slenski of Columbus, Ohio. "Lou, what part of illegal don't our politicians understand? Do they want to give these people driver's licenses so they can drive to all the jobs they're taking from law-abiding American citizens?"

And Larry Benish in Louisville, Kentucky. "It never ceases to amaze me that there is even a discussion of our providing illegals with driver's licenses or for that matter any of the other services and privileges this country has to offer its legal citizens."

Please send us your thoughts at loudobbs@CNN.com.

Calls for an investigation into the Pentagon tonight. I'll be talking with a leading member of the House armed services committee who is calling for hearings on the Pentagon's secret new spy unit.

And the escalating insurgency in Iraq. The commander of American troops in Iraq suggests the insurgency is much bigger than the Pentagon has admitted. General David Grange will be here to help us to understand why one general says more insurgents have been killed than the Pentagon says existed just a year ago. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: There are no firm numbers on the number of insurgents and terrorists fighting U.S. troops and Iraqi forces in Iraq, but yesterday, the U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey, declared that 15,000 insurgents have been killed or captured over the past year. Now, if that number were accurate, the insurgents would be far stronger than the Pentagon's civil and military leadership has ever admitted or in point of fact suggested. I'm joined now from Chicago, General David Grange. And General, let me first say, good to see you.

And secondly, the Pentagon has always had an interesting history with numbers, but the fact that a general is declaring that more insurgents have been killed or captured than the Pentagon suggested existed a year ago is remarkable, isn't it?

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, you know, the good news is that 15,000 were killed or captured. The bad news is that that means there's a lot more out there, and obviously has grown considerably since the fall of Saddam.

DOBBS: It's grown considerably, the attacks are escalating, and yet U.S. military forces, the Bush administration insists that we are winning the war in Iraq. How can that be?

GRANGE: Well, I do believe we're winning the war. What you don't see is a lot of the effort that's going on. I really think, Lou, that after this election, you're going to start seeing a decline in that insurgency. It's going to require removing the popular support, those that do support the insurgency, away from the insurgents, and that has to be with Iraqis, military on the street and moving the presence of the U.S. off-set from the street but ready to pounce on and raid any sites they deem necessary to eliminate the threat as well.

DOBBS: General, as you know, I am as -- certainly as supportive of our troops as you are in Iraq, and I think that no one can be more supportive than you and I of our troops. I'm also extraordinarily, frankly, critical of the Pentagon. The leadership at this point -- we've lost over 1,400 Americans. We have 10,000 Americans wounded. The Pentagon continues and usually in the form of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to say that the violence will escalate at each one of the events that occurs, whether it's the handover, the run-up to the elections, the elections themselves, post-election. At what point is there such a breach of just straightforward relationship to facts that we have to examine precisely what is happening here on the part of military strategy for the good of our troops first and then for the good of the Iraqi people?

GRANGE: Well, I think what you're seeing is not anyone hiding the truth. I think what you're seeing is a miscalculation of the estimate of what the threat is and how it's changed over time and the requirement that it was a necessity to have many more troops there initially in a transition from maneuvered combat to the stability and support operations. During that void is where this thing built up and changed the landscape, the environment, the situation that we're experiencing right now. And it's -- I think there were poor calculations up front.

DOBBS: And do you believe that the Pentagon, the general staff, those in command of our fighting men and women in Iraq now have, if you will, if I can put it in the colloquial, do they now, in your best judgment, have their act together? GRANGE: Yes, I do. I know many of the commanders on the ground that are running these operations. They are very proficient. I would trust any of my sons under their care. And I think they have a handle on it. And I think we'll see improvement.

DOBBS: Outstanding. If General Grange says that there is going to be improvement, I'll take that to the bank. We appreciate it. Thank you, General David Grange.

GRANGE: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Coming up next, why a leading member of the House Armed Services Committee is now calling for hearings on the Pentagon's secret spy unit. We'll have that

And high profile advocates for illegal aliens. I'll be talking with a well-known actor who says illegal aliens in this country deserve to be rewarded with driver's licenses. We'll be talking, arguing, debating, I'm sure persuading one another to change our minds. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: My next guest, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, says she is not optimistic Sunday's elections will be secure. And for that she is disappointed for the Bush administration. But she says postponing the elections would have created nothing but a credibility issue for the United States. And she joins us tonight from Washington.

Congresswoman, good to have you with us.

REP. ELLEN TAUSCHER, (D-CA) ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: You've expressed concerns obviously about security and stability there. Give us your best reading right now. Are you optimistic about this Sunday?

TAUSCHER: No. I think that this is frankly the least worst scenario. but there have been so many reasons why we've kind of put ourselves in this terrible situation. And frankly there's so much at risk on Sunday, whether we can have enough security for people to even vote, whether people will be able to understand a very complicated ballot, whether we'll actually be able to have the results that are in the transitional administrative law, about 69 women will be elected.

There's so much of this that is really unpredictable. And I think it's unfortunate that the administration didn't keep promises to have a census and representative elections and enough security so that we could actually have the outcomes that will be good for the Iraqi people and us.

DOBBS: You met 2 weeks ago in Jordan with some of the people who are running for office in Iraq. Are they optimistic? Are they hopeful? What do you expect of them? TAUSCHER: Well, they are -- I met with 20 women who are frankly fearless and valiant who have lost children in assassination attempts because they're running. But these are women who want to stand up and write a constitution for the Iraqi people.

But they're very sanguine about the fact that they at most points are happy to see Saddam Hussein gone, but really believe we have had too long of an occupation, that we don't have a plan of success to extricate ourselves. And that they are not going to get the opportunity to have self-government in the way that they think really reflects their values.

DOBBS: You have also written a letter to the Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter seeking hearings and an investigation of an espionage unit set up within -- purportedly an espionage unit set up within the Pentagon about two years ago. Has the chairman responded to your request?

TAUSCHER: Yes. And apparently it's apparent that we're going to have a hearing on February 2 with Dr. Cambone, who is doing the intelligence work inside of the Pentagon, working for Secretary Rumsfeld.

Another key issue is it's been about 6 weeks since the president signed the intelligence bill that frankly he wasn't supporting, and we have yet to have a national director of intelligence named or even nominated.

This is a really key position. And I'm really worried while we don't have a national director of intelligence, you have got the Pentagon creating spy units inside the Pentagon. I think that there's a lot of this that the administration really needs to be accountable for.

DOBBS: Congresswoman, we thank you for being with us.

TAUSCHER: Thank you.

DOBBS: Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, good to talk with you.

TAUSCHER: Thank you.

DOBBS; Coming up in just a few minutes here, a CNN special report on the Iraqi election. Anderson Cooper is in Baghdad. He'll be anchoring our coverage live from Baghdad. And joins me now with a preview of tonight's coverage -- Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, Lou, how's it going?

You know, it was interesting. I was just listening to you talking with David Grange, talking about the state of the insurgency. I went out on patrol last night with a 1st platoon from -- 1st Cavalry, 5th Brigade. What they tell me, and what they see night after night on the streets in Iraq, and these streets are very dangerous indeed, they say, though, that the number of insurgent attacks against them in their sector, in Southern Baghdad, have actually declined. What's interesting, though, is that the lethality of the attacks has actually increased.

But they do say they're seeing good news. They're saying that the number of tips they're getting from Iraqis back in April it was about 20 tips every month, now they're averaging about 100 -- up to 120 tips, Iraqis informing on other Iraqis, informing on insurgent movements. Those are tips they follow up very closely.

And I'm going to take you on that patrol a little bit later on tonight at the top of the hour, Lou.

DOBBS: Anderson, we look forward to that and we thank you. Anderson Cooper from Baghdad. CNN's special report, "Iraq Votes," a two-hour prime-time special here tonight. Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour from Baghdad, Paula Zahn here in New York coming up here in just a few moments.

Celebrities for illegal aliens: Why a group of Hollywood actors and entertainers are fighting for the rights of illegal aliens to drive. I'll be joined by a member of the group when we continue. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: My next guest is part of a group of Hollywood actors and entertainers lobbying for illegal aliens in California to obtain driver's licenses. Mike Farrell is also the co-chair of Human Rights Watch California. Mike says it makes good sense to support illegal aliens in this country, and he's our guest tonight from Los Angeles. Mike, good to have you with us.

MIKE FARRELL, CO-CHAIR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Lou, nice to be with you.

DOBBS: You know, there are people -- and you and I both know this, they are saying, oh, no, here we go, Hollywood again weighing in on a political issue. Let's deal with that issue right off the top. The standing for a group of entertainers to weigh in on this issue.

FARRELL: Standing is we're citizens, just like any other group of citizens. This is an issue that affects all of us who live in California, and we believe that the ad we took that seems to have raised the level of ire of some people really was pointed at the governor, to try to get the governor to actually engage this issue, as he had promised he would.

DOBBS: You know, at the same time this issue is boiling to a point, at least in California, as it has been over the past really two years, finally Washington is taking note of this issue. Congressman James Sensenbrenner, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the highly respected chairman, taking on this issue. Congress for the first time at the federal level looks like it's going to do something about this. Are you opposed to the federal efforts as well as Governor Schwarzenegger's refusal to give illegal aliens driver's licenses?

FARRELL: I'm not quite sure what Congressman Sensenbrenner's position is, but I'm supportive of the position of the chief of police here in Los Angeles and the mayor of the city of Los Angeles, and you know, 10 different states that allow these people to have driver's licenses, because they believe it's appropriate for them to be able to get to work safely, and do so under legal strictures that require -- that allow the rest of us to be safe.

DOBBS: Mike Farrell is one of the smartest guys not only in Hollywood, but anywhere in the country, as well as a talented fellow.

FARRELL: Thank you. I can hardly wait for the next one.

DOBBS: We all have a preamble, but the fact is -- and as a thoughtful fellow -- the fact is we have a border security issue, we have immigration laws that are in tatters, and it cuts all sorts of ways, irrespective of the position you take. The fact is, we're watching an immigration law and a lack of immigration policy really create a tinderbox in this country. We're watching it right now on the Mexican border on the Mexican side of the border, where we're seeing citizens being abducted, we are seeing illegal aliens who are being abused by the Coyotes and the smugglers, and exploited, exploited by American businesses and employers.

You know, that nanny ad that you ran in "Variety." Someone is breaking the law by hiring her, instead of helping her in getting her citizenship. Why in the world would you simply talk about driver's licenses? It seems like such, if I may, a narrow approach for someone as thoughtful as you.

FARRELL: Well, thank you, Lou, for the backhanded compliment.

DOBBS: Well, no, I don't mean it that way. I mean it quite sincerely.

FARRELL: Yeah, but this is a very important issue for the people, the 2.5 million people who are undocumented in California alone, who are working in our community, many of whom have been here for many years, who have established in some cases legally authorized or legally understood residence, but are not allowed, because they don't -- they aren't yet documented -- and largely, Lou, you have to recognize that a significant number of them are not documented because of bureaucratic logjam in terms of the paperwork and the applications.

These people are trying to work and trying to be tax-paying, responsible citizens in our society, and it seems to me to be inappropriate and I think ultimately racist to continue to refer to them as illegal and dun them for being a drain on our society, when in fact they're just the reverse.

DOBBS: You think it's racist to call them illegal?

FARRELL: No, I think that many -- much of the attack on this kind of legislation and other kinds of legislation is based on racism.

DOBBS: Let me ask you a question, if that's the issue. What's the percentage of the population of the state of California that's Hispanic? FARRELL: Oh, it's at least close to, if not a majority by now.

DOBBS: Exactly. So it's somewhat -- I mean, I have a little trouble buying that. I know it's a convenient argument for those who want open borders and are taking a particular tack, it's also one employed by corporate America, because they want to exploit the labor. It's one employed by our organized labor unions, because they want to build their rolls. The fact is, we have a reality here, an economic reality, a social reality and a national security reality, and a driver's license is prima facie evidence of citizenship, isn't it? And why not simply...

(CROSSTALK)

FARRELL: No, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt.

DOBBS: No, please.

FARRELL: But in fact, what you're saying misstates the case.

DOBBS: OK.

FARRELL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) bill does not give these people prima facie evidence of citizenship. It gives them a driver's license, and a driver's license that is given to them under very serious safeguards that have been drawn into the bill to protect American citizens from terrorists, and from criminals, and from all of the things that people fear, and it -- but it -- it simply deals with the reality, an economic reality that we have in this country, and particularly in this state, that needs to be addressed. People can't continue to treat this issue as though it doesn't exist.

DOBBS: Well, we're delighted that you, irrespective of the position you take, are helping to bring light to the issue, because it is, as you point out, critically important for all of us. Mike Farrell, as always, good to talk to you.

FARRELL: Thanks, Lou.

DOBBS: Still ahead here, we'll have the results of our poll tonight and a preview of what's ahead tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight, more than two-thirds of you say issuing illegal aliens driver's licenses is a matter of both immigration policy and national security policy.

We thank you for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. New legislation aiming to hold the federal government responsible for the immigration crisis in this country. Senator Dianne Feinstein, leading that effort, will be our guest. And tomorrow, a former adviser to the coalition in Iraq talks to us about the escalating violence ahead of the election and what we can expect. And why some states are still using identification cards that make it all too easy for illegal aliens to obtain the benefits of American citizenship. Our special report here tomorrow.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow. For all of us here, good night from New York. CNN special report, "Iraq Votes," is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com


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