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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT

Secretary Rice Urges Syria to Leave Lebanon; CIA Director Warns Congress of Threats; Pentagon Still Has no Firm Numbers on Insurgency; Spy Network Steals Trade Secrets for China

Aired February 16, 2005 - 18:00   ET

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


ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT for Wednesday, February 16. Here now for an hour of news, debate and opinion is Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Good evening.

Iran and Syria are quickly becoming two of this country's biggest potential enemies. Today, they declared they're forming a common front against foreign interests and threats.

The declaration comes amid rising tension with the United States over Iran's nuclear program, the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister and Syria's military presence in southern Lebanon. A top State Department official today called for a complete and immediate withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

The United States is also tonight concerned about serious failure to crack down on Iraqi insurgents crossing the border from Syria into Iraq.

Andrea Koppel reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested Syria was all talk and no action, saying Syria had been warned about stopping insurgents from crossing into Iraq.

Now, following the assassination of Lebanon's former prime minister, the Bush administration is turning up the heat on Syria, demanding Damascus abide by a recent United Nations resolution to withdraw all its troops from Lebanon.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: The Syrian presence and the Syrian involvement in Lebanese affairs has, of course, created a destabilized environment in Lebanon. And that's why there has been a call for the Syrians to stop that interference.

KOPPEL: Rice said the U.S. did not know who was responsible for the murder of Rafik Hariri and repeated a call for an international investigation. But the sudden withdrawal of the U.S. ambassador to Syria was an unmistakable signal the U.S. strongly suspects Syrian involvement.

RICE: Given their position in Lebanon, given their interference in Lebanese affairs, does put on the Syrians a special responsibility for the kind of destabilization that happened there and that this sort of thing could happen.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOPPEL: Secretary Rice refused to say when the United States might return its ambassador to Damascus or even if more U.S. economic sanctions might be in the offing. Lou, she implied the fact that basically the next U.S. move depends on how Syria responds -- Lou.

DOBBS: Andrea, thank you very much. Andrea Koppel.

Top intelligence officials today declared Iran has emerged as a leading threat to U.S. interests in the Middle East. CIA Director Porter Goss, testifying on Capitol Hill, also expressed serious concern about the possibility that terrorists may attack this country with weapons of mass destruction.

National security correspondent David Ensor has the report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At his first appearance on Capitol Hill as intelligence chief, Porter Goss said the top threat to the nation's national security remains terrorism, causing mass casualties.

PORTER GOSS, CIA DIRECTOR: It may be only a matter of time before al Qaeda or other group attempts to use chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. We must focus on that.

ENSOR: Russian reports say terrorists may have stolen some nuclear materials in Russia in recent years, leading to concern about a possible dirty, radioactive bomb.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you assure the American people that the material missing from Russian nuclear sites has not found its way into terrorist hands?

GOSS: No, I can't make that assurance.

ENSOR: Reflecting the criticism of the CIA about intelligence prior to the 9/11 attacks and on Iraq's weapons or lack thereof before the war, he stressed that the agency is getting more aggressive.

GOSS: Our officers are taking risks, and I will be asking them to take more risks, justifiable risks, because I would be much happier here explaining why we did something than why we did nothing.

ENSOR: What Goss did not discuss in the open hearing, but what U.S. officials confirm is that CIA officials are growing uneasy about holding Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and other top al Qaeda prisoners indefinitely at undisclosed locations overseas.

(on camera) Sources say the CIA wants to scale back its role running secret prisons around the world. The question, said one, is what is the end game for these people? A difficult question being quietly posed to the Justice Department and the White House.

David Ensor, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: CIA Director Goss also warned Congress today about the rising ballistic missile threat from North Korea. Goss said North Korea has a missile capable of reaching the United States with a nuclear weapon sized payload.

Military experts say the North Korean TD2 missile can hit cities and military bases in Alaska and parts of Hawaii. Last week, North Korea declared that it has nuclear weapons.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Richard Myers, also gave testimony on Capitol Hill today. They insisted the United States is winning the war in Iraq, but they admit they still have no good estimate of the number of insurgents against whom they are fighting.

Senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. Military claims as many as 15,000 insurgents have been killed in Iraq, even as the number of attacks against U.S. and Iraqi forces continued to climb. That's prompting members of Congress to question if the Pentagon truly knows what it's up against.

REP. IKE SKELTON (D-MO), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: If we'd have lost 15,000 of our own troops in a comparable period, we would see diminished combat capability. And yet our enemy seems to be adapting and increasing his attacks.

MCINTYRE: While Pentagon officials dismiss one Iraqi general's estimate of 40,000 hard-core insurgents and 200,000 part-time fighters, they admit they don't really know how big the insurgency is.

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: What I said is that I have in my hot little hand differing views from DIA and CIA. I see these reports. Frankly, I don't have a lot of confidence in any of them.

MCINTYRE: A senior military official tells CNN the best guess is that there are roughly 15,000 insurgents, of which maybe half are truly committed. But despite the uncertainty over the numbers, the Pentagon insists the U.S. and its Iraqi allies are winning.

GEN. RICHARD MYERS, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: We do know about these insurgents, is that overall they're not very effective. They can spike in capabilities we saw before elections, but it goes back down to a steady state. We know that they're losing the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. (END VIDEOTAPE)

MCINTYRE: Myers and Rumsfeld argue it's not the number of insurgents that matters, as much as their will to fight and that victory hinges as much on building public support for the new Iraqi government as it does on building up the new Iraqi army -- Lou.

DOBBS: Were they asked when American troops will be coming home?

MCINTYRE: They have been asked that question, and again they said that they -- they're not going to set a timetable. General Myers said a timetable would be counterproductive. It would just tell the insurgents how long they had to wait them out.

They continue to argue that the withdrawal of U.S. troops will be contingent on two things: the level of the insurgency and the capability of the Iraqi forces to take them on.

DOBBS: Jamie McIntyre, senior Pentagon correspondent, thank you.

In Iraq, four American soldiers were killed today: one in the latest fighting and three others in accidents. The soldier who was killed in combat died in al-Anbar province west of Baghdad. The military gave no other details.

Insurgents also exploded a car bomb near an American military convoy in the northern city of Mosul. Several Iraqis were wounded in that attack. There are no reports of American casualties.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill today paid little attention to the escalating military and economic challenge from China as they discussed threats to our national security.

China's military has begun a huge modernization program, and the Chinese economy is expanding at a rapid rate, the fastest rate in the world. All this with the help of a growing Chinese spy network inside the United States.

Lisa Sylvester reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: American University professor Gao Jong (ph) was sentenced to 15 months in jail and community confinement last march for illegally shipping missile guidance technology to China. Her case represents a growing pattern.

China is recruiting individuals and companies in the United States to help build its industrial and military base, even if it means not playing by the rules.

MARK MERSHON, FBI SPECIAL AGENT: They have a large, surprisingly large number of front companies, that is companies here with some legitimate business sponsored by the Chinese government, but with a hidden agenda to, in fact, target and steal trade secrets. SYLVESTER: Trade secrets are stolen from an American company and passed to a Chinese firm. The Chinese company, often a direct competitor, saves millions in research and development costs.

The FBI has seen a 20 to 30 percent annual increase in the number of economic espionage cases in Silicon Valley. Often it's sensitive military technology that violates U.S. export control laws, including chips used in Hellfire missile technologies, night vision equipment and weapons systems.

MICHAEL GARCIA, IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Could be used against our allies, against our forward deployed troops, or that technology and those weapons could be used to come back into the United States and harm us here in this country.

SYLVESTER: Unlike the Soviet Union, which sent trained agents to swipe U.S. technology, China's spies are harder to find.

MERSHON: We find that the threat is perhaps a small number, but hidden in the huge number of visitors, students and legitimate businessmen that come and visit the United States.

SYLVESTER: U.S. companies are sometimes reluctant to report economic espionage, concerned that shareholders will learn that some of their intellectual property has been compromised.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SYLVESTER: We contacted Chinese embassy officials, but they did not return our calls. But the Chinese government has previously denied a connection, calling the recent case of economic espionage isolated incidents -- Lou.

DOBBS: Stealing knowledge that's not being freely given to them otherwise.

Lisa Sylvester.

Thank you.

Next, the export of American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets. Our children are now beginning to feel the impact of "Exporting America." Their education originating in cheap foreign labor markets.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The shipment of American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets has spread now to our nation's schools. Schools and students hoping to boost their grades, increasingly going online for help and going overseas to cheap labor markets.

Kitty Pilgrim reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one of those you can eliminate right away, right?

KITTY PILGRIM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This fifth-grade class at Franklin School in Santa Barbara, California, gets extra help online -- from India. It's a pilot program the school is testing out to help students meet (r)MDNM¯No Child Left Behind requirements.

CAROLE COWAN, PRINCIPAL, FRANKLIN SCHOOL: Having to meet the (r)MDNM¯No Child Left Behind requirements was definitely something -- a reason why we considered taking advantage of this pilot. After receiving some dismal test results, we knew that we needed to emphasize science instruction more here at Franklin School.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So please go ahead with Number 3 here.

PILGRIM: Instruction online from India is becoming more common for students in America and not only in the classroom. Indian company Career Launcher offers tutoring help via the Internet for U.S.-based students.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well done. Perfect.

PILGRIM: Tutors in New Delhi work in the middle of the night to account for the time difference.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you seen this word before?

PILGRIM: Sylvan Learning Center has been helping students get through tough subjects with one-on-one instruction for 25 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's ocean.

PILGRIM: They're soon going to offer that extra attention online also with tutors based in the United States. The program starting in response to parents and students' requests for the convenience, but also because more students are asking for help.

WENDI THOMPSON, SYLVAN LEARNING CENTER: That increase in inquires has just been incredible because these kids have so much more pressure on them to perform better that they don't have the basic study skills they need. So it's just been -- really all of our programs in general have gone up.

PILGRIM: Educators and tutoring companies are reporting an explosion in tutoring requests. They expect it to grow, partly because schools and students are trying to meet the new federal guidelines, partly to fill the void left by two working parents.

And now even the instructors can be out of the house, even thousands of miles away, in India.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PILGRIM: Now there are a few companies in India hoping to take advantage of opportunities created by the (r)MDNM¯No Child Left Behind requirements. Many educators agree that there will be much greater demand for tutoring as children and parents try to meet those new standards -- Lou.

DOBBS: I probably would shock some people by saying that, in this instance, I'm not sure this is outsourcing, and, if it is, I probably would approve of it because it gives an opportunity to lots of people to have an access to tutoring and to improve the education of the children. At the same time, it's a damn shame that our schools aren't doing the job for those students in the first place.

PILGRIM: I think you can say a plus and minus on it. Math is particularly applicable for this because math skills can be translated easily via computer. So it's very good for math, actually.

DOBBS: Fascinating story.

Thank you very much, Kitty.

Well, Greg Mankiw, one of the president's top cheerleaders for the export of American jobs to cheap overseas labor markets has resigned from his White House job as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Mankiw once famously said the outsourcing of American jobs overseas actually benefits the American economy. And, as a matter of full disclosure, when he did, I called for his resignation. It has come to pass, somewhat late.

President Bush today visited his eighth state in two weeks to push his plan for reforming Social Security. The president told reporters in New Hampshire that he has not ruled out raising taxes on Americans who earn more than $90,000 a year in order to pay for the reform.

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan today signaled his support for the president's plan to privatize at least part of Social Security. However, the Fed chairman, as always nuanced, urged caution and said any move to private accounts should be made gradually, fearing the impact of transition costs on the bond market.

The intensifying battle over Social Security reform is becoming more and more reminiscent of another recent campaign, the battle for the White House itself. Supporters of President Bush's plan are about to launch a major advertising campaign to promote the president's plan, and some familiar opponents of the White House have their own battle plan in order to defeat it.

Ed Henry has the story from Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, has formed a new coalition, spending at least $20 million to promote the president's Social Security plan, the latest salvo in an ad war expected to dwarf the epic health-care battle of a decade ago.

JOHN CASTELLANI, PRESIDENT, BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE: We'll spend what it takes. It's going to be a long campaign.

HENRY: Democrats believe these Fortune 200 corporations have been sent on a rescue mission.

SEN. HARRY REID (D), MINORITY LEADER: The way the Bush Social Security plan is going, they'll need to spend tens of millions of dollars because it's not doing well at all.

HENRY: But Democrats are playing the same game. CNN has learned a powerful labor union, the 1.4 million member American Federation of State, County and Municipal employees is leading a new coalition to defeat the Bush plan.

The former campaign manager for ex-Senator Tom Daschle, Steve Hildebrand, will be running the coalition, which faces an uphill fight. In addition to the Business Roundtable, conservative groups like Club for Growth and Progress for America are providing cover for the president with millions of dollars in TV ads.

REP. EARL POMEROY (D), NORTH DAKOTA: They want to privatize Social Security, and they've gotten them to pony up vast sums of money, and now they are about to roll a big lie out across the country in paid media advertising.

HENRY: But both sides have gotten caught bending the truth. The liberal group moveon.org has been running TV ads charging the president's plan will lead to "the working retirement." The highly respected independent group factcheck.org points out the moveon ad falsely accuses the Bush plan of cutting benefits by 46 percent.

In his State of the Union, meanwhile, the president said Social Security is headed for bankruptcy. But even when the system faces trouble decades down the road, it would still pay out a large share of benefits now promised. The TV ads intensify next week when members of Congress head home for the President's Day recess.

At their town hall meetings, Democrats will be armed with talking points claiming the president wants to create a crisis where none exists. Republicans will show off a new DVD of the president making his case.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But if we approach the Social Security debate with courage and honesty, we can succeed.

HENRY: Congressional Republicans are privately still very nervous that the Social Security issue could blow up in their faces, but they believe the president will be their best weapon.

Ed Henry, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: And as the ad battle begins, we will be, of course, giving you the facts on both the pro and the con in the Social Security reform debate each night here. Coming up next, the battle to send illegal aliens, many of whom are also violent criminals, back where they belong. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: There are at least 100,000 illegal aliens in the United States who have been convicted of committing crimes in this country. There are immigration enforcement teams dedicated to finding them and deporting them.

Dan Lothian has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An airport in Massachusetts, the last stop on American soil for 50 convicted immigrants from the Dominican Republic. Shackled, searched and surrounded by heavily armed law-enforcement officers, deportation is just minutes away.

JIM BROWN, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Part of the national security mission is to remove any folks that don't belong in the United States out of the United States.

LOTHIAN: In a pre-flight brief...

BROWN: We're deal with some folks that are definitely high risk.

LOTHIAN: ... Chief Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Jim Brown reads the rap sheet.

BROWN: Assaults with dangerous weapons. Assault and battery on a child under 14.

LOTHIAN: Some were fugitives, like 32-year-old Rafael Santana (ph), arrested in an early morning raid south of Boston last month. Authorities say the Dominican native was convicted on, among other things, assault and battery charges. He served time, but was dodging deportation orders.

Wearing the same yellow athletic suit, Santana (ph) shuffled on to the one-way flight to the Dominican Republic.

(on camera): More than 38,000 convicted immigrants were loaded on to government airplanes and deported last year, sent to not only the Dominican Republic, but Haiti, Jamaica and other destinations in South and Central America.

(voice-over): They are released on to the streets almost immediately with few exceptions.

MARC RAIMONDI, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: If there are warrants, if some of the people on this aircraft are wanted on Dominican charges, they may be taken into custody.

LOTHIAN: But even officials acknowledge some will attempt or succeed at reentering the U.S. illegally, despite the threat of tougher penalties.

BRUCE CHADBOURNE-FIELD, U.S. IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: Any criminal that reenters after deportation most likely will be prosecuted federally.

LOTHIAN: Officials admit no system is perfect, but say this effort is critical in protecting America's streets and borders.

Dan Lothian, CNN, Santo Domingo.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

DOBBS: It's critical, but it's not enough. Much more needs to be done in order to protect our streets and our borders. The one flight that we just saw carried 50 convicted felons in this country illegally out of the country.

But there are an estimated 100,000 convicted illegal aliens here. Some put the number as high as 400,000. Just 18 teams of agents across the country are hunting those fugitives down.

And, by all accounts, many of the illegal aliens who are caught and deported come right back again across our porous "Broken Borders."

Next, a leading Republican who says the president's plan to protect our borders does not do enough.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: In a moment, we'll be joined by the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. We'll be talking about why he calls one of the president's plans wholly inadequate.

But, first, the latest on these stories.

A corporate jet crashed in Colorado killing all eight passengers aboard. The twin-engine Cessna was registered to Circuit City. Circuit City confirms that four of the passengers aboard were its employees. The cause of the crash is not yet known.

Stunning new pictures just in to CNN a short time ago. An Amtrak train in California slammed into a truck carrying 155 gallons of strawberries. The driver of the truck incredibly was not injured. Several people in nearby cars, however, suffered minor injuries.

In Phoenix, Arizona, a helicopter rescue crew pulled a man from his pickup truck after raging floodwaters there washed out the roadway. The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said the driver of the truck was not injured and refused treatment.

The National Hockey League today officially canceled what was left of the 2004-2005 season. Five months of bitter negotiations ending in cessation of the season. The NHL owners and players could not reach an agreement on proposed salary caps.

My guest tonight says President Bush's budget plan to fund only 210 new Border Patrol agents is, in his words, wholly inadequate. Congressman Christopher Cox is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, joining us tonight from Capitol Hill.

Mr. Chairman, good to have you here.

REP. CHRISTOPHER COX (R), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: Happy to join you.

DOBBS: The intelligence reform legislation that you all drafted, the president signed, calls for 2,000 agents. What's going on?

COX: Well, obviously, we're very anxious in the Congress to see this to completion. It's going to require, because of this significant number of additional agents, that we reopen two previously shuttered training facilities. There's a logistical element here. All told, we're talking about an additional one-third of a billion dollars. That's a big slug of money.

Nonetheless, homeland security as a budget function is slated for an increase in its budget. So as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, I'm going to do everything within my power to make sure we put as much in the way of resources to work here as is necessary and possible.

DOBBS: There are some who would say, Mr. Chairman, that the president's response to call for 210 border patrol agents is a message to everyone on two issues: border security and immigration. That this president, this administration and your party wants open borders. And that homeland security on our borders is nothing more than a fiction and a P.R. game. How do you respond?

COX: Well, I certainly wouldn't address it at the party level, because rather obviously, the party in the Congress that's in favor of open borders is the Democratic Party. Republicans have been working hard with some Democrats to make sure that we control our borders.

In particular, I've been focused on this as chairman of the homeland security committee because as we saw in the 9/11 bill and more recently in the bill that we passed at the very beginning of this current 109th Congress, we have to overcome this perception that border security is somehow divorced from homeland security. The 9/11 commission report made it very clear that they are one in the same.

DOBBS: Mr. Chairman, let me ask you as well, because as you know, the inspector general of homeland security of the department, points out that the money for port security grants hasn't gone to where it's badly needed. In point of fact, funding is running far behind in port security in particular. What is going on? And why should this bureaucratic -- apparent bureaucratic mistake be permitted?

COX: Well, Clark Kent Irvin, the inspector general, outgoing for the Department of Homeland Security, contributed, I think, significantly to the debate and to our policy formulation here on Capitol Hill with his most recent pointing out of what's going right and wrong there. But it isn't just a bureaucratic snafu that is the reason that our port security remains a work in progress. Rather, it is because there isn't broad general agreement on precisely what to do and how to spend the money. Coming out of 9/11, we moved with alacrity to deal with problems at airports.

But what we also saw is that we in some ways spent a lot of money, but also didn't get the result we wanted. We have got the national labs working now looking up the whole supply chain to find out how best we can deploy our resources when it comes to port security. It isn't just spending the money in the ports, because once something enters our ports, it's too late. We have got to make sure apprehend, particularly, radiological devices well before then.

DOBBS: Congressman Sensenbrenner, his legislation on the real I.D. passed by the house. Its prospects for the Senate in your judgment?

COX: That's $64,000 question right now. And I think all your viewers and I are all in the same position on this one. We all wonder what in the world the Senate is going to do. I inquired because I anticipated you might want to know the answer to that question.

Just moments ago, most recently from some of my Senate colleagues, what they expect will happen with the Real I.D. Act in the Senate. It is obviously favored by Republicans, but there is some sense that some Democratic senators may object on germainess grounds to including it in the Iraq supplemental and that means it might have to go as a stand alone bill where it could be open to endless amendment on the floor. It might never get the 6- votes it needs for closure.

DOBBS: Mr. Chairman, doesn't it make the Republican leadership on Capitol Hill look either hapless or somewhat disingenuous, if I may use the word, when it has the power and the control and the authority to move this legislation through without Democratic votes?

COX: Of course, we have that power and exercised it in the House of Representatives. The Republican majority does not have that power in the Senate, where it takes 60 votes and Republicans do not have 60 votes in order to get closure on a bill as you know.

DOBBS: The question, I guess that comes next is why wasn't it put with -- as promised in the intelligence reform legislation, why wasn't the promise to put it with a must pass legislation kept by the Republican leadership?

COX: Well, that is, in fact, the plan. We want to include this in the Iraq supplemental. And as I said, there is some betting that some Democratic senators may object on germainess grounds and try and strip it out. That remains to be seen. We'll have to watch and hope for the best.

DOBBS: Congressman Christopher Cox, you have the reputation of being straightforward and an effective legislator. Now chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. We thank you for being here and appreciate your views.

COX: Happy to be with you, Lou.

DOBBS: Taking a look now at some of your thoughts. Mary Gasper in Sarasota, Florida, "we outsource to China where workers make just a couple of dollars a day, we still pay American prices. Who then is making the money? Let's produce our own. And I would be happy to pay American prices.

Peter Norman in Warrington, Pennsylvania, "American industry is committing suicide with their outsourcing of jobs and intellectual property. India and China are laughing all the way to the bank."

Lou Berg in Dana Point, California, "last summer, I had my house reroofed and went with the lowest bidder. The contractor showed up with Mexican workers. I told him if they were here illegally to leave or I would call the I.N.S. They left. The next week I had my house reroofed and paid $200 more for American kids working their way through college and was glad to pay it. So much for that jobs Americans won't do theory."

Laurie Parker in Princeton, Texas, "Americans aren't afraid of hard work, but they sure don't want to do it for less than a living wage."

Jorge Reyna of Barnestown, Kentucky, "I am Hispanic, but first and foremost, I am an American. All of my family has served in the military. We work hard and are taxpayers and I for one want my tax dollars to go where they should and that is taking care of America's needs first."

Send us your thoughts at loudobbs.com.

Several of you also wrote in about my interview last night with a remarkable young army captain who lost his foot in Iraq and is now returning to the battle field.

Captain David Rozelle, badly wounded when his humvee was blown up by a land mine. Captain Rozelle was determined to return to duty and to his armored cavalry unit despite the loss of his foot. After months of rehabilitation, Captain Rozelle has finally been certified fit for duty and Captain Rozelle shares his incredible story in his amazing book "Back in Action: An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude."

As I said last night, you an underline faith, courage and fortitude in the case of Captain Rozelle. We wish him, his soldiers and all of our men and women serving all the very best of luck.

Tonight's thought is on heroes. "By hero we tend to mean a heightened man more than other men, possesses qualities of courage, loyalty, resourcefulness, charisma, above all, selflessness. He is an example of right behavior, the sort of man who risks his life to protect society's values, sacrificing his personal needs for those of the community." Coming up next here, American culture. Is it in decline? The intensifying debate over what to do about the surprising number of American teenagers having sex. Our special report is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: Tonight our special report, "Culture in Decline." A third of America's 9th graders have had sex. And one in four teenagers contracts a sexually transmitted disease. And now, a quarter of the sex education teachers in America are teaching abstinence, only to their students. No safe sex, no information on contraception, only abstinence. But many are concerned now that taking the sex out of sex education isn't working. Christine Romans reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Abstinence from sexual activity is the best choice for relationships during the teen years.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In this classroom in Philadelphia, high schoolers are learning about abstinence, self-esteem and relationships. This program for at-risk teens has been awarded almost $2.5 million in federal funding over the next three years.

LARRY ROBERTSON, OIC OF AMERICA: An important thing is to make sure that we have fewer young people engaging in sexual activity, which would cause them not to be able to enter into their adult lives making informed choices.

ROMANS: The Bush administration agrees, and has boosted abstinence funding 10-fold. For federal dollars, these programs must teach abstinence as the only choice for teenagers, and tell them premarital sex has dire consequences.

WADE HORN, ASST. SECRETARY, HHS: All that the Bush administration is saying is can't we just have a little bit of a message that tries to counter those very negative messages that are being transmitted to our young every day through the popular culture.

ROMANS: But critics argue, at best, abstinence only education delays teen sex. And once kids start, they are less likely to use contraception. One Congressional study found 80 percent of these programs contained false information and scare tactics, not science. And a Texas study found students more likely to have sex after abstinence education than before.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: Seventy percent of young people over 18 are sexually active, and it's just -- I think morally wrong to deny these young kids this information that could help them lead healthy lives.

ROMANS: In north Philadelphia, some of these kids learning about abstinence already have children. Not 17-year-old Jamere. JAMERE PIERCE, AGE 17: Every day I come in here, I think about what I'm going to do. I try to keep my head on straight and do everything I've got to do.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ROMANS: By law, he will not be able to learn about contraception, except about how it can fail. And this kind of sex ed or no sex ed is only growing. This is the only direct federal funding for sex education in this country. The states have big pots of federal money. But they can, you know, dispense it as they want. But the federal government only focusing on this kind of sex ed.

DOBBS: So let me be sure that we all understand this, that if you participate in a federal program on abstinence education there is no discussion about contraception or any other aspect of sex education?

ROMANS: Only about how it fails.

DOBBS: Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. Christine, thank you very much.

The debate over abstinence only education is at the center of our face-off tonight. Joining me from Washington, Congressman Henry Waxman and Dave Weldon. Congressman Waxman says there is no evidence that abstinence only programs work. In fact, he says the programs contain multiple distortions and scare tactics. Congressman Weldon, meanwhile, says the programs are effective in helping kids delay sex and develop responsible relationships.

Thank you first to both of you for being here. Congressman Weldon, I have to tell you, the idea of abstinence on a host of levels seems to me to be a proper course for education. But to deny further education in terms of contraception and broader sex education just seems wrong headed.

Why is that the policy?

REP. DAVE WELDON (R), FLORIDA: Well, it's not the policy, Lou. The amount of money going to so-called comprehensive sex education vs. abstinence education is about 12 times the abstinence education level. So, you're just totally inaccurate on that. The truth is, abstinence education is a fraction of the other kind of education and the truth is, the schools and the parents want the abstinence education. And if you actually read the studies, it shows that the abstinence education is working very nicely. And you really misquoted some of those studies that you had in the lead-in to this discussion here. That study in Texas, they had no control group in that study. And if you actually try to reconstruct it with a control group, it actually suggests the abstinence education is working very nicely.

DOBBS: Congressman Waxman, your thoughts?

REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: I see no problem with emphasizing abstinence, but not to talk about other options seems to me, as you said, short-sided. And what's even worse, when they give out misinformation to scare the kids. For example, telling them that the condoms are going to fail or telling girls that if they have abortions, they are likely to get breast cancer or they'll never have a child again. Or sweat and tears can spread HIV. Just scare tactics that are wrong. And if you are going to give wrong information, it's dangerous because most of these kids that go through these abstinence- only programs are sexually active before marriage. Eighty eight percent of them become sexually active before marriage. And for them not to have the information about how to stop sexually transmitted diseases and avoid pregnancy, it leads to more abortions and it's just something that could be prevented. We need to do what's necessary to prevent it.

The other thing is, I think my friend and colleague is wrong about the success of the abstinence-only programs. From everything I've seen, there has been no evaluation showing it to be a successful way to limit behavior. The administration was asking kids about whether they thought they got something worthwhile out of the program, and they said yes. But there was no indication that it changed their sexual behavior to stop unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

DOBBS: I have to -- sure, go ahead, congressman.

WELDON: Some of the things that Henry pointed out in his Congressional study are accurate. I think there were some inaccuracies in some of these teaching programs, and he is doing us a good service in that. But one of the things he just criticized, you know, condoms are the centerpiece of comprehensive sex education. They can only protect a man about 30 percent of the time and a woman about 60 percent of the time from contracting gonorrhea. They are not fool-proof. And they provide little to no protection for human papilloma virus, the cause of cervical cancer. And that's what some of these abstinence education programs are telling the kids. And most teenagers know how to use a condom. These comprehensive sex education programs that my good friend prefers, they've never been demonstrated to work.

WAXMAN: That's not true in California. Our state refused to take federal dollars for only abstinence-only programs. They said they want to emphasize abstinence. And I agree with that idea, because you can counteract all the peer pressure that kids are under to engage in sex. But we in California refuse to not talk about the contraception and to teach kids the truth. If you lie to kids about something as important as public health, you are endangering their lives and you also lose credibility. I think it's a mistake for the federal government to be funding that. And this is a popular program with the Bush administration. They are asking, they've already doubled it the last four years, and they are asking for another $100 million on top of what they are already putting into this program. I think it's not money well spent.

WELDON: Well.

DOBBS: Go ahead, Congressman Weldon. WELDON: Well, I think you are lying to kids when you try to convey to the kids that condoms can provide you all the protection you need. And frankly, I think communities should define what they want to teach their kids, not the federal government. And if California wants to teach their kids all about condoms and contraception, I actually don't have a problem with that. And in our experience with the abstinence education is the demand exceeds the supply of the available programs. And if you look at the polling data, the majority of parents prefer this abstinence-based education. You know, we don't tell our kids just have a few drinks or just smoke a few joints. We tell them don't drink, don't smoke. Why should we be sending them a message, don't have sex, but if you are going to do it, do it this way. I think it's a mixed message.

DOBBS: I've got -- I apologize Congressman Waxman. But I want to say thank you to both of you. I think you both representing as you do, different perspectives on this critical issue, deserve great credit. Because too few people on Capitol Hill are trying to deal with it. We have a national epidemic among our young people in STD. All of these issues are critically important to their health and well- being of our country. I salute you both, and thank you for being here to discuss the issue, a critically important one.

WELDON: Great to be with you, Lou.

WAXMAN: Thank you very much.

DOBBS: We want to hear from you about this important subject as well. Our poll question tonight -- do you support abstinence-only education programs in our public schools, yes or no. Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results for you later here on the broadcast.

Next, a radical plan to protect American workers and to change the way powerful labor unions in this country operate. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: My next guest is calling for radical reforms for the American labor system. He believes the system is failing the American worker, that organized labor is neither organized nor effective. Andy Stern is the leader of the fastest growing union in this country. He wants to restructure the labor movement so its better able to protect American workers to serve their interest.

Andy Stern is president of the Service Employees International Union, joining us tonight from Washington. Andy, good to have you here.

ANDY STERN, SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNATIONAL UNION: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Well, you are pretty radical. You are saying that the labor movement in this country is in trouble, that organized labor isn't working. Is there anything you can do about that? STERN: Well, absolutely, I think there are things we can do about it. What we're talking about really is that the greatness of America was that everybody could come here, work hard and see their work rewarded.

If you think back to when your parents worked, certainly when I started work, there was an American dream. You know, with one job you could raise your family, have healthcare, own a home, take a vacation, help pay for your kids to go to college and retire with dignity. But back then, Lou, 1 in 3 workers back were in unions and big companies like GM and the Steel and AT&T, those jobs were tickets, a bridge to the middle class.

Now the largest employer is Wal-Mart. It is shipping our jobs overseas. It takes two or maybe three Wal-Mart jobs to raise your family. And the largest employer isn't rewarding work, except for 5 members of the Walton family who make $20 billion -- who have $20 billion each. We can do better. We can reward work in America.

DOBBS: We can reward work. But the Waltons have what they've got. It's still a capitalist system. And that's not going to likely change, anyway soon. But the fact is that unions are becoming less important and corporate America has overwhelming political power. Can you reverse that?

STERN: Absolutely. I think we need a new modern labor movement. We need some bold plans and that's what we've proposed. To put $25 million towards stopping the Wal-Mart end of our jobs, to make sure every man, woman and child has healthcare, to unite the strength of workers.

The labor union is divided. We have 30 unions in hospitals, 15 in transportation. We've seen what's happened when we're not organized and united in the airline industry. So I think there is a plan. We've seen it in our own union. We've made the tough choices. And now we're going to build a global union at SCIU, because in a new global economy, we need global unions that reward work for workers around the world.

DOBBS: How about American workers?

STERN: I think American workers are taking it on the chin. We're watching small businesses close down. We're watching our jobs shipped overseas. The trade agreements, NAFTA and the WTO, we were told not the truth. It hasn't raised the standards for American workers. The Wal-Mart stores are filled with goods from China. Sam Walton would be rolling over in his grave. We can reward American work and American workers, but we're going to need to have the one anti-poverty program that's worked, which is labor unions to be strong again.

DOBBS: I think Walter Ruther would feel -- you mention Sam Walton. Let's go to other side Whitfield, when he found out that organized labor in this country is supporting open border, illegal immigration, amnesty for illegal aliens, depressing wages by $200 billion a year and not fighting like hell the exporting of American jobs, and getting in bed in many cases with corporate America itself on basic issues: not trying to drive the fight for minimum wages, not getting the fight going for protecting working middle class families and education? How would Walter Ruther feel about that?

STERN: I think Walter Ruther would say what we're saying. We need a bold new plan to reward work. We need to make sure that American corporations who are raising our insurance rates, those same corporations aren't paying taxes anymore. We give tax breaks to ship our jobs overseas. We need some of these companies to start a buy American kind of program.

But we need strong unions again. And we need to grow again and invest in our own future. And that means we have to change if we're going to reward work in today's society.

DOBBS: If the AFL-CIO doesn't go along with you, what do you do?

STERN: Well, first of all, we're going to fight as hard as we can for a labor movement that takes care of members, that changes, that grows again. And we will always be a partner with the AFL-CIO whether we are a part of it or not.

But the fight now is for American workers and American jobs and we're going to lead that fight inside or outside the AFL-CIO.

DOBBS: Andy Stern, we thank you for being here. Bringing some new ideas to the organized labor movement in this country.

Still ahead, the result of our poll tonight, a preview of what's ahead tomorrow.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DOBBS: The results of tonight's poll. Overwhelming again, 80 percent of you do not support abstinence only education programs in our public schools.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Senator Edward Kennedy will be here talking about his proposal to protect American families from bankruptcy because of skyrocketing medical costs accounting for half of all personal bankruptcies.

Thanks for being with us. Good night from New York. "ANDERSON COOPER 360" 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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