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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Former FEMA Director Michael Brown Claims He Is Scapegoat; Cheney May Have Approved Leaking In CIA Probe; Best Government Money Can Buy; Chinese Agent Nabbed Trying To Buy Military Secrets; Playing the Blame Game in Washington; Pundits Look At The Week's Top Stories; Arizona Lawmakers Act On Border Security; Former Military Surgeon Adjusts To Life On One Leg
Aired February 10, 2006 - 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, news, debate and opinion for Friday, February 10.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, former FEMA director Michael Brown says "baloney" to his critics. Is he trying to evade responsibility for the federal government's failure to respond adequately to Hurricane Katrina, or is he being made a scapegoat?
We're live with a report in Washington.
Also, Communist China's huge and intensifying effort to steal our most effective military technologies from missiles to aircraft engines. Our free trade friends smuggling and spying.
We'll have the special report.
And then, the federal government's total and complete failure to secure our nation's borders and to enforce our immigration laws. Many state lawmakers have had enough. Two lawmakers from one border state join us here tonight.
And the best government money can buy. A culture of corruption and incompetence on Capitol Hill. The Republican Party is in disarray. Democrats are paralyzed.
Who is pushing for reform? Three of the country's finest political commentators join me here tonight.
And we're following a developing story tonight, a high-speed chase in California involving the U.S. Border Patrol and a van full of illegal aliens that ended in a crash. Dozens of people have been injured. We'll have that story throughout the evening here.
Much more ahead.
We begin tonight with former FEMA director Michael Brown and his aggressive defense today of his role in the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Brown said he did everything possible to alert the White House about the likely effect of Katrina. In sometimes angry testimony to the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Brown strongly challenged his critics and he blamed other administration officials for the government's inadequate response to the disaster.
Jeanne Meserve reports now from Washington -- Jeanne.
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Lou, it is clear Michael Brown is tired of taking the rap for the deeply flawed response to Hurricane Katrina. At the Senate hearing there was some candor and some confrontation.
MICHAEL BROWN, FMR. FEMA DIRECTOR: Balls to the wall, and I was certainly screaming and cursing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you feel like you've been sort of set up to be the scapegoat, to be the fall guy?
BROWN: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. I can't lie to you, but yes, I feel that way.
MESERVE (voice-over): But today, Brown got even, dishing who know what when about New Orleans. President Bush and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff have said they didn't know the enormity of the crisis until Tuesday, the day after Katrina made landfall. But Brown said he had made the picture clear Monday in video conferences with top homeland officials.
BROWN: So for them to now claim that we didn't have awareness of it I think is just baloney.
MESERVE: He also testified he had talked that Monday to Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joe Hagin.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Did you tell Mr. Hagin in that phone call that New Orleans was flooding?
BROWN: I think I told him that we were realizing our worst nightmare.
MESERVE: But Brown said he didn't remember whether he had talked to the president or Chertoff the day of the storm.
Brown said he frequently went straight to the White House for help, circumventing Michael Chertoff.
SEN. ROBERT BENNETT (R), UTAH: You're telling us that a face -- well, not face to face, but wire-to-wire conversation directly with Secretary Chertoff would not have produced any kind of worthwhile results?
BROWN: No, it would have wasted my time.
BENNETT: That is a staggering statement.
MESERVE: The White House is not reacting to Brown's testimony, saying only that it has its own report on the Katrina response in the works. But a Department of Homeland Security spokesman says if there was a failure in Washington to grasp the situation in New Orleans, it was the fault of the battlefield commander on the ground, Mike Brown.
Lou, back to you.
DOBBS: Quite a statement for not having a statement.
Jeanne Meserve, thank you very much, from Washington.
The White House tonight is also not commenting on the disclosure that Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby, said he was authorized by his superiors to give intelligence to reporters. The vice president's office says only that it is fully cooperating with the investigation into the White House CIA leak.
Dana Bash reports from the White House.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At first glance, the revelation is startling. Scooter Libby was authorized by superiors to talk to reporters about highly classified information, and at least one of those superiors, a knowledgeable source tells CNN, was his boss, the vice president.
That may not be as surprising when you consider the political atmosphere in the summer of 2003. Several months after the Iraq invasion, no WMD had turned up and the White House was getting pounded for twisting intelligence for war.
As CNN reported at the time, the president and vice president attended strategy meetings with senior staff on how to rebut that criticism. According to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Libby set out to give reporters like Judy Miller of "The New York Times" information from the highly classified 2002 National Intelligence Estimate, NIE, which said in part, Iraq "will probably have a nuclear weapon during this decade."
JEFFREY SMITH, FMR. CIA AGENT GENERAL COUNSEL: One man's leak is another man's effort to get the truth out to the public.
BASH: Just 10 days after Libby's conversation with Miller, the White House took their campaign public, held an off-camera briefing, and released eight out of 90 pages of the NIE to all reporters. Senior officials said that move was approved by the CIA.
It is unclear whether Libby's discussions with reporters were, too. Experts say if authorized by the vice president, it would be a departure from regular procedure but they probably didn't break the law. And in fact, the special prosecutor says he won't go after Libby for revealing classified information. Legal or not, critics charge that Cheney authorizing the leak of classified information was inappropriate and some say hypocritical, given his vocal public stance against leaking secrets, especially on the domestic surveillance program.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The existence of this program was highly classified and information about it was improperly provided to the news media to the clear detriment of our national security.
SMITH: Oftentimes, policymakers leak information when it's favorable to them, and then scream bloody murder when something else leaks they don't like.
BASH: The vice president's office won't comment on the ongoing investigation, but sources close to him stress that he takes leaking classified information very seriously. One saying, "Ultimately the truth will come out."
But Lou, it is worth noting that nothing in the record suggests that he had any role in what had been the heart of this investigation, which is the outing, the covert outing of Valerie Plame.
DOBBS: Dana, thank you very much.
Dana Bash from the White House.
Another major issue in Washington of course is the culture of corruption on Capitol Hill, what we call here "The Best Government Money Can Buy." Today, in an exclusive interview with CNN, the new House majority leader, Congressman John Boehner, strongly defended Washington lobbyists. Congressman Boehner also dismissed criticism of his decision to rent a lobbyist's apartment.
Ed Henry reports -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, you're right, John Boehner was blunt in this interview about the political problems facing Republicans in the upcoming elections. He expressed optimism, though, that they can turn it around by November, and he did, as you noted, he lashed out at critics raising questions about his decision to rent his D.C. apartment from a Washington lobbyist.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), MAJORITY LEADER: We went and did a survey to make sure I was paying fair market prices. As a matter of fact, I think I paid over the fair market price for a basement apartment. But why can't I rent an apartment from someone who happens to be a lobbyist?
HENRY (voice-over): Regardless of perception, Boehner says he won't dump his friends who happen to be lobbyists. BOEHNER: Most Americans look at, lobbyist, oh, they're bad people. They're normal human beings. They have a job to do. Some of them get paid very little. Some of them get paid a lot. But if it weren't for lobbyists, the legislative process could never work.
HENRY: This is John Boehner on offense, and he's preaching the same for House Republicans gathered here on the eastern shore of Maryland for strategy sessions aimed at helping them dig out of deep political trouble, including a Friday pep talk from the president.
BOEHNER: Listen, the president's numbers aren't as good as they could be. The situation in Iraq is still tenuous, at best. And so, you know, the numbers aren't real good.
There's no sense kidding anybody about it. But if we bring ourselves together and get ourselves on offense, and do what the American people expect of us, we're going to do fine in November.
HENRY: Boehner chided Democrats for failing to present an alternative agenda to capitalize on Republican woes.
BOEHNER: Our friends across the aisle, while they are the opposition, they don't have any ideas. We've been hearing about their contract, their big package. We hear about it and we hear about it, but we never see it.
HENRY: Boehner knows Republicans can only stop playing defense over scandals involving Tom DeLay and disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff after they craft an ethics reform plan. But the majority leader has raised eyebrows about his own commitment to reform because of his relationship with lobbyists and by shooting down Speaker Dennis Hastert's call for a ban on private travel.
BOEHNER: We're not going to agree on everything. My goodness, Ed, I've been married for 32 years. You think my wife and I agree every day? It doesn't mean we ought to get divorced. We're married.
HENRY: Boehner said he's also wedded to the idea of coming up with a strong ethics reform package, but he would not be pinned down on a timetable or any details of what would be in that plan. That's partly because Republicans still deeply divided over what ethics changes to make. But Democrats allege Boehner is really slow-walking this issue because of his relationship with lobbyists, something he says is just nonsense -- Lou.
DOBBS: To be clear, what does he say is nonsense?
HENRY: That he is slow-walking reform because of his own ties to various lobbyists. He's saying he's serious about reform. I think time will tell whether or not he's going to follow up on that -- Lou.
DOBBS: But doesn't want to private travel and so far has not advanced any -- any element of a serious program to reform the relationship between lobbyists and our lawmakers. HENRY: That's right. So far. They're trying to hash that out at that retreat I was talking about on the eastern shore of Maryland.
So far, no progress, but, you know, there's still time. It's early in this congressional session. But originally at the beginning of the year Speaker Hastert said they were going to start getting something going in February. The month is almost over -- Lou.
DOBBS: For ideas on reform, perhaps, we could show them broadcasts -- video of these broadcasts, editorials in major newspapers across the country, no shortage of ideas.
Thank you very much.
HENRY: Thank you.
DOBBS: The number of lobbyists in Washington has doubled over the past five years. There are now 14,000 lobbyists trying to win favor from Congress and the federal government. Many of those lobbyists, of course, are former senators and congressmen.
A former member of Congress can earn as much as $2 million a year as a lobbyist. The salary for a rank and file member of Congress, about $160,000 a year.
And a well-connected former Capitol Hill staffer can earn at least $300,000 a year on K Street. Some serious incentive.
And still ahead here, Russia's dangerous foreign policy that includes an invitation for a radical Islamist terrorist organization to officially visit Moscow. How much of a friend do we have in Vladimir Putin?
We'll have the special report.
And the Bush administration's failed trade policies. New evidence tonight, as if we needed it, that this nation is in the middle of a serious trade collapse.
And Communist China's aggressive new efforts to steal this nation's most advanced military technology. Our free-trade friends, the communist Chinese. Details of a dangerous Chinese plot and how the United States cracked the case, here next.
DOBBS: U.S. foreign policy toward Russia is all but indiscernible. And whatever is detected in the way of a foreign policy on the part of this country toward Russia is simply in disarray.
The Bush administration has spent years trying to win Russian support on vital international issues from the Middle East to radical Islamist terrorism to Iran. But Russian president Vladimir Putin appears determined to undermine U.S. foreign policy at seemingly every opportunity.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Russia's belligerence these days is growing. G-8 meetings this weekend in Moscow. Senator John McCain called for a boycott of Russia's presidency of the G-8 because of Russia's poor human rights record.
President Putin's response? "They deserve a very brief reply, to hell with you."
PHIL GORDON, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: This is a real challenge. I think in the short term the administration is just trying to figure out what to say. And they'll say they hope that Putin says the right thing when he meets them. But it really is a blatant slap in the face to the United States.
PILGRIM: President Putin also stunned the world by saying he would meet with Hamas, a terrorist organization. But the U.S. State Department response has been muted.
SEAN MCCORMACK, STATE DEPT. SPOKESMAN: Individual countries will make their sovereign decisions about these -- about these issues. We consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
CELESTE WALLANDER, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: I've seen some anonymous comments from senior State Department officials which were tougher, which said that this is not helpful. Russia breaking with consistency of the policy, of the quartet, is something we're worried about, we don't like to see.
PILGRIM: President Bush still talks about his good personal relationship with President Putin. But a lot has happened in the four years since President Bush first met him and said he was able to get a sense of his soul.
U.S. human rights organization Freedom House has ranked Russia not free for the increasing centralization of power in the Kremlin, limiting Western-based aid organizations, cracking down on Russian media, prosecuting business leaders who defy the government. Russia increasingly supplies China in its military buildup and blatantly interfered in the Ukrainian elections, cutting off energy supplies in the middle of winter.
PILGRIM: Now, President Putin says Russia's position on Hamas is different than the United States and western Europe. Russia doesn't consider Hamas a terrorist organization.
Well, that statement may come to haunt Russia when it asks for international help on Islamic insurgents in Chechnya -- Lou.
DOBBS: A request for help that so far has not come, seeking approval to proceed with its own resolution of the issue. It is interesting to hear Vladimir Putin, into whose eyes President George Bush looked deeply once, reply to the United States, "To hell with you." It's hard to imagine a single U.S. official, whether the president, the secretary of state, or any other saying so succinctly "To hell with you" to Russia.
PILGRIM: Well, it doesn't get any more blatant than that. Russia's pursuing an independent course and doesn't really care.
DOBBS: And I love the State Department spokesman figuring out that that was a sovereign nation speaking, as if Russia needed any help in making it clear.
Thank you very much.
I love that sort of succinct, straightforward expression.
And another U.S. policy failure tonight to report to you. The United States today released our trade deficit figures. It should be sounding alarm bells all across Washington D.C.
This latest report proves that the United States is in the middle of what is nothing less than a serious trade collapse that is threatening the nation and certainly our middle class working families.
Louise Schiavone reports.
LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Driven by an insatiable demand for imported oil and cheap imported goods, the U.S. trade deficit spiked more than 17 percent last year to $726 billion.
BOB BAUGH, AFL-CIO: It's a disaster. It's a weight hanging around the neck of the American workers and the American economy.
SCHIAVONE: U.S. business and labor say they just cannot compete with world players like China who manipulate their currency against a too-strong dollar.
This economist blames a leadership vacuum.
PETER MORICI, ECONOMIST: Energy policy, currency policy, leadership on the budget deficit, these are things a president is supposed to do and has failed to do. The president has been distracted apparently by other issues and doesn't seem to think that economics or the economy or the livelihood or the material circumstances of the typical American worker are worth noticing.
SCHIAVONE: It could have been worse. Exports of U.S. goods ranging from industrial materials to agricultural products were up $85 billion and exports of services such as business and financial services rose $35 billion. But for the broad middle class there is no good news in the widening gap between what the U.S. sells overseas and what it imports. AUGGIE TANTILLO, AM. MAN. TRADE ACTION COALITION: If you look at the numbers going back five years, we've lost 2.9 million manufacturing jobs. You can directly attribute a substantial portion of that job loss to the trade deficit, to unfair competition.
SCHIAVONE: The nation's steepest trade deficit for 2005 was with China, about $202 billion last year reflecting in part a major increase in imported Chinese textiles and clothing. The U.S. also racked up big deficits with Japan, the European Union and, of course, the big oil exporters in OPEC. And Bush administration free trade policies have yielded trade deficits with Central and South America as well.
SCHIAVONE: Lou, Americans like those everyday low prices on things like electronics and clothing, but one economist says they're like a sugar high, they don't come without a cost -- Lou.
DOBBS: And such metaphors really trivialize the very real, painful impact on our working men and women in this country. The fact that we have a trade deficit with Europe, with Asia, South and Central America, I mean, that doesn't leave much beyond Antarctica, Australia and Africa.
SCHIAVONE: You wonder how much stuff we could possibly sell to catch up.
DOBBS: Well, it is a fact, particularly when you can't find hardly a single U.S.-made product in this country, let alone one that is being exported elsewhere.
Thank you very much.
Still ahead here, we'll have your thoughts on the controversy surrounding the cartoons of Mohammed.
And then, our Bill Schneider found the Three Tenors in Washington this week. They sing, but to an entirely different tune than you might expect.
We'll have his story and hear from our distinguished panel on this week's political developments here next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight, the deadly bird flu has been discovered in yet another country. Azerbaijan today becomes the 21st country to report the most lethal strain of the virus in birds. Seven countries have now reported human cases, and today China and Indonesia announced two new human bird flu deaths.
There have been 90 people worldwide who have died from the bird flu.
Time now to look at some of your thoughts on the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that's caused numerous deaths and riots around the world.
Barry in Florida wrote to say, "It seems that CNN and most of the American press say they won't show the cartoon because it is offensive to Islam. Well, I find it extremely offensive to see an American flag burned. But that never stopped the news media from showing it."
And Jack Breen in Boonville, New York, "Why can't I see the cartoon of Mohammed? I get to see the American flag burned almost daily on CNN. Where is freedom of speech and freedom of the press now?"
Gus Clark in San Francisco, "Perhaps American newspapers should publish prominent front-page cartoons of Mohammed whenever Muslim mobs burn American flags on TV."
And John Barbers, "Lou, CNN is to be lauded for not showing that cartoon, but explain the hourly showing years ago of that art from the Brooklyn Museum, 'Christ in Urine,' paid for with taxpayer money."
Send us your thoughts at LouDobbs.com. We'll have more of your thoughts later here on the broadcast.
Each week here we salute the individuals and organizations making positive contributions to our society and our country. Among those earning our admiration and respect this week, editor Harry Siegel and the entire editorial staff of the New York press who chose to walk off their jobs Tuesday when their management prevented them from printing Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed.
We would also like to solute "The Daily Press" of Victorville, California; the Cheyenne, Wyoming, "Tribune-Eagle": the Austin, Texas, "American Statesman"; and the "Philadelphia Inquirer" for all printing these cartoons over the past two weeks. These, as best we can determine here, are the only U.S. newspapers that stood up for free expression, free speech, and free press, upholding their duty to inform the public when so many news organizations in this country were constrained from doing so.
Still ahead here, the Three Tenors, Washington, D.C. , style. They're singing up a storm and they're ready to tell all. Bill Schneider will have the story.
And U.S. officials foil a shocking Chinese plot to buy key U.S. weaponry. That's right, our free trade friends spying, smuggling, not being friendly.
That special report coming right up.
And the federal government has failed to protect these borders. Now pour border states are being forced to step in. Two Arizona legislatures join us to discuss their efforts to send state troops to the border, next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Communist China operates a huge spying operation in this country. Communist China also is making repeated efforts to steal the latest U.S. military technology.
In the latest development, prosecutors say Communist China tried to steal cruise missiles, air-to-air missiles and aircraft engines. Government officials say Communist China has been involved in hundreds of such cases over the past six years alone.
Christine Romans has the report.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A covert agent of the Chinese government with a very dangerous shopping list. At the top of the list, an F-16 engine.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Anthony Mangione...
ANTHONY MANGIONE, IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT: It's our belief that this man had an all of lot of money to be able to spread around. And if you see in the indictment, we're talking about $3.5 million or so for this one particular item. And we believe that he had access to much more than that given the shopping list.
ROMANS: According to a nine-count document unsealed in federal court in Florida, China was negotiating to buy not just the F-16 engine, but 70 Black Hawk helicopter engines, AGM-129 cruise missiles. These can carry nuclear warheads and feature stealth technology. And sophisticated air-to-air missiles.
Ko-Suen Moo, a Taiwanese national who authorities say is an agent of the Chinese government, is being held in a federal facility, charged with violating U.S. export control laws and trying to bribe his way out of custody. Also indicted, his co-conspirator, alleged arms broker Frenchman Maurice Voros. He remains at large. Security experts say China has a sophisticated network to acquire military secrets and the money to get them.
JOHN PIKE, GLOBALSECURITY.ORG: If it's a choice between developing their own military technology or stealing, buying military technology developed at American taxpayer expense, you know, I think that the choice is obvious. If this had succeeded, and others certainly are succeeding, this stuff is basically going to wind up threatening Americans.
ROMANS: He says the F-16 engine was likely meant for Venezuela, the other items for China's own military use.
ROMANS: Immigrations and Customs Enforcement says there's no doubt this Chinese agent was serious. Investigators say he even inspected an F-16 engine, paid $140,000 for the shipping costs and wired more than $3 million to a Swiss bank account to begin paying for this wide array of weaponry for China. Mr. Moo pleaded not guilty to the export charges in this indictment, Lou.
DOBBS: It is -- well, first of all, congratulations to ICE for carrying out the operation and it's good to see some part of this government paying attention to what is critically important to the interest of the nation.
The second part of this is there are more than 4,000 front organizations, communist Chinese front organizations spying in this country right now. Specific purpose, to acquire intellectual property, secrets and technology from this country. And we continue to follow these insane policies in trade and in our basic geopolitical relationships.
ROMANS: ICE says that cases like this are mounting. They're busting about 100 a year and that they're rising. The attempts to outright buy military secrets are rising.
DOBBS: Christine Romans, thank you.
That brings us to our poll tonight. We wanted to ask you a question that we thought bared (sic) -- bears some thinking. Do you believe the United States will look like protectionists in our trading relationship with China if we were to block their efforts to smuggle our military hardware out of the country? Yes or no? Cast your vote at LouDobbs.com. We'll have the results here later in the forecast.
The blame game is nothing new in Washington. Very few games in Washington are new, in fact. It's a long practice for members of Congress, government officials, even lobbyists. But this week, three prominent Washington figures have raised the practice to an entirely new level.
Bill Schneider has our story.
BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): You've heard of the three tenors. Now three Washington figures in trouble are singing like canaries. You might call their song, "It wasn't just me."
"It wasn't just me," sings Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney's indicted former chief of staff. This week, special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald revealed in grand jury documents that Libby testified that his White House superiors authorized him to disclose intelligence information to the press.
A source close to the case tells CNN of those superiors was Cheney. "The vice president authorizes leaks." That's quite a song.
"It wasn't just me," sings former lobbying Jack Abramoff, who pleaded guilty last month to bribery. When asked about Abramoff, who raised more than $100,000 for the Bush campaign, the president said...
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know him.
SCHNEIDER: "The guy saw me in almost a dozen settings and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids," Abramoff wrote in an e-mail.
"It wasn't just me," sings former FEMA director Michael Brown. He says his superiors knew a levee had broken the night Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.
BROWN: So for them to now claim that "we didn't have awareness of it," I think is just baloney.
SCHNEIDER: Did the White House know?
BROWN: If I've told Joe Hagen or told Andy Card I've told the president.
SCHNEIDER: The three men are singing to save themselves by implicating higher-ups.
SCHNEIDER: It's a tune that people have been singing here in Washington for years: cover your arias -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well done, Bill. I hadn't heard that one, cover your arias.
The fact is that there's a lot of singing going on. We have a few bars more to go. You suggest that it's really covering their arias, but isn't there some possibility that it's just simply -- imagine this -- the outright truth?
SCHNEIDER: Well, some of it could well be. But there's clearly a motive behind even telling the truth in Washington. Everything has a motive here.
DOBBS: Bill Schneider, thank you very much for sharing.
DOBBS: We appreciate it.
A report tonight that the United Nations has launched an investigation into the publication of the Mohammed cartoons by a Danish newspaper. That report says the U.N. high commissioner for human rights appointed two U.N. experts on racism to carry out the investigation after complaints by an Islamic organization. No comment by the United Nations so far.
Joining me with their thoughts of what has been a week of major stories, former White House political director Ed Rollins. Ed, good to have you here. "TIME" magazine columnist Joe Klein. Joe, good to have you with us.
And Michael Goodwin of the "New York Daily News." Michael.
Let's start with the United Nations getting into the racism exhibited by Denmark and published in these cartoons and perhaps even the editorial cowardice of mainstream media in the United States in not doing so. What do you think, Michael?
MICHAEL GOODWIN, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": Well, I think the U.N. should have enough to do without this and I think that the U.N.'s going to start getting into what is published in individual media organizations around the world, they're going to have their hands full. And I suspect they might want to try some other countries that really publish some horrendous things.
DOBBS: What do you think, Joe?
JOE KLEIN, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Oh, please. They should -- THEY SHOULD go feed some children somewhere or something. I mean, if you look, as Michael was saying, if you look at Arab publications and the cartoons in those about Israelis, about Jews, about the protocols of the elders of Zion, the Jewish banker communist conspiracy, I mean, you know, please.
This is -- it may have been unfortunate for the Danes to do this, but it's freedom of speech. You take it as it comes.
DOBBS: Well, it turns out it's not freedom of speech. By our count, and we spent some time on this, we came up with four newspapers in this country that had the temerity to publish cartoons that were fundamental to a global story that resulted in riots and death. I mean, that says something that, to me, is chilling as hell.
KLEIN: You know what the biggest thing about this story is? That the Europeans had no such qualms. Newspapers and publications in France, Germany, Italy, Norway, all published these cartoons. And you know what that says? That says there's a massive sea change going on in Europe, that they've had it with Islamic extremism.
DOBBS: And have we had it in this country, Joe, with the freedom of press, with the responsibility to inform the public? It's trumped by some sensitivity that doesn't exist, to my knowledge, anywhere in our Constitution or our way of life?
GOODWIN: If you're going to cover the story, I mean, you might not want to publish them just for provocation but certainly when you're covering the story, I think it's hard not to.
ED ROLLINS, FORMER WHITE HOUSE POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Any time there's violence you need to be concerned. But I'm far more concerned about the United Nations sort of ducking at this point in time a far more significant problem, something that has far greater potential for violence, and that's obviously the Iranian atomic energy thing.
ROLLINS: And there's this sort of arguments going back and forth, did they really violate it and do we really want to bring it forth or are they just doing normal things?
DOBBS: Well, IAEA said it has violated it.
KLEIN: It's going to the Security Council.
ROLLINS: But they're still ducking and dodging and laying excuses out of why -- why they maybe didn't really violate it. And to me, you know, if the U.N. is going to have any teeth, and I'm not sure they haven't had them all knocked out...
KLEIN: Do you actually want the U.N. to have many teeth?
ROLLINS: No, you don't, but I don't want -- I don't want them to have a wagging tongue when we -- when we have to go in and enforce...
DOBBS: No teeth, no tongue.
ROLLINS: To me, we have to go in and enforce their resolutions that have been violated over and over and over again. And they take great relish in kicking the crap out of us. This is -- this is a challenge, and I'm very curious to see how they may handle cartoons better than they'll handle nuclear weapons.
DOBBS: Well, remember, the United Nations is still, as they're referring these charges against Denmark, which I think for such a small country is showing great courage and deserves...
KLEIN: As it always has, as it did at the beginning of World War II.
DOBBS: It takes five days for the president of the United States to stand up and support Denmark? It takes the European Union competitors to Denmark about 32 minutes to start competing for the products that Denmark loses in the boycott in the Middle East? I mean, this is beyond repugnant.
GOODWIN: These are not boycotts. These are government actions...
DOBBS: Of course.
GOODWIN: ... taking the products off the shelves.
DOBBS: And fools here talking about religious sensitivity when what we're watching is a political juggernaut that is working. It's extraordinary.
Speaking of political juggernauts.
ROLLINS: I haven't seen one. DOBBS: Policies rolling out of Washington D.C., the free trade policies are just really boffo, $726 billion. And idiots are still trying to discuss whether or not free trade policies are working. There is no such thing as free trade.
We're looking at just monumental collapse in our trade policies. What in the world is this government doing right?
ROLLINS: Excuse me, it takes me 30 seconds to think about that. You know, they're ducking and dodging. I mean, the bottom line is, everything that's out of there are very difficult decisions. And these guys are all scared to death, even though they're almost election-proof.
When the president takes seven minutes today to brief the Republican conference on what he wants them to do, it tells you everything there is to know. And that means that there's not very much to move forward. It's how we can get through the next few months without creating any controversy and get ourselves reelected and wave the flag that we put two Supreme Court justices in. We put a $2.7 billion budget up there without even counting the other 70...
DOBBS: That's $2.7 trillion.
ROLLINS: Without even -- without even...
DOBBS: Small conservative government.
ROLLINS: Without even the other $70 billion or $80 billion that's going to go up in the supplemental, we want to put hundreds of millions of dollars -- billions of dollars into defense and pretend that the Iraq...
DOBBS: By the way you're listening to a Republican right now, ladies and gentlemen.
KLEIN: What he's saying is that the supplemental is the money for the war in Iraq, which is not included in the budget.
ROLLINS: And not debated.
KLEIN: And by the way, I've talked to defense experts this week about the defense budget, and Donald Rumsfeld has spent the last five years talking about transformation. But this budget is your old defense budget, the exact old defense budget.
DOBBS: Well, that brings us -- as we wrap up here, we talk about this government, because it is difficult to find competence in many departments within this government, period. I mean, we may joke about it, but we are watching a government right now struggling to function.
But what about the national news media here? About those of us covering this government, these politicians, and playing some sort of kabuki dance until -- instead of getting to the facts. Men and women and children watching this broadcast and reading your newspaper, your magazine, they know better. And we continue this dance, as if there's no independent, non-ideological reality.
GOODWIN: Well, I was struck by the Bonner Report early on, where he just was very slow on the issue of the lobbyist scandal. That -- that's kind of mind-boggling.
DOBBS: Slow, he's the reform candidate, Michael!
GOODWIN: Yes, right. But I mean, it's extraordinary that nobody seems to be rushing in with clear ideas. This is the sort of thing you feel at a different time, everybody would have rushed to be out front. Now they're kind of waiting to see what the other guy does.
KLEIN: I've been doing this for 35 years. This is the most incompetent and arrogant American government that I've seen. They are good at only one thing, and that is running election campaigns and that is now what they're swinging into for 2006.
ROLLINS: I've been doing it for 40 years, and that's exactly right. And the end of the day is...
KLEIN: Oh, my God.
ROLLINS: I look younger but I'm older.
KLEIN: It's frightening that we're in total agreement on this.
ROLLINS: But the most absurd part of this is these guys are election-proof and they don't want to do what's right for the country. They don't want to do what's right. They are in a position where they could be brave and courageous, and they're not willing to be brave and courageous.
DOBBS: You heard it here, they're election-proof. And if that's the case, that's your fault and mine.
ROLLINS: I agree.
DOBBS: And Ed, Joe, thank you very much; Michael, thank you.
Still ahead here, we'll have the latest from a high-speed chase in California involving U.S. vans full of illegal aliens that ended in a crash on a freeway there. Dozens of people injured. We'll have the report.
And one state sick and tired of waiting for the federal government. A lot of states are sick and tired, but this state is actually doing something about it. I'll be talking with two of the state representatives behind new legislation to enforce border security. Stay with us.
DOBBS: A developing story tonight, a high-speed chase and a violent crash on the U.S. border with Mexico, involving the border patrol and suspected illegal aliens in at least three vehicles. Border patrol agents were chasing as many as three small vans full of suspected illegal aliens when the crash occurred. One of those three vans crashing on interstate 905 in San Diego.
Reports say the van that crashed had no seats and was carrying as many as, incredibly, and these are unconfirmed reports, this one van could have been carrying as many as 29 people. And we're told that most of the people in the van were injured. And we will continue to follow and update this story here through the broadcast.
The Arizona legislature is working to free up millions of dollars to fight its border emergency and help the U.S. border patrol.
Joining me now to talk about their efforts, the state representatives Russell Pierce and Tom Prezelski.
Gentlemen, good to have you with us.
Let me begin first with you, Mr. Pierce, and that is the idea that you're not going to wait for federal money. You want to get it to it right now. How so?
RUSSELL PIERCE (R), ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Well, very simple. I mean, the governor in her state of the state said she'd put the National Guard down there but has failed to do so. She hasn't even required to do their training down there.
We're going to provide money for it. They ought to go down there. We're going to provide $50 million for an additional 200 Department of Public Safety personnel to go down there, providing money for local agencies to participate in what's going on.
Five to 10,000 folks come across that border illegally every single night.
PIERCE: Enough is enough. We have the resources. We're going to put money -- we'll bill the federal government. But we're going to put the money there and do it now.
DOBBS: Russell Pierce, a Republican, and Tom Prezelski, Democrat, do you agree with your colleague?
TOM PREZELSKI (D), ARIZONA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: No, we already have National Guard on the border. We have about 174 National Guard personnel serving a very limited support role in terms of logistics, engineering, that sort of thing.
What -- what the governors called for is expanding that role. And I think we have to be very careful if we're going to use the National Guard, because we have to -- we have to define what their mission is going to be, what their rules of engagement are, how long they're going to be there.
We're expecting a lot of our men and women in uniform right now. We have to be very careful. If we don't define their mission we could have tragedy, just as we've had in prior times when we've used the military for law enforcement. We have to be very careful.
DOBBS: Do you see that purely as law enforcement, enforcing a national border security?
PIERCE: Go ahead, Tom.
PREZELSKI: I see as a law enforcement issue. The problem at the border is largely a law enforcement problem. I think we -- law enforcement people are trained...
DOBBS: What happens when the Mexican army crosses that border?
PIERCE: You bring up a good point. First of all, Tom brings up -- he talks about the risk of somebody being hurt while they're down there. What about the risk of a citizen being hurt every day because they're not down there?
Arizona's No. 1 in crime. You know, the illegal aliens kill more people on an annual basis than we probably lost in the Iraq war to date in the United States. It's enough is enough.
DOBBS: Can I ask you this, Tom Prezelski, Governor Napolitano declared a border emergency a year ago, along with Governor Bill Richardson in New Mexico. Still, Arizona's border is the most porous of our southern border states. What is it going to take to get this thing -- I assume that you agree with Russell it has to be fixed.
PREZELSKI: Well, of course it has to be fixed, but it has to be fixed at the federal level. It's a federal responsibility. The Republican Congress and the Republican administration have not been doing their job. The president's current budget provides no money to assist local law enforcement in addressing this problem.
And if the state does it, the federal government will continue to abdicate its responsibility. We have a law enforcement and humanitarian crisis on the border, and the federal government has to do its job.
PIERCE: That's just not true. That costs us billions of dollars. The failure to act on that every day costs Arizona billions of dollars, the crime. A billion in K through 12, the crime, the health care crisis.
DOBBS: We're -- it doesn't look like an immediate opportunity for bipartisan action in Arizona, but we thank you gentlemen for being here to discuss the issues. Russell Pierce and Tom Prezelski, thank you very much.
PIERCE: Thank you, sir.
PREZELSKI: Thank you.
DOBBS: Come up at the top of the hour here, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with none other than Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf. WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.
We've got lots of news we're following, including Hurricane Katrina as it happened. A major American city virtually wiped off the map, so who's to blame for the government's slow response? The former FEMA director, Michael Brown, is pointing the finger.
Also, we're going to tell you why thousands of trailers meant for storm survivors are still sitting empty right now in Arkansas, and we're all paying for it.
And the case for war: did the White House twist the facts to lead the country into war? A former intelligence officer is speaking out.
And New York City, get this, bracing for a possible blizzard. The northeast about to be socked in with snow.
All that, Lou, coming up right at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: Thank you very much, Wolf.
And still ahead here, we'll have more of your thoughts on the Bush administration. And tonight we'll introduce you to a soldier who suffered a debilitating wound and who refuses to let it slow him down one bit. "Heroes," coming right up. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Sergeant Andrew Butterworth lost his leg in a rocket propelled grenade attack in Iraq. And that hasn't slowed him down a bit. In fact, he's speeded up. Philippa Holland with his story.
PHILIPPA HOLLAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Learning how to ski on one leg is only a minor challenge for former National Guard surgeon Andrew Butterworth. He's never really liked sitting still.
KATIE BUTTERWORTH, WIFE: He gets, you know, bored sitting around. He's got to be up doing something.
HOLLAND: That's what drove him to the military in the first place. He even likes falling down. That attitude helped Butterworth recover quickly, just two weeks after as inpatient after losing his right leg when a rocket propelled grenade hit his Bradley vehicle while on duty in Iraq.
ANDREW BUTTERWORTH, FORMER NATIONAL GUARD SURGEON: I saw my leg still kind of hanging there, and when I saw that, I told myself, "Well, if I live through this, I'm not going to have my leg." I had kind of accepted that fact right then, which helped me out, when I did wake up.
HOLLAND: He was back home in North Carolina after less than four months. Butterworth's commander, who was next to him in the Bradley, lost his left leg. No one else was injured. But Butterworth, also suffering a severe hand wound, managed to instruct his troops on how to save him.
A. BUTTERWORTH: Was giving a couple of orders and just, you know, just making sure that the guys were confident and giving them encouragement and stuff like that, and helping them to, you know, helping them to get through it.
HOLLAND: That leadership earned him an Army commendation medal with valor. He also received a Purple Heart.
Today he spends his days working as a state benefits benefit for the North Carolina National Guard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Walk a little bit.
HOLLAND: And adjusting to life on one leg.
A. BUTTERWORTH: It's one of those things you have to deal with. You have to do things a little bit differently. You have to learn new ways around stuff.
K. BUTTERWORTH: I never hear him complain, you know, about his circumstances, or you know, any bitterness. I've never, ever seen him display any of that.
HOLLAND: That positive spirit is infectious. Now his wife, Katie, who never skied before Butterworth's accident, is out on the slopes with him. And Butterworth, while loving the crashes, is pretty adept at going downhill on one ski.
Philippa Holland, CNN.
DOBBS: And if you'd like to help some of our heroes, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. If you'd like to contribute, please go to FallenHeroesFund.org. That's FallenHeroesFund.org or you can find a link to the fund on LouDobbs.com or call 1-800-340-HERO, 1-800-340- HERO.
When we continue, we'll have the results of our poll, also some of your thoughts on the Bush administration's surprise at the level of violence on our southern border and we'll have a preview of what's coming up next week. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Time now for some of your thoughts. Many of you writing in about our poll question last night on the Bush's administration's apparent surprise about the level of violence on our southern border.
Sandra in Texas wrote to say, "How could anyone anywhere be surprised that this Bush regime is surprised? They were surprised by the levees breaking. They were surprised by the intensity of the Iraqi insurgency. They were surprised that Hamas won the Palestinian election."
Al in South Carolina said, "Lou I voted no to your question. As a registered Republican, the answer is a no-brainer, as the Bush administration is not in touch with anything or anybody in this country."
And Jimmy in New Jersey: "Lou, for dozens of Texas lawmen to have to come to Washington and tell Congress about how critical and dangerous the border situation is, is a laugh. My God, you've been telling and showing footage for months."
Ron in Georgia, "Lou, I see what's needed. The Bush administration didn't include cable in the budget. We need to take up a collection so that President Bush can watch CNN and keep up with what's going on in the USA."
And Janie in Colorado: "Lou, after seeing your report about some idiots in Dallas who want to hire illegal alien teachers, well, I'm in school right now to get my teaching certificate. Am I wasting my time? Any other suggestions for employment?"
Keep the faith.
And Rene in Virginia: "Lou, I cannot fathom this debate. Illegal is illegal. Now Dallas, Texas, wants to hire illegal immigrants as teachers? What's next, illegal drug traffickers as pharmacists?"
And David in New York: "Lou, the best government money can buy? If the administration in D.C. Is the best our money can buy, the dollar must be near worthless."
We thank you for sending your thoughts. We love hearing from you. Send us those thoughts to LouDobbs.com. Each of you whose e- mail is read here on this broadcast will receive a copy of my book, "Exporting America."
Also, if you'd like to receive our e-mail newsletter, please sign up at our Web site, LouDobbs.com.
And now the results of tonight's poll. Eight-two percent of you say the United States will not look like protectionists in our trading relationship with China if we block their efforts to smuggle our military hardware and technology. Now, 18 percent of you say that we would look like protectionists, and we certainly don't want to do that. And we appreciate your concerns.
Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here Monday evening. We hope you'll be with us. From all of us here, have a very pleasant weekend. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.
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