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LOU DOBBS TONIGHT
Bush Vows to Veto Any Bill to Block Arab Port Deal; Interview With Congressman Pete King; Senator Proposes Bill To Criminalize Border Tunneling; Bush Administration Squelching Evidence Of The Shocking Disappearance of Greenland; Sheriff John Trumbo Sends Vicente Fox Bill For Illegal Immigrant Incarceration
Aired February 21, 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 Tuesday, February 21.
Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, the White House and the Republican leadership of Congress are on a political collision course over the United Arab Emirates ports deal. President Bush is threatening to veto any legislation to block this deal. We'll have complete coverage on an escalating political storm.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Pete King, says he will push emergency legislation that would force the White House to reconsider this deal. Congressman King is among our guests.
I'll also be talking with two of the country's top geopolitical analysts on whether the Bush White House is failing this country on national security, not only on ports, but on all other dangerous threats to this country's national interests.
And you may find this hard it believe, but there is no law to stop terrorists and criminals from digging tunnels through the border into this country. One leading U.S. senator is about to change all of that. We'll have the special report.
All of that and much more.
We begin tonight with the showdown between the White House and top congressional Republicans over the deal to allow the United Arab Emirates to manage six of our most important seaports. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert today demanded that the White House reconsider its decision to approve this sale.
But President Bush instead insisted the sale will go forward, and the president threatening to veto any legislation to block the deal. The White House, of course, approved this deal in the first place, even though the United Arab Emirates has ties with the 9/11 hijackers and nuclear proliferation. Dana Bash reports on the White House's refusal to back down, its threats to veto legislation. Ed Henry, from Capitol Hill, reports on the rising anger in Congress over this deal. Lisa Sylvester reports on the Emirates' blatant attempts to stop our reporting on this broadcast of this dangerous threat to our national security.
We turn now to Dana Bash -- Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Lou.
It's really hard to overstate how dramatic these events unfolded. They were unfolding here at the White House this afternoon, as you mentioned.
What had been certainly some Republican criticism about this deal turned into really a tsunami of criticism coming from the top, the Republican leadership in Congress. So the White House decided, first of all, that they were not going to bow to that, that they were going to stick to this deal.
They said that -- they say that it was done in a correct way, that it's appropriate, and they decided that Mr. Bush himself was going to make that point. He first. in a very unusual move, talked to reporters aboard Air Force One, and there he said he would actually use his first veto ever in five-plus years against legislation that would put this deal on hold.
Then, to hammer that point home, he came and talked to cameras at the White House lawn, challenged critics to explain why, in his words, it's OK for some foreign companies to run ports but not the United Arab Emirates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it sends a terrible signal to friends around the world that it's OK for a company from one country to manage the port, but not a country that plays by the rules and has got a good track record from another part of the world and can't manage the port.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Now, what the president also said is that he is trying to conduct foreign policy and he wants to say to the people of the world, in his words, we treat you fairly. And he also made the point that this transaction would not and does not jeopardize the national security of this country. That is a point he made a couple of times, before the cameras, and also on the plane.
That is something we have heard from the White House over the past couple of days. But now, of course, from the president himself. It just signals how much of a political storm they realize they're in here -- Lou.
DOBBS: A storm that they have just escalated without question here, Dana. The staff there at the White House, are they comfortable with this approach? This is outright -- an outright challenge to the Republican-led Senate and the House.
BASH: They say they are. In fact, they -- in talking to them today, it seemed as though they were really gearing up for this fight.
Why? Because, as we were talking about yesterday, they understand they're getting accused of being politically tone deaf. But the president wants to make the case, as one senior official said to me today, like he said in his State of the Union, that he thinks it is very important to maintain allies in the Middle East, they very much consider the UAE an ally in the Middle East at this point. And that at this point, they don't think that brushing allies aside is necessary.
What they need to do is pull them in. And they also make the point here that the president, in the State of the Union, said he doesn't want to bow to isolationism. That's another thing that's factoring in here -- Lou.
DOBBS: Well, this administration is the one that is becoming isolated. And in your judgment, did the president today advisedly fail to note, as he's talked about other countries, companies from other countries, did he advisedly and understandably note that this was a government-controlled company, Dubai Ports World?
BASH: He didn't note it in his public statements. I will tell you, however, that the White House -- we don't have it yet -- has been working on a list of other companies that are actually run by, or at least associated with, the countries that also are running -- and I don't need to tell you, Lou. You have done many stories on this -- are also running ports in other areas of interest in this country.
So they say that this is not a unique situation.
DOBBS: If it is not unique, it is all the more important for us to get the story out.
Dana Bash, thank you for doing so.
The decision by the Republican leadership in the Senate and the House to challenge the ports deal illustrates the growing widespread anger on Capitol Hill. Anger with this White House. The opposition is one of the biggest challenges of this president's term since, of course, he entered office.
Ed Henry reports now from Washington -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, that's right. Even as the president was insisting this deal must go through, the Republican speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, fired off a letter to the president demanding the deal be halted. Otherwise, he's threatening to introduce legislation to block the deal.
That mirrors exactly what the Senate Republican leader, Bill Frist, did earlier today. A clear sign that Republicans on the Hill are on a collision course with this president.
HENRY (voice over): A stunning broadside from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, one the president's strongest Republican allies, demanding the White House halt the port deal, raising questions about the security of U.S. ports and griping about the lack of congressional consultation on these matters. Frist declared the transaction must be put on hold until the administration conducts some more extensive review.
Frist warned, "If the administration cannot delay the process, I plan on introducing legislation to ensure that the deal is placed on hold until this decision gets a more thorough review."
The chorus of criticism increased from Republicans across the country. In New York, the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Peter King, joined forces with Democrat Chuck Schumer, revealing they have emergency legislation to stop the port deal.
REP. PETE KING (R-NY), HOMELAND SECURITY CHAIRMAN: My office today has received more phone calls on this than any issue in the 14 years that I have been in the United States Congress. And every one of them is in support of what Senator Schumer and I are doing.
HENRY: In Florida, Republican Mark Foley was joined by New York Republican Vito Fossella at the Port of Miami to denounce the deal.
REP. VITO FOSSELLA (R), NEW YORK: I say we should put the breaks on.
HENRY: Also in Florida, Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Clay Shaw split with the White House.
REP. ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN (R), FLORIDA: We have from now to Tuesday, March 2 to ask a lot of questions, demand some answers and shed some light about these transactions.
HENRY: On the West Coast, California Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman joined Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins to introduce a joint resolution expressing disapproval.
REP. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: The more I learn, the more questions and concerns that I have. I'm troubled by the national security implications of allowing the transaction to proceed.
HENRY: In the face of the president's veto threat, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York today declared that legislation blocking the deal might go through Congress next week, in his words, "like a hot knife through butter." So even if the president does follow through on a veto, it very well could be overwritten by bipartisan majorities on Capitol Hill -- Lou.
DOBBS: Bipartisanship seems to be asserting itself much, I'm sure, to the White House's displeasure here. But this is a clear-cut national security issue. And the president is putting this forward as if it is some sort international commerce issue, as is the Homeland Security secretary, Michael Chertoff.
Just how palpable is the anger and the frustration with the Republican leadership with the White House on this issue?
HENRY: I think "palpable" is the exact word. You put your finger right on it, Lou.
In fact, because the statement from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who's normally extremely close to this White House, as you know, on just about every issue, at least most of them, he said specifically that he's concerned about the national security implications despite the assurances from the White House, from the Homeland Security Department.
And number two, Senator Frist also signaled that -- singled out frustration that Congress had not been looped in enough in this process. That's another sign Republicans feel like they were blindsided by this whole deal -- Lou.
DOBBS: Ed, thank you very much.
Ed Henry from Capitol Hill.
The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Pete King, whose legislation President Bush is vowing to veto tonight, will be my guest here in just a few minutes.
A delegation from the United Arab Emirates today arrived in Washington. They're here to defend the ports deal. You might think a member of the delegation would want to appear on this broadcast to give us their point of view. But instead, the company at the center of this deal, Dubai Ports World, wants to silence me and our reporting on this broadcast.
Lisa Sylvester reports from outside the United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington -- Lisa.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Lou.
Well, as we've heard, there clearly is a move, a major pushback by this administration. We saw it earlier with the news conference at the Treasury Department in the morning. Also, Department of Homeland Security coming out this afternoon. The president himself speaking about it, as Dana Bash mentioned.
But included in this entire strategy is a P.R. campaign by DP World. And as part of that, a high-level delegation flew into Washington from the United Arab Emirates.
A number of people, the delegates, also the commercial attache, they're planning on doing a number of media interviews. They are also planning on talking to U.S. officials on this. But they will not talk to CNN. I spoke to somebody, Mark Dennis, a representative of the P.R. firm Bell Pottinger. He says this delegation will not talk to CNN because "CNN won't shut up Lou Dobbs." He went on to say that "Lou Dobbs is stoking some real anger here."
Of course he's referring to our early coverage on this story where we were out in front with this story last week.
It's important to note also that they're not denying this interview because of any false reporting or inaccuracies or anything like that. The reason why is they just simply don't want the story out there. Of course we're out here at United Arab Emirates, and we will continue to monitor this and continue to track down this delegation. And they know that we're out here, and they're welcome to come out and do an interview at any time -- Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. Indeed, they are welcome. As you noted, we first reported this story. We were the first television program to report this story Monday, more than a week ago now.
And Lisa, if you do happen to talk with any of the representatives of the Emirates there, or if they happen to be watching this broadcast, I would like to extend yet another invitation to both the United Arab Emirates and Dubai Ports World to join me here on this broadcast or join you there, Lisa, to discuss this deal and assess its impact on U.S. national interests and national security.
Lisa, thank you.
Still ahead, inside the very secret committee that approved this port sale and why the committee has almost never, never met a deal that it didn't like.
And Congressman Pete King, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, he's fighting the deal. He's fighting the White House. He says the deal must be stopped at all costs, no matter what President Bush says.
And yet another homeland security outrage we'll be telling you about tonight. Why building a tunnel through the U.S. border with Mexico is not yet a federal criminal offense. A special report next.
DOBBS: At the center of the political firestorm that is gripping Washington tonight is a highly-secretive group called the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, CFIUS. It approved the United Arab Emirates ports deal.
It is the latest in a series of highly questionable deals that CFIUS has approved. In point of fact, CFIUS has blocked only one out of 1,500 foreign takeovers of U.S. assets.
Christine Romans reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The so-called CFIUS process is so secret the defense secretary seems in the dark.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I'm reluctant it make judgments based on a minimal amount of information I have, because I just heard about this over the weekend.
ROMANS: The State Department spokesman had to look up the name.
ADAM ERELI, STATE DEPT. DEP. SPOKESMAN: There's a careful review of foreign investment in the United States through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
ROMANS: And a very rare admission from Treasury that a national security review even happened.
TONY FRATTO, TREASURY DEPT. SPOKESMAN: All 14 members who were involved in the review consented.
ROMANS: The Treasury Department controls CFIUS. Many say that's a fatal mistake because Treasury will always put commerce ahead of national security.
PATRICK MULLOY, U.S. CHINA ECON. & SEC. REV. COMM.: They don't want to interfere with the free investment flow, so they don't want to go down that road.
ROMANS: Patrick Mulloy has participated in past CFIUS reviews and says Treasury is so wedded to getting foreign investments, it puts that interest over legitimate national security concerns.
CFIUS almost always approves foreign purchases of key U.S. infrastructure. It handed over IBM's PC business to China's Lenovo. It allowed strategic underwater cable assets to be sold for pennies on the dollar to an Indian government-owned company with ties to India's military.
And it gave its blessing to China, buying Unocal's assets. That deal later fell through.
Just last September, the Government Accountability Office determined that CFIUS doesn't even have a clear sense of what is a national security threat.
Despite all these concerns, the president is satisfied.
BUSH: The government's required to make sure that this transaction does not in any way jeopardize the security of the country. And so people responsible in our government have reviewed this transaction.
ROMANS: What's remarkable about this CFIUS review is that any one official is even talking about it. Treasury has always maintained that it would be illegal to discuss this process. Suddenly, these 14 agencies involved, representing the Bush administration, find themselves having to justify this decision and, Lou, the very murky process that it had to take to get there.
DOBBS: The political firestorm that is under way now is overwhelming a great deal of what used to be pro forma in Washington. Hopefully this will bring transparency, not only to this deal, which god knows we need transparency here -- we need it to be rolled back -- but across government right now.
But I think it's worth highlighting again GAO said that CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, doesn't even understand what the national interest is.
ROMANS: They have a very, very narrow, narrow perception of what national security implications are. And GAO had complained about this earlier and said there was some process, but still some serious problems in the whole process.
DOBBS: And the president, should he be aware of that, perhaps might not be so confident as he seemed in his statements this afternoon. The GAO making those -- that report last fall.
Christine Romans, thank you.
Tony Fratto, the chief spokesman for the Treasury Department, also said today politics should not play a role in the review process. That's the subject of our poll tonight.
We would like to know: Do you believe national security should play a role in the national security review process?
Cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results later here in the broadcast.
Coming up, House Homeland Security chairman Congressman Pete King joins me to talk about this firestorm in Washington.
Then, yet another Bush administration national security failure. Why our nation still has no criminal law to punish builders of tunnels through our borders.
And James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Space Center, NASA doesn't want him talking about the dangers of global warming. He'll be here tonight speaking out anyway on this broadcast.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Congressman Pete King is the Republican chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He's introducing legislation to block the Emirates port deal. President Bush today threatened to veto King's legislation or any legislation if it reaches his desk.
Congressman Pete King is one of the first members of Congress to come out against this deal. He joins us tonight.
Congressman, I'd like to read to you what the president said. "I believe the deal should go forward. They ought to listen to what I have to say to this. I'll deal with it with a veto."
Congressman, I have to say, I thought that you were generous in suggesting some political cover for the president on this. How does it feel to have the president of the United States tell you to go to hell?
KING: Well, I'm a little disappointed. I've supported this president through the war in Iraq, through the Patriot Act, through the NSA surveillance. And I consider him a friend. And I think he's done a really outstanding job of leadership, especially coming from New York.
But I'm absolutely mystified by this. I can't understand it. I'm very disappointed. I will continue to fight as hard as I can.
I did say yesterday that I was ascribing this decision to midlevel bureaucrats. I was giving the president room to overrule them, to at least put the decision aside so it can be looked at. And, you know, two things the president said today really just makes me more concerned.
One, he was talking about the investigative process. I can tell you there was no investigation at all.
All they did was see whether there was anything open in the file about this company. Nobody did any gumshoe work. Nobody went around tracking them down, looking in to other ports they've operated, including the one in Dubai itself, where A.Q. Khan's nuclear parts went through.
And also, when the president said, "Why can one country do it and not another?" I mean, how can we compare a British company to a company coming out of the United Arab Emirates? You know, Tony Blair didn't recognize the Taliban before September 11. There were no...
DOBBS: The United Kingdom does recognize the state of Israel.
KING: Absolutely. And, I mean, to me, Tony Blair and the British are our closest allies. To compare them with the United Arab Emirates, which is a -- just a breeding ground for terrorists, is absolutely just wrong.
DOBBS: If I may, Mr. Chairman, two comments. One is, this is a United Arab Emirates government-owned company.
DOBBS: It is not simply as the British company P&O is, a British company. It's not a government company. So that distinction is one that the president failed to uphold today in his comments.
The second is, why in the world should the United States of America -- and this administration likes to make great point of the fact that we're the world's only super power -- why should this nation have to turn anywhere to a foreign company or a foreign company or a foreign government to operate its seaports?
KING: Well, that is certainly something, Lou. (INAUDIBLE) Israel a real wakeup call for us on that.
You know, back in 2000, when this contract first went out for bid, no American company even bid on it. We have to find a way to give financial incentives, to make financial inducements, whether it's through taxes or whatever, to get American companies back into this. Not just in ports, but at airports, bridges, and tunnels and infrastructure.
We can't afford to have -- again, I'm not opposed to foreign companies per se. Believe me, we need foreign trade. We need foreign investment. When it comes to protecting our infrastructure and protecting our society, we have to have Americans on it.
Also, Lou, I see a real problem for the president on this one. Just before I came here tonight I got a call from Congressman Mike McCall of Texas telling me every member of Congress he's spoken to is opposed to this deal.
I don't see support for it anywhere. And these are from people who are the president's most loyal supporters.
For him to threaten the first veto of five years in office over this, to me, again, why can't we put it aside and investigate it? Why the rush to judgment on this?
DOBBS: Well, Mr. Chairman, I'm going to have to ask you for the answer for that question, because I can't, for the life of me, understand why there was a rush to judgment and how even in a rush, a president who is concerned about this country's national security in a war on terror -- we heard today Alberto Gonzales, the U.S. attorney general, talk about we're going to be vigilant in the war on terror, but we're just not going to worry about the fact our borders are not secure.
We're just not going to worry about the fact we're not inspecting 96 percent of the cargo that comes into our nation's ports, and we've not going to worry about the fact that a foreign government is operating six of our most important seaports.
Is there any way in the world to rationalize to what seems from everyone that I have heard from an absolutely irrational decision?
KING: I cannot explain it at all. I think you're going to see a very good discussion on that on the House and Senate floor next week.
I spoke to the speaker of the House today. He was as emphatic certainly as I have been, if not more so about how this deal has to be stopped. We heard what Bill Frist said.
So this isn't just people from the Northeast, like myself and Senator Schumer. You know, you say, a Republican from New York, a Democrat from New York. We're talking about Bill Frist and Denny Hastert, who represent the heart and soul of the Republican Party, our leadership in the House of Representatives, John Boehner.
These are the people who we elected. These are Republicans, conservative Republicans who are opposed to this deal.
So this has to go down. It has to be stooped.
DOBBS: Well, Congressman, remember, all of us up here in the Northeast, we still count, too. Keep reminding those folks down there, will you?
Congressman Pete King, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
KING: Lou, thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you for your help.
DOBBS: Coming up next, we'll have much more on the president's collision course with the Republican leadership of Congress on this port deal. Two of our nation's leading national security analysts are my guests.
And why the Bush administration is fighting to silence some of its leading scientific experts. We'll be joined by NASA's Dr. James Hansen, leading climatologist who dared to speak out on what he sees as the imminent dangers of global warming. He'll be here next.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: President Bush put on a hard hat today and visited the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado. The very same lab that laid off 32 of its employees just earlier this month. Late Sunday, just days before the president's visit, those employees were told that the money had been found to hire them back because ostensibly, the president's commitment to renewable energy.
Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman says the United States was wrong to lay off those workers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMUEL BODMAN, ENERGY SECRETARY: I made the judgment ultimately that we would take funds and put it in there so we that could rehire those people and that in effect we made an error. And so we -- one of the things I've learned is, if you make a mistake, you step in and try to fix it. And so we have tried to fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: You noticed the energy secretary changed that one of the things we have learned -- he changed that to one of things he has learned, trying to fix one's errors after admitting them -- a novel concept not broad or at large in this administration apparently. Well, the deal to give a UAE company operational control of six of our most important seaports has raised new concerns that the Bush administration is failing our national security. Critics say that this is the latest in a series of administration failures to respond effectively to dangerous threats, including Communist China, Iran, to left-wing governments in Latin American.
Joining me now, two leading geopolitical analysts, Gordon Chang. He's author of "Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World." And Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, author of "War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World." Gentlemen, good to have you with us.
Let me turn to you first, Gordon. I mean, can you come up with a national security reason to approve such a deal with the United Arab Emirates government-control company?
GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR: This really is mystifying. I mean, I suppose the Bush administration must be trying to pay back a favor to Dubai, but this is more important than just trying to pay back a favor. This is even more important than national security. It is just -- it's mind-boggling, I just don't know what to say. I'm at a loss for words.
DOBBS: And this from one of the country's leading geopolitical analysts. Frank Gaffney, I'll give you the same opportunity. Frank, I'll try to give you the same opportunity. Can you hear me? I think -- I think he lost us. I tried to give him the same opportunity. I apologize to our viewers for whatever the problem is. We always take technical, but I don't know that to be the case. We'll try to get back with Frank Gaffney here in just a moment.
Not knowing then what issue is, what in the world should this administration be focusing on? Because one of the things, as you and I have discussed, that is paramount in a war on terror, a war of any kind is an understanding of the strategy, the principles involved that a government must abide by and must uphold and a vision to which we must aspire. Is any of that in place in this administration? In this government?
CHANG: You know, I don't really think so because just a couple of days ago, Secretary Chertoff talked about balancing security with what he called was a robust global trade network.
And really when you think about it, security is so much more important to us than anything else. Because you know, sometimes economics just has to take a back seat. Yes it's fine to have cheap goods and cheap money. But protecting Americans is so much more critical to us.
DOBBS: It would seem clear to every American, save some in Washington D.C. apparently. Frank Gaffney, before we had that problem I was asking, can you rationalize on any national security basis, this decision to turn operational control of six U.S., major U.S. seaports to a foreign government-owned company? FRANK GAFFNEY, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SECURITY POLICY: Lou, again, I'm not a defender of this idea, but I think what was at work within this secretive process, called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, was both the sort of trump card that has happened again and again and again, something like 1,529 times out of 1,530 times. We need the foreign investment.
And the other consideration is, as I think Gordon has said, you know, we don't want to give offense to our friends in the UAE, our friends today. They were not so friendly -- or at least their territory was used to unfriendly purposes when most the operational planning and financing of 9/11 was taking place there.
DOBBS: Well let's not be oblique about it. But the fact is that two terrorist from 9/11 originated from the United Arab Emirates. Funding for the terrorists originated, much of it, from the United Arab Emirates. It -- the United Arab Emirates was a focal point in the transfer of nuclear technology from Pakistan to Iran and North Korea. I mean, that much, it's incontrovertible.
GAFFNEY: Yes, and when you think that this company will have the opportunity to in place personnel, it will have oversight of the cargo coming into these ports -- and by the way it's eight ports now including two that they will be operation for the United States Army.
And then you have the fact that they will be read in on the security plans for these facilities. It's just mind-boggling, as has been said. I think the best that you can say is it's sort of an attractive nuisance, like a swimming pool without a fence around it. You're inviting terrorists to take advantage of these opportunities at our great expense, I'm afraid.
DOBBS: Gordon, an attractive nuisance. I see it as frankly an outrage against the national interest of the United States and I won't sugar coat that at all. How do you see it?
CHANG: Well absolutely the same way. I mean, when we look at what's going on, especially after 9/11, we just don't have any more excuses for saying, "This might not happen."
You know, we talk about nuclear terrorism, most people think about a nuclear bomb in a container. There are 50,000 containers that come into this country every day, most of them through the ports. I mean, why do you need a ballistic missile when you can put a bomb in a box, which sits on top of a deck, which sails right into the United States?
DOBBS: Frank Gaffney, I know that you want to find the best in this. But can you see any reason on earth: political, geopolitical, in terms of the national interest, national security. Is there any reason in the world for this deal to go forward?
GAFFNEY: I don't see any. Lou, I think we have enough of a problem. Any Homeland Security expert can tell you, we have enough of a problem with securing the ports today. Making it worse is simply irresponsible. I hope the president will find a way to back away from this. He was set up by his inner agency process. It shouldn't happen again.
DOBBS: He was set up by the inner agency process that one might stipulate to that, gentlemen. But the fact is, the president tonight, after that process, said he will veto. It would be -- should he do it, the first veto in five years of office -- veto legislation to stop this deal.
What possibly could be the investment on the part of this president in a deal in which the leadership of both houses of Congress and our elected officials on both sides of the aisle, Democrats and Republicans say, it's utter madness?
GAFFNEY: It won't happen, Lou. This is a case I think where his veto will be overridden. And there's no point in the president expending the political capital to do that. More to the point, he doesn't need to be giving his critics, his opponents, the political cover of being able to say, "They're better on national security than he is." This is a loser all the way around, most especially for the national security.
DOBBS: Well, on this issue, it doesn't seem to me, and I'm going to give you the last quick word if I may, Gordon. It doesn't seem to me anyone can be possibly worse than this administration on this issue.
CHANG: Well certainly not. I mean, the ports are just absolutely critical.
DOBBS: Gordon Chang, Frank Gaffney, thank you both for being here.
GAFFNEY: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe national security should play a role in the national security review process? Cast your vote a loudobbs.com. A spokesman for the Treasury Department saying that politics shouldn't play a role. Let's see if we think national security should play a role in that process. We'll have the results coming up here in just a matter of moments.
The Bush administration's refusal to stop the sale of our ports to -- the operation of our ports to the Dubai company is not its first national security failure. This broadcast has reported extensively on the refusal by the White House to secure this nation's borders to prevent the entrance of terrorists and criminals. Tonight, one U.S. senator is pointing out yet another astonishing gap in this nation's border security. Kitty Pilgrim has the report.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Eight tunnels have been found, an average of one a week so far this year on the U.S.-Mexican border in the city of San Diego. But up until now, it was not a federal crime to dig across border tunnel. Now Senator Dianne Feinstein wants it to carry a 20-year prison sentence. SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Think of everything that can be smuggled underground that could do this nation and our people great harm. And think of the fact that there is no federal law in place that makes it illegal, punishable by a criminal offense with a strong prison sentence.
PILGRIM: Since 9/11, 40 tunnels have been found, 39 of them on the U.S.-Mexican border. Anything from a gopher hole to this multimillion-dollar facility. This the longest ever found, 80 feet deep and eight football fields long, hidden in a produce distribution company in San Diego.
MAYOR JERRY SANDERS (R), SAN DIEGO: The potential for damage to our homeland security efforts is unquantifiable. I know I speak on behalf of my colleagues when I say this legislation is good, plain common sense.
PILGRIM: In the past, sometimes local building permit laws were used to stop construction of tunnels. But it could take weeks to get a stop construction order. And the fines were only in the thousand dollar range. Many property owners or landlords would simply pay the fine or claim they didn't know the tunnel was there. If the new bill is passed, there will be a 10-year prison sentence for anyone who constructs, overlooks, or neglects to report a tunnel on their property.
Now of course, these border tunnels have their other entrance in Mexico. Senator Feinstein says she has recently met with Mexican officials to ask for their cooperation in sealing up the tunnels but up until now, there has been very little action, she says, on the Mexican side, Lou.
DOBBS: Well, I'm shocked, shocked that there's been little action on the Mexican government side. Seven tunnels in seven weeks this year?
PILGRIM: Yes, one a week basically.
DOBBS: Unbelievable. And Senator Feinstein is the -- I'm -- every time I think we cannot be surprised by the idiocy that surrounds our border security. Senator Feinstein's found one and luckily she's found a solution. Good for her. Thank you very much. Kitty Pilgrim.
Still ahead here, suppressing science. A NASA scientists says he's been threatened with dire consequences if he continues to publicize disturbing new evidence of global warming and his views on the imminent threat of global warming. I'll be talking with the NASA scientist Dr. James Hanson here next.
And an Oregon sheriff sending the bill for the cost of jailing illegal aliens in his jails to the president. Not our president. The sheriff will join me here next. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: New charges tonight that the Bush administration is manipulating science to fit its political agenda. Many of this nation's top scientists tonight say taxpayers aren't getting the best science for their money. In fact they say this bad science is creating disastrous public policy. Bill Tucker reports.
BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Seven months ago, the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee within the Environmental Protection Agency issued an advisory about reducing airborne soot for better public health protection. The EPA's administrator ignored the council.
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration backed down from earlier, flat-out denials that global warming had anything to do with last year's fierce hurricane season. The retreat came after several scientists spoke up, saying they had been muzzled by NOAA public affairs' personnel about the possible connection.
That prompted NOAA administrator Conrad Lautenbacher to issue the following statement. "Let me state in the most direct terms that I am a strong believer in open, peer reviewed science as well as the right and duty of scientists to seek the truth and provide the best scientific advice possible."
Global warming is only one area that has scientists' attentions.
SR. ALAN I LESHNER, AMER. ASSN. FOR ADVANCE OF SCIENCE: It's one of them. I mean there's also stem cells and cloning. There's the question of evolution. There are other issues that are not as prominent in, you know, NASA or NOAA, but there are other issues out there that people worry about.
TUCKER: Once quiet scientists have begun speaking up, driven by concerns that far more than manipulated science is at stake.
SHEILA JASANOFF, PROF., HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It's enormously damaging to science. It's damaging to democracy at large. I mean one mistake that we shouldn't make is thinking that there are separate values for science and for democracy.
TUCKER: It gives a whole new meaning to the study of political science. Lou?
DOBBS: Yes, this science and politics in this case not going together at all. Bill Tucker, thank you very much.
James Hanson the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for space studies joins me now. NASA public affairs officials tried to silence him on his concerns and science on global warming. But James Hansen won't be silenced. He joins me tonight with new findings that he says proves that we're experiencing a serious global warming trend. First of all, good to have you here. JAMES HANSEN, DIR. NASA GODDARD INSTITUTE: Good to be here, and my caveats again, I speak as a scientist with 39 years experience but I don't speak for the government and I don't specify policy. I let the data speak for itself.
DOBBS: Well, I think the government should, in point of fact, be proud to have you speak for it but we take your point and we understand the legalisms necessary. We thank you very much.
The Greenland icecaps, they are melting just about, what, twice as fast?
HANSEN: There is spectacular new satellite data. There is a radar satellite.
DOBBS: Let's see those if we can, please.
HANSEN: There's a radar satellite that shows the height, that measures the height of the ice sheet very accurately. And there's a gravity satellite that measures the mass of the Greenland ice sheet. And what they both show is that the mass of Greenland has decreased by 50 cubic miles in the past year.
DOBBS: Cubic miles?
HANSEN: Right. So it's as if you had a cube, one mile on the side and one mile high, 50 of those have turned to water in the past year. The world is very big. So if you spread that over the whole world, it's only half a millimeter but it's a big change, because Greenland had been in balance and it's now tipped. It's beginning to melt.
DOBBS: What is its acceleration? Twice as fast.
HANSEN: It's twice as fast as it was a few years ago. And several years back, it wasn't melting at all.
DOBBS: What are the implications?
HANSEN: Well, the implications are, if we -- I think, if we continue down business as usual, and get three degrees Celsius global warming, which would be about five degrees Fahrenheit and about 10 degrees Fahrenheit at high latitudes where Greenland is, I don't think Greenland can survive, nor West Antarctica. So that would mean --
DOBBS: Cannot survive. Period.
HANSEN: Right. If we go to three degrees warming, because we look at the history of the Earth, when it was that warm, sea level was 25 meters higher.
DOBBS: What can we do? The administration's put forward proposals.
HANSEN: What we need to do if we want to keep the ice sheets fairly stable is level off the use of fossil fuels. And before -- within a few decades, get them to decline.
We have right now, we're on an exponentially increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
DOBBS: Well, with the amplitude involved, how much time do we have to start redirecting those fossil fuels?
HANSEN: I think we have to do that this decade. We have to get them to level out this decade. The new technologies will be great 15 years downstream, but we have to level out the emissions now and that means basically energy efficiency.
DOBBS: Let's turn to your personal situation with NASA. You've, of course, told your story on this broadcast previously last week. Talking about NASA public affairs. Any update there?
HANSEN: No change. I'm still -- there's not been a new policy announced yet and so I'm still speaking freely.
DOBBS: Michael Griffin, the administrator of NASA giving some support. The head of NOAA, giving strong support to his scientists. You've got to be pleased by that.
HANSEN: Yes, very much so.
DOBBS: Dr. James Hansen, as always, good to talk with you, even on these troubling, troubling issues. We appreciate it. Come back soon.
DOBBS: Still ahead here, we'll have more of your thoughts on the controversial sale of the operation of six U.S. ports. There are a lot of thoughts, by the way. We'll be sharing them and we'll meet one sheriff who is fed up with having to jail illegal aliens from Mexico and to have his taxpayers pay the bill. We'll tell you what he's doing about that next. Stay with us.
DOBBS: My friend Wolf Blitzer coming up at the top the hour here on CNN -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Lou. We're also tracking that major development in our CNN "Security Watch" coverage. President Bush fighting back, threatening members of his own party with a veto. Why is he going to such a great length to defend an Arab-owned company, a company that's slated to run major U.S. seaports and major U.S. cities?
Governors and lawmakers are in an uproar. One state is getting ready to use the courts to try to fight the president. And in our SITUATION ROOM tonight, more on our top story. The White House counselor, Dan Bartlett, and later Bill Maher, they will weigh in on this. And you're flooding Jack Cafferty with thousands of e-mail on this story. He's ready for that and more, all coming up, Lou, at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: Looking forward to it. Thank you, Wolf.
Sheriff John Trumbo of Umatilla County, Oregon, discovered recently his office had spent more than $300,000 incarcerating Mexican illegal alien criminals last year. Sheriff Trumbo said enough is enough. He sent the bill for that to none other than Mexican president Vicente fox.
Sheriff Trumbo is joining us tonight from Pendleton, Oregon. Sheriff, thanks for being here. Have you heard back from President Fox?
SHERIFF JOHN TRUMBO, UMATILLA COUNTY, OREGON: No. Pleasure being here, Lou. No, I haven't. And I don't expect to.
DOBBS: You don't expect to. You've also, I understand, talked to some other sheriffs there in Oregon about joining you in billing him. What do they say?
TRUMBO: They're suffering a lot of the same challenges that we are. For their own personal reasons, they chose not to get involved in this letter, but I felt it important enough that my citizens in Umatilla County knew how their money was being spent, so I went ahead and sent a letter and hopefully it will bring some attention to the problem.
DOBBS: Well, it has done so. Fernando Sanchez, general counsel for the Mexican government in Oregon, says you're not taking note of the economic contribution of illegal aliens working in Umatilla County, which he claims is significant. How do you respond?
TRUMBO: Well, I don't think there's any doubt that there's an economic benefit. My question is to Mr. Sanchez is at what point does economic benefit get overridden by the cost of incarceration? I have five people in jail right now on murder charges at $63 a day.
So that coupled with a defense cost, prosecution cost, and the court costs that all come out the taxpayer's pocket, that cost raises pretty dramatically and at some point, it's going to far exceed what the economic benefit would be.
DOBBS: Well, the taxpayers in Umatilla County have got to appreciate your gesture. John Trumbo, we appreciate your time and appreciate you being here.
TRUMBO: My pleasure.
DOBBS: Thank you.
Still ahead, some of your thoughts on the United Arab Emirates port deal and the results of our poll tonight. They're pretty impressive. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DOBBS: This development in the United Arab Emirates port deal, we have just learned that the Bush administration is saying that it will be talking tomorrow with the Senate Armed Services Committee about the merits of the deal.
Well, as we've been telling you, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is constructing a facility for our veterans, our severely wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. We'd like to ask you to contribute, if you can.
Please go to fallenheroesfund.org -- fallenheroesfund.org. The fund less than two weeks and just under $2 million away from its goal. You can also find a link at our Web site, loudobbs.com, directly to fallenheroesfund.org. Thank you.
Taking a look at your thoughts, Margaret in Nevada: "I frankly doubt Dubai would allow us to take over their port security, or Saudi Arabia, or Yemen, et cetera, et cetera."
Danny in New York: "The first time I heard the story of a UAE- owned company taking over control of our ports was on your show. As a New Yorker, this is one of the scariest and most mind-numbing stories I've heard in the recent past. Obviously, someone is missing the point of homeland security in a very dangerous way."
And Mr. Herbst in New Jersey: "USA? I feel that I am living through the Unilateral Sellout of America."
Mike, in Wyoming: "Mr. Dobbs, if this deal with the ports goes through, then it's time for the people to insist that Bush and his cronies go. Enough is enough."
Jack is Texas: "Lou, perhaps if President Bush and Michael Chertoff, along with everyone who has their hands in selling control of six or our ports, were held personally, financially, legally and criminally responsible for any act of terrorism related to those ports, why I bet the sale would be turned down faster than one can say impeachment."
Thanks for sending us your thoughts. Send them to loudobbs.com. Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book "Exporting America," and you can sign up for our e-mail newsletter at loudobbs.com.
The results of our poll tonight? Ninety-four percent of you say national security should play a role in the national security review process. Imagine that, the treasury spokesman saying that politics doesn't play a role. We just thought we ought to emphasize what might. We agree with you, by the way.
And thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow when among our guests will be the U.S. trade representative, Rob Portman. He's calling for enforcement of our trade laws with China after a tough review of the results of our current trade policies. We hope you'll be with us.
For all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer begins now -- Wolf.
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