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FDA Pays Millions in Executive Bonuses; Harsh Treatment for Imprisoned Border Patrol Agents; Bush - Lame Duck?

Aired October 20, 2007 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN HOST: Tonight, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't have the money it says to ensure the safety of our nation's food supply. But incredibly, they've managed to pay their own managers millions of dollars in bonus pay.
And new disturbing information that former imprisoned Border Patrol agents are being subjected to harsher treatment in prison than terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay. All of that, all the day's news and much more straight ahead tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS THIS WEEK. News, debate, and opinion for Saturday, October 20. Here now, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody. Congressional Democrats suffered another defeat this week in the latest showdown on Capitol Hill with the White House. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unable to gain enough Republican support to override President Bush's veto of the Children's Health Care Plan, this just the latest in a series of defeats that have left the Democratic Majority almost powerless to push any part of an agenda, even though they're up against a weakened lame duck president. Jessica Yellin is on Capitol Hill now with the latest on the Democrats' inability to legislate. Jessica?

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, Democrats are running Congress and demonstrating just how difficult governing can be.

Nancy Pelosi suffered so many setbacks this week that Republicans are joking, somebody better get her an Alka Seltzer.

First there was the Armenian genocide resolution. Pelosi vowed to bring that to the floor and had to pull back a promise after many Democrats pulled back their support. After that there was the wiretap or FISA bill. Democrats had to yank that at the last minute after Republicans introduced a procedural maneuver that made it seem like the bill would have given protection to Osama bin Laden. Then, of course, there's the Children's Health Insurance Program. Democrats say they will win on that one eventually, they are on the right side of the issue, but clearly they did not hand the president a defeat this week.

Now Pelosi says she's taking it all in stride. She insists this is just how Congress works.


REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: This is the legislative process. As a matter of fact, we do have the votes for FISA, and we'll be taking it up as the majority leader mentioned next week. In terms of Armenian genocide, the Congress will work its will on that. The committee has, and we'll see where we go next.


YELLIN: But with congressional approval at just 22 percent, lower than the president's, there is clearly pressure to produce some accomplishments. And we haven't even mentioned Iraq and the House's failure to pass and finalize any legislation that would change the course of the war in Iraq. So it is safe to say that this is not where Democrats would like to be a year after they took control of Congress. Lou?

DOBBS: Jessica, thank you. Jessica Yellin reporting from Capitol Hill.

The White House this week declared victory in the latest showdown with the congressional Democratic leadership. Ed Henry now reports this president has only 15 months left in office and seems to be planning to finish as strong as possible.


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over: President Bush is trying to puncture the notion that with just 15 months ago, he's merely fading into lame-duck oblivion.

ED GILLESPIE, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: I think people realize the president of the United States is always going to have sway and have influence and have power.

HENRY: With Democrats still struggling to get their sea legs, a veto- wielding pen president still has juice on everything from children's health to the war in Iraq.

GEORGE W. BUSH, U.S. PRESIDENT: I tell you, I'm going to sprint to the finish and finish this job strong. That's one way to insure that I am relevant. That is one way to ensure that I am in the process. And I intend to use the veto.

HENRY: "I'm still relevant." Where have we heard that before? President Clinton in 1995, shortly after the Republican revolution.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The Constitution gives me relevance, the power of our ideas gives me relevance, the president is relevant here, especially an activist president.

HENRY: Clinton quickly proved himself right using the bully pulpit to clean to Republicans' clock over the government shutdown.

Likewise, Mr. Bush has used his megaphone to buy more time for his Iraq strategy. And now to sustain his veto of the Democrats' vast expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program.

DANA PERINO, WHITE HOUSE SPOKESWOMAN: We won this round on SCHIP. HENRY: Just as Clinton was strengthened by missteps from Republican speaker Newt Gingrich, Mr. Bush has been helped by Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid failing to find consensus on Iraq, and Pelosi over-reaching on a resolution dealing with Armenia.

GILLESPIE: There are some other things the House of Representatives should be focused on.

HENRY: But with the war in Iraq still raging, the White House has to be careful about victory dances.

ROBERT DALLEK, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: It is without question a burden not just on the bush presidency, but on the whole Republican Party.

HENRY (on camera): Likewise, democrats note that while the president may have won a short-term victory on children's health, this vote will come back haunt Republicans on the ballot next November. Democrats have already cut the campaign commercials charging the president is hurting kids. Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


DOBBS: Attorney general nominee Michael Mucasey faced tough questions at his Senate confirmation hearings this week. Senate Democrats frustrated clearly by what they feel are evasive answers to questions about the constitutionality of harsh interrogation. The retired judge repeated his view that torture was unconstitutional. Some of the senators felt Mucasey wasn't being altogether clear when asked what he considered to be torture.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse grilled the nominee on the legality of torture called water boarding.


SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, (D) RI: Do you have an opinion on whether water boarding, which is the practice of putting somebody in a reclining position, strapping them down, putting a cloth over their faces and pouring water over the cloth to simulate the feeling of drowning, is that constitutional?

MIKE MUCASEY, ATTORNEY GENERAL NOMINEE: If it amounts to torture, it is not constitutional.

WHITEHOUSE: I'm very disappointed in that answer. I think it is purely semantic.


DOBBS: Semantic or not, the stress of tours of duty in Iraq are a far more important issue for our legislators and they're taking a deadly toll on our troops. Combat deaths, in fact, are down. But the number of our soldiers and marines dying from accidents and suicide has risen sharply. The alarming trend has prompted the army to dispatch a special team to Iraq, trying to understand what's gone wrong. Jamie McIntyre with our report.


JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): U.S. troops in Iraq, after being extended, sometimes more than once and spending up to 15 months in the battle zone are exhausted. And the Army is investigating if the prolonged stress could be behind a sharp jump in non-combat deaths in Iraq over the past two months.

LT. GEN. CARTER HAM, JOINT STAFF OPERATIONS DIRECTOR: We don't yet know what may have caused an increase in the non-battle casualties. And that's why the commanders in Iraq have asked for the Army Safety Center to come help them analyze that.

MCINTYRE: The numbers show something is going on, especially as soldiers reach the 13th, 14th and 15th month of their arduous tours. In May, as the surge was building, combat losses peaked at 120, with only five percent of deaths due to non-hostile accidents or suicides. Then as combat losses dropped over the summer, the number of non hostile deaths jumped so by august and September, just over a third of all U.S. deaths in Iraq were by accident or suicide. A single catastrophe can skew the numbers, such as the August Black Hawk helicopter crash that killed 14 U.S. soldiers. But commander suspect the daily stress of constant danger may be a factor that troops are stressed out.

GEN. JAMES CONWAY, MARINE CORPS COMMANDANT: If you look at what they're doing, it is, indeed, difficult. You look at mental health assessments and those types of things. It's tough on the soldiers.

MCINTYRE: There's a flip side to the numbers. They may also suggest violence against U.S. troops is dropping. Take away the accidents and U.S. combat deaths in Iraq last month are down 65 percent from a high in May.

(on camera): So far October is on track to be the lowest month of U.S. casualties in Iraq in over a year. But, like all statistics in Iraq, it's hard to say anything short term is really a trend. Still, you don't need a lot of numbers to know that U.S. troops are being pushed close to the breaking point.

Jamie McIntyre, CNN, the Pentagon.


DOBBS: Coming up, communist China trying to buy one of the country's leading financial institutions? Christine Romans will have that story. Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Lou, signals this week that the Chinese may be interested in an American financial services country. There's no doubt that the Chinese have billions of dollars to spend on the world's natural resources, the very best companies or, frankly, anything else.

DOBBS: Well, that gold still rules. Thanks very much. We look forward to that report, Christine.

And next up, top FDA officials receiving millions of dollars in government bonuses? Maybe that's one reason the FDA can't afford to protect American consumers or guarantee the safety of our nation's food supply. We'll have that report.

And new charges that former Border Patrol agents, already betrayed by the government they served, are receiving worst treatment in prison than suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. Stay with us for all of that and a great deal more.

We're coming right back.


DOBBS: Outrage and disbelief over the latest scandal at the embattled Food and Drug Administration. Last week FDA officials told Congress they don't have enough money and inspectors to screen more than a percent, just one percent of our imported food. But as Lisa Sylvester now reports on another case of the best government that money can buy, there seems to be enough money around to pay rather hefty bonuses for the top brass at the dysfunctional FDA.


SYLVESTER (voice-over): The Food and Drug Administration has been failing to keep dangerous food imports out of the United States, according to congressional lawmakers. Despite the low marks, FDA top officials have awarded themselves generous bonuses.

CHRIS WALDROP, CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA: A lot of those bonuses are going to the top officials and it's not really going to the people that are on the ground that are doing the work every single day, protecting the American public.

SYLVESTER: According to congressional records, FDA annual retention bonuses ballooned from $2.7 million in 2002 to more than $8 million in 2006.

One employee alone, Margaret Glavin, the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, received a cash bonus of more than $48,000 in 2005 and then another cash bonus topping $44,000 in 2006. This is in addition to her annual salary of more than $150,000 a year. Glavin did not return CNN's call for comment.

The hefty cash bonuses have been handed out as the FDA has been strapped for cash, with an imported food inspection rate of less than 1 percent.

WENONAH HAUTER, FOOD AND WATER WATCH: I think that people would be pretty shocked to know that this is how their taxpayer dollars are being spent. We need more inspection. We need more testing. And the agency says that they don't have the money to do this, but, yet, they have the money to do bonuses.

SYLVESTER: The agency has requested more funding in next year's budget, but during a hearing last week, Representative Bart Stupak, who chairs the subcommittee that oversees the FDA, demanded accountability.

DR. DAVID ACHESON, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER FOR FOOD PROTECTION, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: We have made requests through the 2008 budget process for an increase in...

REP. BART STUPAK (D), MICHIGAN: And how much was that increase?

ACHESON: I think it was about $10 million or thereabouts.

STUPAK: And what was the $10 million going to be targeted for? Hopefully not bonuses.

SYLVESTER: The FDA justifies the bonuses saying it must compete with the private sector. A spokeswoman tells CNN -- quote -- "They could make a lot more money in the private sector. One of the ways to recruit and retain them is to offer them bonuses."

SYLVESTER (on camera): Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have asked the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate the bonuses handed out. Senator Byron Dorgan has asked for the Government Accountability Office to conduct a similar review. Lisa Sylvester, CNN, Washington.


DOBBS: Communist China expanding its economy, expanding its military all with the great Yankee dollars. So many of those dollars, in fact, China is buying up corporations all over the world, and it appears communist China's next target is investment firm Bear Stearns. China already America's biggest banker, by the way, the second largest holder of our debt bought with a cash proceeds of that record trade deficit.

As Christine Romans reports, the Chinese are putting America's money to work in their own interest and making it very clear, there's no such thing as free trade.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Is America's banker looking to buy a piece of an American investment bank?

A top Chinese banking official this week says CITIC Group, the overseas investment arm of the Chinese government, is interested in a stake in Bear Stearns -- a Wall Street institution that survived the crash of '29, but has battered by the mortgage crisis.

A day later, Civic issued a statement saying a deal is not imminent.

But what is clear is that China has the intent and the funds to buy almost anything it wants -- and financial services are next.

CHARLES MCMILLION, MBG INFORMATION SERVICES: Investment banking is a unique industry. It gives them just a phenomenal perch from which to learn about the technologies of all of our industries, the best management practices of all of our industry. And that's part of the larger Chinese strategy.

ROMANS: Bear Stearns would not comment.

China has been an aggressive buyer of the world's natural resources. It has sought major technology assets, like the 3Com deal raising alarms in Congress.

China has the money to spend thanks to U.S. trade policies that led to record trade deficits. China's war chest of foreign currency has exploded, from just over $200 billion in 2001 to more than $1.4 trillion today. Now, China's economic planners say they want to put those dollars to work.

WILLIAM HAWKINS, U.S. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY COUNCIL: All of this is being done by the government of China. This is not private enterprise. This is not business as usual. This is the government allocating these, you know, hundreds of billions of dollars for government objectives.

ROMANS: China's reserves are rising by at least $10 billion a week this year. Economist McMillon says consider that government-owned Lenovo bought IBM's PC business in 2005 for $1.25 billion. That means China could buy eight such companies every week.


ROMANS (on camera): As the dollar declines, there are concerns that China may be tempted to sell off treasury assets, ultimately driving up interest rates in this country. Which such a huge war chest, even that threat gives China incredible leverage over the U.S. economy, Lou.

DOBBS: Absolutely. And the idiots, the fools, the morons, whatever you want to call them, that make up the treasury's brain trust, who have been calling upon China to adjust its trade policies and its international financial policies, it may be occurring for them right now that it's time for the United States to make those adjustments.

ROMANS: We looked in august at the treasury flows, Lou in Japan and China and Taiwan, the central banks were big sellers of the U.S. treasuries. So it's very clear this is something to watch right now.

DOBBS: Christine, thank you very much. Christine Romans.

Up next here, blistering new criticism ever Governor Eliot Spitzer's proposal to give away those New York driver's licenses to illegal aliens. I'll be talking with a top New York State senator who is fighting to kill that plan.

And disturbing charges that two Former Border patrol agents already betrayed by our justice department are receiving worse treatment in prison than suspected terrorists in Guantanamo Bay. We'll be right back.


DOBBS: Former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean have already spent 275 days in federal prison for shooting and wounding an illegal alien drug smuggler who was given immunity by the Justice Department to testify against the two agents.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After nine months behind bars, the fight to free former Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean is intensifying. They're serving 11- and 12- year federal prison terms for shooting and wounding a Mexican drug smuggler in Texas more than two years ago.

Congressional supporters say the agents were either wrongly convicted or received unduly harsh punishment. Now 46 lawmakers have written to attorney general-designate Michael Mukasey, demanding he investigate the agents' prosecution and treatment in prison.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R) CA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're in solitary confinement and being treated worse than those prisoners -- than the terrorists are being treated in Guantanamo Bay. This is outrageous. The administration, the president of the United States is responsible. And if this new attorney general won't even look into it, he shouldn't be attorney general.

WIAN: Bureau of Prison officials say the former agents are in solitary for their own protection. Ramos was badly beaten by inmates during his brief stay in the general population.

Lawmakers displayed a chart showing how Guantanamo detainees receive privileges not available to the former agents, who spend 23 hours a day in their cells.

Congressman Louie Gohmert is a former Texas district judge.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: What we want to see is fairness. What we want to see is justice. And when you look at the case and the way it was handled, the way it was tried, it appears clearly there was great injustice.

WIAN: The chief prosecutor says the agents were given a fair trial, that they shot someone they knew to be unarmed and running away. The Texas border security group called Eyes on the Border disagrees. It will soon air these television ads urging a presidential pardon for Ramos and Compean.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So far the president has refused to give these two agents the same consideration he gave his friend Scooter Libby, when he commuted his sentence before he served any time in prison.

WIAN: And criticizing their treatment in prison.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The treatment that is inhumane and worse than the treatment terrorists receive at Guantanamo Bay. And they call this justice in America. WIAN: Ramos and Compean are appealing their convictions. Oral arguments are scheduled to begin the first week in December.

(on camera): Meanwhile, congressional supporters are pleading with the justice department to release the agents on bail, perhaps they can allow them to wear ankle monitors so they can be home with their families for the holidays. So far the administration has not budged. Casey Wian, CNN, Los Angeles.


DOBBS: TSA security officers at our nation's airports, it turns out have failed to discover most of the fake bombs smuggled through checkpoints by undercover investigators. TSA officials confirmed that airport screeners at Los Angeles international missed 75 percent of those fake bombs. At Chicago O'Hare Airport, missed only 60 percent of them. At San Francisco's airport where a private company checks screeners continuously, only 20 percent of the fake bombs got through. Are you feeling secure yet?

TSA officials say they're now using San Francisco's testing protocols nationwide. They say there have been improvements, although they wouldn't relation the results. Presumably for the TSA, 20 percent of the bombs getting through is a significant improvement.

Coming up next, the struggle to deport criminal illegal aliens from the United States. We'll have the inside story from Ames Holbrook, former federal agent and author of the book "The Deporter."

Also, despite fierce opposition, New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is determined to give driver's licenses to illegal aliens. The governor using what he calls steamroller tactics and frankly, he says in has nothing to do with immigration. That's how twisted the governor's approach can be.

I'll have a few thoughts for the good governor and Senator Hillary Clinton. She's got some thoughts about the governor's position, too. I'll have a few thoughts for her support of the governor. All of that and we'll be talking with the panel of the best political experts in the country.

Stay with us, we'll be right back.


DOBBS: New York Governor Eliot Spitzer driving ahead with his intent to give away driver's license to illegal aliens. His plan facing overwhelming opposition. He, frankly, doesn't care.

The State Senate is convening a special session this coming Monday. They are going to try to block the governor's proposal to give away the driver's licenses. The governor, he's got his gloves off, as usual, and he isn't budging. As Bill Tucker now reports, those opposed need no reminder of Spitzer's self-described steamroller approach.


TUCKER (voice-over): New York State funds health care to the economically disadvantaged and the uninsured, but now comes word that the governor has cut more than $400,000 worth of state health care in education funding to the district of one of the governor's staunchest opponents of his plan to give illegal aliens driver's licenses.

Almost one quarter of that was for funding for a free medical clinic for children. The cuts were no accident, says Republican Assemblyman Jim Tedisco.

JAMES TEDISCO (R), NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: He wants me to back off my position of keeping this a secure state by not coming out in opposition to giving illegal aliens driver's licenses. And, if I don't, he reaches around me and goes into my assembly district and takes money away from kids who don't have health insurances.

TUCKER: The governor's office says the cuts were not retaliatory. A spokesman notes that ample discretionary funds were available to the assemblyman for the projects, but that he chose not to fund the projects.

Going against Spitzer is tough. He's already threatened the Senate majority leader with an IRS investigation for getting in his way. He's threatening to sue the county clerks for not implementing his policy.

It's a style that Spitzer, himself, admits is akin to a steamroller. Ironically, almost as a reminder of what is at stake surrounding this driver's license dispute, a major identify fraud ring was busted in the New York City borough of queens on Wednesday; 41 people have been charged with supplying fraudulent government identity documents such as resident alien cards, Social Security cards and driver's licenses.


TUCKER: On Friday at the New York University Law School, Governor Spitzer made it very clear illegal aliens will be given driver's licenses. He doesn't care that the poll show 72 percent of New Yorkers oppose him. He won't back away from supporters who brand those who oppose him racist.

And he made it clear that he doesn't need the legislature to do it. Lou, in some states that's what's known as an executive order. But the governor calls it a policy directive.

DOBBS: Whatever he calls it, and the good governor, this arrogant, rich kid's brat who is behaving abysmally in every respect but in utter disregard of citizens and, of course, pandering to every one of the socioethnocentric interest groups in the State of New York and beyond.

I mean, what in the world? He says he wants a little different tonality in this discussion and debate? So do I. I'd like to see him become something less than an arrogant braying ass and act more like a governor in a democratically elected government seat working with his state legislature in the interest of the citizens of this state.

TUCKER: He doesn't need them. He's made that clear. And he's said that over and over again, Lou.

DOBBS: Oh. And it's going to be interesting to see these state legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike do. And the county clerks said they're going to defy him. They've just had a bellyful of this guy. No wonder. He doesn't wear well, does he? You don't have to answer that.

Thank you very much, Bill Tucker.

New York state senators are convening a special session this coming Monday. They'll try to block the governor's proposal to give away those drivers' licenses to illegal aliens, Republican Senator John Flanagan, among the state senators fighting the governor. I asked Senator Flanagan what in the world he thinks this governor is doing.


JOHN FLANAGAN (R), NEW YORK STATE SENATE: I'm not sure he's thinking at all. I mean when we -- this policy came out in September. We had already acted in the Senate in June. I followed the court of appeals case that came out and we introduced in past legislation to actually put into law what the regulations were.

I honestly -- it would be very difficult for me to fathom what the governor is thinking because I've been in office 21 years. I've gotten more e-mails, phone calls and letters in violent and vehement opposition to policy.

DOBBS: Yes. Well, you mentioned in June the Senate passing legislation to strengthen -- to strengthen requirements in order to obtain a driver's license in the State of New York. The state assembly has taken no action on that legislation.

What's going on there?

FLANAGAN: The assembly is loath to move on issues like this. We -- I think one of the things that they lose sight of -- and a lot people are losing sight of -- is that driving is still a privilege. It's not a right. We have a very set standard set of rules and regulations and laws guiding how people can drive. And we make sure that you have to meet stringent requirements.

The governor is trying to throw that out the window. And I certainly can't understand it. And I know my constituents can't, either.

DOBBS: I talked with two Democratic assemblywomen here earlier this week -- both absolutely opposed, talking with democratically -- Democratic county clerks, elected, who are in absolute opposition. I can't find a very large group of people in elected office and the governor's party who is support him.

FLANAGAN: You know, I think this speaks volumes about how the governor actually governs. It's his idea, so he believes it's good simply because it's his idea. He has said -- and he went back in July and said I don't need the legislature. I'm going to govern the way I want. I'm going to use my agencies.

He's rammed this down the throats of the public or is, at least, trying to. There has been no hearings. We're the first one to have a hearing on the subject -- no transparency and no involvement of the public.

DOBBS: Well, you're going to have a special session Monday, correct?


DOBBS: In the state capitol.

What's going to happen as a result?

FLANAGAN: Well, we have a couple of different pieces of legislation. I'm sure there's going to be a very extensive debate on this. We had a seven hour hearing on Monday -- four-and-a-half hours of question and answers with the commissioner of Motor Vehicles. And it's going to -- it's going to get a lot of coverage. And, frankly, it should, because, again, this is -- what is happening now should have happened months ago. We're, you know, it's sort of like the horse is out of the gate and you're trying to catch it and bring it back in.

DOBBS: Right.

FLANAGAN: The governor threw this out there -- and let's not forget the fact that for the first nine months of his administration -- we shouldn't fool anybody -- they were planning this. This is all secretively done and then all of a sudden thrown out to the public in September. They never came to the legislature. They never came to the Senate. They never came to the chair of the Transportation Committee. They never sought the input of anybody.

DOBBS: You know, this governor referred to those who are opposed to this an anti-immigrant. The governor could have said a lot of things in response to the criticism. But when he says it's anti- immigrant to oppose this kind of this idiocy, this kind of outrageous, arrogant nonsense that's in direct opposition to the interests of New York State citizens, you know, I think the man is scurrilous. I find him to be lower than a toad's belly. And I had respect for this man as attorney general.

FLANAGAN: Well, he operated quite differently when he was attorney general because he actually had to enforce the law. I think not only has he violated a New York State statute in doing this, I think he's violating federal law. And, in many respects, I just don't think he cares. You know, again, there was no input sought from anybody who might be affected by this.

DOBBS: Is there anyone in the state capitol -- is there a -- does the governor have a cousin, an old friend who can say, you know, you're being a damned fool here, it's time to get -- to get smart and start thinking about the people you're supposed to represent? FLANAGAN: He's got a staff around him. But all you have to do -- look at -- look at the reaction from the public. Look at the reaction from people like you. And you're hearing it from people like me and the folks that we represent.

DOBBS: You know, and talking -- I mentioned the assemblywomen who were here, Democrats. The fact of the matter is they're -- they tell me their constituents -- and I'm hearing this from everyone in the assembly, everyone in the Senate I've talked with -- their constituents already -- they're outraged.

FLANAGAN: I think people are outraged for a number of reasons, one of which is why can't people legally go through the process?

Why do we have to confer a benefit on people?

And then you and I and everyone else, we are actually held to a higher standard. They're held to a lower standard. That's not the way it should be.

DOBBS: Well, Jenny Fields, Assemblywoman Eddington have come in here -- it's going to be interesting, I have to say this, to see the depth and dimensions of his arrogance and to see what can be done.

Thank you very much for being here.

FLANAGAN: Appreciate it.

DOBBS: And we will be talking, I'm sure, along the way.

FLANAGAN: Yes, we will. And we're going to keep fighting.


DOBBS: Coming up, God and politics, the Christian right making a big push for their values-based candidates. We'll have that report and much more. I'll be talking about that with our panel of political experts and the inside story as well of how the federal government has failed to keep illegal alien criminals off our streets. We'll be talking with the author of an important new book, Ames Holbrook, the author of "The Deporter." Stay with us.


DOBBS: It's no surprise to our viewers, viewers of this program, that the federal government is failing miserably at trying in anyway to keep illegal criminal aliens off our nation's streets.

Ames Holbrook witnessed these failures from the front lines of our battle to secure our borders and enforce immigration law. He's a former deportation officer for Immigration and Naturalization Service. Holbrook is the author of the new book "The Deporter".


JAMES HOLBROOK, AUTHOR, "THE DEPORTER": What's going on right now is once we apprehend these guys -- and I'm talking about aggravated felons. We're talking about rapists, murderers, child molesters -- we then, once they have a legally binding warrant of deportation in their files, we then seek permission from their own country to send them back.

But guess what?

Their home countries don't want them. And at this point, our government says well, all right. In that case, we'll set them free here in the United States on our streets, so they can continue to rape and murder and molest children on our soil.

DOBBS: You begin the book with the story of a man named Rodolfo, a career criminal, convictions -- eight felony convictions, everything from burglary to battery. You had him in custody and were ordered to let him go.

I mean that's incredible.

HOLBROOK: It's incredible, but, unfortunately, if you're a deportation officer, you know it all too well. Our government is enabling these foreign countries to plant and maintain their assassins on our soil to kill us from the inside. And, again, I'm not being abstract. I'm talking about murders and rapists -- the works.

DOBBS: We have seen estimates on the number of criminal illegal aliens in this country -- we're talking about serious criminal illegal aliens in this country -- ranging from half a million to 600,000 on the streets, with something like an effective task force from ICE out there of 3,000 agents. This is, by any -- by any analysis, a hopeless effort for the part of ICE without significant increases in staff and resources, isn't it?

HOLBROOK: Well, Lou, you're right on the money. We need -- we need more agents. We need more investigators. We need a whole lot more deportation officers -- up from hundreds to thousands.

But, number one, we need to make sure that when we catch these guys -- these horrible criminals -- that we force feed them to their home countries and don't take no for an answer, the way our president and Congress are doing right now. Otherwise, we can round them all up. As long as we're taking them back into our community, we're not doing any good.

DOBBS: You know, in talking with Border Patrol agents today, ICE agents, they're very proud of their responsibilities and what they are able to accomplish. They are also extraordinarily frustrated at what they are not permitted to do by direction of the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and this administration.

What in the world is this country to do to secure our borders, to have an effective immigration policy and to remove dangerous criminal illegal aliens from our streets?

HOLBROOK: Well, what we need to do right away is make our politicians accountable, force them to crack down on these defiant nations who refuse to take their criminals back. And we can do that by cutting off aid, cutting off trade, refusing to issue visas to these countries. We've done it before. When I was on, we did it to Guyana. It works. So we should do it again.

DOBBS: And, of course, we might have to consider what do with the criminal corporate employers of these people attracting the millions of illegal aliens into this country.

HOLBROOK: Well, we've got a lot of things to solve. But number one is we get these criminals out of here, Lou.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

Ames Holbrook, thanks for being here.

The book is "The Deporter." It's on book shelves in all the finest bookstores all around the country.

HOLBROOK: Thanks a lot, Lou.

DOBBS: We appreciate your being with us. Ames Holbrook.

HOLBROOK: I appreciate you staying in the fight, Lou.


DOBBS: Up next, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, struggling through what has been a very difficult week for her in the nation's capital.

And the head of the Republican National Committee talking about a tough time, quitting just after 10 months on the job. We'll be talking about all of that and a lot more of our panel of esteemed political analysts and strategists. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Joining me now, three of the best political minds in the country here in New York, Errol Louis, columnist, "New York Daily News." Good to have you with us, Errol.

Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf. Hank, thanks for being here.

And in Washington, DC, our bureau there, Diana West, "Washington Times" columnist. Diana, good to have you there. Or have you there, actually, as the case may be.

Let's start out with the Armenian genocide and Nancy Pelosi's commitment to basically in the minds at least of conservatives, in their words, roll back any effort to win the war in Iraq as a result of.



WEST: Yes. Well, I actually supported that bill. DOBBS: Congratulations.

WEST: As opposed to most conservative conservatives.

DOBBS: That's terrific.

WEST: Yes. The timing made it all very sticky.

DOBBS: Sticky? It's 90 years ago. What are you talking about, the timing is sticky?

WEST: No, no, in terms of ...

DOBBS: It's insane!

WEST: I still support it. But in terms of our moving troops and so on through Turkey, I think it's a very short-sighted movement to oppose such a bill because again ...

DOBBS: Diana West, let me ask you this.

WEST: Yes.

DOBBS: And I want to just -- it is -- this is the official policy of LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, OK?

WEST: Yes.

DOBBS: The Turks in World War I carried out genocide against the Armenians.

WEST: Correct.

DOBBS: That's a fact.

WEST: Should be admitted. We agree. We have no argument.

DOBBS: Admitted. It's what it is.

WEST: Right.

DOBBS: What in the dickens difference does it make what the U.S. Congress says, does or thinks about it? Why in the world ...

WEST: Do you know what it is? They are kowtowing to a very irrational streak that is across the Islamic world. In Turkey ...

DOBBS: Are you talking about the Americans? Nancy Pelosi?


DOBBS: What are you talking about?

WEST: I'm talking about the fact they're dropping this bill as we speak.

DOBBS: You think that's irrational?

WEST: Yes, I do.

DOBBS: Hank Sheinkopf, do you think it's irrational?

HANK SHEINKOPF, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think it's nutty to deny something that occurred that absolutely occurred.

DOBBS: OK. But there's a lot of stuff out there ...

WEST: Agreed.

SHEINKOPF: What I'm more concerned about is the timing of this being raised. This is a different issue. And I think those who deny its occurrence are just really wrong.

DOBBS: The occurrence of genocide?

SHEINKOPF: That's correct.

DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more. It's a historical fact.

But what in the world business is it of a Congress at a time when a nation is at war confronting global terrorism. Our public schools are a disaster. We cannot provide health care on a reasonably successful basis to our citizens. I mean, how could we be taking up the time of the body politic and the people we represent to our interest with this kind of nonsense?

ERROL LOUIS, "NEW YORK DAILY NEWS": It's a good example, Lou, of why the congress ought to tread lightly or not at all on areas of foreign affairs, especially when you have something as delicate as this situation. It's gone on for a hundred years. You go back again to Churchill and the basics of that area, trying to deal with the Kurds and the Shiites and the Sunnis.

DOBBS: That's what you mean. What's been going on ...

LOUIS: Involves getting Turkey on your side. They've got a Kurdish problem there.

DOBBS: Look, I'm not -- to be honest with you, folks, I don't care whether -- straightforwardly, Turkey is not a nation today in 2007 that is working in the interest of the United States.

WEST: No, you're exactly right.

DOBBS: They're apathetical to the interest of the United States.

WEST: Correct.

DOBBS: I could care less about appeasing the Turks. But I would like to see the Congress of the United States focus on issues that are of moment and relevance of absolutely critical to the national interest. What in the world are these idiots doing?

SHEINKOPF: Well, they're not dealing with health care and they're not dealing with immigration and that's for sure, OK?

DOBBS: Okay, let's go to Turkey now. Little Turkey -- well, little Turkey, they've got about 30 times the number of people as the Armenians. Why are we even suggesting that we would appease or accommodate a nation for expedience in logistics to carry out a war in Iraq.

LOUIS: Well, I don't know if appeasement the right word.

WEST: It is appeasement.

DOBBS: It is precisely this word. This administration is saying, oh, no, don't talk about the Armenian genocide.

WEST: Exactly.

DOBBS: Because we would upset our supply lines, Incirlik Airbase. Isn't it unbecoming. Unseemly.

WEST: It is very unbecoming.

DOBBS: Go ahead, Diana.

WEST: It has to do with validating the irrational and absolutely untoward attitudes of criticism of Turkey that Turkey tries to enforce on its own citizens and now the rest of the world, including us, the sole superpower. The is something we see in terms of across the Islamic world when we try to appease Muslims by not publishing Mohammed cartoons. Just recently in Afghanistan, there was an incident involving a destroyed Koran, and ...

DOBBS: I understand. I just don't care.

WEST: It's related.

DOBBS: I just don't care.

WEST: It's an important symbolic issue.

DOBBS: It's important for the United States to focus on values that are important to the United States and focus on U.S. policy. And, for example, Governor Spitzer in New York coming out and saying he wants to give driver's licenses away to illegal aliens. And Senator Clinton, boffo, Governor Spitzer, basically.

SHEINKOPF: Not so good.

DOBBS: You know this man. What the heck is he thinking?

SHEINKOPF: I think the problem is that people are being less tactical and more emotional. I'm talking about the politicians. This is bad. His constituency, parts of it may like it but on reflection, when they stop for a moment, they're not going to like it. He's using political capital that will be needed next year. When economy starts to slow in the area of the country where the financial economy is frankly the most sensitive to what occurs. DOBBS: This man is so arrogant, I don't think he cares about political capital, do you, Errol?

LOUIS: I think he's blown too much of it to care about holding on to it. You've g to a situation where these issues -- Let's say there's some validity to bringing people out of the shadows or to making sure that people can drive, as if there was a connection between license and driving ability. But even if that were the case, it would make sense to have some hearings, have some findings. Talk to people. Even within his own party.

DOBBS: You mean pretend it's a democratic government in the State of New York?

LOUIS: Well, at a minimum pretend that he wants to pass this, that he wants to consent -- he wants the consent of the people that elected him.

DOBBS: We'll be back with our panel in just one moment. Stay with us. We're going to really go after it next.


DOBBS: Well, we're back with Errol Louis, Hank Sheinkopf, Diana West. Let's, if we could, I'd just like to - Family Research Council President Tony Perkins this week holding a values voters summit. This is what he had to say about consensus candidates and third party candidates.


TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL: I think that issue has been kind of overblown. There's no desire to create a third party. There's no effort under way to create a third party. But what we said was more of a declaration of principle, that we simply cannot cross the line in supporting a pro-abortion candidate.


DOBBS: Wow! Diana West, that's pretty strong stuff. Do you think that's the way it's going to be?

WEST: I think it's the way it is now. I just don't think this is going to carry all the way straight through to Election Day.

DOBBS: Do you think there will be a third party?

WEST: No, I don't.

DOBBS: Another candidate?

WEST: No I don't.

DOBBS: And so they're going to line up behind the Republican nominee, as per usual?

WEST: I think ultimately many of them will. There may be some fallout but most of them will.

DOBBS: What you hear from Tony Perkins I think is a decision to remain relevant. The first Republican caucus, the Iowa caucus in early January is less than 75 days away and they don't want to just fall off a cliff just yet.

WEST: Speaking of falling off a cliff and on religious issues, my gosh, Senator Barack Obama and -- it appears to me at least, has found religion. My goodness. He has found a reason for God and it to be insinuated into every aspect of everything he's doing suddenly. Do you find that? Are you taken aback by that? Do you find it revelatory?

SHEINKOPF: I've always felt the democrats should be using what is best about America, and that's the sense about our collective religiosity moreso than any other nation in the world to their benefit. The problem is, the people voting in the primaries by and large, don't share those extraordinarily overwhelming sentiments.

DOBBS: You're talk background the self-loathing atheistic liberal die-hards?

SHEINKOPF: I'm talking New York and California and New York and California voters.

LOUIS: It doesn't hurt Obama a bit to go on a 40 city gospel tour with superstars and 5,000 people in arenas coast to coast.

DOBBS: And on the right in the Republican primaries you've got those -- well, those religious right wing -- what do they call them, wing nuts or whatever, these stereotypes that at the extremes of the spectrum.

SHEINKOPF: It tells you something. If it doesn't happen in this cycle it will in the next cycle. There's a definitive change that is generational, by the way, I think, going to occur in American politics where values and sense of what values are, are going to be somehow moved. They're not right and left anymore. They're more in the center.

DOBBS: How about this. We're talking about values. It is clear that both parties and their candidates for president are ignoring illegal immigration, which is now, obviously, emerging as one of the top three issues, that Iraq, while it's of great concern, is not in anyway superseding the economy and fears and concerns and rational fears and concerns.

DIANA: Would you say that's true?

DOBBS: Absolutely.

DIANA: Would you say that's true of the Republicans even at this point? Tom Tancredo and ...

DOBBS: Absolutely. You've got Republicans telling you, like President Bush, that the economy is boffo when the top one percent of the country have a record percentage of the national income and middle class working men and women are getting wiped out.

WEST: It's incredible. That was the big motivating emotional issue last year was of course the vote against the amnesty bill. So I ...

DOBBS: No, I'm talking about the economy. When you talk about illegal immigration, you're talking about the disconnect primarily, but also certainly with the Republicans, primarily with the Democrats, but the Republicans want top pander to their corporate masters as well.

SHEINKOPF: I would make the following prediction. That if this gets down to Rudolph Giuliani as the Republican, which is not unlikely today and Senator Hillary Clinton, also not unlikely today that immigration will become his argument in the heartland and if he can beat her, it will be on that issue which will make the white working class and the black working class in that part of the country pay attention.

Blacks will not vote - whites will in Detroit suburbs. And that's the difference on that issue alone.

DOBBS: Errol Louis, you get the last quick word.

LOUIS: Hank's got it just right. When you have the level of insecurity that people are feeling, the voters are feeling, candidates who ignore it on immigration and on other issues I think are going to get wiped out next year.

DOBBS: Well, and I hope they get wiped out by folks who have decided to register as independents and tell these branding mechanisms that call themselves political parties to go stick it and not take voters for granted. Just a thought. Thank you, very much, Errol, Diana, thank you, Hank, appreciate it as always.

Thanks for being with us. THIS WEEK AT WAR begins now with Tom Foreman.