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THE SITUATION ROOM
Bill Clinton's Health Care Push; Scientists Clash on Climate Change; Stolen Laptop Security Breach; Clock Ticking on Copenhagen Summit; "Operation Chokehold"; Innocent Man Freed after 35 Years
Aired December 17, 2009 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BLITZER: On our Political Ticker, you can't get much hotter rhetoric than saying your ideological opponent has, "Gone to hell." That's what Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry says about Al Gore. Perry is a former Democrat who actually worked for Gore's 1988 presidential campaign. According to "The Dallas Morning News," yesterday when talking about Gore's global warming stance, Perry said -- and I'm quoting now -- "I think he's gone to hell." The crowd laughed in response and no response yet from Al Gore.
And look what Sarah Palin's hat says -- or at least used to say. Palin was seen on a beach in Hawaii as she was wearing a visor that said "John McCain." But look closely -- McCain's name is blacked out. While that raised eyebrows, Palin tells The Politico she was just trying to be incognito in Hawaii. Palin says she supports McCain 100 percent.
And fresh job approval numbers for President Obama. In our CNN poll of polls, the president has a 50 percent approval rating, while 44 percent disapprove of how he's handling his job. This poll of polls averages six surveys done within the last week.
Remember, for the latest political news any time, you can always check out CNN CNNPolitics.com.
And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, new information on those five young American Muslims accused of trying to join up with Al Qaeda and Pakistan -- why these terror suspects may not be back in America for the foreseeable future.
His own health care efforts fell flat. Bill Clinton now warning, though, failure to pass a reform bill now would be a colossal blunder for Democrats and for the country.
A CNN exclusive -- he spent 35 years in prison for a horrible crime he did not commit. Finally, freed because of DNA evidence, an innocent man says, guess what, he says he's not angry.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
All that coming up. But we begin with new information on those five young American Muslims suspected of trying to join up with Al Qaeda. They're locked up in Pakistan and now it appears that they're likely to stay there for some time.
Brian Todd has been looking into this for us.
What are you learning -- Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, we're learning that while the families of these young men wait in the United States to learn about their fate, a high court in Pakistan has once again thrown up roadblocks to their return.
TODD: (voice-over): They're a long way from home, with no immediate sign of returning. A top Pakistani legal official tells CNN a high court there has thrown up a key legal hurdle if U.S. authorities want to bring back five young Americans suspected of plotting terrorist attacks. A lawyer connected to the case explained Thursday's ruling to reporters.
NAJAM SARFRAZ, PAKISTANI ATTORNEY: (INAUDIBLE) seeking prior permission to the high court, the ministry of interior ordered that authorities will not extradite these accused to any other country.
TODD: The U.S. made no formal move yet to extradite the men. Pakistani officials tell CNN they're coming to investigate this case, the young men are still being interrogated, but no formal charges have been filed yet.
Patrick Rowan was chief of the Justice Department's national security division.
(on camera): You're surprised that the Pakistani court ruled this way?
J. PATRICK ROWAN, FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, I'm surprised that the Pakistani government had any interest in holding these people, because, in the past, in a lot of instances like this, the Pakistani government has been interested in getting rid of folks like this as quickly as possible, so they would quickly deport them back to the U.S.
TODD: Rowan says the Pakistani high court may be acting out of caution after concerns about the men's civil rights were raised. Or the court, he says, may be simply flexing its muscles here -- wanting to assert its independence.
The five young men, who attended this mosque in Northern Virginia, went missing late last month and were arrested in Pakistan last week. Pakistani officials say one of the men was contacted by a militant after the young man repeatedly praised attacks on U.S. forces that he'd seen on YouTube. Rowan says if the five men are sent back to the U.S., they'd likely face some aggressive criminal charges from the U.S. government.
ROWAN: It's likely that the charges that they would try to bring are likely to be material support charges -- in other words, that these individuals had apparently made an agreement in order to go and link up with a foreign terrorist organization and fight against U.S. soldiers.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
TODD: But Rowan points out it's unclear at the moment whether they did link up physically with any terrorist group or not. So the U.S. government would have to prove intent -- possibly by examining e- mail draft messages or other communications that they had. Maybe, if any of the men confesses, or possibly if one of them cooperates with the government against another one. He says getting all that evidence lined up will be more difficult -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We're going to speak to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington about this...
BLITZER: ...and more.
That's coming up.
Brian Todd, thank you.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: All right. Let's get back to the news out of Brazil. The supreme court there has delayed reuniting David Goldman and his 9- year-old son, Sean. David Goldman is on the phone with us right now.
I know this is a huge heartbreaking setback for you, David.
Once again, you suspected this was possible.
Tell us how you feel.
DAVID GOLDMAN: It is very, very discouraging. I'm very disappointed. This -- this ruling that -- that just came has nothing to do with the merits of the case, with the fact that three federal level appellate court judges see -- recognize the urgency of Sean to be out of the clutches of -- of these people holding him. And they come with this end around appeal and get one judge in a higher court to stay it. It is very discouraging. And -- and -- and I -- I really, in my heart of hearts, can't imagine that Brazil wants to be viewed as a country that can take a child, keep them away from a parent and -- and -- and try to turn him against that parent and then demand the child (INAUDIBLE) that only a young tender, horrible, psychologically abused age of nine.
BLITZER: Are they going to make Sean, your 9-year-old son, who was taken away from you when he was four years old, are they going to make him testify before these judges? Is that what they're saying?
GOLDMAN: That's what this family -- that -- the kidnapper that's holding him is -- that's what they're trying to do. So far, he has spoken loud and clear to three Brazilian court-appointed psychologists. And they heard him loud and clear and they know the urgency that he needs -- that -- that has to be -- that he's got to get out of here. And it's just -- it's just awful how they don't protect children. This -- that this -- that this has happened now, it's -- it's very, very upsetting and I hope my son is OK.
BLITZER: We -- we heard from Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey, who's traveling with you and has been trying to help you in Brazil, that he thinks it's still possible that either tomorrow or -- or by Monday, this could be resolved without having to wait until February, at the earliest.
What -- what are your lawyers telling you there?
GOLDMAN: Well, my lawyer is on his way back from Brasilia, so I have yet to meet with him. And I will hopefully meet with him tomorrow, first thing in the morning, and we'll go over the next steps and see where -- where we go from there.
BLITZER: Will you be staying in Brazil for the -- for the duration now?
Or if you get this set back and they say to you, you know what, nothing is going to happen at least until February, will you be heading back to New Jersey?
BLITZER: You'll go back to New Jersey?
BLITZER: And I know you braced yourself for this disappointment, even though a lot of folks with this three judge panel -- these appeal -- the appellate court in Brazil ruling in your favor unanimously. I know that you were bracing for this disappointment, even as you got word yesterday, getting ready to board a flight for Rio de Janeiro. So I assume, as disappointed as you are, you've gone through this before.
GOLDMAN: Yes, I have. I've gone through this for five years. And they didn't rule in my favor, they ruled in Sean's favor and they ruled in -- in the favor of -- of the law, which is -- again, it -- it's not me. It's -- it's these courts recognizing the urgency of a small child who's illegally (INAUDIBLE).
BLITZER: Are you getting all the support from the U.S. government in Brazil that you need?
GOLDMAN: I -- I hope so. Again, I just spoke -- I just arrived today. And -- and I was ready to bring him home. And now we're -- the setback. I -- I hope -- I hope (INAUDIBLE) I hope they're supporting. I hope the rest of these judges, the legal community, the Brazilian officials, will do the right thing and honor -- BLITZER: Will you be allowed...
BLITZER: ...will you be allowed to see Sean over these next few days?
GOLDMAN: I will try. I will try, sir. I don't know if -- and if -- and what will happen.
BLITZER: David Goldman, good luck.
GOLDMAN: Thank you.
BLITZER: We'll stay in close touch with you. And we'll watch this story unfold.
Another heartbreaking setback for David Goldman of New Jersey.
GOLDMAN: Thank you.
BLITZER: Appreciate it very much, David.
GOLDMAN: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, let's -- Jack Cafferty is coming up with The Cafferty File. That's coming up next.
Also, scientists at odds over global warming -- how two respected researchers are drawing vastly different conclusions from the same data.
And Pakistan is delaying visas for hundreds of U.S. officials, diplomats, contractors.
What's going on?
I'll ask the country's ambassador to the United States. He's here in THE SITUATION ROOM standing by live.
BLITZER: Let's get right to Jack Cafferty for The Cafferty File -- HUDSON: .
CAFFERTY: The clock is ticking down in Copenhagen, with some suggesting that the legacy of the two week long climate talks will be characterized by two words -- chaos and failure. Things pretty much ground to a standstill yesterday -- thousands of protesters clashing with police outside the meetings. Inside, negotiators expressed frustration that they will likely leave there empty-handed. At best, they will have a weak political document of some kind that won't do anything about combating global warming.
One key meeting ran 18 hours behind schedule. The plan was for the 115-plus world leaders to swoop in today and tomorrow, bargain over the final small details and then ink some global document that was going to save us all. Well, it ain't going to happen.
There are still no answers about how much to cut carbon emissions, how to prove those cuts are made -- if they are -- and which nations ought to pay for these changes, along with the ongoing stand-off between China and the United States.
Although some are still holding out hope, others are already talking about holding -- you ready -- another international climate summit in Mexico City next summer -- months ahead of schedule. One U.N. official says without a real deal in Copenhagen, it would be would be better to put off the big decisions until the next summit.
Where have we heard that stuff before?
Meanwhile, after racing to wrap up business in the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is headed to Copenhagen, leading a 21-member Congressional delegation. Pelosi, who is reportedly using at least two Air Force jets to fly this posse to the climate summit, says the meeting is all about jobs -- creating millions of new clean energy jobs for Americans.
Sure, that and going Christmas shopping in Copenhagen on the American taxpayers' dime.
Here's the question then -- are chaos and failure the legacy of the Copenhagen climate summit?
The hint for this hour is probably.
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right, Jack.
Thanks very much.
Pakistan's government has held up the visas of hundreds of U.S. officials, diplomats and contractors and the State Department has lodged a formal complaint at the highest levels. "The New York Times" reports that the visa delays are deliberate and part of a harassment campaign against U.S. officials working in Pakistan.
Joining us now is Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani.
Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for coming in.
HUSAIN HAQQANI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.S.: A pleasure being here, Wolf, as always.
BLITZER: "The New York Times" says this: "The harassment has grown so frequent that American officials said they viewed it as a concerted evident by parts of the military and intelligence services that had grown resentful of American demands to step up the war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda."
What is going on?
HAQQANI: Wolf, Pakistan and the United States are allies and partners. And the government of Pakistan is trying very hard to work together with the United States for our shared objectives.
Now, of course, we all know that there is tremendous resentment against the United States in Pakistan. You've seen the opinion polls that show that a large number of Pakistanis do not agree with the government's view of the United States as a friend. So every now and then things like this happen. Somebody at a check post or a security official is a little rough to an American diplomat in terms of questioning. But we have not harassed anyone. We have no intention of harassing anyone. And we have no intention of holding back visas.
The only thing that has happened is that the number of Americans present in Pakistan has -- has increased exponentially. And so we are having to deal with far more of these applications than we used to in the past. And some of the parts of our bureaucracy are not dealing with that as fast as we'd like. And some people in the U.S. bureaucracy are not most efficient.
For example, I received a visa application from -- which was actually an Afghanistan visa application form in my embassy here in Washington, D.C. for a Pakistani visa.
So little bureaucratic snafus. I wouldn't go so far as characterizing it as a deliberate campaign of harassment. Pakistan and the U.S. remain allies.
BLITZER: Here -- here's what "The New York Times" says: "American helicopters used by Pakistan to fight militants can no longer be serviced because visas for 14 American mechanics have not been approved, the diplomat said. Reimbursements to Pakistan of nearly $1 billion a year for counterterrorism have been suspended because the last of the American embassy's five accountants left the country this week after his visa expired."
It sounds like a concerted attempt by some elements in the military and the intelligence service, perhaps other elements of the government, to underline their dislike or even hatred of the U.S.
HAQQANI: Well, let me just say that the government in Pakistan wants this to be worked out in our mutual interests.
That said, of course, we have our own procedures. We are a sovereign country. We have our own bureaucratic methods. And we are trying to work them to the best advantage of both our countries. The bottom line is that the government of Pakistan and even those who are critical of the United States and Pakistan do not want a breach in the relationship between Pakistan and the United States.
BLITZER: Because when you speak of the government, you speak of the president, President Zardari, who, by all accounts, is trying to do his best. But he's under -- he's under a under fire from a lot of other elements within Pakistan right now. And in the military and the intelligence community, for example, he's got his own problems. They don't like this -- this close relationship he has developed with Washington.
HAQQANI: Well, I would say that Pakistan has returned to democracy after 10 years of dictatorship. And we are now seeing what can be best described as the noise of democracy, which is definitely preferable to the silence of dictatorship that we had before.
In that atmosphere, obviously there are pushes and pulls. There are policy pushes and pulls. And some are actually just personal. We've seen it in other countries. In this country, people -- some people hated Bill Clinton with a passion and threw everything at him while he was in office. But he was still the elected president of the United States. President Zardari is the legitimately elected president of Pakistan. And I hope that he will compete his term in accordance with the constitution.
BLITZER: Well, you know, there's a lot of questions about how he will complete his term, because the supreme court in Pakistan just ruled the amnesty should go away. But there's another disturbing development happening right now, as we speak. The defense minister of Pakistan, I'm told, has been prevented from leaving the country to go on a trip. He was supposed to go to China -- prevented from leaving the country, the defense minister of Pakistan.
Is that true?
HAQQANI: Well, I have read the reports myself, just as you have read them. And I will ascertain the truth from Islamabad as soon as I can. The only thing I can say is that the supreme court has only given one constitutional ruling, which is that cases that had been established in Pakistan against various public figures, that they have to be reinstated because they were arbitrarily terminated.
But the fact of the matter is that many of these cases, including the cases against President Zardari, were not proven or decided even after a lapse of 10 years.
So even if these cases are reinstated, it does not mean that everybody is guilty or should be presumed guilty. And those who are trying to make them sound or -- or who are presuming that they are guilty and acting on it, I think will certainly will be told by the court at some point -- I hope so -- that this is not the case. You can try them back -- that's what the supreme court wants. The trials should reopen. But that doesn't mean everybody should be treated as if they are guilty, including the defense minister. BLITZER: When I hear a report that a defense minister has been prevented from leaving his own country to go on a routine mission overseas, the word coup comes to my mind -- that there's a coup in the works right now. This is a very sensitive subject given Pakistan's important role in fighting the terrorists -- the Al Qaeda, the Taliban -- many of them in Pakistan right now and given the fact that Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal.
Is there a coup in the works in Pakistan against President Zardari and his government?
HAQQANI: I hope not, Wolf. Pakistan has suffered from past coups. Everybody in Pakistan, including our top military leadership, have made it -- has made it clear that the military should focus on defending the country's frontiers and the elected government should run the country in accordance with the constitution and the courts should adjudicate criminal and constitutional matters in accordance with the law.
I hope that everybody will play their constitutional role and the country will not go down the road of coups that has been disastrous for our country in the past.
BLITZER: Besides the holding up the defense minister and not letting him leave the country, have there been any other signs that you're aware of, of possibly setting the stage for a coup?
HAQQANI: I have not seen any of those signs, although I've seen the same newspaper reports that you are talking about. But I am one of those who's an eternal optimist. You may -- might remember me from days before I became ambassador. I was always one of those that who felt that there is enough strength among Pakistanis to sustain democracy. And I hope that that strength will prevail.
BLITZER: And I hope that pa -- that optimism prevails.
One quick question on these five Americans we have been arrested in Pakistan, allegedly for supporting terrorist operations -- the ones from outside Washington D.C. In Northern Virginia.
Are you going to hold onto them for the time being or send them back to the United States?
HAQQANI: Well, we will, of course. They are American citizens. We will go through the legal process in Pakistan. If there is an extradition request, we will deal with it in accordance with law.
But the good news here is that they were arrested as a result of cooperation between Pakistani and American intelligence. And the FBI has been part of the team that has been interrogating them and getting useful information so that both Pakistan and the United States -- and the rest of the world -- are safe from actions of terrorists.
BLITZER: Husain Haqqani is Pakistan's ambassador to the United States. And we remember when you were teaching at Boston University, as well. You were an optimist then. You're still an optimist right now. And let's hope that optimism prevails.
HAQQANI: Thank you.
BLITZER: A milestone in the fight against cancer -- details of the breakthrough that's giving researchers critical new insight into the disease.
Plus, former President Bill Clinton warning fellow Democrats against what he calls a colossal blunder.
BLITZER: Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Fred, what's going on?
WHITFIELD: Hello again, Wolf.
Well, scientists in the U.K. say they have cracked the genetic codes of skin and lung cancer. They've pinpointed the exact DNA mutations that can lead to tumors. Scientists say their findings will help produce more powerful and personalized cancer drugs and treatments. The breakthrough could also improve cancer diagnosis and shed light on how tumors are triggered in the first police.
Well, French investigators say the cause of an Air France plane crash in June remains a mystery. An interim report says the plane's air speed probes gave false readings on the flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. However, investigators said they can't -- that can't be the sole cause. The jet's flight data and voice recorders have never been found. A new search is planned early next year.
And Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is out of the hospital after an attack that left him with a broken nose and two missing teeth. His face bandaged, he was driven to his villa near Milan. In a statement, the Italian leader, who has been embroiled in a sex scandal and corruption allegations, says he'll remember: "the hatred of a few and the love of many," end quote. The man who threw a statue at him at a rally on Sunday has a history of mental illness and is now in custody -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Fred, thanks very much.
A CNN exclusive -- we're going to hear from a man that spent 35 years in prison before he was exonerated by DNA evidence -- why he says he's not angry.
And who's right about global warming?
We're going hear from two scientists with very different opinions on climate change.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) BLITZER: To our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, a stunning security breach -- insurgents intercepting live feeds from U.S. military drones -- how they hacked some of the most sophisticated military systems with some cheap -- really cheap software.
Also, senators face-off over climate change -- Republican Senator James Inhofe and Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, they will be here in THE SITUATION ROOM to discuss. And this promises to be not just a discussion, but a heated debate on global warming.
Plus, IPhone users revolt -- details of their plan to send a dramatic message to AT&T.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
All that coming up.
But first, the latest draft of the health care reform bill up on Capitol Hill is coming under attack from liberals and conservatives alike and President Obama may have called on one of its predecessors for some help.
Our senior political correspondent Candy Crowley is here. We're talking about the former President Bill Clinton and he's speaking out.
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are. And that's big help, that's big reinforcement for any president and certainly a Democratic president who, in fact, remains very popular inside his party.
The president did put out -- the former president did put out a statement basically arguing get this thing passed. And he warned of the consequences. Part of this says, "Take it from someone that knows. These chances don't come around every day. Allowing this effort to fall short now would be a colossal blunder, both politically for our party, that is the Democrats, and far more important for the physical, fiscal and economic health of our country."
As it happens that's exactly what the president has been arguing both behind closed doors and in front of the microphone. This is a once in a generation chance. You all have to pass this. Politically it would be disastrous next year if you don't. And not to mention that -- all of those people who need help won't get any.
BLITZER: He and his wife tried in 1993 and 1994; didn't work out very well.
CROWLEY: He knows whereof he speaks.
BLITZER: He knows something about this subject.
CROWLEY: He does. BLITZER: Who specifically, though is he addressing with this statement?
CROWLEY: Yes, listen, I think that the -- if you look at the mix right now, what you have are moderate to conservative Democrats as well as Joe Lieberman, an independent, who really have to have things done with the bill in order to win over their vote. Now what you have is the left of the party saying, well, it doesn't have everything we want either and we may go ahead and walk out of this.
By and large, the president understands that perhaps it is up to Senator Reid to see if he can bring on two or three more. He believes I think that in essence you can bring on the liberals saying, "We can go back for more, let's take what we can get right now."
BLITZER: The fact of the matter is though, that with so many people upset on the right and the left, forget about those on the right now, what kind of bill does the president need to come up with that will satisfy the liberal left of his own party and the more moderate Democrats who are some of whom like Ben Nelson of Nebraska are also on the fence?
CROWLEY: Well, that's Senator Reid's headache, as you know.
Right now, what the president is doing is what he has done all along which is there are broad outlines of what he wants in the health care reform. He has said that both of the bills he has seen right now, at least the outlines of them, meet his requirement. What the president wants is a bill he can sign hopefully by the end of the year.
But in the end, Wolf, you know what's interesting is, even as the president presses and presses and presses and says you've got to get this thing done, politically it's going to be a problem for us if you don't. What we are seeing is falling numbers of people in those polls who actually like this health care reform.
So the question is if it gets passed and people don't see any sort of immediate benefit, then does that help them in 2010? There don't seem to be any real good political answers right now. But you heard -- David Axelrod say and he's argued today, "We think once this gets into place, people will like it." He understands their hesitation now.
So they are really betting on the come here on the White House.
BLITZER: Yes, well, we'll see what happens. These days are critical right now.
Thanks Candy very much.
President Obama leaves tonight to join world leaders for a final push at the Copenhagen summit. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today tried to jump start negotiations by saying the U.S. plans to help to raise $100 billion over the next decade to help developing nations cope with climate change. Not all scientists though agree that humans are responsible for global warming.
And then Mary Snow has been looking into this story for us. Mary, it's a sensitive subject. What are you finding out?
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Wolf, global warming has become so -- such a hotly-debated topic. One scientist recently told me that he received his first piece of hate mail.
There's very much broad agreement on this much. The evidence of the levels of heat trapping carbon dioxide and climate change have gone hand in hand for hundreds of thousands if not millions of years.
But there are many disagreements in the field of climate change and they're over what the consequences will be. Here the view of two climate scientists with very different views of the future.
SNOW (voice-over): To get an idea of how Wallace Broecker really feels about climate change, you only need to look outside his office.
He's nicknamed this the climate beast. His point is the climate is angry and humans are provoking it. It's a subject he's been exploring for a long time. So long that Broecker has believed to have coined the phrase global warming back in 1975.
WALLACE BROECKER, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY EARTH INSTITUTE: And I immediately didn't like it because I said -- well, I have written 480 scientific papers. I have written ten books. You mean I'm going to go down in history as the first one to say global warming?
SNOW: The 78-year-old Broecker would rather you know him for his science.
BROECKER: This is one of the great climate archives.
SNOW: Much of his research has been done here, at Columbia University's Earth Institute. This lab contains thousands upon thousands of samples of sediment collected from the ocean floor from all over the globe. Right now, he is focusing on the Equatorial Pacific.
BROECKER: We're trying to understand how the ocean circulated during glacial time.
SNOW: Broecker is a geologist who's been studying the climate of the planet over the last 25,000 years. He avoids specific predictions as most climate scientists do. But he's worried about the trajectory.
BROECKER: I base my fears for the future not on what's happening, but the fact what physics tells us that if we put these gases in the atmosphere we're going to warm the planet. If we're wrong about that, then we are out in left field on everything.
SNOW: Richard Lindzen, a professor of meteorologist at MIT is not worried. Yes, he believes there's warming but not a significant amount. On Lindzen's desk you'll see his piece of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize that Al Gore shared with a panel of 2,500 scientists studying climate change. But Lindzen sees things differently from most others on that panel.
In terms of global warming would you put yourself in denier or a doubter column?
RICHARD LINDZEN, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: Well, closer to denier.
LINDZEN: To say a doubter presumes a really good case but you have some questions. I think it is a very poor case.
SNOW: So what does he base his case on? Lindzen explains, among other things, he studies data from satellites like these to gauge the earth's cooling ability.
LINDZEN: So we're just looking at what the satellites are saying. They were saying it cools more effectively when you heat it up.
SNOW: He thinks other models rely too heavily on factors that have too many uncertainties.
As for today's melting polarized caps he says the Arctic is already recovering and dismisses projections that the climate is heading in a dangerous direction.
LINDZEN: I hope it goes away. Most of these things have gone away in time. And it's recognized it was a momentary hysteria.
SNOW: As for Lindzen's theory that the clouds and water vapor will help regulate the climate while as Broecker says this.
BROECKER: I will give you a five percent chance but we don't sit back and do nothing based on that five percent chance, because there's 95 percent chance that you are wrong.
SNOW: What's hysteria to Richard Lindzen is prudence to Wallace Broecker.
SNOW: Wolf, both obviously have different views on the climate change conference in Copenhagen with one hoping action will be taken to reduce greenhouse gasses and the other thinking it's a waste of time -- Wolf.
BLITZER: This debate is continuing. Mary thanks very much.
The federal government is about to lose out on billions of dollars in revenue; details of the death, possible resurrection of the estate tax. Stand by.
BLITZER: Now you see it. Soon you won't. We're talking about the federal estate tax which expires at the end of the month. But it's scheduled to return at an even higher rate in the year 2011, creating a nightmare for estate planners right now.
Let's bring in our senior correspondent Allan Chernoff who's working the story for us. The government is going to lose billions of dollars next year. Assuming Congress doesn't pass legislation in the next few days.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: And Congress worked on it yesterday. And they absolutely failed to extend this. So as a result we're talking about $14 billion that is likely to be lost by the U.S. Treasury, that according to the Tax Policy Center.
And Wolf, really the estate tax is a fat cat tax. Why is that? Well, in order to be subject to it, you have to have at least $3.5 million in your estate at death and the truth is most wealthy people well, they have much more that they give away thereby avoiding this tax.
During lifetime they'll pay for tuition for their children and grandchildren. They'll gift away lots and lots of money. And of course, they'll create trusts.
So you are really talking about the ultra wealthy here. Nonetheless, those folks, this year they are expected to account for about $14 billion in tax revenue. That's a lot of meow mix for Uncle Sam -- Wolf.
BLITZER: For years folks have known that the estate tax was supposed to expire next year. What's been going on?
CHERNOFF: Wolf, Congress has known about this for ten years. Congress passed the Bush tax cut back in 2001 they knew this was happening and what's been happening gradually over the past decade is that it's really been contracting. Way back in 2002 you only had to have a million dollars in your estate to be subject to the estate tax.
Congress didn't really address it until yesterday. And the Republicans were able to prevent an extension. This says a lot about the power that Republicans have in Congress right now.
BLITZER: All right, so there's going to be no estate tax next year. At least -- unless they pass an emergency legislation in the next few days and it doesn't look like they will. But the estate tax will return in 2011.
CHERNOFF: Comes back in 2011 and what we do is we revert back to the rules of 2001 and as a result, you do not have to be a very fat cat in order to be hit by that tax and the tax will shoot back up to 55 percent if nothing is done in 2011 -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And will that be for all estates or estates above a certain threshold? CHERNOFF: Right. Estates above $1 million and of course, those are estates at death. Now, if people use good tax planning, good accountants, good estate lawyers, as we pointed out, they can easily tuck away a lot of money to avoid that tax -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Allan Chernoff thanks very much. Good business though, for lawyers and accountants right now trying to figure all this out.
Fredricka Whitfield is monitoring some of the other top stories in THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Fred, what's going on?
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf. Hello again. Hello everyone.
Well, Bermuda long known for its low crime rate is in the grips of deadly gun violence. Three people have been shot and killed in the past few weeks, including a man at his home this morning. More than a dozen people had been wounded by gunshots since May.
Police have linked the violence to gang rivalry. The public safety minister says he fears the island is gaining a reputation for lawlessness and that is affecting tourism markets.
The wife of al Qaeda second-in-command has specifically addressed Muslim women in a message released by the terror group over the Internet. The message said to be from Ayman al-Zawahiri's wife, tells women to raise children to quote, "Obey Allah and love Jihad." She says they can help al Qaeda by giving money or information and even by martyrdom -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Thanks very much, Fred. We're going to get back to you for more stories.
A stolen laptop with information about thousands of military personnel and their families: whose personal records might be at risk? Are yours? You're on the SITUATION ROOM.
BLITZER: It is one laptop computer containing sensitive personal information about tens of thousands of U.S. Military personnel and their families and it's missing.
CNN's Samantha Hayes is joining us now with more on this story. What do we know about it?
SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Army saying that more than 42,000 people connected to Fort Belvoir may be affected.
The theft happened over Thanksgiving weekend, Saturday, November 28th. A laptop computer was stolen from the Florida apartment of an employee of Fort Belvoir's Morale Welfare and Recreation Academy containing the names, social security numbers and other personal information of Military members and their families.
This theft affects so many people because the MWR is the organization on base that operates things like child care centers and recreation facilities. And that's available with anyone with a Military ID, so active duty troops, the Department of Defense civilians, retirees and their family members.
The Army doesn't think that the information will be misused because it is secured by encryption and passwords and they don't think that whoever stole it was specifically after that information on the laptop. Now those affected were sent a notification letter about two weeks after the burglary.
You are looking at a copy that CNN obtained. It explains the nature of the breach and instructions on guarding against identity theft. At this time the Military is not recommending or compensating for a credit monitoring service.
This is not the first time that a missing laptop has prompted the potential security breach for the Military. In 2006, a Veterans Affairs Department analyst lost a laptop computer which contained personal data for more than 26 million veterans and active duty troops. That incident and Wolf probably this one, too, is going to renew calls for some kind of better way to protect this kind of information.
BLITZER: Two weeks it took them to notify these folks?
HAYES: Two weeks.
And when I talked to one of the Military persons investigating this incident he said that basically there is a policy in place where they have to do an investigation first off to kind of get an idea of how pervasive the theft is. What kind of risk is in place, and because of the nature of this information, they said that is the time that it took.
BLITZER: Yes. Fort Belvoir in Virginia and not far from Washington, D.C.
HAYES: That's right.
BLITZER: All right Samantha. Thanks very much.
Let's go back to Jack for "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Two weeks. The computer was there and then the computer wasn't there, and it takes them two weeks.
BLITZER: That jumped out at me, too.
CAFFERTY: That is because you are an alert fellow like myself.
The question this hour is: Are chaos and failure destined to be the legacy of the Copenhagen Climate Summit? Bill writes from Florida: "Who do you suppose is funding the failure of climate change legislation? Energy companies or people who live near the ice flows, the oceans, fishermen, et cetera? If there is doubt about global warming, let's wait until it is too late to fix it. The damage that can occur with cleaner air and water is zero."
M writes: "The U.S. Has disgracefully shunned the Kyoto Protocol for years. Why exactly would anyone be surprised to see us spurn the Copenhagen Summit? We're supposed to lead by example instead we lead by hypocrisy. If you're an elected official -- I'm looking at you Inhofe -- and you dispute the claims of global warming that over 90 percent of all world scientists have agreed upon, you're too greedy to serve the nation. After all, we know who your re-election money is coming from, now don't we?"
Don writes: "What is with you people? This is about international income redistribution and our environment is the Trojan horse?
Marie writes: "Remember that a journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step. Your level of cynicism makes me sad."
James in Canada: "I hope not. I heard Obama is working the phones, trying to make some kind of deal. I think at best we can hope for a framework deal with the final binding agreement to come next year in Mexico City. Hopefully China will accept monitoring of their emissions controls. This is not a bias measure against China. Every country would be subject to monitoring, it just happens that China is the biggest polluter. Hopefully something can be salvaged from this conference.
And Tony in Columbus, Ohio writes: "Due to the amazing political machine here in the United States, this will be spun as a success no matter what comes out of it. And by the way, what genius would hold a global warming convention during December in Scandinavia?"
If you want to read more on the subject check my blog. You'll find it at cnn.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jack, thank you. An innocent man freed today after more than three decades in prison cleared by DNA. What is going through his mind as this nightmare finally comes to an end? He is speaking exclusively to CNN.
Plus details of the revolt some iPhone users are planning against AT&T.
BLITZER: It is called "Operation Chokehold" a plan by disgruntled iPhone users to jam AT&T, its wireless network by have everyone watching stream video at exactly the same time. It has gotten the attention of the FCC.
Our Internet report Abbi Tatton is joining us now to explain what is going on. Explain Abbi. ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, it started with comments from an AT&T executive suggesting if you watch a lot of videos or on your phone or listen to Internet radio all day, you might be charged extra for that.
Now an outraged group of iPhone users is planning a digital protest. "Operation Chokehold", the brainchild of "Newsweek" writer and blogger Dan Lyons; the plan, everyone to use the most data-heavy app you can tomorrow at the same time and attempt at crippling AT&T's network. And it is the network they are really mad about. AT&T has long been criticized for spotty coverage for people using SmartPhones.
If "Operation Chokehold" started in jest, it is getting some serious attention spreading on sites like Twitter and on Facebook where they have 3,000 fans already -- Wolf.
BLITZER: How concerned is AT&T?
TATTON: Well, AT&T wouldn't comment to us, but the Federal Communications Commission label the effort irresponsible saying disruptions to a wireless network of this nature could prevent the public from accessing vital 911 services. And they're cautioning the public to use good judgment if they are considering this -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Abbi, thanks very much. She'll stay on top of this story.
The company behind Blackberry says the problem that created a widespread interruption in e-mail service has now been fixed. Research in Motion is apologizing for the glitch which impacted an unknown number of Blackberry users. There was no impact on phone, texting and Web browsing services. The company says some users may still be experiencing delays as all of those backed up e-mails are processed.
He spent 35 years in prison for a horrific crime, and it turns out, he did not commit that crime. James Bain is now a free man exonerated by DNA evidence, and he gave CNN's John Zarrella an exclusive interview -- John.
JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, James Bain was convicted of raping a 9-year-old boy. That was 35 years ago. Only now after DNA testing has he been found innocent. He was released today. We had a chance to talk with him exclusively.
ZARRELLA: Is it one of those things where you kind of pinch yourself and say, "Is this really happening?"
JAMES BAIN, WRONGLY CONVICTED: No, it is not really that.
BAIN: No. Not really that.
ZARRELLA: Long overdue.
BAIN: There you go.
ZARRELLA: What -- were there times when after you knew this was about to happen where you would say to yourself, Boy, I just don't know that this is -- I'm not going to believe it until I am in that courthouse and they tell me I'm a free man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Bain, I am now signing the order, sir, you are a free man. Congratulations.
BAIN: In a sense, yes, but I had my trust in my lawyers from the beginning.
ZARRELLA: They did good for you?
BAIN: They did good.
ZARRELLA: Now you did what? Several times you filed your own appeals asking for testing.
BAIN: Correct, correct.
ZARRELLA: And those have -- they were turned down?
BAIN: It was turned down every time.
ZARRELLA: And that was what, three or four different occasions?
BAIN: Maybe a little more than that.
ZARRELLA: More than that?
ZARRELLA: And then once the "Innocence Project" got involved...
ZARRELLA: That changed things?
BAIN: That changed everything.
ZARRELLA: Tell me about that.
BAIN: Well, doing it yourself in prison is very complicated. Because the state knew for a fact that it is hard for you to file paperwork and you can't get no quick response from them.
ZARRELLA: You know outside you had said that you weren't angry.
BAIN: No, I am not angry. I can't be angry, because everybody did what they had to do when this occurred.
ZARRELLA: But it is so hard to believe that you spend 35 years of your life locked up for something that you didn't do... BAIN: Yes.
ZARRELLA: And you are turning the other cheek. You are just not angry.
BAIN: I can't be, sir.
ZARRELLA: Are there things you want to see, things you want to do?
ZARRELLA: What are some of those things?
BAIN: Well, I want to travel, because I did don't that as a kid. Most of my time growing up was to support the family. When I had the opportunity to leave, even to go to Nassau where my father did, I never went.
ZARRELLA: You didn't go?
BAIN: I am the only one of the family who's never been there. I preferred to stay home and support the family.
ZARRELLA: So now, I think you're probably going to make a trip to Nassau.
BAIN: Yes, I'm going to probably go now.
ZARRELLA: Now that James Bain is a free man, authorities have an open case again. The only question that remains is who really attacked that boy 35 years ago -- Wolf.
BLITZER: What a story. Thanks very much John.