Return to Transcripts main page
Health Care Showdown; Michael Vick Free; CBO Scores Health Care Plan; Taliban Threatens to Kill Captive U.S. Soldier; Wilkerson Says CIA Lies Regularly; Terror Group Recruits Somali-Americans
Aired July 20, 2009 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): I have a right to preach the gospel, don't I, okay?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (via telephone): Here's the problem...
(END AUDIO CLIP)
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: He's on trial today. A parade of women are accusing him of running a cult and raping them as children. My bizarre interview with Tony Alamo. A must-see.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not a nation of laws. You are the antichrist.
SANCHEZ: Small town boy from Idaho, ballet dancer. Now Taliban captive. The video U.S. military officials are calling humiliating. How he got there.
Senator Mitch McConnell suggests Canadians let people die if they're too old for certain procedures. Is that true? What is the truth about Canada's health care, good and bad?
Michael Vick is out. Will he be allowed back in? Who are you pulling for to return to the NFL, Vick or Brett Favre?
It's all part of your national conversation for Monday, July 20, 2009.
SANCHEZ: And hello again, everybody. I'm Rick Sanchez with the next generation of news. This is a conversation. It is not a speech. And it is your turn to get involved.
Beginning now, President Obama's involvement in health care is about to go full tilt, as are some Republican efforts to try and stop him going full-tilt.
Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina, for example, he said during a conference call -- quote -- "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him," said the senator from South Carolina.
President Obama, by the way, responded just a little while ago to Senator DeMint's comments. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just the other day, one Republican senator said -- and I'm quoting him now -- "If we're able to stop Obama on this, it will be his Waterloo. It will break him."
Think about that. This isn't about me. This isn't about politics. This is about a health care system that is breaking America's families, breaking America's businesses, and breaking America's economy. And we can't afford the politics of delay and defeat when it comes to health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: And then there's more.
Mitch McConnell, for example, he says that our health care system in its present form is already the very best in the world. And to those who say the Canadian system may be better, he said this on "Meet the Press" yesterday morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MEET THE PRESS")
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: I had a friend of mine in Florida who called up recently and said he had just lost a friend of his in Canada because the government decided he was too old for a certain kind of procedure, and, apparently, he didn't have the money or the ability to get down to the United States for quality health care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: So what is the truth?
As Americans, we're hearing everything from our system is the best to our system is in complete disarray. As for the Canadian plan, we hear it's an absolute panacea, perfect. Everybody gets treated any time that they want, to nobody gets treated unless they're willing to wait for months or years to get that treatment.
So, here's what we want to do for you. Let's try and make some common sense out of this. Let's try and get to the truth.
Joining me now is Ujjal Dosanjh. He is a member of the Canadian parliament and a former minister of health there.
Senator McConnell, let's start with him. He says Canadians don't treat old people for certain procedures. That's a heck of a thing for a senator to say. Is it true?
UJJAL DOSANJH, FORMER CANADIAN HEALTH MINISTER: Absolutely untrue.
A decision as to whether or not certain procedures are to be carried out for a particular patient, those decisions are made by doctors in the hospitals. And doctors don't make that decision based on money or no money, unlike the United States of America...
SANCHEZ: So it's absolutely not true that age is ever taken into account?
DOSANJH: Well, you know, age and condition may be taken into account...
SANCHEZ: Listen, I get condition. There's times when a person is like so frail that operating on them or giving them a certain treatment might make them worse. You have to weigh things. But that's not what he said. We're talking about age.
DOSANJH: Well, age alone? Absolute nonsense.
SANCHEZ: All right, here's another one for you. Critics say that, in Canada, you have to wait forever to see a doctor or schedule surgery, and there is person after person who has said that they know somebody there who will share that anecdote with them.
Is that true? Is it true in part? Is it true at all?
DOSANJH: It is untrue substantially.
The fact is that nine out of 10 Canadians have permanent doctors that they go to. And the fact is that if you are in a queue waiting for surgery, if you have a heart attack, you will get to the front of the line. If you have a broken leg, you may have to wait a day or two.
I think those decisions are made all the time at hospitals by specialists and by doctors. And those decisions are made based not on money that somebody can pay or not pay.
DOSANJH: Because, ultimately, the government is the insurer.
SANCHEZ: So, you're saying there is a wait, but it's on an individual basis; it depends on the case. But is it different -- there are times when you have to wait in the United States as well. Would you say your wait is larger than our wait, as many have said?
DOSANJH: Well, for some things, it might be.
For instance, you need to have your eyes checked, you want to see an ophthalmologist it might take you two or three weeks. You want to see somebody with respect to your knee, a specialist, it might take you three or four weeks to see a specialist. But if you are in excruciating pain and you have a heart attack, you will be going to the front of the line. I think that those are things that happen even in private practice.
SANCHEZ: I just got a tweet from one of your health care professionals there. He is an EMT in Canada, who tells me he's really happy with the system, he thinks it works great, and he's proud to be part of it.
But he also told me in this tweet -- and it's not this one, Robert. It's one I read before I went to favorites over here. But he said: "You know what our problem is? We don't have enough doctors. We need doctors."
SANCHEZ: Is it possible -- let me finish -- that you're undergoing a brain drain over there because the doctors are so underpaid, they are leaving to practice here in the United States, where they can make more money?
DOSANJH: Well, doctors are not that underpaid. The fact is, yes, in the United States of America, in private practice, you could make a little more money.
But the fact is that we in fact, I'm told, have sufficient number of doctors. The problem is they all want to practice in the urban centers. So, in the rural areas, we have fewer doctors.
And, you know, there is a worldwide shortage of doctors. And, in fact, the United States of America is doing a much better job of bringing in the international medical graduates and letting them practice, whereas, in Canada, we have 10 jurisdictions and they have 10 different procedures. And it takes much longer for an international medical graduate to begin to practice in Canada.
So, there are some disadvantages.
SANCHEZ: This is good. And I think people appreciate you taking these tough questions, because this is a very important part of the conversation that we are going through right now in the United States.
So, you're really the perfect guest for this. Let me hit you with another fastball here, maybe a little bit of a curve on it. Why do many Canadians who are very sick and need specialized care forego your plan, if it's so great, and come to the United States instead?
DOSANJH: Well, you know, in Canada, just as in any place where there's universal care, certain procedures may not be available because they are not part of the medically necessary procedures.
If you have a medically necessary procedure which is prescribed by various provinces, you will get that in Canada. If you want something far and above and beyond what is allowed in Canada, you may search far and wide. Some of them may go to the U.S., but there are -- those are exceptions. That's not the rule. SANCHEZ: Here's a question that's coming off our tweet board here. This is what, SundevilSal? Must be from Arizona or Arizona State. Which is it? He says: "I'm not an expert on Canadian health care system. Ask him if they cover illegal aliens. If not, who pays for their health care coverage?"
DOSANJH: If you are an illegal alien in Canada, you go to the hospital, you need urgent care, they don't ask you questions.
I have had friends who visited this country and have had no insurance coverage. They have gotten sick and they have gotten into the hospital. Yes, we try and collect the bills afterwards. The government tries. Sometimes you get them. Sometimes you don't. But you're not asked to pay up front.
SANCHEZ: I was talking to a lot of small business owners this weekend and they all told me they're getting killed with what they have to pay for each -- especially the small business, not like the big corporations, like the one I work for -- where they have to pay hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars for each employee of theirs for their health care plans.
If you're a small business owner in Canada, do you have to pay that in any way? How do they get you to pay into the system?
DOSANJH: Well, a small business owner doesn't pay. It's the health premiums in some provinces that individuals pay out of their wages. In other provinces, you don't.
You pay through taxes, by and large. The income tax takes care of that.
SANCHEZ: Aha. And how big is that?
DOSANJH: Well, it's significantly perhaps larger than the United States of America.
But then I don't have to pay -- when my child gets sick or I get sick and I have to go to the doctor or the hospital, I pay absolutely nothing. And I think that's the most important thing. You can live worry-free. You can lose a job in British Columbia, go to Ontario, Ottawa, find a job. The insurance coverage would be available to you no matter where you go.
That's why in fact some of the employers prefer places like Canada than the United States of America, because there's a huge health care bill for the employers if they have to cover their employees. In Canada, the government assists with that, and we all pay taxes to support that system.
SANCHEZ: By the way, we should let you know and let our audience know as well that we tried to invite Mitch McConnell, who had made the charge about the Canadian system, to be with us during this interview, but he was unable to do so.
We hear from his people that him schedule didn't allow it because he had to vote. But certainly we will continue to try and get him back on. Maybe we will get the two of you together.
DOSANJH: I would be absolutely delighted.
SANCHEZ: That's very nice, Ujjal Dosanjh, member of the Canadian parliament, former minister of health, so he knows what he's talking about, who took the heat for us today as Americans try and find out what kind of health system we should get.
Mr. Minister, thanks so much for joining us, sir.
DOSANJH: Thank you very much.
SANCHEZ: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRIVATE BOWE BERGDAHL, U.S. ARMY: I'm scared. I'm scared I won't be able to go home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now we know who he is. We even know he likes to dance ballet. But we really still don't know how exactly he was abducted by the Taliban. We are going to take you through the latest information that's now coming in.
Also, Minister Tony Alamo gets downright defensive when I ask him if he's abused little girls. This is a heated confrontation. This is kind of one of those must-see TV interviews of ours. We will have it for you.
Oh, by the way, Michael Vick is now a free man. Should he be allowed to play in the NFL? You tell me why not.
Also, remember, our show doesn't end here, not at 4:00 anymore. Stick around when the TV version of our national conversation goes online at 4:00 Eastern. Log on to CNN.com/live.
SANCHEZ: For animal abuser Michael Vick, today really is the first day of the rest of his life. He's officially off house arrest, did you know.
Yes, as you have told me, he's proven to be selfish, egotistical, even stupid. You have even used the word that I personally hate because more often than not, it has a racist connotation. You have told me that he's thuggish.
All that said, this guy used to have it all, superstar, millionaire and a talent so unique, he really had no equal. Then this phenomenal athlete, accused of doing one stupid thing after another in the NFL, finally convicted of the stupidest act of all.
It was so brutal, so malicious. I know. Many of you say, yes, but how about the other NFL stars accused of other crimes? Generally speaking, here's the difference. What Vick did was willful. It wasn't a drug problem. It wasn't a bar fight or a car accident -- key word there, accident.
It was willful. In other words, he had to know when he heard the screams of dogs being beaten or burned or electrocuted to death that what he was doing was awful, but he kept doing it.
But here's what else we know. He was busted for that, which we just described, and he paid dearly. He lost his livelihood. He lost his fortune. And he lost his freedom. Still, with all that, you told me today on Twitter overwhelmingly and somewhat surprisingly that you're rooting for Vick to play again, even over media darling Brett Favre.
"USA Today" asked the same question about those two. Vick's around 25 percent, Favre only 18 percent. The rest of you seemed to vote in that poll for both or neither.
You know, what you seem to be saying is that, in America, and you're saying this to the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, people who pay their debt to society deserve another chance. You know what? One would tend to agree. Tell me what you think at my blog, CNN.com/ricksanchez.
Next, my screaming interview with Tony Alamo -- when we come back.
SANCHEZ: And the comments about my Michael Vick comments are flying in, as you might imagine.
Let's start over here, if we can, on MySpace. And Chris on MySpace says: "Yes, the NFL should allow Michael Vick back. After all, Leonard Little got a second chance, and he killed someone."
And then over here to the other side. Let's go to my Twitter page, if we possibly can. Ohcourts says: "If other people can't get jobs because they have been convicted of a felony, why should Michael Vick?"
So, there you go, two contrasting opinions. We thank you for both.
A trial continues today in Arkansas, a trial for an accused child molester, a man who calls himself a minister. But is he really a cult leader and a rapist as well?
His name is Tony Alamo. In 1991, he made headlines, charged with threatening a judge. Since then, much like a heat rash that won't go away, he's been accused of trafficking underaged girls across state lines for sex. Now, we have been monitoring his trial and have seen a parade of women lately come forward to say they were forced to marry him when they were just little girls. By the way, they also say their parents looked the other way because they were a part of it.
I recently asked Alamo if that was true. This is an incredible interview that I want you to watch, which he ends, by the way, by calling me the Antichrist.
Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE, SEPTEMBER 2008)
TONY ALAMO, TONY ALAMO CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES: Don't tell me about the Bible, man. I'm a Jew. We wrote the bible. Let me teach you.
ALAMO: You don't know anything about the Bible, OK, friend?
ALAMO: All right?
SANCHEZ: So you're saying the Bible gives you the right to have sex with girls?
ALAMO: I have the right to have sex with my wife. Is there any problem with that?
SANCHEZ: No, absolutely no problem. No problem with your wife.
ALAMO: Some people are homosexuals today like the people at the Vatican and everything.
SANCHEZ: Let's not go there, sir. Let's --
ALAMO: Yes, let's go there. Let's go there. Come on now. Come on. You know there's a bunch of faggots over there and nobody is prosecuting them.
SANCHEZ: I think people would find that kind of language repugnant. I would -- I would ask you not to use it anymore. Let's try and stick to the issues here.
SANCHEZ: If we possibly can. Hey, just for the record, they're saying for the record that you have possibly either promulgated or had sex with young girls at your particular facility. Is that true or not?
ALAMO: That is false.
ALAMO: All right?
SANCHEZ: You told the "Associated Press" that you are not guilty, but then you went own to say that -- according to you -- the age of consent is puberty -- puberty? What do you mean by that? ALAMO: It's not according to me. That's according to the Bible. That means when a woman is able to conceive, and have a child, she is an adult and she could be married. But we don't do that at our church. We never have.
SANCHEZ: Why would you be saying that then?
ALAMO: Well, because it's Bible. I have a right to preach the Gospel, don't I? OK? What kind of a -- what kind of creep are you?
SANCHEZ: Puberty is -- as early as 8 years old. Are you saying that you would be for children, young girls as early as 8 years old having sex?
ALAMO: No, you're just trying to make me look that way. You're part of the government regime to try to destroy Christianity. And I didn't say that. I don't know when girls reach puberty. Most of them around 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. God inseminated Mary at the age of around 10 to 12. Should we get him for having sex with a young girl?
SANCHEZ: Yes, yes, as a matter of fact, sir. If you go by the law, and we are a nation of laws, we should. And the law specifically states that you have to...
ALAMO: Hey, you're not a nation of laws. You are the Antichrist.
SANCHEZ: Coincidence, huh, that he would say this an 8-year-old girl is fair game according to the Bible? Not that he's ever been with an 8-year-old girl, right?
Well, guess what? In court last Friday, while we were monitoring this case, we learned that an 18-year-old woman stood up and told the jury that, when she was 8 years old, 8 years old, she was married to Tony Alamo and that her parents didn't protect her from him.
Now, if Alamo is convicted, he would face up to 10 years behind bars and $250,000 in fines on each of the 10 counts. His trial continues. His lawyers are talking now. More importantly, maybe, than all of that, he would be kept away from underage girls and vulnerable women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERGDAHL: I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them every day that I'm gone. I miss them. And I'm afraid that I might never see them again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Your heart just goes out to him, doesn't he (sic)? It's a U.S. soldier. He's now in the hands of the Taliban, forced to make a taped statement. I'm going to tell you what he is saying coming up.
Also, remember, our show doesn't end anymore at 4:00. Stick around. When the TV version of our national conversation is over, all you got to do is log on to CNN.com/live. That's CNN.com/live -- man, I said that fast -- where the conversation continues online. That's 4:00 Eastern.
Oh, and it's interactive. Your tweets, your messages included as well.
I will be right back.
SANCHEZ: And we welcome you back. I'm Rick Sanchez.
A lot of folks communicating with us today. And then there's this story, probably the most captivating story of the day. This soldier, see him there? This is a photo taken at a much happier time for him. This picture is from a Facebook page that we have gotten ahold of set up as a tribute to Private 1st Class Bowe Bergdahl, U.S. Army. He's on a lot of people's minds today. And here's why.
That's Bergdahl in a video released over the weekend, that food given to him by the Taliban. That's right, this video taken by the Taliban. And Bergdahl is still in the hands of the Taliban, who say they are now prepared to kill him.
He's been captured. He gave a statement on camera. And I will play it for you in just a second, because I want you to see it, not all of it, but I want you to see what we think is newsworthy, what we think you should see.
First, here's the sheriff from his hometown, where they really miss him today, in Idaho.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALT FEMLING, BLAINE COUNTY, IDAHO, SHERIFF: We have been overwhelmed with the outpouring of support and concern toward Bowe and our family. As you know, the situation is extremely difficult for everyone involved.
We would like to remind all of you that our sole focus is seeing our beloved son Bowe safely home. Please continue to keep Bowe in your thoughts and prayers. And we would ask for your continued respect of our need for privacy in this difficult situation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: All right.
Here's a bit of the Taliban tape showing PFC Bowe Bergdahl speaking to a video camera, prepped by the Taliban.
Go ahead, Dan. Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERGDAHL: I have my girlfriend who I was hoping to marry. I have my grandma and grandpas. I have a very, very good family that I love back home in America. And I miss them. Every day that I'm gone, I miss them and I'm afraid that I might never see them again and that I will never be able to tell them that I love them again, and I will never be able to hug them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Private 1st Class Bowe Bergdahl, a captive now somewhere in Afghanistan, possibly in Pakistan.
Now, in just a minute, there is today news from Afghanistan, at least four U.S. soldiers killed in a bombing and many questions to ask as well about how it is that Bergdahl ended up in the hands of the Taliban.
And, by the way, there are also plenty of other questions about him, who he is, what his family wants us to know about his accomplishments.
We will share those in a minute as well. Stay with us.
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back. Boy, you guys are really eating up that health care segment we did at the beginning of the show. Take a look at the comment here.
This is Rey Diaz. He's watching. He says, "Rick, too little time on health care. Please, more coverage on health care comparisons to other national systems." Well, my executive producer Angie told me we went like 11 minutes, which is like three minutes past what we normally do.
Here's another one thanking us for specific coverage. Look at this one. Mizmeno is telling us, "Hi, from PEI, Canada. Tony Alamo on trial. Evangelist my -- you know what. It's just a cover-up for a pedophile. Thank you, Rick, for airing it." Our pleasure. We've been following that story.
All right. At least four U.S. soldiers are dead in Afghanistan today and here's what we know. It happened in the eastern Afghanistan area in what we are told was a roadside bombing. The military isn't saying much other than that. We are going to tell you more when we know more.
Now, let's talk more about that American soldier. Our hearts go out to him. He's missing from a unit in Afghanistan nearly three weeks ago. The Taliban has now threatened to kill him.
All right. That's him. You see him right there. Army Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl shown in a video released over the weekend by the Taliban. They say they are going to kill him if U.S. forces continue to operate in southeastern Afghanistan. That's that front we have been telling you about for the last couple weeks.
We've heard his voice. We've heard from his family in Idaho. Now, we've learned some things about his personal life as well, and we still have a ton of questions.
Here's a guy who might be able to answer some of those questions for us, retired Army Colonel Larry Wilkerson is good enough to join us.
Colonel, good to see you again, sir.
COL. LARRY WILKERSON, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Good to be here, Rick.
SANCHEZ: Colonel, the Taliban has, interestingly enough, one story about "I picked this guy up." They say that he wandered off the camp, that he was inebriated. The U.S. military has now given us two stories. One, that he got somehow lost on patrol and that he originally did leave the camp where he was.
Why are we seeing these inconsistencies and what does that tell you?
WILKERSON: Well, it reminds me of the Pat Tillman affair and it does not give me a whole lot of hope that we're going to have the truth out of my Army any time soon. The word coming out of Afghanistan from soldiers and others whom I trust, who have e-mailed me about it, said that he was a little disgruntled with his chain of command, he left the wire, if you will -- went outside the wire with nothing but a compass, a knife and the clothes on his back.
WILKERSON: No weapon other than that. So...
SANCHEZ: So, the story that you're hearing out there, then, just to -- just to put this in perspective is, that he may have been confused or disoriented and he actually walked off. How can you walk off without one of your peers or one of your fellow soldiers seeing you and saying, "Hey, Bowe, where you going, man, stop"?
WILKERSON: Well, if you're intent on it, you can do it. I mean, I take your point, but if you're intent on it, you can do it. He was a member of the 501st, 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 25th division, my old division in Vietnam. So, it, you know, brings back memories for me, too.
SANCHEZ: Did you see this video? It's kind of tough to talk about it. I mean, it bothers me that we have to show it because, you know, obviously, it's a legitimate news story but at the same time, you know, it's released by the Taliban. Is there anything about the video that tells you that maybe there's a possibility that he may be trying to send back a message to somebody here or to his parents? Or is there anything you think is significant there?
WILKERSON: Well, it reminded me -- the part that I did see -- it reminded me of some of the POWs in Vietnam who were, shall we say, urged to say things, even tortured to say things. He didn't look as if he had been tortured but he looked as if he were frightened and he was saying pretty much what they had scripted for him to say other than the comments he made about home and Idaho and so forth.
SANCHEZ: There is one thing that many Americans now tussle with. It almost seems if we had seen this 10 years ago, we may have been able to make a bigger fuss about it, but as a result of the administration over the last eight years and all the talk about torture and all the things that have happened in Abu Ghraib, have we lost a little bit of our standing and now being outraged when we look at something like this?
WILKERSON: Unquestionably so, Rick. I have Chinese diplomats with whom I have dealt for a decade or so who tell me now without batting an eye, "Don't talk to me about human rights anymore." I was in Havana not too long ago and got the same kind of remark from a Cuban. We've lost the high ground with regard to human rights and the rule of law.
WILKERSON: And we lost it because of the last eight years.
SANCHEZ: That's bothersome. Let's pick up on that subject. And I think you're the guy to talk to because you were a part of that administration. So we'll be talking about that. Can you stick with us, Colonel?
WILKERSON: I will.
SANCHEZ: All right. Stay there. We'll come back and we'll pick up on this subject and be as fair about it as we possibly can.
Meanwhile, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has said that he's sorry more times than I can count now. Well, guess what? He's saying it again. But this time, it's a little different. It's in an open letter to the people of South Carolina. I will read it to you. That's next.
SANCHEZ: I am sorry. That's Governor Mark Sanford's message to the people of South Carolina. He wrote a letter published in newspapers statewide yesterday, and he again apologized for his affair. Sanford claims he had been quote, "humbled and broken and no public apology can make wrong right. I did wrong and failed at the largest of levels." Sanford vows to become quote, "a better father, husband, friend and advocate."
Just ahead, Colonel Larry Wilkerson joins me to talk about the former vice president, Dick Cheney, and the secret interrogation program that he allegedly ordered the CIA to not tell Congress about.
We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: I have asked Colonel Larry Wilkerson to stick around so we can talk about another issue that is of import to all Americans and certainly to him. It's about what you or he or I would do if the vice president of the United States told us to keep our mouths shut. I'm talking about the CIA chief, who now says that Dick Cheney ordered agents to keep quiet about some sort of secret anti-terrorism program.
Colonel, what do you know about this? And is it something that Americans should be concerned about?
WILKERSON: Well, as an academic, I know quite a bit about it. I make it my specialty to study national security decision-making and particularly the three instruments that were created in 1947, one of which was the CIA. And I have to tell you that yes, I do think Americans should know about this, but most of them don't, and the CIA, if you're familiar with its operations throughout the last half- century or so, it lies to people regularly, including the United States Congress and at times, the president of the United States.
SANCHEZ: Are there some things we really don't need to know?
WILKERSON: Well, some would say there are. I would not be one of them, though, because I think, being a democratic republic, you have a certain value system that needs not to be violated too often. And if you get to the point where you're killing people and spending the money's money and the people's treasure and the people's blood in the people's name, and you're doing it covertly and you're failing at doing it -- which the CIA has done repeatedly over the last half- century -- then you got problems.
SANCHEZ: In this particular case, if the former vice president actually instructed members of the CIA to keep Congress in the dark -- in other words, if they were to be asked a specific question, they either told a lie or said nothing at all -- is that illegal?
WILKERSON: This is an ambiguous area, I think, and needs to be ruled on -- perhaps even as high as the Supreme Court, because we've got a president who's done this before and we have precedent for that. Take Dwight Eisenhower, for example, who authorized U2 flights over the Soviet Union which broke international law. We had an agreement.
Gary Powers was shot down and, of course, the Soviets found out about it, but Dwight Eisenhower took the blame for it. He was the president of the United States. That usually doesn't get that much censure in the public domain, perhaps, but not in the courts.
This is the vice president. This is the first time in the history of the vice presidency -- as far as I know -- and certainly since World War II which is my specialty area where this has happened.
SANCHEZ: He was no average vice president.
WILKERSON: No -- unprecedentedly powerful.
SANCHEZ: One final question. This program that the vice president apparently tried to start, it maybe never even got off the ground according to our sources. What do you know about it?
WILKERSON: I don't think it did get off the ground with regard to the CIA actually executing operations, because they couldn't bring it together logistically...
SANCHEZ: Or executing, period.
WILKERSON: Well, executing period, yes. It did get off the ground with the military, though, and that's a different matter.
SANCHEZ: All right. Listen, we're going to have to leave it at that. So great to have you once again. My thanks to you, sir, for coming by and sharing your perspective on this.
WILKERSON: Thank you for having me, Rick.
SANCHEZ: All right.
Rallies against recent deaths of young Somali-American men. This is an amazing story that we've been following up for you for months now. Federal authorities expect to make even more arrests in this case. They disappeared from Minneapolis -- suddenly, they turn up fighting and dying for an Islamic group in Somalia? How scary is that, if you consider that they could somehow also make their way back into the United States as potential terrorists. That's what we're getting to the bottom of.
Also, remember, our show doesn't end here. Stick around when the TV version of our national conversation is over, log on to CNN.com/live, where the conversation continues online. We want you there -- 4:00 Eastern, your tweets, messages included, of course.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lisa Newman is a top surgeon at the University of Michigan Hospital -- specializing in breast cancer, a job she's had for seven years. Every day, through the same doors, ready for work.
But this is no ordinary day. Today, the doctor is the patient.
She's having a biopsy. Does she have breast cancer, the very disease she's committed her life to fighting?
To be black, a woman and a surgeon makes Lisa Newman a rarity in this country. As a young surgeon in Brooklyn, New York, Lisa Newman noticed something alarming her patients.
DR. LISA NEWSMAN, SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST, UNIV. OF MICHIGAN: It was just heartbreaking every day in the clinic to continuously be seeing African-American women that seemed to be disproportionately afflicted with breast cancer at younger ages and more advanced stages of disease. O'BRIEN: And even worse, this cancer was a different, more aggressive type. It's called triple negative breast cancer, or TNBC. The statistics are appalling. Black women are twice as likely as white women to get TNBC.
Why so deadly? When breast cancer is diagnosed, doctors look for three markers that show where the cancer is most vulnerable and helps determine how best to fight it.
But the markers aren't there for triple negative breast cancer, making this type of cancer very difficult to treat and more likely to return.
(on camera): So, you really have no targeted way to fight triple- negative breast cancer.
NEWMAN: That's correct -- at this point in time, that's correct. In terms of standard of care, chemotherapy is all that's available.
SANCHEZ: Welcome back. A programming note -- President Obama will address the nation at 8:00 Wednesday night, and that means "Black in America 2" moves to a new time at 9:00 Eastern now. Join us for it.
Rallies against the recent deaths of young Somali-American men. Maybe it's the disappearances that is more important. Maybe it's the fact that many Americans might be a little disquieted by what's going on here. The potential for terrorism -- when we come back.
SANCHEZ: I am truly happy to see that we've whet your appetite for this health care debate issue that we've all been talking about in the United States. I mean, look at the responses that we've been get thus far. Let's go to our Twitter page if we can, Robert, and let's start there.
"Health care should be free for seniors. It's unfair how much they have to pay after working all their lives."
"I love America but this is a crooked government." One opinion on the conversation we had moments ago on the colonel. That's not having to do with health care.
"Sometimes have to wait for some things, but as a Canadian I know I will receive a care I need and that we are all covered." Another one says, "I've used Canada's health care system. I was left in a room waiting while the docs smoked and ate lunch in a side room."
All right. Let's go over here now to the right and let's go to MySpace, if we can, Robert. And there you'll find one about Governor Sanford that says, "Yes, Sanford. I don't even know what to say about him. Not sure how he'll be able to work it out when I think he said that the mistress was his soul mate." Yes. He did.
I want you to look at this protest in Minneapolis. These are Somali- Americans. They're angry because someone has been luring their young men, living in America, now, speaking English like we do in many cases, to fight and die half a world away in Somalia's civil war.
At least a dozen young men have disappeared over the past year and a half, and at least three of them have turned up dead in Somalia. Now, what happens if they're trained there and they come back here? That's potential terrorism. Here's CNN's David McKenzie.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Far from the streets of Somalia, a Somali-American family gathers in front of their home in Minneapolis, caught up in this bloody conflict. A mother mourns her beloved son. Jamal Bana described as a smart and hardworking student killed a world away in the chaos of Somalia.
OMAR JAMAL, SOMALI JUSTICE ADVOCACY CENTER: Jamal was excellent and went to Washburn High School and after that he went to a college, very smart young kid.
MCKENZIE: Jamal was only 1 when his family fled the country torn by civil war. He was studying engineering at two colleges. But in November last year, he simply vanished.
JAMAL: The family don't know what took him. OK. We don't know how he left, the family have no. He left without parental consent. They didn't know. By the time they found out, there's nothing they could do about it. So, the family wants to know what happened to him.
MCKENZIE: Then his fathers found photos of his dead son on a Somali news Web site, seen here in footage taken by a Somali journalist. The family fears that he was recruited to fight with Al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda link Islamic militant group that is on the U.S. terror list and is fighting a brutal war against country's weak transitional government.
Three Somali-Americans from Minnesota have died in Somalia, including Shirwa Ahmed, who blew himself and 29 others up in October, the first American citizen suicide bomber. There are more than a dozen Somali- Americans missing there, say their families. Those missing could have entered the fighting, but their families say they have no idea what they're getting involved with.
OMAR: Somebody must have put something in his mind. They must be somewhat disillusioned and indoctrinated because he didn't have any clue about Somalia at all.
MCKENZIE: And as Somalia descends further into chaos, it's becoming clear that Al-Shabaab has recruited far and wide in its campaign to bring a Taliban-style government to Somalia and that even the sons of the families that have fled this chaos to America have felt compelled to return to a fight that has already raged for decades.
Dave McKenzie, CNN, Nairobi.
(END VIDEOTAPE) SANCHEZ: You know, it's frightening to think that somebody can actually convince kids living in the United States that they should leave the United States and go fight in another country. Omar Jamal is good enough to talk to us about this again.
Omar, always good to see you.
JAMAL: Good to see you, Rick.
SANCHEZ: You know, listen, as an American, I'm going to be a little concerned that some of these guys could be somehow indoctrinated into wanting to hurt us in the United States and can come back as potential terrorists. Am I wrong?
JAMAL: Well, you're right. We share that concern. The Somali community share that concern, what's happening to those kids and what's doing this to them and what's their potential activity in the future. So, that's the concern that we all have.
SANCHEZ: How do you talk somebody into leaving everything we have here and going to Somalia? I mean, how are they getting into their heads to do this?
JAMAL: Well, Rick, only religion can do this, I think. This is completely something beyond our understanding. What would convince a young an 20 years ago, going to college, has a prospective and future in this country after having fled from Somalia because of civil war to drop his books, purchase a ticket, send him back so he can blow himself up? What are they telling them?
SANCHEZ: Yes. And then -- you know, it sends chills down most of our spines when we hear you say "blow himself up." The fear is that, you know, that could happen here. Let me do this. We're going to continue this conversation. I think -- I've got a lot of questions for you about this.
SANCHEZ: We need to know as Americans what's going on here. So, we're going to go and switch over to CNN.com/live -- CNN.com/live where you and I will keep talking. Meanwhile, here's "THE SITUATION ROOM."