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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Five U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq; Interview With Judith Miller

Aired October 04, 2005 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
We begin tonight with the escalating violence in Iraq and the president's determination to stand firm in the face of rising criticism of the war in Iraq. Five American soldiers were killed in Iraq today as our soldiers and Marines launched a new offensive against insurgents.

The White House Press Corps today pressed the president for answers on the progress or lack of progress in the war. Another major issue for the press corps, President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. President Bush tried to convince his conservative base to support the nomination amid concerns in some quarters that Miers will fail to uphold conservative values.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Under fire from both the left and the right over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, President Bush defended his pick.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She's a woman of enormous accomplishment. She's -- she is -- she understands the law. She's got a keen mind. She will not legislate from the bench.

MALVEAUX: A big concern among some conservatives who suspect Miers may tip the balance of the court. The wide-ranging press conference was aimed at the president gaining his political footing.

Since his last one in May, he's been hit with rising gas prices, sinking poll numbers and violence in Iraq, a Republican leadership charged with wrongdoing, and scathing criticism over his own handling of Hurricane Katrina. Today he gave mixed reviews for the ongoing recovery efforts and continued to hold himself accountable for the government's missteps.

BUSH: I'll take all the responsibility for the failures at the federal level.

MALVEAUX: The president has faced tough criticism from the African-American community, who were impacted especially hard by Hurricane Katrina. For the first time, the president acknowledged that despite his efforts during his re-election campaign, he's been unable to garner significant African-American support.

BUSH: I was disappointed, frankly, in the vote I got in the African-American community. I was. I've done my best to elevate people to positions of authority and responsibility.

MALVEAUX: While Mr. Bush implored Americans to support his foreign policy in Iraq, he admitted the centerpiece of his domestic policy, reforming Social Security, has stalled.

BUSH: Well, Social Security for me is never off. It's a long- term problem that's going to need to be addressed. When the appetite to address it is -- you know, that's going to be up to the members of Congress.

MALVEAUX: One issue the president is vowing to get in front of is how to protect Americans from the dangers of a possible bird flu infection in the U.S.

BUSH: We're watching it, we're careful, we're in communications with the world. I'm not predicting an outbreak. I'm just suggesting to you that we better be thinking about it.


MALVEAUX: Now, one issue that the president was asked about that he did not address was the CIA leak investigation. It's expected to come to a close fairly soon and also involves several White House officials -- Lou.

DOBBS: That investigation, as you know, Suzanne, now taking far longer than the Watergate investigation. And tonight, as a guest of this program, "New York Times" Pulitzer Prize-winning attorney (sic) Judith Miller, who served almost three months in jail for protecting her confidential sources.

Suzanne, thank you very much.

Harriet Miers has been an attorney for decades, but her views on many important social and legal issues are simply unknown. Thirteen years ago, Miers did reveal some general opinions about the rule of law and two articles in the publication "Texas Lawyer."

She wrote, "The same liberties that ensure a free society make the innocent vulnerable." She also declared, "Punishment of wrongdoers should be swift and sure." And she wrote, "We can all be active in some way to address the social issues that foster criminal behavior."

Certainly nothing controversial in her comments, but an indication at least of her general philosophy on the importance of law in our society, however ambiguous they may all be.

President Bush, no doubt, has complete faith in the abilities of Harriet Miers as she begins her confirmation process. But Miers' achievements and legal background pales in comparison to the achievements of the president's first Supreme Court choice, Chief Justice John Roberts.

Here's how President Bush described both candidates' strikingly different legal backgrounds while announcing their Supreme Court nominations.


BUSH: In his extraordinary career, Judge Roberts has argued 39 cases before the nation's highest court. When I nominated him to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, he was confirmed by unanimous consent. Both those who have worked with him and those who have faced him in the courtroom speak with admiration of his striking ability as a lawyer and his natural gifts as a leader.



BUSH: Over the course of a distinguished legal career, Harriet has earned the respect and admiration of her fellow attorneys. She has a record of achievement in the law, as well as experience as an elected member of the Dallas City Council. She served at high levels of both state and federal government.


DOBBS: Confirmation hearings for Harriet Miers expected to begin next month.

Turning now overseas, four of the five American troops killed in Iraq were taking part in offensive operations against insurgents against in the western part of the country. The fifth soldier died of his wounds after a shooting incident in central Iraq. The circumstances of that incident have now been revealed.

Jennifer Eccleston, in Haditha, reports on the U.S. military's escalating offensive in the Al Anbar province.


JENNIFER ECCLESTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is the largest anti- insurgency military operation in western Al Anbar province, and that's because there are some 2,500 Marines, sailors and soldiers. But the bulk of the force are the Marines. And there's also some 500 Iraqi forces taking part in this operation to root out the terrorists from the Euphrates River valley, but also to deny them a safe haven here and deny them the freedom of movement that -- what you heard just there were Marines firing illumination rounds out of their mortar tubes.

Now, there are two objectives here. The first is to create a safe enough environment whereby the people of this region in western Al Anbar province are able to vote in that crucial referendum on October 15. But the bigger picture here is also security, safety. And with that, leaving behind a stabilizing force, mainly that of Americans at first, to keep this place safe and to make sure insurgents don't come back. But also then to eventually replace those with Iraqi forces.

And there have been successes, according to the Marines in this operation. They've received a number of tip-offs from the local population of where the insurgents are hiding, a number of people have been detained. But there have also been successes on the part of the insurgents as well.

There have been over two dozen IEDs placed along main routes in this city and others. And as a result, they are wreaking havoc. We know three soldiers were killed from an IED in the course of this operation.

Jennifer Eccleston, CNN, Haditha, Iraq.


DOBBS: Later here, how the war in Iraq has affected the Army's ability to recruit. We'll have that special report coming up.

New developments in the escalating legal battle between former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and a Democratic district attorney in Texas. A grand jury has indicted DeLay for a second time for alleged money laundering. DeLay today vigorously defended himself, accusing district attorney Ronnie Earle of prosecutorial abuse.

Ed Henry has the story from Capitol Hill -- Ed.


That's right, rocked by this second indictment, Tom DeLay did hit the airwaves today, doing a series of talk radio interviews, where he did push back hard against that prosecutor, Ronnie Earle. DeLay knows that the stakes legally are very high here.

These new charges of money laundering could ultimately lead to life in prison. That's why you see DeLay pushing back hard, saying that he believes basically that this is an attempt to do a do-over on the part of Ronnie Earle, that Earle knows that the first indictment is going to collapse in court, that's why Earle wants to throw all new charges, try to make anything stick against Tom DeLay.

But when you get through and you cut through the legal back and forth, the bottom line is this is that this is a widening political problem for Tom DeLay. Right after that first indictment hit last week, DeLay insisted he could get past this quickly, and that even though he had to temporarily give up the job of majority leader, he said he could get that job back within a couple of months.

But today, an interesting and stunning acknowledgment from Tom DeLay in one of those radio interviews with radio station KTRH. DeLay acknowledged that the more this drags on, the harder it will be to get that job back.


REP. TOM DELAY (R), TEXAS: The longer this goes, the tougher it is for me to step back in as majority leader. Although, we are driving a very aggressive agenda for the next eight weeks.

We're going to do something about gas prices. We're going to cut spending, cut taxes, reform entitlements, protect our borders, enforce the immigration laws. That's a very aggressive agenda.


HENRY: Now, Tom DeLay knows that the clock is ticking. Regardless of the merits in the charges in either indictment, he realizes Republicans are already whispering this could be another situation like Newt Gingrich faced a few years ago, where he was pushed out because Republicans ultimately felt that he was too much of an albatross -- Lou.

DOBBS: Ed, quite simply, if he believes strongly that this is prosecutorial abuse, why doesn't he turn to federal court and file charges and a lawsuit of his own?

HENRY: We'll have to see whether in fact he does that. He has a tough attorney, as you know, in Texas who is looking at every possible legal avenue to pursue. And I think also DeLay feels that -- that there is prosecutorial abuse, and in fact he believes that this could help him with his political base.

That's why in one of these radio interviews with Rush Limbaugh today, at the end of it Limbaugh said that he was praying for the congressman. Obviously that's not a bad ally to have right now, someone like Limbaugh, with millions of fans in the conservative community.

If, in fact, DeLay can make the case out of court that Earle is abusing the system, that could help rally support among his base. But obviously he has a big legal problem as well -- Lou.

DOBBS: Ed, I don't believe that Rush Limbaugh is a new fan of Tom DeLay, however.

HENRY: No, absolutely not.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. Ed Henry.

Another setback for the people of New Orleans. We'll have the very latest for you coming right up.

Also, I'll be talking in this studio with "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller, who is now free after 85 days in prison for protecting her confidential sources in the CIA White House leak case.

And, how American multinationals are putting their profits before human rights and American values.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The U.S. Army has missed its annual recruiting target by the widest margin in a quarter century. The Pentagon says the Army missed its goal by nearly 7,000 soldiers.

Barbara Starr reports from the Pentagon.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The Army failed to achieve a critical goal in wartime. It wanted to recruit 80,000 troops in the fiscal year that just ended. But it fell almost 10 percent off the mark.

Army officials say they are not in a panic mode. But behind the scenes, they are worried that fewer troops could mean more deployments to Iraq, a delay in adding 10 new combat brigades, and difficulties in manning combat operation. Recruiters have long said the major problem is the war in Iraq.

Top commanders believe parents are influencing their children's decisions to join the military.

GEN. RICHARD CODY, U.S. ARMY VICE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think people will postulate, and say will say that, you know, because of the Iraq war that's being brought home on TV every night, some will say that the influencers are having an impact.

STARR: When will all the troops come home? The top U.S. commander in Iraq stepped back from his predictions of substantial reductions in the months ahead.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, U.S. COMMANDER IN IRAQ: I think right now we're in a period of a little greater uncertainty than when I was asked that question back in July and March.

STARR: Casey says Iraqi security forces are improving, even though it may be some time before they can operate independently, key to U.S. force reductions.

And what about the nearly 2,000 Americans who have died in Iraq so far? Casey now being asked if he worries their sacrifice was in vein.

CASEY: No, I don't worry about that. Not yet. We're not there yet.

STARR (on camera): The Army is now going to accept more recruits who score low in aptitude tests. And in still more defendant news, both the Army National Guard and Reserve are expected to report later this month they too missed their recruiting goals.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


DOBBS: The stated goal of U.S. foreign policy is to promote democracy and respect for human rights, above all else. Yet the prevailing attitude of U.S. multinationals and the politicians who accept donations from them appears to be open China as a market, and at any cost to those values.

Christine Romans reports.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): American business and politicians are having no trouble aiding and abetting communist China. American companies signed a record $12 billion in contracts last year to do business there.

Officially, American business top concerns about China are rampant piracy and widespread power outages, two things that hurt profits. Of little concern is that China is an oppressive communist regime.

THOMAS DONALDSON, ETHICS PROF., WHARTON BUSINESS SCHOOL: There's a sharp, bright line that gets crossed when you start cooperating in the violation of human rights. And we don't have to do that. There's lots of money to be made staying within the bounds of our basic value in places like China.

ROMANS: The State Department clearly outlines those basic values in its foreign policy goals, promoting "democracy and respect for human rights." Yet the most recent State Department Report on China shows anything but.

At least 250,000 people serving sentences in re-education through labor camps. Violence against women is common, including forced sterilization and abortions. Unauthorized religion is not tolerated. And China sharply limits freedom of speech, with the help of American companies and their technology.

Human Rights Watch says companies like Yahoo! have become an extension of Chinese law enforcement. Yahoo! recently turned over information that helped the Chinese government track down and imprison a journalist. Ten years in prison for forwarding an e-mail. Yahoo! has said it was abiding by the laws of its host country.

LORI TANSEY, MARTENS, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETHICS INST.: Just claiming that, well, it's legal in that country, therefore that's OK, that doesn't wash from an ethics standpoint.

ROMANS: Microsoft bans words like "democracy" and "Dalai Lama" from its China's blog sites. Google censors banned information from its news service. Taiwan's foreign ministry demands Google stop referring to that democracy as a province of China in Google maps.


ROMANS: And comparisons are being made to apartheid in South Africa when multinational companies ignored South African laws of segregation within their factories and many refused to play by apartheid rules. So far, American companies, multinationals operating in China, they have that option to say these are our standards and this is how we are going to play, but they don't. DOBBS: It is -- it is so disappointing, with all that corporate America has been through over the course of the past four years, to see this kind of conduct and behavior on the part -- specifically of the leading technology companies. The reference to host countries and to recognize and respect their values, while ignoring, if you will, their host country, the United States, and ignoring our values and rejecting our traditions. It is absolutely insulting and degrading.

ROMANS: They say just by being there, they are forwarding the cause of freedom, but the record does not show that.

DOBBS: It does not show that. In point of fact, it shows they are acquiescing to the state of communist China.

Excellent report, Christine. Thank you. Christine Romans.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe U.S. multinationals should be required to uphold American values in the conduct of international business, yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up.

A doctor in Oregon says he has a cure for chronic back pain. He recommends sex. Sex with him. That's right. An Oregon woman is suing her doctor over what you might call an unconventional treatment.

Incredibly, the woman apparently consented to the treatments. Even more incredibly, the doctor billed the state's health plan $5,000 for each 45-minute session.

The doctor was eventually sentenced to 60 days in jail. The woman is suing for battery and negligence. The doctor, however, maintains sex, the treatment, was consensual.

There is no word as to the success of those treatments.

Coming up next here, one mayor's plan to make life easier for illegal aliens. We'll be live with that important story.

And why thousands in New Orleans have yet another reason now to be worried.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: New Haven, Connecticut, tonight is out with an astounding proposal that would help illegal aliens win key privileges even as they break the law. New Haven's mayor wants to hand out identification IDs to thousand of illegal aliens living in his city in order to help them open bank accounts and receive government benefits and services.

Bill Tucker has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): If you can't beat them, join them. Or in the case of New Haven, Connecticut, if they are illegal, make them legal. That's the idea behind a proposal from the city's mayor to issue legal IDs to illegal aliens in his city.

PAUL STREITZ, CT. CITIZENS FOR IMMIGRATION CONTROL: This is treason. This is a Benedict Arnold mayor turning New Haven into a Banana Republic. It's clear that the federal law prohibits anybody from inducing anyone to come into the United States illegally.

TUCKER: Not surprisingly, the idea is enthusiastically supported by immigration activists in this city, where 21 percent of the population is Hispanic, and as much as half of those are estimated to be here illegally.

KIKA MATOS, JUNTA FOR PROGRESSIVE ACTION: Like many northeastern cities, New Haven is a city that has a rapidly growing immigrant population. And many of these immigrants don't have a proper form of identification. And because of that, they're unable to access services, municipal services, services with the banks and with other institutions.

TUCKER: Mayor DeStefano admits there are legal problems with his proposal to legitimize illegals. His critics say it's much more than just a problem.

JOHN BUTURLA, CHIEF ADMIN. OFFICER, CITY OF NEW HAVEN: Internally, within city government, we have been exploring the feasibility of issuing municipal IDs to residents that may be undocumented workers.


TUCKER: Now, city officials here readily admit this proposal is under consideration. And Lou, they don't know if they will ever issue any municipal IDs.

But the mayor is proceeding with his other initiative, "Hablamos Espanol," which is providing city services in Spanish -- Lou.

DOBBS: New Haven, avant-garde to the extreme. To the extreme of condoning illegal activity. How do they rationalize it?

TUCKER: They say they simply are overwhelmed. It's a familiar refrain, Lou. "The federal government didn't do its job, we're now overwhelmed. We have to do something about it, because we're getting no help from the federal government."

And that's the rationale you hear here.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

Bill Tucker, from New Haven.

Still ahead, the levees in New Orleans are fixed, but for how long? Colonel Duane Gapinski of the Army Corps of Engineers joins us. And "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller, she's out of jail, fighting for reporters' rights. She is our guest coming up here next.


DOBBS: Tonight, a new mandate from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who just days ago urged residents to return home to a city largely without power, drinking water and adequate sewage treatment. Tonight, Mayor Nagin announced the city will lay off as many as 3,000 city employees, half its workforce.

Lisa Sylvester reports.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Walter Vine has lost everything in his house. He and other city employees may now lose one more thing, their jobs.

WALTER VINE, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: I understand that they've started cutting back on people who deliver summonses and stuff like that. A lot of secretarial jobs.

SYLVESTER: Vine's fallback plan is to get a job in construction. But other city workers may not be as lucky. Without tax revenues coming in, the city's funds are dwindling.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN, NEW ORLEANS: After weeks of working to secure these funds to make payroll, the city of New Orleans today announces it has been forced to lay off up to 3,000 classified and unclassified city workers as a result of the financial constraints in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

SYLVESTER: Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco is asking Congress to reform the Stafford Act to allow the federal government to pay base salaries of critical public safety and other local government employees.

GOV. KATHLEEN BLANCO (D), LOUISIANA: Our local governments are recovering, but many are on the verge of financial collapse. So I'm asking the federal government to help pay the regular-time salaries of these essential public employees during this emergency period.

SYLVESTER (on camera): Mayor Nagin says only nonessential workers will be laid off, and this will save anywhere from $5 million to $8 million of the city's $20 million monthly payroll.

Lisa Sylvester, CNN, New Orleans.


DOBBS: Also tonight, strong winds and high tides are raising new concerns about the possibility of even more flooding in New Orleans. And more rain is in the forecast.

My guest tonight in charge of ridding New Orleans of floodwaters and rebuilding the levees. Colonel Duane Gapinski of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers joins us tonight from New Orleans.

Colonel, just how -- how imminent is the threat given the rain and the tide concerns?

COL. DUANE GAPINSKI, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS: Well, Lou, we're taking all the precautions we can to guard against the storm surge and any potential rain that might come our way. We've sealed the canals going into the city, and we've started building up the repairs to level it and get us through the rest of hurricane season. So I'm pretty confident that, barring any really heavy rains, we should be just fine.

DOBBS: As you know, there have been rumors -- they're no more than that -- that there is concern in your organization and among city officials there, all of the agencies there, that the new moon, the impact on tides, could lead to a further deterioration in those weakened levees. Give us your level of concern, and -- as to whether it exists or not, and if so, what you're doing about it.

GAPINSKI: Well, of course we are concerned, but, you know, we've built up the repairs that we've made to breaches that occurred during Hurricane Katrina. We built those up to about 10-foot elevation, which we believe will get us through, you know, other than a direct hit by a hurricane. So we're pretty confident, and we continue to repair levees every days are so it gets better every day.

DOBBS: And your plans at this point -- I don't know to what degree you've been given direction by your command -- but is there a plan before you, a range of options to restore the levee system beyond the level before the Hurricane Rita, and also perhaps to do something entirely different in terms of the levee structure and the rebuilding of New Orleans?

GAPINSKI: Well, Lou, right now, of course, my role is to get rid of the water and then repair the levees to get us through the rest of hurricane season. One of my compatriots is working on a plan to get us back to the level of protection before Hurricane Katrina. And then folks are looking at, you know, what it would take to provide Category 5 protection, but, you know, we're not -- those plans aren't quite fleshed out yet.

DOBBS: And how soon will you, in your judgment, be able to succeed at your mission?

GAPINSKI: Well, I mean, in the city itself, there's no water. To the east it's actually still part of city by the Six Flags area. There is still some water. I suspect by the end of the day tomorrow, we'll be pretty much dry. I do have some problems south of here. In Plaquemines Parish, but we're making good progress and that's a good area, so time/distance is a factor.

DOBBS: Colonel Gapinski, thank you for your hard work and also meeting -- exceeding the schedules in front of you. We appreciate your time here tonight.

GAPINSKI: Thanks, Lou. DOBBS: The tragedy of Hurricane Katrina has reopened the fierce debate in this country over federal vouchers for private schools. President Bush has proposed giving $7,500 in vouchers to thousands of students displaced by the storm. There is controversy even in that proposal. Dana Bash reports.


DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like most high school sophomores, Jude Fitzmorris could do without the tie for class ...

JUDE FITZMORRIS: I don't even know if there will be enough time. This thing is enormous.

BASH: ... and the huge amount of homework. So it goes for boarding school at Maryland's Georgetown Prep. Jude is careful not to complain too much. His school in New Orleans was flooded.

The president wants to give a private school voucher, up to $7,500 federal, for Jude and other students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, a one-time thing, the White House insists, for an extraordinary circumstance.

MARY ANN FITZMORRIS, JUDE'S MOTHER: I believe him. I believe him.


BASH: It is highly controversial, even within Jude's family. His father, Tom, says the president is taking advantage of tragedy to achieve a goal.

T. FITZMORRIS: This is just a sneaky way to work the voucher program into the system so it can be -- so the door can be opened for it to be used again, and I'm just totally opposed to this attack, really, on the public school system.

M. FITZMORRIS: I don't agree with that, I think just if this goes through, and I think it would be wonderful.

BASH (on camera): Here at Georgetown Prep, they've taken in 15 students from New Orleans, and they say they're absorbing all the costs. In tuition alone, that's more than $400,000.


BASH: The president of this Jesuit school doesn't expect federal dollars, but if Congress made money available for helping Katrina victims, he'd accept it.

GEORGE: If the federal government offers us a certain amount for every boy we've taken in, thank you, God bless you because we need it, and it really will help these boys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jude, could you read one of the two verbs there (ph) in the middle of the page? BASH (voice-over): The White House says 25 percent of students in Louisiana attend private school, more than double the national average.

T. FITZMORRIS: The reason we have such a large percentage of people in private schools in Louisiana is that the public school system has been so underfunded.

BASH: Tom Fitzmorris does not believe taxpayers should foot the bill for his son's private education.

T. FITZMORRIS: The doors are now open if this happens.

M. FITZMORRIS: Oh, please.

BASH: Wife Mary Ann disagrees.

M. FITZMORRIS: We're taxpayers, we pay for public school funding and private school funding.

BASH: Jude, like his mom, thinks Georgetown Prep should get government help.

J. FITZMORRIS: Well, because they've been so generous to me, I mean, I think some compensation should be there.

BASH: The voucher debate divides his parents but when they visit it's all about the everyday adjustments to a temporary life up north.

J. FITZMORRIS: It was so cold when I woke up a few days ago. That's going to take a lot of getting used to.

BASH: Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.


DOBBS: The middle class in this country already under assault, before hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Now record high energy prices and a fast approaching change in our bankruptcy laws have created a desperate situation for many of our working families. Kitty Pilgrim reports.


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Higher gas prices? Eighty percent of people are now paying with a credit card. Experts say it's a trap if you don't pay off that bill entirely each month.

JEFF LENARD, NATL. ASSOC. OF CONVENIENCE STORES: You're probably already paying $4 a gallon for gas when you factor in all the fees.

PILGRIM: Usury laws are designed to protect consumers from excessively high interest rates but they vary widely from state to state. For example, New York State has a 25 percent criminal usury rate, nut Georgia it is as high as 60 percent annually. Credit card interest rates also vary from state to state, and some states have no interest rate cap at all. For some credit cards, in addition to the interest rates, there can be late fees and over the limit fees. Combined, the APR or annual percentage rate can be astronomical.

MIKE SULLIVAN, TAKE CHARGE AMERICA: Depending on these other fees that can be much, much higher than the interest rate that's on the card. Consumer might have an interest rate of 9.9 percent, but the APR after all fees might be 20, 30, 40, 50 percent.

PILGRIM: Some people just keep rolling along on minimum payments, never paying off the balance. They become hostage to credit card bills. The U.S. Treasury Department is trying to bring some reality to consumers asking for higher monthly payments on credit cards issued by national banks.

Minimum payments for many cards will go from two to four percent of the balance by the beginning of next year. Monthly bills could soar. And bankruptcy, as a way out of that debt, is about to become a lot tougher.

SAMUEL GERDANO, AMERICAN BANKRUPTCY INST.: Congress with the new law clearly viewed bankruptcy filings as too easy, too forgiving, in the scope of the relief provided, particularly to individuals with household debt. And so they have done several things in this new law which make bankruptcy less available.


PILGRIM: New bankruptcy rules on October 17th will bar people with above average income from completely wiping away debts. Now, most people in the middle income range will have to file a repayment plan and people are rushing in to file for bankruptcy before that deadline. Nearly half a million people filed in the second quarter of this year and that was the largest number of filings in history for a quarter -- Lou.

DOBBS: And, unfortunately, with record bankruptcies, the pressures on the working family in this country just intensify. Kitty, thank you, Kitty Pilgrim.

In Lake George, New York, federal investigators are now examining the tour boat that suddenly capsized over the weekend. Twenty people were killed. Officials from the National Transportation Safety Board are trying to determine the speed of that almost 40 foot boat, the Ethan Allen, when it capsized. The boat was carrying 48 people including a crew member, the captain.

State investigators today said the boat should have had at least one other crew member beside the captain. And also today, investigators releasing the 911 tapes reporting the disaster.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 911, what's your emergency? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. A boat -- a boat -- a boat went over. Just -- the Ethan Allen just outside of Green Harbor. It went right over. Oh please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many people were there in the boat?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, a lot of people! They're hanging on to the bottom where (ph) it went over! Oh please hurry!


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Green Harbor and Lake George. You know, Lake George?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, please send somebody really quick.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, ma'am, will do.


DOBBS: The owner of the company that operates the tour boat said he is shocked and saddened, he says the company had a perfect record in its 27 years in business before this tragic past Sunday.

Coming up next here, Judith Miller speaks, her first interview since getting out of prison here next.

And ice in the arctic slowly fading away. Why it could have a big impact on our environment. That story and a great deal more still ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: "New York Times" reporter Judith Miller, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, spent 85 days in jail, courageously protecting her confidential source in the White House CIA leak case. She was also fighting for the right to provide narrow testimony before a federal grand jury investigating that leak. And now, less than a week after her release from jail and her appearance in federal court, Judith Miller joins us. Good to have you here.

JUDITH MILLER, NEW YORK TIMES: It's great to be here, Lou.

DOBBS: It's -- first, the idea of 85 days in jail is something that most of us cannot comprehend. It is -- give us your -- the sense of what you had to endure?

MILLER: Well, it was the most soulless place I've ever been. I think we don't realize how much we take things for granted like color, silence, the right to take two aspirin when you feel you have a headache. It was demeaning. It was degrading. It was very lonely.

But it has to be put in perspective. It's not a deadly illness. I knew I was going to get through it one day -- I didn't know how long it was going to last -- and I learned a lot from it. So all experiences of life teach you something.

DOBBS: One hopes that we all learn something from the experience and the example you set. There were people, Judy, who -- writing into this broadcast, saying Judy Miller thinks she's above the law. Why should any journalist be above the law? Our response on the air was, straightforwardly, if she thought she were above the law, she would not be accepting the punishment for following her principles. How do you respond?

MILLER: Well, precisely the way you did. And if I had wanted to evade the law, if I thought that I was better than the law, the law didn't apply to us, I wouldn't have sat there for 85 days to make a political point about principle, and the principle that we journalists have to safeguard the confidentiality of our sources. And it was a rather extreme way to make it, but I felt I had to, and I also have to tell you, by the way, that your clock, your "Judith Miller has been in jail for X number of days," gave me a lot of encouragement at the end of some very long and depressing and challenging days. And I want to thank you for it, and CNN for standing up for journalist principle and the right of confidentiality.

DOBBS: Well, obviously, we are -- we're committed to, in this organization, Jim Walton, the chairman of the newsroom, Jon Klein, the president of the network, we couldn't ask for more support.

I look at "The New York Times," your publisher, your editor, your management. They stood with you without even the slightest hesitation.

MILLER: Right.

DOBBS: You must be extraordinarily proud and thankful.

MILLER: I am. To have a publisher like Arthur Sulzburger, who said, Judy, this is your decision. I'm not going to push you one way or another. But what you decide is right. We will back you on. Because it was a difficult decision.

DOBBS: Absolutely.

MILLER: A journalist can't ask for more than that. And Bill Keller, who was out there, answering questions, day after day, questions that I couldn't answer, given where I was. Jill Abramson, John Geddes, who sent me a joke a day. When I saw him again, I said, John, I didn't know that there were 85 good jokes. I don't know 85 good jokes. Every person at "The New York Times" just about sent me a letter, a post card, an e-mail to let me know that they were thinking about me, and it made such a difference.

DOBBS: This investigation, with Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor, moving before Judge Hogan to put you in jail, Matt Cooper, "Time" magazine and Time, Inc. relented and said we're going to testify and turn over the notes, principally e-mail. How did that make you feel when you were sitting there on the -- in your situation?

MILLER: I guess each news organization had to make its own decision. I was just very proud that I was working at "The New York Times," and we had been consistent about the issue of not turning over notes for, you know, ordinarily to grand jury investigations. We had never done it, and we didn't do it in this case.

DOBBS: There are those liberals who've commented here, obviously in public, and I'm sure to you, saying, you know, she is protecting a conservative White House and really is not protecting sources, or upholding the public's right to know by doing so. She's really providing benefits to the conservative -- this from the liberals -- the conservative enemy. How does that make you feel? How do you respond?

MILLER: Well, they wrote lots of postcards, saying I should testify, and why wasn't I testifying? Why was I covering for these people? You know, Lou, I knew and I know they wasn't covering for anybody. I was protecting the confidentiality of the source to whom I had given my word. I was keeping my word. And until I knew that that source genuinely wanted me to testify, and I heard that from him, I was willing to sit in jail. I didn't want to be in jail, but I knew that the principle of confidentiality was so important that I had to, because if people can't trust us to come to us to tell us the things that government and powerful corporations don't want us to know, we're dead in the water. The public won't know.

DOBBS: The public is certainly...

MILLER: The public won't know. That's why I was sitting in jail. For the public's right to know.

DOBBS: And all of us in this craft respect you immensely and are deeply grateful to you for so doing. It's an immense sacrifice.

The idea that you would not accept a blanket waiver from Scooter Libby.

MILLER: Right, I would not.

DOBBS: The fact that you were able to constrain, your attorneys and you were able to constrain your testimony before the grand jury narrowly. Was that worth it?

MILLER: It was definitely worth it. I had to have both of those elements before I could, in good conscience, testify.

You know, I didn't want to participate in a fishing expedition. And we had asked the special counsel over a year ago, would he narrow his investigation to the source of his interest and the subject of interest? And he wouldn't do it then. When he agreed to do it, when I asked in August, that was it. I knew I'd be able to -- sorry, in September, I knew I'd be able to get out of jail. Time is a little mushy for me right now.

DOBBS: I can imagine each of those days seeming all together...

MILLER: An eternity.

DOBBS: (INAUDIBLE) into the next.

But having been given the opportunity, Libby providing the personal, direct waiver of conversation.

MILLER: Yes, he did.

DOBBS: What took so long between that and your exit from prison?

MILLER: Oh, there was almost no time between the time that I got both of those elements and the time I left jail. The difficulty was getting both of them, and getting both of them in a way that the special prosecutor, the special counsel was not able to pressure my source. I didn't want Mr. Fitzgerald to pressure my source to give me the waiver, because then it wouldn't be a voluntary waiver.

DOBBS: It appears now that Fitzgerald was actually pressuring Libby and his attorney to declare themselves at the end.

MILLER: I think he was actually telling them. He told all lawyers, and by the way, you're going to have to ask the lawyers, because I never heard any of this directly. But I believe he was telling my lawyers that if we reached out to Mr. Libby to see how he felt now, he wouldn't construe that as collusion or obstruction of justice. And we were very worried about that, because, you know, would this reaching out be misinterpreted?

DOBBS: This investigation by Fitzgerald has now taken longer than Watergate. I won't ask you to construct or construe the value of your testimony in this case. But the fact that it has taken so long, with the principals all known, with the case sitting before, this -- and the cost of millions and millions of dollars, and frankly I will not forgive Fitzgerald for what he did to you. I think it is an onerous, disgusting abuse of government power, and that of Judge Hogan, straightforwardly.

But I am also dismayed that this investigation has taken this long without result. And the only person who's paid a penalty to this point is you.

MILLER: Well, let's wait and see what Mr. Fitzgerald has. If he brings indictments, if he has a very serious case, then I might have to say that perhaps his zealousness with respect to this mission was justified. I don't know what Mr. Fitzgerald has. I'm waiting to see like everybody else what he produces. But if he doesn't have anything, I will wonder about why I had to spend 85 days in jail, and why I may be the only one to spend time in jail.

But we don't know yet, Lou. It's interesting to me, nobody has been able to crack the case yet. Nobody knows what he's working on.

DOBBS: What you describe as zealousness, if it turns out to be, I would prefer on the part of a prosecutor, effectiveness every time, in particular in a case of this nature. I prefer that, as the Bush White House refers to them, I prefer evil doers be punished. And hopefully that we'll see the free press in this country certainly supported and enhanced by your sacrifice. We, again, respect you very much.

MILLER: Thank you very much. And I hope we have a federal shield law that would protect all of us, so that no other journalist has to make the choice that I did.

DOBBS: And again, not for the benefit of the journalists, but the benefit of the public.

MILLER: No, it's not about us, it's about the public's right to know.

DOBBS: Judy Miller. Thanks for being here.

MILLER: Thank you very much.

DOBBS: All the best to you.

MILLER: Thank you for your support during this very long...

DOBBS: Our pleasure, believe me.

MILLER: ... difficult situation.

DOBBS: Thank you.

Still ahead here, the great Arctic meltdown. Startling new findings when we continue. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, scientists are poring over startling new pictures that show the rapid shrinkage of the Arctic ice cap. The floating cap of sea ice in the Arctic Circle shrank this summer to the smallest dimensions in a century. Scientists now say the Arctic Circle could be completely ice-free -- ice-free -- in the summertime by the end of this century.

Mark Serreze, the senior research scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center joins me now. Just how serious is this? How much of our ice cap are we losing and how quickly will it further deteriorate?

MARK SERREZE, NATL. SNOW & ICE DATA CENTER: Well, the changes we've see, particularly over the last four years, are quite startling and, frankly, have us a bit worried. If we look at average amount ice we should have in September compared to what we saw at the end of this September, well, that difference is roughly twice the size of Texas, which is in turn, roughly an area about the size of the state of Alaska. So we've lost a lot of real estate in terms of ice.

DOBBS: And you expect this trend to continue, is that correct?

SERREZE: Yes, think it will continue. Now, there's always, of course, natural climate variability in the Arctic system. Just like in New York, you might have a run of winters which is unusually warm, followed by a number which is unusually cold. This is always an issue in the Arctic, but I think that these trends will continue because it's my belief that part of what we're seeing is that -- the effects of greenhouse warming, that is greenhouse gases in the atmosphere ...

DOBBS: Global warming.

SERREZE: ... are -- exactly -- are starting to have an impact.

DOBBS: Starting to have an impact? Have we seen this kind of dramatic erosion in the ice cap previously.

SERREZE: Well, it doesn't seem like we have in the last century, at least. We have very accurate records of the extent of Arctic sea ice since about 1979 from satellite data through various sources, aircraft reconnaissance, ship reports, for example.

We can extend that record back to about the beginning of the century -- less accurate, of course, but as far as we can tell, 2005 is the least we've seen in a century, so this certainly is remarkable from our viewpoint.

DOBBS: Remarkable, alarming, if this were -- were we to see a repeat of this by next summer, what is the impact over the next five to ten years as a result of what you're seeing occur and what you expect to occur?

SERREZE: Well, certainly in the Arctic, there have been a number of impacts already. One of them is coastal erosion, and we started to pull that sea ice away from the coast so now have you large ocean waves causing coastal erosion. There are villages in Alaska, in coast Siberia, which are having to be moved because of coastal erosion.

But, eventually, what we're going to see, I think, is that these changes in the Arctic are going to have wider consequences, that is, starting to impact weather systems in mid latitudes in New York and Colorado, in Europe.

DOBBS: When you say affect those weather systems, in continental North America, what do you expect to occur?

SERREZE: Well, this is -- this is one of the things that we really don't know, just how these changes will pan out. What we've done is we've changed the very nature of what we call the Arctic heat sink. But everything in the climate system is connected together.

We change the Arctic like we are, the rest of the system has to respond. How that pans out, though, that's going to be a mystery. We seem to be conducting this grand global experiment and we have to live with the consequences.

DOBBS: Mark Serreze, we thank you very much. We'll be following up your research and revelations. We thank you for being here.

SERREZE: My pleasure. DOBBS: Still ahead, the results of our poll question tonight. A preview of what's ahead tomorrow as best we can forecast it. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Now the results of tonight's poll. Ninety-five percent of you say U.S. multinationals should be required to hold American values in their conduct of international business.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us here tomorrow. Our guests will include renowned economist and philosopher, John Ralston Saul. We'll be talking about his new book, "The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World."

Please join us. For all of us here, thanks for being with us tonight. Good night from New York. ANDERSON COOPER 360 starting right now, Heidi Collins sitting in for Anderson -- Heidi.

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, and good evening everybody. President Bush fights to regain footing as he faces criticism from members of his own party. 360 starts now.