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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Operation Steel Curtain; Bush Defends War; CIA Leak Surprise; Racism May Be Immigration Issue; Restructuring Of Ninth Circuit Court Controversial; Interview with Diane Ravitch; Border Security A Problem

Aired November 16, 2005 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, a bloody street battle in western Iraq. Five U.S. Marines killed, five more of our troops were killed elsewhere in Iraq. We'll have a report tonight on what's being done to stop our rising casualties.

Also tonight, charges that top oil industry executives lied to Congress about their dealings with the Bush White House.

And then new information in the CIA White House leak case. New questions about the indictment of the vice president's former chief of staff, Scooter Libby.

And the English language under assault. Our culture and national identity under threat. We'll have a special report for you.

And I'll be talking with one of my guests tonight who says the reason that non-citizens aren't allowed to vote in this country is because white people want to hold onto political power.

One day after a rare bipartisan vote in Congress demanding reports on the progress of the war in Iraq, another 10 Americans have been killed in combat. Five U.S. Marines were killed in bloody street fighting in the remote town of Obeidi in the far west of Iraq. One other Marine, four soldiers were killed in attacks elsewhere in Iraq.

Jamie McIntyre now reports from the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, it's all part of Operation Steel Curtain. It's been going on since the beginning of November, the effort to stem the tide of foreign fighters across the Syrian border and to clear the Euphrates River valley of safe havens for the insurgents.

This operation met some fierce fighting today, as you said, in the rural town of Obeidi, where a Marine contingent was going into a farmhouse, and according to a "New York Times" reporter embedded with them, met fierce resistance. There was a booby trap that went off, and then a fierce firefight.

Five Marines were killed , 11 wounded. But 16 of the insurgents were killed as well. It's just one example of the sort of tough urban combat, street by street, block by block, house-by-house fighting that's been going on in this operation. But military commanders stress that the difference between what you're seeing in Steel Curtain now and what you've seen in a series of previous operations is they now say they have enough Iraqi security forces to go in after the U.S. forces have cleared things out and establish control.

As you know, Lou, the big complaint of commanders was they had enough troops to take these cities, but not enough to hold them. Now they say the Iraqi forces are up to the strength where they can play a significant role in holding onto the cities. In fact, they say they're better at because they know the language, they know the people, and they know where they are -- Lou.

DOBBS: And that, of course, has been one of the principal criticisms since actually the assault on Baghdad itself, in that U.S. troops did not have the ability to hold onto territory once it was seized. This -- is there now, in the judgement of the Pentagon, sufficient Iraqi troops trained and ready to carry out these security missions?

MCINTYRE: Well, no and yes. There aren't enough -- there are enough to carry out some of the missions that are going on now. They're not enough to secure the country and permit a significant withdrawal of U.S. troops yet.

But the Pentagon insists that the number is growing every day, that the competency of those troops is getting better and better. And they continue to remain optimistic that by some time next year, they're going to be able to make some deep cuts in U.S. troop levels. But again, they say it will be based on what's happening on the ground.

DOBBS: Also growing every day, as you report, almost every day, Jamie, more of our troops on casualty lists. What is the Pentagon doing now to deal with this? Because this casualty list is rising and rising dramatically.

MCINTYRE: Well, one of the things that the military commanders make a point about talking about, this is the difference between taking casualties when you're launching an offensive operation and putting the insurgents on the run, taking back towns, like they're doing in this operation, as opposed to casualties that you're taking when you're just sitting around and you're the subject of attack.

They like to be on the offensive. They feel like it's making a difference. And they realize that this kind of tough fighting against a brutal enemy is going to result in some casualties.

DOBBS: Will it also result, Jamie -- do the generals there at the Pentagon tell you, give you a time and a date of which these casualties now will result in fewer casualties in the future?

MCINTYRE: Nobody is making that kind of prediction, Lou. But they continue to believe that the overall strategy is solid. And they continue to say this is a battle of wills and the U.S. has to keep its will.

DOBBS: That strategy they have been defending for the past two and a half years, as I recall, from the Pentagon.

Jamie, thank you very much. Jamie McIntyre.

Two thousand seventy-nine of our troops have now been killed in Iraq since the war began. Nearly all of the American deaths have come after President Bush announced the end of major combat operations in Iraq.

One hundred forty Americans were killed before the president's speech on May 1, 2003 on board the USS Abraham Lincoln, 1,939 Americans were killed after that speech. More than three-quarters of them in combat.

President Bush says the Senate's bipartisan vote on Iraq will not affect his strategy on Iraq. That vote called for the Bush White House to show it has a plan to hand over security responsibilities to Iraq so that our troops can eventually come home.

Dana Bash, traveling with the president in Asia, reports now from Pusan, South Korea.


DANA BASH, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Nearly 7,000 miles from home in Kyoto, Japan, President Bush disputed the idea that an overwhelming U.S. Senate vote was a repudiation of his Iraq policy from within his own party.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's to be expected, that's what the Congress expects. They expect us to keep them abreast of a plan that is going to work.

BASH: The Republican measure demands the Bush administration regularly explain the plan for success in Iraq. Mr. Bush focused on what he called a positive step, the defeat of a democratic amendment for a specific timetable of withdrawing U.S. troops.

BUSH: The only reason we won't succeed is if we lose our nerve and the terrorists are able to drive us out of Iraq by killing innocent lives.

BASH: The president offered his latest defense of the increasingly unpopular war standing next to the Japanese prime minister, his closest ally in Asia, who was noncommittal about whether Japan's small contingent of non-combat troops in Iraq would stay there.

Though the two men did not resolve ongoing disputes over Japan's ban on U.S. beef and the controversial American military presence here, the president was clearly at ease with his host, who took the Bushes on a tour of one of Kyoto's most famous and spectacular ancient temples. Later, the president held up Japan and China's arch-rival, Taiwan, as models for democracy in Asia as he urged China to grant more rights to its 1.3 billion citizens.

BUSH: By embracing freedom in all levels, Taiwan has delivered prosperity to its people and created a free and democratic Chinese society.

BASH: Mr. Bush is under intense pressure from home to take China to task, not just on human rights, but on trade and currency practices that experts say cost thousands of U.S. jobs each year.

BUSH: And China needs to provide a level playing field for American businesses seeking access to China's market.


BASH: And Lou, as you would expect, the president's comments on Taiwan have really roiled the Chinese. A top official already saying that the president should not mettle in the internal -- internal affairs of China.

And quickly, Lou, on the issue -- the many issues that the United States has with China in terms of the economic -- on the economic front, I just sat down with the president's national security adviser and asked what leverage the United States has on all of those issues. He didn't answer directly. He simply talked about the common interests between the two countries, between the United States and China -- Lou.

DOBBS: I'm afraid that that has been the response from this administration for the past five years. We look forward to you getting a straightforward answer to that question one of these days.

Dana Bash, thank you very much.

Another complication for the United States and Europe, Iran's growing nuclear defiance. Diplomatic sources quoted by international news agencies now say Iran has begun processing a new batch of uranium. A process that could be used to make material for nuclear weapons. Tehran's resumption of nuclear activities comes despite U.S. and European demands to end such work.

No comment from either the United States or the European Union.

In Washington tonight, new developments in the political and legal battle over prewar intelligence on Iraq's nuclear program and the CIA White House leak case. "The Washington Post's" Bob Woodward today apologized to his editors for not telling them he learned the identity of a covert CIA operative nearly a month before Valerie Plame's name was publicly disclosed.

Kelli Arena reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) KELLI ARENA, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Bob Woodward told his boss he kept quiet for two years because he didn't want to be subpoenaed and needed to protect his source.

LEONARD DOWNIE, EXEC. EDITOR, "WASHINGTON POST": The sanctity of these pledges of confidentiality are essential to the kind of reporting that Bob does, the kind of reporting that's kept our readers so well informed for many years now.

ARENA: Woodward might never have disclosed his conversation with a senior administration official if his source hadn't told the special prosecutor first. It's unclear what that person's motivation was, but the revelation directly contradicts special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's statements about former vice presidential aide Scooter Libby.

PATRICK FITZGERALD, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: He was at the beginning of the chain of the phone calls, the first official to disclose this information outside the government to a reporter.

ARENA: According to Woodward's timeline, his source discussed Valerie Plame in mid-June 2003, before Libby did. Plame, the CIA operative, is married to former ambassador and Bush critic Joe Wilson.

The leaking of Plame's name led to Fitzgerald's investigation, which then led to Libby's indictment on charges of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements. Libby has pled not guilty, and his lawyer, Ted Wells, says the latest news is a bombshell.

He said in a statement Woodward's disclosure that he talked to Libby twice in June of 2003, and that Libby didn't mention Wilson's wife, "undermines Fitzgerald's key theme that Mr. Libby was involved in a scheme to discredit Wilson."

But Randall Eliason, a former prosecutor, says the new information won't make a difference.

RANDALL ELIASON, FMR. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Whether or not he was the first to talk to a reporter is not really part of the indictment. And the fact that some other administration officials might have been talking to Bob Woodward doesn't really tell you anything about the central question in Libby's case, which is, did he deliberately lie or was he just mistaken?

ARENA: Woodward hasn't publicly identified his source, leaving some to question whether it was presidential aide Karl Rove.


ARENA: Well, Rove's spokesman says it wasn't him, adding a bit more mystery to this ongoing investigation -- Lou.

DOBBS: And Kelli, while the former prosecutor said that this does not go to the heart of Fitzgerald's charges against Libby, in point of fact, it seems to me that it does precisely that, because Libby's defense has been that he was so busy, he could not remember the timeline, and here we have Bob Woodward, the best known journalist in this country, and certainly political reporter, saying that he did not recall who he spoke with at what time but certainly before Libby was involved.

This seems to raise a lot of issues for the special prosecutor and the possibility of rephrasing, regrouping altogether these charges.

ARENA: Well, Lou, a lot of defense lawyers would agree with you and say that at the very least it does raise reasonable doubt about Fitzgerald's case.

DOBBS: Kelli Arena from Washington.

Thank you, Kelli.

Top oil industry executives already under fire for higher -- high fuel prices are now being accused of lying to Congress. Those charges follow testimony to Congress last week about big oil companies and Vice President Dick Cheney's secretive energy task force.

John King has the report.


JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Senate Democrats want to call oil executives back before Congress, under oath this time. And also are demanding the Justice Department investigate whether these CEOs lied about their dealings with the Bush White House.

SEN. MARIA CANTWELL (D), WASHINGTON: We are not here to coddle the oil industry. We are here to get answers for the American people.

KING: The demand stems from this exchange at a Senate hearing last week when Democrat Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey asked five oil industry CEOs if their companies helped Vice President Cheney's energy task force back in 2001.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did not, no.

KING: Three said no, the chiefs of ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil and Chevron. Shell Oil's president said he did not believe his company participated. And the chief of BP America said he did not know.

But as first reported by "The Washington Post" and confirmed by CNN, government records and reports indicate four of the five companies met with administration officials on the White House complex. To Democrats, it is a chance to combine consumer anger over high prices at the pump with their long-running complaints about the highly secretive Cheney task force.

SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: Whatever was discussed at that White House energy task force meeting, it seemed to turn out very well for the big oil companies.

KING: Lautenberg wants the Justice Department to investigate whether the CEOs violated the Federal False Statement Statute which says anyone who knowingly provides false testimony to Congress can be imprisoned for up to five years.

The companies deny any wrongdoing. Shell, ConocoPhillips and BP America say their CEOs were not in their current jobs back in 2001 and were not aware of meetings with administration officials.

ExxonMobil acknowledged providing what it called a routine briefing to the task force executive director, but said it did not meet with the task force to discuss the provisions of the energy policy.

Chevron says it didn't attend any meetings but did send written recommendations to the White House.

The vice president has consistently refused to detail who the task force met with, but back when the report was released he shrugged off his critics, saying of course an energy task force would want input from industry experts.

RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The old stereotypes kind of need to be set aside, and we need to calm down a little bit and get everybody down off the ceiling.


KING: So, will those CEOs get called back before Congress, and will they have to raise their hands and take an oath? We will have to wait probably a bit for that answer, Lou.

The chairman and the ranking Democrat of one of the key Senate committees involved issued a joint statement tonight saying they want to get to the bottom of this, but they say they want to take a cautious approach. What they will do first is send a letter to each of those CEOs asking them to explain what they call apparent discrepancies.

DOBBS: You know, John, I'm reminded of Willy Sutton, asked why he robbed banks. That's because that's where the money is, he said.

It would be sort of inane to go about creating an energy policy, even one in secret, as much as we all detest that idea, without talking to industry leaders, wouldn't it?

KING: It certainly would be. And that is part of this.

Part of this is the Democrat see an opportunity to call the industry executives up there. Some Republicans do, too, and beat them up over high prices at the pump, because that is driving consumer anger at voters. Not just the companies right now -- voter anger at the politicians, excuse me, as well.

But the Cheney thing has festered for years. And this is an opportunity for the Democrats who want access to the records.

Everyone would say of course you talk to the oil industry executives. They just want the list. They want to know when, and the vice president fought all the way to the Supreme Court to keep that from them.

DOBBS: The partisan juice is flowing, nonetheless. Even Washington, at some point, will get tired of focusing on the past and presumably start worrying about the future of this country's citizens, one presumes.

I won't ask you to name a date for that, John. John King. Thank you.

KING: Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead here, one day. Nearly three dozen tornadoes. We'll be taking you to the hardest hit areas in the Midwest.

And then assault on the English language. Why an effort to improve communication could well threaten our national identity.

And not all illegal aliens are crossing our border with Mexico. We'll be telling you tonight how some are marrying their way into this country for good. Or not.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, the first reported cases of the bird flu infecting Chinese citizens. China's health ministry says at least two people have contracted the human version of this disease. One of them, a poultry worker, has died. A third case of the bird flu is suspected in the recent death of a 12-year-old girl.

China's announcement means that the bird flu has now spread to humans in five countries in Asia and killed at least 65 people.

America, the world's greatest melting pot, is struggling to maintain its identity. Hospitals are so overwhelmed with patients who cannot speak English they're paying millions of dollars for translators who speak dozens of languages.

Schools that once taught math, science and sentence structure now have to teach English first. Even entire court proceedings in this country are not conducted without a word of English spoken or written.

The English language is under assault.

Christine Romans reports.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "New York Presbyterian speaks your language." The new slogan of a hospital system pledging its workers will speak any of the 200 languages spoken in New York City through 58 on-site interpreters and telephone translators from the emergency room to checkups to cancer treatments.

The hospital would not grant us an interview or disclose the cost of the program. But immigrant advocacy groups hailed the move.

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE SENATE: The ability to communicate with your doctor is a matter of life or death. (SPEAKING SPANISH)

ROMANS: Advocacy groups have long demanded immigrants legal or illegal get services in their own language. It is, after all, federal law. And of course New York is a city where many longtime immigrants still speak little or no English.

But this trend is happening now all over the country.

The Census Bureau reports only 50 percent of Mexican immigrants speak English; 69 percent of Koreans; 78 percent of Russians. At this cash-strapped hospital in Florida, translation services cost almost a million dollars a year.

In Arizona, because so many students don't speak English, 160,000 of them, a federal judge has threatened to yank the state's highway funding and graduate those students from high school anyway.

In Dallas, such a large percentage of immigrant parents don't speak English. Some principals are now required to learn Spanish to communicate with them. Language experts say all these examples show immigrants are not learning English.

MAURO MUJICA, U.S. ENGLISH: We are a nation that has always had immigrants and huge numbers, and they were always assimilated quickly because we didn't have this incredibly stupid policies of trying to do everything for everybody in whatever language they want. They have no incentive to learn the language of the country, and they do not assimilate.

ROMANS: In our schools, hospitals, driver's license bureaus and our courts, business is conducted in dozens of languages, but increasingly Spanish.


ROMANS: We are often told that this is now a multilingual country, and that somehow advocating English as the common language is racist. To that, language and sociology and immigration experts scoff. They say the problem is that too many families are not multilingual. They speak no English at all, only their native language.

Twelve million families, 12 million households in this country are what the Census Bureau calls linguistically isolated. That means they can't correspond outside of their native language at all.

DOBBS: And cannot be assimilated into our society. It's an extraordinary problem which we have been documenting on this broadcast for three years, and there is still a political correctness that overwhelms so many people that they lose sight of what's happening within this country. And the fact is it is some -- take these multicultural approaches and multilingual approaches, they are, in point of fact, penalizing the very people that they should be wanting to help to learn English.

ROMANS: The bottom line, it's been proven over and over again that language assimilation leads to economic assimilation. And right now for Mexican immigrants who have got a third generation who under- perform other immigrant groups, and that, experts say, including the Dallas Fed number (ph) report last year, that is because of the language problem.

DOBBS: A Federal Reserve report on assimilation that most people really want to ignore in this country.

Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Christine Romans.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. We've been thinking about this one, so we thought we'd just ask, do you believe that the concept of majority rule in this country is nothing more than a fading joke played on our middle class, yes or no? We'd like to know what you think.

Cast your vote at We'll have the results coming up.

Next here, one illegal alien, one vote. An outrageous new proposal that would give non-citizens the right to vote.

And then, a powerful indictment of our nation's education system. Why our public educational system is failing our students and what needs to be done. The nationally recognized author and professor Diane Ravitch is our guest.

And marriage in America is in enough trouble already. Now illegal aliens using marriage as a ticket across our broken borders? We'll bring you that as well.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: There's a controversial proposal under debate in New York City now that would give non-citizens a protected privilege of American citizenship, the right to vote. Supporters of the legislation say non-citizens that pay local taxes should also have their say at the ballot box. It's an intriguing idea.

And we asked Bill Tucker to look into it.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Increasingly, non- citizens are demanding the right to vote in America. And some members of New York City Council want to grant them the privilege in New York City municipal elections as a way, they say, of bringing those resident non-citizens into America's democracy.

BILL PERKINS, NY CITY COUNCILMAN: We have the most open opportunities for allowing people to participate, and we should continue to expand those opportunities. This legislation on a local level begins to do that.

TUCKER: It's estimated that one in every five New Yorkers is not a citizen. Non-citizens are allowed to vote in Chicago's school board elections if they have children in the school system. In several communities in Maryland, non-citizens and illegal aliens are allowed to vote in local election.

Non-citizen voting laws have passed at the local level in Amherst, Newton and Cambridge, Massachusetts. But state law prohibits them for now.

New York City's Mayor Bloomberg opposes the bill before his city council. Those outside city government who oppose the bill do so on the grounds that immediately granting the right to vote to non- citizens devalues both the vote and citizenship.

STANLEY RENSHON, AUTHOR OF "50 PER CENT AMERICAN: IMMMIGRATION AND NATIONAL IDENTITY IN AN AGE OF TERROR": Voting is the core of citizenship, and courts have enshrined it as a central feature of American democracy. People have died for that vote. People have struggled for 20 or 30 or 40 years to have the vote.

So clearly, the vote is very central to the idea of citizenship and to the ideal of American democracy.


TUCKER: And so is the idea of participation. And those who are against granting voting rights to non-citizens point out there is nothing stopping non-citizens from being active in community groups, working for a political party or, Lou, even being involved in their kids' schools.

DOBBS: But of course it gets more complicated. This is, after all, America. Bill Tucker, thank you.

New York City Councilman Charles Barron is one of the co-sponsors of this legislation. The councilman says the main opponents of this bill are New Yorkers who are afraid of losing political influence. He says, "White men just have too much power. They just don't want to give up on power."

New York City Councilman Charles Barron joins us now.

Good to have you with us.

CHARLES BARRON (D), NYC COUNCILMAN: Thank you very much for having me. DOBBS: You suggest that this is -- really amounts to -- that the current situation amounts to taxation without representation for non- citizens. How so?

BARRON: Well, first of all, they are allowed to go die in wars, they are allowed to be taxed 15.5 percent of income. That makes up about $18 billion of taxation. And this is not new.

In America, from 1770 to 1920, 22 states allowed legal residents who are trying to get their citizenship to vote. So if they could die, pay taxes, they should be able to vote. And I think that the balance of power will shift if the 1.3 million, mostly people of color, who are disenfranchised by this non-voting thing would change.

DOBBS: Well, now, when you say the balance of power shift, you're talking about on a racial basis?

BARRON: Racial basis. If you look at New York State, the governor, a white man, the head of the Senate, a white man, the head of the state legislature, a white man. The mayor, a white man. The commissioner...

DOBBS: White guys.

BARRON: Yes, a bunch of white guys. And it's time for that to stop. And everybody knows it's true. They say you're not supposed to say it, it's not politically wise.

DOBBS: Well, it may not be politically wise, but on this broadcast...

BARRON: But it's the truth. It's the truth.

DOBBS: ... Councilman, we really would like people to talk straight, and you're doing it.


DOBBS: And that's why we want you here.

Now, when you talk about -- as Bill Tucker reported, one fifth of New Yorkers are non-citizens. That would shift the balance of power certainly significantly. I don't know whether it would be enough to suit your idea of proportionality racially in terms of the power structure. But I do know that there is a way for people to get the right to vote, and that's to become U.S. citizens.

BARRON: And that is most difficult. You know how many people of color are trying ...

DOBBS: What's difficult?

BARRON: It is very difficult. It's not as easy as you think. It was easier when the when the ...

DOBBS: You don't know how easy I think it is. BARRON: Well, it's not that easy. Because, it was easier when the immigrants were white. People don't like to deal with race.

DOBBS: Oh, now you really believe that.

BARRON: I really believe that now that we have more immigrants of color, Chinese, Asian, Africans.

DOBBS: Wait, I've got to ask you something.

BARRON: That's true, I believe that.

DOBBS: An estimated 20 million illegal aliens enter this country, irrespective of race.

BARRON: We're talking about legal citizens who are applying for citizenship, who want to be citizens, 10, 15 years, and it wasn't always that difficult.

DOBBS: Charles, you and I agree on something.

BARRON: It wasn't always that difficult. Now some people want to close the borders and not let folks in anymore.

DOBBS: You mean, illegal aliens.

BARRON: No, I'm talking about.

DOBBS: Folk? Come on.

BARRON: People of color.

DOBBS: Oh, you see it all in racial terms?

BARRON: Absolutely. Racism permeates every institution in America. I don't know why you are so shocked when we bring up race.

DOBBS: I'm not shocked, I'm annoyed, because you look at everything in racial terms, rather in terms of the national interest.

BARRON: No, because you don't look at anything in racial terms.

DOBBS: I look at a whole lot of things in racial terms.

BARRON: You know, when I talk to the mayor sometimes, he says Charles, you see everything in race and everything. No mayor, you don't see race in anything. And that's the problem. You can't get rid of racism pretending that it doesn't exist.

DOBBS: I couldn't agree with you more. But what I don't understand, are why people attach race to the issue of border security and to the overwhelming illegal immigration crisis we have in this country.

BARRON: Because it always has been a crises. But when it was a white immigrant... DOBBS: The first time in our history, councilman. Let me update you on something.

BARRON: Go ahead.

DOBBS: For the first time in history, we have more illegal immigrants in this country than we have legal.

BARRON: We're not talking about illegal -- I don't even like illegal immigrants.

DOBBS: You like folk. You like folk, don't you, councilman? Go with folk.

BARRON: Real people, real people. But let's talk about the legal...

DOBBS: ... they're real people, 300 million of them here.

BARRON: Let's talk about the legal residents who are applying for citizenship. That's who we're talking about now. They're denied citizenship and denied the right to vote. But they can die and pay taxes, they can die and pay taxes, but they can't vote.

DOBBS: They can't vote because they're not citizens. It's a right of citizenship. It's a right of citizenship.

BARRON: You had non-citizens voting from 1717-to-1920 in America. How come it was all right then, but not now? What's the difference?

DOBBS: Well, you tell me.

BARRON: Race! That you don't like to mention.

DOBBS: Well no, I don't mind mentioning it, as long as it makes sense.

BARRON: That's why. I think the complexion of immigrants has changed.

DOBBS: So, I want you to come back, because we're running out of time. And we're going to talk about race. And these white bad guys who are hanging onto power.

BARRON: They have too much power.

DOBBS: Too much power.

BARRON: Time's up.

DOBBS: You got it. But there's time for you to come back, because we want to discuss this a lot more.

BARRON: Be glad to.

DOBBS: Good to have you with us.

Taking a look now at some of your thoughts.

Brian in New York wrote to say, thanks for beating these issues like a pinata, Lou. A pinata, probably made in China, by the way. No other news shows cover your main topics. Exporting America, broken borders, China, etc.

And as you heard tonight, race.

And Wally in Illinois. I wonder, will President Bush ask the Chinese if they need any more manufacturing jobs, because we still have some left here.

And Terri in North Carolina. I'm relieved to hear Congress is working to resolve our baseball steroid crisis. It makes my concern for having 300,000 illegal immigrants living in my home state of North Carolina seem trivial by comparison.

And Michael in Florida. Wouldn't the National Guard be better used closing our borders instead of Iraq's?

R.B. in Arizona said, give them hell, Lou. Thank you for staying with Able Danger.

And we will continue.

Bill wrote in about congressional oversight. Lou, if you're suggesting the White House needs a little adult supervision, I agree.

And Stewart in New York. Lou, I'm afraid the idea of Congressional leadership is an oxymoron.

We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts at Each of you whose e-mail is read on this broadcast receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America."

You can pick up our e-mail newsletter as well, signing up on our Web site,

An update now to my discussion last night with Congressman Curt Weldon, who is single-handedly taking on the issue of Able Danger, and whether or not the Defense Department has constrained, if we can put this gently, the flow of information about what we knew a year before 9/11.

The Congressman is no longer doing so single-handedly. He's collecting signatures on a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanding more information, demanding a criminal investigation about Able Danger.

Weldon demanding that investigation into the secret army unit that he claims identified some of the 9/11 hijackers a full year before the attack. The letter demands Able Danger officials be allowed to testify about that project. Right now, they have been prohibited from doing so. Last night Congressman Weldon told us 100 congressman and women signed. Tonight, his office tells us the list has now doubled to more than 200 signatures.

The supporters include acting House Majority Leader Roy Blunt. And you can track just who is signing onto this letter on our Web site,

Tonight a former member of the 9/11 Commission is out with a stinging indictment of our nation's intelligence bureaucracy and its ability to protect this nation from another terrorist attack.

John Lehman writes in "The Washington Post" today that the 9/11 Commission proposals to cut bureaucratic fat from the national intelligence community were completely ignored.

Lehman says the plan envisioned by the 9/11 commission would have been a simple and powerful one, with all intelligence agencies reporting to the deputy national intelligence director.

But Lehman says the actual national intelligence overhaul has turned out to be nothing more than a bureaucratic shuffling and mess.

In this flow chart, you see here, the principal deputy director now reports to the director of national intelligence. So far, so good. But then that's followed by four deputy directors, then three associate directors. You've got to have associate directors. But, this is Washington after all, so let's add in 19 assistant deputy directors.

Lehman says this so-called power structure will result in impotence and bureaucratic delay and indecision, exactly what our nation experienced before September 11.

Still ahead here, deadly tornadoes terrorize five states, leaving a trail of destruction. We'll have the latest for you.

And then a split decision, so to speak, for the most liberal and the most overturned court in the land. We'll have a special report.

And failing grades, our public education system in this nation is in crisis. We ask the question tonight, can it be fixed and if so, how?

Author, professor Diane Ravitch is our guest next. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, residents of the Midwest and Southeast are cleaning up after being hit by swarms of killer tornadoes. At least 35 tornadoes ripped through five states last night, two people killed. It was the third major outbreak of twisters in the United States this month.

Indiana, one of the hardest-hit states, tornadoes there with winds of more than 100 miles-an-hour were reported. A teenager was killed near Indianapolis when her car overturned on a flooded road. One person was also killed last night in Madisonville, Kentucky, where entire buildings were blown off their foundations.

And in Tennessee, tornadoes destroyed mobile homes and houses. Residents in Montgomery County, Tennessee, say their neighborhoods now resemble, as much as anything, war zones. More than 8,000 customers in five states tonight are without power after those tornadoes hit.

The Bush administration tonight is backing proposals to split up the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It is considered to be this country's most liberal court and it is the court that has more case overturned than any other.

Republicans say breaking up the Ninth Circuit Court will ease its massive case load. Democrats however, are crying foul.

Casey Wian reports.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officially, it's the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Others call it the nutty ninth for its controversial left-leaning decisions. Among this San Francisco based courts rulings,

UNIDENTIFIED STUDENTS: I pledge allegiance, to the flag.

WIAN: The pledge of allegiance should be banned in public schools because it contains the words "under God."

Cross-dressers have the right to political asylum. Prisoners should be allowed to procreate. And parents can't stop public elementary school children from receiving sex surveys.

It's no wonder that more than 75 percent of Ninth Circuit decisions are overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Ninth Circuit also has grown big and inefficient. Nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives within its boundaries. And it has more cases pending for over a year than the other 11 circuit courts combined.

SEN. JOHN ENSIGN (R), NEVADA: Justice is being delayed for many of our residents, and justice delayed is justice denied. So, it is time to break up the Ninth Circuit into more reasonable geographic locations and population bases. If we do that, I think that we'll have better decisions coming out of the Ninth Circuit, because judges will have more time to sit down to decide the cases.

WIAN: Ensign and others are sponsoring legislation to keep California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands in the Ninth Circuit, and split the other seven western states into a new 12th Circuit, based in Phoenix. Their chief opponent? California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (R), CALIFORNIA: There are people that believe very strongly that this is being done for political reasons, that the Ninth Circuit has put measures of efficiency into play, they have cut costs, and because some people don't like some of their decisions, they want to separate and create a new circuit.

WIAN: The U.S. Justice Department endorsed the idea in a letter to supporters this week.


WIAN: The proposal has been attached to a budget reconciliation bill in the House. If it survives that process, Senator Feinstein says she will launch a procedural fight to make it more difficult to pass in the Senate -- Lou.

DOBBS: And I presume that the senator has a way to encourage the Ninth Circuit to come up with decisions that aren't overturned at such an alarming rate?

WIAN: Well, actually, she says she's not entirely opposed to the idea of breaking it up, but doesn't like the way this proposal is structured. She would like to see California, Arizona, and Nevada together in their own circuit -- Lou.

DOBBS: All right. Casey, thank you very much. The Nutty Ninth, nice way to put it. Thank you. Casey Wian from Los Angeles.

Coming up next here, failing grades. In many states, public education in this country is nothing less than a disgrace. Does the United States have the courage, the political will, and the ability to reform public education? We'll be talking with one expert who has some of the answers.

And then, in sickness and health and citizenship? Why illegal aliens are paying big money for fake spouses. Our special report still ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: My next guest says President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act has left behind every state when it comes to education. Diane Ravitch says the program has caused states to lower standards for students and inflate grades. She is professor at education at New York University, a fellow of the Brookings Institution. It's good to have you here.

DIANE RAVITCH, AUTHOR: Great to be here, Lou.

The recent test, ballyhooed in some quarters, suggesting that No Child Left Behind is working, that we're seeing improvement -- are we in point of fact?

RAVITCH: The improvements have been very small, minuscule, and I think that what we learned from that last federal test that came out about 10 days ago was that the federal standards are far higher than the state's standards. There are only five states that actually have standards that match the federal standards. The others all tell their citizenry that 75 to 80 percent, sometimes 90 percent, of their kids are doing just great. And on the federal test, about 35 percent are doing great.

DOBBS: In point of fact, we've also -- I mean, let's be honest about it. Some states are just outright -- their public education departments are just outright lying about what's happening in terms of dropouts, in terms of grades, in terms of achievement, aren't they?

RAVITCH: Well, we see a lot of overstatement, grade inflation.

DOBBS: I call those lies.

RAVITCH: I don't call them lies. I just think that the states and, in some cases, the local school districts, want the parents to be happy and they say we're doing great, kids are making progress, scores have increased by huge amounts. And then the federal test comes along and the grades are flat.

DOBBS: You want a national curriculum.

RAVITCH: I wrote an article in the "New York Times" saying instead of having 50 states with 50 tests and 50 standards, there should be one standard. It should be a national standard, a national curriculum, and it should be benchmarked to international standards. We know math is the same everywhere in the world. We know that science -- that what kids need to know is really the same everywhere.

DOBBS: The recent Academies of Science study reported U.S. 12th graders performed below the international average for 21 countries on general knowledge in math and science. I mean, we're a third-world country for crying out loud?

RAVITCH: Well, I wouldn't go that far, but our most advanced students also were compared to the most advanced students in a lot of countries, and they came out doing very, very poorly. We're just not getting honest facts, and that's why I think we need to have national standards, national tests.

DOBBS: National standards, national tests ...

RAVITCH: ... and a national curriculum.

DOBBS: How about national discipline in the classroom?

RAVITCH: That would be wonderful, and you could go from there to say, you know, parents have a responsibility to do their part.

DOBBS: I'm with you. We'll get people listening to Diane Ravitch.

RAVITCH: Thank you. That would be wonderful.

DOBBS: You can lead us on the way to the promise land on education, because this is surely a barren field now.

RAVITCH: The most important issue -- most important issue -- facing this country on the home front is improving education.

DOBBS: Diane Ravitch, always good to have you here. Thank you.

RAVITCH: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: A reminder now to vote in our poll tonight. Do you believe that the concept of majority rule in this country has become nothing more than a fading joke played on the middle class? Yes or no? Cast your vote at We'll have the results here in just a few minutes.

Tonight, an update to the United Nations attempted power grab over the Internet. It failed! Imagine that. Negotiators at a U.N. summit held in Tunisia, of all places, reached an 11th hour agreement to keep control of the Internet in the hands of the United States.

The United States, after all, is where the Internet originated. It may come as no surprise, the U.N.'s failed bid was supported by countries that is suppress free speech, including luminaries such as China, Iran and Cuba.

Coming up here on the next hour of CNN, THE SITUATION ROOM and Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, what have you got?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou.

Coming up in THE SITUATION ROOM, white phosphorous munitions in Iraq. The Pentagon admits using it in Fallujah. Find out why it's causing some serious controversy abroad.

Plus, Fidel Castro. A new CIA report says he has Parkinson's disease. We have some details on this story.

Also, the vice president, Dick Cheney, on the offensive. He's ratcheting up the rhetoric against his Democratic critics. We're watching his speech live with you tonight in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And Ted Koppel also here in THE SITUATION ROOM. Find out what he really thinks of us at cable news. That and much more, coming up at top of the hour -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you, Wolf.

One Florida lawmaker has a new plan to humiliate drivers who are convicted of drunken driving. He wants to give them bright pink license plates beginning with the letters DUI. Now, this is an interesting idea.

State Senator Mike Fasano says he hopes the legislation will make drivers think twice before driving under the influence. His bill would also allow police officers to pull over anyone with a pink license plate, even if they don't have probable cause. Senator, I think you've got a great idea. Good luck.

Coming up next here, an urgent call for our nation to finally support our borders and ports. Congressman Peter King has a new proposal that will do just that. He's my guest next.

And then, forget our southern border with Mexico. Illegal aliens have found a whole new way to enter this country and they're paying big money to do so. That story, and a lot more, still ahead. Stay with us.


DOBBS: Our nation is in the grip of nothing less than an illegal alien crisis. It's become a national security crisis of immense proportions because of a lack of border security.

Congressman Peter King is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. He has introduced legislation calling on the military to support our Border Patrol and to help secure our nation's vulnerable ports and waterways.

Congressman King joins us tonight from Capitol Hill.

Congressman, good to have you here.

Where does this legislation stand right now, Congressman?

U.S. REPRESENTATIVE PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: Lou, it's actually moving along.

Right now, in fact, the hearing is going on. We're voting this evening. We should finish voting tomorrow morning and the bill should be on the House floor I would say the second or third week in December.

We intend to bring this to a vote in the full House before Christmas to make it clear to the American people that we have to stop illegal immigration, we have to regain control of our borders.

It's no longer an immigration issue; it's really a national security and homeland security and anti-terrorist issue.

DOBBS: Well, you're the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. You're calling for the end of catch and release, you're talking about putting the military on our borders to enforce border security.

What is your sense of the level of support?

KING: Right now, the level of support is pretty good. I'm positive it's going to pass our committee.

I think it's going to pass with a large vote on the House floor and actually it's getting some bipartisan support in the committee.

But again, issues like coordinating the Defense Department and Homeland Security, people wouldn't have thought of that a few years ago. I mean, it was really considered extreme to be using military assets; now people are demanding it. And also the idea of catch and release -- we're actually capturing I don't know how many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of immigrants and them releasing them. It makes no sense.

DOBBS: All right. It makes no sense -- it hasn't for a long time, as you well know.

You propose no guest worker program, this is all about enforcing border security and taking control.

What about the guest worker program?

KING: Lou, that will have to come next.

There's a consensus, and I strongly support it, is that before the American people are going to even consider guest worker plans, we have to show that we can control our borders.

Because otherwise it just looks like more immigrants on top of the ones who are already there. So I'm really intent on pushing to establish border security and then we can go to the guest workers.

DOBBS: So what do you do when you have a president leading your party who calls illegal aliens guest workers and calls volunteers who want to provide security on our borders vigilantes?

KING: Well, there's been a turnaround in the White House.

Because I have met with people in the White House and they are now supporting our proposal to go first with border security. They realize that, too.

And the president, again, was, you know, a strong supporter of the guest worker plan; he wanted the whole issue coordinated and brought together.

But now he realizes we have to go first with border security. There's a real crisis of confidence in the country, Lou, which goes beyond just the narrow issue of immigration; what it is, people see we can't control our borders and the feeling is how can we control anything else.

DOBBS: You've got a Homeland Security Department that -- but without controlling the borders; that's sort of a sham, isn't it?

KING: And we also -- we're going to get very tough with foreign countries; countries, for instance, that don't cooperate with us and take back aliens, we're going to keep their people from coming into the country.

DOBBS: Congressman Pete King, we thank you for being here.

KING: Thank you, Lou.

DOBBS: Still ahead, citizenship for sale. We'll show you the latest fake documents that so-called illegal aliens or undocumented immigrants are carrying these days. They're not so undocumented, as you'll find out in our next special report.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: U.S. citizenship, a sacred privilege in this nation, for some is nothing more than a cheap commodity being bought and sold.

American citizens increasingly being caught offering to marry illegal aliens for cash, and now a new marketplace for those sham marriages is springing up, virtually everywhere.

Lisa Sylvester reports.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Marry for green card. Get married, get paid. Marriage of convenience. With no strings.

These Internet ads on Craig's List are placed by illegal aliens who are willing to pay as much as $25,000 to marry for a green card or citizenship. More than a dozen ads popped up in the Los Angeles area this week alone.

DAVID CAULKETT, REPORTILLEGALS.COM: I'm infuriated that citizens are expected to obey the laws, yet illegal aliens just flaunt the law right in our face, and yes, it is very aggravating.

SYLVESTER: Placing the ad is not illegal, but it is illegal to enter into a marriage for the sake of a green card.

Craig's List says this is a big concern, adding, "The site is self policing. If you see an ad that's wrong, you can flag it for removal."

Immigration officials have tightened the law so it now takes illegal aliens at least two years to get permanent residence status after marrying a U.S. citizen.

But that's still not stopping sham marriages.

This week, 10 members of the U.S. Navy, six of them stationed on the USS Eisenhower in Norfolk, Virginia, were charged in a marriage fraud scheme.

VICTOR CERDA, FMR. ICE OFFICIAL: The rings are getting more sophisticated. Post-9/11, the illegal alien smuggling business is big dollars, and so have you organizations becoming more sophisticated, more focused and they're going -- they're profit driven.

SYLVESTER: Numbers are growing as illegal aliens skirt U.S. laws, to say nothing of the message it sends about marriage. JACK MARTIN, FED. FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: We know that it is a significant problem, but we simply don't know the magnitude of the problem.

SYLVESTER: But marriage fraud is a tough case for immigration officials because it requires them to prove intent. Is someone marrying for love or for papers?


SYLVESTER: Tonight, the Department of Homeland Security is asking for your help to find six people wanted for marriage fraud. They are part of a larger ring that was broken up earlier this year operating out of Iowa.

And anyone with information is asked to call 1-866-DHS-2ICE -- Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much.

Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

The results now of our poll: 96 percent of you say the concept of majority rule in this country is nothing more than a fading joke being played on our middle class.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Thanks for voting.

Please join us here tomorrow.

For all of us here, good night from New York City.