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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Congressman Calls for Immediate Withdrawal of Troops From Iraq; Bush Launches New Assault on War Critics
Aired November 17, 2005 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, everybody.
Tonight, for the first time, a senior member of Congress has called for our troops to withdraw from Iraq immediately. Reaction from top Republicans swift and strong. We'll have the special report.
And President Bush launching a new assault on critics of the war in Iraq and his conduct of that war. We'll examine White House strategy and policy.
And then, exporting America. Thousands of airline workers could be next in line to lose their jobs to cheap foreign labor. We'll tell you what's being done to stop it.
Plus tonight, outrage after one hit network show presents its version of the illegal alien crisis.
And the latest in illegal alien footwear tonight, how a very unusual pair of sneakers could help illegal aliens cross our broken southern border with Mexico. There is a surprising twist to that story.
Tonight, one of the most highly-respected members of Congress, Democratic Congressman John Murtha, is calling for the immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Congressman Murtha's call comes two days after the Senate in a rare bipartisan vote demanded regular reports on the progress of this war from the White House. While President Bush repeatedly insists he has a strategy for victory Iraq, a rising number of both Republican and Democratic lawmakers are becoming increasingly frustrated.
Ed Henry reports from Capitol Hill -- Ed.
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lou, that frustration boiling over today with John Murtha. Not a peace activist, a military man who says he's driven by a moral obligation to speak out for the troops who he says have done their job and now need to go home so they're no longer targets.
REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: It's time to bring them home. They've done everything they can do. The military has done everything they can do. This war has been so mishandled from the very start. Not only was the intelligence bad, the way they disbanded the troops, there's all kinds of mistakes that have been made.
HENRY (voice over): Republican Speaker Dennis Hastert fired back that Murtha, who voted for the war, is now waving "the white flag of surrender to the terrorists of the world."
Tough talk following the vice president's line of attack.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What we're hearing now is some politicians contradicting their own statements and making a play for political advantage in the middle of a war.
HENRY: Asked about the jabs from the vice president, as well as President Bush, Murtha's response was direct and personal.
MURTHA: I like guys who have never been there to criticize us who have been. I like that. I like guys who have got five deferments and never been there and sent people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done.
HENRY: Senior Republicans expressed respect for Murtha but said he's wrong.
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CHAIRMAN, ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: I think the Democrats who have undertaken this initiative have made a -- have made a mistake. I think they've underestimated the toughness of the American people and the understanding that if we don't change the world, the world is going to change us.
HENRY: Now, Murtha's Democratic colleagues are cranking up the rhetoric along with him. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid today charging that the president and vice president's attacks are "weak and spineless." But those Democrats like Reid are not joining Murtha's cause, they're not signing on to this resolution demanding immediate withdrawal. He's a strong voice, but a lonely voice, for now at least -- Lou.
DOBBS: Ed Henry from Capitol Hill. Thank you, Ed.
U.S. military officials were reluctant to comment directly on Congressman Murtha's call for that immediate withdrawal of our troops, but they did repeat the Pentagon's longstanding position that Iraqi forces must take over from U.S. troops before any major withdrawals can begin.
Pentagon officials say nearly 100 Iraqi military battalions are now fighting on their own. They also pointed out the December 15 Iraqi elections are on schedule.
As criticism of this war intensifies, President Bush is vigorously defending his policies in the conduct of the war. President Bush on his visit to Asia is accusing his Democratic opponents of what he terms irresponsible behavior. His comments are part of a coordinated White House campaign to strike back at critics of this war.
Suzanne Malveaux reports from Busan, South Korea.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): President Bush touring South Korea's oldest Buddhist temple, 7,000 miles away from home but not out of reach from his political troubles. Earlier in the day, appearing with South Korea's president for an Asian trade summit, Mr. Bush jumped at the chance to answer Democratic criticism that the White House deliberately used misleading intelligence to go to war with Iraq.
GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is serious business winning this war. But it's irresponsible to do what they've done. So I agree with the Vice President.
MALVEAUX: The vice president, just hours earlier in Washington, let loose on the Democrats.
RICHARD CHENEY, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the suggestion that's been made by some U.S. senators that the president of the United States or any member of this administration purposely misled the American people on prewar intelligence is one of the most dishonest and reprehensible charges ever aired in this city.
MALVEAUX: Cheney has kept a relatively low profile since the indictment of his chief of staff, Scooter Libby, in the CIA leak case. Now he's assuming a job he had during the presidential elections, stinging the opposition with the sharpest of words.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MINORITY LEADER: Unfortunately, he brought his brunt (ph) mentality with him to the speech. He's repeating the same tired attacks we've heard from administrative officials over the last two weeks.
MALVEAUX: The White House campaign-style offensive has been criticized by Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. The Vietnam veteran says questioning the government is not unpatriotic.
But the president draws a distinction.
BUSH: Listen, it's patriotic as heck to disagree with the president. It doesn't bother me. What bothers me is when people are irresponsibly using their positions and playing politics.
MALVEAUX: And Lou, of course part of that strategy is hitting back whenever there is criticism from the Democrat, including Congressman Murtha. Earlier today, CNN, Dan Bartlett, the White House counsel, telling CNN that "We strongly disagree with his position because we believe it will hurt not help the national security of the American people," that the president respectfully disagrees with Murtha.
He goes on to say that of course "Would the president prefer that Congressman Murtha support him? Of course. But at the same time, the conclusion is a wrong one."
And when it comes to those personal attacks on the vice president, he called them unfair to take a position that politically attacked the president and the vice president. But clearly, the White House sticking to its position, making a very forceful case that they believe that prewar intelligence, that they did not deliberately mislead the American people, and they do not think this is particularly helpful -- Lou.
DOBBS: Suzanne Malveaux from Busan, South Korea. Thank you, Suzanne.
President Bush will be in China this weekend. Later here in the program, we'll be taking a close look at communist China's crackdown on democracy and human rights as Beijing rapidly builds up its military, as well as economic power.
The president's plummeting poll numbers reflect the increasing divisions over the war in Iraq. This week, a CNN "USA-Today"-Gallup poll showed 63 percent of Americans disapproving of the president's handling of the war. And the president's personal approval rating is at an all-time low, 37 percent. Some say President Bush has now lost his political way.
Bill Schneider reports.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST (voice over): Why should President Bush care if his poll numbers are down? He can't run for re-election. Because the president's public support is his main source of power. Without it, he loses clout.
It happened to President Clinton after the Republicans took over Congress. Clinton had to make a startling plea.
WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, FMR. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Because the president is relevant.
SCHNEIDER: American politicians are all in business for themselves. If a president is unpopular, there's no profit in supporting him. Members of Congress feel they can defy him with impunity.
MURTHA: The war in Iraq is not going as advertised. It's a flawed policy wrapped in illusion.
SCHNEIDER: Members of the president's own party go their own way, as Republicans are doing now, on Iraq, and tax cuts and immigration and torture. BUSH: We do not torture.
SCHNEIDER: Nevertheless, Senator McCain is leading the effort to pass a law against it.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: We've got to make sure that we don't torture people.
SCHNEIDER: Isn't the president's word enough? Apparently not, because President Bush has also lost credibility.
Most Americans no longer believe he is honest and trustworthy. They no longer give the president the benefit of the doubt.
The White House has gone back into campaign mode, attacking critics.
BUSH: But when Democrats say that I deliberately misled the Congress and the people, that's irresponsible.
SCHNEIDER: In the campaign, you can drive your numbers up by driving your opponent's numbers down. But there's no campaign now.
The president is in a race to get his own numbers up. He's running against himself.
(on camera): Politics abhors a vacuum. If the president is weakened, someone else is likely to step forward and try to grab the spotlight, like Newt Gingrich did when President Clinton was weakened.
Then, Clinton had an opponent. And what happened? The president's support started to go up.
Bill Schneider, CNN, Los Angeles.
DOBBS: In Iraq today, two more Americans have been killed. A U.S. Marine was killed in a roadside bomb attack near the western city of Haditha, and an American soldier was killed in a vehicle accident north of Baghdad. Two thousand eighty-one of our troops have now been killed in Iraq.
Still ahead here, more than 100 illegal aliens were busted by the feds today. You'll never guess where they were working, but we'll be telling you.
And charges tonight that China is refusing to cooperate in the global battle against the deadly bird flu. We'll have that special report.
And an astonishing claim by the communist Chinese government about democracy and freedom.
And a pair of sneakers that could be the latest must-have fashion accessory for illegal aliens. There's a big story here with a twist. We'll have it coming up.
DOBBS: Tonight, another outrageous response from the Chinese government to the president's call for freedom in China. Last night we reported to you that China warned President Bush not to meddle in the internal affairs of communist China. Today another Chinese government official had the audacity to suggest that Chinese citizens already enjoy democracy.
Christine Romans reports.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Communist China is insisting its citizens do enjoy democracy and religious freedom. A foreign ministry spokesman today proclaimed, "Chinese people enjoy all forms and democracy and freedom under law, including religion and belief."'
MICHAEL CROMARTIE, U.S. COMM. ON INTERNATIONAL RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: That's what they're saying, and it's absolutely not true.
ROMANS: Michael Cromartie is the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
CROMARTIE: These freedoms are not following economic freedoms. And in fact, religious freedoms are being cracked down, they're being restricted. Unregistered church pastors are being locked up and given lengthy jail terms and, in fact, being tortured.
ROMANS: While China claims its people enjoy all forms of democracy, the State Department officially lists China as a one-party communist regime. And it reported earlier this year at least 250,000 people are serving sentences in re-education through labor camps.
Violence against women includes forced sterilization and abortions, and unauthorized religion will not be tolerated.
Congressman Randy Forbes is a co-chairman of the Congressional China Caucus, and he says China has its own definition of democracy.
REP. RANDY FORBES (R), CONGRESSIONAL CHINA CAUCUS: The only thing that we've seen develop from the greater economic strength is they put more and more money into their military and building up and modernizing their military instead of giving more economic and religious freedoms to their people.
ROMANS: So far, other than its declaration of democratic rights, the Chinese have focused on diplomatic slogans. China's president, Hu Jintao, saying he seeks "win-win cooperation" with the outside world, and Chinese officials ignoring Western critics, focusing instead on what they call "mutual confidence," "mutual benefit," and "win-win interaction."
(END VIDEOTAPE) ROMANS: The question, will the White House insist on straight talk and get tough with China about its human rights record, it's rapidly-growing military, and its unfair trade practices? After all, this president did encourage democracy in China and held up Taiwan as an example, but he did it in Japan, not on Chinese soil.
DOBBS: Well, you have to give him some credit for constraint, I suppose, in picking his spots carefully.
I love the "win-win" attitude of the Chinese communists. They've taken on the slogans of what are usually terrible technology salesmen and marketing gurus. "Win-win," I love it.
ROMANS: Exactly. A little bit of a diplomatic marketing happy talk.
DOBBS: And double talk as well. Christine Romans. Thank you.
The day after China confirmed its first death from the bird flu, Congress rejected emergency spending for a potential outbreak of a pandemic in this country. President Bush had asked Congress to approve more than $7 billion to fight the bird flu just two weeks ago, but House Republicans today removed it from the massive $600 billion health care spending bill now before Congress.
And as the world prepares for the possibility of a bird flu pandemic, there is one country holding out vital cooperation globally on bird flu. The country is, of course, China, which is experiencing major outbreaks of the flu, and at last one confirmed human death from this killer disease.
Kitty Pilgrim reports.
KITTY PILGRIM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Two people confirmed infected in China from avian flu. But world health officials said China has not supplied enough information about a third case to confirm bird flu. A 12-year-old girl's body was cremated before enough samples were taken.
The information on bird flu out of China late, sporadic and disorganized. And that is deadly.
AMY SMITHSON, CTR. FOR STRATEGIC & INTL. STUDIES: Chinese authorities have to realize that they're sitting on top of a viral powder keg. They've got 1.3 billion people, many of whom are living in close proximity to 14 billion birds, and they've already had 11 outbreaks of H5N1 in their bird populations.
PILGRIM: Chinese Premier Wen was doing photo-ops in a medical clinic in Beijing this week and declared China would eradicate the disease. But that hardly proves officials are on the case hundreds of miles away in rural China.
DR. HENRY NIMAN, RECOMBINOMICS: The virus really doesn't read the press releases, and it basically does what it's going to do, regardless of how much press coverage there is. It's not clear that China is on top of it right now. They are not -- they do not seem to be controlling the outbreaks in the birds.
The frequency of outbreaks is going up. It's now at the level of a couple different locations per day.
PILGRIM: Today, world health officials, who usually make encouraging comments to coax China's cooperation, admitted, "Even when the Chinese government is very willing to fight avian influenza, at times the information they are getting about the poultry, especially in the backyard, might be a bit late."
PILGRIM: Now, these human cases in China are a big worry. Today, world health officials said they expect more outbreaks in China. H5N1 bird flu is in several flocks in Asia, and the bird flu virus thrives in cold weather -- Lou.
DOBBS: And that bird flu virus detected in now 17 countries worldwide.
Kitty Pilgrim. Thank you.
Well, seven ordinary Americans did something remarkable today. They went to work. Now, that wouldn't be remarkable, except that every one of them is a newly-minted multimillionaire.
The seven employees of Kaiser Permanente in Garden Grove, California, won the $315 million Mega Millions jackpot yesterday. They each chipped in $3 to buy lottery tickets, and now they'll each be taking home an equal share of that $315 million. But the six lab workers and one secretary, nonetheless, showed up for work today, and guess what? They took the entire office out to lunch.
Still ahead here, we'll tell you what 100-plus illegal aliens busted by the feds today were up to and where, and for whom.
And then, an American-owned airline, one of the largest in this country, is about to take thousands of jobs away from American workers. All after our government, of course, bailed them out with millions of dollars in taxpayer money. We'll tell you which airline and what is being done and should be done about it.
And then, Congressman Curt Weldon says an investigation into Able Danger could be the most important investigation of our lifetime. One of the nation's former top cops is jumping on board and demanding action as well.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Flight attendants for Northwestern Airlines today were on Capitol Hill trying to save their jobs. They claim Northwest wants to fire 2,600 American flight attendants and replace them with cheap foreign workers. It's just the latest cutback in an airline that has received hundreds of millions of dollars in bailout money from the federal government.
Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Northwest Airlines has been outsourcing maintenance jobs to Hong Kong and Singapore. Soon, your Northwest flight attendant may be replaced as well.
The Professional Flight Attendants Association held a rally on Capitol Hill objecting to company plans to dismiss U.S. flight attendants on international flights and hire foreign counterparts who could be paid as little as $250 a month.
ROB LAUGHLIN, FLIGHT ATTENDANT: I've been flying for eight years, and I would definitely lose my job, because we'd lose about 3,000 to 4,000 flight attendants.
SYLVESTER: This comes on the heels of a severe round of temporary and permanent pay cuts for Northwest workers. Pilots took a pay cut of almost 24 percent. Flight attendants, 21 percent. Groundworkers, 19 percent.
Meanwhile, Northwest CEO Doug Steenland's executive compensation package is nearly $4.5 million. He's also guaranteed an annual retirement pension of nearly $1 million, even as the company is trying to shed some of its pension obligations for the rank and file.
Northwest currently owes $3.8 billion to its pension plan.
GUY MEEK, PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ASSOC.: If it wasn't for the front line workers, the agents, the mechanics, the flight attendants, the pilots, there wouldn't be an airline. No matter what the name is on the airplane. We are the people that bring the revenue into the company.
SYLVESTER: Northwest responded, saying, "Management was the first group to take pay reductions. Salaried employees were also the first group to have their defined benefit pensions frozen."
Like other airlines, Northwest has been struggling since the 9/11 attacks. It received a $249 million taxpayer-funded government grant. The company then turned around and bought more than a dozen new planes from the European based Airbus Company. In September of this year, Northwest filed for bankruptcy.
SYLVESTER: If Northwest outsourcers its flight attendant jobs, there is worry other airlines may follow suit. There's also a major national security concern because U.S. flight attendants are subject to federal screening, fingerprint and criminal background checks. The same would not be true for foreign workers -- Lou.
DOBBS: Lisa, this is nothing short of outrageous. A quarter of a billion dollars in federal taxpayer money to bail the airline out. Then the purchase of Airbus aircraft, made obviously not by American workers. Then the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation responsible for nearly $4 billion in unfunded pensioned liability on the part of Northwest.
And this airline has the temerity to want to destroy 2,500 American jobs?
SYLVESTER: That's exactly right, Lou. And if you talk to these workers, these flight attendants, keep in mind it's their taxpayer dollars that essentially went to Airbus, and now their jobs are essentially on the line here.
DOBBS: It is remarkable that Congress has already not demanded hearings on this, and that this administration, of course, which is in favor of outsourcing of this sort, we don't expect them to do anything. But certainly one would expect Congress to intervene at some point in this kind of utter madness.
Lisa Sylvester. Thank you very much.
And it's worth pointing out Northwest, of course, is not alone in receiving those multi hundred million-dollar bailouts from the federal government. All of the major airlines receive multimillion-dollar payments after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Coming up next here, Scooter Libby could be off the hook in the CIA White House leak case before the case even gets to court. Bob Bennett, attorney for Judith Miller, one of the country's most respected attorneys, is our guest here.
And then Hollywood takes on the immigration crisis in this country, gets it all wrong, and does so quite intentionally.
And how one artist is helping illegal aliens sneak across our southern border, but at the same time providing, believe it or not, an important public service.
Stay with us.
DOBBS: Tonight, momentum is building in the fight to build a fence along our entire border with Mexico. Congressman Duncan Hunter, the powerful chairman of the Armed Services Committee, introduced that legislation. It calls for parallel fencing along the 2,000-mile border, and Congressman Hunter has now 25 co-sponsors.
Right now, only 75 miles of the border has any fencing whatsoever. The border fence can't come too soon. Just today, 125 illegal aliens were discovered working at a construction site in Pennsylvania. They were building a distribution center for Wal-Mart. Hollywood's latest take on our broken border crisis is causing considerable outrage. An episode of NBC's "Law & Order" last night portrayed a group based on the minutemen volunteers who patrol our borders. They portrayed them as murderers.
Casey Wian has the report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Wednesday's episode of "Law & Order" borrowed from many real-life stories of the nation's immigration crisis. It's a whodunit about the murder of a trucking company owner who is also an illegal alien smuggler.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "LAW & ORDER": How much did he charge?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "LAW & ORDER": Two grand a head.
WIAN: One load of aliens dies in a truck's trailer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE, "LAW & ORDER": I think at some point this trailer overheated with people inside, the cargo were literally cooked.
WIAN: Two years ago in Texas that really happened. So did these things, more or less.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The governor of California came out in support of border patrols.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Border Patrol pulls a body a day out of the Sonora desert.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's only so much ICE can do to stem this flood of illegals.
WIAN: NBC even portrays the debate about what to call illegal aliens.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My guess? Undocumented workers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's afraid because she's undocumented.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who else knew about the dead illegals?
Do you know what percentage of federal prisoners are illegal immigrants?
WIAN: But the main plot of the show, involving members of a civilian border watch group called "The Country Men" is an outright fabrication. The story convicts one so-called countryman of murder and another of sabotaging the truck so the illegal aliens die.
CHRIS SIMCOX, MINUTEMAN PROJECT CO-FOUNDER: Our record speaks for itself. Not one volunteer has ever been involved in any illegal activity. And after building our reputation up to have NBC maliciously try to tear us down and show bias is despicable.
WIAN: Though the characters aren't called Minutemen during the show, NBC's promos and Web site did use the real life group's name.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was it murder, or the Minutemen protecting our borders?
WIAN: The story ends with a revelation that an illegal alien housekeeper who witnessed part of the crime is deported separated from her children, even after testifying for the prosecution.
You'd think the actor playing the D.A. in the case, former Senate Intelligence Committee member Fred Thompson, would know better.
WIAN: Simcox says he's meeting with attorneys to consider legal action against NBC. The network says in a statement, that like all episodes of "Law & Order," this one was completely fictional. Lou?
DOBBS: And didn't they used to brag that their stories were ripped from the headlines?
WIAN: Parts of it were ripped from the headlines, but the major premise of it was completely false.
DOBBS: Completely false and unfortunately destructive of what is becoming a healthy debate stripped of the bias that is typically Hollywood. In terms of open discourse on issues that are in the national interest and can't be framed as either liberal or conservative.
Casey Wian, thank you very much.
Former FBI director Louis Freeh is coming down hard on the 9/11 commission over its refusal to investigate Able Danger. In an op/ed piece in The Wall Street Journal today, Freeh said claims made by Able Danger could be the most important disclosure in the 9/11 inquiry. In fact, saying the 9/11 commission's work will be incomplete until it investigates those claims.
Freeh says quote, the 9/11 commission inexplicably concluded that it was not historically significant. This astounding conclusion in combination with the failure to investigate Able Danger and incorporate it into its findings raises serious challenges to the commission's credibility. And if the facts prove out, might just render the commission historically insignificant itself.
The Able Danger U.S. Army intelligence unit claims to have identified 9/11 mastermind Mohammad Atta and other 9/11 radical Islamist terrorists more than a year before 9/11.
Able Danger officials say they were not allowed to share that information with agencies that could have prevented the terrorist attack. Leading to one of the worst intelligence failures in the country's history and of course, great tragedy. Congressman Curt Weldon demanding those officials be allowed to testify before Congress. Now, more than half of the House of Representatives, 235 members, have agreed with Congressman Weldon and have signed on to a letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. You can read this letter on our Web site, loudobbs.com.
We'd like to know also what you think about our poll question tonight. The question is, should the U.S. Congress demand an immediate investigation of Able Danger? Yes or no, please cast your vote at loudobbs.com. We'll have the results coming up here later.
Tonight, a reporter from The Washington Post is being held in contempt by a federal judge for trying to report the truth. Reporter Walter Pincus has been ordered to reveal his government stories for stories he's written on the Wen Ho Lee espionage case.
Pincus has been asked to contact his sources and to ask them to release him from pledges of confidentiality. He is now being fined $500 a day for his refusal to reveal those sources. Pincus has joined a long list of our reporters held in contempt this year. Former New York Times reporter Judy miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to reveal her sources in the CIA White House leak case.
And Rhode Island television reporter Jim Taricani was released from jail in April after spending four months in jail for not revealing his sources in a Rhode Island corruption investigation.
Five other reporters working on the Wen Ho Lee investigation have also been held in contempt, or currently in contempt. Their cases should be headed for the Supreme Court.
Surprise testimony from none other than Bob Woodward of The Washington Post is raising new questions about who, if anyone, in the White House, was the original source of the Valerie Plame leak.
Woodward testified this week that a White House source other than Lewis Scooter Libby told him about the identity of Valerie Plame in June of 2003.
That's a month before Libby allegedly leaked Plame's identity to other members of the press. Libby's attorneys say this new testimony could help clear their client of charges filed by the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald in the case.
And tonight, Joe Wilson, the husband of Valerie Plame, is calling upon The Washington Post to investigate Bob Woodward's source and his conduct.
Joining me now from Washington is Bob Bennett, one of the country's most respected attorneys and attorney for former New York Times reporter Judy Miller. Miller of course, one of the reporters who allegedly discussed Plame's identity with Scooter Libby in July of 2003.
Bob Bennett. Who is the most likely to benefit from the new Woodward revelations? ROBERT BENNETT, ATTORNEY FOR JUDITH MILLER: Well, I mean, I think that Libby may benefit some from it. But, I'm not prepared to say that it is a bonanza for him, because the indictment is so very narrow.
I think the parties that are hurt the most are the White House, who want to get this off the front pages. But, I think this story really has legs, to use a reporter's term, and will continue.
DOBBS: It is continuing past, I think, a point which any of us could have assumed. In part, because of Bob Woodward's revelations that he had these discussions. Not yet able to name his source before the public because his source constrained him in doing so. But did permit him to testify before the special counsel.
This is really taking on directions and nuances that were unimaginable even a couple of weeks ago.
BENNETT: Yes, Lou, and I think it's an issue that reporters really have to address. As to whether or not a source, like a master puppeteer, can decide what use the reporter may make of his testimony or his statements.
DOBBS: Your town, that is Washington, D.C., has always been -- well, an interesting place to put it in the mildest terms possible. But, now we have a situation in which we have four reporters in contempt of the Wen Ho Lee case.
Now Walter Pincus of The Washington Post is now being prevailed upon by a federal judge in order to avoid what happened to your client, Judy Miller, to seek a release from confidential sources because, not wishing to repeat all that transpired there.
What is happening that, we can look at it journalistically, but let's talk about it in terms of the federal judiciary. They're going after reporters in these case. This is not a healthy sign, is it?
BENNETT: No, I think reporters are an endangered species now. And I think one reason that the United States has less government corruption than other countries is because we've had an independent and vigorous press that was able to report wrongdoing without the risk of going to jail. So, I think these are very, are very serious times.
DOBBS: Bob, it is clear that our craft demands of us great care when we assure confidentiality to our sources. It is also clear that the federal courts and the federal prosecutors in too many instances are moving in to impinge upon the first amendment.
One can argue that a number of ways. But at the same time, the politics are becoming extraordinary because of the partisan vehemence surrounding, whether it's the Judy Miller case, whether it is now the Bob Woodward case. It is creating currents that we haven't seen before. Where do you think this ends up?
BENNETT: I don't know where it ends up, Lou. I do think this. While I'm a great supporter of the press, the press has its own responsibilities. You know, when you complicate the situation by talking to a source for purposes of writing a book on which you're going to make a profit, that sort of complicates it a little bit.
DOBBS: You're referring to Bob Woodward and the reason he presumably held back?
BENNETT: Yes, and when he goes on national television and speaks as what appears to be an objective or somewhat objective observer, when he himself was involved, these raise questions in the public eye.
Now Bob is, you know, as you know, one of the world's great reporters. And I know that he would not do anything and knowingly and intentionally wrong, but it does complicate it, and it undercuts.
DOBBS: How about this Bob, because -- in touching those issues. But what about the role of special counsel, the special prosecutor here? Because more than two years later in this investigation, there is no statement by the special prosecutor as to whether Valerie Plame, in point of fact, was truly in the historically understood sense, a true covert operative. There is no statement as to whether the impact was of those revelations. And the person who began all of this, frankly, Robert Novak, we still don't know what the heck happened there! I mean, this is frankly to me, extraordinarily frustrating, at the same time they're impinging on the first amendment.
BENNETT: I understand that, Lou. And I agree with much of what you say. The reason we're in this situation is the special prosecutor, I think, pretty early on decided that he wouldn't pursuit the underlying statute, and so now we have the traditional false statement, perjury approach.
DOBBS: Bob Bennett, it's great to have you here. We appreciate it.
BENNETT: It's always great to be on with you, Lou.
DOBBS: Coming up next, a call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. A U.S. Congressman finds the future of this county is at risk. We'll break it down with our own Ed Henry, John King and General David Grange here next.
And red star rising? Development without democracy? Isn't that what this administration says naturally follows? How China has managed a massive military buildup without advances toward democracy. Stay with us for that as well.
DOBBS: Congressman John Murtha's call for an immediate U.S. withdrawal from Iraq reflects the mounting frustration throughout the country and in Congress. Congressman Murtha says our troops have done all they can. And they should be pulled out of Iraq over the next six months.
Joining me now are congressional correspondent Ed Henry, senior national correspondent, John King, and this broadcast's military analyst General David Grange. Gentleman, good to have you here.
Ed Henry, Congressman Murtha respected, a Marine corps veteran of Vietnam, distinguished service, highly respected in Congress. Is he standing all alone tonight or is the Democratic leadership signing with him?
ED HENRY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's the question. And he's mostly standing alone right now. And the question I think is, is he the first voice that is going to start getting Democrats to more emboldened, even more than we've seen in their attacks in recent weeks to finally go the extra step and say bring the troops home.
Right now, he is a lonely voice. And Democrats are just throwing out rhetoric but not really backing it up right now. But he is so respected that maybe he gives more Democrats political cover, Lou.
DOBBS: John King, is John Murtha's call actually a political advantage for this White House, as it's in defensive posture over its policies?
JOHN KING, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, the White House will label it irresponsible and reckless, Lou. And I think General Grange will probably weigh in saying many of the generals don't like a firm date. At least the generals I've spoken to, both retired and current service would say that.
But look, it is something else for the president to deal with at the time he has had to deal with criticism about why he went to war. Criticism now that he doesn't have a strategy. The White House has to hope on one simple thing, good elections in December and then the president can start a plan to bring the troops home on his timetable. That's what he needs.
DOBBS: General David Grange, we have talked often about the conduct of our war in Iraq. I know your frustrations. You know mine. And we certainly understand what is going on here in terms of the politics. But General Grange, in terms of our troops, this kind of dialogue and national debate and partisan criticism back and forth, what is the impact on our men and women in uniform who are on the ground in Iraq?
BRIG GEN. DAVID GRANGE (RET), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Lou, it's tough to swallow when you're on the ground in a combat situation. I believe that comments, many of them are correct. And I agree with many of the comments, except it's not something you debate on television for troops to hear when trying to accomplish a mission. There's a plan in place and other plan will start to be executed right after the elections. But you can't make that known to troops out loud, politically or to the enemy who are listening to the broadcast.
DOBBS: Then what recourse do we have? Because we are a democracy. We are watching mounting casualties as we approach 2,100 casualties in Iraq, general. The conduct of this war has been, I think, whether you are a military professional, like you, or a concerned citizen, it has been nothing less than a disappointment, I think for all Americans. Republican, Democrat, this is not the way in which a superpower is expected to conduct itself, is it?
GRANGE: Well, there are drawbacks, no doubt about it. There are disappointments. I believe this thing is going to turn out successful. At least, I hope so, Lou, because of all the sacrifices.
DOBBS: We all do, we all do.
GRANGE: Right. And I think it's going to get there. And everybody that served in war wants troops back immediately. It would be great to have them come back after the April 9 of 2003. But it's going to take longer. And hopefully, though, right after the elections this thing will start.
DOBBS: Ed Henry, Duncan Hunter the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee came out immediately, Dennis Hastert, the speaker came out immediately after Murtha's call for withdrawal. Are we going to see -- what can we expect next from the Republican leadership next on Capitol Hill?
HENRY: That is another good question. I think what you might see is a push towards the third way. Not the president's stay the course, not the Murtha withdraw immediately. But maybe a third way. There is going to be pressure on Republicans to come up with a plan of their own, beyond just what they signed onto a couple of days ago which is mostly just language demanding a plain from the president to push forward, a plan to end to the war, there may be more specifics there.
There may be a push heading into an election year where these Republicans on the ballot while the president has not to come up with a plan on their own.
DOBBS: John King, the White House beleaguered, on the defensive. What can it do here? What should it do?
KING: Well, Lou, what the White House will tell you is pretty consistent with what General Grange just said, that it needs to get through the next elections, that you can't set a specific date because then the enemy will just go into hiding. What does it need to do? It needs to show progress in Iraq. All the debate here in Washington will not be the biggest influence how this plays out.
How this affects the Bush legacy and several people think that he's at a potentially bottom out point. He is at a point where he needs to prove himself or he'll be a lame duck. They need progress in Iraq. For all the talk in Washington, it is progress in Iraq that will settle who wins this debate.
DOBBS: Very quickly, Dave Grange, can the generals deliver progress?
DOBBS: Dave Grange, John King, Ed Henry, thank you gentlemen.
Coming up at the top of the house here, THE SITUATION ROOM and Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, what have you got for us?
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks very much, Lou. We're standing by in THE SITUATION ROOM. We'll have much more on the war of words over the war. Today a call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. That veteran U.S. Congressman taking a stand that's drawing strong reaction from the White House. We're covering all sides.
And John Kerry here in THE SITUATION ROOM. He talks about taking on Hillary Rodham Clinton potentially in 2008. Will he or won't he?
Also Fidel Castro, the Cuban dictator alive and well, apparently, a day after a CIA report says he has Parkinson's Disease. We have the story.
And hurricane desperation, New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin making a plea. That, much more, all of it in THE SITUATION ROOM, Lou, right at the top of the hour.
DOBBS: I have trouble with the "New York Post," you have trouble with THE SITUATION ROOM. Wolf, thank you very much.
Just ahead here, red star rising, China's aggressive tactics to suppress democracy while building it's military. I'll be talking with two leading authorities who question the policies of the past two administrations.
And then, an American artist and her gift to illegal aliens who want to come to this country, artistic expression or aiding and abetting? We'll have the special report. 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?
REP. 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.
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