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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Dead; Hunting Bin Laden

Aired June 08, 2006 - 18:00   ET


LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, the death of al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, al-Zarqawi, is being hailed as a significant victory in the war against the Iraqi insurgency, even in the wider war on terror. But in Iraq tonight, insurgents have launched deadly new attacks, and al Qaeda may have already replaced al-Zarqawi.
ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT, news, debate and opinion for Thursday, June 8th.

Live in New York, Lou Dobbs.

DOBBS: Good evening, everybody.

Tonight, the U.S. military has eliminated Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al Qaeda's top field commander in Iraq, and the most wanted man in Iraq. President Bush says the death of Zarqawi is a major blow to al Qaeda and a new opportunity for democracy to arise in Iraq. But dozens were killed in Iraq today in new insurgent violence.

Tonight, Jamie McIntyre reports on the U.S.-led precision airstrike that killed Zarqawi in his final hiding place.

John Vause reports from Iraq on reaction to Zarqawi's death from Baghdad.

And Elaine Quijano from the White House with White House reaction.

We begin with Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Lou, the U.S. airstrikes that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were textbook in both design and execution. And as is the case in most successful military operations, intelligence, even more than high-tech weaponry, was the key to success.


MCINTYRE (voice over): It was late afternoon, and two U.S. Air Force F-16Cs like these were on routine patrol over Iraq when their radios crackled with urgent new orders. The pilots were vectored to Baquba and given coordinates for a single isolated house nestled in a palm and fig grove eight clicks to the north.

At 6:15 p.m., one of the F-16s dropped two 500-pound bombs, one laser-guided, the other satellite-guided, after being sure to take out the house in a way that would ensure a HVT, a high-value target, inside would be killed.

MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, MULTINATIONAL FORCE, IRAQ: We had absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Zarqawi was in the house. There was 100 percent confirmation.

MCINTYRE: Why so sure? Pentagon sources say U.S. special operations troops had the house under surveillance and knew Zarqawi's location every minute. So sure were they that the F-16s were told it was not a time-sensitive target so they could take their time.

Sources say their bombs glided to the target from several miles away so Zarqawi wouldn't hear the planes and be tipped off. An Air Force commander says the rubble tells the story of why two 500-pound bombs were needed. The safe house was a solidly-built struck made of reinforced concrete. The second bomb was to ensure the blast killed anyone inside the building.

At least six people were killed including Zarqawi, a man described as his spiritual advisor, and a woman and a child, possibly family members.

GEN. GEORGE CASEY, MULTINATIONAL FORCE COMMANDER: We have been able to identify al-Zarqawi through fingerprint verification, facial recognition and known scars.

MCINTYRE: As soon as that was confirmed, U.S. and Iraqi forces raided 17 locations in and around Baghdad that had been under surveillance for weeks.

CALDWELL: And in those 17 raids last night, a tremendous amount of information and intelligence was collected and is presently being exploited and utilized for further use. It was -- I mean, it was a treasure trove.


MCINTYRE: And that treasure trove of intelligence will continue to help the U.S. military as it fights the insurgency. In the case of finding Zarqawi in a place as big as Iraq, General George Casey said that the U.S. military had tips and intelligence from senior leaders inside Zarqawi's network -- Lou.

DOBBS: And the $25 million reward for the capture or death of Zarqawi, Jamie?

MCINTYRE: Unclear at this time who, if anyone, would get it. If it turns out that the information came from somebody who was captured, they wouldn't get it. And they might not want to disclose who gets it, because it could reveal who the mole is inside Zarqawi's operation.

DOBBS: Jamie, thank you very much.

Jamie McIntyre from the Pentagon.

Baghdad residents, desperate for stability after years of insurgent violence, cheered the death of Zarqawi, but even they have no illusions that the insurgency is over.

John Vause reports from Baghdad.



JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): "Today Zarqawi was eliminated," said the Iraqi prime minister. At a room filled with reporters, mostly Iraqi, broke into cheers and applause.

There were celebrations on the streets of Baghdad as word spread that the man called "The Prince of al Qaeda" was dead.

"The announcement of the death of Zarqawi is good news for all Iraqis," said this man. "God willing, security will prevail."

But with the death of Iraq's most wanted came words of caution.

ZALMAY KHALILZAD, U.S. AMB. TO IRAQ: Zarqawi's death will not by itself end the violence in Iraq. But it is an important step in the right direction.

VAUSE: The self-proclaimed leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq was responsible for some of the most brutal attacks in the past three years, blowing up Shiite mosques, car bombings, kidnappings, and beheadings. His reach stretched beyond Iraq to his native Jordan, Morocco, and Turkey.

"This is a message to all those who are using violence and killing and destruction to stop and to think twice before it's too late," warned the Iraqi prime minister.


VAUSE: And Lou, in the hours after Zarqawi's death, at least 37 Iraqis have been killed in five separate explosions around Baghdad. At least 85 have been wounded.

Authorities here have announced a four-hour car curfew for the capital, and also for around the city of Baquba, not far from where Zarqawi was killed. This curfew coincides with Friday prayers. The Interior Ministry has announced extra security in coming days. fearing reprisal attacks from al Qaeda.

And also today, word from the U.S. military that four U.S. servicemen were killed on Tuesday. Two soldiers, one Marine and one National Guardsman all killed in combat operations -- Lou.

DOBBS: John, thank you very much.

John Vause reporting from Baghdad.

U.S. military officials are speculating that al Qaeda may have already replaced Zarqawi. U.S. officials say Zarqawi's Egyptian-born lieutenant, Abu al-Masri, is likely to replace Zarqawi as leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.


CALDWELL: Abu al-Masri, if you had to pick somebody, would be the person that is going to try to occupy the position that Zarqawi had. He's the most logical one out there as you look at that structure and how they operate that will probably try to move into there.


DOBBS: General Caldwell says al-Masri may have helped established the first al Qaeda cell in Baghdad.

The U.S. military has been frustrated in its more than two-year effort to kill or capture Zarqawi, and only a month ago could only ridicule the terrorist leader who had eluded them. The Pentagon released outtakes of an al Qaeda video from Iraq which apparently showed Zarqawi having trouble firing his machine gun.

Major General Rick Lynch of the coalition forces in Iraq said at the time, "Here is Zarqawi, the ultimate warrior, trying to shoot his machine gun. He's shooting single shots, he looks down, can't figure it out, calls his friend to come unblock the stoppage."

The Pentagon even made fun of Zarqawi's footwear in that video, saying he was wearing tennis shoes instead of boots.

Well, the U.S. military using the same approach to find Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan as to find and kill Zarqawi, but it's obviously a far more difficult task.

Barbara Starr reports.


BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): U.S. troops got Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the old-fashioned way, tracking tips and assembling intelligence. And that is why four and a half years after the 9/11 attacks it is still so hard to get Osama bin Laden.

LT. GEN. KARL EIKENBERRY, COMBINED FORCES COMMANDER, AFGHANISTAN: We will keep after him until one day he is either captured or killed.

STARR: Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry commands 23,000 troops in Afghanistan, but they don't operate across the border in Pakistan, where bin Laden is believed to be sheltered by loyal tribes and Taliban fighters. As the hunt has continued, the war in Afghanistan, like in Iraq, has taken a grim turn.

(on camera): The U.S. military says it's fighting an insurgency now here in Afghanistan, and a counterinsurgency campaign, they say, could take years to succeed.

(voice over): The assessment, the Taliban are stronger now than anyone expected, especially in the south and east along the border. MAJ. GEN. BENJAMIN FREAKLEY, COMBINED JOINT TASK FORCE 76: The fight has not diminished. It -- but they have had time to reorganize. They've had time to assess the situation both in Afghanistan and with the coalition forces. They've had time to recruit more. They've had time to get funding.

STARR: But Eikenberry knows unless there is a lucky tip and he can get a weapon launched quickly, getting bin Laden will be tough.

EIKENBERRY: We have an obligation to one day either kill or capture bin Laden for the purpose of justice to the American people and, indeed, to the entire world for the misery that this man has inflicted. And we keep faith with that.

STARR (on camera): Intelligence officials tell CNN they continue to get unverified reports of bin Laden sightings. If one of those reports did pan out, the greatest likelihood is that the CIA would quickly launch an unmanned drone carrying a HELLFIRE missile and attempt to kill the world's most wanted man.

Barbara Starr, CNN, the Pentagon.


DOBBS: The White House tonight is warning that the death of Zarqawi will not lead to a quick end to the Iraqi insurgency. The White House says troubled days still lie ahead for Iraq and for our troops.

Elaine Quijano reports from the White House -- Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Lou, President Bush walked a fine line in congratulating American forces, while at the same time cautioning the American people that, as you said, there are still difficult days ahead in Iraq. In his comments in the Rose Garden earlier today, the president said he spoke with Iraq's prime minister and congratulated him on the collaboration between coalition and Iraqi forces. And while Mr. Bush said that U.S. troops had "delivered justice," he was also careful to say that Zarqawi's death is not expected to end the violence.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him. We can expect the sectarian violence to continue. Yet, the ideology of terror has lost one of its most visible and aggressive leaders.

Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al Qaeda. It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it's an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle.


QUIJANO: As for how all of this unfolded here at the White House, on Wednesday, as the president was being briefed by members of Congress just back from Iraq -- and ironically, Congressman Ray LaHood was suggesting that it would be helpful to "get Zarqawi" -- the president's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, was learning that there had been a U.S. strike and that they believed Zarqawi had been killed.

After that meeting, Hadley informed the president and his top aides. And then several hours later, Hadley told Mr. Bush by phone that Zarqawi's identity had in fact been confirmed.

Now, the White House actually waited, allowing the Iraqis to announce the news first. A move certainly designed to bolster Iraq's new prime minister.

Still an open question, though, Lou, what this means for American troop levels in Iraq. Monday, the president will be meeting with top U.S. officials at Camp David. They will be joined by teleconference on Tuesday by Iraqi officials. And the focus, in the president's words, to "discuss how best to deploy America's resources in Iraq" -- Lou.

DOBBS: Elaine Quijano from the White House.

Thank you, Elaine.

Still ahead, we'll have much more on the death of Zarqawi as we discuss with our experts in counterterrorism and military tactics what the future holds.

Also, the Department of Homeland Security appears unable to eliminate a vulnerability at our border that would allow terrorists to enter this country. We'll have that special report.

And President Bush invoking a higher power in the illegal alien crisis. We'll tell you what the president said.

And why the United States government is refusing tonight to step in and stop the foreign takeover of this nation's airlines. Another great American giveaway.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: The United States has done almost nothing to secure its borders and ports since September 11th. Now the United States doesn't even require travelers from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean to present a passport to enter the United States. Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants to tighten border security, but some in Congress are fighting homeland security in its efforts to secure at least partly our porous borders.

Lisa Sylvester has this story.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): By the end of next year, all travelers between the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean are supposed to have a passport or a similar document. It's part of a border security law passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. But in a congressional hearing, concerns were raised that the Department of Homeland Security will not be able to meet that deadline.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D), TEXAS: Is a contractor in place? Is a design of the type document in place?

PAUL ROSENZWIEG, ACTING ASST. SEC., DHS: We -- with respect to the documents going forward, as opposed to the technology, a decision on precisely which technology to use has yet to be made.

SYLVESTER: Travelers now visiting the United States by land can present border agents with a myriad of documents, even baptismal records, as proof of citizenship. Critics say it's a loophole terrorists could take advantage of. And it's not just the Mexican border that is a concern. Canada is gaining more attention with the arrest of 17 alleged terrorists in Toronto.

DAVID HARRIS, INSIGNIS STRATEGIC RESEARCH, INC.: Canada is heavily infiltrated by terrorists. Canada is a recruiting, planning, financing, and launch point for international terrorism.

SYLVESTER: Even as some lawmakers are trying to make sure the program rolls out on time, others are seeking to push back the deadline, arguing the new requirements will adversely impact commerce and trade.

REP. JOHN MCHUGH (R), NEW YORK: I think it's wiser to admit that we've got some challenges here, establish a more reasonable time frame, and go ahead and do it right, rather than doing it quickly, which would just be an economic disaster.

SYLVESTER: The passport would be the document of choice under the new rule. But DHS will develop a pass card, a cheaper version of a passport.


SYLVESTER: Deciding the type of technology to use and developing those new pass cards have been a big holdup. A GAO report last month found DHS has a long way to go to implement the plans and that time is slipping by -- Lou.

DOBBS: Lisa, thank you.

Lisa Sylvester from Washington.

President Bush is invoking what he calls a higher power to sell his amnesty plan for millions of illegal aliens. At least he did today. Speaking to a group of Hispanic clerics today, President Bush went beyond his usual sales pitch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BUSH: America is a welcoming society, a country of law, but a country that also says if you work hard and dream big dreams, you can realize your dreams. And many of those who are in our country who are working hard to realize their dreams also rely upon a higher power to help them realize those dreams.


DOBBS: A higher power. President Bush regularly appeals to American history, tradition, patriotism to justify his so-called comprehensive immigration reform legislation. As best we can count, this is the first time he's referred to a higher power.

Still ahead, new disclosures tonight in the case of a California woman whose identity was stolen by illegal aliens more than 200 times.

Congress has cleared the way for foreign takeover of our airlines. It is simply the next installment of the great American giveaway. We'll have that special report.

And illegal immigration was the top issue in California's special election. Radio host Rick Amato was in the middle of it all, and he joins us here tonight.

American forces kill Iraq's most wanted man. What does it mean? Former CIA counterterrorism officer Gary Berntsen and General David Grange join us here.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: Tonight, foreign investors are poised to take over another crucial piece of American infrastructure. And again, the White House, the Defense Department, and Department of Homeland Security are doing absolutely nothing to stop it.

Bill Tucker has the report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The outrage over foreign ownership of U.S. ports apparently taught many in Washington nothing. Congress has just cleared the way to give foreign investors functional control of domestic airlines, removing any roadblocks to the Department of Transportation's changing of a 65-year-old rule prohibiting foreign control of America's airlines.

SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), NEW JERSEY: The Republican majority wants to make it easy for the Bush administration to conduct its sale of America. First it was ports. That obviously didn't work. And now our airlines, to be foreign-owned? It hardly sounds like it makes sense for us.

TUCKER: That rule change will give foreign investors control over which routes the airlines fly, which -- what type of planes it purchases, what country the crews that staff the planes come from, where the planes are maintained, and ticket pricing. The Department of Transportation says it's all legal because they're not letting foreign investors take ownership, just operational control.

REP. FRANK LOBIONDO (R), NEW JERSEY: That's the key word, "operational". Operational control would not be in the hands of the people we want it to be.

TUCKER: How this would affect the Department of Defense's relationship with the airlines, which ferry troops and equipment in the time of war, is not clear. While the Department of Defense has verbally OK'd the deal, the DOD has refused to put that OK in writing. And in the eyes of critics, it's one more industry where the United States is relinquishing its role.

DUANE WOERTH, AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION: We lost shipping over 20 years ago. We lost all the ports about 10 years ago, nobody even knew it happened. Now we don't have a maritime shipping industry, we don't have (ph) any of our own ports. And we're about 10 years from the airline industry and the ports being in the exact same place.

TUCKER: There are pending amendments in both the House and Senate to attempt to delay the changes proposed by the Department of Transportation.

(on camera): If the administration gets its way and foreign investors are allowed control of U.S. airlines, that control could begin as early as next month.

Bill Tucker, CNN, New York.


DOBBS: Congressional opponents of foreign ownership of U.S. airlines are trying to force a vote on the issue, which would mean that every single member of Congress would have to go on record on the issue of foreign control of our airlines.

If you want to contact your representatives, go to We have easy links for you to your representatives in Congress and, of course, your senators.

That brings us to the subject of our poll tonight. Do you believe the Bush administration is once again putting trade and commerce ahead of national security, yes or no?

Cast your vote at Results coming right up.

Taking a look now at some of your thoughts.

Steve in Missouri, "Lou, I read your comments about the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage and disagree with your ridicule of the amendment. Yes, there are many issues that face our country. But you assumption that Congress can only work on one issue to the exclusion of all others is ridiculous." Sandy in Arizona, "Please thank the voters in California for electing Bilbray, a Republican. Although I'm a Democrat and disagree with the Bush administration's policies, I am not in agreement with the Democrats' immigration policy. I will vote for a Republican if it means securing the border and controlling immigration."

P.J. in Georgia, "Could it possibly be that the four Democratic senators who did not support the immigration legislation are up for re-election in November?"

Well, actually, three of those Democratic senators are up for re- election this year. They are Senator Robert Byrd, Senator Ben Nelson and Senator Debbie Stabenow. But North Dakota's senator, Senator Byron Dorgan, is not up for re-election until 2010.

Send us your thoughts to We'll have more of them coming up in the broadcast.

Next here, one of the rare successes in the war against the insurgency in Iraq. Iraq's most wanted terrorist is dead, but what impact, if any, will Zarqawi's death have on that war? I'll be talking with former CIA officer Gary Berntsen and General David Grange.

And then, illegal immigration, border security, and the role the two play in the upcoming midterm elections. "Washington Times" columnist and radio talk show host Rick Amato joins me.

And why Ann Coulter calls victims of -- calls the widows of 9/11 victims witches. Ann Coulter is our guest here.

And we'll have your thoughts and a great deal more straight ahead.

Stay with us.


DOBBS: We've been reporting on the theft of identities by illegal aliens taking the identities of American citizens. Last night we reported to you about a northern California woman whose Social Security number was stolen more than 200 times by illegal aliens. Tonight we report to you on our tracking down of those employers who hired some of those identity thieves.

Casey Wian has the story.


AUDRA SCHMIERER, ID THEFT VICTIM: All different people...

CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Audra Schmierer says she's contacted 35 companies who hired illegal aliens using her Social Security number. She says none of them have agreed to take action against the identity thieves. But she's been rejected from jobs because her Social Security number is now linked to criminals. SCHMIERER: I found in one situation that they entered my Social Security number, and I think because it was a larger company they were able to see that my number actually had a felony under it. I don't have a felony. I've never even received a parking ticket.

WIAN: But there's a warrant for her arrest in Texas, while dozens of illegal aliens work there under her Social Security number. One of them -- her last name is Camaccio (ph) -- worked in Jack in the Box for two years then Denny's for three. The address listed on her W-2 form does not exist. Another man named Ramon (ph) used Schmierer's Social Security number to find jobs at five different companies.

(on camera): What do you say to people who say that these illegal aliens who come here, they just come here to work, they just come for a better life, they're really not hurting anybody in the United States?

SCHMIERER: Absolutely they're hurting someone. They're hurting me. I'm -- this has completely consumed my entire life.

WIAN: The employers apparently violated no law, because according to the IRS, they're only required to rely on good faith to verify an employee's identity. So, if documents aren't obviously fakes, they're acceptable. One of the ID thieves worked for Avon as an independent sales representative, not an employee. Legally the burden is on independent contractors to certify, under penalty of perjury, they're using their own taxpayer ID number.

Jack in the Box and Avon would not discuss individual employees but say they follow federal law. Denny's did not provide a statement in time for this broadcast. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the answer is not stricter standards but education.

MICHAEL ZANEIS, U.S. CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The closest thing we have to a panacea for this problem is education and trying to help and empower the businesses, again, that want to comply with these, with these regulations or at least with best practices.

WIAN: Many businesses fail to act when the IRS notifies them a worker is using a false ID. The potential fine is just $50 per employee.


WIAN: The IRS says it resolved more than 12,000 cases last year of taxpayers whose Social Security numbers were stolen. And that number is likely to grow until there's a mandatory secure employee verification system in place, Lou.

DOBBS: Casey, that is simply an overwhelming statement by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It's obvious, the Chamber is the biggest business group in the country. They're obviously pro illegal immigration, pro open borders. But the temerity to say the issue is one of education. I mean, that's insipid at best. WIAN: We asked for their official statement on the issue of a mandatory workplace identification system for employers. They didn't get back to us with an official response but they did say that they're holding meetings around the country, trying to educate small businesses on what they can do to avoid this type of fraud. The problem is many small businesses just want to cut corners, Lou.

DOBBS: How about let's help out the U.S. Chamber of Commerce here tonight. You ready, Casey? Don't lie, don't cheat, don't steal, it will work out pretty good.

WIAN: Sounds like a good idea, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. Casey Wian from Los Angeles.

Returning to the top story of this evening, the Bush administration tonight calling the death of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi a substantial national security success. And joining me now two men who know a lot about national security from different perspectives. Former CIA counterterrorism officer Gary Berntsen, the co-author of the book "Jawbreaker" and General David Grange. General, good to have you with us. Let me start with you, General Grange. Your assessment of the impact of the killing of Zarqawi.

BRIG. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Well, I think the impact, one, has an effect on the Iraqi people because I think a little bit of a myth started with Zarqawi and killing him, I think, kind of broke that bubble. Even though he may not have controlled all of the insurgency, it does have an effect. It has an effect on the Iraqi police, and the military. Gives them a little bit of a shot in the arm as well as the coalition forces. So I think in perception, psychologically, it did have an effect.

DOBBS: Gary, let me ask you. This is, General Grange and I have discussed throughout this campaign the importance of intelligence and any success against the insurgency is critical. Is this the, in your judgment, to be laid squarely at the ability to create intelligence in this case on the whereabouts of Zarqawi?

GARY BERNTSEN, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Well, of course, we've been getting intelligence all along. The problem is targets like Zarqawi move all the time. They were able to get it, they were able to verify it and they were able to act on it immediately. The important thing now is making sure that they can exploit what they found on scene. If they're able to recover information on scene about his lieutenants and other folks, they need to be out there and trying to destroy them. They need to increase the op tempo right away.

DOBBS: Two 500-pound bombs, General Grange, how much material do you think would be left?

GRANGE: Well, obviously, there wasn't much left at all. But it's amazing about the human body. I mean, in Vietnam, we've gone into areas that have been just bombed for days of B-52 strikes where when you walk in, you're up to your knees in dust. And people still come out of the ground to fight with their noses and ears and eyes bleeding but they're still alive. So, I think two 500-pounders, I'd rather have two than one in this case, yes.

DOBBS: General Grange always putting it succinctly and straightforwardly. Gary, do you think this is a turning point in the quality of intelligence? Could it be a foreshadowing of greater successes to come in.

BERNTSEN: Well, I think that we've had good intelligence at times. Again, I don't think there's been a significant ratcheting up in improvement of intelligence. It's just if you're at this long enough against hard targets you'll have success. This is just hammering and hammering and hammering away. Finally they were able to get intelligence and the ability to strike quickly together.

DOBBS: And if you were to guess, the techniques employed in Iraq, being attempted in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the likelihood of success against Osama Bin Laden?

BERNTSEN: The difference with Bin Laden is he's not actively leading forces the way Zarqawi was. With Zarqawi, he was out leading, out in the field. He was an easier target to kill. He was doing a lot more damage than Bin Laden. Bin Laden is not actively leading forces and providing that much in the way of direction.

DOBBS: As a former CIA officer, does the United States have the capacity, covert capacity, to reach into Pakistan, even though he's being protected by warlords, reportedly there, and deal with the issue?

BERNTSEN: Eventually we'll get him. But it still could take a bit more time. Again, I think it will be just like this thing, they'll find him and shoot.

DOBBS: General Grange, your thoughts, the impact on the U.S. military of Zarqawi's death?

GRANGE: Well, again, the effort that was just stated earlier, the effort after Zarqawi has been going on for a long time. And near misses and constant pursuit, determination to get this guy. And right now those 17 other targets that we hit and many others are being pursued the same way. The tenacity now has increased. Morale has increased for the U.S. troops. So, I mean, this is very favorable, absolutely.

DOBBS: General David Grange, Gary Berntsen, thank you very much. Appreciate you being here.

Coming up next, border security and illegal immigration prove to be the deciding issue in one California congressional race. San Diego radio talk show host Rick Amato followed the race closely, moderated a debate. He joins us tonight to share his views on the impact of that election. And the always controversial Ann Coulter. Some of you didn't even want her on the show. Some of you describing her as an evil witch of conservatism. Well, it's a free country. Let's hear what she has to say. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) DOBBS: Two of the nation's leading newspapers trying to determine the meaning of the results from the special election for a congressional seat in San Diego, the congressional seat for the disgraced Duke Cunningham. The Republican candidate won. And they came, those two newspapers, to starkly different conclusions, judging by their headlines. The front page of today's "Washington Post" reads "Victory in California Calms GOP." "The New York Times" took a different meaning from it all. It's front-page headline, "Narrow Victory by GOP Signals Fall Problems." Republican Brian Bilbray, of course, defeated Francine Busby, the Democrat, in that special election. Illegal immigration and border security key issues, especially after Busby told a group of supporters, quote, "You don't need papers for voting." Busby said she misspoke, but my next guest today wrote in his column, "She may have painted the entire Democratic Party into a corner on the illegal immigration issues. Democratic candidates in congressional races across America now must demonstrate they're not pandering to illegal immigrant groups."

Joining me now, radio talk show host, "Washington Times" contributor and columnist, Rick Amato. He moderated a debate between Bilbray and Busby on his radio show. Joining us tonight from San Diego.

Rick, the outcome was supposed to be close. One of the things I've noticed, though, is that there was very little coverage of the fact that there was a third candidate in this race. What was the impact of his candidacy?

RICK AMATO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, Lou, first of all, it's a pleasure being with you.

You're exactly right. The independent candidate, William Griffith, he did have an impact on this race. As a matter of fact, the San Diego Minutemen endorsed the third party candidate, William Griffith. However, just days prior to the election, after Mrs. Busby had that famous or infamous, I should say, misstep with her statement, the San Diego Minutemen pulled their endorsement of the third candidate, fearing a Busby victory. So it's fair to say that -- a couple of things. This third party candidate, number one, he did indeed remove votes from the Republican candidate, Brian Bilbray.

DOBBS: Right.

AMATO: "The New York Times" may not want to face that fact, but it is a fact. Secondly -- secondly, however, he -- those votes -- some of those votes did swing Bilbray's way late in the campaign when the Minutemen removed their endorsement.

DOBBS: The common conventional wisdom is that all congressional races are local. These issues are very much local. And San Diego County, as you well know -- but for those who are not aware of it -- this is a case in which a national issue, illegal immigration, another national issue, border security, are also of immense local importance. Do you think that there is any likelihood that that will be the case in -- in other words, could people around the country be taking too much from this, the results of this special election, because illegal immigration and border security, while critical, of urgent importance to this nation, are not necessarily local issues?

AMATO: Lou, I think that's an outstanding question. There are some nuances here. Brian Bilbray won for two reasons. He won because the Republican right lined up behind him on the illegal immigration issue. He also won because he and his campaign manager, Steve Dannon (ph), are masterful campaigners. They are campaign assassins. Meanwhile, the Busby campaign is more like the Keystone Kops.

So there are two reasons why Bilbray won this campaign -- illegal immigration and he's a masterful campaigner. Nationally, we don't know how that will play out.

DOBBS: Right. And you moderated the debate. The idea that this candidate, a Democrat, running -- ran in 2004 against Cunningham and did pretty well, actually, against a very powerful candidate two years ago, disgraced now obviously. But to see that surge in the latter part from, what did he have, 15 percent in the primary, to nearly 50 percent in the special election.

AMATO: Lou, what is not covered in the media is, yes, Brian Bilbray received 15 percent in the primary. However, there were 18 Republican candidates.

DOBBS: Right.

AMATO: So that vote was split 18 separate ways.

DOBBS: So the message here is that the Republican Party had better be very, very careful in what it extrapolates nationally, but no matter how careful it might be, the fact is that illegal immigration and border security, powerful issues.

AMATO: Lou, you summed it up perfectly.

DOBBS: All right. Thank you very much. Rick Amato, good to have you with us.

AMATO: Thank you, Lou. It's a pleasure.

DOBBS: A new poll in today's "Washington Post" reveals Americans' attitudes on illegal immigration, border security. They were asked which of the following do you trust the most on immigration? The results, 31 percent of those surveyed said they trust President Bush; 37 said -- 37 percent, me. I like the results. I've got to talk to that other 32 percent, however.

Coming up at the top of the hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf, you've got to love that poll.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Yeah, that poll made some news here. Thanks, Lou.

Is the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a turning point for Iraq? I'll ask Senator John McCain and Congressman John Murtha. Plus, we'll get the latest live from Baghdad. Nicholas Berg was the first in a series of brutal beheadings blamed on al-Zarqawi. Now, Nick Berg's father speaks out on the terrorist's death. It's not the reaction you probably will expect.

And in our CNN "Security Watch," might al-Zarqawi's death be a cause for concern about violence right here in the United States? All that, Lou, coming up right at the top of the hour.

DOBBS: Looking forward to it, Wolf. Thank you very much.

And a reminder now to vote in our poll. Do you believe the Bush administration is again putting trade and commerce ahead of national security on the efforts to give away foreign control -- give away control of U.S. airlines to foreign owners? Cast your votes at Those results coming up here in just a few moments.

Coming up next, Senator Hillary Clinton calls Ann Coulter's latest comments on four widows of September 11th victims a vicious, mean-spirited attack. Ann Coulter joins us here next with her reaction to the controversy, her thoughts on illegal immigration, intelligence, Able Danger and her brand new book, "Godless." Stay with us.


DOBBS: Well, the best-selling book tonight on -- get ready, liberals, you can cheer if you are conservatives -- the book is "Godless: The Church of Liberalism." The author is conservative columnist Ann Coulter. Ann Coulter fascinates and delights those on the right. She infuriates those on the left. In her new book, she fiercely attacks in one part of her book four women whose husbands were killed in the September 11th attacks, and that has provoked outraged responses from Senator Hillary Clinton, New York Governor George Pataki, and more than a few others.

Ann Coulter joins us here in the studio. Ann, welcome.

I have to tell you, I heard from viewers today saying how dare you have Ann Coulter on the air, it is an outrage, she is the witch of conservatism.

ANN COULTER, AUTHOR: Ooh, I thought we weren't allowed to say witch. Isn't that getting to be like illegal alien, another word we can't use?

DOBBS: That's -- well, there is apparently a break in the embargo on it at least. How do you react to that?

COULTER: Well, it's really just a gift I have. It's getting to be kind of a kabuki theater. I put out a book, liberals are outraged. This time she's gone too far. I put out another book, liberals are outraged.

DOBBS: Do you think it's fair...

COULTER: By the way, Senator Kerry has also attacked me. You dropped him from the list.

DOBBS: I'm sorry. We would not want to...

COULTER: Apparently...

DOBBS: I don't mean to neglect anyone by omission here. But...

COULTER: Apparently, cutting a campaign commercial for John Kerry was an important part of the grieving process.

DOBBS: The way in which -- the vigor with which you go after the -- what do you call them -- the Jersey girls. Are they really so important in the matrix...

COULTER: No, they're not important by themselves, but as, apparently, a lot of people are going to find out now that they're buying my book and can read the full book...

DOBBS: I can see you just despairing at all of that.

COULTER: It is part of the chapter. I mean, the theme of the book is that liberalism is a religions. It's a Godless religion. I describe their tenets, their doctrines, their beliefs in miracles, in the supernatural, their temples, their clergy. This is a chapter on the liberal doctrine of infallibility, and that is they used to have complete 100 percent domination of the news and prevent us from responding.

DOBBS: Ann, I had the same reaction as I read your book, talking about the catechism, if you will. I mean, I had the same reaction to right-wing, free traders. They have a faith-based view of economics.

COULTER: Right, right, right, right. But that is not -- that is not the sine qua non of the conservative or of the Republican Party. There's obviously a lot of dissent on that in the Republican Party. I mean, look at pat Buchanan. I certainly don't hold up free trade as the definition of the party.

You don't get much dissent in the Democratic party. You don't get dissent on abortion, for example. We are a big tent. That is their holy sacrament.

DOBBS: What if I said to you, though, I think that you're marketing books with some of these outrageous remarks -- nothing wrong with that, but how much of it is heartfelt and how much of it is pretty sophisticated writing with a pretty sophisticated ...

COULTER: I would like to say I was that clever at marketing, but no, I mean, I've always talked this way, I've always written this way and I certainly wrote and talked this way back when nobody was publishing me. If I wanted to be published, if I wanted to market books, it wasn't good to be talking the way I was. Nobody would publish slander. You may remember that.

DOBBS: Right. COULTER: It was killed by Harper Collins. My agent shopped it for six months. Literally no one would publish it. And then, of course, that immediately became number one on the "New York Times" best-sellers list. So then Americans, you know, liked my books despite liberals trying to suppress them. And then they say oh, it's just a trick to get published or to get bought.

DOBBS: I had people say I should just absolutely eviscerate you here tonight and just destroy you, which really isn't my job. And ...

COULTER: No, I think you are eviscerating. You're doing a very good job, Lou.

DOBBS: Thank you very much. But, you know, the idea that the media has this reaction to you I find fascinating, because you are basically the -- forgive me, but the opposite of Michael Moore.

COULTER: I reject that.

DOBBS: I know you do. I know you do. But I'm giving you one man's perception and possibility.

COULTER: I think I am the right wing Mencken, the right wing Mark Twain. I am not the right wing Michael Moore.

DOBBS: I will let you define yourself, obviously, and I'll even entertain the possibility. But the idea that we have reached a point in this society -- you're talking about liberalism and that's great. For all of the conservatives who are mad and passionate about being a conservative and a Republican, God bless them, forgive me for the expression.

And the liberals and the Democrats who are madly and passionately in love with their partisanship, God bless them. But do you really feel -- I'd just like to know because you're a very bright lady. We have such important issues here.


DOBBS: And we have to go through the attacks and we have to go through the rancor.

COULTER: Yes. Well, there are a lot more attacks on one side than the other. And if you're describing what I say about the "Jersey Girls" as reducing dialogue in America, au contraire. I think it is precisely the opposite. That is my objection to what liberals are doing by sending out victims as their spokespeople. I think it's the ugliest thing liberals have done to dialogue in this country.

Yes, there are important issues and we should discuss it. But if you have a point to make, send out somebody who isn't a widow, who isn't an orphan, who didn't have a son die in Iraq, who didn't lose limbs in Vietnam to make the point so that we can respond, because I don't want to hear the point when I respond, oh, that's mean. Oh, that's mean. You know, let's have a dialogue about the issues. You never see conservatives doing that. Liberals are putting up human shields.

DOBBS: I never see conservatives doing what?

COULTER: Putting up human shields to make our points. Go ahead, attack me.

DOBBS: OK. I will attack you.

COULTER: I'm here, I'm not queer. I'm not going away.

DOBBS: Here you go. Conservatives -- I have been attacked as an economic isolationist and a protectionist because I don't believe that we should run 30 years of consecutive trade deficits.


DOBBS: Do you think I'm a protectionist or economic isolationist?

COULTER: I must say free trade is not really my issue. I am certainly not a free trade fetishist.

DOBBS: All right. Let's try this one. I've been felled by those same corporatists supporting your -- both parties, by the way.

COULTER: I know.

DOBBS: Corporate America ...


COULTER: I know. That's a different issue. That's not really conservative or liberal.

DOBBS: I tend to dismiss both the liberal and the conservative.

COULTER: No, but I think that's wrong because the conservative base is much more with you. You're talking about the "Wall Street Journal" Republicans. Those are the old Republicans. Those are the Republicans that used to lose elections.

Now the Republican Party, the basis of the Republican Party, is lower taxes, protect life, defend the country. That's it. We have disagreements about other things.

DOBBS: As a matter of fact, I for the life of me can't find the difference between the Republican and Democratic Party right now. But what I was going to say ...

COULTER: Oh, I can tell you.

DOBBS: OK, thank you, but I'm going to wait until after you answer this question, if I may. And that is, you know, they attack me as a racist, as a xenophobe because I want to see our borders secured, so does your president. I want to have those borders open and everybody just kumbaya irrespective to the national security threats, terrorism. How do you react?

COULTER: As I quote Peter Brimelow in my book, saying the new definition of racist is a conservative who has an argument you can't respond to. I agree. Yes, everybody gets called the racist, Lou. When you make an argument they can't respond that's the first thing they say.

DOBBS: So find some mean-spiritedness actually on both sides of it.

COULTER: You really can't say both sides. That is simply -- yes, but it is not true.

DOBBS: Well, I just did. Watch me. I'm going to say it again. I think both the left and the right are mean-spirited.

COULTER: OK, you can say it. That is absolutely not true. Look at Michael Moore can go speak on any college campus in America. I have to travel with a bodyguard. There is no food. There are no threats. There is no violence being done even against Ward Churchill calling all of the victims, not the four Jersey moms, "little Eichmanns."

There's no violence being done to them. There's a Talibanist at Yale, he walks about unmolested. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed in the manly virtue of the conservatives in this country that that Talibanist can walk around without getting his face smashed.

You know, when Michelle Malkin, David Horowitz and I and Condoleezza Rice can't give a speech on a college campus without a phalanx of bodyguards and policemen, do not tell me it's both sides engaging in the mean-spiritedness.

DOBBS: Both sides in the media and certainly in the discourse I would normally describe as the media but I will tell you this, I think your point in terms of university campuses, whether people like to hear it or not, is absolutely true. There is a mean-spiritedness I think abroad in many, many universities in which there is a liberal cant that is suffocating to free and independent thought. And on that, I will absolutely exceed your view.

COULTER: Those are the ...


DOBBS: I'm still working on the Mark Twain and the H.L. Mencken. Ann Coulter, thank you.

COULTER: It will come around.

DOBBS: The book is "Godless," and it's already number one. And if you're liberal, you ought to read it. It's kind of fun. If you're conservative, you already know what's in it. No, have I messed up your marketing? I said it.

COULTER: No, that was fabulous. DOBBS: Ann Coulter, thanks for being here. Appreciate it.

COULTER: Thank you.

DOBBS: Still ahead, the results of our poll tonight. We'll have more of your thoughts. Stay with us.


DOBBS: The results of our poll tonight, 99 percent of you say the Bush administration is once again putting trade and commerce ahead of national security.

Taking a look now at more of your thoughts, "Lou, can we have a constitutional amendment banning the marriage between the GOP and big corporate money? That is one union that's a threat to everyone."

Bill in Ohio: "Lou, in a effort to save traditional marriage, I'd like to propose a constitutional amendment banning divorce."

And Jim in Washington: "Lou, is counting American votes another job that an American won't do."

And Thomas in Alabama: "I was really worried when you said one company controlled a major portion of voting machines in America. I was relieved when you said the company was from Venezuela. I was afraid it was from Washington, D.C."

Send us your thoughts at Each of you whose e-mail is read here receives a copy of my book, "Exporting America."

We thank you for being with us tonight. We hope you'll be joining us here tomorrow. For all of us, thanks for watching. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" begins right now with Wolf Blitzer -- Wolf.