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Lou Dobbs Tonight

Congress Pushes For New Food Labeling Laws; Bush Administration Reducing Number of National Guard Troops on Mexican Border?

Aired July 27, 2007 - 18:00   ET


KITTY PILGRIM, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight: An overwhelming majority of senators vote for tighter border security, but President Bush may veto that legislation.
Also, the Bush administration is cutting the number of National Guard troops on the border with Mexico. But our border is still far from secure.

And Congress makes a new attempt to require country-of-origin labels on our food. But will this food safety initiative be any more successful?

We will have that, all the news of the day, and more straight ahead tonight.

ANNOUNCER: This is LOU DOBBS TONIGHT: news, debate, and opinion for Friday, July 27.

Live from New York, sitting in for Lou Dobbs, Kitty Pilgrim.

PILGRIM: Good evening, everybody.

We begin with some remarkably blunt criticism of the U.S. Congress by a former Army vice chief of staff. General John Keane said the actions of Congress are in direct conflict with the realities on the ground in Iraq. General Keane declared the military surge strategy is making progress, but the general admits the military had it wrong and had the wrong strategy at the beginning of the war.

Jamie McIntyre reports from Washington -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SENIOR PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kitty, this was supposed to be a hearing about giving U.S. troops time off from combat and withdrawal planning, but it quickly turned into an impassioned debate about whether the surge is working.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): The scene was the House Armed Services Committee, where Jack Keane, the retired Army vice chief of staff and one of the chief architects of the surge strategy, was pleading with Congress not to tie the hands of military commanders.

GEN. JOHN KEANE (RET.), U.S. ARMY: Yes, we have made mistakes, serious ones. This is not the time to give into our frustrations, to give into our anger, and to give into our fears. MCINTYRE: Bush administration supporters argue that two proposals, to prohibit troops from being sent to Iraq if they had not had enough break from combat and to require the Pentagon to submit detailed plans for redeployment, are thinly disguised ploys to force a withdrawal before the surge ends in April.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER (R-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe that such prohibitions intrude heavily and inappropriately into the constitutional duties of the president as commander in chief.

MCINTYRE: But critics of the surge strategy told the House committee it's time for the U.S. to cut its losses.

LAWRENCE KORB, SENIOR FELLOW, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: As much as I respect General Keane, and some of the guess he said, I can't emphasize this too much. This surge is built on sand. It cannot succeed.

MCINTYRE: Now a key adviser to General David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General Keane readily admits the U.S. strategy up until now failed has miserably. But, he argues, victory is still possible.

KEANE: This is what we have always wanted, the Sunnis to achieve their political objectives, not through armed violence, but through the political process. And it is beginning to happen.


MCINTYRE: Keane argues that it is not the war that will break the Army, but defeat, if political will is lost. And he compared it to the devastating psychological effect of pulling out of Vietnam, which he says took the U.S. Army 15 years to recover from -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Jamie McIntyre.

Well, insurgents in Iraq killed another one of our troops. The soldier was killed in Diyala Province north of Baghdad. There has been very heavy fighting in Diyala Province in recent weeks; 67 of our troops have been killed so far in Iraq this month; 3,646 of our troops have been killed since this war began, 26,953 troops wounded, 12,115 seriously.

The White House today focused on rising controversy over Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. White House Press Secretary Tony Snow insisted FBI Director Robert Mueller did not contradict testimony by Gonzales. The White House accused Democrats of launching a crusade to remove Gonzales from office.

Suzanne Malveaux reports from the White House -- Suzanne.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kitty, we saw the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, in Indianapolis. He is trying to show that it is business as usual, that he is about the people's business. He is promoting programs to protect children. He even said this one line. He said, "I will not rest, even after I'm no longer attorney general, until this nation is better able to shield our children from crimes." That, of course, being the big question, how long he will remain in that position.

Now, senior administration officials I spoke with say that the president is still confident in him, that he is still supporting him, but what we saw today is Press Secretary Tony Snow essentially trying to beat back these front-page stories, stories that are showing that Gonzales' testimony conflicted with FBI Director Robert Mueller.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I cannot serve as the fact witness of everything that was in their head and try to unpack exactly what they meant. But I'm sure that both men were up there telling the truth and the whole truth as they understood it.


MCINTYRE: And, Kitty, talking with Republican strategists, friends of this White House, they are baffled, they say, that they do not believe that Gonzales really has any support. The only person they say is supporting him now is the president. But one sign that they believe is perhaps encouraging, and that is they think this is a very important issue for Congress, but it has not reached a grassroots level -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Suzanne Malveaux.

Well, the Bush administration today announced a breakthrough in efforts to save its controversial nuclear deal with India. Now, last year President Bush promised to give India sensitive U.S. nuclear technology in return for Indian products, such as mangoes. Well, President Bush called the deal historic when he visited India. But Congress has been highly skeptical of the agreement.

And today the United States and India said they had resolved their differences over sharing nuclear technology.

The United States and Europe have reached a new deal to share personal information about airline passengers. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff says the deal is an essential security measure. But civil liberties groups say the agreement threatens the privacy of travelers.

Kathleen Koch reports.


KATHLEEN KOCH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The new agreement with the European Union requires airlines traveling from Europe to the United States to give the Homeland Security Department a broad array of passenger information. Currently, name, address, phone, e-mail contacts, itineraries, credit card information, and current hotel reservations are shared and analyzed at the National Targeting Center. Now airlines, if they have the data, will also be required to pass on passengers' racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership, and data on health, traveling partners, and sexual orientation.

But, under the agreement, that information is only to be used when lives are at risk, such as in a terrorism investigation.

RUSSELL KNOCKE, SPOKESPERSON, HOMELAND SECURITY DEPARTMENT: We're going to be able to connect the dots more quickly and we're going to be able to provide our front-line personnel with a powerful tool that really can help to save lives.

KOCH: Privacy advocates are most worried about the government's plans to keep the information for 15 years, long after the plane has landed and its passengers deemed not to be an immediate security risk.

JIM DEMPSEY, POLICY DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY: This is part of a broader trend of the government building databases on the ordinary, lawful activities of ordinary, law-abiding people, keeping that data, going back to it, mining it, and the risk of abuse, mistake, false accusation.

KOCH: The Homeland Security Department insists passengers will have the right to see the information being collected about them, and the chance to correct it if there's a mistake.


KOCH: The U.S. government will begin collecting that data on inbound passengers starting August 1. And it hopes to eventually secure similar agreements with both Asia and South America for information on passengers traveling here from those countries -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Kathleen, quick point. How do you go about correcting information if you think it's wrong?

KOCH: Well, you can go to the special Web site. It's DHStrip. and it has information about there about how you go about it.

When I asked the Homeland Security Department today, well, how long should that take? They said, well, every case is different, but hopefully just a few months.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Kathleen Koch.

KOCH: You bet.

PILGRIM: Still to come, the White House and Senate head for a showdown over new border security measures.

Also, outrage after the Bush administration changes the number of National Guard troops on our southern border.

And new details about the astronauts who drink before they fly, or so they say.

Stay with us.


PILGRIM: Congress today sent a bill to the White House that carries out the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The White House said the president would sign this bill. Now the measure will expand screening sea and air cargo. It will also increase funding to high-risk states.

The Senate last night overwhelmingly passed a homeland security bill with an amendment that would provide $3 billion to help secure our borders. Now, Republicans joined with Democrats and in an 89-4 vote to pass the measure.

But, as Lisa Sylvester reports, President Bush said it's a budget buster and threatened not to sign it into law.


LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three billion dollars to shore up border security, to up the number of border agents to 23,000 in the next five years, double the detention bed space, and provide money to build all 700 miles of fencing at the U.S. southern border.

SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Three billion dollars. That's $3 for every minute since Jesus Christ was born.

SYLVESTER: The amendment sponsor was Senator Lindsey Graham, who is up for reelection. He's been under intense pressure in South Carolina for siding with amnesty sponsors like Senator Ted Kennedy.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This is an emergency kind of manufactured by Washington. It's something that should have been done 20 years ago.

SYLVESTER: Other Republicans say the emergency border money is a first step, but warn the measure could be diluted in conference committee.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL), ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE: So, until it becomes actual law, and that will be later on this fall probably, it's monopoly money; it's not real money yet.

SYLVESTER: Democratic Leader Harry Reid opposed the border security amendment on Wednesday. But, by Thursday, an about-face, where he admitted to swallowing a bit of pride.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: I went through just a little tantrum. And the evening has brought to my attention that I was wrong.

SYLVESTER: Why the backtracking? IRA MEHLMAN, FEDERATION FOR AMERICAN IMMIGRATION REFORM: The Democrats can read polls just as well as Republicans can. And after that bruising battle over immigration last month in the Senate, they took a look around. They recognized that the only people who were less popular than George Bush were the congressional Democrats.

SYLVESTER: Democrats did defeat other immigration-related amendments, including one that would have provided states with money to implement the Real I.D. Act.


SYLVESTER: The White House opposes the border security amendment and has threatened to veto the overall homeland security bill because of its cost of nearly $38 billion. That's more than $2 billion over the president's budget request. But 89 senators voted for the legislation, only four opposed, and that is a veto-proof majority -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Lisa, is this also a bit of a political stand, too, to just let everyone know where they are on this issue?

SYLVESTER: Well, as you well know, we are -- a number of members of Congress, they are heading back to their home districts in August, and they want to be able to go back to their home states and be basically be able to claim this as a victory, which is one of the reasons why you didn't see many Democrats speaking out against this border security amendment -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Lisa Sylvester.

Well, one provision dropped from the Senate bill would have extended the stay of many National Guard troops on our border with Mexico; 6,000 Guard troops were assigned to the border as part of Operation Jump Start. And now that number will be severely cut back in the next two months.

Casey Wian has the report.


CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When President Bush deployed 6,000 National Guard troops to the southern border last year, he said they would stay for about a year, then start withdrawing as the Border Patrol increased its manpower. That process is now under way, with about half of the Guard troops scheduled to depart the Mexican border by the end of September.

JIM HAWKINS, U.S. BORDER PATROL: Some of these positions can be filled by the new Border Patrol agents coming in. Some of these missions may be able to be eliminated completely.

WIAN: The Border Patrol says it is on pace to add 2,500 new agents when this fiscal year ends in September. Still, many border state lawmakers say it's too soon to pull out the National Guard. REP. BRIAN BILBRAY (R), CALIFORNIA: We shouldn't be retreating from the border that -- that was a short-term plan. It needs to be extended. And I hope they reconsider and build on the success of using our National Guard at the border, rather than starting a retreat. What it looks like is that it was a temporary thing to be done for political reasons while the amnesty proposal was out there.

WIAN: New Mexico Senator Pete Domenici says he tried but failed to include an extension of the full National Guard deployment in the border security bill approved by his colleagues Thursday. Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano says she has received assurances that front- line National Guard troops will remain on the job, while those in administrative functions will be redeployed.

The Border Patrol credits the National Guard with helping reduce apprehensions of illegal aliens near the southern border by 24 percent so far this year. The number of non-Mexican illegal aliens, considered the biggest risk because of the potential for terrorism, has plunged 48 percent. The Border Patrol says a drop in apprehensions is a sign that fewer illegal aliens are trying to cross the border.


WIAN: This month, the Border Patrol began graduating twice as many new recruits from its training academy. By the end of next year, it says it expects to have nearly 18,000 agents, compared to nearly 14,000 now -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: But, Casey, how is the recruiting effort going?

WIAN: Well, it's been a difficult process. The Border Patrol was forced to run TV ads several months ago to try to get new recruits to sign up to become Border Patrol agents. They say still they are on target to meet that 18,000 number, but the Border Patrol union says that's not true. They say they are falling short of the goal of 18,000 by the end of next year.

And there are also concerns about the quality of the new recruits coming on the force because they are hiring so many, so fast.

PILGRIM: Thanks very much, Casey Wian.

Well, that brings us to the subject of tonight's poll: Do you believe the National Guard should be withdrawn from our border with Mexico, yes or no? Cast your vote, We will bring you the results a little bit later in the broadcast.

Time now for some of your thoughts.

And Niurka in New York wrote: "Did I hear the president correctly when he told a group of people to remember that the two border agents were convicted by members of their peers? Well, hello. Didn't his buddy Libby also get convicted by members of his peers? How hypocritical can you get?" Charles in Pennsylvania wrote to us: "The judge in the Hazleton case emphasized that illegal immigrants had the same civil rights as legal immigrants and citizens. This is the most twisted form of logic I have ever heard. If this is true, then where is the value of becoming a citizen?"

And Len in California wrote: "This administration is taking a hard stance against the will of the people to assure open borders. If Americans aren't vehemently opposed to the amnesty of illegals, our government will force this one on us one piece at a time."

We will have more of your e-mails a little bit later in the broadcast.

Coming up, Mexican drug cartels take over the methamphetamine trade. We will have a special report.

Has the Clinton-Obama feud hurt their standings in the polls? We will have some details on that.

And Congress wants you to know where your food comes from, but will industry lobbyists have the last word? We will have a report.

Stay with us.


PILGRIM: The House of Representatives today approved a new $42 billion agriculture bill, and once again, the bill includes country- of-origin labeling requirements for our food.

Now, as we have reported extensively on this broadcast, the law has been on the books for years. But the law has not been enforced because of pressure from food industry lobbyists and other groups.

Bill Tucker has our report.


BILL TUCKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Soon, you will no longer have to wonder or ask your grocer where your food came from. The House giving its blessing to the new agriculture bill, which includes country-of-origin labeling, or COOL.

TOM BUIS, NATIONAL FARMERS UNION: Well, it ought to probably be called the truth in labeling about country of origin, because the way this new legislation is written, if an animal is raised -- born and raised in Canada and processed in the United States, that's the way it will be labeled.

TUCKER: Only a product exclusively born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S. earns the USA label. Otherwise, products such as ground meats must include all of the countries the meats in the package came from. The law also makes retailers as well as producers responsible for complying with the law. Both will be subject to having their records audited and each can be subject to fines of up to $1,000 per violation.

Consumer groups call COOL an important first step in food safety.

PATTY LOVERA, FOOD & WATER WATCH: There's a lot more we need to do on food safety on all fronts, on imports and on domestic food. But the very first thing we can do is give consumers information about where the food is from.

TUCKER: Consumer demand for the legislation was overwhelming. A poll by "Consumer Reports" showed that 92 percent of Americans want to know where their food comes from. They could have known sooner. President Bush already signed COOL into law five years ago, but never saw fit to enforce it.


TUCKER: Now, proponents are pretty optimistic that the ag bill will encounter very little resistance in the Senate and they expect it to pass quickly there. President Bush, though, is already threatening to veto the bill. But then again, he threatened to veto the bill last time it came through as well, Kitty, and he ended up signing it.

PILGRIM: The farm bill.

I just want to clarify. What's different between the rules now that are in this bill and the old country-of-origin rules?

TUCKER: Well, it's interesting. It's actually a better bill in that it gets much more explicit in terms of labeling about where things come from, particularly with meat and fruits and vegetables. They have to be exclusively grown here, basically, is what it comes down to.

The other is that retailers are now going to be responsible, if this goes ahead and become law. They are not now. So, your grocer can't say, well, I don't know. The grocer has to know and has to make it clear to you when you're in the store.

PILGRIM: Sounds like progress to me.

Thanks very much, Bill Tucker.

Well, communist China says it's cracking down on food and safety in its products. And today Beijing announced stricter product supervision, stiffer penalties for producers of dangerous goods. China also says it's taking steps to control the use of antibiotics in farmed fish and other seafood.

Last month the FDA said more than 15 percent of imported seafood from China contained antibiotics not approved for use in the United States.

Now, communist China is the world's largest producer of farmed fish.

A warning tonight from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The agency says it may soon be unable to protect the public effectively. Commissioner Thomas Moore says -- quote -- "The commission can either continue to decline in staff resources and stature, to the point where it is no longer an effective force in the consumer protection, or, with the support of Congress, it can regain the important place in American society it was originally designed to have" -- end quote.

Congressional Democrats have introduced legislation to increase funding and staff as well as enhancing the powers of that organization.

And coming up, shocking new details about global meth trade and the rising threat to this country.

Also, the latest developments in the scandal over astronauts who apparently drink before they fly.

And new fallout from battle between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama.


PILGRIM: An independent panel today said NASA let astronauts fly drunk. Well, NASA said it would investigate the charges. NASA created the panel to study astronauts' health and it took the action after astronaut Lisa Nowak was accused of plotting to kidnap a woman she saw as a rival for the affections of a fellow astronaut.

Now, John Zarrella is one of the most experienced space correspondents and he follows the program closely. He's here to put this issue in some context for us.

John, what does this have to do with Lisa Nowak?

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN MIAMI BUREAU CHIEF: Well, it doesn't have a whole heck of a lot to do with Lisa Nowak, other than she was the inspiration for this report. She's the fallout, as one NASA official told me earlier.

The report was actually designated to get a comprehensive look at how NASA evaluates, its screening process, mental and psychological, for astronauts. Well, the panel that was empowered has now left it up to NASA to figure out whether it has an alcohol problem within the astronaut corps, and whether or not and how extensive it is, because the panel, in order to get the information it received, had to guarantee anonymity to those who spoke with them.

Now, in the two particular incidents that they did bring up of astronauts flying drunk, it turns out that, in one case, it was on a Soyuz rocket in Russia. And, in the second case, the astronaut never really flew anyway, because his mission was scrubbed and he ended up flying back to Houston. But they don't get any more detailed than that in this report.

And, lastly, and as a result of this, they are going to implement some new rules, no drinking and flying -- no drinking 12 hours before a flight. And if there's any aftermath or any hangovers, you're not flying if you're under the influence of alcohol. You would think that was pretty basic, but it turned out that NASA never had that written anywhere in the rules for astronauts, a drinking and flying rule, so to speak. So, now they are going to do it -- Kitty.

PILGRIM: But, John, what about the astronaut culture? Certainly there's a considerable culture here, right?

ZARRELLA: Yes, we are talking going back 40, 50 years, "The Right Stuff." You know, certainly, these people, they train hard. They live hard. They fly fast. It is intense pressure. And no one is expecting that they're t-totalars out there.

As one astronaut said off the record the other day, he said look, there was nobody that he knew that unduly used alcohol before launches. The key word there being unduly.

We all know they had parties prior to launches where families got together, have a couple of drinks, relieve some of the pressure after all of the training before they go and fly.

But these guys have told me, look, we never saw people that were drunk before a flight, and they doubt it if any flight surgeons would ever have allowed anyone to fly under those conditions. Kitty?

PILGRIM: And the preflight check is extensive, is it not?

ZARRELLA: Yes, within the last couple of days before a launch, flight surgeons are basically living with these astronauts at all times.

You know, the interesting fact about this report was that there was apparently drinking in the crew quarters. Well, if the flight surgeons are spending so much time with them, how is that happening?

Well, these are things that NASA will have to take a look at and get the bottom of. But I think in the long run, we are going to find out that these were isolated incidents and we are not talking about rampant alcohol abuse by astronauts, certainly not prior to flight. Kitty?

ZARRELLA: Thank you very much, John Zarrella. Thanks, John.

Let's turn now to the presidential election politics. The atmosphere on the campaign trail turned increasingly bitter this week between the two Democratic front runners, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Neither of those candidates is leading in the all-important state of Iowa and the presidential race officially begins in Iowa in less than six months. Bill Schneider has our story.


WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The front runners in the national polls are Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani. But there isn't any national primary. The race starts in Iowa. And national trends don't mean much in Iowa, where caucus goers are famous for not being trendy. Remember what happened in 2004 to national front runner Howard Dean in Iowa?

HOWARD DEAN, DNC CHAIRMAN: Take back the White House!

SCHNEIDER: A new poll of Iowa Democratic caucus goers taken this week shows John Edwards in the lead with Clinton second and Barack Obama third. Both Clinton and Obama have dropped six points since the last Iowa poll in May. What happened? Here's one theory -

JOHN EDWARSD (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Two good people, Democratic candidates for president, who have spent their time attacking each other instead of attacking the problems that this country has faced. And we -- we need to be doing -- we need -- I got your attention with that one, didn't I?

SCHNEIDER: If Clinton and Obama are down in Iowa, who is up? Undecided is up the most. Plus Bill Richardson, whose dogged campaign may be beginning to pay off.

In the Republican race, national front runner Rudy Giuliani is coming in third in Iowa. Giuliani's now slightly behind Fred Thompson, who is not even a declared candidate yet. Mitt Romney is making a strong pitch to conservatives and now leads the Republican field.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The most encouraging experience is going into a roomful of people, having that room somewhat skeptical as you walk in, but have a number of folks come up afterwards and say, you know what, I'm on your team now.

SCHNEIDER: If Romney is up in Iowa, who is down? John McCain. McCain was leading the field in May. Now he's coming in fourth.


SCHNEIDER: Now if Hillary Clinton loses Iowa, it will nick her image of inevitability. And she will have to rely on New Hampshire to make her the comeback kid, just like it did for her husband.

If Romney wins Iowa and New Hampshire, where she's also ahead, he will then face a big test in South Carolina. Will Evangelical Christian supporters support a Mormon candidate? Kitty?

PILGRIM: To be continued, right Bill? Thanks very much, Bill Schneider.

Well presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama voiced support for yesterday's court ruling that struck down Hazleton's illegal immigration law. Senator Obama called the federal court ruling a victory for all Americans. The senator said comprehensive reform is needed so local communities do not continue to take matters into their own hands. Senator Obama was a supporter of the Senate's failed immigration bill, which would have given amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney took a strong stand against chain migration today. The former Massachusetts governor said our immigration policy doesn't make sense. Romney said that if an illegal alien has a child here, that child becomes a citizen and the whole family is allowed to come in. He said those policies must be changed.

Alleged meth trafficker Zhenli Ye Gon was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday. Ye Gon, one of Mexico's most wanted fugitives, an alleged key player in the international meth trade, was arrested in Maryland on Monday. No Ye Gon's arrest highlights the global nature of the methamphetamine trade. Mexico is now the nation's largest supplier of meth. As Christine Romans now reports, once the product of local homegrown labs, meth is now produced in sophisticated super labs run by Mexican drug cartels.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Meth, crystal meth, ice, dangerous, addictive and deadly. At homegrowth meth labs in the United States have been shut down, in its place a sophisticated, lucrative global trade emerged. Jacqueline Byers surveys sheriffs about meth and its effects in their community.

JACQUELINE BYERS, NATIONAL ASSOC OF COUNTIES: The users are still out there and they're going to find a way to get their drug. If they can't manufacture it, they will purchase it. There's always people looking to cash in on that kind of addiction. So those streams from Mexico and other places are jumping into place.

ROMANS: Law enforcement has been shutting down American meth labs. The Drug Enforcement Administration reports a 42 percent decline in home grown labs in one year.

Officials raided labs and lawmakers restricted the chemicals found in cold and allergy medicines, chemicals that could be cooked in a makeshift lab to make meth.

A court complaint this week against an alleged chemical dealer to meth traffickers states "clandestine meth labs over the past three years have increased significantly in Mexico, while decreasing in the United States."

In testimony last year, the DEA administrator Karen Tandy said precursor chemicals from India and China are being rerouted through new places, like Cairo and South Africa before going to Mexico.

And quote, "in a more disturbing trend, we began seeing Chinese organized crime groups in Canada selling tens of thousands of pills that looked like and marketed as ecstasy but instead were 100 percent methamphetamines. Those meth pills are now turning up in the U.S."


ROMANS: Now more than four months after that huge stash of money was found, Ye Gon is behind bars. The Mexican government has formally asked for his extradition. His next hearing is Friday. Christine Romans, CNN, New York.

PILGRIM: Just ahead -- three of the country's best political analysts will join me with their thoughts on the escalating feud between Senators Clinton and Obama.

And then more controversy surrounding Michael Moore. Was the filmmaker subpoenaed by the Bush administration? We'll have that story, and our hero this week received one of the military's highest honor. His story of bravery, courage and dedication when we return.


PILGRIM: A new controversy tonight over filmmaker Michael Moore. Now Moore last night told Jay Leno that he's been subpoenaed by the Bush administration. Moore recently took 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba. That's to highlight the fact that Guantanamo detainees receive free medical care while 9/11 workers do not.

Well today however, Moore's publicist told CNN that Moore had been not served, rather his attorney was contacted by the government. The Treasury Department said if Moore is subpoenaed, it will be because Moore traveled to Cuba without a government license or visa. Very interesting stuff. I don't know if you have seen this movie, very controversial, very fun.

But let's move on to other issues. We have other fish to fry. Alberto Gonzales, Democrats want a special counsel to investigate Alberto Gonzales. What do you think of this?

ROBERT ZIMMERMAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, let me tell you, it is long overdue because this very issue cuts to the core of the type of role our government - a type of Congress we are going to have.

Whether the Congress is going to assert itself as the coequal branch of government and hold the Department of Justice accountable. Alberto Gonzales is now being contradicted by the FBI, former FBI director, by the former central intelligence, John Negroponte, the former intelligence director. He's been contradicted by his own former deputy attorney general, Mr. Coney.

So the point is there are serious issues to examine, both about potential of the attorney general committing perjury and the American people understand that.

PILGRIM: Michael Goodwin?

MICHAEL GOODWIN, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: I think that the special prosecutors have not had good experience lately. So I don't think there's a lot of appetite for them.

That said, Gonzales is really in deep, hot water. I think there's zero credibility, zero support. I think it will be best for all around if he just kind of went quietly away.

I think the special prosecutor as you saw with the Libby case is so controversial and takes forever and no one likes the law, no one likes the way that once these cases get started, you can't stop them. So I don't think that's the best way to go.

PILGRIM: you know, the White House said today the FBI Director Robert Mueller did not contradict Alberto Gonzales. Let's listen to what Tony Snow had to say about that.


TONY SNOW, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I cannot serve as the fact witness everything that was in their head and try to impact exactly what they meant. But I'm sure both men were up there telling the truth and the whole truth as they understood it.


PILGRIM: Now, what do you think of the White House's response, so far Ed Rollins?

ED ROLLINS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: I have said for months Gonzales should do the gentlemanly thing and resign. He's hurt this administration, he's hurt the Justice Department. I'm not in favor of the special prosecutor. I think the idea of a special prosecutor investigating the Justice Department, I think would be ludicrous.

I wish if the Congress feels they were lied to, they ought to bring both men up and put them under oath and have testimony in front of them and make their judgment from that respective, hold them in contempt.

PILGRIM: It's been a very bitter week. I wanted to bring up the fact the Senate Judiciary Committee sent a subpoena to the president's political adviser, Karl Rove. Robert?

ZIMMERMAN: The point is, and I think to what Ed and Mike are saying, this is a much bigger issue than Alberto Gonzales. This is an issue about the whether the Department of Justice is being run as a political operation or whether it's our nation's leading law enforcement division.

And in fact the reason that Karl Rove is being served a subpoena and others have been held in contempt is because the White House refuses to bring these individuals before the Congress to testify under oath.

They are saying -- the White House is saying they can appear in front of Congress, but they are saying no transcript or it doesn't have to be in public.

But the bottom line is they are saying absolutely not under oath. We have seen in the Scooter Libby case, this White House doesn't do that well when they are under oath. So goodness know what they would say if they weren't held to an oath.

PILGRIM: Any thoughts, Michael?

GOODWIN: Well, I just think that there are several issues that are being into one now about Gonzales. It started with the firing of the eight U.S. attorneys and now has to do with this testimony about, what were they arguing over, the surveillance program.

I think we have to keep them separate. I think that the first one in the firing of the U.S. attorneys, as bad as it looks, they really do serve at the pleasure of the president.

I think it's a point that Ed's made, articulated very many times here. But I think that's a whole different issue from whether he was truthful to Congress on the surveillance testimony.

PILGRIM: Well, you're quite right. Everything being is lumped together at this point. Ed?

ROLLINS: Gonzales is inept. The bottom line is if they thought they were running a good political operation, having run a political operation out of a White House within the law, you know, it was pretty inept from start to finish.

And I think the bottom line is, you always want to think political, you don't want to act political. This is an administration that Karl and other crossed the line on many, many occasions and I think that's what they're going to pay a price for.

PILGRIM: Let me just move onto Iraq because we really should really get to it this way. An especially tough week in Iraq. President Bush did a speech about Iraq. This week mentioned al Qaeda, I guess it was 93 times -- 95 times. Let's listen to what he's saying.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have already seen how al Qaeda used a fail state thousands of miles from our shores to bring death and destruction to the streets of our cities, and we must not allow them to do so again. So however difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. And we can win it.


PILGRIM: This was a very, very clear attempt to draw a line between al Qaeda and the war in Iraq. Do you think he succeeded with the American public?

ZIMMERMAN: I think he just highlighted why this administration has been so criminally negligent in its conduct of the war. The National Intelligence Agency informed President Bush in 2003, our presence there would result in increased presence of al Qaeda in Iraq.

And, of course, we went there and that's been the result of this. Al Qaeda now has a role in Iraq where it never had before. And what he has done by putting all of our focus on Iraq is really taken us away from fighting al Qaeda effectively.

They are now at pre-9/11 strength, especially Pakistan. Osama bin Laden is still at large and the president claims he doesn't think about that much. That speech was a disgrace and affront to all of our soldiers in battle.

PILGRIM: The news is not good. General Petraeus reportedly believes the Iraqi forces will not be able to take over until 2009 in Iraq. Yet there's this report to Congress in September. It's hard to reconcile some of the facts.

GOODWIN: Right. I think even the Republicans in the Senate in particular are saying, look, September is really an important date. Mitch McConnell, minority leader said it recently.

I think it's pretty clear in September, something is going to happen. I think the president's support obviously has been slipping, slipping, slipping.

He's not going to be able to hold it beyond September absence some real signs of progress. And I think it's getting awfully late to even expect those.

I was struck too by one thing, there, the president talking about we are going to win. He stopped using that phraseology a while ago. It's back. I'm not sure what he's seeing. I don't think it will stir the embers as it once did.

PILGRIM: Yes, win seems a little ambiguous at this point. Ed?

ROLLINS: I think our troops have made some progress but I think at the end of the day, it's hard to know who the enemy is. Al Qaeda obviously is an enemy we have to keep our focus on.

But equally as important, the American public can't tell which side is good, bad or indifferent in Iraq, and that's a very unfortunate thing. No one has stepped forward. The government hasn't stepped forward.

And why after four years you cannot train troops to go fight? We spent 16 weeks training our troops. We've taken National Guard kids and sent them on there and make them stepped forward. Why can't they get up and defend their own country?

ZIMMERMAN: In fact, even the Iraqi ambassador criticized our government for not providing enough weapons and materials to help them in the battle. We have a majority of our ground combat vehicles there. It shows you while they are taking a month's vacation in August, how ill equipped this government is and what a bad investment of our time it is.

PILGRIM: Let's move on to the political scene because we have a lot to talk about. We've had this highly public spat between Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. What do you make of the in- fighting in the Democrats?

ZIMMERMAN: There's an old rule, you never want to attack your opponents and that means highlighting the strength. And Barack Obama's attack on Hillary Clinton really highlights her strength, her experience, her knowledge of the world. I don't think it's resonating.

And it's interesting to know in most national polls those who want a date to get out of Iraq are supporting Hillary Clinton's candidacy as the one most effectively to bring that war to a conclusion.

GOODWIN: It's interesting, I thought Hillary given the right answer, that's the answer I think she should have given and I think all of them should have given.

I think however for the base of the Democratic Party, Obama's answer may have been the better one. His idea for change, that we have to break completely away from anything Bush and Cheney would do, we have to do everything completely different, I think is what a lot of people in the Democratic primary system want to hear.

So I think it's to his advantage to have this fight. He needed to have the fight. He's trailing in the polls. This is the way to distinguish himself and get back into being very different from the others. It may work for him.

PILGRIM: Certainly broken traditional format with the YouTube debate and now this sort of discussion. Ed, any thoughts on the way this is shaping up?

ROLLINS: The bottom line. A couple million people watched the debate. And obviously it was a meaningful debate. Mrs. Clinton continued to do well in the debate.

The reality is when you get in the spats in the post, all of the sudden it becomes the issues and the topics of the week. And I think you never want to raise your opponents' profile. I think calling Mrs. Clinton Bush-light was the ultimate cheap shot and I think to a certain extent diminished -- I'm not a fan of Mrs. Clinton -- but diminished Obama's whole portfolio, which is I will be a different kind of candidate.

PILGRIM: Well, with this time much time left in the campaign, we will have other things to discuss. I'll leave it there for now, thanks very much for joining us. My apologies for not introducing you initially. We have Republican strategist, former White House political director Ed Rollins, from "New York Daily News," Michael Goodwin and Democratic strategist and Democrat committeeman, Robert Zimmerman. Thanks very much.

A reminder now to vote in tonight's poll. Do you believe the National Guard should be withdrawn from our border with Mexico? Yes or no, cast your vote at We'll bring you the results in just a few minutes.

Coming up at the top of the hour, "THE SITUATION ROOM" with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks, Kitty. Coming up -- a terror alarm that was a false alarm. One woman was singled out as officials warn terrorists may be practicing for an attack. But it turns out she was the wrong target. What happened to her could happen to you.

Also, some TV news workers die trying to cover a story. As police chase the suspect on the ground, the news crew's broadcast it from the skies and helicopters. That is until their choppers collided. They crashed, slammed to the ground.

And it's a new movie stocked with action, intrigue and insinuations. Hollywood turns its eye to the war in Iraq. And some of the people in the film actually help the Bush administration plan the war.

All that, Kitty, coming up right here in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

PILGRIM: Thanks Wolf. Coming up -- heroes. We introduce you to Master Sergeant Michael Keehan of the U.S. Air Force, who fights insurgents with our ground troops. Stay with us.


PILGRIM: Now "Heroes," our weekly tribute to the men and women who serve in this country in uniform. Tonight we introduce you to Master Sergeant Michael Keehan. Sergeant Keehan was recently named the air force's 35th recipient of the silver star and he's now preparing for his third tour in Iraq. Philippa Holland has his story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 5-4, looks like it impacted the eastern side.

PHILIPPA HOLLAND, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Master Sergeant Michael Keehan put in 19 years of service to work by training airmen at Ft. Stewart in Georgia.

MASTER SGT. MICHAEL KEEHAN, U.S. AIR FORCE: The amount of responsibility that goes with this job and what these guys have their -- on their shoulders is immense. One wrong move and one wrong number can really be disastrous.

HOLLAND: The job -- calling in air support for our troops fighting on the ground in Iraq. It was for his bravery during the invasion of Iraq with the 7th calvary regimen, 3rd infantry division, that Master Sergeant Keehan received one of military's highest honors, the silver star.

KEEHAN: We rolled into south of Najaf and it started -- the sandstorm came in pretty much in the afternoon and it started -- we couldn't see anything.

HOLLAND: Hours later.

KEEHAN: It was night fall, raining mud, thunderstorm rain. It was probably the worst thing I have ever seen.

HOLLAND: Troops were separated, enemy fire came from everywhere.

KEEHAN: I called the air support operation center that was back in Kuwait that handles our air requests to get me air craft - to sign -- take on my mission. But no aircraft were flying.

HOLLAND: The weather was too bad. He tried again to call for help.

KEEHAN: Whoever he was flying within my range would have heard me do a distress call. I asked for any aircraft to come to my aid.

HOLLAND: A flight of F-16s found a break in the weather but the bombs on the plane were a new type.

KEEHAN: They told me there was a new ordnance I had never dropped before, I've never seen on the range. It was a cluster bomb that would fall from the aircraft and this cluster bomb with correct through the winds with the coordinates where it needs to go.

I'm at the ground, it was probably 30, 50-mile-an-hour gusts of win. No visibility, raining mud at night and giving coordinates in close proximity to forces, I wasn't really sure where this thing would go or if it was going to work.

HOLLAND: The mission was successful.

KEEHAN: We didn't lose anything. We brought 1251 in and 1251 came home.

HOLAND: Master Sergeant Michael Keehan is now preparing for his third deployment to Iraq in September.

Philippa Holland, CNN.


PILGRIM: Master Sergeant Keehan told us that despite a healthy rivalry between the different branches of the military, when troops are in combat, there's only one mission, to fight, win and return home to their families. We wish him every success.

President Bush this week went for a jog on the White House lawn with two of our wounded warriors. Both soldiers were severely wounded in combat. Sergeant Neil Duncan lost both legs in Afghanistan. Specialist Max Ramsey was featured in our "Heroes" segment last December. He lost a leg in Iraq. The president said running with those soldiers was inspirational.

Still ahead, our poll results and more of your e-mail. Stay with us.


PILGRIM: The results of tonight's poll: 96 percent of you believe the National Guard should not be withdrawn from our border with Mexico.

Time for some of your thoughts. Calvin in Colorado wrote to us: "The American Civil Liberties Union should change its name to the Mexican Civil Liberties union."

Debra in Kansas writes: "The American Civil Liberties Union is anything but American. They seem to only care about the illegal people, not the legal."

And William in New York writes: "The judge in the Hazleton case should be booted from office after stating in his decision that illegal immigrants have the same constitutional rights as U.S. citizens. That is beyond absurd."

And Al in Arizona wrote: "Perhaps the citizens of New Haven could take a lesson from the citizens of Hazleton and elect a new mayor and city council who will use common sense and respect federal law and the will of the people."

Finally Seigle in Texas: "Keep it up Lou, you are making a difference." Well thank you, and we will pass that along to Lou.

Thanks for being with us tonight. Please join us tomorrow. For all of us here, have a great weekend. Good night from New York. "THE SITUATION ROOM" starts right now with Wolf Blitzer. Wolf?