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Lou Dobbs Tonight
Democrats v. the CIA; More Stimulus; Drug-Related Killings; Racist Swim Club; Severe Drought
Aired July 09, 2009 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LOU DOBBS, HOST: Tonight, more on congressional Democrats who now say CIA Director Leon Panetta told them the agency has been lying to Congress for years. Republicans say the Democrats are playing partisan politics, trying to protect House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Also tonight, a new push for another federal stimulus package, even though unemployment is still rising and only 10 percent of the first stimulus funds have been spent -- a panel of top economists join members of Congress here tonight and the Obama administration moving ahead to introduce comprehensive immigration reform -- the White House also now promising to tighten border security.
First tonight congressional Democrats are claiming the CIA routinely lied to Congress and they say CIA Director Leon Panetta backs their claim. Republicans don't see it that way. They're accusing Democrats of putting partisan politics ahead of national security.
Their dispute revives the controversy over charges made by House Speaker Pelosi that the CIA lied to her about its use of waterboarding. Brianna Keilar reports from Capitol Hill.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): To hear Democrats tell it, the CIA has been keeping Congress in the dark for the last eight years.
(on camera): What does this mean?
REP. ANNA ESHOO (D), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: It means that something very serious broke down.
KEILAR (voice-over): Anna Eshoo and six other Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee say CIA Director Leon Panetta himself revealed in a closed-door briefing last month that the CIA misled members of Congress. In a letter to Panetta they say, "you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress and misled members for a number of years."
ESHOO: He informed us that there was an operation that was in place from 2001 until the day before he came to notify us.
KEILAR: But Pete Hoekstra, the committee's top Republican, downplayed the significance of Panetta's briefing.
REP. PETE HOEKSTRA (R), INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I heard about a concept and a plan and some preparation on a program, a program that was never implemented.
KEILAR: Democrats and Republicans wouldn't give specifics, because they say the information is classified. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who's already weathered Republican criticism for accusing the CIA of misleading members of Congress, was less than eager to way in on the debate.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The fact is, is that there is a briefing that is of serious concern to members of the committee and they have their course of action to deal with it. The -- and that's that.
KEILAR: House Republican leader John Boehner said the new information does not vindicate Pelosi.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), MINORITY LEADER: I do not believe that the CIA lied to Congress. I'm still waiting for Speaker Pelosi to either put up the facts or retract her statement and apologize.
KEILAR: One point about the timing of all of this, Lou, the House is ready to take up a significant intelligence agency bill. This is an opportunity for Republicans to attack Speaker Pelosi for what she said about the CIA, so what you have here is Democrats essentially launching a preemptive strike, Lou.
DOBBS: And launching it against a Democratic, former Democratic congressman, a Democratic CIA director. This is peculiar, to say the least, for a party in control of the executive of the legislature to be taking on one another.
KEILAR: And the other interesting thing, Lou, is that this bill that the House is poised to take up, there is a provision that would extend the number of members of Congress who get intelligence briefings, like the one that Nancy Pelosi raised 2002. And there was a veto threat out from President Obama on this, so you can see Democrats are at odds over that as well.
DOBBS: Any suggestion that there will be hearings with all of these charges flying around Capitol Hill?
KEILAR: At this point, the House Intelligence Committee has not said that they are going to launch an investigation, but it's certainly something that some of these Democrats we spoke with are pushing for, Lou. We're still waiting to see.
DOBBS: Brianna, thank you very much. The controversy over whether the CIA lied to Congress is the subject of our "Face Off" debate tonight. Outspoken Republican Congressman Darrell Issa and Congressman Adam Smith, one of the seven Democrats who wrote that letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta join us here on the broadcast. Another debate just beginning in Washington tonight -- a debate about whether this country needs a second economic stimulus package. Only a fraction of the president's original $787 billion stimulus package has been spent so far, but there are voices within and outside the administration now floating the idea of another massive federal economic recovery plan -- Kate Bolduan with our report.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our great Vice President Joe Biden.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The man President Obama calls the sheriff, pounding the pavement from New York to Ohio, crisscrossing the country, defending the stimulus package.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, we're only 140 days into this deal. This is supposed to take 18 months.
BOLDUAN: But now, five months since the Recovery Act took effect, some Democrats and economists are talking possible stimulus round two for the Obama administration, quickly fueling partisan fire. Republicans say that would be repeating a huge mistake.
BOEHNER: The bottom line is this. The stimulus isn't creating enough jobs.
BOLDUAN: Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is calling for patience and predicting results.
PELOSI: I don't think it's been given all the time to work. This third quarter is a big quarter for the stimulus. And I think that people will begin to see more of the results.
BOLDUAN: So where do things stand? According to the White House Budget Office, $158 billion of the $787 billion is committed, but Washington has so far distributed about $57 billion. Numbers and a time line that some economists say mean it's still too early to tell if yet another stimulus jolt is needed. Economist Mark Zandi has advised Congress and the administration on the stimulus plan.
MARK ZANDI, ECONOMIST: I really do think it will be October, November, December before we have a clear sense of how well this is working. The maximum benefit to the economy really won't occur until later this fall.
BOLDUAN: And (INAUDIBLE) well Zandi says we may have to wait until early next year to gauge success there. If the economy is still struggling then, he's suggesting new stimulus could include more money to state governments as he predicts budget problems to only get worse there and also, Lou, more help for taxpayers, like a temporary payroll tax holiday.
DOBBS: All right, Kate, thank you very much.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
DOBBS: We'll have a lot more on the economy and the stimulus package or packages with views from coast to coast. Joining us will be the governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, and two members of Congress, Democratic Congressman Loretta Sanchez, Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray join us.
At the G-8 summit in Italy the United States and the world's other leading economic powers agreed to work together on climate change. The president announced that deal today, setting a target of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent over the next 40 years, initially. Communist China, which is considered an emerging economy is not bound by the agreement and some changes had to be made. Critics in the United States saying the deal would have put the United States at a competitive disadvantage.
A series of new polls show the American people losing confidence in the president's ability to lead the country out of recession. Forty-three percent in the latest poll say the president is doing a poor job of handling the economy -- that's the new Rasmussen poll. Thirty-nine percent say the president is doing well.
Those are his lowest numbers yet on the economy. The most recent Gallup poll finding that President Obama's overall job approval in June dropped to 61 percent from 65 percent in May, still a strong number. And a new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds fewer Americans now believe the president has a clear plan to solve the nation's problems. Fifty-three percent saying the president does have a plan. That's down from 64 percent in February.
Turning now to Iraq where a series of bomb attacks over the past two days have killed more than 60 people. This is the worst violence since U.S. forces pulled out of Iraq cities nine days ago. A double suicide bombing in the northern city of Tal Afar today killed 35 and wounded 65 others. Bombs also targeting a police patrol in Kirkuk and a marketplace in Baghdad.
In Iran, security forces there today using clubs and tear gas, breaking up street demonstrations and protests. Those demonstrators marking the tenth anniversary of the student uprising that led to the growth of Iran's opposition movement and the overthrow of the shah. These videos posted on YouTube today -- CNN could not confirm the locations nor where they were shot.
Up next, the controversy over stem cell research. New York becomes the first state to use public money to pay women for their eggs.
Also, Congress tackling the issue of illegal immigration and the impact of Mexican drug cartel violence in this country, a group of black and Hispanic children were thrown out of a swimming pool in southern Philadelphia -- the apparent racist act shocking kids and anyone who lives in 2009.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know, Marcus, I see tears coming down your face. Why does this make you cry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because it's kind of like sad that like people are still thinking like this when I felt like these things was over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: That story is next.
DOBBS: Congress today began dealing with two issues, Mexico's violent drug cartels and illegal immigration. The Senate is now preparing legislation on comprehensive immigration reform and a House committee today hearing dramatic testimony on the threat that Mexico's drug cartels pose to the United States. Lisa Sylvester reports.
LISA SYLVESTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Drug-related killings in Mexico are surging to unprecedented levels -- 6,200 killings last year, up from 1,200 in 2006. Two Americans, including an anti-crime activist who lived in northern Mexico, were killed this week. It's believed they were murdered for taking a stand against local drug lords.
REP. EDOLPHUS TOWNS (D), NEW YORK: This past June was the deadliest month on record with over 800 killed in drug-related violence. In short, in Mexico, drugs and violence are a growth industry.
SYLVESTER: At a House Oversight Committee meeting, lawmakers said that the porous borders have allowed drugs to move north into the United States with guns from the U.S. moving south. The Obama administration is considering sending National Guard reinforcements to the border as a security measure, but a final decision has not been made. Separately, the Senate approved an amendment to complete 700 miles of double-layered fence between Mexico and the United States by the end of next year. It still must clear the House and be signed by the president.
SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: In this world today, where we're threatened in many, many ways, it is critically important that we're able to determine who comes and goes and what comes and goes on the borders of the United States.
SYLVESTER: The who and what are elements of a long-delayed comprehensive immigration reform favored by members of both parties, at least one key Democrat, Senator Chuck Schumer, agreeing with Republicans that ending the free flow of illegal immigration is a necessary component of any future legislation.
SEN CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: In order to get and rationalize our system, we are going to have to make sure that there are not future waves of illegal immigrants.
SYLVESTER: And this week the Department of Homeland Security also took a step to discourage illegal immigration. Federal contractors will be required to use the employment verification system known as E-Verify to weed out illegal workers. Lou?
DOBBS: Lisa, thank you very much. I'll have a few thoughts about this report and a lot of the topics that we're discussing here this week. Join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for "The Lou Dobbs Show," 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each day on WOR 710 radio in New York. Go to loudobbs.com to get your local listings for "The Lou Dobbs Show" on the radio. Also, please follow me on loudobbsnews at Twitter.com.
And tonight a disturbing story out of Pennsylvania -- a suburban swim club accused of discriminating against African-American and Hispanic children from a Philadelphia day care center -- the director of the center saying that members of the private club made racist comments about the children and canceled their swimming privileges all because of the color of their skin. The swim club denies those allegations. Susan Candiotti has the live report for us from Huntington Valley with the details.
SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Swimming once a week at the spacious Huntington Valley Club near Philadelphia. It sounded ideal for 65 kids described as black and Hispanic at Creative Steps Day Care Summer Camp.
ALETHIA WRIGHT, DAY CARE DIRECTOR: I was excited. The parents and children were excited.
CANDIOTTI: But when the youngsters showed up at the pool June 29th, after the day camp signed and paid a $1,900 contract, this happened.
WRIGHT: The children came running down the hill saying, Miss Wright, Miss Wright, those people up there are saying what are those black kids doing in the pool.
CANDIOTTI: Twelve-year-old Marcus Allen (ph) is her son, says he was sitting outside the pool and heard white adults say this.
MARCUS ALLEN, VISITOR: They was like oh why are these black kids here. And then they were saying oh I'm afraid they might do something to my children. I don't know if they might steal -- might try to steal some of my stuff or might try to like harm my children. And I was like amazed that they would say something like this because we're just like you -- like we're just like your kids.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not enough room.
CANDIOTTI: Mrs. Wright says the swim club's director told her he was embarrassed, held an emergency board meeting, and called her back the next day to say they could not come back.
WRIGHT: And he said the membership said let the chips fall where they may.
CANDIOTTI (on camera): You know, Marcus, I see tears coming down your face. Why does this make you cry?
MARCUS: Because it's kind of like sad that like people are still thinking like this when I felt like these things was over.
WRIGHT: This is 2009. Children should not be subjected to that.
CANDIOTTI (voice-over): The swim club's director is quoted by local media saying the day camp kids changed the "atmosphere and complexion of the club" -- a club member reacted.
JIM FLYNN, CLUB MEMBER: I'll be asking for the president of the club's resignation today, because I think the comment that he made, although taken out of context, was probably one of the stupidest comments I ever heard.
CANDIOTTI: He claims the club was simply overcrowded, not racist. He said two other unidentified day camps both non-minority also got the boot.
CANDIOTTI: Now Lou, at this hour, there's sort of a home-grown protest that has sprung up outside the entrance to the swim club. And if you're wondering about those pictures of the kids swimming now, well, they also have a contract with the Jewish Community Center and that's where they're also spending two days a week swimming as well.
They also got some invitations from another school here in the Philadelphia area, offering them space as well, so the community has sort of sprung up. One particular school saying they were appalled at the allegations and wanted to help these children out. But we also have some late developments to tell you about and that is that the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission has opened up an investigation because of the allegations and at the request of the NAACP and Senator Arlen Specter has also weighed in, sending a letter to the swim club asking them to reconsider. Lou?
DOBBS: Susan, thank you very much -- Susan Candiotti from Philadelphia. We'll have a lot more on this story later in the broadcast. We'll be joined by the governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell as well.
In Ohio, police investigating a report of a brutal attack against a white family by a group of black teenagers. According to the "Akron Beacon Journal", police say the family told them it happened outside a friend's home after a Fourth of July fireworks show. The father, Marty Marshall, told police he, his wife, two children and two friends were suddenly attacked by a mob of black teenagers.
Marshall says he spent five days in the hospital after that beating. So far Akron police say they aren't ready to call this a hate crime or a gang activity. They are continuing their investigation. Also ahead here tonight the push for another massive stimulus package -- we'll talk about that plan with several of the country's top lawmakers and a top economist and the devastating economic impact of now California's severe drought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No water, no jobs. It's that simple.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: We'll tell you why the National Guard is dumping military vehicles off the coast of South Carolina and the plot to dig up hundreds of graves in Illinois.
DOBBS: California's three-year-long drought is now devastating not only the environment, but California's economy. The state, which is already grappling with an incredible budget crisis is preparing now for what they expect to be a brutal summer of wildfires, job losses, and water rationing -- Casey Wian with our report.
CASEY WIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was a small wildfire by California standards.
DEPUTY CHIEF LEONARD THOMPSON, LOS ANGELES FIRE DEPT.: The firefighters have taken quite a beating in the heat today, but they've continued to be aggressive and work the fire.
WIAN: Yet Wednesday's 80-acre blaze near the Getty Center Museum could be just the beginning. According to a mid-year state report on the three-year California drought, "the coming summer and fall present an elevated risk for catastrophic fires, reflecting the cumulative impacts of a third successive dry year."
Those cumulative impacts are spreading throughout the state, especially among farmers. Lack of water has idled hundreds of thousands of acres. All but three of California's 58 counties have been designated as disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The state estimates nearly $1 billion could be lost in Central Valley crop production alone this year, as well as 35,000 jobs.
MANUEL CUNHA, LATINO WATER COALITION: Agricultural jobs, agri- business jobs, cities, grocery stores, all of it has been part of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No water, no jobs, it's that simple.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: (PROTESTING)
WIAN: Protesters and the governor are demanding federal help.
GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R), CALIFORNIA: I will fight and I will fight and I will fight and do everything that I can to go and get -- to create the water, the immediate water that is needed.
WIAN: The Obama administration is already sending $390 million in federal bailout money to California for water projects.
KEN SALAZAR, INTERIOR SECRETARY: And I as secretary of interior will pledge the resources of this department to get that -- to get that done.
WIAN: Some lawmakers want changes in environmental regulations that restrict farm water supplies to protect fish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will not stop until the pumps are on, so let's turn on the pumps.
WIAN: Elsewhere, that's a dwindling option. Fifty California cities have implemented mandatory water conservation measures. Despite the escalating California budget crisis, Governor Schwarzenegger has exempted state firefighters from budget cuts, so that, quote, "all available personnel are ready and alert to spring into action when disaster strikes."
WIAN: Perhaps it's telling that the governor said "when disaster strikes," not "if". California's fire season used to peak in the fall with the arrival of hot Santa Ana winds from the desert. But because of the drought, fire season here is now virtually year round, Lou.
DOBBS: Casey, thank you very much.
Still ahead here tonight, new developments in the murder of former NFL star Steve McNair including the dramatic 911-call when McNair was found dead.
And our "Face Off" debate tonight on the escalating political battle between Democrats in Congress and the CIA. Has the CIA been lying to Congress?
DOBBS: Tonight in "Law & Order" Bernie Madoff will not appeal his 150-year-long sentence for fraud. Attorneys would not say why Madoff decided against appeal. Madoff accused of running a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, of which he was convicted. More than 15,000 victims have made claims in court to recover money. He pleaded guilty to 11 counts, including fraud and money laundering.
In Howell, Michigan, a 14-year-old boy led police on a high-speed chase -- a chase that reached speeds of more than 100 miles an hour. The car eventually struck an embankment, launching 10 feet into the air, as you see. The boy, his 10-year-old brother and 12-year-old cousin had stolen their father's car and fled from police after making an illegal left turn. The driver told police they were on their way to Dairy Queen. Luckily, no one was seriously injured.
Nashville police have released the 911-call made after former NFL star Steve McNair was discovered dead. McNair shot four times by his girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, before she then turned the gun on herself. The call was made by Robert Gaddy, a close friend of McNair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OPERATOR: Is it a male or female?
CALLER: Two, there's two people.
OPERATOR: Two people?
OPERATOR: And they both appear to be deceased?
CALLER: I think so, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Tennessee state officials have revealed they were developing a suicide prevention public service announcement before his death. The 62nd announcement never aired. Officials say that airing now would be in their judgment inappropriate.
New York is now the first state in the nation to use taxpayer dollars to pay women for their eggs to be used for stem cell research. The controversial practice raises serious ethical concerns, including whether it leads to the exploitation of poor women -- Ines Ferre with our report.
INES FERRE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For years, the private in vitro fertilization industry has paid women thousands of dollars to donate their eggs. Now New York will be the first state to do the same for donating eggs to advance stem cell research. The Empire State Stem Cell Board says it will use taxpayer money to pay women between five and $10,000 to donate eggs. Dr. Robert Klitzman sits on the board's ethics committee.
DR. ROBERT KLITZMAN, COLUMBIA UNIV. MEDICAL CENTER: Now that we can pay women to -- for their time and burden for donating eggs, the stem cell research can go forward and could potentially lead to cures that can help millions of people.
FERRE: Donating eggs involves numerous tests, hormone injections, and a retrieval process. It can take up to three months, but in extreme cases, it can cause damage or loss of ovaries or kidney failure, especially if women try and donate more than the maximum recommended six times. Stem cell researchers say without compensation, simply not enough women donate.
SUSAN SOLOMON, NEW YORK STEM CELL FOUNDATION: The question is having a rational market and I think that what you want to do is you know to go in and have the hormone shots and then to take, you know the time off from work to have the retrieval, there are lost wages that are involved. You know, there is -- it's uncomfortable.
FERRE: Father Thomas Berg also sits on the board's ethics committee, but he opposed the measure. He's an opponent of embryonic stem cell research. He questions the egg donation procedure, and says it will lead to the exploitation of women.
FATHER THOMAS BERG, WESTCHESTER INSTITUTION FOR ETHICS OF THE HUMAN PERSON: We have to ask ourselves, why should New York taxpayer dollars be used to pump young women, college-aged women, lower-income women, full of hormones to retrieve eggs for them?
FERRE: The money will come from a $600 million fund approved in 2007 to be used over an 11-year period for stem cell research.
FERRE: And at least 11 states fund stem cell research. Some states reimburse women for actual expenses incurred during the egg donation process. New York expects others will also consider paying an additional fee to donors, and that's exactly what critics fear -- Lou?
DOBBS: And the state legislature, the governor, the physician on the part of the government of New York.
FERRE: Yes. I mean, this was approved in 2007, and funding for this has been periodic. And Paterson just approved more funding for it.
DOBBS: Despite the fact this is obviously selling human tissue?
FERRE: Well, the law allows it, and this is what the critics are saying. It's really a transaction, a cash transaction, for human tissue. That's exactly what critics say. But the law allows it.
DOBBS: In point of fact, it is human tissue, and it is being paid for. And they're not willing to acknowledge that straight forwardly, or --
FERRE: Well, but for sperm and for eggs, you can compensate.
So, again, what people -- what these people are saying, the law is allowing this, and we're actually paying for their time and we're paying for their efforts. We're not actually paying for their eggs.
But the critics are saying, you know, this is a cash transaction. You're paying for those eggs.
DOBBS: Yes, semantics and obfuscation. I'm no stranger to politics. But again, as Senator Chuck Schumer of New York has said about illegal immigration, straightforward language would be appreciated here.
Thanks a lot, appreciate it.
Well, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is now saying no to any proposal of a former resolution that would honor Michael Jackson.
Democrat Sheila Jackson Lee, the congresswoman proposed that legislation during Tuesday's memorial service for the late entertainer. Jackson Lee said the resolution would honor Michael Jackson's life and work. She called him, quote, "a global humanitarian."
The speaker of the house, however, says the resolution would be a distraction, which would open up two contrary views on Jackson's life. The speaker says house members can honor Jackson in speeches on the House floor.
Up next, the debate over a second stimulus package.
And was the CIA lying to Congress? That is the subject of tonight's "face-off" debate.
DOBBS: The growing controversy over whether the CIA lied to Congress is a subject of our "face-off" debate tonight.
Joining us now, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. He's the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee in the House. He has just requested that the FBI conduct an investigation of Speaker Pelosi's claim that the CIA misled her.
Also, Democratic Congressman Adam Smith, who serves on the intelligence committee, who is among seven House Democrats who say CIA director Leon Panetta misled them, and who has requested that he recant that statement.
We appreciate you gentleman being with us.
Let me remind everyone watching as to how the incipient point here. It begins with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and what she had to say about harsh interrogation techniques, or what some call waterboarding torture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: I was not briefed that. I was only informed that they were briefed, but I did not get the briefing.
QUESTION: But you were aware --
PELOSI: Well, we'll find out. They mislead us all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Well, then CIA Director Panetta fired back in a letter to the CIA personnel, saying, "Let me be clear. It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and our values."
Let me ask you both, first, if I may, Congressman Issa, do you believe the CIA did mislead Speaker Pelosi?
REP. DARRELL ISSA, (R) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: No, I don't. I think that Porter Goss, who has said he was briefed in real time and continuously briefed, is probably more accurate in the memory.
More important, when Speaker Pelosi says "they mislead us all the time," I think that the FBI and other organizations need to investigate, because "all the time" implies multiple felonies. And that's what we've been trying to cut through is, if it's all the time, every one of them is a crime. Let's get it done.
And I think that's where Speaker Pelosi crossed the line. Not that she didn't remember being briefed, which none of us can know, but the idea that she would just blithely say that the CIA lies to us all the time. That's demoralizing for the premiere intelligence agency.
DOBBS: Congressman Smith, let's as one of seven Democratic members to write that letter to director Panetta asking him to correct his statement on misleading Congress, let me just share with our audience part of what you wrote in that letter.
"Recently you testified that you've determined top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week. This is similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from recent periods," and asking him to correct his statement.
Has there been a response from the CIA director, is there anything that you -- I mean, specifically, is there a CIA program about which you have not been informed, and which directly contravenes Director Panetta's statement?
REP. ADAM SMITH, (D) SELECT INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: The director did testify before us and tell us he just discovered it as director, and within 24 hours of him discovering it, he came and testified and said that CIA wrongly did not tell us about this. There were questions in the course of this program in which some people who testified clearly did mislead us.
Look, this isn't really about Nancy Pelosi. As a member of the intelligence committee, what I am concerned about is I want to make sure that the CIA is open and honest with you.
And clearly, members, Republican and Democrats alike, have complained that they have not been. Not just the CIA, but other aspects of the intelligence community.
It's not just our -- it's our duty and our right and our responsibility as members of Congress to insist that the CIA is open and honest with us. And clearly, they have not been, not just in the last eight years, but going back 30, 40 years.
It's an ongoing battle for members of the intelligence community to make sure we get that open honesty. And that is what I, at least, am striving to get.
DOBBS: Congressman Issa, you're shaking your head.
ISSA: I am for a number of reasons. And, as you know, I served before I became ranking member of government oversight and reform, I served on the intelligence committee.
And I will tell you that multiple hours every day, plus weekends and breaks, I went all over the world to get briefings, to get information. And I only got a tip of the iceberg.
One of the problems is none of us can get all the information in the time that we can possibly contribute.
SMITH: That's absolutely true, but that's not what I'm talking about.
ISSA: But more importantly, by definition, every briefing is highly compartmentalized. Certain people have to be in the room, out of the room in the way of our staff.
SMITH: Again, not what we were talking about.
ISSA: I think if we want to have an investigation on specifics, on a specific failure, a criminal investigation, I look forward to it. I want to see it.
What I'm concerned about is the speaker -- it is about the speaker. It is about a vague statement that they lie to us all the time, not that there was a program from 2001 that was never briefed in Congress.
And by the way, the program never became active. It never actually functioned, and it's been shut down. And now we're being told there was a program that never happened that, in fact, we weren't told about.
There was absolutely -- there were hundreds or thousands of programs that were never told to us that happened.
SMITH: Look, the director of Central Intelligence, Leon Panetta, told us that it was improper and a mistake by his agency to not have informed us about this program. It is not in dispute that the CIA did not tell us about something that they should have told us about. This is not the only incident.
So all I'm trying to do, Darrell --
SMITH: -- all I'm trying to do, again, you talk about -- again, you talk about what happened with Speaker Pelosi. I don't know what happened with Speaker Pelosi --
ISSA: None of us do.
SMITH: Exactly. It wasn't even recorded in a timely manner. There is no way to figure that out. What I am focused on, and we keep bringing it back to Speaker Pelosi. That's not what I am focused on. What I am focused on is the fact -- I've only been on the intel committee for six months. Already there have been two incidents when the intelligence community came to us and said "We're sorry. We should have told you about this, and we didn't." I want to pull that record.
DOBBS: If I may, gentleman, you're both members of an institution that has historically low regard in every poll of the American people. You are, Congressman Smith, in this letter, taking on a former Democratic congressman who is now --
SMITH: We are --
DOBBS: If I may.
DOBBS: Who is now the director of the CIA, who is the man who revealed to you whatever it is that you can't share with us because we're not on the intelligence committee. And it seems punitive to him -- I mean, it seems startling --
SMITH: Let me make one critical point --
DOBBS: If I may just frame the question, congressman. What in the world do you accomplish by having Leon Panetta sort of dragged out in public by the nape of the neck?
SMITH: One of my critical points here is the letter that I signed was sent in secret to Director Panetta, and my intent was to point out to him the inconsistency in the action that he took in saying "We don't like to congress, we don't mislead Congress --
DOBBS: Do you think he was unaware of that consistency? I'm just curious.
SMITH: And, well, he did it and testified it. I want to highlight this issue. It was never my intention --
DOBBS: So who leaked the letter?
SMITH: It was never my intention that this letter become public. I've heard two or three different answers to that question, so I don't know for sure. I'm simply trying to deal with a policy issue to make sure Congress is informed.
DOBBS: OK. Do you want hearings?
SMITH: I don't a big public spat.
DOBBS: Do you want hearings?
SMITH: In the intelligence community, absolutely we should have hearings, yes. DOBBS: And those hearings would extend to the speaker's testimony, would extend to whatever has been withheld from the oversight committees of congress?
SMITH: Absolutely. Absolutely.
DOBBS: And Congressman Issa?
ISSA: Lou, I want hearings. But more importantly, I want anyone who lied to Congress brought on charges and punished so those who did not do anything wrong can be vindicated. That's what we're asking for.
More importantly, right now --
DOBBS: Gentleman, I --
ISSA: The bill coming up tonight is about whether or not we get to have the information at the Hipsy (ph) or only at the gang of eight, and it's equally important.
DOBBS: We're out of time. We thank you both for your time and in trying to add some light to this issue. Congressman Smith, thank you very much, Congressman Issa.
Still ahead here tonight, views from coast to coast on this economy. Do we need a second stimulus package? Is it a little early to determine whether it is succeeding or failing, that is the first one? We'll be talking with elected officials, economic experts from all levels of government, all parts of the country, next.
DOBBS: The growing debate over whether this economy requires another federal stimulus package is underway. The original $787 billion package has been barely been spent, only a fraction of it, and the administration and Congress, many in those two, say another round may be need, and it's only been four months.
We're joined now by Allen Sinai, chief global economist, president of Decision Economics, the governor of the state of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, a Democrat -- good to have you with us, governor -- Governor Congress Brian Bilbray, Republican of California, and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, a Democrat from California. She is now on the floor of voting and will join us here in just a moment.
I want to say thank you to all of you for being here. Let's start out with the stimulus package. Less than 10 percent of this package has been spent, yet we're hearing cries and calls for a second stimulus package.
Let me ask you, if I may, Governor Rendell, what your reaction is. Do you need it? Do you think it makes sense to call for it now?
GOV ED RENDELL, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: It's really premature, Lou. I believe the president is right saying it can't be off the table, but it's far too early to tell whether we need it.
In Pennsylvania, we have spent literally $1 billion of the $16 billion that we're going to get under the stimulus program. Although we've contracted out over 65 percent of our road and highway projects, work has begun on about 50 percent of them. But it's just begun in the last couple of weeks.
Remember, it's less than four months since the plan, the Pennsylvania Transportation Plan, was approved. That's an incredibly fast time to get the work beginning.
So let's see how it does. Let's see the impact that it has.
DOBBS: Congressman Bilbray?
REP. BRIAN BILBRAY, (R) CALIFORNIA: Well, Lou, any bill put together in the dark of night, you're asked to vote for within a matter of hours without anybody reading it, has -- is fraught with problems. And right now, it looks like the price tag is very high.
In fact, the projection of the reduction in unemployment, or the control of unemployment, is about an 85 percent -- I mean, 85 degrees off. They figured it would flatten out, and it's continued to climb.
I think that we just have to understand that we need to be more smart in government, quit trying to throw money at every problem and start talking about substantive reforms rather than always asking the taxpayers to foot the bill.
DOBBS: Have you got a date certain. Congressman, as to when we'll see a smarter Congress?
BILBRAY: It's about time when the voters start -- they said they wanted a smarter Congress last election. No one promised that the change that they were talking about would only be change left in people's pockets after the federal government spent all the money.
DOBBS: I didn't mean in any way to set you up for that expression, that partisan expression, congressman.
Let's go to, if we may, before I ask you the question, Allen Sinai, Warren Buffett quoted on ABC's "Good Morning America," this is what he had to say about the first stimulus bill.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN BUFFET, BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: Our first stimulus bill seemed to be was liking take a half a tablet of Viagra, you know, and then having also a bunch of candy mixed in. Everybody is putting it thing for their own constituencies. It doesn't have really quite the wallop that might have been anticipated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOBBS: Well, Allen, you're quoted in a "Wall Street Journal" as saying it lags, monetary-fiscal policy should be allowed to work through the system. You have the likes of Warren Buffet, Nobel Prize winning economist and "Times" columnist Paul Krugman saying bring it on, another round. What do you think?
ALLEN SINAI, DECISION ECONOMICS: We have to let this one work its way out. It's hardly begun. The tax cuts started April 1. People are saving money. That's probably healthy long-run. And the spending, the outlay part of the stimulus, it just takes time to get it going.
I think if -- we need a time, and by the fourth quarter, the beginning of the fourth quarter, we're not seeing much in the way of results, then we ought to -- we can talk now about what might be necessary in another stimulus package. But it's too early to call this one out.
DOBBS: It appears that you're all in your various perspectives in agreement on that issue. Yet, there is a drumbeat that is obviously building in Washington, D.C.
Unique in all this is the claims that people did not know how bad the recession was back in February, did not know the extent of it. Yet, we're talking about the largest stimulus package in American history.
We are looking at a great deal of fear right now that remains on Wall Street, high unemployment, 9.5 percent by some standards, including discouraged workers on a -- detached workers from the workplace, 16.5 percent unemployment, a loss of some $12 trillion in this economy.
Where do we stand? Governor Rendell in Pennsylvania, do you sense recovery beginning to take hold?
RENDELL: Well, we have 8.2 percent unemployment, significant better than the national average, far too high.
Yes, for the first time I'm seeing business expansion, some of our businesses starting to grow again, coming to us for money to help them expand. I've seen new business start-ups, particularly in renewable energy, Lou.
But I want to make a paint to follow up what our economist said.
RENDELL: If we do have another stimulus, it ought to be 100 percent hard infrastructure, which we know produces jobs and orders for American factories.
DOBBS: As Warren Buffett would put it, all Viagra and no candy.
DOBBS: Is that a fair way to put it?
We have just been joined by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, Democrat of California. Great to have you with us.
REP. LORETTA SANCHEZ, (D) CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Lou.
DOBBS: And if I may ask you, what is your sense? Is recovery beginning to take hold? Or do you in California, the people you represent, in desperate need of as much stimulus as possible?
SANCHEZ: Well, we have seen some of it come down, actually about 20 percent of the stimulus dollars have already come down into the state.
In particular in my area, in Orange County, we're we have the largest flood plain, for example, west of the Mississippi, we've seen $24 million already obligated to the project of making sure that 80 percent of the people who live in orange county will be taken care who are working on that flood issue for the river.
So we're seeing real money come down --
DOBBS: Are you are seeing real improvement in the economy? Do you get the sense there is economic recovery taking hold in Orange County?
SANCHEZ: Lou, remember that Orange County was the seat of four of the six subprime lenders headquarters. We are based in construction of new home construction. That's one of our big industries. So it's been very, very difficult for Orange County.
But what I see happening, and what Chapman University, who does the econometric model for Orange County has said is that this will be a plateau year, where we're sort of trying to find the bottom in housing and the economy. And maybe by the end of the year we'll see better stats.
DOBBS: Congresswoman, the plateau in many parts of the country feels like real progress.
Let me turn, Congressman Bilbray, in your part of California. What does it feel like?
BILBRAY: Lou, look, just like the governor said, instead of putting the money in the transportation issues where you know how you're going to pay for it with user's fees and the future, less than 3.8 percent of the so called stimulus bill was going into those infrastructures that the government is talking about.
BILBRAY: Most of this was done exactly what Washington usually does, it turns it into --
DOBBS: Congressman in San Diego, your district does it -- we're out of time. Yes or no -- does it feel like recovery?
BILBRAY: No. We don't see major recovery. But the fact is we're seeing struggles back and forth. DOBBS: Allen Sinai, give us your best judgment. Recovery this year?
SINAI: Yes, statistically. I don't mean functionally. It's going to be bad. Terrible jobs market. And Washington will, I think, eventually do more stimulus because it won't be able to stand the high unemployment rate.
But a statistical recovery, yes, by late this year. That means real GDP will grow positively, but not very much at all.
DOBBS: Something of a jobless recovery, unfortunately.
All right, thank you very much.
And Governor, and I want to thank each of you, but Governor Rendell, before I let you go, the story we reported here tonight on those young people, Hispanic and African-Americans, who were denied access to the pool there in Huntington Valley at the Valley Swimming Club, your thoughts very quickly, if we can?
RENDELL: It was even worse. They were actually thrown out. They were originally contracted from the camp to come in, and then something happened, and they were exited.
The State Human Relations Commission has started an investigation. No one is allowed to discriminate in Pennsylvania. We're going to get to the bottom of it.
DOBBS: Yes. It just -- as a young man in our report said to our Suzanne Candiotti, in 2009, who would have dreamed such actions were even possible?
Thank you very much, governor.
Congressman, we thank you have much for being with. Allen Sinai, thank you. We appreciate it.
Up next, some of your thoughts, and more. Stay with us.
DOBBS: Time now for some of your thoughts.
Paul in Virginia wrote in to say "Thank you for your piece of pay-to-play. Our school board has put in place a similar policy that begins next year, where it will cost $100 per sport or band. I shutter to think of what all of these kids will do with their idle time when they cannot afford the extracurricular activities that our schools are taking from them."
We'll leave the question unanswered to night. We love hearing from you. Send us your thoughts, go to loudobbstonight.com.
A reminder to join me on the radio Monday through Fridays for the "Lou Dobbs Show," 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. each afternoon on WOR 710 in New York. And go to loudobbs.com to get the local listings in your area.
Thanks for being with us. Now Campbell Brown.