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The Situation Room

Last-Ditch Diplomacy Seeks to Halt Iran's Nuclear Activity; The Long War; Storm Over Katrina; House Holding Hearings Sale Of Cell Phone Records; On Chances Of Surviving Cancer Improving According To One Doctor

Aired February 01, 2006 - 17:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's coming on 5:00 p.m. here in Washington, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where news and information from around the world arrive at one place at the same time.
Happening now, 4:00 p.m. in New Orleans. Who was in command when Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast? Congressional investigators come down hard on the Feds while senators put a mayor in the hot seat.

It's 1:00 a.m. in Saudi Arabia, where the pumps never stop. President Bush wants the United States to break its addiction to foreign oil. Could our cars soon run on weeds or wood chips?

And it's 4:00 p.m. in Minnesota, where researchers say a daily pill may be able to curb compulsive gambling. What are the odds that it really works?

I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

After laying out his agenda in the State of the Union Address, President Bush today began selling it to the country by heading to the home of country music. At Nashville's historic Grand Ole Opry House, Mr. Bush repeated his theme that America's strong, but he conceded that despite a roaring economy, Americans are feeling uncertain in a time of war.

U.S. officials say there's troubling new information that suggests Iran, for example, is indeed working on a nuclear weapon. As diplomats make a last-ditch effort to try to avert a crisis, Iran is showing no signs whatsoever of giving in.

Let's get the very latest on this critically important story. Our National Security Correspondent David Ensor standing by -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, even as new information may be emerging about the real intentions of Iran's nuclear program, more tough talk from Tehran.


ENSOR (voice-over): Iran's President Ahmadinejad called the U.S. a hollow superpower. Before a cheering crowd, Iran's leader taunted President Bush, saying he is "tainted with the blood of other nations." The Iranian broadside was an apparent response to Mr. Bush's State of the Union speech.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons.

ENSOR: The U.S. push to refer Iran to the United Nation Security Council for possible sanctions may have been strengthened by another development. Knowledge sources confirm a new yet to be published report by the Vienna based watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency says that there is evidence of possible links between Iran's supposedly peaceful nuclear program and secret military work on high explosives and missiles. Sources say the links involve personnel.

GREG SCHULTE, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO IAEA: That the IAEA says, ah, this looks like it's military activity in Iran, that's going to be much harder for the rest of the world to push away. They're going to have to accept the idea that Iran really has gone too far and needs to be take to the Security Council.

ENSOR: But Iran's nuclear negotiator told reporters that if his nation is referred to the U.N. Security Council it will kick out the IAEA surveillance cameras and immediately start enriching uranium at its new facility in Natas (ph).


ENSOR: If links are indeed found between Iran's nuclear energy program and programs involving missiles and high explosives used to trigger nuclear explosions, that could help the West to convince Russia and China to take action against Iran. But that evidence would need to be quite convincing -- Wolf.

BLITZER: David Ensor reporting for us.

David, thank you very much.

Are Americans facing a seemingly never-ending battle against terrorism? During his State of the Union Address, President Bush spoke of the long war. It was a theme repeated today over at the Pentagon.

Let's bring in our senior Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre -- Jamie.

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Bush administration argues that Iraq is just one front in a longer war that could go on, like the Cold War, for years or even decades. It's a concept that is at the heart of the Pentagon's new strategy.


MCINTYRE (voice-over): The last time the strategy was revamped, the defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, insisted it was too complex to be reduced to a bumper sticker. Now the man who in the fall of 2003 expressed private pessimism that Iraq and Afghanistan were turning into a long, hard slog has embraced the slogan "The long war." DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I do think it's been a long, hard slog. This is tough business because there are a lot of people out there recruiting young people, putting them in extremist madrassas schools, teaching them to be suicide bombers. And I think the Iraqis are going to have to struggle with this insurgency for some time.

MCINTYRE: But Rumsfeld insists that the long view doesn't mean U.S. troops will be tied down in Iraq indefinitely. In fact, the military says a major milestone was achieved last month when a huge swath of Iraq roughly the size of Kentucky was turned over completely to Iraq's new 8th Army Division.

But one of the Pentagon's sharpest critics, Democratic Congressman John Murtha, insists the Bush administration has made tragic missteps and is unwilling to admit mistakes.

REP. JOHN MURTHA (D), PENNSYLVANIA: This isn't the war against terrorists. The war against terrorism is not in Iraq.

Iraq is a war, and we're caught in a civil war and are fighting with each other. The definition of civil war is two people, two participants inside a country fighting for control.


MCINTYRE: You know, Wolf, back in 2003, when Donald Rumsfeld wrote that supposedly private memo in which he characterized Iraq and Afghanistan as a long, hard slog, he distanced himself from the characterization. But now he seems to embracing it.

BLITZER: Jamie McIntyre at the Pentagon.

Thank you very much, Jamie, for that.

And this note, Representative Murtha will be my guest here in THE SITUATION ROOM in our 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour, about two hours from now.

A new storm is blowing up over the handling of Hurricane Katrina. The investigative arm of the U.S. Congress today released a report finding fault with the federal government. It says the Bush administration should have put a top official in command even before the hurricane hit.

Meantime, the mayor of New Orleans got a grilling today from a Senate panel.

CNN's Andrea Koppel is joining us live. She has the story -- Andrea.

ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPT. CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, this is the second time that Ray Nagin has taken a congressional hot seat. Late last year he testified before the House Select Committee on Katrina. Still, five months after the hurricane devastated the Gulf Coast, there are many unanswered questions. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KOPPEL (voice-over): It's one of the most enduring images of Katrina, thousands of people, mostly poor, mostly black, the old and the very young, all crowded into the New Orleans Superdome and then the convention center for days. Many without food and water.

New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin blames FEMA and the federal government for dropping the ball. But senators turned the tables on Nagin.

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: We have gone through roughly 800,000 pages of documents and we can't find any evidence of a request from the city or from the state to FEMA to get supplies to the convention center.

MAYOR RAY NAGIN (D), NEW ORLEANS: And we had people that were stranded on roofs, on highways, and at the convention center. And they didn't know about it? That's just next to impossible.

KOPPEL: Nagin said the tug of war between Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco and President Bush over the chain of command with the Louisiana National Guard also wasted precious hours. But senators wanted to know why Nagin waited 24 hours to order a mandatory evacuation.

NAGIN: The only thing that we wanted to make sure of as we issued this mandatory evacuation, that we had the legal authority to do it, number one, but we also did not create any other problems with a mass evacuation of the hospitals.

KOPPEL: Still, committee chair Susan Collins wasn't convinced, putting the question to another witness with the 5th U.S. Army.

COLLINS: Nursing home patients were not evacuated prior to the landfall, and that patients actually needlessly died because they were not evacuated.

Did either the city or the state seek any assistance from the military to your knowledge?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ma'am, not that I'm aware of, ma'am.


KOPPEL: Wolf, more hearings are slated for this week and next. Tomorrow the governors of Louisiana and Mississippi will testify. And the expectation is that the House committee is going to issue its findings next month, the lessons learned.

And then in March, the Senate committee is going to follow. That is less than three months before the start, believe it or not, of this year's hurricane season -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Andrea. Thank you very much.

Andrea Koppel reporting.

Let's go up to New York right now. Once again, Jack standing by with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.


One of the big stories out of Iraq this week, the extensive coverage given ABC news anchor Bob Woodruff and photographer Doug Vogt. The two men badly hurt in a roadside bomb blast north of Baghdad, last night they returned to the U.S. for further treatment of their injuries.

The United Press International is reporting some U.S. troops are questioning why this is such a huge story -- 2,242 troops have died in Iraq since the war started, thousands more have been injured, and many have been victims on of the same IEDs, those improvised explosive devices, as was the ABC news team.

In "The Washington Post," CNN's Howie Kurtz writes that readers have been asking if the ABC injuries are more newsworthy than those of American soldiers. Woodruff's wife Lee issued a statement saying, "Bob's name may be more recognizable, but his story is no more important. He would be the first to insist that the attention should be focused on the members of the U.S. military whose heroic actions he has reported on for years.

So here's the question this hour: Is the media coverage of ABC's Bob Woodruff and Doug Vote overdone?

You can e-mail your thoughts to We'll read some of them in about 40 minutes -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Jack. Thanks very much.

While we're on the subject of Bob Woodruff, there are new details about his condition. Doctors say he's steadily improving.

Today he's been slowly brought out of sedation over at the Navy hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, where he's being treated. And Woodruff's brother David tells ABC News his brother has been moving his legs and his arms and even tried to open his eyes.

We wish all of them, all of those at the Bethesda Hospital, at the Walter Reed Medical Center, all the U.S. military hospitals, civilian as well as military, a speedy recovery.

Up ahead, it's a fix the president says Americans need to kick, a deep addiction to oil. The country rolls in barrel after barrel after barrel to fuel cars and warm American homes. So how can the U.S. really quit the oil habit? Can it actually kick the oil habit?

And what does the war on drugs have to do with these puppies? Take look at these puppies. There they are. Wait until you see what the authorities say they have in common.

And it's a problem millions are dealing with, an obsession for gambling. But what if gaming addicts could take a pill to fix their fix? There may be hope, and you'll see it right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: President Bush says we're a nation of addicts and we need to kick our habit. He talked about our dependence on foreign oil in his State of the Union Address last night.


BUSH: America is addicted to oil which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology.


BLITZER: Kicking the habit will require new technology and new thinking.

Our special correspondent Frank Sesno has been looking into what we might be able to do to reduced our dependence on oil, and he explores this important subject in depth this Sunday. This Sunday...

FRANK SESNO, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: No. Actually, a couple of Sundays from now.

BLITZER: Down the road. Down the road a CNN special -- a "CNN PRESENTS" special called "We Were Warned: Tomorrow's Oil Crisis." Down the road. Not this Sunday.

SESNO: March 19. We've got a lot of work to do.

BLITZER: All right, Frank. Give us a preview, though. You've been doing a lot of digging into this story.

SESNO: That's right.

BLITZER: We're a nation addicted to oil, according to the president.

What have you learned?

SESNO: Deeply addicted. OK? And here in United States alone, we burn nearly 21 million barrels of oil a day. That's 25 percent of total world consumption.

Sixty percent of it, nearly 60 percent of it is now imported. The president was talking about that. We're using more every year.

So we have been looking into some of the technology that might get us past all of this.


SESNO (voice-over): First, hydrogen vehicles. In Detroit, I saw GM Sequel, an amazing piece of technology. No internal combustion engine at all, hydrogen creates power to turn an electric motor. But it would cost you $1 million today, and hydrogen isn't close to commercially available, so this one's way down the road.

A better bet, fuel from plants, leaves and agriculture trash. This is cellulose ethanol. We saw them making it from wheat straw at a demonstration plant we visited in Canada.

It's not made in the U.S. yet. But there's promise here, and Detroit is actually making some flex fuel vehicles that can run on a mix of 85 percent ethanol, just 15 percent gasoline.

Plug-in technology could take hybrids to maybe 100 miles a gallon. The rechargeable battery takes you the first 35 miles or so, then regular hybrid technology takes over. It's not available yet, the batteries need work, and hybrids are more expensive.

By the way, there is new oil out there, unconventional oil it's called. I visited Canada's oil sands. They have 57,000 square miles of them, putting Canada right behind Saudi Arabia in oil.

They don't pump this stuff. They mine it, then extract oil from the sand. A million barrels a day. It could be three million a day in 10 years.

But here's some perspective. World demand, driven by the U.S. and now China and others, is predicted to leap by 30 million barrels a day.


SESNO: So, Wolf, you can see that even with all of this promising technology -- and there's some great stuff out there in the pipeline, if you'll pardon the pun -- it -- we're in a race. We're in a race against world consumption. It's going to require a major national commitment, a major global commitment to get past the era of oil.

BLITZER: the president's critics are already saying what was thunderously missing in his speech last night on this subject was a call for conservation, for lowering the temperature, you're getting higher mileage cars, all of that kind of stuff.

What do you make of that?

SESNO: Well, it really was very interesting. It was glaring by its absence.

You know, we have talked to a lot of people, CEO of oil companies. We talked to John Brown, the CEO of BP. What does BP call itself now? Beyond Petroleum.

And folks over at Chevron who say the era of cheap oil is over, they all say we have to have conservation, much more efficient usage as a key part. There are three parts of this if you're going to get beyond this oil crisis that we're at right now: major new extraction, pull out what we can, major new technology. The president talked about that, and a major push on conservation.

BLITZER: Frank Sesno, always ahead of the curve.

March 19, "CNN PRESENTS," "We Were Warned: Tomorrow's Oil Crisis."

Good work, Frank.

SESNO: Thanks.

BLITZER: Coming up, Israelis fighting Israelis. Angry battles rocking the West Bank right now. We're going to show you what it's all about.

Plus, how these puppies were allegedly involved in a major drug smuggling operation. Details of what's apparently a new tactic to get heroin into the United States. You're going to need to see this. This is an amazing story.


BLITZER: It was a pitched battle in the West Bank, but this one pitted Israelis against Israelis. Thousands were involved. And when it was all over, a lot of blood had been spilled.

CNN's Guy Raz has the story from Jerusalem -- Guy.

GUY RAZ, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, according to one police officer I spoke to on site, these were the fiercest confrontations between Israeli security forces and ultra-nationalist hard-line Israelis in recent memory.

Now, thousands of Israelis security forces converged on the settlement of Amona in the West Bank earlier in the day after the Israeli government announced its plan to dismantle nine homes on the outskirts of that settlement on land it says is owned by Palestinians. This is regarded by the Israeli government as an illegal outpost.

Now, as those soldiers and police converged on the settlement, they were pelted by stones and metal rods by thousands of demonstrators. Many of them teenagers. All of them believing the land is their biblical birth right. There were many injuries, more than 200 people among police and among demonstrators were injured, including one police officer who was critically wounded.

Now, this is being seen as a major test for the acting Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert. Under the U.S.-backed roadmap for peace, Mr. Olmert is required to dismantle all of these illegal settlement outposts throughout the West Bank -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Guy Raz reporting for us from Jerusalem.

Guy, thank you very much.

Let's check back with Fredricka Whitfield. She's filling in for Zain Verjee, with a quick look at some other stories making news -- Fred.


Well, doctors in Jerusalem have inserted a feeding tube into Ariel Sharon's stomach. The Israeli prime minister has been in a coma since suffering a major stroke January 4. Doctors say his condition remains serious but stable. Some experts say his chances of regaining consciousness are slim.

French and German newspapers have republished controversial caricatures of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. The cartoon sparked Muslim outage when they were first published in a Danish newspaper because depictions of the prophet are forbidden in Islam.

One of the most controversial shows, Mohammed wearing a turban shaped like a bomb. The papers that printed them today both argue that democracy includes a right to blasphemy all religions.

Saddam Hussein was a no-show at his trial in Baghdad today, along with four co-defendants and their lawyers. One defense attorney calls the court a sham, accusing the chief of bias and saying the defense won't come back until he resigns. The judge is a Kurd who has taken a tough stand on courtroom decorum since taking over the trial last week -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Fredricka Whitfield.

Fred, thank you very much. We'll check back with you soon.

Coming up, there are new developments in the case against Cindy Sheehan. We're going to bring you those developments when we come back

Also, will new treatments mean a better future for breast cancer patients? We're going to tell you what some doctors say the odds are for survival and why they're improving each year.

And a key critic in the war in Iraq says it's not the same as the war on terrorism. I'll speak with Democratic Congressman John Murtha. That's coming up later tonight in our 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour here in THE SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: We have an update on the arrest last night of antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan in the U.S. Capitol.

Let's bring in our Gary Nurenberg.

What's the latest, Gary?

GARY NURENBERG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the staff of Florida Congressman Bill Young tells CNN that the chief of the Capitol Hill Police, Terrence Gainer, has now apologized to the congressman and to Mrs. Beverly Young for the action at the State of the Union Address where she was asked to leave the chamber because she was wearing a sweat shirt saying "Support Our Troops."

The Young staff also tells CNN that the chief has said Cindy Sheehan should not have been asked to leave the chamber and be arrested for her antiwar T-shirt. The chief has apologized to the Youngs and has said his men will receive better training in the future. The Young staff tells us the chief has said that the charges against Cindy Sheehan will now be dropped.

BLITZER: Have they apologized to Cindy Sheehan as well, Gary, in addition to apologizing to the congressman's wife?

NURENBERG: We're waiting for calls now from the chief. I'm getting the information from the congressman's staff. And they only felt comfortable talking about the chief's conversation with the congressman and his wife. We're endeavoring to find the answer to your question and we'll let you know as soon as we get it.

BLITZER: All right, Gary. Thanks very much.

Meanwhile, four years after U.S. troops helped topple the Taliban, the conflict in Afghanistan is far from over.


BUSH: We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders. And for the others, their day will come. We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan.


BLITZER: And joining us now to discuss the situation in Afghanistan is Lieutenant Colonel -- Lieutenant General, excuse me, Carl Eikenberry, head of the combined forces command in Afghanistan.

General, thanks very much for joining us in our SITUATION ROOM.

LT. GEN. KARL EIKENBERRY, U.S. ARMY: Wolf, it's great to be here. Thank you.

BLITZER: You have a huge mission. Your troops have a huge mission over there.

Why is it so hard to find Osama bin Laden and his number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri?

EIKENBERRY: Wolf, let me say that, you know, the campaign in Afghanistan right now, I would classify how we're doing, we're winning. We have not won the war yet, though. And if I could give you some context to answer you question here to get at that, when we got hit in our homeland on September the 11th, remember that that attack came from Afghanistan.

That's where the planning took place. And that's where the oversight of this war on terror was taking place from Afghanistan. And so, the president ordered us into action and ordered our nation into action. We had two missions. The first was to defeat the al Qaeda network and to topple them from Taliban -- to topple them from their control of Afghanistan. The second was to create the conditions so the Taliban and international terrorism could not come back in.

With regard to that first mission, Wolf, we have made great progress. Taliban has been collapsed from their control of Afghanistan. And we are making great progress right now in the attack on the al Qaeda network.

The second mission that we had, to create the conditions so that international terrorism could not come back in to Afghanistan, we have made great progress there as well. If you look at where we were four- and-a-half years ago, from a terrorist-controlled state, with no national institutions, with no social services, with complete denial of human rights, where are we today?

BLITZER: Well, what about this what we had thought right after 9/11 was a priority and the points you make are excellent points, of course -- but finding the guys who were directly responsible for killing 3,000 people here in United States, including Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri? Mullah Mohammad Omar, the leader of the Taliban, as far as I know, he's still at large as well.

How important is it to your mission to find these guys, to capture them or to kill them?

EIKENBERRY: You know, Wolf, I was in the Pentagon when 9/11 occurred.

And, so, I have a personal connection, as does our entire nation, in the commitment in this war on terror. If I could say, with regard to the terrorist network that we're up against, it is not about, Wolf, one man. This is an international global network, with social connections, with financial connections, and his command-and-control connections throughout the entire globe.

BLITZER: Is it a priority for you? Do you wake up every morning and tell your staff, tell your commanding officers, what's the latest; what's going on; is he in Afghanistan; is he in Pakistan; is he along the border; is he in someplace else? Is this -- is this a major part of the mission?

EIKENBERRY: The destruction of the network is our primary mission, Wolf.

And, again, it's important to look at this as not about a man; it's about an entire network. If I could, just very briefly, when you talk about a network, think about an electrical power grid system that is out there; if you cut one line, momentarily, the lights might drop and the power surges another direction. You take a transformer out, the system might start to dip, but it comes back on.

But attacking a global network, and we are making huge progress right now in talking out leadership nodes and continuing on the attack. Now, with regard to bin Laden, is bin Laden important? Yes, bin Laden is important, because we will not rest and we will not stop until we either bring bin Laden to justice, or we find and kill and capture bin Laden, because bin Laden must be brought to justice for closure of the American people and for the international community.

BLITZER: The U.S. has, what, close to 20,000 troops in Afghanistan right now.

EIKENBERRY: We do, yes.

BLITZER: They're...


BLITZER: And you're commanding them.

But, in the next -- next several months, NATO is going to take over responsibility for this key strategic location.


BLITZER: A British general will -- will be the overall commander of this operation.

EIKENBERRY: Lieutenant General David Richards, yes.

BLITZER: Yes. And some -- some critics are wondering, if this is so important, Afghanistan, the war on terrorism, finding these al Qaeda operatives, why are we, the United States, handing over this mission to the NATO allies?

EIKENBERRY: This is a transition that is going on right now, Wolf.

It's not -- it's not about a lessening in commitment of the United States. Several points about NATO -- first of all, NATO consists of 26 great nations, of which the United States is one. This NATO mission, as its evolves, the United States will remain the largest contributing nation to the NATO mission in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: But we won't be in charge. This -- this will be a consensus. NATO operates -- as you know, all the members of NATO have to agree on something before they do it.

EIKENBERRY: We're very confident of NATO's capabilities.

Wolf, they have been in Afghanistan for two-and-a-half years. This is just an enlargement of their mission. Again, we will be the biggest contributor. But with regard to the counterterrorist mission, the United States will maintain in Afghanistan the same capabilities for us to act wherever needed, in any way, in order to strike the al Qaeda network.


EIKENBERRY: We will maintain that unilateral capability. BLITZER: So, in addition to the NATO operation, there will be a separate U.S. operation, if necessary, to go ahead and fight and -- and find and kill these terrorists?

EIKENBERRY: That's correct. We're keeping that -- that counterterrorist capability, which we have, which is a very robust capability. And that remains in place.

BLITZER: So, the criticism that the U.S. is outsourcing the war on terrorism, to NATO, to the European allies, if you will, is an unfair criticism?

EIKENBERRY: Absolutely unfair.

The war on terror must be an international effort. It is an international effort. NATO is present in Afghanistan. And it's a strong coalition with NATO moving forward that is going to be very important in our success in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Here are some statistics. We don't have a lot of time left.

In 2005, 1,500 Afghans were killed in insurgent attacks and suicide bombings. More than 80 American troops were killed, the bloodiest year for U.S. forces since the invasion, back right after 9/11.

Are things getting better, militarily, on the ground, or are they getting worse?

EIKENBERRY: Things are getting better in Afghanistan in -- in every dimension.

If you look at it from the al Qaeda or the Taliban perspective, four-and-a-half years ago, you ruled in after Afghanistan. Now you have been pushed out of Afghanistan. What does Afghanistan have? It has got a constitution, a democratically elected president, a democratically elected parliament. It has 30,000 of its own army. It's got a police that is moving forward.

If you're the enemy looking in, then you're going to be forced to go to more desperate tactics. And that's what exactly we're seeing. The enemy is resulting, increasingly, to atrocities. The Afghan people are confident of their future. They have decided to move forward with this democratic progress, turning out in great numbers for a presidential election, for a parliamentary election. And we're very confident that things are going in the right direction right now.

BLITZER: General Eikenberry, good to you -- of you to come here in THE SITUATION ROOM. I know you want to say something to your troops.

EIKENBERRY: I would say two things, if I could, Wolf.

First of all, that, with regard to this campaign in Afghanistan, what I would say, that the only that can stop us from success is our loss of will. A Taliban commander was captured once, Wolf, and said that the Americans and the West, we have watches. They have time. We're having great success there right now. We need more patience.

The second thing I would tell to the American people is, they should be very proud, as I know they are. And rest assured that the troops they have forward in Afghanistan right now, every day, are moving forward, and carrying the -- the flag forward, are doing great things. They should rest well at night that we have got the best military ever that is fielded. And it's on the offensive in Afghanistan.

BLITZER: Well, that's good to hear that.

General, thanks very much. Be careful over there, all your troops. Thanks very much for the work you do. Thanks very much for joining us.

EIKENBERRY: Wolf, thank you.

BLITZER: Still to come, will popping a pill curve the compulsion to gamble? We are going to take a look at some new research and the odds.

And coming up in our 7:00 p.m. Eastern hour, an outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, Congressman John Murtha, he will join us right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Today, here in Washington, a House committee is holding hearings on a story we have been recently telling you about, the sale of your cell phone records by some Internet companies called data brokers.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has invited cell phone companies, the Federal Communications Commissions, and victims to testify. The chairman of the committee promises a tough and thorough investigation.


REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: This committee is going to ask the tough questions to these data brokers what on earth they think they're doing. I can only guess that the excuses will be offered by the people who profit by engaging in an obvious fraud by invading our personal privacy and by assisting criminal behavior.


BLITZER: Let's go to our Internet reporter, Jacki Schechner. She has been tracking this story from the very beginning -- Jacki.

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, those hearings actually are still going on at this hour. And you can watch them on the Internet at the Web site of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Take a listen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... doing business right now, overloaded with requests from -- from...

SCHECHNER: Again, this is the Web site -- where you can where you can get these. Let me put that down, so I can click through it for you.

You can see the hearings that are ongoing right now. Some of the people that have testified and are continuing to testify are the chairman of FCC and the commissioner from the FTC. And you can read their opening statements online at their respective Web sites.

Also involved in these hearings, the CTIA -- this is an organization that represents the cell phone industry. We have got It's an online privacy advocacy group -- advocacy group. They actually sent letters of complaints to the FTC and the FCC to get them involved.

And, also, the district attorney out of -- or the attorney general, rather, out of Illinois, Lisa Madigan. She actually wants none of this federal regulation to infringe upon the local regulations.

So, we have got all of these people involved, Wolf. And, basically, what they're trying to do is create the very first steps in federal regulation against the people who sell your cell phone information on the Internet.

BLITZER: And we're going to count on you, Jacki...


BLITZER: ... and our Internet team to keep us up to date on all this important information.

U.S. drug enforcement officials say 22 Colombians are under arrest, accused of smuggling more than 40 pounds of heroin into this country through various methods, including -- get this -- surgically implanting packets of the drug inside puppies.

Our justice correspondent, Kelli Arena, is here with this awful story.

Kelli, what's going on?


This group allegedly used a variety of methods to try to get heroin into the U.S. Officials say that human couriers ingested heroin packets. The drug was also concealed, they say, in body creams, aerosol cans, and sewn into the lining of purses and luggage.

But, of course, the most shocking technique, DEA agents say that the smugglers also surgically implanted heroin packets into purebred puppies. In one instance, six puppies were found impregnated with a total of three kilograms of liquid heroin packets.

Now, most of the puppies did survive, but three did die as a result. DEA officials say it's the first time that they have ever seen anything like it. And they say that it just shows the extent that drug dealers will go to make a profit.

The DEA says the investigation identified the individuals who are responsible for overseeing and smuggling millions of dollars worth of heroin from Colombia to the East Coast -- Wolf.

BLITZER: What a story, Kelli. Thank you very much.

Kelli Arena is our justice correspondent.

Up next, millions of Americans plagued by an irresistible urge to gamble -- now there's word of a promising new treatment.

Plus, treating cancer and improving lives -- we're going to show you what the future may hold.

Stay with us.


BLITZER: Fredricka Whitfield joining us again from the CNN Center in Atlanta with a closer look at some other stories making news. Once again, hi, Fred.

WHITFIELD: Hello again, Wolf. Well, it happened during Hurricane Rita, a tragic bus explosion involving nursing home residents who were trying to flee Houston. Twenty-three of them were killed when their bus caught fire and exploded.

In an indictment unsealed today, the bus tour company, Global Limo, and the owner have been charged with conspiracy and other crimes in those deaths. They're accused of conspiring to falsify driver records and failing to inspect the buses to ensure their safety.

Today, in Texas, a judge set a $200,000 bond for Andrea Yates to leave jail for a state and mental hospital to await trial. To her first, it would -- at her first trial, rather, Yates pleaded insanity to killing her children, but was found guilty of drowning three of them in a bathtub. She wasn't prosecuted for the deaths of her two other children.

Her convictions and life sentence were overturned last year because of faulty testimony. A second trial is now set for next month.

And an Internet site outed him. Oprah Winfrey scorned him. And now author James Frey's book agent has dropped him. The agent, who represented Frey for over four years, says that relationship is over now that parts of Frey's memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," was revealed to be fictionalized in parts. Oprah Winfrey's included -- had included Frey's book, rather, in her book club. Last week, she publicly denounced his fabrications -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Thank you very much, Fredricka Whitfield, reporting for us from the CNN Center.

There could soon be help for chronic gambler -- get this -- in the form of a pill.

CNN's Mary Snow is in New York. She has got details of what shows to be some promise for compulsive gamblers.

What is going on, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this drug is being developed by a company overseas. As of yet, it has not been approved.

It aims to block the rush that prompts people to gamble. Now, doctors here in the U.S. studied it on patients and say they're encouraged by what they see.


SNOW (voice-over): For some, gambling is just a game. For an estimated six to nine million Americans, it has become a problem. Gambling is a rush. The thrill gives them a high. For others, it can ruin their lives. Some doctors say the condition is often misunderstood as a result of behavior and not biology.

DR. JON GRANT, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: One of the perceptions is that this is a -- a character flaw or a -- a moral failing, that people should be able to control themselves, that, because it involves a behavior, it's not a -- a really mental illness or a medical problem.

SNOW: Dr. Jon Grant believes compulsive gambling is a medical problem. He led a study published in "The American Journal of Psychiatry" on the drug nalmefene. It blocks receptors in the brain, so people won't experience the rush from gambling. The drug is made by a company in Finland that funded the research of 207 people undergoing treatment for compulsive gambling.

GRANT: And what we found is that people who were taking the medication got significantly better throughout the study, in terms of reduction of their urges, their thoughts, and their actual gambling behavior.

SNOW: The National Council on Problem Gamblers is encouraged by the promise of a pill to curb compulsive gamblers. It is also worried it will provide false hope.

KEITH WHYTE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL COUNCIL ON PROBLEM GAMBLING: Problem gamblers, in particular, are often seeking quick fixes or easy solutions to what they see as overwhelming, even unsolvable problems. But, you know, the pill can help break that cycle of addiction, but it's not, in and of itself, a cure for the addiction.


SNOW: Now, the National Council on Problem Gambling also says it is estimated that the social cost from problem gambling each year is $5 billion, when things like bankruptcies, divorces and job losses are all added up -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Amazing story, Mary. Thank you very much. Thanks for bringing it to our viewers. A lot of families out there have a specific interest in this subject of compulsive gambling.

The Internet is certainly adding a completely new dimension to the gambling addiction problem. Last year alone, the online gambling industry raked in -- get this -- $12 billion. And many of those online gamblers are young men.

Our Internet reporter, Abbi Tatton, has got a closer look -- Abbi.

ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, online gambling is quick and easy and accessible.

You can get on to sites like this within a minute, hand over your credit card details, and be gambling anonymously from -- from anywhere you like. There's almost 70,000 people playing this game of online poker right now.

And it's on the rise. This is the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. They report that the percentage of young men gambling online weekly last year more than doubled. This is the National Council on Problem Gambling. What they report is, gambling addiction is highest amongst young people.

Now, sites like this, the operations of Internet casinos, are illegal in the United States, but they're very hard to prosecute because they're based overseas -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Abbi Tatton reporting for us -- Abbi, thank you very much.

We are getting some important information into the CNN Center.

Fredricka Whitfield once again joining us.

What are we learning, Fred?

WHITFIELD: Well, Wolf, two more deadly outcomes taking place at West Virginia mines today.

In two separate accidents, two people have died in Boone County. And now the state's governor, Joe Manchin, is ordering that all mines in the state cease production until safety checks can be conducted.

In all now, the number of accident that have led to deaths in that state -- 16 deaths in all have taken place within a one-month period. And now the governor says, stop all productions. Let's do a -- an extra check on all of these mines throughout the state until work can be resumed -- Wolf.

BLITZER: A temporary suspension of mining in West Virginia, a huge story.

Thanks very much, Fred.

We will stay on top of this story.

Let's go to New York now -- Jack Cafferty standing by with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: One of the biggest stories out of Iraq this week, the extensive coverage given ABC anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt. Some are questioning if the ABC injuries are more newsworthy than those of American soldiers wounded or killed in the war in Iraq.

The question, is the media coverage of ABC's Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt overdone?

Marie in Bartlett, Illinois: "Yes. The coverage of Woodruff and Vogt is overdone, probably because the media is covering one of their own. There are so many seriously wounded soldiers, not to mention the dead, who go barely noted in the press."

David in the United States navy, Norfolk, Virginia: "Media attention to the ABC journalists is appropriate because of their high visibility. It also serves to help the public focus on the importance of defeating the IEDs, implementing -- improvised explosive devices. To the extent that putting a face to a casualty report can add a greater sense of urgency to the good folks trying to defeat the IEDs, it's effective."

Jean in Nashville writes: "Thanks God for journalists. Who better to get the truth to the American public about our military personnel? No amount of publicly or praise can be too much for Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt. And thank you for asking."

Bob in Corsicana, Texas, writes: "I think it's more a question of the public's curiosity than it is media coverage of the Woodruff- Vogt story. I will admit, I was one of the curious ones myself, wanting to know more. If my son gets hurt, it matters to me and his mother. If a highly visible personality gets hurt, everyone wants to know."

And Clementine writes: "Not overdone. The sooner the media family and their viewers see the 'reality show' up close and personal, the sooner the media will come to their senses. They're not trained combatants" -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Jack, thank you very much.

Up next, battling breast cancer -- future cutting-edge medical procedures offer hope like never before. We are going to tell you what the future holds.

Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: This week, CNN begins a year-long look into the future at developments that may be just around the corner.

Today, CNN's Miles O'Brien introduces us to one woman who faced breast cancer and a doctor who believes the odds of survivor are getting better every year.


MARY BRYANT, BREAST CANCER PATIENT: It seems like a lifetime ago. But before I was diagnosed, I was in my big modeling career, and you really feel invincible. I had a mastectomy. I had 28 lymph nodes removed. I was in my 30s. You know, no family history.

It would be so great if -- if it could be something that they can tell if you're susceptible to cancer, if it's maybe just a DNA testing, you know, come in with a -- a saliva swab, or maybe just do a blood test, if they could just identify it, deal with it and not take away your quality of life.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mary's message is supported by this sobering fact: Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. But there's some encouraging news from medical research, better ways to predict it, detect it and treat it. In the fight against breast cancer, the future is now.


O'BRIEN (voice-over): That startling statement is also backed by fact. The survival rates for breast cancer have never been higher. And new therapies to fight the disease are unfolding every year.

Dr. Clifford Hudis is chief at the Breast Cancer Medicine Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. He says we should think of breast cancer not as one, but as a collection of diseases, each with different causes requiring different types of treatment.

The most exciting breakthrough, a drug called Herceptin. It targets a particularly aggressive form of cancer that affects one in five breast cancer patients. When added to chemotherapy in the early stages of the disease, it cuts the chance of a relapse by half.

HUDIS: And the question for us all is, how many other targets are there like that? How many other drugs could we develop like that? How many subtypes of breast cancer will there be?

O'BRIEN: Add to that better understanding of the effect of diet and exercise, advanced imaging techniques that can discover small cancers sooner, less invasive procedures to treat them, and in the next 10 years: HUDIS: I really think, by 2016, we will be able to say to patients, this is the kind of breast cancer you have, and this is the most effective therapy for it. And I am confident that the outcomes that we offer patients in 2016 will be even better than they are today.

BRYANT: I am still here, so, my work isn't done, got a way to go, but we're getting there. Just keep turning on the lights.


BLITZER: And we're here weekday afternoons 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern -- back in one hour, 7:00 p.m. Eastern. Among my guests later tonight, Congressman John Murtha, one of the harshest critics of the president's policies in Iraq.

Until then, thanks very much for joining us.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

"LOU DOBBS TONIGHT" starts right now.