tv PBS News Hour PBS July 15, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. b.p. stopped the flow of oil from its gulf well for the first time since it began nearly three months ago. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the "newshour" tonight: b.p., the obama administration, and residents throughout the gulf are waiting to see if the gusher has finally been capped. we get the latest from joel aakenbach of the "washington post." >> lehrer: then, tom bearden examines the impact of the spill on louisiana's wildlife. >> federal scientists are keeping a close watch on
critical pelican habitats, and so far, the news is pretty good. >> brown: we look at the sweeping financial reform bill passed by the senate today: what it means for wall street and main street. >> i regret i can't give you your job back, restore that foreclosed home, put retirement money back in your account. what i can do is to see to it that we never, ever again have to go through what this nation has been through. >> lehrer: ray suarez has the last of his stories from haiti six months after the earthquake. tonight: mental health problems of survivors. >> brown: and we attempt to unravel the mystery of the iranian nuclear scientist who returned to tehran today. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> lehrer: after 85 days, oil stopped spilling into the gulf of mexico today. "newshour" correspondent kwame holman begins our coverage. >> reporter: it happened shortly after mid-afternoon in the gulf- - video from the seabed showed no signs of oil and gas spewing from the fractured wellhead-- a sight that hasn't been seen since april. president obama welcomed the news as he returned to the white house from a day trip to michigan. >> i think it is i positive sign, we are still in the testing phase. i'll have more about it tomorrow. >> reporter: b.p.'s announcement came after closing a series of valves on a newly installed, 75- ton cap. the operation went ahead after robotic submarines repaired an overnight leak in a so-called choke line attached to one of the valves. in new orleans, retired coast guard admiral thad allen said engineers will watch for the two days to see if the well withstands the increased pressure without springing new
leaks. >> once we are satisfied that and once we're convinced we've done no pressure to the wellbore, and it can withstand the pressure after another seismic run, after that 48 hours, we can certainly consider shutting in the well. that's always a possibility and of course we would like to do that. >> reporter: even if all goes perfectly, the massive cap is not considered a permanent solution. b.p. still plans to complete drilling a pair of relief wells to shoot mud and cement into the leaking well and block it off for good. thad allen said nay written statement that he was encouraged by this development but this isn't over. and now to joel achenbach of the "washington post", he's been covering this oil spill story for several weeks. joel, welcome. >> great to be here. >> lehrer: so as we speak right now, there finally is no oil going out into the water of the gulf of mexico? >> something went right. you know, this has been an incredibly difficult process. just for all of us to watch. i mean, this gusher, this
black plum of oil has been a fixture on tv. i know people have told me they've had nightmares about it and at least for today, it's gone. i mean, the gusher is gone. the plum disappeared when they closed that choke line about-- it was at 3:25 p.m. eastern time today, 2:25 central that they shut it down. now we wait to see what the pressures show. >> lehrer: and the pressure could-- that's why we're still not out of the woods, right. the pressure could what, cause leaks further down the pipe, down the line? >> lots of possibilities. now the worst-case scenario is kablooey. when you close the well, the pleasure-- pressure builds an you can just imagine, the casing of this well down below the gulf floor may be damaged. and so you could have further kind of a lateral blow-out into the rock formation. then you could have a
situation of sort of cratering, of erosion of gas and oil surging up in multiple leaks around the blow-out preventer. that, however, is not the most likeliest scenario. and there is no sign that that has happened. the other possibility is... and "the washington post" today is reporting, i talked to one of the top scientists, the other possibility is the pressure readings could be ambiguous. it is not you what want to see. it's not terrible. you have to sit there and figure out, well, what's going on here. they may reopen it out of an a bundance of caution. reopen the well in a couple of days. and that's not the worst case scenario, though. because they've got more ways of capturing the oil now with this new stack on top of the well. >> lehrer: so to read the pressure, they want the pressure to be strong so that shows if there is no leaks further down is that correct? >> that's precisely correct. if the-- and i will throw a couple of numbers out. i'm not an sheer engineer but what we've been told is
if the pressure rises to say 89,000 psi, pounds per square inch and holds there steady, that's good. if it doesn't get up above 6,000 that could mean that the oil & gas are leaking from the sides of the well, that they are escaping somewhere. and that the well has lost its integrity. that's why they call this an integrity test. what i was told was the most recent numbers, the gentleman i spoke to who was there in the room this afternoon, was he saw pressure readings around 6 -- 6700 psi si swi in and ambiguous range so they going to do a lot of analysis of that. it's to the going to be an easy decision about what to do. >> lehrer: 6700 could mean if there a small leak somewhere, it's possible, right, that's why it is ambiguous? >> you know t would be easy if it rose to the number you wanted and held there. but sort of like everything with this whole deepwater horizon well, really called the macondo well. nothing has gone quite according to plan.
but you have to give the engineers credit that they have done several things here that were very complicated in the deep-sea. it is a mile below the surface. they are doing everything with robotic submersible, you know, using the robotic claws. they are-- they had to take off the old top of the well, the sort of jagged chimny that they had in place. they removed the old top hat. they put a whole new complex, 75 ton capping stack, they call it, put that on the well. last night they had a leak in part of that new stack. they had to take this choke valve back to the surface. then they had to replace it with a new one. they still had a problem. brought it back up, sent it back down again. finally today this afternoon, they got the well shut in. >> lehrer: and the point you make, it's hard for people to focus on this, that this is being done a mile down there. and with roboticsment and
here somebody is working something and turned something today that stopped the-- stopped the oil from spewing, right? i mean literally somebody... what are they looking at, tv monitors? >> these technicians are on ships right above the well site, okay. and i actually was on a rig a couple of weeks ago. and i was in the little submersible shack where the technician sitting in there, is joysticking the robot down there on the sea floor. it's really... they're very good at this. they can pick up, you know, a wrench using these robots. and they can manipulate a lot of technology. i'm sure it takes many years to master this. a lot of pressure they are under. but some... what happened is they just kept turning and turning and turning the choke valve and as they turned it , the valve closes and eventually this three inch pipe, all the flow of the well was coming up the
last three inch pipe and they shut it down. >> lehrer: and while that's being done, of course somebody else is looking to see what the pressure is, see if something is leaking or see if something is blowing up. >> right. >> lehrer: the drama involved for these people must be extraordinary. >> well, yeah, i mean this is... you know this is their apollo 13 moment n a sense. and we, unfortunately, have limited access to what is going on in the war room. i was there a couple of weeks ago. but just briefly. i was told there were about 25 people in the room. when it succeeded and shut off the well there was some clapping and handshakes and back slaps. but they've been, i think, you know, burned by this well before. and so no one is running around popping champagne. this test will last officially two days, 48 hours. every six hour these will analyze it to decide, you know, do we want to keep going, what do we want to do. and when it's over, they'll make a decision. do we want to open the well back up again.
i don't think anyone should be shocked if they open the well back up again. >> lehrer: why would they open it up again, joel? >> that's a great question. because although for-- let's say that all goes perfectly for two days there's no more, you know, eruptions, there's no more leaks. i think there's some concern, though, that three, four, five, six, seven days you could still have a problem. in other words, that if some of this stuff is leaking down there, that the situation could evolve and get worse. i mean maybe nopt suddenly but maybe gradually. and so given that they have this better cap on the well, they have the ability now to collect it potentially, collect the oil with four different ships at the surface, two lines coming from the old blowout preventer, two lines from this new capping stack. they could collect, they say,
up to 80,000 barrels a day, which is probably more than the well has. and it wouldn't be bad to know exactly how much this well has been producing. you know, this is something we've talked about more fonts now. you know, how much oil is there, if you produced all of it, would you know. >> lehrer: i got you. hey, joel, thanks a lot for updating us. and we'll see what happens. >> great, thank you. >> lehrer: thank you, joel. >> brown: still to come on the "newshour": more on the gulf, with a look at rescuing wildlife; the financial overhaul bill; help for mental health patients in haiti and, the iranian scientist going back to tehran. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: goldman sachs agreed today to pay $550 million to settle civil fraud charges. the securities and exchange commission had accused the firm of misleading investors who bought securities tied to sub- prime mortgages. under the settlement, the wall street giant will pay fines of $300 million. the rest will go to compensate customers. actual losses on the investments totaled nearly $1 billion.
the goldman announcement helped wall street recover from a day- long funk. the dow jones industrial average had been down as much as 100 points. but, it came back, and ended down just seven points to close at 10,359. the nasdaq fell a fraction of a point to close at 2,249. a batch of new numbers raised more questions today about where the u.s. economy is headed. the latest data on jobs, housing and manufacturing underscored concerns that the recovery may be losing steam at the year's midpoint. in manufacturing, the federal reserve reported factory output fell last month after three months of growth. at the same time, new claims for jobless benefits fell to the lowest in nearly two years. but it was mostly due to seasonal factors. meanwhile, the private firm realtytrac reported 528,000 home foreclosures in the first six months of 2010. the company warned that lenders could repossess more than one million homes by year's end, a new record. at that rate, it could take until 2013 to work through the backlog of repossessed
properties. president obama focused on the broad economic picture, as he spoke at the ground breaking of a new factory in holland, michigan. >> the progress we've made so far is not nearly enough to do - - undo the enormous damage that this recession caused. as i've said since the first day i took office, it's going to take time to reverse the toll of the deepest downturn in a generation. >> sreenivasan: there was also word that even china's powerhouse economy may be slowing some. the world's third largest economy grew more than 10% in the year's second quarter, but that was down from nearly 12% earlier this year. even a slight reduction in china's growth could hold back any global recovery. in iran, at least 21 people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a pair of suicide bombings today. the target was a shiite mosque in the southeastern city of zahedan. iranian news reports said a number of elite revolutionary guards were among the dead. a sunni rebel group claimed responsibility.
it said the bombings were retaliation for the recent hanging of its leader. u.s. forces in iraq have handed over the last prison under their control. camp cropper is on the outskirts of baghdad. at one time, it held members of saddam hussein's ousted regime. in the handover ceremony today, the u.s. general in charge of detainee centers gave the iraqi minister of justice the symbolic key to the prison. but he said the u.s. will still hold some detainees. >> in the 200 we are holding, there are former regime elements, there are al-qaida, there are some very dangerous detainees. and the government of iraq at this point in time has asked us to continue to hold onto them. we both, in partnership, are very interested in a safe and stable iraq. and so timing is everything. >> sreenivasan: u.s. officials have handed over 55 former members of saddam's regime in the last year. one-time foreign minister tariq aziz was transferred to iraqi custody this week. argentina is now the first latin american country to legalize gay marriage nationwide. the national senate debated
until the wee hours of the morning. when a vote was finally called, 33 lawmakers were in favor and 27 against. crowds of supporters celebrated outside, while protesters objected. president cristina fernandez is expected to sign the law within days. the vatican today issued new rules on handling claims of sexual abuse by the roman catholic clergy. the rules extend the church's statute of limitations on 20 years for those claiming abuse. but there was no reference to bishops reporting abuses to police. advocates for victims of abuse said the measures do not go far enough. a heat wave scorched much of northern europe again today. from russia to western germany, unusually warm temperatures hovered in the mid 90's. people sought relief in city sprinklers, and on baltic sea beaches. czech and polish authorities had to postpone road repairs due to melting pavement. the heat also added to russia's worst drought in a century, with up to 25 million acres of crops destroyed. health care in north korea is in a state of crisis. that's according to a new amnesty international report
today. it's based on interviews with more than 40 north korean defectors. the human rights group told of amputations performed without anesthesia, and spreading disease tied to chronic malnutrition. archeologists in new york city have discovered the hull of a centuries old ship, at the world trade center site. workers uncovered curved timbers this week, during construction. the 32-foot-long ship is thought to be at least 200 years old. it may have been used as landfill, to expand the island of manhattan into the hudson river. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: even as today's news broke about stopping the gush of oil, work continued in the gulf region to rescue birds, turtles and other wildlife. from the lousiana coast, "newshour" correspondent tom bearden reports on that effort. >> reporter: when we first saw queen bess island in barataria bay seven weeks ago, it seemed to confirm a lot of people's worst fears. the booms had failed; oil was on shore; pelicans were coated with red crude.
but yesterday we found it teeming with life. patti holland is a biologist with the u.s. fish and wildlife service. each day she and her colleagues patrol the bay looking for animals in distress. >> so what we look for in the pelicans in the adults is if they've been diving into the water, their heads are going to be that reddish-brown color. if they're sporting nice white tops, then they're looking pretty healthy. >> reporter: these are louisiana brown pelicans. they were threatened with extinction until very recently. in the early '70s, scientists found that exposure to the pesticide ddt caused the birds' egg shells to become so thin they couldn't sustain reproduction. after d.d.t. was banned in 1972, queen bess island is one of the places where nesting pairs were planted to re-establish the species. >> they brought birds to these islands to get them to start
nesting in these areas once they got a suitable habitat for the brown pelican because the brown pelican was listed as an endangered species until december of last year. and it worked pretty well. >> reporter: does the spill cause the pelicans to possibly go back into an endangered species mode? >> that's one of the things we're going to monitor. >> reporter: although hundreds of scientists are in the gulf monitoring the oils impact on wildlife, many questions remain unanswered. more than 460 dead turtles have been recovered, but almost none of them show any signs of oil. its also not clear how many of the nearly 2,000 bird deaths are directly related to the spill. and even how many animals may have actually died is a matter of considerable dispute. >> on island 2, there's an oiled
immature bird on the boom... >> reporter: but trying to prevent more deaths is still a top priority. on this trip, holland radioed a nearby rescue boat to look at an oiled pelican sitting on a boom. when oiled birds are found, decisions have to be made. the animals are difficult to capture until they are very weak, and aggressively going after an oiled bird could injure it or damage fragile nesting grounds. this one could still fly, so they decided to leave it alone. >> at this point, he's too strong to catch and we're not going to chase him into the breeding island and disrupt the healthy birds that are in there. so we'll keep watching him and if he becomes weak, we'll catch him at that point. >> reporter: tom mackenzie is a spokesman for the u.s. fish and wildlife service. >> the situation we have now is much improved from a month ago when we got hit with oil really hard here. now, we're still sending out our
crews. we have about 14 boats that go out on a daily basis, but we're only bringing in 3,4, maybe 5 oiled birds per day and also finding about three to five dead carcasses. >> reporter: pelicans aren't the only animals affected by the spill. a couple of hours north of barataria, at the audubon aquatic center near new orleans, a lot of people are trying to keep oiled sea turtles alive, particularly the endangered kemp's ridley species. dr. robert maclean is the audubon nature institute's senior veterinarian. >> they're quite small, but they come to us completely covered in oil usually. >> reporter: he looks pretty active? >> this guy is pretty active. he's been responding pretty well to our supportive care. they come in oiled, a little lethargic but still responsive. what we do when they come in is we process them, then we take photographs, give them a number and then we assess them to see
if they need any immediate care, immediate iv fluids. most of them are fairly active so we don't have to do that. then we do a physical exam. we get a blood sample, so we can do immediate bloodwork turtleside, so we get an idea if we need additional therapies. >> reporter: it sounds like an emergency room? >> it is exactly an emergency room. >> reporter: they've cleaned and are caring for other turtle species as well. large animals like this one named cocoa, as well as green turtles. most of animals are between two and seven years old. biologists here hope to be able to return the turtles to their natural habitat soon, but they don't want to do it while there is still so much oil in the gulf. and they fear if they put the turtles somewhere else, they will just swim back to their oiled home. in alabama, biologists have started what they say is the largest turtle nest relocation ever attempted. they've dug up more than 70,000 turtle eggs and flown them to cape canaveral, florida where they will be hatched in warehouses and released into the ocean. >> every time there's a major oil spill, something of a
controversy always erupts about oiled wildlife. some scientists argue its a waste of time and money to rescue and clean the animals because they simply don't survive long enough to make it worthwhile. after the exxon valdez accident in alaska, one study concluded it cost $80,000 to clean each oiled sea otter that was captured and that two thirds of them died within two years anyway but mackenzie says the jury's still out on what mortality rates will be for birds and animals from this disaster. >> i know there are a lot of studies out there. some of it based on old data. some aren't using the current technology and capabilities that we have. some of these studies are 20 years old. so we're looking at additional studies to find out how are we doing and i think that's coming down the pike to answer some of these questions because they're out there. until we can really prove to people that pelican a lived two years, we're going to have a thing to prove to the american people.
i think were capable of doing >> reporter: so the studies are underway? >> they're under consideration. >> reporter: in fact, privately several scientists told us they are frustrated that more research projects haven't been funded and in some cases government red tape prevents them from more complete investigations. in the meantime, wildlife scientists like patti holland will still be out looking for birds in distress. hoping the birds can complete their breeding cycle in the coming weeks without a further influx of crude oil. >> lehrer: tom will have more from the gulf tomorrow. >> brown: now, a bill to overhaul the nation's financial regulations cleared congress today after a struggle that lasted more than a year. it passed the senate on a near- party line vote with a few key republicans breaking ranks to support it. final passage came nearly two years after the meltdown of the country's financial system. >> the yays are 60, the nays are 39, the conference report is agreed to.
>> brown: the way was cleared a few hours earlier, when supporters managed to muster the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. majority leader harry reid said the bill would restore trust in the financial system. >> when you go to any of the great casinos across nevada and put your chips on the table, you're gambling with your own money. if you win, you win, and if you lose, you lose. but wall street rigged the game: they put our money on the table. when they won, they won big. the jackpots they took home were in the billions. but when they lost-- and boy, did they lose big-- they came crying to the taxpayers for help. >> brown: banking committee chair christopher dodd helped shepherd the bill through the senate. he acknowledged it's not perfect. >> i can't legislate integrity. i can't legislate wisdom. i can't legislate passion or competency. but what we can do is create the tools and the architecture that
allow good people to do a good job on behalf of the american public. and that's what a bill like this is designed to do. i regret it can't give you your job back, restore a foreclosed home, put retirement monies back in your account. but what i can do is see to it we never, ever again have to go through what this nation has been through. >> brown: the bill is sweeping in its scope, running to 2,300 pages. among key provisions, it would: give federal regulators authority to wind down troubled companies in a bid to solve the problem of too big to fail. it would also create a 10-member oversight council to watch for threats to the broader financial system. for the first time, there would be federal oversight of derivatives-- those bets made on the future price of securities. and, a consumer protection agency would be established within the federal reserve to regulate mortgages, credit cards and other products. all but three republicans voted against the measure.
minority leader mitch mcconnell accused democrats of a huge overreach. >> in other words, once again, the administration and its democrat allies in congress have taken a crisis and used it, rather than solving it. how else do you explain the fact that a bill that was meant to address the excesses on wall street is expected to hit individuals and industries that had nothing to do with the crisis it was meant to prevent? >> brown: other republicans argued it would drive business and jobs to other countries and add to government bloat. >> all the democrats will succeed in doing, with the help of a few republicans, is give the failed bureaucracies more money, more power and a pat on the back with the hope they will do a better job next time. this is not real reform, madame president, that is just more of the same. >> brown: with the legislative battle over, regulatory agencies will now face the daunting task of writing and implementing what could be hundreds of new rules.
but with the battle over, the first, though, the measure goes to president obama for his signature. >> brown: late today, president obama hailed passage of the legislation. he's expected to sign it into law next week. we take a closer look at what it would do with two financial writers who have followed the bill on its long and winding road. roben farzad of "bloomberg- businessweek" magazine, and chrystia freeland, global editor-at-large for reuters. >> well, roben, to help us us remind us what is here, if you had to pick out one or two key things that this does, what would it be. >> you mean we don't have time to go through the 2300 pages. >> brown: no, we don't. so give me a couple. >> what's huge here is giving the federal reserve i think ultimate oversight. when it doubt, the regulation goes to the federal reserve. i think the ten member systemic risk council is huge. in that for the first time you actually have government being able to say that we are out there being able to identify systemic risk. and in theory and hopefully in practice, they could take apart a firm that endangered
the entire system. >> brown: now chrystia freeland, the key question is what this does to change the behavior of wall street. and what do you see in terms of imposing change and where might it fall short. what do you see? >> well, i agree with roben that those are some of the key points. the other points that i would really single out are as your report mentioned, i think the derivatives rulings are really, really important. the fact that derivatives, now most of them have to be exchange-traded and they have to be centrally cleared this was the part of the market that really blew up. and what was so scary about it with hindsight was people really didn't know what was going on there. that is what we refer to when we talk about the shadow banking industry. so it's really important that most of these derivatives now have to be centrally cleared. that means we'll all foe about it, and exchange traded. in terms of where the bill falls short, i would say they should have gone further on the derivatives.
you can still, if are you a nonfinancial party, if you are say an oil company, you can still trade in derivatives not on the central exchange. i think that that's a mistake. i think would be better to move them all on to the exchanges. >> brown: roben, bring us to main street now. what is the impact on average people, on consumers, specifically through this new consumer protection agency? >> well, there is a rather massive codification of very specific consumer protections here. i mean every-- everywhere from credit card customers to investors, you're now specifying that the sec can come out and say that brokers have to espouse a fiduciary interest where they put the clients interests ahead of theirs. amazingly, a lot of us don't realize that that actually wasn't law before, that's an option that broker/dealers have. and then this terms of specificity a loft things now, the definite sill in the details in terms of what mortgage companies, loan company, credit card companies can and can't do in terms of nickel and diming you. the warning they have to give, the impossibility now
of issuing some of the loans that took down the entire mortgage system. so really regulators use this opportunity to kind of roll up their sleeves. and not just kind of reign in wall street and cordon off systemic risk there, but go after a lot of the practices that affect bread and butter americans. >> of course, chrystia, some of the bankers involved here, they argue that the new regulations could impact mortgages. they could curtail lending. what do we know about what will happen? >> well, if they work then they should curtail lending. >> that's part of the issue, right? >> yeah, that's part of the issue. and i do think that people, the american public has to be honest about this. part of the purpose of this financial regulation is if you want to use a traffic metaphor, what we have discovered in hindsight is that capital was moving too fast. the speed limits were too high and there weren't enough air bags, and there weren't enough seat belts in
the system. the goal broadly speaking of this legislation is to lower the speed limit of financial capital and to require all of us to wear seat belts. now the good news is, i think the legislation succeeds in doing that. maybe not 100 percent. but to some extent and that should mean that car crashes, you know, 100 car crashes are a little bit less likely in the future. but what it also means is that capital going to move a little more slowly. that is the inevitable cost. and for main street that means yes, it will be harder to get a mortgage than it was in the go-go years of 2006, 2007. inevitably we are going to be writing stories. you are going to be do reports about poor american homeowners who are no longer able to get a mortgage. well, guess what, that's the price of having a safer financial system. >> now robin -- >> may i chip shot off chrystia's point, actually. i mean you want to talk about speed limits here, oftentimes, time and again wall street has shown that it doesn't want to drive 65. a lot of this money is going to go offshore. it's going to reconstitute
in other esoteric vehicles of the same way we saw private equity and leverage buyout booms after sarbanes oxley, the last huge show of regulation that we had in the early part of last decade. i think it's very important to notice that. and this money, i mean there's still lots of restive capital out there that is going to look for yield. i don't think the security at thisization market is going to die. these people, like i've said before, wall street gets paid a lot to learn how to gain the system. if it has to move money abroad, so be it. if it has to use special purpose entities, so be it. and that's the prediction that a lot of people are making today. >> brown: so chrystia, in terms of who watches going forward to make sure that those kind of things don't happen or untoward things don't happen, what does the bill bring in terms of regulatory changes, the fed feds-- fed still has-- actually the fed maintains a lot of power and roben referred to that new council, the oversight council. >> yeah, exactly.
i mean that is a new thing. and it is really important that there now is a council that has overall authority. i think the issues there are, first of all, it still is a very feudal, byzantine regulatory system. if you were being radical you can could have really shaken up this very fractured, you know, very multigroup of regulators and said we want to have more unity. we want to have a single regulator. we want to make it easier to oversee the system and harder for these banks to engage in regulatory arbitrage. so it is a tough game for the regulator and the second really important point which your report highlighted is so much of this is going to be about the judgement of the regulators. and i think when we look back at the financial crisis of 2008, one of the conclusions we're going to draw is regulators forgot that their job was to be policemen. and they started to see themselves as farmers, if you were of wall street. they started to think that their job was to help financial services to grow.
now that might be the job of other parts of government, but surely the job of regulators is to make sure these guys are not doing things which too risky. and what will really determine whether we have another big financial crisis in the next five years or ten years is going to be what attitude the regulators take. >> now roben, just in our last minute or so, i do want to ask you about this other story that broke today, because it is related. that's goldman sachs agreeing to pay 550 million to settle those civil fraud charges with the sec. what-- how important is that in a larger scheme of what we are talking about? >> yeah, one of the chances that these two headlines hit the tape within hours of one another. i think you make a very important point. this is-- this was related. the sec kind of pursued its action. a lot of us are arguing, to kind of put the fear of god into these wall street firms that it was serious. that it was going to go after the most successful and profitable firm. you could look at this two quas. the sec is kind of billing this as look, we are
extracting our biggest ever penalty out of a firm. goldman is going to behave itself. it's going to say that it's not going to kind of pursue these practices going forward. and obviously ot bama administration can run a victory lap around this. i mean the rose garden signing coming up of this huge reregulation package and the goldman sachs censuring. but on the other hand it is just the 550 million dollar fine. and you compare that to the tens of billions of dollars that goldman and its ilk made during the subprime bubble and you wonder if it was enough. >> chrystia, we got time for your short analysis on this one. they didn't admit to wrongdoing but they did say they going to reform their practices. >> well, first of all, i do love the fact that for robin, 550 million dollars, more than half a billion dollars is not very much money. for me it's a lot. >> brown: he lives at a very high level, roben does. >> there you go. there you go. i think that this is important. i would say the timing actually is really unfortunate because hard tas may be for main street
america to believe, but wall street right now feels incredibly aggrieved, even some of the guys who are writing really big checks for obama in 2008 now feel that dc hates them and that there is a conspiracy in government against them. the fact that this ruling comes on the day that financial regulation passes is really quite unfortunate. to me, the big question in terms of the sec is going to be is this it? or is the goldman case just going to turn out to be the beginning of a really aggressive, sort of settling of scores for 2007/2008. and i think that's the big question that wall street will be asking as well. >> brown: all right, chrystia freeland and roben farzad, thank you both very much. >> thank you, jeff. >> pleasure. >> lehrer: next, the last in ray suarez's reports from haiti. six months after the earthquake. it's a look at the nation's mental health.
>> reporter: in the desperate first days after the january quake, the first response went to those with bruised tissues, and crushed limbs. finding help was harder for those with bruised psyches, or a crushed will to live. >> ( translated ): yes, we are seeing more cases of people who have contemplated suicide now, because they have had an awful lot of time to look back and really focus on what they have lost, whether it be a family member, or material things, their possessions, they are looking back now. it's weighing on them. >> reporter: doctors without borders runs a vast field hospital in port-au-prince. there psychologist marie treats children at risk or already exhibiting mental health problems. they've survived loss of parents and siblings, homelessness, trauma, injury and marie is pushing back against their terrible sadness.
>> ( translated ): what we try to tell them is, this has already happened, and they still have their life, and so that's what they need to be grateful for need and so we try to encourage them to see it that way, and be grateful for it, as much as possible. there is no way to go back. there is no way to change, so we try to do our best to give them strength. >> reporter: the children are getting a variety of what's called psycho-social treatment. sometimes, it's nothing more complicated than getting those who need the help away from the camps and clinics as mercy corps did recently, to a soccer stadium, to be entertained by a popular disc jockey to play the haitian version of simon says to run and dance, to just act like a kid. >> psychology is all about balance, and there is nothing balanced about living in a tent camp, between the way they are living and not working, these are all things that compound mental health so were trying to mental health so we're trying to address those needs and bring back order into their lives. >> reporter: elyse noesille is a
psychologist working for partner in health, haiti, he says the children he sees have become more aggressive, have trouble sleeping, or overreact to noise. he works with the residents of sprawling homeless camp saint sportiff. of the 1,000 families living here noesille and his colleagues average about 800 consultations a month. noesille says for his young patients its important to confront these issues now. >> ( translated ): are you having trouble focusing in class, is there anything on your mind that takes you away from the focus of the class? do you sleep well? are you ever startled from sleep? >> reporter: the partners in health mental health team estimates they see 100,000 mental health patients throughout the four camps they oversee. psychologists like noesille
average ten consultations per day the heavy load can take an emotional toll for the healers as well. >> ( translated ): every time we would listen to patients tell their stories, i would relive the experience myself, so as psychologists we would turn to each other for support. >> reporter: adults may be every bit as vulnerable as children, but a little better at hiding their suffering for a while. >> ( translated ): i lost my mother and my son, i was pinned now, i'm constantly having panic attacks, i keep reliving the moment of when my mom and my son perished. >> ( translated ): i lost my faly, my sister, my cousins, and i feel like something is gripping me, and i'm about to lose my head and i don't know what to do. >> reporter: michelline richard struggles across a rutted field in a wheelchair. her infant son reginald, born months before the quake, in her lap. richard was feeding reginald when the quake began. as she ran from her house, part of the roof fell on the base of
her spine. she's 19. paralyzed. and eight months pregnant. earlier this year she was bounced from one medical facility to another, and wanted to die. >> ( translated ): i knew my baby was safe, but i kept asking, why i didn't just die that day. my baby needs me, and my therapist has helped me understand that, i'm better off, and getting stronger. >> reporter: psychologist marie says she expects plenty more patients to head to the clinic as haiti's recovery continues. >> ( translated ): we find six months later, those people who have repressed these feelings are now coming in to seek help, but in their case, because they have repressed it, they have now done some damage to themselves, and they are starting to relive things with a lot more emotions and not really having a grasp on how to deal with it. we try to focus on more, because
the one who came in and got the of healing, those need much more work. >> reporter: mental health experts say some of the emotional burden has been eased by the fact that thousands of haitians share similar, painful stories, and can grieve together. but in a country where mental health services barely existed before the quake, the challenge remains huge. >> lehrer: finally tonight, the iranian scientist who claimed he was abducted by the u.s., arrived home today. it was the latest chapter in a spy story filled with charges and counter-charges. the 32-year-old scientist-- sharram amiri-- was given a hero's welcome in tehran-- a day after leaving the united states. but whether amiri is a spy who got cold feet or the victim of a c.i.a. snatch-and-grab, remained hotly disputed. the u.s. insisted he was a
defector who had second thoughts and that he wanted to go home because he missed or feared for his family. in fact, "the washington post" reported today amiri was paid $5 million for information he divulged about iran's nuclear program. that's money he won't be able to access now, due to sanctions imposed on iran. the iranians said amiri was kidnapped last year in saudi arabia, and eventually ended up in detention, under the c.i.a.'s control. amiri repeated that version today. >> ( translated ): i was abducted in the city of medina in front of my hotel by c.i.a. and saudi intelligence agents and then transferred to the u.s. onboard a military plane. within the first two months, i was subjected to fierce mental and psychological torture by agents and interrogators from the u.s. central intelligence agency. >> lehrer: american officials have flatly denied the charge and said amiri left the u.s. of
his own free will. they also say his tales of kidnapping and torture were an effort to bolster his credibility back in iran. state department spokesman p.j. crowley said yesterday that amiri came and went as he pleased. >> nobody coerced him to come here and no one coerced him, you know, to leave, but once he gets back to iran, i suspect that he'll have a variety of things to say and my advice would be take what he says with a grain of salt. >> lehrer: indeed amiri has given conflicting versions of his time in the u.s. after disappearing in june of 2009, he surfaced in a grainy internet video last month claiming he was kidnapped. then he appeared in a video allegedly produced by the c.i.a. from his new home in tucson, arizona and said he was happy in the u.s. then, in yet a third video, amiri again reversed course and claimed to have been taken
against his will, and tortured. bob baer is a former c.i.a. officer with long experience in the middle east. >> this happens all the time. defectors come up across they think it's a good idea, they get paid a lot of money, and then once the boredom sets in and the loneliness, they realize it's a huge mistake. >> lehrer: amiri offered no further insights today. instead, he said: "i am a simple researcher. i had no classified information." for more on this case, here's greg miller, national security correspondent for the "washington post." and arthur keller, a former case officer in the c.i.a. part of his work there focused on iran's missile and nuclear programs. is first, greg miller, is it hard to believe that the cia would pay $5 million to a guy who is just as, as he called-- what did he call himself, a simple researcher with no classified information? >> i'm sure the cia would say they wouldn't pay $5 million to somebody who fits that description. but it's not hard to believe
that the agency would pay large sums of money to defectors, especially from a nation like iran, where the agency is desperate for better intelligence on what is happening inside that country, and what it's doing with its nuclear program. >> lehrer: so your report about the $5 million stands up as far as you're concerned? >> oh, yeah. >> lehrer: arthur keller s it believable to you as well that the cia would pay that kind of money to this kind of guy? >> it is. iranian nuclear physicist does not grow on trees. and to get someone with really good access, sometimes you have to wave a really big potential payday for them. but that kind of money, while it seems like a lot, it gives you information that you couldn't get through billions of dollars of technical coverage so in the end someone with really good insight is more than worth that. i have no trouble believing that. >> lehrer: do you... is there any way to ascertain how valuable his information was? you can judge that by the fact he was paid $5 million,
or you just-- or is there any way to do it beyond that? >> certainly, i would point to the fact that the national intelligence estimate of 200 said that iran had appeared to halt their nuclear program and that changed in late 2009. so that suggested at least to me that possibly he provided some information on that topic. >> lehrer: greg s there anything really solid phone about how this guy got here, whether he was abducted as the iranians claim and you now claims or whether he was a volunteer detecter? >> you are right, you have utterly conflicting claims about telephone. but there are a few details emerging here in the united states. i mean it looks now like he had a relationship with the cia long before he came to the united states. and in fact, the agency encouraged him to come out in part over concerns that he may have been identified inside iran. in other words,
they became worried that he became exposed and burned and that he needed to come out for his own safety. and that's sort of the backdrop from his disappearance from saudi arabia in june 2009. >> lehrer: do agree, arthur keller with bob bard's point that it's not uncommon for defectors to come aboard, tell what they've got to sa say-- say, get bored and want to go home? >> yeah, the care and feeding of a defect certificate kind of a major headache. obviously they provide very valuable information but thereafter they have really cut themselves off from their homeland. and remorse is very common in that situation. so i don't find myself too surprised that he returned. although in this particular case i wonder if he returned under pressure on his family back in iran. >> lehrer: how do you think-- he got a hero's welcome today. do you think that hero's welcome is going to last in iran?
>> i fear it is not. if he did return under pressure i think iranian regime will wait until pressure dies down and there is a good chance that a year or two from now he may be disappeared. >> lehrer: you mean they'll kill him. >> i don't think they forget. >> lehrer: you think they might kill him? >> he might wind up with a special cell in evan prison of his own for quite a long time. i'm not sure if they would kill him. but i don't think he's going to get away with it. >> lehrer: greg, how would you read this thing. the idea that he was paid $5 million. it's all over "the washington post," all over the world today, how is that going to go down back if-- how do you think that might go down back in iran with the iranian authorities who have to deal with this guy? >> i think they'll just deny it or they will spin this the way they have been portraying it all along. that he was abducted and these are all stories that are being made up by the agency and by the united states government.
i would add to art's point just a moment ago, that he will have some short term value to the iranians, probably. because he may have a good deal to tell them about the agency's practices in identifying potential defectors and bringing them to the united states. in other words, where they are taken, how they are taken there, how they are vetted and how their information is evaluated. as well as perhaps even explaining what some of the potential gaps are in u.s. intelligence. i mean the questions that he faced over the past year may tell him and may now be telling the iranians a good deal about what the united states knows and doesn't know about iran's program. >> lehrer: dow share art keller's view that this guy pay not have a long-term future there in iran. >> he may have some protection now because they have made this so high profile. his hero's welcome back home. i mean if he has disappeared, what will that say to other scientists who may have work add long side him or who just in other facilities in iran who have questions
about this regime or about this program. i mean he may have some protection just because of the way he has been greeted by the government in tehran. >> lehrer: help us understand, art keller, how a defector like this i'm sure you don't foe-- nobody knows the details on this. but a defector f he did come voluntarily, come involuntarily and decide i want to go home, i'm home sick, i want to go home, whatever, for whatever reason, does the united states have anyway to keep him from leaving. >> no, if he came here voluntarily, there's really no legal basis. so if they want to go, they can go. that's the long and short of it. they have no legal reason to keep him. he's here at invitation and he's free to go. >> lehrer: and there's been some high visibility examples of this in the past with russian defectors, right? >> yes, yes. vitali
yurchenko is one that also redeflected. there is some question to this day whether his original defection was legitimate or an attempt by the kgb to plant this information. i'm sure this case will raise similar issues. but at the end of the day i think that the cia got $5 million worth of information and sending up not having to pay for it. >> lehrer: should they see this as an embarrassment. is this an embarrassment to the cia or just an interesting story and it was a good buy? >> well, since we got the information, i think it's not really an embarrassment. absent the agency of the responsibility to have to take care of him from there after. it's not really an embarrassment. but on a human level i feel bad for mr. amiri because i do think he's probably under threat of some sort of retaliation back in iran. >> lehrer: okay. well, you've already said, greg t could go the other way just because of high visibility. >> sure, sure.
i mean it depends alot on how he is perceived. if in the middle east his story, his account now of being tortured and abused and abducted f that is believed and that's a huge disincentive for other potential defectors. but who knows, there may be some who are astonished to learn that he had a chance at $5 million and walked away. >> lehrer: gentlemen, thank you very much. both of you. again >> brown: again, the other major developments of the day: b.p. stopped the flow of oil from its ruptured well in the gulf of mexico, for the first time since the spill began nearly three months ago. goldman sachs agreed to pay $550 million to settle civil fraud charges with the securities and exchange commission. and the senate gave final approval to the most sweeping changes in financial regulation since the great depression. president obama is expected to sign the measure within days. the "newshour" is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan: while in haiti our team filed several reports including a video on how some haitians are choosing to live outside rather than return to their homes even now six months
after the quake. and a story on the state of maternal health. on the political front: are house democrats feuding with the white house? find a recap of house speaker pelosi's briefing today and reports of internal party tensions. and remember, you can see images of the newly capped wellhead in the gulf on our live video feed find it on our homepage. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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