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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  June 6, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> kroft: if it hadn't been for bernie madoff, the most famous white collar criminal in america right now would probably be marc dreier. he also ran a ponzi scheme and wound up in prison, but unlike madoff, he agreed to talk about it. >> i thought, if somebody would ever interview me on a program such as yours, it would be for something good i've done, not something humiliating i've done. >> kroft: this isn't the way you wanted to be on "60 minutes"? >> no.
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>> i love the country. i believe in the country. i believe in everything that this country stands for. >> pelley: nada prouty's missions as an fbi agent and cia officer read like a history of america's fight against terrorism. >> nothing prepares you to meet a terrorist, a real-life terrorist. >> pelley: but her fellow c.i.a. officers were shocked when she herself was accused of being a terrorist spy. one of the new york papers called you "jihad jane." >> that's the jane that went to iraq and put her life on the line. >> cooper: mike rutzen is one of just a few people in the world who would do this with a great white shark, and that's just for starters. oh, my god! >> that's what i'm talking about. >> cooper: blood in the water and great whites swirling around, he gets in with them. no cage, no protection. how does he survive it and what could possibly be his motivation?
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we went in the water with him to find out. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and andy rooney tonight on "60 minutes." my nasal allergies are ruining our camping trip. i know who works differently than many other allergy medications. hoo? omnaris. [ men ] omnaris -- to the nose! [ man ] did you know nasal symptoms like congestion can be caused by allergic inflammation? omnaris relieves your symptoms by fighting inflammation. side effects may include headache, nosebleed, and sore throat. [ inhales deeply ] i told my allergy symptoms to take a hike. omnaris. ask your doctor. battling nasal allergy symptoms? omnaris combats the cause. get omnaris for $11 at used to make me cry myself to sleep at night. but i gotta say my sienna is great.
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>> kroft: if it hadn't been for bernie madoff, the most famous white collar criminal in america right now would probably be marc dreier. if that name's not ringing a bell, it's because dreier's $400 million ponzi scheme was blown
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off the front pages by madoff's arrest just a few days later. but the case is no less fascinating. the highly respected attorney, who ran a big park avenue law firm, was initially arrested in toronto for impersonating an officer in a pension fund in what has been described as perhaps the most bizarre arrest in the history of white collar crime. but unlike bernie madoff, marc dreier agreed to talk to "60 minutes" last fall in his only television interview. >> marc dreier: i thought, if somebody would ever interview me on a program such as yours, it would be for something good i've done, not something humiliating i've done. >> kroft: this isn't the way you wanted to be on "60 minutes"? >> dreier: no. >> kroft: nor was this the way that marc dreier wanted to make his final appearance in federal court-- as a defendant in his own fraud case. when we first interviewed him last year, he was a prisoner in his own penthouse, with a g.p.s. monitoring device on his ankle, detained by private jailers whose $70,000 monthly fee was
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being paid for by dreier's 88- year-old mother. with his assets frozen or confiscated by the court, all that remained of dreier's $40 million art collection were the hooks on the wall. how did you end up becoming a crook? >> dreier: i can't remember the moment in which i decided to do something that i knew was wrong. i had an ambition that i needed to feed. i think i fell into the trap of wanting to be more successful than i was. >> kroft: but you were successful? >> dreier: i was, but i really wanted to distinguish myself. i wanted to... i wanted to be as important as i thought i was... deserved to be. >> kroft: with degrees from yale and harvard law, and the ego of a successful trial lawyer, dreier told friends he was going to become a billionaire. he started his own law firm that he said would revolutionize the business of law. he was going to hire the best attorneys, pay them top dollar, and keep all the profits for
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himself as the firm's only partner. >> dreier: the idea for the law firm was very viable. but it needed much more money to get it off the ground than i anticipated, much more. so that wasn't very well thought out. i had a good idea, but a very bad business plan. >> kroft: and the plan was about to get much worse. with his law firm a money pit and dreier tapped out, he began approaching hedge funds with a cockamamie scheme he thought might save his dream. dreier told the hedge funds that he was representing a billionaire real estate developer who was looking to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to embark on some new projects. the developer, dreier said, would issue short-term promissory notes, guaranteeing interest rates of between 7% and 12%, well above market rates. and it seemed like a very good deal. the only problem was, that real estate mogul who was supposed to be borrowing all this money, sheldon solow, didn't know anything about it. nor did he know that dreier, his former lawyer, was fabricating financial information about his
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company and keeping the loan proceeds for himself. so you convinced hedge funds to lend money, ostensibly to mr. solow, your former client, and in fact the money was going to you? >> dreier: yes. >> kroft: so you came up with phony financial statements, phony audits, forged documents for mr. solow's company? >> dreier: yes. >> kroft: how did you do all that? how did you get that stuff? >> dreier: well, i invented it. >> kroft: you invented it? i mean, stationery... >> dreier: yes. >> kroft: ...from the audit firms? how did you get that? >> dreier: i was able to obtain their... their letterhead from either direct... either from correspondence that i'd received from them or perhaps from the internet. i don't recall. >> kroft: what was your biggest deal? >> dreier: $100 million. >> kroft: and somebody just gave you $100 million and never bothered to check with your supposed, alleged client to make sure that this was on the up- and-up? >> dreier: right. but i don't know. i guess i heard a long time ago, too, that the more money you
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look for, the fewer questions people ask, sometimes. >> kroft: the obvious flaw in dreier's scheme was that he would eventually have to pay off all the promissory notes, plus interest, if he wanted to stay out of jail. and in the end, the only way he could do it was by selling more notes to new investors. so you were digging yourself into a hole? >> dreier: yeah, very much so. you start with something that you think is manageable and small. you know it's wrong, but you think you can fix it, and you... and you can't get out of it. it became quicksand. i had to keep meeting obligations that grew bigger and bigger. clearly, all along the way, if there was a way for me to have gotten out of it, i... i would've done it. >> kroft: dreier says he used most of the $400 million he stole to expand his law firm, and to finance a lifestyle designed to create the illusion that he already was a billionaire. there was the $11 million ocean- front compound in the hamptons, an art collection that included a picasso, three matisses, and 12 warhols. and then there was the 120-foot yacht "seascape," with a full- time crew of ten, all mortgaged
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to the hilt. how much did you pay for the yacht? >> dreier: $18 million. >> kroft: and for this apartment? >> dreier: $10.5 million. >> kroft: you enjoyed the good life. >> dreier: i did. it was clear to me that the more you showed people that you didn't need money, the easier it was to attract money. so having the trappings of success was a very important part of the plan. >> kroft: to raise his profile, dreier co-hosted annual charity events with former new york giants star michael strahan that attracted top-name performers like diana ross, jon bon jovi and alicia keys. and then there were the extravagant office parties where dreier himself sometimes performed. >> dreier: in this town, you have to really be something. you know, you don't succeed quietly in this town, perhaps. and i... i think i succumbed to that. >> kroft: by 2007, dreier l.l.p. occupied ten floors of a park avenue building, employed more than 250 lawyers around the country, with high-profile
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clients like bill cosby, andy pettitte, maria sharapova, and justin timberlake. what no one but marc dreier knew was that the rents, the salaries and the expenses were all being subsidized by fraud. >> dreier: i recognized in the last couple of years that what i saw as a $20 million mistake had grown into a mistake of a few hundred million dollars. and then i did some increasingly irrational things, because i wasn't thinking clearly. >> kroft: crazy things. >> dreier: yeah. >> kroft: desperate. >> dreier: yeah. >> kroft: as the financial crisis set in, dreier was holding hundreds of millions of dollars in loans that were about to come due, and everyone wanted their money back. when dreier was a month late on a $100 million loan payment, the hedge fund that was owed the money demanded a face-to-face meeting with the executives at sheldon solow's real estate operations, here at his office building in new york. with reality closing in, dreier enlisted the services of a
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former client, kosta kovachev, to impersonate the president of solow's operation, and then he commandeered a conference room in solow's office for a meeting with the hedge fund, in hopes of getting a loan extension. and you conduct this whole charade right there in the middle of... of solow's business. >> dreier: yeah. >> kroft: did you think you were going to get away with that? >> dreier: yeah. >> kroft: you did, actually, didn't you? >> dreier: yeah. >> kroft: were you nervous? >> dreier: i should've been nervous, but i don't know, i... i wasn't very nervous. >> kroft: i don't get the sense that you're a very emotional person. >> dreier: i think i am. i didn't plan anything i was going to say in this interview, other than not to lose my emotions. but it is not going to do me any good to literally cry over it. >> kroft: when i ask you about the... the emotion, i mean, here you are, walking into a former client's office, perpetuating
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this scheme right in his office... >> dreier: that's called "chutzpa," that's not emotion. you know, i mean, do i have chutzpa? yes. can i... am... can i be very tough under pressure? yes. so, was i able to go into mr. solow's office and pull off that charade without falling apart? yes. did i think i could do that? yes. because i had done things that required nerves of steel before. but it doesn't mean that i'm not emotional about what i did. i clearly remember when i left that office thinking i had done something really crazy and foolish. >> gerald shargel: it was bizarre. i mean, he was impervious to the idea of being caught. attorney gerald shargel, who would represent dreier during his legal proceedings and plea negotiations with the u.s. government, said the facts of the case were beyond the reach of a sound bite. >> shargel: he was a solid lawyer, and there are a number of judges told me that marc dreier was probably the best lawyer that has ever appeared in front of them. and all of a sudden, out of the blue, it's like something went off the tracks. >> kroft: do you have any idea
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what it was? >> shargel: you know, he was fighting his own demons. in his own mind, he hadn't achieved what he was expected to achieve, and he wanted to just grab for it. but he grabbed for it in... in a profoundly sick way. >> kroft: by december of 2008, both investors and investigators had grown suspicious of dreier, and his luck would eventually run out in toronto, where he pretended to be a lawyer for a teacher's pension fund in order to swindle a hedge fund out of $33 million. >> dreier: that was the first act i'd done where i knew i was going to get caught and just couldn't help myself. i just wasn't thinking clearly. >> kroft: dreier had collected a business card from the lawyer he was claiming to be, but the man he was supposed to meet with sensed that there was something wrong. what made him suspicious, do you think? >> dreier: you know, he had acted diligently, and he made some phone calls, which i think led him to be suspicious. i knew as soon as he walked in that he was suspicious, but i still did it. >> kroft: the police in toronto were called, and dreier was
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arrested for impersonation. when he returned to new york five days later, he was apprehended by the f.b.i. on charges of fraud and money laundering, to the complete and utter astonishment of the new york legal community and to the employees of his own law firm. >> joanne rapuano: when we heard the news, we thought it was a joke, at first. >> tori lalonde: there were ten floors of attorneys in boxes. but a lot of people started to resign immediately. they just walked out the door. >> okay, next up, these are the black poltrona frau leather bucket-style chairs... >> kroft: ten days after dreier's arrest, the law firm bearing his name had declared bankruptcy and 600 people were looking for work. the day we met attorney joanne rapuano and long-time office manager tori lalonde, the firm's furniture and office equipment were being sold off by the court to pay off the creditors, mostly hedge funds and their investors, who are not likely to see much of the missing $400 million. >> okay, now, we have the paper shredder. if this paper shredder could talk!
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how much for the paper shredder? $25 bid. open it up now... >> kroft: what's it like being here? >> rapuano: truly tragic. you know, you watch something get built, you think you're part of something on its way up. and all of the sudden, you see it being carted out the front door. >> $1,000 opens it up. $1,000 bid to open it up... >> lalonde: it's just disgraceful. we are victims. i have no job, i have no medical after today. i'm done. so, now, what do i do, start my career all over? >> kroft: i don't want to compare you with madoff, but one of the questions that people ask about madoff, constantly, is: how could he do this? how could he walk around living this life, spending all this money, never showing a crack in the facade? and there are some similarities. how did you deal with that? >> dreier: i was doing a lot of things at the same time. i was engaged in a fraud, which took a lot of energy to sustain. but i was also running a law firm-- a legitimate law firm-- other than, obviously, the obvious fact that it was funded illegitimately. i was a practicing lawyer; i was handling my own cases in court, which took a lot of energy. i almost didn't have enough time to dwell on the elephant in the
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room, which was the very... you know, the... the crime i was engaging with to keep... keep all this up. >> kroft: he has plenty of time to dwell on it now. after entering his guilty plea, marc dreier has begun serving his 20-year prison sentence. he wanted everyone he hurt to know that he was profoundly sorry. and for someone so obsessed with his own image and what people thought about him, his punishment is just beginning. >> dreier: i've lost everything i own. i've lost my business, i've obviously lost my reputation. i've caused my family, obviously, enormous unhappiness. and i have nothing. >> kroft: do you have any friends? >> dreier: now? >> kroft: uh-huh. >> dreier: doesn't seem so.
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gecko: ah, gecko, actually - exec: with all due respect, if i was tiny and green and had a british accent i'd have more folks paying attention to me too... i mean - (faux english accent) "save money! pip pip cheerio!" exec 2: british? i thought you were australian. gecko: well, it's funny you should ask. 'cause actually, i'm from - anncr: geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance. >> pelley: nada prouty's identity was once a closely held national secret. she was an fbi agent, then a cia officer with top security clearances, who penetrated terrorist organizations overseas. her fellow cia officers say she risked her life often, volunteering for dangerous missions. and because she's originally from lebanon, she speaks native arabic, a rare skill for an american intelligence officer. but nada prouty's daring career was destroyed.
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in those years after 9/11, when rooting out terrorists at home was an obsession at the justice department, federal prosecutors launched investigations, and even nada prouty was accused of supporting terrorism. was a traitor exposed, or did america lose a patriot? this past march, nada prouty stepped out of the shadows to tell her story for the first time. >> nada prouty: i love the country. i believe in the country. i believe in everything that this country stands for. >> pelley: this is dangerous work. >> prouty: yes, but i embraced the mission. the mission became my family. the mission became my life. and i would have given anything to protect the mission. >> pelley: nada prouty's missions for the fbi and cia read like a history of america's fight against terrorism. she investigated the bombing of the u.s.s. "cole," the attack on americans at khobar towers in saudi arabia. and in pakistan, she
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interrogated a terrorist who killed 20 people on a pan am plane, and got him to confess. >> prouty: nothing prepares you to meet a terrorist, a real-life terrorist, someone who's killed americans, someone who's vowed to always kill americans. >> pelley: what's happened to him now? >> prouty: he's in a jail in colorado where he gets to see daylight one hour a day. >> pelley: and you're happy about that. >> prouty: yes, i'm happy. it brought justice. this is what we're about. we're about bringing justice to the families of the victims. >> pelley: pursuing justice for the fbi led her to much more dangerous missions at the cia. she worked in iraq during the most violent period of the insurgency. armed with an assault rifle, she went on raids with u.s. special forces. she interrogated suspected terrorists, and she was part of the team that developed the intelligence on the whereabouts of saddam hussein. her cia boss at the time said, "many officers in the cia were
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unwilling to serve in this deteriorating, high-risk and thankless environment. mrs. prouty did not waver." while in iraq, prouty's bulletproof vest had to be altered for an extraordinary reason. you were pregnant at the time? >> prouty: correct. >> pelley: people watching this interview right now are asking themselves, "why would she do that?" >> prouty: yes, and i ask myself now, looking at my child, "how could i put her life in danger?" but that's what i wanted to do. i couldn't look at our marines that are standing outside guarding us and tell them, "hey, i'm pregnant, i'm shipping out." i knew what my contributions were. and i wanted to protect the lives of our soldiers. >> pelley: nada prouty was born into war, growing up amid the conflict in her native lebanon. at age 19, she came to the u.s.
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to get a degree in accounting. >> prouty: those were good years. >> pelley: and years later, while studying for a masters, one of her teachers suggested she apply to the fbi. prouty had to wait two years while the fbi ran a background investigation. she was cleared in 1999 and became a rising star. after two more background investigations, she got one of the nation's highest security clearances. and in 2003, she joined the cia. >> bob grenier: she was absolutely dogged. she would... she would never quit. >> pelley: bob grenier met prouty when he was cia station chief in islamabad, pakistan. he retired in 2006 as a 27-year veteran, who headed the cia's counter-terrorism center. >> grenier: she was involved in virtually all the high profile terrorism cases during those years. >> pelley: and became one of this country's most experienced officers in doing all of those cases. >> grenier: yes. young as she was and as few
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years as she actually had in service, she was tremendously experienced. >> pelley: she save american lives? >> grenier: i think that's fair to say. >> pelley: but while nada prouty was hunting terrorists overseas, an investigation began back home that would destroy her career. the bush administration was working to break up terrorist financing. and by 2004, federal prosecutors in detroit were looking at the large arab-american population around dearborn, michigan. suspicion fell on a lebanese- american restaurant owner named talal chahine. and as it happened, chahine was married to nada prouty's sister. in 2005, fbi agents came to cia headquarters to ask prouty a few questions. >> prouty: they showed me a picture of my brother-in-law with a spiritual leader-- at that time, i didn't know who he was, but with a spiritual leader from hezbollah.
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>> pelley: hezbollah is the lebanese group, backed by iran and on the u.s. terrorism list. prouty says she had little to do with chahine. she thought he was a womanizer cheating on her sister. but because of the family ties, prouty was under suspicion. what began to happen, your relationships with your colleagues, your relationships in the agency? >> prouty: everybody scattered away. you would think that i had the plague. nobody wanted to have anything to do with me. >> pelley: that went on more than a year until, finally, in frustration, she went to detroit to try to clear things up with the prosecutors. >> prouty: it wasn't until i sat face-to-face, until... that was the time that i knew what i was being accused of. >> pelley: and they said what? >> prouty: they said that i have viewed some documents in the fbi a.c.s. system without authorization. >> pelley: the fbi computer system. >> prouty: correct. >> pelley: what documents did they say that you had looked at?
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>> prouty: they insinuated that it was documents relating to hezbollah investigations. >> pelley: she says the prosecutors told her that the evidence against her was secret and that she couldn't see the documents in question. but they implied that she had passed classified information. look, the suggestion here... i mean, reading between the lines here is that you looked for chahine's name and your sister's name to see if the fbi was investigating. >> prouty: that's absolutely false and absurd. >> pelley: you didn't do that? >> prouty: absolutely not. >> pelley: and, in fact, the investigation into whether she'd passed classified information turned up nothing. but prosecutors eric straus and kenneth chadwell kept digging, and they stumbled on something that all those background investigations had missed or dismissed. it turned out that, 18 years earlier when she first came to the united states, prouty had taken a fateful shortcut to citizenship. you arranged a sham marriage?
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>> prouty: that is correct. >> pelley: you understood at the time... >> prouty: i understood it was wrong. >> pelley: ... that it was against the law. >> prouty: yes, correct. i understood that that was wrong. >> pelley: in 1989, at age 19, nada prouty, her sister and a girlfriend arranged bogus marriages to get their green cards and avoid going back to lebanon, which was still at war. 18 years later, in 2007, prosecutors rounded them all up and charged them with conspiracy to defraud the united states. under pressure, prouty agreed to waive the ten-year statute of limitations on immigration fraud and plead guilty to two felonies related to the sham marriage. she also agreed to plead guilty to one misdemeanor count of unauthorized use of an fbi computer, a charge she now denies. >> prouty: i've made that mistake when i was a 19-year-old teenager. and i shouldn't have made it, and i own up to it. but i did not look into fbi
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a.c.s. system without authorization. i did not mismanage or mishandle any classified information. >> pelley: you pled guilty to that. >> prouty: that is correct. >> pelley: why would you do that if it wasn't true? >> prouty: i had to make a decision. i could not see our limited financial resources disappear in front of our own eyes. >> pelley: from attorney's fees? >> prouty: from attorney's fees that amounted in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. >> pelley: but pleading guilty wouldn't be the end of it. prosecutors didn't have the evidence to make a terrorism case in court, so they made one in the media. in a november 2007 press release, the prosecutors said, "it's hard to imagine a greater threat" than someone like nada prouty. they said she had "exploited her access to sensitive counter- terrorism intelligence." and, later, the detroit office boasted that it had uncovered "the only known case of an illegal alien infiltrating u.s. intelligence agencies with potential espionage
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implications," as if nada prouty had plotted from the age of 19 to infiltrate the cia. all the worse, there it was, a word never uttered in court-- "espionage." nada prouty was branded a traitor in the national news media. >> a young woman who worked for the fbi and the cia... >> ... whose brother-in-law is linked to a terror group... >> ... and the fbi suspects she may have given that information to terrorists. >> prouty: my family was destroyed. neighbors wouldn't talk to us. when my daughter would go out in the neighborhood, her friends would scatter away. they told her, "we don't want to talk to you because your mommy is bad." >> pelley: one of the new york papers called you "jihad jane." >> prouty: that's the jane that went to iraq and put her life on the line. >> pelley: before she was sentenced, the cia launched its own investigation to find out if nada prouty was a hezbollah spy. bob grenier, the cia's former head of counter-terrorism, told us what they found.
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>> grenier: there was a full investigation, which included multiple polygraph examinations. >> pelley: what was the conclusion in nada prouty's case? >> grenier: she was completely exonerated. >> pelley: the cia wrote this letter to the prosecutors saying, "the agency did not identify any information that mrs. prouty cooperated or engaged in unauthorized contact with a foreign intelligence service or terrorist organization." how seriously do they take those investigations? how thorough are they? >> grenier: oh, my god, you cannot imagine how seriously the cia would take an investigation like that. >> pelley: at sentencing, federal judge avern cohn blasted the u.s. attorney's office. "perhaps prompted by the excessiveness of the press releases," he said, the news media "grossly distorted the circumstances of your case." "as a citizen," the judge told prouty, "you served your country honorably and effectively." but because of the law, the
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judge was forced to revoke her citizenship. instead of throwing her in prison, he fined her $975. the prosecutors received an award for their three-year hezbollah investigation. but for all the press they were seeking then, they declined to talk to us for this story. but the justice department did send us a statement, saying that it "makes no apologies for the prosecution of nada prouty." "she has no one to blame but herself." the statement says, "the actions taken by the government to address her crimes were measured, appropriate and consistent with obligations to uphold the law without fear or favor." you know, there are people watching this who say, "she was a cia agent, she's trained to lie." the prosecutors in detroit certainly thought you were lying. what do you say to that? >> prouty: i have the truth on my side. i've already been exonerated by the cia.
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i've already been exonerated by a federal judge. and i say to the people, look at the evidence and make up your mind. >> pelley: nada prouty was to be deported to lebanon, but because she would likely be killed by the very terrorists she investigated, the judge blocked her deportation. today, she lives in virginia with an american husband she married in 2001 and their two children. i wonder whether losing your citizenship was the worst part of all of this? >> prouty: that was the most painful part. >> pelley: how do you feel about that? >> prouty: i've carried a weapon in defense of my country. and i've put my life on the line for the country, i've put the life of my unborn child for the country. and i've been in horrible situations, i've been shot at. and what the country gives me
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>> stahl: there is no animal we fear more and understand less than the great white shark. in part, because it's so hard to get near to them, studying great whites has not been easy. but there is one man who has spent his life getting closer to great whites more often than anyone else. his name is mike rutzen, and in south africa, where he lives, he's known simply as "the sharkman."
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what he's discovered about these predators will surprise you. far from being mindless killing machines, rutzen believes great whites are smart, curious, and not out to kill humans. and as anderson cooper reported last march, he's willing to risk his life to prove it. >> cooper: mike rutzen is looking for a great white shark he can swim with-- that's right, swim with. before he gets in the water, he needs to find a great white that is both calm and curious, a shark he refers to as a "player." >> mike rutzen: that's a player. >> cooper: what's a player? >> rutzen: well, a player is basically the shark that's so relaxed, has a nice personality, woke up on the right side of the reef, and it's... >> cooper: "on the right side of the reef." >> rutzen: yeah. ( laughs ) and the animal's willing to
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interact with us, it's so curious. >> cooper: rutzen says great whites have personalities. they may be the top predator in the sea, but he says they are not the man-eating killers of our nightmares. now, how can you tell that's a player? >> rutzen: look how she's moving? she's checking everything out. check now how slowly she's going to do this. see how she looks at everything? >> cooper: wow, yeah, yeah. moving very slowly around the boat. >> rutzen: she's moving very slowly roundabout, move... moving slowly. check, she's going to come and watch the motor now. >> cooper: that's what you want? so this is a curious shark. you... you can work with this shark. >> rutzen: this is a player. >> cooper: this shark and several others have been attracted to rutzen's boat by chum, a mixture of bait and fish blood. it's believed great whites can smell a single drop of blood from a hundred yards away. now that he's found a player, rutzen and his cameraman, morne hardenberg, suit up and prepare to do the unthinkable-- plunge into bloody water with great white sharks all around. >> rutzen: there's no universities to teach you what these animals' social dynamics are and social behavior is.
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and the only way to find that out is by getting into the water. >> cooper: immediately, a curious great white comes straight at rutzen, his only protection-- his camera. rutzen has figured out that great whites don't like the feel of metal. good visibility is crucial. the sharks are constantly circling, and rutzen has to continually turn around so they don't sneak up on him. >> rutzen: they are extremely inquisitive creatures. i like to say they're like little kids in a toy store, and you just tell them, "don't touch; observe." they all touch. >> cooper: problem is, when... when they get curious, they sometimes bite. >> rutzen: yes. the animals are not trying to actively kill you; they're trying to outwit you. i mean, there's a difference. and you're trying to outwit them again. >> cooper: so there's a mental battle going on, or a mental game being played between you and the shark? >> rutzen: i believe so, yes. >> cooper: that seems like the ultimate test of putting your life on the line. >> rutzen: i would like to think
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that it's the ultimate trust between the animal and myself. >> cooper: rutzen is not a scientist. he was born on a farm and knew nothing about sharks until 20 years ago, when he began working as a fisherman along this rugged coast near cape town. these waters are home to the world's highest concentration of great whites. >> rutzen: this is the hotspot in the world for great whites. >> cooper: a perfect hotspot because it's an ideal feeding ground for great whites. it's not far from the southern tip of africa, where the atlantic and indian oceans meet. the water is rich in nutrients, which attract whales, huge shoals of fish, and seals, some 60,000 of them. seals are a prime target for great whites. early one morning, rutzen takes us to an area called "shark alley". the seals pass through here searching for food. there are plenty of fish in the sea. why... why are sharks so interested in the seal? >> rutzen: the reason for that is the blubber. marine mammals have a blubber layer, and their blubber...
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whoa! big shark. their blubber layer is extremely energy-rich. >> cooper: oh, my god. whoa! >> rutzen: that's what i'm talking about. >> cooper: the sharks leap straight out of the water, stunning the seals before devouring them. seals are mammals; they're quick, agile, and smart. but as rutzen has learned, they are no match for the power, speed, and intelligence of the great whites. they have to outsmart the seal. >> rutzen: they... if they weren't as smart or smarter than the seal, they wouldn't have eaten them. >> cooper: watching great whites hunt has become a big business in this part of south africa. each year, tens of thousands of tourists flock to the town of gaans baai, where they are offered a close encounter with great whites from the safety of an underwater cage. >> that was really something! >> cooper: rutzen started his own dive operation 15 years ago. it began as a business, but has become a mission, an effort to learn about great whites and
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dispel the myths surrounding them. >> rutzen: i think humans like to fear these animals and not understand these animals. >> cooper: each year, as many as 70 million sharks are slaughtered to make shark fin soup, a delicacy in asia. this undercover footage shows how fins are cut off while the sharks are still alive, and their bodies are thrown back into the sea. >> rutzen: if people can just see these animals for what they really are, i'll be happy, because then they'll have a chance of survival. >> cooper: by diving without a cage with the sharks, rutzen is trying to show that they are a lot more complex animals than previously thought. after every dive, he spends hours reviewing his material, trying to make sense of how the sharks interact with him. what are you doing with your body here? >> rutzen: the smaller you make your body, the less a threat you are. and then, the animals should come closer. the bigger you are, the more threatening you are.
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>> cooper: rutzen believes that the great white is extremely selective about what it eats, and insists he is not on their menu as long as he stays calm and shows the shark that he has no fear. so, it's important to stand your ground? >> rutzen: the most important thing is don't chase the animals. don't run away from the animals. stand your ground and keep eye contact with the animal. >> cooper: make eye contact with them. >> rutzen: make eye contact. it's not like a primate. if you're looking at it, it's already lost the element of surprise. >> cooper: wow, look at this. >> rutzen: now, see, that you don't see every day. there you see the eye. >> cooper: my god. >> rutzen: well, people like to think it's this evil, black eye of the great whites. their eyes are actually the color of the bluest sea. it's beautiful. you like... you like blue-eyed blondes? there's a blue eye that you can't match. ( laughter ) >> cooper: i hope you've never complimented a woman by telling her she had eyes as pretty as a great white shark. >> rutzen: no, not yet. >> cooper: great whites have
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been around for millions of years. but they've never been seen mating or giving birth. their senses are highly developed, but when it comes to touch, rutzen believes they often rely on their mouths. so, just uses its mouth to feel you. >> rutzen: yes. >> cooper: but that ends up being... could be a deadly bite. >> rutzen: yes. touch is a very important sense for a living animal. so why shouldn't they use that sense? >> cooper: rutzen believes most attacks by great whites on humans have been the result of curiosity, not deliberate acts of aggression. worldwide, there are only about five deadly shark attacks each year-- a tiny amount, considering the millions of people who swim in the ocean. rutzen says many of us have likely had a positive encounter with a shark without even knowing it. what do you mean by a "positive encounter"? >> rutzen: it's where the animal comes to look at you, sees you're not food. it's not really hunting. may be very curious in what you're doing, look at you for a while, and then move off again. you'll never know the animal's there. but the animal knows you're there. >> cooper: and that should tell
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people what? >> rutzen: it will tell the people that these animals are not out to get us. they're not in our oceans to kill humans. >> cooper: rutzen doesn't take tourists diving with sharks without a cage. but we've dived together before, and he offers to take me for an up-close look at the great whites-- no cage, no protection. on a perfect calm morning, we head to shark alley. we drop anchor, and the chumming begins. it doesn't take long for the sharks to arrive. i'm reminded of a line in the movie "jaws"-- "i think we're going to need a bigger boat." the fact that we have a paramedic on board and an ambulance waiting onshore isn't exactly reassuring. they have been chumming the water for about 40 minutes now, and already spotted four or five great whites circling the boat, searching for food. there is one in the water right there, as we speak.
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so it's time to start the dive. mike rutzen says the most important thing to remember when you're actually underwater with a great white is to remain calm. easier said than done. project confidence-- that's what mike rutzen recommends, but i'm not exactly sure how to do that underwater with a wet suit. rutzen and cameraman morne hardenberg have been doing this for so long that they're relaxed. my pulse is already high. >> rutzen: how do you feel? >> cooper: i feel good. "good" may be an overstatement. just remember, if i get eaten, just keep rolling, because the only thing more stupid than being eaten would be to be eaten and not having videotaped. rutzen believed the sharks circling the boat are players-- curious, and not too aggressive. it is an odd sensation, knowing that you're about to jump into blood-filled, shark-infested water. rutzen goes first. then, i take the plunge. immediately, a 15-foot great white swims straight toward us. >> rutzen: that's a big boy.
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>> cooper: their size and power is awesome. they don't attack, but they want to see what we are, and circle us constantly. it's coming right towards us. up close, you see their razor- sharp teeth and the strength of their bodies. it's terrifying, but thrilling, to be so close to such a massive predator. seeing them in their own environment, not grabbing at bait or lunging at seals, gives me a new impression of them, a more complex picture. and that is exactly what mike rutzen is hoping for. the current is getting stronger and visibility is deteriorating, >> it's getting dangerous down there. >> cooper: so we decide it is time to surface.
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it's incredible, unbelievable. it's terrifying, and at the same time, exhilarating. it's unlike anything else. and i am so happy i am back up. it was great. thank you. that's incredible. i'm glad i did it, but i'm not sure i'd do it again. as for mike rutzen, he continues to push the boundaries. he sometimes even hitches rides on the dorsal fins of great whites. these interactions are stunning interaction, but rutzen insists he is not being reckless. >> rutzen: the more we work with them, the more careful we are, because of the knowledge. it's not that we're getting complacent because we have done it so many times, we're getting... >> cooper: you're more careful with them now than you were when you started. >> rutzen: yes, because we are learning small things of what makes them tick. so we are so careful not to do
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the wrong thing. >> cooper: you did say before, though, when we talked that, you know, you expect to die at a young age. >> rutzen: yeah. but look at my lifestyle-- i smoke too much, i drink too much, and i drive my car very fast. ( laughter ) >> cooper: but you... so you don't expect to die from a great white? >> rutzen: no. no. tournament today, england's justin rose won on american soil for the first time with a final round 66 to win by three over 21-year-old american, ricky fowler. rafeal nadal won 7th career grand slam title taking the french open and regaining the number one ranking. for more sports news log ton my doctor told me i should've been doing more for my high cholesterol. ♪ you should've listened. you're right. now i'm eating healthier
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>> stahl: now, a few minutes with andy rooney. >> rooney: there's a lot in the newspaper every day, but anything funny would fit on the head of a pin. i often use that phrase, but i've never tried to fit anything on the head of a pin. i guess i say that more often than i use pins. when i was a kid, i used to read "gasoline alley," "li'l abner," "buck rogers," "blondie." they were called "the funny papers," even though they were never very funny. "the funny papers" are a thing of the past in some newspapers, of course, although i must say there are days when my newspaper could use one on page one. they call them "comic strips" now. "comic" is a pretentious name for "funny." the fact is, people who can
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write really funny funny papers are scarce. it's hard for them, too, because, generally speaking, editors don't take to humor. humor is inimical to an editor's nature. i think that if someone came up with a good comic strip that had a story line and humor, it would sell newspapers. the sad fact is there's no agreement on what's funny and what isn't. i'm funny sometimes, but i'm the only one who thinks so. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." the court with 2 hands, nestling underneath the rim, shooting it up granny-style, watching it roll around, roll around, and whoosh, through the basket. 2 points. the crowd erupted, there were tears, there was laughter, in that single moment, heidi was no longer an individual with a disability. she was a basketball player, what she always wanted to be. [ female announcer ] mutual of omaha.
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