tv AB Cs World News Sunday ABC July 12, 2009 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
i'm dan harris, and this is "world news." tonight, the cia's secret. the attorney general is considering a criminal investigation into whether terror suspects were tortured. will high level cia operatives be prosecuted? line of attack. con for make hearings start tomorrow for president obama's supreme court pick, who would be the first latina on the court. how republicans plan to use her own words against her. new clues in the murder of a couple that adopted 12 children. the killers were recorded breaking into the family home. and, hungry for life. a new study suggests you can live longer by eating far less. extreme dieters tell us how they live longer by eating far less. extreme dieters tell us how they stick to it. captions paid for by abc, inc.
president obama has repeatedly said he wants to look forward, not backwards. but tonight, it looks like washington may dive headlong into investigating how the cia under the bush administration handled the war on terror. attorney general eric holder is considering a criminal investigation into whether cia operatives tortured terror suspects under president bush, and democrats are now calling for an investigation into if dick cheney ordered the cia to hide a covert counterterrorism program from congress. we're going to start with jonathan karl in washington. jon, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, dan. justice officials say the attorney general's investigation would focus on one question. did cia interrogators break the law by torturing detainees and going beyond those so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that were approved by the bush administration.
the officials say the appointment of a special prosecutor is likely raising the possibility of high-profile prosecutions of career cia operatives. republicans say that's a bad idea. >> this continued attack on the cia and our intelligence gathering organizations is undermining the morale and capacity of those organizations to gather intelligence. >> reporter: and if that isn't enough, democrats in congress are vowing their own investigation into another cia controversy -- the agency's failure to tell congress about a secret program that went into the planning stage shortly after the september 11th attacks. >> to have a massive program that is concealed from the leaders in congress is not only inappropriate, it could be illegal. >> reporter: details of the program are still a tightly guarded secret, but when the current cia director, leon panetta, found out about it, he scrapped it and briefed the congressional intelligence committees. one democrat on the senate intelligence committee says
panetta told them that former vice president cheney had ordered the program kept secret. >> he was told that the vice president had ordered that the program not be briefed to the congress. >> and what do you think of that? >> oh, i think that is a problem, obviously. >> reporter: there's been no comment from cheney, but the former vice president's allies say the agency didn't need to brief congress because the program had not yet gone into operation. the swirl of investigations seems to be exactly what president obama has repeatedly said he does not want. >> i think that we should be looking forward and not backwards. i do worry about this getting so politicized that we cannot function effectively. >> reporter: but dan, with the latest revelations, there's going to be a whole lot of lo looking backwards in the weeks and months ahead. >> the attorney general is appointed by the president. is there any sign that president obama is going to pressure eric holder to hold off on this investigation?
>> reporter: what i have heard from both white house officials and justice officials is that what the president has said this is the attorney general's call. this is a matter of legal prosecution and that is a decision to be made without political interference. the attorney general will make that call. >> on the other investigation, the possible one by congress, there is nothing obama can do, right? >> reporter: nothing. and that's what they're worried about. they have the potential for a real political circus. that's what the white house wants most not to happen. that's something they would like to see not happen, but they have really no control. >> jon karl in washington tonight, thank you, jon. the cia is, of course, an agency that largely operates in secrecy. there are concerns tonight that two full-blown investigations of the agency might undermine its ability to gather intelligence. john hendren has that part of the story. >> reporter: this legendary spy sees dark days ahead.
>> it's one of the last nails in the cia's coffin. it's finished. it's over. it's done. >> reporter: bob baer is a legend at the cia. george clooney's role in "syriana" says the damage at cia has already taken its toll. >> it's demoralizing the rank and file. i've been getting e-mails from officers overseas that are talking about quitting. >> reporter: with rising calls for investigations into cia tactics and harsh accusations -- >> the cia was misleading congress. >> i know i've been lied to. >> reporter: -- the rift between congress and the cia is so bitter that when analysts head to capitol hill, the agency gives them this stock response, "i'm sorry, but i will be unable to continue our dialogue if you continue to question my integrity or that of my agency." >> cia has become a master at saying to congress, "if you do your job and supervise us it will hurt our morale. if our morale is hurt, we won't be able to do our job." that is largely a myth. >> reporter: cia insiders say the agency hasn't faced this kind of scrutiny since the 1970s, when congress problemed
extreme tactics, like allegedly hiring the mafia to kill fidel castro. those hearings led to a host of restrictions on the jen si. with rising criticism and poisoned relations with congress, he says, the agency's headquarters feels like a morgue. >> this is going to interfere with stopping another 9/11. >> reporter: if there are hearings, that is a line that will be heard over and over again on capitol hill. john hendren, abc news, washington. in afghanistan this weekend, two more american troops were killed, both of them marines. they died in a bombing in a southern province where the u.s. launched a major offensive. 104 u.s. troops have been killed in afghanistan this year. and in iraq, a bomb went off ahead of a convoy that was carrying christopher hill to a meeting outside of baghdad.
officials say his car was far enough ahead of the blast so that no one got hurt. in baghdad itself, bombs exploded in front of christian churches. more than 30 were wounded there. and back in this country, president obama called his supreme court nominee sonia sew mow mayor today, to wish her luck at her confirmation hearings that start tomorrow. as jan crawford-greenburg reports, republicans opposing sotomayor's nomination plan to use her own worlds against her. >> reporter: for president obama's nominee to the supreme court, the battle lines are drawn. >> she has a longer record as a public judge than any nominee, republican or democratic, in nearly 100 years. >> she's evidenced a philosophy of activism and lack of commitment to the highest e ese ideals. >> reporter: in the fight over her confirmation, republicans
are poised to hit hard on all the traditional issues. gun rights, abortion, the death penalty, presidential power. but the sharpest questions could be issues of race and affi affirmative action. >> i am a product of afirrive action. >> reporter: she acknowledges affirmative action got her into princeton. throughout her life, she's talked about race bluntly and publicly. at the court, the lone woman justice also benefitted from affirmative action at columbia university and generally has supported race conscious programs as a justice. that's not a view shared by the court's conservatives, includes justice clarence thomas, who believes affirmative action taint as person's achievements. in the hearings, republicans will ask how sotomayor's experiences will shape her opinions. >> all americans should be concerned when a judge decides cases based on their own personal views. >> reporter: republican senators also will press her to explain
what she meant when she insisted in speeches "a wise latina woman would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male." but her come peopling life story, from the projects to princeton, and the lack of a so-called smoking gun, have softened republican opposition. with a decisive majority in the senate, democrat judiciary committee chair leahy is confident. >> she will be confirmed. >> reporter: the hearings kick off tomorrow with opening statements. the intense questions, when the senators press her to explain these issues, will begin in earnest on tuesday. dan? >> we heard senator leahy say she will be confirmed. is that the conventional wisdom, that she has a lock on this thing? >> reporter: short of a major revolution, republicans know they just don't have the votes. senator sessions told me he wants to use hearings as a teaching moment to contrast her approach of the law with that of conservatives who think the court should take a more limited
role. >> jan, thank you. we have breaking news out of florida right now, where police are about to announce an arrest in the murders of a married couple who were admired for having adopted 12 children. they were killed in their own home. steve osunsami has more now from prince cola, florida. >> reporter: florida police investigating the murder of bud and melley bianie billings have focusing on what they believe is the get-away vehicle. this red van. police, acting on a tip, found it stashed behind this shed in pensacola, several miles from the murder scene. the van, and three passengers, were captured on surveillance video at the billings' home, at the night of the murders. authorities are now interviewing at least two persons of interest connected to the van and possibly connected to the killings. >> they are not related by blood, marriage, as best as we can tell. no legal connections on that perspective. they are two individuals who know each other. >> reporter: the couple's murder has shocked residents across this community.
they had 16 children, 12 of them were adopted and many of them had developmental disabilities. nine of those children, the very youngest, were home at the time. >> i think it's sad, because they were a couple giving service and now these children are going to be without parents. >> i don't know what's going to happen now. they said they're going to do everything in their power to keep them together, so i hope that happens, but that'll be a huge commitment. >> reporter: the elaborate surveillance system that included cameras in almost every room was installed to watch over the children and may end up l d leading police to the killers. the children's school bus driver who rushed to the home after the killings, say they clearly understand what happened. >> matthew told me that he didn't have a mom and dad anymore because they got shot, and i told him, i said, well, they will always be your mom and dad. they just won't be here right now. >> reporter: the children were unharmed, and tonight, they are safe, and in the care of relatives. the family says they plan to keep the children together, what is exactly what their parents would have wanted. steve osunsami, abc news,
florida. and coming up here on "world news" this sunday, a desperate state government in a dire budget crunch considering generating extra income through marijuana. cutting calories not to lose weight, but to live longer. should we all be on this extreme diet? and, police tackling illegal drag racing by joining in. i never thought it couldldappen to me... a heart attack at 53. i had felt fine. but turns out... my cholesterol and other risk facrsrs... increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something. now, irurust my heartrto lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol .lowering medications,, lipitor is fda approved .to reduce the risk..., of heart attack, stroke, and certain kinds ! of heart sgegeries... in patients with several common risk factors... or heart disease. lipitor has been extensively studied...
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we're going to take "a closer look" tonight at the drastic measures that some states are taking to deal with budget crunches. 48 states are short $166 billion. half the states are raised taxes, even more have made major cuts in services. in massachusetts, the franklin park zoo says it may have to shut down because of budget cuts, and some of the animals might be euthanized. and, in california, where officials are struggling to close a $26 billion budget gap, there is a radical proposal on the table, legalizing marijuana. here's brian rooney. >> reporter: what they are saying is that california could ease its budget crisis by relaxing with a little legal weed. >> we're marijuana consumers. >> reporter: that commercial running on cable and broadcast television this week was created by a marijuana advocacy group. >> what we have in prohibition
is the worst of all possible worlds, a drug that is as common as dirt, and totally unregulated and totally untaxed. it makes no sense. >> reporter: proponents of legalization predict a tax windfall. it takes about three months to grow marijuana, and one high quality plant can produce two ounces with a retail value of about $800. which, under the proposed law would give the state a $100 hit. >> taxes from california's marijuana industry could pay the salary of 20,000 teachers. >> reporter: the bill to legalize was introduced by a legislator from, naturally enough, san francisco. >> well, the income from tax is the sales tax and excise tax would probably be in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion. the amount of the money that would be saved in terms of incarceration and not enforcing of minor marijuana crimes, i imagine, would be another few million if not more. >> reporter: marijuana for medical use is already legal in california. more dispensaries in los angeles than starbucks coffee shops. but not all proprietors favor
full legalization. >> some people, they abuse it, and they're going to ruin it for people who really need it. >> reporter: it shouldn't be like a martini at the end of the day. >> it shouldn't. >> reporter: a recent poll says 56% of californians favor legal marijuana. there's no word on where the legislature is smoking what they are. brian rooney, abc news. in medical news tonight, researchers announced disappointing results today from a study of the popular fatty acid dha in alzheimer's patients. did not not slow their decline. when we come back, can extreme dieting give you a longer life? and is that a life worth living? . i'm able to get out there and play with them. it means the world to me. problem is, i pay for it with the pain. the doctor diagnosed that i have arthritis undernath my kneecap. a realhaharp, strong sensation. it aches.
when f feel the pain coming on, go take two aleve. works fast, kicks in, and it lets me keep up with my kids. i want to teach them the value of family. i'm very proud of both of my sons. i couldn't ask for better. while i was building my friendships, my family, while i was building my life, my hh cholesterol was contributing to plaque buildup in my arteries. that's why my doctor prescribed crestor. she said plaque buildup in arteries is a real reason to lower cholesterol. and that along with diet, crestor does more than lower bad cholesterol, it raises good. crestor is also proven to slow the buildup of plaque in arteries. crestor isn't for everyone, like people with liver disease, or women who are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant. simple blood tests will check for liver problems. you should tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, or if you have muscle pain or weakness. that could be a sign of serious side effects.
we all know that shedding calories can help you look and feel better. but a 20-year study found that extreme calorie cutting may also help you live longer. here's stephanie sy. >> reporter: the pictures say it all. on the left, a haggard balding monkey, on the right, a healthy youthful one. both are the same age. the difference? the more fit
monkey has been fed a third less, for his entire life. the 20-year study found monkeys not on the diet were three-times more likely to die of age-related causes. >> if you look at the rates of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, the differences emerge almost immediately with calorie restriction. >> reporter: to paul mcclothin and meredith averll, both in their early 60s, the study reinforces their lifestyle. they are among thousands of americans who practice calorie restriction. they say they actually welcome feeling hungry. >> when it happens -- i know this sounds perverse, but i get really excited, because i know that i've done what i was supposed to do. i fed my body less than it was expecting. the hunger hormones have been shown to be very good medicine for the heart and the brain. >> i see there's some carrot in there -- >> reporter: eating lunch with paul and meredith means filling up on nutrient-dense, low calorie food. >> this is almost what we could
call free food, because all of these foods in here are very low in calories. >> reporter: they eat breakfast and lunch, but no dinner. >> i have more energy than i had when i was in my 20s. not just by a little bit. but by far. i can run almost as fast. >> reporter: since the last time they were interviewed by abc, more than four years ago, paul and meredith seem barely to have aged. but experts doubt whether humans, unlike caged monkeys, could maintain such a diet. >> for the individuals that select themselves to do this, the data suggests that they're having success. the problem is this is a very select group. most of us will never have the motivation to achieve what they are doing. drug companies are very interested in understanding the mechanism behind calorie restriction in hopes of finding a magic pill that will mimic the benefits. stephanie sy, abc news, new york. >> the pill sounds easier. one note from overseas now. a bloody day at the annual
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finally from us tonight, it is a summertime ritual in many places. when the sun goes down, drag racers rev up, turning streets into illegal and sometimes fatal drag strips. in florida, the police have come up with a creative way to deal with this problem. they are now drag racing, too. here's jeffrey kofman. >> reporter: it's that combination, fast cars and young guys. >> ready to rock and roll. they're off. >> reporter: so what's the thrill of this? >> speeding. adrenaline. >> reporter: sure, it's
seductive. illegal street racing was glam morized in "the fast and if furious." but it is also deadly in the six years that followed, from 2001 to 2007, there were almost 1,000 deaths nationwide from street racing. which is why this race on a drag strip in miami is so important. >> been doing it for 2 1/2 years and made a tre money douse impact on the illegal street drag racing here in south florida. >> reporter: here, racers of automobile ages get to compete against the same cops who might otherwise be arresting them. beat the heat is a nationwide program now in 30 states, with 800 races like this a year. it's designed to get street racers off the street. >> reporter: you want to get the people out here and interact with me, to talk with them, say, look, i'm a police officer, and if you do it illegal, i'll write you a ticket. i'll here, we can be friends and we'll have fun. >> reporter: here in miami, it's been so successful that police
have disbanded a special street racing task force. 19-year-old robert started racing illegally when he was just 15. after tickets and a license suspension, he's now happy to beat the heat. >> look at everybody that crashes on the turnpike and everything from street racing. i have somewhere where i can do it without getting a ticket. >> reporter: the police invited us to join them, as we quickly learned, very quickly, drag racing is all about the start. it is over in just seconds. if you like roller coasters, you'll like this. and here, if you beat the heat, instead of a ticket, you get a t-shirt. jeffrey kofman, abc news, miami. and that's going to do it for "world news" tonight. i'm dan harris, thank you for for "world news" tonight. i'm dan harris, thank you for watching. captions by vitac