Sunday, January 29, 2012

60 Minutes on January 29, 2012: U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Can Endangered Animal Hunts Save Species?

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta faces future challenges including halting nuclear bomb production in Iran; NFL commisioner Roger Goodell on his $10 billion/year business model; Texas ranches that offer exotic big-game hunting.

Leon Panetta, reported by Scott Pelley: United States Congressman, White House Chief of Staff, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Director of the CIA, and now Secretary of Defense. Seventy-three years old, he sought and located Osama bin Laden. He had left Washington to his home in California until President-elect Obama asked him to lead the CIA in 2009, although Panetta had never worked in intelligence. President Obama made Mr. Panetta Secretary of Defense this past summer, with responsibilities including managing three million employees, fighting three wars, and stopping Iran from building an atom bomb. On January 24, 2012, before his State of the Union Address, the nation heard President Obama state to Mr. Panetta, "Good job tonight. Good job." Probably only 10 people knew that the Navy's Seal Team Six had just rescued two hostages in Somalia, including an American. Pelley asked Panetta to declare how many countries in which we are currently engaged in a shooting war and Panetta answered, "Obviously we're going after al Qaeda, wherever they're at...we're confronting al Qaeda in Pakistan...confronting the nodes of al Qaeda in Yemen, in Somalia, in North Africa." Panetta has 90,000 troops in Afghanistan, in Iraq, the war is ending, and in Libya, he'd helped depose Qaddafi. Panetta travels on a flying command post from which he can reach every American warplane, submarine and missile silo. If President Obama ordered a nuclear war, Panetta would launch it from what they call the "doomsday plane" [Panetta and Pelley were in the aircraft during this part of the interview it is laden with secret gear that is not part of the interview and is so heavy that the Air Force refueled it twice in the night sky over the Atlantic.] Panetta stated President Obama would "very possibly be on this aircraft, to be able to direct what happens in that situation." Panetta's aircraft compartment has just two chairs, two bunks, two phones - for him and President Obama. Panetta stated he concerns himself with what he and Obama would do if Iran built a singular nuclear weapon, not worrying about Russia's thousands, stating it's a "red line" for them, a common sentiment shared by the Israelis. Panetta stated that if he received knowledge that Iran were proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon, they would stop it, with military, if necessary, believing it would probably take Iran about a year to be able to produce a bomb and up to two years to be able to put the bomb on a deliverable vehicle. Pelley stated, "Panetta knows more than he tells; maybe he knows who's bombing Iranian scientists, why Iran's missile facility mysteriously blew up or how a computer virus wrecked Iran's uranium enrichment plant. Judging from the U.S. spy drone that fell in Iran, America and its allies are waging war without sending thousands of troops." Pelley stated that Panetta is "rarely far from an eyelid collapsing, ground shaking, belly laugh...he stays in touch with his humanity and where he came from." Panetta's home is on a northern California farm where he grew up; he points to walnut trees he, his father and brother planted 65 years ago; he and his wife, Sylvia, raised their three sons there (one served in Afghanistan). Panetta's parents arrived from Italy without a word of English. His father stated Leon was "well-trained to go to Washington because he'd been dodging those nuts all his my life." His mother hoped he'd become a pianist (he appears to play very well), but Panetta represented his home district in Congress for 16 years, became President Clinton's Budget Director and worked with Congress to balance the federal budget for the only time in the last 42 years. He stated he was surprised, yet challenged, to become the Director of the CIA. His first challenge was when President Obama ordered him to rethink the search for Osama bin Laden. The U.S. lost him in 2001 in the mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan. Eighteen months into Panetta's directorship, the U.S. tracked al Qaeda couriers to a house in a remote village, Abbottabad, in Pakistan. For eight months, Panetta sent satellites, drones, officers and spies, but they were never sure that bin Laden was there. Pelley reports: "On April 30, 2011, Mr. Obama and Panetta made a point of being seen at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. Panetta's belly laugh was heard at every presidential punch line, but both men knew they'd just pulled the trigger. Seal Team Six would launch in 16 hours." In light of enormous risks, Panetta stated he recommended this operation be pulled off because "everybody played their role in a very effective and responsible way...this was the best case we had on bin Laden since Tora Bora. And because of that, because for 10 years we had run into dead ends trying to track bin Laden down, I thought for that reason alone, we had a responsibility to act." He proceeded without telling our Pakistani allies, concerned bin Laden might be alerted. Because Panetta couldn't figure how bin Laden lived more than five years, undetected, about a mile from Pakistan's military academy, akin to our West Point. Panetta stated he always felt somebody must have had a sense of what was going on at that compound - 12 and 18 foot walls around it, a seven foot wall on the third balcony of the house; the largest compound in the area; Pakistani military helicopters flew overhead. Panetta has no hard evidence the Pakistani government knew bin Laden was there, yet there was no escape route from the bin Laden house, as if the occupants were expecting plenty of warning should trouble arise. [On Panetta's office wall is a brick from the house with a label of bin Laden's code name: Geronimo, Abbottabad Pakistan, presented to Panetta by CIA officers.] After Panetta's appointment seven months ago, he arrives at the Pentagon at dawn and works into the night. Another of his current challenges is to manage the massive
defense budget cuts, well over $450 billion over the next 10 years, while maintaining "a military that protects us against a lot of threats that are out there, terrorism, Iran, North Korea, nuclear proliferation, problem of cyber attacks, rising powers like China...the toughest thing in this job frankly is writing the condolence letters to the parents of those young men who are killed in action...I also say to them, 'You know, your son or daughter is really a true hero and patriot because they were willing to give their life for their country. And that means that they'll never be forgotten,' and I hope that's some measure of comfort for them, because, in the end, it's the only comfort I have is to know that these kids, when they put their lives on the line, are helping America be strong for the future." []

Roger Goodell, reported by Steve Kroft: Only two institutions in this country with the power to create almost limitless amounts of money, the Federal Reserve run by Ben Bernanke and the National Football League, run by Commissioner Roger Goodell. The NFL's revenues are soaring in an economic slump, along with its tv ratings, the most successful entertainment enterprise in the country. Goodell states: "When we bring people into our stadium, or if they're watching on television, we want them to say, 'That was the greatest entertainment I've ever seen.'" American adaptation of the Roman Coliseum, all primal instincts -- sex, violence, tribalism, courage, joy, disappointment -- agile 300-pound gladiators, spear throwers, and acrobats. Best ones are multimillionaires often in the employ of billionaires, fortunate enough to own one of the NFL's 32 franchises, paying Goodell to manage their $10 billion-a-year business, resolve their disputes and protect their most valuable asset, The Game. Goodell states he makes a lot of decisions that are not in the best interests of individuals but always protects the integrity of the game (as he defines it). He is CEO, negotiator, arbitrator, disciplinarian, enforcer, cheerleader and custodian of a national pastime, paid $10 million/year, to tell the owners who hired him (some of the richest, smartest, most competitive people in the country) what is best for them or that he has to suspend (or fine) one of their top players for some infraction; the owners understand his responsibility and Goodell states he doesn't expect them to like everything he does, but he wants them to respect it. On a trip to Baltimore for a playoff game week before last, Goodell compared his job to being Speaker of the House because of political posturing, stating: "You have 32 teams and most of our big decisions have to be made on the basis of 24 votes. So a lot of what I have to do is go and convince at least 24 owners that we have a good have to go out and get those votes. Last week, Goodell;s contract was extended to 2019. Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Baltimore Ravens stated that he loses a lot of arguments to Roger, but he wins his fair share; Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots stated that he wished the people in Washington would lead the way Roger does, possessing a good sense of balance to deal with 32 members of the board of directors. Last July, after months of contentious negotiations, Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFL Players Association signed an unprecedented collective bargaining agreement that will bring a decade of labor peace and prosperity for each party, and last month Goodell and the NFL signed a record shattering nine-year deal with the television networks, including CBS, in which the owners and the players will split nearly $6 billion-a-year in revenue, following a season in which virtually all of the top rated TV shows were NFL games. Goodell is 52 years old and has spent his entire career working at the NFL, beginning as an intern who once drove NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle; this is the only job he ever wanted. He grew up in Washington, rooting for the Baltimore Colts (alongside his father, the late congressman and U.S. Senator Charles Goodell) and Johnny Unitas; he recently paid tribute to Unitas at his statue outside Baltimore's stadium. recently. [His father was one of the first Republicans to speak out against the Vietnam War in a speech before Congress; a copy of it hangs on the wall of the commissioner's office. Richard Nixon thought him an enemy and it cost Goodell the next election. It taught Roger courage in the face of adversity. And because he used to campaign with his father, he is accustomed to mingling with fans at stadiums and is a regular visitor to tailgating parties, occasionally sneaking into the cheap seats to see what the fans' experience is from there.] It is a goal to bring in more fans to the stadium; currently, 25% of the league's revenues (about $2.5 billion) is from ticket sales, with another 25% derived from licensing fees (footballs, league apparel, shot glasses, ice scrapers, etc.). Bud Light is reportedly spending $1 billion dollars over six years to be the official beer of the NFL, but the real key to the league's success is its unorthodox business model -- league rules require that the teams share most of their revenue with each other. Socialism combined with capitalism. Goodell states: "It's not just socialism. The NFL is essentially a cartel, albeit a legal one, thanks to a limited exemption from anti-trust laws granted by Congress more than 50 years ago." Kroft responds: "You've got 32 competing teams, but they share 80 percent of the revenues. You operate a draft for new players. There are salary caps. You depend on public tax money to help fund your stadiums." Goodell retorts: "...we look at it as trying to create the most competitive league we can...we want every fan to feel in the country is hope when the season starts that their team can end up holding that Super Bowl of the stats we're most proud of in the last nine years we've had at least one team go from last to first." Kroft continues, "The result is a financially engineered equality that allows a small town team in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to compete with a metropolis like New York. It produces lots of close games and those unscripted dramas that are essential to the NFL's appeal. Every Monday morning, in the league's New York Command Center, Commissioner Goodell and top officials conduct the ultimate Monday morning quarterback session, dissecting and discussing the weekend's most controversial plays." [Carl Johnson: So what we're gonna have here is an inadvertent whistle...] Kroft: "This was the first time cameras have ever been allowed into the meeting. On this Monday morning following the first round of the playoffs, two blown calls that were irreversible because of early whistles from the referees drew the attention of Goodell and Vice President of Officiating Carl Johnson...." The point of the reviews is to see where mistakes were made, where improvements are needed. Owners phone Goodell, Johnson and Head of Operations Ray Anderson. Goodell employs tough policies on players' personal conduct both in and out of uniform, stating it is a privilege, not a right, to be associated with the NFL. Concussions have always been a part of the NFL and are now treated as a serious brain injury; only doctors determine a player's fitness to return to the game. But often the event goes unnoticed by officials and the player doesn't reveal it, although they are required to report such injuries. After some bad publicity and several lawsuits, the NFL and players have committed $100 million to fund concussion research, and they will provide more than and additional $1 billion to improve pensions and medical and disability benefits for retired players. There was no game tonight, however, the highly-anticipated Super Bowl is next Sunday, in Indianapolis, a rematch of the 2008 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, with Madonna performing at half-time. It is expected to attract more than 163 million television viewers, the largest American audience in history. [}

Can hunting endangered animals save the species? Reported by Lara Logan. In Texas you can find some of the best big game hunting in the world, more than 250,000 animals (125 different species) from Asia, Africa and Europe -- more exotic wildlife than any other location. Fourth generation rancher and the executive director of the Exotic Wildlife Association Charly Seale's job is to represent the interests of some 5,000 exotic ranchers across North America; he states Texas has the most non-native species of animals. Began more than a century ago with surplus animals from zoos; ranchers liked the novelty of exotics on their properties, leading to a major achievement in wildlife conservation -- helping to return three African antelope (the scimitar horned oryx, the addax and the dama gazelle) from the brink of extinction, particularly in the last 15-25 years, according to Seale -- thriving in Texas, but still endangered in their native lands, their success brought about by trophy hunters. In Texas, thousands hunt exotic game annually, throughout the year, because they are considered private property. A scimitar horned oryx will cost $4,500; other animals, such as a dama gazelle, cost around $10,000; cape buffalo, the rarest, cost $50,000. In Texas, exotic wildlife has become a billion dollar industry, supporting more than 14,000 jobs. A hunter and his guide searched a 30,000 acre ranch just two hours outside San Antonio for an oryx, without success; he hunted at another ranch six months later -- states he cares about the species and that the money he spends to hunt them keeps the animals alive. He killed one with a single bullet, 150 yards away. Seale claims 10% or fewer of a herd is hunted per year and that "hunters are the main conservationists in this whole equation," and that he loves those animals despite the fact that they are bred for the sole intention of being killed, stating he can kill something he loves "for the simple reason that I know it's for the welfare of every one of those animals, you sacrifice one so that many more are born and raised from calves all the way up to the big trophy males/females...." Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals (an international animal rights organization) states she thinks it's immoral; for the past seven years, she's been fighting in court to stop these rare African antelope from being hunted in Texas. She further states: "I don't want to see them on hunting see them see their value in body parts. I think it's obscene. I don't think you create a life to shoot it." Ms. Feral would rather they not exist in Texas. Seake states their biggest enemy is the animal rights people because they don't understand what the ranchers do, again claiming that if the animals weren't hunted they would become extinct. Texan rancher David Bamberger, 83, brought Ms. Logan to a small pasture on his 5,500 acre ranch (which he calls The Sahara) in Johnson City. He stated it was there that it began, having spent more than 30 years fighting to save the scimitar horned oryx (with horns that can grow as long as four feet, resembling the curved blade of a scimitar and thought by some to have inspired the myth of the unicorn). Bamberger stated that he's been told it's the only African antelope known to be able to kill a lion. The scimitar horned onyx became extinct decades ago from the deserts of Egypt, Senegal, Chad - all the places where they first walked the Earth more than two million years ago. Ms. Logan states that in the late 1970's, Bamberger offered to devote more than 600 acres of his property to save an endangered animal at his own expense. American zoos sent him nearly all of the remaining known genetic stock of scimitar horned oryx in the world and from that he raised hundreds of animals. He's since sent some to African reserves for eventual reintroduction into the wild, but he believes the best hope to sustain the species today lies on the Texas range. Bamberger claims he gave ranchers as few as six onyx and they currently have 200. Ms. Logan asks, "But if you're a conservationist, and you've given up your land, you've given up thousands, millions of dollars to save this species. Yet you're not against hunting them?" Bamberger replied tat he wouldn't hunt them there, that he is not fond of it, but that he is "wise enough, smart enough to know if there's no incentive, if altruism is the only incentive you're not gonna get a great deal of participation on someone whose livelihood depends on bringing in dollars." Ms. Logan interviewed one of the world's top
conservationists, Pat Condy, who lives in Texas, who stated that on different Texas ranches there are between 6,000-10,000 scimitar horned oryxes. He has devoted his life to saving animals and runs The Fossil Rim Wildlife Center outside of Dallas, a world leader in breeding rare and endangered animals and where tourists can visit such beautiful creatures. Condy agrees that the Texas ranches are saving animals from extinction because the number of animals are either stable or growing. However, Ms. Feral disagrees and has helped create a reserve in Senegal for 175 orxy. In court, she's winning the legal battle she's been fighting for years to stop them from being hunted in the U.S. [Until recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had concluded that "hunting...Provides an economic incentive for...Ranchers to continue to breed these species," and that "hunting...Reduces the threat of the species' extinction," however, a new rule issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will take effect in the near future, making it a crime to hunt the scimitar horned oryx and two other endangered antelope without a federal permit that will be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.] Seale argues that since the "announcement of that rule the value of those animals has probably dropped in half. You've got to understand, I'm a rancher to make a profit, just like any business...I will say that in five years you'll see half the numbers that you see today. And I would venture to guess in 10 years they'll be virtually none of 'em left." Ms. Feral wants the animals back in their native lands, on the reserve in Senegal. Condy states that if you set the aspect of hunting these exotic animals aside, "this resource of a species extinct in the wild will disappear now from Texas.... When asked who is winning the day, he concludes, " don't think anybody's winning the day. One thing is for sure, they are losing it. Those species are losing it." [;contentBody]


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