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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  January 16, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PST

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captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> the bookstore, the bookstore, the bookstore. >> pelley: the figure reflected in that door is accused tucson gunman jared loughner making this video as he descended into madness. >> this is genocide many america. >> pelley: tonight you'll hear from the people who knew him. >> i was afraid he was going to come into the room with a gun and shoot us. >> pelley: what is happening in a mind like this? no one knows better than the researchers who interviewed notorious assassins for the u.s. secret service in an effort to prevent tragedies like tucson. >> these are not impulsive,
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out-of-the-blue events. >> kroft: yemen is one of the oldest civilizations in the middle east with 3,000 years of history. it's believed that noah and the queen of sheba once lived here and if they were to come back today, they would find much of the countryside unchanged. [gunfire] except for the weapons. it's a country of 23 million people and at least 23 million guns. many of them currently in use. this remote, lawless country has also emerged as al qaeda's main staging area for attacks against the west. >> logan: what was your biggest win ever on a single bet? >> the biggest bet i've ever made on any sporting event was last year's super bowl. and i bet $3.5 million on new orleans. >> logan: wow. billy walters is one of the most
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successful gamblers in america. he wins so much that many las vegas bookmakers are afraid to take his bets. what makes him so good? he agreed to let us inside his secret betting operation to show us how he does it. >> he's the most dangerous sports bettor in the history of nevada, the history of the world. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm lara logan. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." >> mitchell: and good . ahead of state visit, chinese president hu was upbeat about relations between the u.s. and china, but he resisted calls to let the chinese return si rise. a new survey shows many companies plan to resume 401(k)
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matching contributions this year, and "the green hornet" won the weekend box office. i'm russ mitchell, cbs news. working in the garden, painting.
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>> pelley: if you think what happened in tucson is incomprehensible, you're about to meet people who understand the madness behind a massacre. the united states secret service has studied 83 assassins and would-be assassins, and it's found remarkable similarities among them. as you see what we've learned about the accused tucson gunman, notice how he fits what the secret service discovered. the horrific loss of innocent
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life seemed to come from nowhere, but it appears jared loughner followed a well-worn path on his final descent into madness. in the hours before the massacre, jared loughner was busy wrapping up his troubled life. at this drug store, just before midnight, he dropped off a roll of film-- pictures he shot of himself posing with his gun. then he checked in to this motel two miles from his home and his parents. at 2:00 a.m., the moon was out. it was a little above freezing and life as he knew it would be over in about eight hours. he seemed upset as he said his good-byes. it appears he made one call to a close friend. that call, at 2:05 a.m., went unanswered, so loughner left this brief message. >> loughner: hey. hey, it's jared. i just want to tell you "good times." peace out. later.
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>> pelley: "peace out" is slang these days for good-bye. there's this heavy sigh at the end. >> bryce tierney: it was all in past tense, and it sort of bothered me how he said "we've had good times." >> pelley: bryce tierney heard his cell phone ring at 2:05, but instead of a number, his screen said "restricted," so he didn't pick up. >> tierney: i was afraid i was going to wake up and find... and see his name in an obituary in a couple of days. >> pelley: tierney and tyler conway met loughner in high school and hung out with him four or five times a week. >> conway: up until, you know, he was about, like, 19 or 20 he was always, you know, pretty enthusiastic, pretty passionate. he was always quiet, but you could see that there was that passion in him. he did care. he was happy. he was always an observer, and especially around the time he started getting mentally ill. >> pelley: we don't know what was happening to loughner, and a
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lot of what you're about to hear isn't going to make sense. but tierney and conway say that's because their friend was slipping into insanity and it was showing up in the poetry he wrote. >> conway: i started seeing heavy influence of just chaos and just non-connective patterning in his... in his poetry, just ranting or mixing of ideas. >> pelley: did you ask him what he was driving at, what he was thinking? >> conway: oh, yeah, and i told him, i was like, "like, because i read it and i just don't find, i find nothing. it's like nothingness to me." and he was like, "exactly!" you know, that's where the meaning is. he... people are going to say he doesn't believe in anything, but it's not that he doesn't believe in anything; he literally believes in nothing, nothingness. >> pelley: tierney and conway told us loughner was interested in a philosophy called nihilism that essentially says life is meaningless. they say he was obsessed with the film "waking life," in which a man walks though his dreams listening to various philosophies.
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>> man wants chaos. in fact, he's got to have it. depression, strife, riots, murder. >> pelley: this character echoes something at the center of loughner's apparent delusions-- that big government and media conspire to silence the average guy. to protest his lack of voice, the character sets himself on fire. loughner told his friends reality has no more substance than dreams. >> conway: he was obsessed with how words were meaningless, you know. you could say "this is a cup," and he'd be like, "is it a cup or is it a pool? is it a shark? is it, you know, an airplane?" you know? >> pelley: in 2007, loughner brought one of his nonsensical questions to one of congresswoman gabrielle giffords' community meetings. >> conway: the question he asked her was "what is government if words have no meaning?" and she read it and obviously, you know, that's kind of a convoluted question. >> pelley: loughner told them what he thought of her reaction. >> conway: he thought it was a joke. >> tierney: yeah, a joke that
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someone who works in government can't answer that. >> pelley: what was her answer to that question as he put it to you? >> tierney: nothing. she didn't answer it. >> conway: she didn't. she didn't answer it. >> tierney: she couldn't answer it. i mean, how would you? how can you? >> pelley: but because she didn't answer the question, he had disdain for her? >> conway: oh, yeah. >> pelley: that's what he told you? >> conway: i think that anyone who didn't connect to his lines of thinking, he had disdain for. >> pelley: his friends say loughner's "lines of thinking" intersected with conspiracy theories-- that government controls people's minds, u.s. currency is worthless. his only known meeting with giffords was three years and four months before the assassination attempt. when police searched loughner's home, they found a form letter from giffords thanking him for attending. on the envelope, he wrote "die, bitch." he held on to the letter all those years. >> robert fein: these were not impulsive, out-of-the-blue events.
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>> pelley: robert fein and bryan vossekuil wrote a comprehensive study of assassins for the secret service in 1999. in prisons and hospitals, they talked to 20 subjects, including arthur bremer, who shot presidential candidate george wallace; mark chapman, who murdered john lennon; and sirhan sirhan, who killed robert kennedy. they found that assassins come from all walks of life, but travel a common path, leaving distinctive clues. >> fein: rarely were there direct threats communicated to the target or to law enforcement authorities. but very often there was some kind of communication, be it a communication to a family member or to a friend, that suggested that the attacker or potential attacker was moving out on the path that might lead to an attack. >> vossekuil: one of the things that we also saw were that there were common motives among a number of these to include drawing attention to a grievance, possibly look... looking for notoriety,
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potentially actually being suicidal and being willing to die or expecting to die in an attack, and perhaps wanting to die. >> pelley: in the more than 80 cases that you studied, was politics, pure and simple, ever the motivation? >> fein: i cannot think of a case where politics, pure and simple, was the tivation. sometimes people used a political language, but people armore complicated than attacking somebody over a "political motive." >> j.d.: i was looking for a location where i could test fire the gun. >> pelley: this man, j.d., stalked two presidents. and in a prison interview, fein and vossekuil found it wasn't politics, it was madness. >> fein: he believed that aliens were giving him a choice either to kill a bunch of school kids or to assassinate the president. >> j.d.: i decided i was going to dress up like a law enforcement person, so i bought
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a suit, the shoes, and bought a trench coat and had a haircut. >> pelley: j.d. showed them that the mentally ill can be organized enough to plan an attack. their research also showed that one of the last steps on the path to violence is practicing with a weapon. that moment seemed to happen for jared loughner around christmas, 2009. his friend, zane gutierrez, says that they shot target practice together, and loughner started researching the weapon that would ultimately be used in the tucson attack. >> gutierrez: jared only spoke of purchasing a glock police- issue firearm. it was the firearm that he thought that he would enjoy owning. pretty much for every reason he felt like if... if it was good enough for the police to use, it was good enough for him.
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>> pelley: something pivotal happened to loughner in march of last year. he ended his friendships and then started disrupting his classes at pima community college. lynda sorenson sat near him in algebra. >> sorenson: it was on the very first day-- within maybe half an hour at the very most-- jared started disrupting the class. he started shouting that this was all fraudulent. the teacher was trying to perpetrate a fraud. the material in the book was fraudulent. >> pelley: you were witnessing behavior that was irrational. >> sorenson: to be honest with you, i sat by the door because i wanted to be able to get out of the room quickly if i had to. >> pelley: what were you afraid might happen? >> sorenson: i was afraid he was going to come into the room with a gun and shoot us. >> pelley: the campus police were called to talk to loughner five times, but they didn't take him into custody or seek to have him sent for psychological evaluation because he hadn't threatened anyone. then loughner posted this video about the college on youtube.
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>> loughner: we are looking at students who have been tortured. >> pelley: you can hear the disconnected thinking that others saw in his writing. >> loughner: this is pima community college, one of the biggest scams in america. here's the best part: the bookstore, the bookstore, the bookstore, the bookstore. it's so illegal to sell this book under the constitution. >> pelley: that's his reflection in the door. >> loughner: we are also censored by our freedom of speech. this is genocide in america. >> pelley: the video was the last straw for the college. it sent four officers to loughner's home to tell him he was suspended. >> loughner: this is jared from pima college. >> pelley: he was banned from campus until he sought mental health treatment. and with that, the college felt it had done its job protecting students and staff. >> spodak: just because you've expelled somebody doesn't mean you've gotten them off the path to violence. indeed, you may have pushed them further down that path to violence. >> pelley: barry spodak is a
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psychotherapist who uses training sessions like this one we filmed in 2000 to teach secret service agents how to use the assassin research. he says that the service sometimes spends years managing people who may pose the most dangerous threats to the president. agents keep tabs on them, visit often, even make sure they're getting their medications and treatments. is it the school's responsibility to see to it that loughner has mental health care? >> spodak: a school could certainly see it that way if they believe they... that the person may come back with more resentment and more anger and shoot up their campus. >> pelley: since virginia tech, spodak has been training college administrators, but, of course, no university and few police forces have the ability to manage a troubled mind the way the secret service does. >> spodak: i've worked with enough people in college communities to realize they are between a rock and hard place. they don't have the tools or the resources that would be necessary, and a lot of them are very fearful about that.
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>> pelley: the research on assassins shows that many killers started their final preparations after a life- changing event. and two months after his suspension from school, loughner bought that glock he admired. as the secret service study might have predicted, so far, it appears loughner communicated no threat directly to giffords. his focus on her lasted years. many saw trouble coming, even though no one had the whole picture. and, in the end, loughner let others know when time was up. at 2:00 a.m., there was that call to bryce tierney. >> loughner: hey. hey, it's jared. so i just want to tell you "good times." peace out. later. >> pelley: after 4:00 a.m., investigators believe that he wrote this internet post that
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said "good-bye, friends, please don't be mad at me." he went to walmart to buy ammunition and loaded 92 rounds into four magazines. at 7:30, he was stopped in his chevy nova for running a red light, but the officer let him go with a warning. by 8:00, he was back home. his father confronted him about a black bag his son was carrying, but loughner ran away and then caught a taxi to the safeway where, strangely, minutes from the massacre, he insisted on going inside to get change. he didn't want to give the driver a $20 for a $15 fare. by then, it was 10:00 a.m. gabrielle giffords was pulling into a parking space right on time. >> conway: when i saw his mug shot, i saw his mug shot, that face tells me that exactly what jared wanted to happen is happening, like, to the "t." like, even this right here, like, he knew that his friends were going to come out and speak about him, and people were going to try to understand him. he... it's almost like he wants people to just question that. >> tierney: to question why and to not be given an answer.
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>> pelley: like the assassins studied by the secret service, it's likely loughner wanted a high-profile target to make some point only he understands. there was one other thing that the secret service discovered was common. the assassins found their attacks didn't solve their problems. nearly every one had profound regret. they cooperated with the study in the hopes that the violence would never happen again. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics... a body at rest tends to stay at rest... while a body in motion tends to stay in motion. staying active can actually ease arthritis symptoms. but if you have arthritis, staying active can be difficult. prescription celebrex can help relieve arthritis pain so your body can stay in motion. because just one 200mg celebrex a day can provide 24 hour relief
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news bad. it started with a bombing of the u.s.s. "cole" in aden harbor back in 2000. today, half the prisoners in guantanamo bay are from yemen, and the last two al qaeda attacks against the u.s. mainland have originated there. while the united states has been busy with military engagements in iraq and afghanistan, this remote, lawless country has now emerged as the main staging area for attacks against the west. wracked with internal strife and political instability, yemen is presenting a complicated challenge for u.s. policymakers, with no eawi fixes and few good options. yemen is one of the oldest civilizations in the middle east, with 3,000 years of history. it is believed that noah and the queen of sheba once lived here, and if they were to come back today, they would find much of the countryside unchanged,
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except for the weapons. it is a country of 23 million people and at least 23 million guns, many of them currently in use. yemen's beleaguered government has been fighting a tribal war in the north, an armed secessionist movement in the south, and a growing insurgency from al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, shown here in one of its recent propaganda films. it is now the most active branch of the al qaeda network. >> ambassador edmund hull: in many ways, they are the most pressing threat against the u.s. homeland. >> kroft: few americans know more about yemen than former u.s. ambassador edmund hull, who served there in the years immediately following 9/11. do you have any idea how many people in the country are affiliated with al qaeda? >> hull: you have a relatively small number of kind of hardcore inner circle, in the hundreds. then, you have a next circle,
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probably in the thousands, of people who can be relied on to help out in a pinch. and then a larger circle yet of people who are ideologically sympathetic to the organization. >> kroft: despite the relatively small numbers, they have made their presence felt far beyond yemen. the failed suicide bombing of this jetliner in detroit a year ago christmas was carried out by umar abdulmutallab. the nigerian student was trained and equipped in yemen with explosives sewn into his underwear. and then, there were the two chicago-bound bombs that were supposed to blow up ups and fedex planes last october. they, too, originated in yemen. the highly sophisticated devices were concealed in printer cartridges, and believed to be the handiwork of ibrahim al- asiri. >> hull: al-asiri is the bomb maker. he's apparently a very creative type who is adept at seeing chinks in our armor and
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challenging them. >> kroft: in many ways, yemen is the perfect safe haven for al qaeda. there is a strong fraternity here of former jihadis who fought the russians in afghanistan. there are the porous borders and ports that make it easy to smuggle people in and out, and hundreds of thousands of square miles of desert and mountains where they can hide, train and plan their missions with the acquiescence of local tribes, and little interference from the government, which has limited presence outside the major cities. and finally, there is the grinding poverty and political discontent that al qaeda seems to be exploiting. yemen is the poorest country in the arab world. there is a critical shortage of water, a third of its people are hungry, and resentment is building against the longtime autocratic president ali abdullah saleh. how would you describe his government? >> abdul-ghani al-iryani: completely powerless.
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>> kroft: abdul-ghani al-iryani is a member of one of the most powerful families in yemen. a development consultant and political analyst, he is one of the few insiders there willing to speak candidly. >> al-iryani: our economy is in very bad shape. overall, the situation is very dangerous. >> kroft: it could bring down the current government? >> al-iryani: it could. >> kroft: to be replaced by what? >> al-iryani: chaos. >> kroft: in the past nine months, there have been two terrorist attacks against u.s. and british embassy personnel, and one against the british ambassador. travel by westerners outside the major cities is restricted, out of concern that they could be killed or kidnapped. that was the atmosphere this past week when secretary of state clinton met with president saleh, trying to prod him into stepping up the fight against al qaeda with promises of more economic assistance. officially, the only u.s. military presence in yemen is a contingent of about 50 trainers working with yemen's counter-
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terrorism forces. we were not allowed to film the americans, but were allowed to show their troops running through their exercises. counter-terrorism forces are under the command of general yahya saleh, who is the nephew of the president. he told us the country is grateful for the assistance, but believes any more u.s. troops on the ground will only win new recruits for al qaeda. >> general yahya saleh: the americans should know that they are not welcome in this region, and they are not very popular. >> kroft: you say the united states is very unpopular here. >> saleh: i'm not saying in yemen; in the region. >> kroft: in the region. what about in yemen? >> saleh: it's part of the region. ( laughter ) >> kroft: the government's official position is that the u.s. can't be involved militarily here and needs to let the yemenis take on al qaeda, a political decision intended to appease muslim sensitivities. but there is no question u.s. military involvement goes far beyond the 50 trainers.
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whatever else the u.s. may be providing to yemen in the way of military assistance is highly classified. there are certainly drones overhead doing reconnaissance and gathering intelligence, as well as navy cruise missiles offshore that have already been used to kill al qaeda militants and, unfortunately, some innocent civilians. 41 civilians were killed in two american missile strikes in december 2009, and another one last may inadvertently killed a government official, creating an uproar and major protests in the northern provinces. but leaked diplomatic cables show that yemen has tolerated the attacks. and collateral damage is unlikely to deter the u.s. from going after high value targets. one of which is an american. anwar al-awlaki, a radical imam who was born in new mexico and spent years preaching in the u.s., has a worldwide internet following as an instigator of violence against the united states.
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>> anwar al-awlaki: ya amrika... >> kroft: u.s. counter-terrorist officials believe awlaki has graduated from encouraging people to kill americans to helping al qaeda actually do it, and permission has been granted to assassinate him, even though he is an american citizen. no doubt in your mind that he is al qaeda? >> hull: no doubt in my mind. i don't even think he would dispute that. >> kroft: awlaki is one of the few al qaeda leaders who speaks fluent english, and his special skill has been recruiting americans and westerners to the cause. >> al-awlaki: this is the call to prayer. >> kroft: one of them may have been sharif mobley, an american from new jersey who worked at six nuclear power plants before moving to yemen and making contact with awlaki. mobley was picked up last year in a sweep of suspected militants, and is currently jailed on murder charges after killing a guard during a failed escape. al-awlaki is believed to be hiding somewhere in a remote
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tribal area. would you send troops in to try and get him? >> abu bakr al-qirbi: for sure. >> kroft: abu bakr al-qirbi is yemen's foreign minister. you are working very closely with the united states? >> al-qirbi: yes. >> kroft: and your government is committed to fighting terrorism? >> al-qirbi: yes. >> kroft: if there was somebody here inside that the american government thought was an important terrorist... >> al-qirbi: yes, of course. >> kroft: would go out and arrest... >> al-qirbi: of course. >> kroft: him? >> al-qirbi: you arrest him and look at the evidence against him and prosecute him if he has undertaken any terrorist activities. >> kroft: but that has not been the case with sheik abdul majid al-zindani, a politically influential firebrand cleric who the united states has named a "specially designated global terrorist." the u.n. security council says zindani has a long history of working with osama bin laden. he has actively recruited for al qaeda training camps, and he has also played a key role in the purchase of weapons on behalf of al qaeda. in addition to being the country's most powerful religious leader, sheik zindani
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also runs al-eman university, the alma mater of some very famous alumni. john walker lindh, the american taliban recruit, studied at the university, as did the underwear bomber, abdulmutallab. sheik anwar al-awlaki was a teacher there. both the university and sheik zindani operate openly in yemen's capital with the blessing of the government. we wanted to know why from the foreign minister. sheik zindani has been named by the u.s. government as a specially designated global terrorist. you're aware of that? >> al-qirbi: i know there is something like that, yes. >> kroft: the u.s. treasury department told us at the end of october that zindani advocates violence against western countries, and he remains involved in providing support to al- qaeda. >> al-qirbi: well, we have no evidence of that. >> kroft: well, a fairly impressive list of terrorists have come out of sheik zindani's university. >> al-qirbi: well, this is something that i don't have any information on.
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if it is shared with the security agencies in yemen, i'm sure they will act on it. >> al-iryani: many of those who were involved in terrorist activity in yemen were students of this university, and i consider it to be the cradle of extremism in yemen. >> kroft: the cradle of extremism? >> al-iryani: yes. >> kroft: abdul-ghani al-iryani, the yemeni development expert and political analyst, says it is obvious to most people in yemen why the government refuses to go after sheik zindani al >> that's impossible. politically, it's impossible. zindani has a huge following. >> kroft: what is the relationship between sheik zindani and president saleh? >> al-iryani: they're political allies. >> kroft: so you have somebody here who the united state government and the united nations think is a terrorist, and he is a political ally of the president? >> al-iryani: yes. >> kroft: he's living openly? >> al-iryani: he not only lives openly, he is a former member of the presidential council.
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so he receives all of the protection, security and financial benefits of a former leader of the country. >> kroft: needless to say, there is a good deal of mistrust between the united states and yemen, much of it going back to 2006, when 13 al qaeda members escaped from a prison by supposedly tunneling their way into an adjacent mosque. not even the president's nephew, general saleh, who is in charge of counter-terrorism, seemed to buy the official version. there was this story that they dug out with spoons? >> saleh: yeah, that's it. >> kroft: do you believe that. >> saleh: we have to believe it. >> kroft: you have to believe it. do you think maybe they got some help from people in the system? >> saleh: maybe. i have no idea about that. >> hull: at a minimum, there was incompetence. whether there was collaboration, facilitation, i don't know.
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but it really was the launch point for the current al qaeda organization in yemen. >> kroft: some of the escapees now comprise the top leadership of al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, which would like nothing better than to see the united states intervene militarily in yemen. but there is no appetite for it in washington these days, and strong sentiment that it would only make the situation worse. the plan is to improve intelligence and surgically remove al qaeda's top leadership, while propping up the famously corrupt saleh government with manageable amounts of development and economic aid that would address some of the country's underlying problems. it's a long shot, but as we said earlier, there are no good options. pped lending, the search for capital led to a trusted name. prudential continued to provide capital
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>> logan: when it comes to gambling, everybody knows the house has the advantage. but there are some high rollers who consistently win, and it's hard to find anyone better at winning than billy walters. he bets on football and basketball, is worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and has been so successful that many las vegas bookmakers are afraid to even take his bets. billy walters has been almost as elusive as howard hughes, avoiding publicity, reluctant to reveal his secrets. but after 30 years of unprecedented success, the man who calls himself a kentucky hillbilly agreed, for the first time, to open the door into his betting life in las vegas-- a life he describes as one long hustle, in betting parlors, in pool rooms, and on the golf course. when billy walters golfs, it's mostly for fun. he used to make his living off it.
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and he showed us how the hustle worked with gene mccarlie, an old friend and casino owner. who's the better golfer? >> billy walters: he is. gene mccarlie: he is. by far. believe me. >> logan: how much money have you taken off him over the years? >> walters: when i met him, he was driving an old cadillac full of bullet holes. ( laughter ) had no air conditioning. now, he's a very wealthy man. >> logan: on the day we went along, the two buddies decided to play for $5,000 a hole, with a few side bets along the way. >> walters: gene? >> mccarlie: yeah, bill? >> walters: what's the price? >> mccarlie: five-to-one for birdie. >> walters: i'll take 15. >> mccarlie: ten. >> walters: you got it for a dime. >> mccarlie: all right. >> logan: billy just missed this 60-foot putt, but after only three holes, he was up $17,000. small potatoes for billy walters. what's the most you've ever made on a hole? >> walters: on one hole? >> logan: yeah. >> walters: probably $400,000.
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>> logan: what was the most you ever made on a round of golf? what did you take home? >> walters: probably a million bucks, around a million dollars. >> logan: that's a lot of money. >> walters: yes. i never got to bed with it. i lost it all in the horseshoe hotel, playing blackjack before i went to bed. >> logan: is there anything you don't gamble on? >> walters: not really. >> logan: he gambled on the super bowl last year, and won $3.5 million. nevada is the only state in the country where taking bets on individual games is legal. most bettors come here, to a sports book inside the casino, to lay their bets, wagering $2.5 billion every year. and there's no bigger bettor than billy walters. but you'll never see him betting. he has anonymous partners here and in other sports books who bet for him and for themselves. they take their instructions from billy. >> walters: let's wait on that game. i think we'll get one and a half. what about the packers?
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>> logan: he's holed up in his home office with his phones and computers. on this sunday morning in december, just an hour before the first nfl kick-off, he looks more like a stock broker than a gambler, checking the numbers and phoning his bet orders to his partners in the sports books. >> walters: okay, i need up to $250,000 on green bay, up to... up to $150,000 on cleveland. >> logan: that's $400,000 he's betting on just two nfl games. >> walters: where do you see the charger total? look at 46 only for up to $40,000. 146-- up to $140,000. game 132-- where do you see the cowboy total? 51 and a half only for up to $30,000. >> logan: how much money did you just bet? >> walters: let's see, 225, 325, 525, 550, 750, 900, 11-- 1230, 1,270, 1,370. it's a $1,370,000, plus 10%. that's how much i risk. >> logan: average sunday morning of football? >> walters: yeah.
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and again, who knows? i would say that, before the day's over, i'll probably end up with, i don't know, maybe $2 million at risk. >> logan: over the years, people have spied on walters, even rifled through his trash, trying to learn what teams he's betting on and how much he's betting. to protect his operation from prying eyes, walters has become obsessed with security and secrecy. all of his partners use code names, like "j-bird" and "wolfman." >> walters: wolfman, we want to take new england plus three and a half and three. >> logan: can you tell me who wolfman is? >> walters: he's a retired disc jockey. >> logan: he is not. come on. >> walters: he has a nickname. he prefers to be called "wolfman." that's what i call him, wolfman. >> logan: billy walters has also built a brain trust of consultants, most of them mathematicians and experts on everything from weather conditions to player injuries. he told us they act like
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analysts for a hedge fund manager. so, information is key. i mean, it sounds like you track every single detail that could possibly affect the outcomes of these games and these teams. >> walters: yes. it gets presented to me, i evaluate it, and i determine what i'm going to do. >> logan: the information is so valuable that walters keeps it all to himself. his consultants have all worked with him for 30 years, but they've never met each other. >> walters: they don't know each other. they don't talk to each other. the only common denominator is me. >> logan: you're the only one that knows everybody. >> walters: correct. >> logan: there's one of them you say is a savant. why? >> walters: he can name every player on that team. he knew whether they were a freshman, a junior, a sophomore. he knew who the backup was. and this was strictly by recall. it was the most amazing thing i've ever seen. he would have an opinion on an outcome of a game. and he would be right many, many times. >> logan: being right on his football bets this sunday morning made billy walters $300,000. add in thursday night's game,
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and he netted close to a million. in walters hillbilly-speak, it was all "chicken." his bets on college basketball were less successful. >> walters: i didn't fare too well with those games. yesterday was a feather day-- as we refer to in our household. it was feathers yesterday. there was no chicken. >> logan: so you lost a lot of money? >> walters: yeah, i... i had a pretty bad day. the net loss... i lost $257,200. i could lose again today, i could lose again next week. i've had losing weeks, i've had losing months. >> logan: but never a losing year. >> walters: never a losing year. >> logan: and in sports betting, that is unprecedented. >> logan: is there anyone else like billy walters? does anyone else do business the way he does in this town? >> kenny white: no one close, no one close. >> logan: kenny white is one of the most respected odds-makers in las vegas. what's his reputation in this town? >> white: that he's a shark and a whale. he's a great white.
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>> logan: what does it mean? >> white: oh, it means he's pr... he's the most dangerous sports better in the history of nevada, history of the world. >> logan: is he respected? >> white: oh, well respected. yes, very... >> logan: feared? >> white: yes. oh, feared, yes. >> logan: and why is that? >> white: that's the damage that he can do to a sports book. >> logan: all his winnings have made billy walters a very rich man. he lives large, like a corporate titan. he and his wife susan travel in a brand-new jet worth $20 million that they use to travel to their seven homes. billy walters also gives millions to charities. he insisted on taking us to his favorite, opportunity village, which trains intellectually handicapped people to perform jobs in las vegas. it's all close to his heart, because he has a son with serious brain damage. billy walters was born dirt poor in the small town of munfordville, kentucky.
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he was raised by his grandmother. his mother had three kids by the time she was 17. billy says she drank and wasn't around much. he was hanging out in pool halls before most kids his age even knew what gambling was. >> walters: i started shooting pool when i was five. when i was six, i played a game of nine ball for a penny. >> logan: were you any good at pool? >> walters: i got to be decent at pool, yes. by the time i was 13, i was a decent pool player. i was pretty decent. >> logan: were you making money? >> walters: yes. i probably had some situations where i won $4,000 or $5,000 or something. but not when i was 13. that didn't come along till i was, like, 15 or 16. >> logan: well, you're practically an old man, at that point. in 1980, billy moved to las vegas, after he was convicted of bookmaking in kentucky. his new home became the casino, where he played poker and craps. >> walters: roll that ten!
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two blocks of fives! >> logan: come to mama! billy told us he was broke more times than he can remember. but to billy walters, the game was always more important than the money. are you a hustler? >> walters: what's the definition of a hustler? >> logan: i take that as a yes. >> walters: to me in, life, there's... you're either one of two-- you're either a hustler or you're being hustled. and, you know, there's an old saying amongst gamblers-- if you look around a room and you can't find the mark, you're the mark. ( laughter ) >> logan: billy walters joined a now infamous syndicate called the computer group, which revolutionized sports betting in the 1980s by feeding data into computers. the group made so much money that authorities thought they were running an illegal bookmaking operation. later, walters was also accused of money laundering and having connections to the mob. how many times have you been indicted? >> walters: four. i was indicted three times by the attorney general's office in
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nevada for the same thing. i got indicted, went to court, it was thrown out. i got re-indicted for the same thing, went to court again, it was thrown out. got re-indicted again, went to court again-- finally, the third time, it was thrown out and that was the end of it. >> logan: none of the charges stuck, and walters went on to build his own betting business. he became better than the bookmakers at predicting which team would win and by what margin. that margin of victory is called the "spread" or the "line." now, your lines are often different from the bookmakers' lines. >> walters: yes, substantially. >> logan: what do you do, in that situation? >> walters: the bigger the difference between the lines, the bigger the discrepancy, the larger bet i make. >> logan: what's unique about walters is that, when he doesn't like the line, he can sometimes force the bookmakers to change it. >> walters: we're going to work on this a little bit. this number's gotten a little away from us. >> logan: here, walters thinks the favorite is going to win, but he doesn't like the line. so he bets on the underdog. >> walters: okay, we're going to
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phony a game up here. we're going to play 539... >> logan: bookmakers need the same amount of money on both sides of the game, so they respond to walters' bet by lowering the line to attract more money on the favorite. that's when walters springs into action and instructs his partners to simultaneously make an even bigger bet on the favorite. >> walters: go, go, go. kansas state minus up to eight and a half. let's roll. >> logan: unlike some bookmakers, lee amaitis is not afraid to take billy walters' bets in the sports book at the "m" casino. he knows billy is dangerous, but says it's an advantage to know what he's thinking. billy sometimes bets on both sides to move the line, and... and he sometimes makes money that way. >> lee amaitis: i think he is one of the best at it. he'll... he'll circle in on games that he knows the lines are soft. and he'll push that line to where he wants it to be, and then he'll take the other side of that. >> logan: does he have the power to move your lines? >> amaitis: of course, he does. he's billy walters. of course, he has the power to move our lines. >> logan: billy walters has
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built an empire from his gambling. and at the age of 64, he isn't slowing down. he owns four golf courses, including this one, eight car dealerships, and a ton of stock. but it was on wall street, he says, where he was taken for a ride. >> walters: i've been swindled out of quite a bit of money on the stock market. and i bought a lot of enron stock once, and i got swindled. i bought a lot of worldcom stock-- got swindled. i bought a lot of tyco stock-- i got swindled. >> logan: his disdain for wall street is one of the reasons billy walters decided to talk to us-- a chance, he says, to make the point that the gambling world is not as shady as most people think. >> walters: i ran into a lot of... a lot of bad guys, a lot of... a lot of thieves. i mean, they'd steal the lord's supper. but i can tell you, percentage- wise, i ran into many more with suits and ties on than i have with... with the gamblers. >> logan: so you would say that
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the hustler from vegas got hustled by wall street? >> walters: there's no doubt about it. by lipitor. i'm james brown in new york. the new york jets tonight defeated the new england patriots and will face pittsburgh next sunday night in the a.f.c. championship game. the jets are in the title game for a second straight year. earlier the chicago bears beat the seattle seahawks behind jay cutler's two touchdown passes and two running scores. chicago hosts green bay in next sunday's n.f.c. title game. for more news and scores any time, log on to on thin ice with my cholesterol. sg
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the a.f.c. championship game is on right here next sunday night, so we'll be back in two weeks with another edition of "60 minutes." i met my husband here. i got to know my grandkids here. we've discovered so much here together. but my doctor told me that during that time my high cholesterol was contributing to plaque buildup in my arteries. that's why i'm fighting my cholesterol... with crestor. along with diet, crestor does more than help manage cholesterol, when diet and exercise alone aren't enough. crestor is also proven to slow plaque buildup in arteries. crestor is not right 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. tell your doctor about other medicines you are taking, or if you have muscle pain or weakness.
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