tv 60 Minutes CBS August 21, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> pelley: after a long career in u.s. intelligence, tom drake never imagined he'd be labeled an enemy of the united states. why do you think you were charged under the espionage act? that's pretty rare. >> to send a chilling message. >> pelley: to whom? >> to other whistle blowers, to others in the government not to speak out or speak up.
"do not tell truth to power. we'll hammer you." >> simon: it may be the greatest rescue operation since noah's ark-- a billion people watched as 33 chilean miners, trapped for 69 days half a mile underground, stepped from darkness into light. ( cheers and applause ) if ever there was a story with a happy ending, this was it. or so it seemed at the time. but when we visited the miners earlier this year, we found many were struggling. for example, we found alex vega building a wall around his house, though he couldn't explain why. >> safer: archbishop timothy dolan of new york is hard to miss. this burly, overweight, cherubic irish-american, who has been called the "american pope,"
charges through life like a holy bulldozer... >> you bet i remember you. >> safer: ...his brow gleaming... >> i would be sweating if we were outside. >> safer: ... hands reaching... >> where'd you get the food? >> safer: ...a tireless promoter of all things catholic... >> i was amazed at the media coverage. >> safer: ...and always ready to refuel. >> stick around. get me a cold beer. >> 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." do you often experience the feeling of a dry mouth? it can be the side effect of many medications. dry mouth can be frustrating... and ignoring it can lead to... sipping water can help, but dentists recommend biotene. biotene moisturizes and helps supplement some of saliva's enzymes, providing soothing relief when you need it most. don't ignore dry mouth...
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>> pelley: nearly two years before 9/11, america's largest intelligence agency was tracking three of the al qaeda hijackers. but that information, obtained by the national security agency, wasn't analyzed in a way that could uncover the plot. inside the super-secret nsa, several analysts and managers believed that the agency had a powerful tool that might've had a chance to head off 9/11. but it wasn't used. as we first reported in may, one of those agency insiders was thomas drake, who thought that taxpayer money was being wasted on useless intelligence gathering projects while promising technology was ignored. drake tried to get the word out. but as a result, he was charged under the espionage act and accused of betraying his country. tom drake says the only thing he betrayed was nsa mismanagement that undermined national security. after a long career in u.s.
intelligence, tom drake never imagined he'd be labeled an enemy of the united states. as a young airman, he flew spy missions in the cold war. in the navy-- here with president clinton-- he analyzed intelligence for the joint chiefs at the pentagon. later, he worked for defense contractors in the highly technical world of electronic eavesdropping. he became expert in sophisticated, top secret computer software, and ultimately rose, in 2001, to a senior executive job at the national security agency. >> thomas drake: my first day on the job was 9/11. >> pelley: your first day on the job was 9/11? >> drake: was 9/11. nsa went into immediate crisis management mode. we had failed to protect the united states of america. >> pelley: you felt that was a failure of the national security agency? >> drake: the entire national security establishment. it was a failure, a fundamental systemic breakdown. >> pelley: part of the failure
at the national security agency was in its old technology. these pictures from "60 minutes" in 2001 represent one of the only times cameras have ever been allowed inside the nsa. the nsa eavesdrops on the communications of the world, but in the 1990s, it was becoming ineffective, overwhelmed by the explosion of digital data. >> drake: vast volumes of data streaming across all kinds of different networks-- wired, wireless, phones, computers, you name it. >> pelley: and what does that look like to nsa, coming into their building in maryland? >> drake: choking on it. just incredible amounts. how do you keep...? even just storing it was becoming a challenge. >> pelley: most of what the agency collected went unanalyzed, including clues pointing to 9/11. kirk wiebe and bill binney were career nsa intelligence analysts who were working on the problem.
>> kirk wiebe: we were greatly saddened and shocked by 9/11, but it didn't come as a total surprise. we knew there was a vulnerability, a lack of understanding of the data that put nsa in a weak position. >> pelley: recognizing that vulnerability in the late '90s, bill binney, a legendary nsa mathematician, led development of a revolutionary computer system to collect, isolate and connect important information like phone calls and financial transactions. its code name was "thin thread". >> drake: thin thread was fundamentally dedicated to collecting and processing and ultimately analyzing the vast streams of digital data. it was a breakthrough solution. >> pelley: binney was pushing to use it even before the attack on america. >> bill binney: we proposed it for january of 2001. >> pelley: nine months before 9/11? >> binney: right. >> pelley: now, there is no answer to this next question, because we'll never know, but if
thin thread had been deployed worldwide at the point that it was ready, is there a chance that information could've been picked up that might have headed off 9/11? >> wiebe: indeed. >> binney: absolutely. yeah. >> pelley: absolutely? >> binney: yeah. we had planned on going after all the appropriate targets at the time. >> pelley: al qaeda, osama bin laden, ayman al-zawahari? these were targets that you intended to focus thin thread on, is that correct? >> binney: yes. well, i mean, the whole terrorist network, yeah. >> pelley: and if you had been able to do that? >> binney: well, we would've gotten the data, whatever that was there. >> drake: i believe it's very likely that, at least from the nsa perspective, the critical intelligence related to al qaeda-associated movements would've been detected and reported. >> pelley: it was a chance? >> drake: it's one of the great
tragedies in the history of nsa- - what could've been. >> pelley: after 9/11, tom drake felt america was threatened as long as thin thread was confined to the lab. but others at nsa doubted that thin thread was up to the job. and one of them was lieutenant general michael hayden, the head of the agency. hayden wanted to transform the nsa, and launched a massive modernization program code-named "trailblazer." it was supposed to do what thin thread did and a whole lot more. trailblazer would be the nsa's biggest project. hayden's philosophy was to let private industry do the job. enormous deals were signed with defense contractors. bill binney's thin thread program cost $3 million; trailblazer would run more than a billion and take years to develop. do you have any idea why general hayden decided to go with trailblazer as opposed to thin thread, which already existed? >> drake: i believe he was convinced by others that going
with a large scale, industrial strength solution was the approach that nsa needed to take. you can't really understand why they would make that kind of a decision without understanding the culture of nsa. >> pelley: help me understand it. >> drake: careers are built on projects and programs-- the bigger, the better the career. >> pelley: this might be just another washington tale of competing defense projects and disgruntled losers, except the winner in this case, trailblazer, was in trouble from the start. contractors burned through hundreds of millions of dollars over years, and still couldn't give the nsa the capability it so urgently needed. as cost overruns soared and deadlines were broken, tom drake complained to his superiors. and then, privately, he informed the intelligence committees on capitol hill. he sought out diane roark, the top republican staffer on the house intelligence committee who
was responsible for overseeing the nsa. >> diane roark: first, he tried internally trying to get things changed. he had gone to congress. he went to the senate, as well as the house. >> pelley: he went by the book? >> roark: he went by the book, internally. >> pelley: but roark says that, in the years after 9/11, congressional committees were reluctant to kill any intelligence program, even one as mismanaged as trailblazer. so, roark, bill binney and kirk wiebe took an extraordinary step. they filed a confidential complaint with the department of defense inspector general, calling for an investigation of trailblazer and thin thread. tom drake volunteered to be a witness. >> wiebe: why did we launch the i.g. complaint? out of total abject frustration, knowing that we had something so important to share, and thought we had witnessed wrongdoing that needed to be addressed. >> pelley: for two years, drake was the most important witness for the inspector general.
but in the end, the department of defense investigation was stamped "classified," which hid the trailblazer debacle from public view. as his frustration grew, drake says that he was shocked to learn about something else that was happening at the agency, post-9/11. he learned of a top secret nsa program that became known as "warrantless wiretapping." >> drake: it was no longer necessary to follow the law. a huge pandora's box had been opened up. >> pelley: on orders from the white house, the nsa was listening in on people in the united states without a warrant from a judge. >> drake: and this is where i began to have grave concerns about the decisions that were made to bypass the constitution, willfully and deliberately, as a result of 9/11. i took my grave concerns up with the general counsel at nsa. i spoke with one of their lead
attorneys. he said, "don't worry about it, tom. it's all legal." >> pelley: it was legal because the white house said it was legal? >> drake: yes. >> pelley: after four years of reporting through proper channels, drake noticed that the "baltimore sun" newspaper had begun a series of articles about trouble at the nsa. >> drake: there's one final step that could be taken, but it was fraught with significant risk. >> pelley: anonymously, drake contacted "baltimore sun" reporter siobhan gorman and became an unnamed source for her articles, starting with this one about thin thread headlined "nsa shelved better program that sifted calls." another article told readers that mismanagement at nsa continued years after 9/11. did you ever communicate classified information to siobhan gorman? >> drake: did not. >> pelley: not once, ever? >> drake: not once, ever. that was one of the fundamental rules. whether it was oral communication, whether it was written, electronic or, later on, even in hard copy. it was all unclassified, period.
>> pelley: but after those articles, the fbi raided the homes of all the people you've met in this story who filed that confidential complaint with the defense department, asking for the trailblazer investigation. >> binney: they came busting in. i was in the shower at the time. and one of them came running up and was... pointed a gun at my eyeballs. and pulled me out of the shower. >> pelley: but only drake was charged. he's being advised by the government accountability project, a washington legal organization that defends whistleblowers. drake told us that he knew he'd violated a confidentiality agreement with the nsa and he thought he might lose his job, but the prosecutors charged him under the espionage act-- not for divulging classified information, but for taking classified papers home without permission. he faced up to 35 years. >> wiebe: how does a man see
9/11 happen, know that some part of it is due to corruption and mismanagement, and sleep at night? how does a man do that? he obviously couldn't. >> pelley: prosecutors declined to talk with us, citing the pending case against drake, so we asked washington attorney abbe lowell what the prosecution is trying to prove and what drake's potential defense would be. lowell is not connected to the case, but he is one of the most experienced lawyers in the espionage act. >> abbe lowell: from the government and the prosecution's point of view, it's an important case to state that, if you're a government person and if you signed a confidentiality agreement and you've got a security clearance based on your promise to keep our secrets secret, that you don't get the right, as an individual, to decide when that secret should be kept or not because you've decided that the government is right or wrong about something it wants to do. to the people who are saying this is basically clamping down on information that the public
has the right to know about whistle-blowing, it's important because it will see whether or not, if a person has the right motives, has the right intent, whether that is a defense that will work to prevent what is a very, very harsh statute, with very harsh penalties if he were to be convicted. >> pelley: some people watching this interview are thinking to themselves in this moment, "look, he knew what he was doing. he'd been trained. he'd been in the air force, he'd been in the navy. he'd had a top security clearance for many, many years. he knew reaching out to a reporter was wrong under any rules, under any circumstances. and he deserves what he's getting." >> drake: some have said that. on the other hand, i was an employee with the u.s. government, charged with supporting and defending the constitution, ensuring that the best of america was put in the fight, ensuring that we did so legally, responsibly, and accountably. >> pelley: ultimately, the
trailblazer project chewed through more than $1.2 billion, and then was cancelled. the nsa and its former head, general hayden, declined to comment for this story. hayden retired, but in 2006, the day the "baltimore sun" ran one of its articles, he said this to congress. >> general michael hayden: a lot of the failure in the trailblazer program was in the fact that we were trying to overachieve. and that a lot of the failure was we were trying to do too much all at once. >> pelley: after the trailblazer fiasco, congress revoked nsa's authority to manage large projects for five years. why do you think you were charged under the espionage act? that's pretty rare. >> drake: to send a chilling message. >> pelley: to whom? >> drake: to other whistle- blowers, to others in the government not to speak up or speak out. "do not tell truth to power. we will hammer you." >> pelley: shortly after our story aired, the case against
tom drake fell apart. he pled guilty to a minor misdemeanor. at his sentencing last month, a federal judge called drake's treatment by the government "unconscionable," saying that it added up to "four years of hell." instead of 35 years in parson, drake was sentenced to community service. >> mitchell: good evening. vice president bide anyone china today said u.s. treasury bonds are still the world's safest. the u.s. postal service warns it will run out of money next month unless congress acts. and "the help" was number one at the box office with a $20 million weekend. i'm russ mitchell, cbs news. [ ticking ]
>> simon: tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of a modern miracle. 17 days after having been trapped by a mine collapse and feared dead, 33 miners in chile were discovered alive. weeks later, the world watched, mesmerized, as one-by-one, the miners stepped from darkness into light in what may have been the greatest rescue operation since noah's ark. at the time, they were lionized, living proof that, in this software century, courage and endurance have not disappeared. well, they're back home now in copiapoó, a mining town planted in the driest desert in the world. last winter, we flew down there to check out how they were doing, and to find out what really went on those 69 days under the earth. before the rescue, the 33 made a pact of silence.
nonetheless, as we first reported in february, several opened up to us and talked about things they had been keeping to themselves, including how they were coping with being back above ground. last year, this was the stage for one of the most compelling dramas of our time. there's not the slightest trace of that now, not even an empty coke can. this is the entrance to hell on earth. the miners were five hours into their day shift when their world collapsed. workers on the surface said it sounded like a volcano exploding. they were shocked, they said, but not surprised. the san jose mine has one of the worst safety records in the region. the first rescue team didn't get very far. 300 yards from here, the underground road was blocked by a boulder twice the weight of the empire state building. were the 33 still alive? the odds were put at 2%.
half a mile underground, victor zamora was repairing the roof of the mine when the force of the collapse plastered him against a wall. he stumbled to the shelter, where food was meant to be stored for just such an emergency. there was enough for a couple of picnics. how did you react to that? >> victor zamora ( translated ): we were so mad. there was almost nothing there. we couldn't believe that we were supposed to survive with so little. we were treated even worse than animals. it was shocking. >> simon: three days after the collapse, the rescue teams started sending probes down. trouble was, they had no idea where the miners were. all they had were sketches, which were outdated and inaccurate. but they kept on drilling, day and night. the noise was deafening. the miners would hear the probes come close, and then stop. it drove them crazy.
but once, mechanic alex vega thought he heard salvation. >> alex vega ( translated ): i'd say the probe went by no more than two meters from our shelter. >> simon: you heard the probe go down two meters from where you were. >> vega ( translated ): yes, it went by real close. >> simon: do you remember what you felt when you realized that the probe was not going to come where you were? >> vega ( translated ): yes, i lost hope. i was desperate. >> simon: and so were the families who pitched tents outside the mine. they called it camp hope. and some never lost it, even though, for 16 days, there was no sign of life. what the families didn't know, and what has not been reported until now, is just how close their men came to doing themselves in. >> zamora ( translated ): i said to a friend, "well, if we're going to continue suffering, it would be better for all of us to go to the shelter, start an engine and, with the carbon
monoxide, just let ourselves go." >> simon: were you the only one who suggested that, or were there other miners who felt the same way? >> zamora ( translated ): i think all of us. >> simon: all of you were thinking about committing suicide? >> zamora ( translated ): at that moment, it wasn't really committing suicide. it was to not continue suffering. we were going to die anyway. >> simon: we wanted to get some idea of what it must have been like down there. so we asked writer jonathan franklin, who obtained a backstage pass to the rescue operation, to take us down a nearby mine. it had been run by the same company. >> jonathan franklin: there's been quite a few mini cave-ins around here. >> simon: we had to scramble over rocks and rubble in pitch- black tunnels to get where we wanted to go-- to the part of the mine which most resembled the diabolical world where the men were entombed half a mile underground. now, we all knew that the miners spent 69 days underground.
we knew it. but being down here is knowing it-- knowing it, really. i mean, the idea of 69 days here is terrifying. >> franklin: we're only one quarter of the depth that they were. one quarter. you'd have to go down another 500 meters. where they were, it was wet and humid. >> simon: even under these conditions, the men maintained remarkable discipline. they voted on everything. they stuck to a daily schedule-- a general meeting, followed by a prayer service. then, what they called dinner. franklin, who gained unprecedented access to the miners, has written a book called "33 men." he says the men always divided their food evenly, even when they were down to one teaspoon of tuna every 48 hours. but by day 16, he says, the miners were all starving, and realized they'd have to eat the first man who died. >> franklin: they told me that
they had a pot and a saw ready. >> simon: do you think that the potential candidates knew who they were? >> franklin: one of the candidates told me that the guys had been joking, "hey, if you die in your sleep, you know, you're... you're going to be breakfast, lunch and dinner." so he... those last few nights, he said, he couldn't sleep. he was too afraid that if he died, that his companions would end up eating him. >> simon: mario sepulveda, who emerged as the leader of the group early on, says he thought it was only a matter of time. how long do you think it would have been before you had to do it? >> mario sepulveda ( translated ): i would say five or ten days. i don't know. but i was going to get out of there, no matter what. food or no food, i was going to get out of there. how? i had to think about which miner was going to collapse first, and then i started thinking about how i was going to eat him. i promise you, i wasn't embarrassed, i wasn't scared. >> simon: but they were saved by the drill. on day 17, it came punching through the ceiling.
all thoughts of cannibalism and suicide disappeared into the dust. when the drill finally broke through, do you remember what you were feeling? >> zamora ( translated ): i was so weak, i couldn't even stand, and then all of a sudden, i found myself jumping for joy. it was like celebrating new year's eve or having a newborn child. >> simon: rescuers on the surface heard pounding on the drill. when they pulled it up, they saw paint on it, red paint. then, they found a note attached to the bit. it said, "we are fine in the refuge. the 33." they sent down a camera, and the world peered into the dark eyes of a stunned survivor. then, there they were-- 33 haunted men trying to appear cheerful, to wave, to smile for their families. they just couldn't pull it off. some had lost 50 pounds.
mario sepulveda played the host in what became a reality show-- "survivor: underground." he took the viewers around what had become their home-- the casino, the clinic, the post office. and that's where conflicts with the rescuers began. psychologists were censoring and tampering with the letters the miners wrote and received. they wanted to keep the messages light and cheerful. the 33 were outraged. but tension turned into joy on day 69, the day of liberation. the fittest men went up first. mario sepulveda was the second to reach the top. he seemed happy to be there. victor zamora, the roof repairman, made a movie of it all-- the rescuer's landing, getting suited up for the ride. then, liftoff and 20 minutes in a magic capsule.
the docking and a love scene. hollywood couldn't have done better. ( cheers and applause ) the 33 were treated to a victory tour. highlights? meetings with america's top celebrities; galas, where they just kept on receiving awards; an appearance on the david letterman show. miner edison peña didn't have the slightest idea who letterman was, but he was having a wonderful time. back in copiapoó, though, peña was hospitalized for anxiety and depression. and he was not alone. mario sepulveda, that most exuberant of men, is on heavy medication. the oldest miner, mario gomez, finds it impossible to sleep. and alex vega? he can't explain why he's doing it, but he's building a wall around his house.
>> vega ( translated ): whenever i hear a noise, i get scared and look all around me. my heart beats faster. i can't go into small spaces. i'm taking five or six pills a day now. if i don't take them, i can't sleep, and i wouldn't even be able to sit with you. >> simon: all but one of the 33 men, doctors say, have suffered severe psychological problems since the accident. and the miners complain they're not getting the quality medical care and benefits they need and were promised. 19 of them have already lost their disability payments. sebastian piñera is chile's president. a couple of the miners told me that they feel like they're soldiers, they're heroes during the war. and when the war is over, they're forgotten. >> president sebastian piñera: well, that's part of life. that's part of human nature. they were heroes. they will always be heroes, >> simon: you know, if any of these miners get really ill, the
story could still have an unhappy ending, couldn't it? >> piñera: yes. yes. and we are worried about that. but each of them, they have to come back to their normal lives, to their families, find a new job. >> simon: that's what the president said to you. what do you say to the president? >> vega ( translated ): i'm an underground mining mechanic. that's what i do, and i won't be able to do it anymore. >> simon: what do you want to do? >> vega ( translated ): i've tried to work fixing cars and other kinds of vehicles. but i lose my concentration very quickly. i forget things. right now, i don't know what's going to happen with my future. >> simon: and victor zamora? he walked with us to the mine. it was his first time back since the accident. he told us he feels he still hasn't been rescued. >> zamora ( translated ): before i went in here, i was a happy guy. but now, i'm having nightmares. i'm having problems.
i'm not the same person. >> simon: what kind of nightmares are you having? >> zamora: ( translated ): being trapped, watching my friends around me die, rocks falling. the other me is still in there. >> simon: do you miss him? >> zamora: ( translated ): i can't have a normal relationship with my family. i'm... i'm not as affectionate with my child as i was before. it's very difficult. >> simon: what's it like just looking at this place now? >> zamora: ( translated ): sadness, just lots of sadness. i'd prefer to be dead. >> simon: even today, not everyone understands what can happen to people after they've been in hell. but the miners know. they say the mine is a vengeful goddess who exacts a price for her copper. sometimes, the price is death; sometimes, survival.
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he's also been called the "american pope," after his election to head the u.s. conference of catholic bishops. his mission, as he sees it, is to change a perception of the church that ranges from negative to irrelevant. he wants to see the old church made new-- zero tolerance of wayward priests, and an emphasis on what he calls that most pure and noble experience catholicism offers. to accomplish his mission, his main weapon seems to be that indefinable quality called charm. >> timothy dolan: make sure you pray for your bishop. come on in. off we go to work. >> safer: timothy dolan is hard to miss. this burly, overweight, cherubic irish-american charges through life like a holy bulldozer. >> dolan: hi, everybody. you bet i remember you. >> safer: his brow gleaming... >> dolan: i would be sweating if we were outside. >> safer: ...hands reaching... >> dolan: where did you get the food? >> safer: ...a laugh-a-minute... ( laughter )
...hugging, glad-handing and backslapping everyone from street cops to big-time donors. >> dolan: thank you. thank you. >> safer: ...a tireless promoter of all things catholic. >> dolan: i was amazed at the media coverage. where you been? >> safer: and always ready to refuel. >> dolan: stick around. get me a cold beer. how nice to meet you. >> safer: did you always have the... dare i say, the gift of the gab? >> dolan: yes, according to my mom, i... yes. she couldn't shut me up. you know, the italians have a great saying that, "hey, you have to make gnocchi with the dough you got." well, god knows, i got the dough. whatever dough god gave me, that's the gnocchi i'll make. >> safer: gnocchi, for the uninitiated, is a high-carb pasta the good pastor is more than familiar with, as is evident when the 61-year-old dolan dons his robes to say mass at st. patrick's cathedral. he takes obvious joy in the pageantry, pounding his bishop's staff as he bulldozes his way into church, beaming broadly at
parishioners and politicians alike. >> governor, how are you? >> safer: a man in love with his job. when did you know you wanted to be a priest? >> dolan: i can't really remember a time i wasn't hypnotized by the priesthood. >> safer: he was born in st. louis, the son of an aircraft engineer; entered seminary age 14 and destined for stardom; secretary to the papal nuncio, rector of the american seminary in rome; and archbishop of milwaukee, where he won over the flock when he gave a homily wearing a green bay packers' cheesehead. baseball, however, is a bit trickier. >> dolan: they asked me when i got here, "are you cardinals, mets, brewers or yankees?" and i said, "when it comes to baseball, i think i can be pro- choice." ( laughter ) >> safer: he lives in a small mansion connected by a tunnel to st. patrick's, where, each day, he must pass his own final
resting place, a constant reminder that his path to glory leads but to the grave. >> dolan: and i'm supposed to go here. now, although cardinal egan teases me that he wonders if one is going to be enough, so i don't know what we're going to have to... i might have to rent a space and a half. >> safer: dolan is shepherd to two and a half million catholics, but it's a rapidly changing demographic, with the traditional irish and italians being replaced by hispanics. >> dolan: the most popular shrine in st. patrick's is our lady of guadaloupe. >> safer: nearly 400 parishes that stretch from long island to the catskills to new york city. and he is constantly on call. >> dolan: tom, how are you? archbishop dolan. >> safer: there are budgets to be balanced. >> dolan: we're hoping it brings us financial stability. i was hoping you were going to ask about that. >> safer: and future generations to embrace. >> dolan: ooh. hi, sweetheart.
nice to see you. >> safer: they've heaped so much on you. do you ever have time to really be a priest? >> dolan: yeah, i have lost my appetite. i'm not eating anymore. ( laughs ) >> safer: his grace is also aware that hope and prayer does little to reduce the waistline, so he multitasks on his bike to nowhere... >> dolan: estandando. >> safer: ...brushing up on his spanish... >> dolan: cobiendo. >> safer: dolan is not in denial about his ever-expanding girth, and certainly not about the problems facing the church. >> dolan: for the first time in catholic history, we have a large group of catholics who are saying, "i'm no longer in the church." that's a big problem. we got a big problem that our people think our preaching is no good, while others have thought that we continue, unfortunately, to cling to outmoded doctrines and... and beliefs. >> safer: but if you think dolan plans to push for changes in those doctrines and beliefs, think again.
despite the jolly open demeanor, he's about as conservative as they come. >> dolan: they say there aren't many people to my right. ( laughter ) that's what the critics say. >> safer: he is unwavering on what he calls the "settled questions"-- abortion, birth control, ordination of women, gay marriage, and celibacy. no question that you're conciliatory, that you like to have dialogue, but underneath that, you're an old-fashioned conservative-- i mean, in the sense of right-wing conservative. >> dolan: i would bristle at being termed "right-wing." but if somebody means enthusiastically committed and... and grateful for the timeless heritage of the church, and feeling that the... my best service is when i try to preserve that and pass that on in its fullness and beauty and radiance, i'm a conservative, no doubt. >> safer: last fall, he was unexpectedly elected over a more
liberal candidate to become president of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops. john allen, senior correspondent for "the national catholic reporter," is writing a book about dolan. >> john allen: he is easily the most charismatic and high profile figure on the american catholic stage. >> safer: what does his election tell us, then? >> allen: the bishops pretty rationally understand they've got an image problem in the court of public opinion in the united states in the early 21st century. they wanted to elect their best front man, and... and that front man is archbishop tim dolan of new york. >> safer: allen says the bishops hope that the sheer force of dolan's personality can help the church move beyond the sex abuse scandals. >> allen: the sexual abuse crisis that we have lived through over the last decade is the most serious crisis ever to hit the american catholic church. that has been a cancer, in terms of the internal life of the church, that is still spreading. >> safer: it's a crisis dolan witnessed firsthand as archbishop of milwaukee. he was sent there to replace a
bishop who resigned amid his own sex scandal, and dolan had to deal with a rash of child abuse cases. he revealed the names of 43 predatory priests, and had to sell church property to pay tens of millions of dollars to victims. >> dolan: those where some of the more difficult, wrenching, touching moments in my life. some of them were terribly painful and did not go well. others, i remember with gratitude-- crying together, praying together. those were very powerful moments that you don't forget. >> safer: do you fear that the after effects of these scandals are just going to live on and on and on? >> dolan: in some ways, i don't want it to be over, because this was such a crisis in the catholic church that, in a way, we don't want to get over it too easily. this needs to haunt us. >> safer: defending and celebrating the church is his life's work, and the work isn't exclusive to new york. we caught up with him in rome,
where he was on official business for the vatican. do you get any kind of special feeling when you're here, or is it just simply a visit to world headquarters? >> dolan: no, there's always a... it's always like coming home. >> safer: dolan took us to his old haunt-- the north american college, the american seminary that trains the best and the brightest. >> oh, sure... >> safer: dolan says it is essential that these men are fully prepared for what he calls a "happy, healthy, celibate priesthood." aren't you losing some really good people that way? >> dolan: i don't think there's any denying it, morley, that perhaps if the church dropped its obligation of celibacy, there might be... there would be more candidates right away. >> safer: an awful lot of... of practicing catholics feel that the degree of abuse that is going on would not be happening if the priesthood was attracting couples.
>> dolan: i don't know if... i what we know, scholarship-wise, would back that up, morley. the greatest culprits in sexual abuse are, unfortunately, married men. so, i don't know if marriage is the answer, although i would have to agree with you, that's a popular argument. i don't think it holds water. >> safer: what do you make of the church's response to the abuse scandals? >> dolan: when you think of what happened, both that a man who proposes to act in the name of god would've abused an innocent young person, and that some bishops would have, in a way, countenanced that by reassigning abusers-- that's nothing less than hideous. that's nothing less than nauseating. the second story, morley, is the church's reaction to that, which i think has been good. it's been strong, it's been rigorous. >> safer: to an awful lot of people, catholics, feel that as awful, as horrible as the crime was, the cover-up was worse than the crime. >> dolan: and i'd say there's some truth in that.
you'd think that the church, of all, would know better. so, yeah, there's no denying that, morley. that was a terrible thing. that's over with. >> safer: but it's not-- revelations keep coming. since our interview, the archdiocese of philadelphia found itself embroiled in yet another sex abuse scandal. still, dolan defends the church's efforts to protect children, and he is a staunch supporter of pope benedict's handling of the abuse crisis. and the pope clearly thinks highly of dolan. he named him to several high profile vatican committees. would dolan himself ever want that top job? it's been speculated the most likely candidate for an american pope is you. >> dolan: you've been talking to my mom. ( laughter ) unfortunately, the people that say that, morley, also think the mets are going to win the world series. so i wouldn't put too much... i wouldn't put too much credibility in... in that one.
>> safer: dolan admits that restoring the church's credibility is going to be an enormous challenge. yet he insists that a dramatic reformation of the church is not the answer. >> safer: certain changes may be necessary, and the church seems to be blind to that idea. >> dolan: sure. there's no denying that, morley. there would be a good chunk of people who would want more change. but i still would maintain that there's an equally large group who would say, "oh, my, what attracts us to the catholic faith is its sense of permanence and its sense of consistency and stability." >> safer: why is it that i feel that, in your heart of hearts, there are certain changes you really wish would take place? >> dolan: yes, i think there would be changes in the church. but i don't think they're the ones you have in mind. i don't want to see changes in the church when it comes to celibacy or... or women priests or our... our clear teaching about the sanctity of human life and the... the unity of marriage between one man and one woman
forever. i'd love to see changes in the church in the very area that you're hinting at over and over again-- in the perception of the church as some shrill scold. we need to change that. >> safer: dolan says he wants people to celebrate the beauty, charity and timelessness of the church, and not focus so much on what the church prohibits. >> dolan: instead of being hung up on these headline issues, let's get back to where the church is at her best. >> safer: but the headline issues are where people are living their lives. and an awful lot feel that... that the church is going down the wrong road. >> dolan: so, i guess you got two different world views there. >> safer: and you ain't going to change. >> dolan: ( laughs ) i'm in one world, you're in the other. i'm glad you're visiting. ( laughter )
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