tv 60 Minutes CBS December 6, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm PST
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> it felt like i had a gun to my head. >> stahl: have you told them yet that you had nothing to do with this? >> they almost convince you that... that you're guilty. >> he's talking about law enforcement pressuring him into becoming a confidential informant. and he did. on his college campus, he went to work helping police catch drug dealers. it's a practice we discovered is going on across the country involving young people... >> you can't tell anybody you're working for me. >> stahl: ...sometimes with tragic consequences. >> they shot her five times when they found the wire in her purse and dumped her body in a ditch 50 miles away. >> cooper: bonobos are unique among great apes because they are not dominated by males.
it's the females who run the show. >> here, if you try to be an alpha male, you will be, as the congolese say, "corrected" by the females. >> cooper: not just by one female, but by a sort of alliance of females? >> that's right. >> cooper: bonobos have never been observed to kill each other. the same can't be said of chimpanzees, or humans, for that matter. the screeches are a sophisticated form of communication, and their gestures are unmistakable. >> kroft: i'm steve kroft. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. >> cooper: i'm anderson cooper. >> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. >> pelley: i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." happy holidays
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may be far more common-- young people, many of them college students caught selling small amounts of marijuana, who are recruited by law enforcement to wear a wire and make undercover drug buys in exchange for having their charges reduced or dropped altogether. it's a practice we discovered that's going on across the country, largely under the radar and, in some cases, with tragic consequences. >> jason weber: how's it going today? >> andrew sadek: all right. >> weber: it's your birthday today. >> sadek: yeah. >> weber: probably not what you want to be doing on your birthday, huh? >> stahl: what you're looking at is police footage of the making of a confidential informant. narcotics officer jason weber is recruiting a college student who'd been caught making two small marijuana sales to become a c.i. >> weber: all right. well, you expressed interest that you probably want to help yourself out. >> sadek: yeah. >> weber: we're always trying to go up the chain. and so what we want to do is have them buy from their supplier or suppliers. >> stahl: weber is the chief of
a four-county drug task force in eastern north dakota and western minnesota. how important do you think confidential informants are to your task? >> weber: yeah, confidential informants are really important to law enforcement across the country. they make our jobs easier just because they are already the ones that are out there that know who the drugs dealers are and rely on them. >> stahl: are most of the kids that you're recruiting caught for marijuana sales? >> weber: the big majority, yeah. >> stahl: weber's jurisdiction includes the campus of the north dakota state college of science, with some 3,000 students. marijuana is now legal in four states and the district of columbia, but not in north dakota, where selling even a small amount on a campus is a class-a felony with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a fine of $20,000, or both. this young man, andrew sadek, was caught on tape by another confidential informant making
two sales for a total of $80. weber has called sadek in before charging him to present a choice-- agree to work as a c.i., wear a wire and make undercover drug buys from three people, twice each-- or be charged with two class-a felonies. >> weber: potentially, the max is 40 years in prison, $40,000 fine. you understand that? >> sadek: yeah. >> weber: okay. obviously, you're probably not going to get 40 years, but is it a good possibility that you're going to get some prison time if you don't help yourself out? yeah, there is, okay? that's probably not a way to start off your young adult life and career, right? >> stahl: sadek took the deal. weber told us most students do. part of the agreement he signed- - keep the whole thing strictly to himself. >> weber: you can't tell anybody you're working for me, obvious... for obvious reasons. >> stahl: an award-winning student of electrical technology, andrew sadek did as he was told-- never told any of
his close friends about being an informant, never called a lawyer, and didn't breathe a word to his parents, tammy and john sadek. the sadeks are a ranching family still struggling with the death of their older son in a train accident years earlier, leaving andrew an only child. if andrew had told you that he was thinking of becoming a confidential informant, what do you think your reaction would've been? >> tammy sadek: we'd have gotten him a lawyer and told him, "no." >> john sadek: we've never heard of such a thing, you know, using college students for snitches or whatever you want to call them, stool pigeons or i don't know what you call them, you know? >> lance block: there's no parent that i know of who would allow their child or want their child to serve as a confidential informant. >> stahl: to set up a drug deal. >> block: yeah. i mean, it's too dangerous. no, i wouldn't want my child to do it. >> stahl: lance block is an attorney in tallahassee, florida, who opposes using young people caught for relatively minor offenses as confidential
informants. >> block: these kids are being recruited to do the most dangerous type of police work. they're going undercover, with no background, training, or experience. they haven't been to the police academy. >> stahl: so they are basically doing the same work as a trained undercover cop? >> block: absolutely. >> stahl: block says he was unaware police were using young people as confidential informants until he was hired seven years ago by the family of rachel hoffman, a recent college graduate who was caught with a large stash of marijuana and a few valium and ecstasy pills. it was her second marijuana arrest. >> block: she was caught by the tallahassee police department and told that if she didn't become a confidential informant, she was looking at four years in prison. >> stahl: she signed up, and a few weeks later, was sent out to make her first undercover drug buy. it was to be one of the biggest in tallahassee's recent history-
- 1,500 ecstasy pills, an ounce and a half of cocaine, and a gun. had she ever dealt in any of those things? >> block: no. >> stahl: a gun? had she ever fired a gun? >> block: no. rachel was a pothead. and rachel sold marijuana to her friends out of her home, but rachel wasn't dealing in ecstasy or cocaine, much less... of course not weapons. >> stahl: rachel drove her car alone to meet the dealers in this park with $13,000 cash from the police and a wire in her purse. she was to be monitored by some 20 officers. but then, the dealers changed the location of the deal, so rachel drove away from the police staging area, and that's when things went terribly wrong. >> block: the drug dealers have her out on this road. one drug dealer gets into the car with her... >> stahl: and the 20 cops who were nearby? >> block: they lost her.
>> hoffman is 5'7", 135 pounds. she was last seen... >> hoffman was seen wednesday night at about 7:00 near forest meadows park. >> block: they shot her five times when they found the wire in her purse and dumped her body in a ditch 50 miles away. >> stahl: rachel hoffman's tragic death turned block into an advocate. he sued the city of tallahassee and won a $2.8 million settlement for rachel's parents, and he has argued for more openness and greater protection for confidential informants ever since. do you have any sense of how many confidential informants there are? >> block: law enforcement is loaded with statistics. but you cannot find out any information about the number of confidential informants that are being used across this country, much less the number of people who are being killed or injured. >> stahl: no one's keeping statistics? >> block: no one. it's a shadowy underworld is what it is. >> brian sallee: we want to make more cases. we want to make better cases that can get prosecuted.
informants can do that. >> stahl: brian sallee is a longtime undercover narcotics officer who believes a shadowy underworld is exactly what working with c.i.s should be-- shadowy to protect informants' identities, and underworld because that's where cops like him want informants to take them. >> sallee: who knows the most about the dope trade? is it us working narcotics? no. who is it? the sellers, the dopers. >> stahl: sallee says he's worked with hundreds of informants, and now trains police officers around the country on how best to use them. if you had not been able, personally, to use confidential informants, would you have been as effective? >> sallee: nowhere near as effective. >> stahl: you really feel you need this... >> sallee: oh, i know i would not. i may have to watch a house for days or weeks to establish probable cause. my informant goes in and makes a buy out of it, and i have my probable cause in five minutes. you can get into cases quicker, easier, in some respects, safer.
>> stahl: i'm surprised you say safer, because we've heard about kids who've been killed doing these operations. >> sallee: it's a dangerous trade that they're involved in. >> stahl: yeah. >> sallee: they are in that drug trade. they've always been facing that potential danger. >> stahl: sallee estimates there could be as many as 100,000 confidential informants working with police across the country, and he says, with just a few tragic exceptions, it's a win/win-- a win for society and a win for the c.i. >> sallee: they have agreed to do what they are doing in exchange for something. that's the bottom line. when somebody comes to work for me as an informant, it's their decision. >> stahl: police tell us that this is completely voluntary, and they want to do this to get rid of the charges. >> block: it's not something that college kids are standing up, saying, "i want to be a c.i." it's not voluntary. they're being told they're
looking at prison time unless they agree to do deals for the police department. >> stahl: and there are some important things they're not being told. so what if you catch me selling $60 worth of marijuana? what do you say to me to become an informant? >> sallee: i'll say, "this is the charge. this is a felony. do you want to help yourself out?" >> stahl: do you tell me that i have a right to talk to a lawyer? >> sallee: no, i do not. i tell you you have a right to talk to a lawyer if i'm going to ask you incriminating questions. if we're talking about your becoming an informant, i don't have to tell you that you have a right to a lawyer. >> weber: all right... >> stahl: that's because, since police often recruit confidential informants before charging them and without arresting them, they're not obligated by law to read them their rights. and weber didn't with andrew sadek. he told us sadek made three successful undercover drug buys as a c.i., half the number he'd been told was required of him. but then he stopped.
weber says sadek was warned he would soon be charged if he didn't continue. then one night, a few weeks shy of graduation, security cameras snapped these pictures of sadek walking out of his dorm at 2:00 a.m. on a thursday morning. a day and a half later, he had not come back. >> tammy sadek: we got a call from the campus at about noon on friday. >> stahl: still completely unaware of their son's work as a confidential informant, andrew's parents were soon on campus, making a public plea for his return. >> tammy sadek: we love you, and we want you... we need you to come home. >> john sadek: everything will be okay. >> stahl: there were searches, prayer vigils. and then, two months later, the worst news possible-- andrew's body was discovered in a river near the campus, his backpack weighted down with rocks, its straps tied together across his chest.
did they tell you what the cause of death was? >> tammy sadek: gunshot to the head. >> stahl: a year and a half later, that's about all the sadeks have been told. no one has been charged in andrew's death, and the gun that killed him has not been found. police deny he was involved in any c.i. operation the night he disappeared, and have suggested to his parents that he may have shot himself, a possibility they say is inconceivable. they're convinced their son was murdered as a result of his work as an informant, and they want the confidential recruitment of young offenders as c.i.s to stop. >> tammy sadek: it's ridiculous. ridiculous. stop doing it. slap their hands. fine them. put them in jail. expel them. i don't care. stop using our kids to do your jobs. >> stahl: andrew sadek's death is still an open investigation, so neither the state agencies in
charge of the case, nor jason weber, would talk about it. but we did ask about putting these kids at risk. andrew sadek was caught selling $80 worth of marijuana. people have said to us, "it's just not worth it. it's not worth putting the kid in any kind of risky situation for that little." >> weber: you know, a drug dealer is a drug dealer, whether you sell a big amount or a small amount, whether you do it once or if you do it 100 times. while it's still against the law, part of our duty as law enforcement is to get the drugs off the streets and to get the drug dealers off the streets. >> stahl: so how successful is what you're doing? >> weber: well, i think it goes back to the point, if we don't try something or if we don't do that, then we're truly losing that... the war on drugs. >> stahl: isn't it more important to go after heroin, meth, cocaine? >> weber: yeah, our agency goes after all them. >> stahl: i'm still trying to get at the equation, you know what i mean? is it worth it, for marijuana? >> weber: yeah. there again, i got to go back
to, you know, as long as it's a crime, it is my duty as a police officer to enforce criminal law. >> stahl: we've spoken to college students who talk about how they were pressured into becoming confidential informants. >> it felt like i had a gun to my head. >> stahl: that part of the story, when we come back. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by lincoln financial, calling all chief life officers. >> glor: good evening. lufthansa says a man was restrained after he threatened to open a plane door. greece has approved a 2016 budget with sharp spending cuts. and the united autoworkers want to vote for represent dentation at the u.s.'s lone plant. i'm jeff glor, cbs news. my mom and i have the same hands.
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departments that recruit and use the informants. and that, critics say, can and has resulted in overly aggressive recruitment tactics, traumatized and even suicidal c.i.s, and situations where kids are given incentives to entrap other kids. we looked at a case, a narcotics unit, where those charges have been leveled. it's in one of the country's best-known college towns, with the university itself an involved partner and funder. the university of mississippi in oxford, famously called "ole miss," is known for its football, its school spirit, and its southern charm. but less than a mile from campus, housed in this municipal building, is a drug task force focused on the darker side of life here. it's called metro narcotics, and one of its confidential
informants was an ole miss student we'll call "greg," who agreed to speak with us in disguise. his life as a c.i. began one day coming home from class. >> greg: i was met halfway there by men in bulletproof vests, guns, and badges around their necks. my initial reaction was just "keep going. this is no way involved with me." and then... until they held up a piece of paper with my name on it, saying i had sold lsd, and i thought, "what on earth? i had nothing to do with this." >> stahl: greg, who had no criminal record, insists his only encounter with lsd was when a friend asked to leave some at his apartment. then, he says, another acquaintance stopped by-- wearing a wire, it turns out-- and picked the lsd up. >> greg: i was just on the couch watching tv. and he was like, "oh, thanks." and i just said, "i have nothing to do with this. don't thank me." >> stahl: but at the metro office, greg says two agents
threatened him with more than 20 years in prison and a felony on his record for life unless he agreed to become an informant and make drug buys wearing a wire from ten people who he had to find himself. >> greg: it felt like i had a gun to my head. >> stahl: have you told them yet that you had nothing to do with this? >> greg: they almost convince you that... that you're guilty. i was just so scared, i was just putty in their hands. >> stahl: did you think about the idea that you'd become a snitch? >> greg: i mean, i knew what i was signing and i hated it, absolutely. it just made me sick, but what made me more sick was the thought of spending 20 years in prison. >> stahl: did you know ten people you could buy drugs from when you signed that paper? >> greg: absolutely not. but you don't care at the time, when you sign it. it's like, "sure." you know, "please don't ruin my life." >> stahl: ten buys sounds like a lot. >> ken coghlan: it's virtually impossible. >> stahl: ken coghlan is a defense attorney in oxford who
has represented many ole miss students who became confidential informants. he says that, because there are no standardized rules, cops can ask for any number of buys, like metro's ten, which he says is so high, it creates a perverse incentive for kids to entice other kids to break the law. he told us he has seen it again and again. >> coghlan: they don't know ten drug dealers. and they're so desperate, they will go to their friend or their roommate or their frat brother, and they know this person smokes marijuana. and they'll say, "i'm out of weed. can i get ten dollars' worth of weed from you?" >> stahl: your personal stuff. >> coghlan: that's entrapment, and that's not allowed under the law. >> stahl: entrapment, because that frat brother with his own marijuana, was only guilty of possession, a misdemeanor under mississippi law. but if he says yes and sells a little to his buddy, he's now become a dealer-- a felon, facing possible prison time.
>> coghlan: and at that point, we're not catching criminals, we're creating criminals. >> stahl: did you ever get the feeling that you were asking someone else to commit a crime that they wouldn't otherwise have committed? >> greg: yes. i just knew somebody who would provide me with an amount, who wasn't selling, but i just knew they... they would because we knew each other. >> stahl: and you did that? >> greg: yes. >> stahl: so when you say they're creating felons, this is what you mean? >> coghlan: i don't think the cops say, "go out and talk somebody into doing it that wouldn't otherwise do it." it's just what the kids do. and look, there... there are some hard drugs around. but the vast, vast majority of cases are the sale of two grams of marijuana, three grams of marijuana. >> stahl: but those small sales can add up to big numbers of arrests, and numbers, says tallahassee attorney lance block, help drug task forces get grants. >> block: they want to drive up their arrest numbers.
and it doesn't matter whether they're going after a college kid with a couple of joints in his pocket or whether they're going after a drug kingpin. >> stahl: and the more arrests, the more money? >> block: the arrest numbers-- the higher they go, the better the funding. i mean, law enforcement is addicted to the drug war money as the crack addict is on the street to his drugs. >> stahl: it's a strong charge. we put it to undercover narcotics agent and instructor brian sallee. what they say is that police are in this to lift their arrest statistics to justify the grants and money that they're getting. >> sallee: i'm in it to do what is best for my community. and if having higher stats gets me more money and allows me to do more cases to then impact the drug trade in my community, then that's also a benefit. >> stahl: metro narcotics got nearly $55,000 in federal grants last year, but most of their
budget comes from the city police, the county sheriff's department, and ole miss-- $100,000 each. the head of metro narcotics for the last five years has been keith davis, seen here on an ole miss student newscast defending his unit's work with students as informants. >> keith davis: these are adults, these are 18-, 19-, 20- year-olds. yes, i get it, they have young minds, whatever. but they are out here creating felonies and hurting our communities. >> stahl: we requested our own interview with davis, or any representative of metro narcotics, but they declined. one thing we wanted to ask davis about were charges that he and other agents in the unit were abusive to the c.i.s. >> greg: they call you, and in these calls, they're very aggressive and threatening and saying, "well, we're going to come pick you up and you're going to go to prison," to the point where i was just terrified whenever my phone rang. >> stahl: we heard similar claims from another ole miss student who became a
confidential informant after metro narcotics accused him of selling marijuana. >> they say, "your life is over if you... as you know it, if you tell anybody, if you don't help us." >> stahl: did they specifically say, "you can't call your parents?" >> they said, "if you call your parents, we'll take you to jail." >> stahl: once he agreed, he says one of the first things the agent asked him was whether he could buy meth or heroin. he told him he couldn't. >> the first eight months or so, he called every single day at around the same time. >> stahl: he called you every day for eight months? >> every day. >> stahl: we had heard repeated accusations about the aggressive tone of the metro agents, and then got to listen for ourselves when we obtained a tape recording of keith davis and another metro agent yelling at a c.i. recruit they heard had made a threat to find out where they lived. the first voice is that of agent tommy knight. >> tommy knight: i don't give a ( bleep ) where you at. >> yes, sir. >> knight: i'll turn this ( bleep ) in and i'll come beat the ( bleep ) out of you. >> yes, sir. >> knight: get that in your head. >> stahl: whoa.
the tape was made surreptitiously by the c.i. recruit, who brought it to ken coghlan. we listened with him as keith davis made his own threat if the kid ever went to his house. >> davis: come there, it'll be the last ( bleep ) place you ever go in your life. >> yes, sir. >> davis: you feel me? >> 100%. >> davis: it took all i had not to come see you last night... >> yes, sir. >> davis: ...to hunt you down. but i'm trying to calm down. >> stahl: keith davis is the chief of this narcotics unit, and he is making a death threat. >> coghlan: you know, i'm just going to let the tape speak for itself. >> stahl: coghlan sent the tape and a letter to the chancellor and attorney of ole miss more than two years ago, thinking that, as a funder of metro narcotics, they should know how the unit was treating its students. he got no reply, and we could find no evidence that changes were made to the program at that time. greg told us that, as he continued making undercover buys, he became anxious and paranoid. >> greg: i would have to conceal
that i was shaking, because, first of all, i completely detested what i was doing. i didn't want to get anybody in trouble. >> stahl: did you feel ashamed? >> greg: absolutely. >> stahl: because of turning in other kids? >> greg: yes. >> stahl: but keith davis told the ole miss campus reporter that these kids don't deserve that much sympathy. >> davis: let's be clear here-- these people are not these innocent little college kids, plain and simple. the ones that are selling dope are not innocent people, they're selling poison. >> stahl: that may be true for many confidential informants, but it turns out, not greg. after a year and a half, and he says making six of the ten required buys, greg was charged and arrested anyway. that's when his parents found out and hired coghlan, who researched the original evidence against greg and came to the conclusion that the friend who brought the lsd to greg's house in the first place had been a c.i. so, a c.i. brought the drugs,
and a c.i. bought the drugs. >> coghlan: that's the way i understood it to be. >> stahl: coghlan says, after he brought the situation to the attention of the district attorney, the charges against greg were dismissed. all the charges were just thrown out? >> greg: completely. >> block: it's really important that the public have an understanding of what's going on, because it's perverted justice. >> stahl: i've been told that a lot of these kids are not really looking at jail time. >> block: in the vast majority of cases, these kids would be diverted into a drug court program. they'd be on probation for six months to a year, and at the end, if they've done everything successfully, then the cases are dismissed. >> stahl: lance block has been advocating for laws to regulate the recruitment and use of confidential informants across the country, but he says law enforcement lobbies have opposed the reforms. >> block: they want to keep the c.i. system as it is. >> stahl: law enforcement people have told us, "we see it as a win/win.
the kids get a reduced or... charges completely expunged, and we get to arrest drug dealers." >> block: but there are kids that are being killed. and they're arresting small-time possessors. that's a lose/lose. >> stahl: we asked ole miss for an on-camera interview while we were reporting our story. our request was declined. we did get a letter months later, saying: "thank you for your part in encouraging a deeper look at the metro narcotics unit," and telling us that, because of "increased attention"-- attention from "60 minutes" and the news organization buzzfeed-- changes were being made, including: "more direct oversight of the program;" "an audit of the program by a third-party organization;" "policies to ensure suspects fully understand they have a choice in whether to become a confidential informant;" and a change in leadership. at the end of september, keith
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don't miss a day of brilinta. >> whitaker: most people know that chimpanzees are our close cousins. they share over 98% of our dna. but you may not know that we also have another primate cousin just as close. they're called bonobos. they may look like chimpanzees, but they are an entirely separate species of ape, and their behavior couldn't be more different. bonobos are the only great apes that live in female-dominated groups, and unlike chimps and humans, which are often violent and aggressive with each other, bonobos would rather make love than war. as anderson cooper discovered, they are an endangered species, and only found in one place, the democratic republic of congo in central africa.
congo's been torn apart by war for decades, keeping researchers away, which is why bonobos are the least-understood apes on the planet. >> cooper: the world's only sanctuary for bonobos sits on the outskirts of congo's capital, kinshasa. it's called lola ya bonobo-- "bonobo paradise"-- and for these endangered apes, that's exactly what it is. this refuge was created by conservationist claudine andre. she's belgian-born, but has lived in congo most of her life. if you ask her why she cares so much about bonobos, she'll tell you "just look into their eyes." >> claudine andre: the way they look in your eyes, deeply in your... just like they look in your soul. >> cooper: in your soul.
>> andre: yeah. >> cooper: and it's rare that-- most primates don't... don't maintain eye contact like that. >> andre: yeah, because... don't try to do this with gorilla, you know and... >> cooper: right. it's a threatening gesture, if you do it with a gorilla. >> andre: yeah. >> cooper: but bonobos look right at you. >> andre: oh, yeah. >> cooper: bonobos may have a brain that's a third the size of ours, but they're remarkably intelligent. ( bonobo screeching ) >> cooper: those high-pitched screeches are a sophisticated form of communication, and their gestures are unmistakable. like chimpanzees, bonobos use tools in a wide variety of ways, and are capable of abstract problem-solving. >> andre: she have a baby, so she cannot go deeply... >> cooper: so she's breaking the stick, actually? >> andre: yeah, she... she shows the stick is too short. >> cooper: okay. so she got a longer stick. that's amazing. so she's using the stick to see how deep the water is? >> andre: yeah.
>> cooper: bonobos are unique among great apes because they are not dominated by males. and according to brian hare, a duke university evolutionary anthropologist who studies them at lola, it's the females who run the show. >> brian hare: here, if you try to be in a... an alpha male, you will be, as the congolese say, "corrected" by the females. >> cooper: not just by one female, but by a sort of alliance of females? >> hare: that's right. that's right. and one of the... they... bonobos really violate a rule of nature where, usually, if you're bigger, you're going to be dominant. but here, females are actually smaller. but they're still not dominated by males because they work together. >> cooper: what's more, bonobos have never been observed to kill each other. the same can't be said of chimpanzees, or of humans, for that matter. >> hare: bonobos, on the other hand, they don't really have that darker side. so that's where they could really help us is, how could it be that a species that has a brain a third of the size of ours can do something that, with all our technological prowess, we can't accomplish? which is, to not kill each other. >> cooper: the answer might be
found in bonobos' favorite pastime. these apes have more sex, more often, in more ways than any other primate on the planet. their sexual contact is so frequent, brian hare refers to it as the "bonobo handshake". it's not that they want to procreate or have kids; it's not that they even find each other attractive. >> hare: no. >> cooper: it's... it's just... >> hare: no, it's a negotiation. >> cooper: and it's hardly surprising that many of these negotiations take place over food. chimpanzees will fight each other over food. >> hare: that's right. they... >> cooper: bonobos won't necessarily fight each other... >> hare: that's right. so they... so, basically, chimpanzees get primed for competition, testosterone increases. bonobos, they get really stressed out. and if they feel like they're not going to be able to share, they get really anxious, and then that drives them to want to be reassured. and they then happen to have a bonobo handshake to feel better. >> cooper: and males do that with females, males will do that with males, females will do that with females. doesn't matter, even the ages? >> hare: any combination, any age. >> cooper: it's an irony that this peace-loving primate is
being hunted to extinction. though it's illegal to kill or capture bonobos in congo, that hasn't slowed their rapid decline. forest animals are sold in bustling bush-meat markets for food. at the largest in congo's capital, kinshasa, you can buy monkeys, porcupines, even alligators, dead or alive. bonobos aren't openly sold here anymore, but you can still buy them in many parts of congo. their orphaned babies often end up in the only place that can care for them, lola ya bonobo. the babies arrive traumatized, often injured. each is assigned a surrogate human mother, and their job is to raise the babies as their own, showering them with the love and attention the orphan apes so desperately need. ( shrieking )
>> cooper: it's incredible to see them up close like this. i mean, they are so... >> andre: yeah, human? >> cooper: yeah. >> andre: yeah, you know, i say all the time that, for sure, they are great apes. they are not us and we are not them, but we have a line in the middle of the two world that we cross all the time. >> cooper: baby bonobos are as playful as any human toddler, and just as curious. suzy kwetuenda would know. she's in charge of the bonobos' welfare at lola and oversees their rehabilitation. you have a child of your own? >> suzy kwetuenda: yes, i have. >> cooper: how are they different? >> kwetuenda: i can say there is no more difference. >> cooper: there's not difference... >> kwetuenda: the same. >> cooper: of course, really have to be a mother to... >> kwetuenda: yes. >> cooper: ...to this baby? >> kwetuenda: yes, and most of time, you need experienced mother to... so, they give love and affection, and this is the only way to save them. >> cooper: that... that's what
saves these babies? >> kwetuenda: yes. and make them in life. >> cooper: they need love? >> kwetuenda: yeah, absolutely. without that, they die. >> cooper: suzy decided to study bonobos because she felt they could teach us a lot about human evolution. after five years at lola, she realized that their behavior is closer to ours than she'd ever imagined. is it hard not to think of them as human? >> kwetuenda: yes. yes, because we share most of time with them. we share time with them, yeah. >> cooper: right, you spend all day with them? >> kwetuenda: all day. >> cooper: and at the end of that day, suzy sees to it the babies are tucked into their hammocks for the night. at 6:00 p.m., it's lights out. do you read them a story? >> kwetuenda: no, they don't need, because they are tired. they spend all the time jumping in trees, playing so much as now... >> cooper: they're exhausted? >> kwetuenda: so that's... yeah, they are very exhausted. >> cooper: by age five, the orphaned apes move from lola's nursery to the kindergarten, where their peers teach them something their human mothers never could. they teach them how to be bonobos.
they still crave affection, but they're also more confident, and have started developing their own distinct personalities. >> andre: he's the one who like jump. >> cooper: you want to jump? ( laughter ) i can't work under these conditions. it's very hard to... to conduct an interview like this. ( laughter ) claudine andre came across her first bonobo 20 years ago. the country was wracked by violence and on the verge of a brutal civil war. she volunteered to help at a local zoo, and that's when she saw a baby bonobo, though the zoo director warned her about getting too close. he said, "don't put your heart in this animal." >> andre: yes. "it's a bonobo." a bonobo-- it was the first time for me i hear this word. and he say they never survive in captivity. >> cooper: so he was warning you, "don't... don't fall in love with a bonobo, because it's going to die." >> andre: yeah, but it was a sort of challenge.
>> cooper: there are now more than 70 bonobos at lola. many of the original orphans have children of their own. but to save these primates from extinction, their numbers in the wild will have to grow. six years ago, the team from lola decided to try to release some back into the forest. nothing like it had ever been done with bonobos before. they hand-picked nine apes who they thought would do well on their own. they have to be able to get along in a group, as well as be strong themselves. >> andre: yeah. yeah, yeah. it's just like you chose people to go in the moon. >> cooper: it's not quite the moon, but the site they found to release the bonobos is about as remote a place as you can find on the planet. it's a three-hour flight deep into the wilderness of northern congo, then a long, slow ride up the lopori river in a dugout canoe. life along the river hasn't changed much in centuries.
congo is one of the least- developed countries in the world, and has millions of acres of virtually untouched forest. it may look pristine, even peaceful, but many of the people who live in these parts have suffered from years of war. the wildlife here was decimated. so, the bonobos disappeared from this area because of hunting...? >> andre: yes, yes. >> cooper: ... for bushmeat? >> andre: yeah. >> cooper: and also, during the war, soldiers would hunt here. >> andre: yeah. >> cooper: we were taken to the spot where that first group of bonobos was released. for a while, we couldn't see anything, just dense forest spilling over the banks of the winding river. then, claudine began calling out the names of the apes she herself once mothered all those years ago. >> andre: vous etes ou? ( bonobos screeching ) they know it. >> cooper: that's crazy. they respond to you... >> andre: they responding to me. they know i'm here. >> cooper: we still couldn't see them, but they could hear
claudine. and suddenly, the forest was alive with the sound of apes excited to hear her voice once again. one by one, the bonobos came to the water's edge to see the people who'd saved their lives. >> andre: etumbe! >> cooper: claudine and her team weren't sure releasing bonobos back into the wild would work, and although some had trouble adapting, most now seem to be thriving. >> andre: etumbe! >> cooper: that's etumbe, the bonobo claudine is perhaps most proud of. for 17 years, she was trapped in a tiny cage at a kinshasa laboratory. now, she's the leader of the group. >> andre: and she give us a first baby born here, so... is my friend... ( laughter ) ...or my sister. >> cooper: your... your family. >> andre: my family. >> cooper: this is as close as claudine allows herself to get. now that they're wild, she doesn't want the bonobos to get
used to humans ever again. do you still find it thrilling when you suddenly see them after all this time? >> andre: oh, yes. it's also so nice... present to return to the wild and be free. >> cooper: this is what you dreamed of? >> andre: yes. >> your cbs sports update is brought to you by ford. i'm james brown with scores from nfl. the jets dropped the giants in o.t. buffalo snaps houston's four-game win streak. philly hands the pats their second straight loss. carolina remains unbeaten and clinches the n.f.c. south. denver's brock osweiler wins his third straight start. k.c. rubs its win streak to six. for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. two million, four hundred thirty-four thousand,
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for the past 26 years, he produced a hundred or so stories for this broadcast, including some of the very best. we lost harry this week to cancer. he was 66 years old. he was the ultimate world traveler on a broadcast of world travelers. he knew where to get the best bouillabaisse in marseilles, and the best barbeque in tennessee. he knew where to go to find a great story and who to talk to when he got there. he was kind and calm, and a great journalist. he took us off the beaten path for a visit to the monasteries of greece's holy mountain, mount athos, with bob simon. >> simon: there's no electricity here, so the icons and mosaics are illuminated only by shafts of sunlight and a few candles. >> kroft: and on a search for the ivory-billed woodpecker in arkansas's big woods with ed bradley. >> bradley: the ivory-billed woodpecker was presumed extinct. at least that's what gene sparling thought.
>> kroft: he showed us the plight of christians of the holy land... ( elephants trumpeting ) and elephants in the central african republic... and the art of making whisky on the island of islay. >> cheers, bob. >> kroft: harry never lost his enthusiasm for exploring. >> harry radliffe: i've just always been curious about the world. i mean, it's thrilling to get off an airplane and you're in india. it's thrilling to get off an airplane and you're in china. it's thrilling to get off an airplane and you're in, you know, korea. you know, to go off with a camera and be able to come back with a story that you put together and show it to people, i mean, what's not cool about that? >> kroft: he made "60 minutes," and all of us here, better just by having the privilege of working with him. i'm steve kroft. don't go away. we'll be back in a moment with a special edition of "60 minutes."
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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> we are at probably the largest transformative moment in the history of the automobile. >> whitaker: that's quite a statement from the head of the national highway traffic safety administration. but as you will see tonight, the biggest names in the auto industry and high tech are racing to develop driverless cars, powered by a form of artificial intelligence. so this is like, no hands, no feet, the car is in charge. >> the car is in charge. >> kroft: you had to tell a lot of lies. >> absolutely. i was living a lie. >> kroft: were you a good liar? >> the best. >> kroft: tonight, we're going to bring you a spy story unlike
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>> whitaker: car accidents cost us much more than time and money-- they also take a staggering number of lives. every year on american roads, nearly 33,000 people die, almost all because of driver error. that's the equivalent of a 747 full of passengers crashing once a week for a year. self-driving cars could save more than two-thirds of those lives. that's what the nation's top auto regulator told us. it's no wonder the biggest names in the auto industry and high tech are racing to develop driverless cars powered by a form of artificial intelligence. six years ago, google rolled out a prototype that jumpstarted the competition. today, apple and uber are experimenting, too. we wanted to see how far the technology has come.
so, as we first reported earlier this year, we hit the road in silicon valley, the new detroit for self-driving cars. what do you have to do to make the car take over? >> ralf herrtwich: i just pull this lever. and now... >> whitaker: system is active? >> herrtwich: it goes. >> whitaker: computer scientist ralf herrtwich runs autonomous vehicle research for mercedes- benz. he punched in a route and took us for a 20-mile drive on city streets and highways in this s500, the company's most advanced self-driving prototype. so, this is like no hands, no feet, car is in charge? >> herrtwich: yeah, the car is in charge. >> whitaker: right from the start, the car astonished us. as we approached our first intersection, it slowed down and steered itself into the left turn lane. it's a german car, so naturally it has a german accent. ( car speaking ) >> whitaker: that was the voice of herrtwich's secretary.
so it just took off by itself when the light turned green, and now it's making this left turn by itself, with other traffic around. this is absolutely amazing. just two minutes into the ride, we entered a freeway onramp. if you think a normal merge is nerve-wracking, try it with a driver who's talking with his hands. i must admit, i find it a little disconcerting that we are driving toward the freeway, and you don't have your hands on the wheel. >> herrtwich: shall i put them back on? would that make you feel more comfortable? >> whitaker: no, no, no. herrtwich gave us a rare opportunity to go on an actual test run near mercedes' silicon valley lab. almost every major auto maker is working on the technology here. nissan has teamed up with nasa. auto parts maker delphi put its system in this audi. it was the first to drive itself across the country. back at that merge, don't hold your breath for the car to step on it. this s500 won't break the speed
limit. are you going to have little old ladies driving up behind you, beeping the horn to get going, get moving? >> herrtwich: some people have remarked that the car itself, in some cases, drives a bit like an old lady. that's... that's fine with us, for the time being. >> whitaker: especially since the car has driven about 20,000 miles without an accident. mercedes made its name selling the passion for driving on the open road. now, it sees a future in the growing desire to be driven through traffic-jammed streets. what's fueling this? >> herrtwich: people are increasingly asking for this. people probably have become used to live more with computers and interact with computers, and they feel more comfortable doing this. and so, all of a sudden, we see this interest. and hey, there are certain situations where i don't want to drive. "can your car do it for me?" >> whitaker: first, you're amazed, then you begin to relax. surprisingly, it took less than
ten minutes to feel comfortable with the car in control. this is amazing. but don't get too comfortable. >> herrtwich: this is not good. >> whitaker: those beeps, that's not a sound you want to hear. it means the car senses trouble and needs a helping human hand. ( car beeping ) >> herrtwich: now, the vehicle asks me to take over. >> whitaker: at this intersection, that silver car got too close. >> herrtwich: this is... for example, i... rather took over. it would've managed, but i, really it was... this was too close for us. >> whitaker: that guy was getting into our lane there? >> herrtwich: yeah. >> whitaker: it only happened a few times while we were driving around. herrtwich says teaching the car to handle encounters like that silver car-- on chaotic city streets with impulsive human drivers-- will keep his engineers busy for the next decade. i'm not an engineer. but how do you figure things like that out? >> herrtwich: the important thing about an autonomous vehicle is it has to have a very good sense of its environment. a vehicle cannot react to
something it does not see, so we have to be very careful that we see everything that happens around us. >> whitaker: the car sees with an array of cameras and radar sensors designed into the body, constantly scanning up to 600 feet in all directions. >> herrtwich: we can actually detect more quickly that something is happening that may cause an accident than the human driver can. >> whitaker: so these cars would actually be safer, you're saying, than a human driver? >> herrtwich: that's what we aim for. >> whitaker: that's what google is driving for, too. its autonomous cars rely on roof-mounted laser sensors to see the road. in the last six years, its fleet has driven more than a million miles. >> chris urmson: we're getting to a place where we're comparable to human driving today. >> whitaker: robotics scientist chris urmson is the director of google's self-driving car project. he invited us inside his silicon valley garage, where the autonomous future is taking shape.
google's a tech company, not a car maker. >> urmson: absolutely. but the heart of what makes the technology work is the algorithms and the software, and that's one of the things that we are really quite good at. >> whitaker: there are so many variables, so many different scenarios. how is it possible to put all of that knowledge into a car? >> urmson: and that's really the trick, right? that's what makes this hard. you can't just kind of go through and enumerate, you know, the 1,000 different scenarios it might encounter, because it's not 1,000. there's an infinite number of them, right? and so the trick is to develop these algorithms that can generalize. >> whitaker: by generalize, he means "think," and this is how it works. the algorithms are trained to recognize other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and animals from their movements, size, and shape. each car's daily driving experience is analyzed, uploaded, and shared. the cars can then make predictions and choices based on
the collective knowledge of the fleet. look in the lower left corner as one of urmson's cars encounters a pickup truck that stops to parallel park. now, how does the computer know that it's someone intending to back into a parking space, and not someone who's just stopped in the street? >> urmson: our cars have seen thousands and thousands of vehicles. and they get a "feeling," you know, they get a feeling really for what the behavior of those vehicles are going to be. >> whitaker: really? >> urmson: so its seen lots of cars backing up, and so it understands if there's a space here, and a car stopped just in front of it, that means it's going to probably back into that spot. >> whitaker: my smart phone has computer glitches. my computer has glitches. how do you get people to trust that this computer-on-wheels is not going to have a glitch? >> urmson: we're all used to our bits of home computing doing funny things, right? and what you have to remember is they're engineered and designed very differently. the way we develop the software, the way we develop the hardware, you know, the way we think about
redundancy, the way we think about the situations it has to deal with on the road, it's completely different. >> whitaker: right now, the technology can't handle snow. google's cars can't operate in heavy rain. the mercedes s500 can't decipher hand gestures from traffic cops or pedestrians. four million miles of roads in the u.s. must be mapped in ultra-high definition detail. the auto makers call these "solvable" problems. in the meantime, the car industry plans to automate the driving experience feature by feature, what some are calling "revolution by evolution." the revolution is already being televised in ads. >> backup collision intervention which can brake, even before you do. >> whitaker: in showrooms today, you can buy features to automatically keep you in your lane, help you park, drive you in stop-and-go traffic, and recently this-- hands-free highway driving. tesla made it available in
october. g.m. plans to offer it in a 2017 cadillac. >> mark rosekind: we are at probably the largest transformative moment in the history of the automobile. >> whitaker: mark rosekind is head of the national highway traffic safety administration. he is optimistic but also realistic about this new technology. >> rosekind: this is really different than just thinking about the engine parts and the tires. now, we're talking about cars are computers, so issues related to cyber security and privacy are just as big an issue as the defect in the manufacturing process. >> whitaker: someone can hack your computer and steal your money. but someone can hack your car and you can die. >> rosekind: people have to trust these vehicles. if they read or suspect in any way that they literally could be one virus away from a crash occurring, they're not going to get in that car. they're not going to buy it, they're not going to let it drive them. that whole future evaporates. >> whitaker: rosekind also
worries about a future in which drivers place too much trust in the cars. >> rosekind: think about how some of this is being sold. "oh, you can take a nap. you can read the paper." what would you do if you had to take over in a certain emergency situation? nobody has that future totally nailed yet. >> whitaker: mercedes and other major carmakers say humans will always have a role in driving. but chris urmson of google says it's dangerous to require humans to snap to attention and take control at a moment's notice, so the company stopped developing cars that put humans on call. now, it's testing 30 fully autonomous electric prototypes custom built for the job. so i would punch in where i wanted to go and it would just take off and go there? >> urmson: and it'd take off, you press the little "go" button under here. pull away from the curb, take you where you wanted. >> whitaker: for safety, the cars max out at 25 miles per hour. they don't need steering wheels or pedals, but they have them to comply with current california law.
>> jamie waydo: the goal of this is to improve the remote assistance link? >> whitaker: jamie waydo oversees the engineering. she used to work at nasa on autonomous vehicles of a different sort, the mars rovers. >> waydo: doing self-driving cars here on earth is actually more challenging in a lot of ways. >> whitaker: more difficult than driving across the surface of mars? >> waydo: ( laughs ) i think so. humans are so unpredictable. and so having to try to have a car who can out-predict an unpredictable human is amazing and really, really hard. >> whitaker: google's cars have been in ten minor accidents in self-driving mode-- all, the company says, the fault of humans driving in the other cars. google and mercedes told us, if their technology is at fault once it becomes commercially available, they'll accept responsibility and liability. but all involved expect fewer crashes as the technology evolves. for now, it's accelerating to the near future and beyond.
this is mercedes' vision for the year 2030, the f015. >> peter lehmann: so we have an app. >> whitaker: you can summon it with your phone. >> lehmann: the car will start and come to you. >> whitaker: german engineer peter lehmann took us for a test drive at an old naval base on san francisco bay. the car's radical design was shaped by expectations of life in the future. you turn your back to the steering wheel. mercedes is planning for overcrowded cities, perpetual gridlock, and an autonomous car to drive the stress away. >> lehmann: now you can relax, or you can... look a movie. so you have really gained time. >> whitaker: i feel like i'm driving into the future right now. >> lehmann: ah, ha, yes. >> whitaker: a future google's chris urmson says is coming and coming fast. so how long before that day? >> urmson: so, the way i talk
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any other. and if you think your life is complicated, wait till you hear about jack barsky's, who led three of them simultaneously: one, as a husband and father; two, as a computer programmer and administrator at some top american corporations; and three, as a kgb agent spying on america during the last decade of the cold war. the fbi did finally apprehend him in pennsylvania, but it was long after the soviet union had crumbled. as we first reported in may, what makes jack barsky's story even more remarkable is that he's never spent a night in jail, and the russians declared him dead a long time ago. he's living a quiet life in upstate new york, and has worked in important and sensitive jobs. he's now free to tell his story, as honestly as a former spy ever can. so, who are you? >> jack barsky: who am i? ( laughs ) that depends when the question is asked. right now, i'm jack barsky.
i work in the united states, i'm a u.s. citizen, but it wasn't always the case. >> kroft: how many different identities do you have? >> barsky: i have two main identities-- a german one and an american one. >> kroft: what's your real name? >> barsky: my real name is jack barsky. >> kroft: and what name were you born with? >> barsky: albrecht dittrich. say that three times real fast. >> kroft: just say it once slowly. >> barsky: albrecht dittrich. >> kroft: how albrecht dittrich became jack barsky is one of the untold stories of the cold war, an era when the real battles were often fought between the cia and the kgb. barsky was a rarity, a soviet spy who posed as an american and became enmeshed in american society. for the ten years he was operational for the kgb, no one in this country knew his real story, not even his family. did you think you were going to get away with this? >> barsky: yeah. otherwise, i wouldn't have done it. ( laughs ) >> kroft: what barsky did can be
traced back to east germany, back to the days when he was albrecht dittrich. a national scholar at a renowned university in jena, dittrich was on the fast track to becoming a chemistry professor, his dream job. >> barsky: didn't work out that way, because i was recruited by the kgb to do something a little more adventurous. >> kroft: spy? >> barsky: we called it something different. we used a euphemism. i was going to be a "scout for peace." >> kroft: a kgb "scout for peace"? >> barsky: that is correct. the communist spies were the good guys, and the capitalist spies were the evil ones, so we didn't use the word "spy". >> kroft: he says his spying career began with a knock on his dorm room door one saturday afternoon in 1970. a man introduced himself, claiming to be from a prominent optics company. >> barsky: he wanted to talk with me about my career, which was highly unusual. i immediately... there was a flash in my head that said, "that's stasi." >> kroft: east german secret police? >> barsky: east... east german secret police, yeah. >> kroft: it was a stasi agent.
he invited dittrich to this restaurant in jena, where a russian kgb agent showed up and took over the conversation. the kgb liked dittrich's potential because he was smart, his father was a member of the communist party, and he didn't have any relatives in the west. dittrich liked the attention and the notion he might get to help the soviets. and what did you think of america? >> barsky: it was the enemy. and... and the reason that the americans did so well was because they exploited all the third-world countries. that's what we were taught and that's what we believed. we didn't know any better. i grew up in an area where you could not receive west german television. it was called the "valley of the clueless." >> kroft: for the next couple of years, the kgb put dittrich through elaborate tests, and then in 1973, he was summoned to east berlin, to this former soviet military compound. the kgb, he says, wanted him to go undercover. >> barsky: at that point, i had
passed all the tests, so they wanted... they made me an offer. >> kroft: but you had been thinking about it all along, hadn't you? >> barsky: that's true-- with one counterweight, in that you didn't really know what was going to come. how do you test-drive becoming another person? >> kroft: it was a difficult decision, but he agreed to join the kgb and eventually found himself in moscow, undergoing intensive training. >> barsky: a very large part of the training was operational work-- determination as to whether you're being under surveillance; morse code, short wave radio reception. i also learned how to do microdots. a microdot is... you know, you take a picture and make it so small with the use of a microscope that you can put it under a postage stamp. >> kroft: the soviets were looking to send someone to the u.s. who could pose as an american. dittrich showed a command of english and no trace of an east german accent that might give him away. he learned a hundred new english words every day. >> barsky: it took me forever.
i... i did probably a full year of phonetics training. the difference between "hot" and "hut," right? that's very difficult and... and most germans don't get that one. >> kroft: did you want to go to the united states? >> barsky: oh, yeah. sure. there was new york, there was san francisco, you know. we heard about these places. >> kroft: your horizons were expanding. >> barsky: oh, absolutely. now, i'm really in the big league, right? ( laughter ) >> kroft: dittrich needed an american identity, and one day, a diplomat out of the soviet embassy in washington came across this tombstone just outside of d.c. with the name of a ten-year-old boy who had died in 1955. the name was jack philip barsky. >> barsky: and they said, "guess what. we have a birth certificate. you're going to the u.s." >> kroft: and that was the jack barsky birth certificate. >> barsky: the jack barsky birth certificate that somebody had obtained and i was given. i didn't have to get this myself. >> kroft: did you feel strange walking around with this identity of a... of a child? >> barsky: no.
no. when you do this kind of work, some things, you don't think about. because if you explore, you may find something you don't like. >> kroft: the newly minted jack barsky landed in new york city in the fall of 1978, with a phony back story called a "legend" and a fake canadian passport that he quickly discarded. the kgb's plan for him was fairly straightforward. they wanted the 29-year-old east german to get a real u.s. passport with his new name, then become a businessman, then insert himself into the upper echelons of american society, and then to get close to national security adviser zbigniew brzezinski so that he could spy on him. >> barsky: that was the plan. it failed. >> kroft: why? >> barsky: because i was not given very good instructions with regard to how to apply for a passport. >> kroft: when he went to apply for a passport at rockefeller center, barsky was thrown off by the list of questions.
>> barsky: specific details about my past, for which i had no proof. so i walked out of it. >> kroft: did the kgb have a pretty good grasp on the united states and how things worked there? >> barsky: no. >> kroft: no? >> barsky: absolutely not. they made a number of mistakes in terms of giving me advice, what to do, what not to do. they just didn't know. >> kroft: left to fend for himself in a country the kgb didn't understand, he got himself a cheap apartment and tried to make do with a birth certificate and $6,000 in cash the soviets had given him. his spying career at that point more resembled the bumbling boris badenov than james bond. so you were working as a bike messenger. >> barsky: right. >> kroft: that doesn't sound like a promising position for a spy. >> barsky: no. ( laughs ) but there were a lot of things that i didn't know. >> kroft: so how close did you ever get to brzezinski? >> barsky: ( laughs ) not very. >> kroft: to get a social security card, which he would need if he wanted a real job, barsky knew he would have to do some acting.
>> barsky: it was unusual for a 30-plus-year-old person to... to say, you know, "i don't have a social security card. give me one." so in order to make my story stick, i made my face dirty so i looked like somebody who just came off a farm. it worked! the lady asked me, she said, "so how come you don't... you don't have a card?" and when the answer was, "i didn't need one." "why?" "well, i worked on a farm." and that was the end of the interview. >> kroft: the social security card enabled him to enroll at baruch college in manhattan, where he majored in computer systems. he was class valedictorian, but you won't find a picture of him in the school yearbook. in 1984, he was hired as a programmer by metropolitan life insurance, where he had access to the personal information of millions of americans. you were writing computer code? >> barsky: right, yes. lots of it. and i was really good at it. >> kroft: what he didn't write,
he stole, on behalf of the kgb. what was the most valuable piece of information you gave them? >> barsky: i would say that was the computer code, because it was a very prominent piece of industrial software still in use today. >> kroft: this was ibm code? >> barsky: no comment. >> kroft: you don't want to say? >> barsky: no. it was good stuff. let's put it this way, yeah. >> kroft: it was helpful to the soviet union. >> barsky: it... it would've been helpful to the soviet union and their running organizations and... and factories and so forth. >> kroft: how often did you communicate with the russians? >> barsky: i would get a radiogram once a week. >> kroft: a radiogram, meaning? >> barsky: a radiogram means a transmission that was on a certain frequency at a certain time. >> kroft: every thursday night at 9:15, barsky would tune into his short wave radio at his apartment in queens and listen for a transmission he believed came from cuba. >> barsky: all the messages were encrypted that they became digits. and the digits would be sent over as... in groups of five.
and sometimes, that took a good hour to just write it all down, and then another three hours to decipher. >> kroft: during the ten years he worked for the kgb, barsky had a ready-made cover story. when somebody would ask you, you know, "where you from, jack?" what'd you say? >> barsky: i'm originally from new jersey. i was born in orange. that's it. american-- nobody ever questioned that. people would question my... "you have an accent." but my comeback was, "yeah, my mother was german and we spoke a lot of german at home." >> kroft: you had to tell a lot of lies. >> barsky: absolutely. i was living a lie. >> kroft: were you a good liar? >> barsky: the best. >> kroft: you had to be a good liar to juggle the multiple lives he was leading. every two years while he was undercover for the kgb, barsky would return to east germany and moscow for debriefings. during one of his visits to east berlin, he married his old girlfriend gerlinde and they had
a son. did that complicate matters? >> barsky: initially, it wasn't complicated at all. it got complicated later. >> kroft: because? >> barsky: because i got married in the united states to somebody else. ( laughter ) >> kroft: did she know about your other wife in germany? >> barsky: no. >> kroft: did your wife in germany know about the... >> barsky: not at all. >> kroft: so you had two wives. >> barsky: i did. i'm... i was officially a bigamist. that's... that's the one thing i am so totally not proud of... >> kroft: being a spy was all right... ( laughter ) being a bigamist... >> barsky: in hindsight, you know, i was a spy for the wrong people. but... but i... this one hurt, because i had promised my german wife that, you know, we would be together forever. and i broke that promise. and the one way i can explain it to myself is i had separated the german, the dittrich, from the barsky to the point where the
two just didn't know about each other. >> kroft: not only did he have two different identities and two wives, he had a son named matthias in germany and a daughter named chelsea in america. and by november 1988, a radiogram from the kgb would force him to make an excruciating choice. >> barsky: i received a radiogram that essentially said, "you need to come home. your cover may soon be broken and you're in danger of being arrested by the american authorities." >> kroft: barsky was given urgent instructions from the kgb to locate an oil can that had been dropped next to a fallen tree just off this path on new york's staten island. a fake passport and cash that he needed to escape the united states and return to east germany would be concealed inside the can. >> barsky: i was supposed to pick up the container and go on, leave. not even go back home to the apartment, just disappear. the container wasn't there. i don't know what i would have done if i had found it, but i
know what i did when i didn't find it. i did not tell them, "repeat the operation." i made the decision to stay. >> kroft: why? >> barsky: because of chelsea. >> kroft: your daughter. >> barsky: yes. if chelsea's not in the mix, that's a no brainer. i'm out of here. >> kroft: barsky had chosen chelsea over matthias. >> barsky: i had bonded with her. it was a tough one because, on the one hand, i had a wife and a child in germany, but if i don't take care of chelsea, she grows up in poverty. >> kroft: this may be a little harsh, but it sounds like the first time in your life that you thought about somebody besides yourself. >> barsky: you're absolutely right. i was quite an egomaniac. i was. >> kroft: jack barsky was still left with the not insignificant matter of telling the kgb that he was staying in america.
in a moment, we'll tell you how he duped the kgb, and how the fbi changed his life. [barks] are those... you there... stormtroopers! halt! turn here. go go! follow them! bb-8! beep, beep! this way! where'd they go? they went that way! that way, they went that way! i can't believe that worked! of course it worked! beep, beep, beep! unwrap the tempting layers of ferrero rocher. starting with a whole hazelnut, dipped in smooth chocolaty cream
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>> kroft: at the end of 1988, jack barsky's ten-year run as a clandestine kgb agent in the united states was about to come to an end. he had ignored soviet warnings that his cover had been blown, and decided to remain in america and not return to his native east germany. he was taking a chance that no one in america would ever find out who he really was. and he was taking a bigger chance that the kgb wouldn't retaliate for disobeying an order. the urgency with which the soviets seemed to view the situation became clear one morning in queens. jack barsky says he was on his way to work in december 1988, standing and waiting for an "a" train on this subway platform when a stranger paid him a visit. >> barsky: there's this
character in... in a black coat, and he sidles up to me and he whispers in my ear, he says, "you got to come home or else you're dead." and then he walked out. >> kroft: russian accent? >> barsky: yes. >> kroft: that's an incentive. >> barsky: it's an incentive to go. >> kroft: i mean, spies get killed all the time. >> barsky: they do. but not me. the entire time, i always had this childlike belief that everything would be all right. >> kroft: so what are you going to tell the russians. >> barsky: well, i... i sent them this "dear john" letter, the good-bye letter in which i stated that i had contracted aids, and that the only way for me to get a treatment would be in the united states. >> kroft: you just wrote them a letter and said, "i can't come back, i've got aids"? >> barsky: there's three things i... i tell people that the russians were afraid of-- aids, jewish people, and ronald reagan. and they were deathly... >> kroft: in that order?
>> barsky: i think ronald reagan took the top spot. they thought he would push the button. >> kroft: the aids letter apparently worked because, in east berlin, the soviets told his german wife gerlinde he wasn't coming back. >> barsky: they went to gerlinde and told her that i had died of aids. so i think they just wrote me off completely. >> kroft: you were officially dead in east germany? >> barsky: right. after five years, she was able to declare me dead. >> kroft: once the berlin wall fell and the soviet union fell apart, barsky was a man without a country. no one would want him back. he felt his secret was safe in america. he became a family guy, with a wife, two kids, chelsea and jessie, and a job. he burrowed himself into suburbia, keeping a low profile. >> barsky: i was settling down, i was living in the... in rural pennsylvania at the time in a nice house with two children. i was, like, typical middle- class existence. >> kroft: and his life would
have stayed quiet if a kgb archivist named vassal mitrokhin hadn't defected to the west in 1992 with a trove of notes on the soviets' spying operations around the world. buried deep in his papers was the last name of a secret agent the kgb had deployed somewhere in america, barsky. >> joe reilly: we were concerned that he might be running an agent operating in the federal government somewhere. who knows? in the fbi, the cia, the state department. we had no idea. >> kroft: joe reilly was an fbi agent when the bureau got the mitrokhin tip, and the barsky case quickly became serious enough that fbi director louis freeh got personally involved. the fbi didn't know who or where he was, but the best lead seemed to be a jack barsky who was working as an i.t. specialist in new jersey, with a suburban home across the border in mt. bethel, pennsylvania. >> kroft: aside from his name, was there anything else that
made you suspicious and make you think that this was the guy you were looking for? >> reilly: yes. one thing was the fact that he had applied for a social security number late in life, especially someone like him who was educated and intelligent. >> kroft: the fbi began following barsky, and when this surveillance photo caught him talking to a native of cuba, the bureau grew increasingly concerned. >> barsky: there were some indications that i could possibly be the head of a international spy ring, because i had a friend who was originally from cuba. and it so happened that this friend owned an apartment that was rented to a soviet diplomat. so that one raised all kinds of flags and they investigated me very, very, very carefully. >> kroft: fbi agent joe reilly went so far as to set up an observation post on a hillside behind barsky's house. this is a picture he took of his view. >> reilly: i got a telescope and binoculars, as if i was a birdwatcher, but i was looking at his backyard and at him. over time, i learned a great deal about him.
>> kroft: like what? >> reilly: just watching him. well, i became convinced that he loved his children. and that was important because i wanted to know if he would flee. there was less chance of that if... if he was devoted to his children. and he was. >> kroft: but that wasn't enough for the fbi. the bureau bought the house next door to get a closer look at the barskys. did you get a good deal? ( laughter ) >> reilly: i think we paid what he was asking. ( laughter ) and we had agents living there so that we could be sure who was coming and going from his house without being too obvious in our surveillance. >> kroft: you had no idea the fbi was living next door to you? >> barsky: ( laughs ) no. >> kroft: never saw joe reilly up on the hill with the binoculars? >> barsky: no. absolutely not. >> kroft: when the fbi finally got authorization from the justice department to bug barsky's home, the case broke wide open. >> reilly: within, i'd say, the first two weeks that we had
microphones in his house, he had an argument with his wife in the kitchen. and during the course of that dispute, he readily admitted that he was an agent operating from the soviet union. >> kroft: it was all the fbi needed to move in on barsky. they set a trap for him at a toll bridge across the delaware river as he drove home from work late one friday afternoon in may of 1997. >> barsky: i'm being waved to the side by a state trooper. and he said, "we're doing a routine traffic check. would you please get out of the car?" i get out of the car and somebody steps up from... from behind and shows me a badge. and he said, "fbi. we would like to talk to you." >> reilly: his face just dropped. and we told him that he had to go with us. >> barsky: the first words out of my mouth were, "am i under arrest?" and the answer was no. now, that took a big weight off of me, so i figured there was a chance to get out of this in one
piece. and the next question i asked, "so what took you so long?" >> kroft: the fbi had rented an entire wing of a motel off interstate 80 in pennsylvania for barsky's interrogation. >> reilly: but on the way to the motel, i remember turning to him and i told him that this didn't have to be the worst day of his life. and he immediately realized that he had an out. >> barsky: i said to them, "listen, i know i have only one shot out of this, and that means i need to come clean and be 100% honest and tell you everything know." >> kroft: the fbi questioned barsky throughout the weekend, and gave him a polygraph test that he passed. convinced that his spying days were over, and that his friendship with the cuban was just that, the fbi decided to keep the whole thing quiet and allowed barsky to go back to work on monday morning. was he charged with something? >> reilly: no. >> kroft: even though he
confessed to being a soviet spy? >> reilly: yes. >> kroft: that seems odd. >> reilly: well, we wanted him to cooperate with us. we didn't want to put him in jail. he was no use to us there. >> kroft: barsky continued to meet not only with the fbi, but with the national security agency to offer his first-hand insights into the kgb and the russians. >> barsky: i was able to provide them with a lot of valuable information how the kgb operated. >> kroft: the only people who were aware of his secret were the fbi, and penelope, his wife in america, who eventually divorced him. his daughter chelsea, then a teenager, knew only that he wanted to tell her something when she turned 18. that day finally arrived on a four-hour drive to st. francis university. >> chelsea barsky: he started chuckling to himself and he said, "well, i'm a... i was a spy. i was a kgb spy." i was like "what?! really?" >> kroft: jack also revealed to chelsea why he had decided to stay in america. >> chelsea barsky: he said that,
you know, he fell in love with me and my... my curls when i was a little baby, and then i cried. >> kroft: did he tell you everything? >> chelsea barsky: no, he didn't. he didn't tell me 100% the whole truth. he left some things out, at that point. >> barsky: i told her everything that you can tell in four hours that is age appropriate. she was still a teenager. i may not have told her that i was married in germany. >> kroft: he waited another two years before he matter-of-factly dropped another bombshell about his past. >> chelsea barsky: he just looked straight ahead at the tv and he said, "did i tell you you have a brother?" ( laughs ) and i turned my head. i'm like, "what? are you serious?" >> kroft: the half-brother was matthias, the boy jack had left behind in germany. chelsea was determined to find him. jack didn't like the idea. >> barsky: i did not feel comfortable getting in touch with him. i did not feel comfortable with my... acknowledging my german past. >> kroft: after a year of trying to track him down online,
chelsea finally got a reply from matthias. >> chelsea barsky: the subject line said, "dear little sister," and when i saw, "dear little sister," i just started weeping, because that meant everything to me. that meant that he accepted me. >> matthias: and this is me... >> kroft: a month later, matthias was in pennsylvania, visiting chelsea and her brother jessie. they hit it off. matthias wasn't interested in seeing his father, then changed his mind. was it awkward? >> barsky: i just remember he stared at me for a couple of minutes. he just stared at me. >> kroft: i mean, he had reason to be angry with you. >> barsky: when i told him the dilemma that i was faced with, he actually said, "i understand." >> kroft: and what's your relationship like with matthias now? >> barsky: he feels like he's my son. >> kroft: gerlinde, the wife in germany who thought he was dead, wants nothing to do with jack today, or with "60 minutes." he has remarried and has a five-
year-old daughter. they live in upstate new york, where jack worked as a director of software development for a company that manages new york's high-voltage power grid, a critical piece of u.s. infrastructure. when he told his employer that he had once been a kgb spy, he was placed on leave of absence, and then fired. before becoming an american citizen last year, he had been given a clean bill of health by the fbi and u.s. intelligence agencies. but in the world of espionage, it's often difficult to tell what's true and what's legend. are you telling the truth right now? >> barsky: i am, absolutely-- the truth, as far as i know it. yes. >> kroft: as far as you know it? >> barsky: well, you know, sometimes memory fails you. but i am... i am absolutely not holding back anything. >> kroft: why tell the story now? >> barsky: i want to meet my maker clean. i need to get clean with the past. i need to digest this fully.
>> kroft: the fbi agent who apprehended him, joe reilly, still believes in barsky. and in yet another twist to this story, the two are good friends and golfing buddies. >> reilly: he's a very honest person. and if you want to find out how honest someone is, play golf with them. >> kroft: but you're a former fbi guy and he's a former spy. >> reilly: yeah. >> kroft: what's the bond? >> reilly: it's personal. he credits me for keeping him out of prison. ( laughs ) >> kroft: after nearly 30 years, jack barsky went back to visit a unified germany-- last october, then again in april. >> barsky: so, that was essentially the very beginning of my career. >> kroft: he showed his kids where this improbable tale began, and some other key settings in his odyssey. and he caught up with old classmates who knew him as albrecht dittrich. when you're here in germany, are you albrecht or are you jack? >> barsky: no, i'm jack. i... i am 100% jack. you know, the... i let the albrecht out and sometimes he
interferes, but they... they get along very well now. >> kroft: the berlin wall, which once divided east and west, is now gone except for a section that has been turned into an art display. checkpoint charlie, once the epicenter of the cold war, is now a tourist attraction, full of kitsch. statues of karl marx and friedrich engels still stand in the eastern part of berlin, relics of another era, as is the man who straddled two worlds and got away with it. >> for a look at how "60 minutes" correspondents and producers report our stories, go to 60minutesovertime.com. how do you gift wrap the holidays? do you stick to a christmas list? or wander the aisles? gift for the season? or for the year? shop only for them? or snag a little something for you? gift a card? overstuff a stocking?
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>> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning." you know that "wow, i'm starving" feeling? well now at subway you can "make it deluxe!" 50% more meat on any 6-inch sub for just 50¢ more, for our 50th anniversary. it's 50 for 50 on our 50th. so when you're craving that little extra... ...get to subway and make it deluxe.
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