tv 60 Minutes CBS April 26, 2015 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford >> ward: at first it was just a tiny smudge on the horizon but as we proved closer, we were able to make out human forms. it was a fishing boat, no more than 40 feet long bobbing in the open sea were more than 300 people packed on board. >> women and children. women and children. >> ward: the coast guard rescued the women and children first, one after another hoping for passage to europe. it's a dangerous journey that claimed the lives of 800 people just last week. >> martin: the research being done at the starfire optical range in albuquerque, new mexico, was kept secret for many years.
and for a good reason, which only becomes apparent at night. first the roof of one building is open to the stars. then the walls retract. an object straight out of "star wars" appears. shooting a laze entire the sky. if you thought space was a peaceful haven think again. >> it's a competition that i wish wasn't occurring, but it is, and if we're threatened in space, we have the right of self-defense, and we'll make sure we can execute that right. >> martin: and use force if necessary. >> that's why we have a military. you know, i'm not nasa. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm morley safer. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories tonight on "60 minutes." >> cbs money watch update sponsored by lincoln financial,
calling all chief life officers. >> glor: good evening. apple is expected to announce strong second-quarter earnings tomorrow. volkswagen's chairman stepped down after failing to oust the c.e.o. and team u.s.a. launched a crowd-funding web site the help cover the cost of going to the 2016 olympics. i'm jeff glor, cbs news. i'm brian vickers, nascar® driver. i'm kevin nealon comedian. and i'm arnold palmer, professional golfer. know what we have in common?
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>> tonight, clarissa ward on assignment for "60 minutes." >> ward: tonight, nepal is digging out from a powerful earthquake centered just outside the city of kathmandu, a natural disaster that killed more than 2,000 people. a tragedy with a similar dimension of human loss is taking place in the mediterranean sea. last weekend, an estimated 800 migrants trying to reach europe drowned when their boat capsized off the libyan coast. thousands of people had already died trying to make that same dangerous journey. they're part of the largest mass migration since the second world war, fueled by the chaos and violence that have consumed the middle east and north africa.
every day, desperate migrants are packed into rubber rafts and overloaded fishing boats in libya and sent toward the italian coast. they spend hours or days hoping to be rescued before they sink. it is a dangerous gamble, and the odds are getting worse. we wanted to see what it's like to travel through those treacherous waters. over a period of months, we followed the people on both sides of this life and death struggle. the italian coast guard allowed us to join its search and rescue mission. with summer approaching and the weather improving, this is shaping up to be an unprecedented season of death in the mediterranean. at first, it was just a tiny smudge on the horizon, dwarfed by a merchant ship nearby. but as we moved closer, we were able to make out human forms--
around 50 people, we thought at first, packed into a rickety wooden fishing boat no more than 40 feet long, bobbing in the open sea. >> okay, understood-- 20 minutes, we arrive in the area. >> ward: on the bridge of the italian coast guard ship "fiorillo," the captain had received word that someone from the boat had used a satellite phone to call for help. the migrants were just 40 miles from the libyan coast, well outside of italian waters, but the law of the sea dictates that anyone who can help, must. he sent two small launches to make the first approach. >> sit down, sit down. >> ward: the crews threw bags stuffed with life jackets to the migrants. it's one of the most dangerous moments in any rescue-- as desperate passengers surge towards their rescuers, boats
like this often capsize. >> sit down, sit down! >> ward: eyewitnesses say that's exactly what happened in last weekend's disaster. >> women and children, women and children. >> ward: women and children are always the first to be taken off, and we were shocked by just how many there were. the coast guard ferried the migrants back to the ship before returning to collect more and more, an operation that lasted into the night. on this rescue, the final count- - an incredible 301 migrants in a 40-foot fishing boat. it's a process that is being repeated day after day across this strip of the mediterranean
by italian coast guard crews led by officers like arturo incerti. last year, more than 170,000 people made the crossing. >> arturo incerti: it's not easy to see every day for months only people in the deep sea, like obliged to make this travel because they are escaping from wars, from bombs, from . and it's... it's a human experience that is very hard to accept. >> ward: they're so desperate, these people. >> incerti: they have nothing to lose. that is terrible to understand. >> ward: many were in a state of shock, wrapped in emergency blankets. they were given a basic medical checkup and some food. from the moment they set foot on this deck, these migrants have reached safety. but they've also, in a sense crossed a border, because being rescued by the italian coast guard means that they will reach italy.
and that is something they were willing to risk their lives for. on the rescue we witnessed, some of the migrants were refugees from syria's brutal civil war. but most were fleeing the harsh dictatorship in the african country of eritrea. they told us that conditions there were so brutal and opportunities so few that they were willing to travel more than 1,500 miles just to take a chance on a small boat. >> mulu amale: it is very dangerous, but to live in eritrea is more dangerous from this. >> ward: we talked to mulu amale and his friends, who said they spent weeks living on bread and water under the control of armed libyan smugglers. >> all the libyan, they have guns. >> amale: it is very cruel people. >> ward: cruel people-- why? how were they cruel? what did they do? >> amale: if you speak with your brother, they take... >> ward: they smack, they beat you? >> amale: yes. >> ward: by the time they saw
how small the boat was, they were too scared of the smugglers to back out. the coast guard has now started to dread good weather. a flat blue sea can spell disaster, triggering a flood of refugees to attempt the crossing at once. >> leopoldo manna: we have never seen something like this. >> ward: captain leopoldo manna is the man who receives those desperate satellite phone calls from migrants abandoned by smugglers at sea. his coast guard command center in rome works around the clock knowing that if their boats don't take action, the migrants will likely die. >> manna: it's difficult to explain that sometime we have 25 boats asking for rescue. we don't exactly know where they are, and they all ask to be rescued. it's an incredible... >> ward: and you can't rescue all of them. >> manna: it's not possible to rescue 25 all together and you don't know where they are. >> ward: do you they understand the risks? >> manna: i believe that they understand the risk. >> ward: but it doesn't stop them.
>> manna: the problem... they... i believe that they are so desperate that nothing will stop them. >> ward: so it's like these smugglers are putting a gun to your head. >> manna: i confirm. i confirm. something like that. as they put a gun in front of us to save these people, almost something like that. >> ward: most of the ships leave from libya, where a complete breakdown of law and order gives smugglers free reign. italian territory is more than 150 miles away, but the boats only need to reach international waters before sending an sos. >> manna: they call from these places, sometimes closer to libya. they say, "save me." i say, "okay." i call libya, nobody answer from libya. >> ward: nobody answered. >> manna: simply no... >> ward: they don't even answer the phone? >> manna: no, they even don't answer to the phone. >> ward: the coast guard is proud of the work it is doing, but its resources are over- stretched. >> manna: sometimes, i feel alone. this is the truth.
>> ward: alone in what sense? >> manna: alone. alone because i have my guys, my ladies, my men, but i don't have other help. and i need to be helped. >> ward: you need support. >> manna: i need support, right. >> ward: after days at sea, the migrants are sent to places like this. we visited sicily's mineo camp which is home to thousands who have been pulled out of the mediterranean. for many, italy is a gateway to countries further north that are already struggling with immigration issues. the cost of feeding and housing so many new migrants in the midst of a financial crisis has presented europe with a real challenge and no easy solution. >> federico soda: every time a boat goes down and a few hundred people die, we're shocked-- we see it in the headlines. and then we go back pretty much to business as usual. >> ward: federico soda is the international organization for
migration's regional director for the mediterranean. he welcomed this week's announcement that europe would increase funding for its sea patrols, but says that more action must be taken. where do you think the reluctance comes from? >> soda: i think that it's a combination of immigration being not only a tricky issue but, in some countries, almost a toxic issue. and also, the fact that, basically, it's very easy to make the case that, if we rescue people at sea, that encourages more of them to leave from north africa and... and come to europe. >> ward: does that not strike you as incredibly cynical? >> soda: it's... it is, it's incredibly cynical. that's exactly what it is. >> ward: so do you see this as a moral obligation? >> soda: yeah. it's a moral obligation, all right. >> ward: recent events have
disproven the idea that deaths at sea act as a deterrent. there is a growing number of desperate people willing to do anything to get to europe, and smugglers finding new ways to ship them there. the case of the so called "ghost ships" is a perfect example. at the beginning of the year traffickers in turkey started taking large, old merchant ships that were ready to be scrapped and filling them with hundreds of syrians fleeing a bloodbath at home. the smugglers then pointed the ships toward italy and abandoned them. the journey lasted five long days. in one case, passengers were crammed into a boat designed to carry cattle. but the relative safety of those big ships was a huge draw. the turkish seaport of mersin began to fill up with thousands of syrians ready to make deals with the smugglers. we brought a hidden camera into
the café where many of those first contacts are made. this table is where the smugglers are sitting together talking business. one of them had taken over this hotel to house all the syrians who had already paid him to get on a ghost ship. out in the courtyard, a middleman explained how everything works to a member of our team who was posing as a refugee. >> translator: with me, it costs 5,500. >> ward: roughly $6,000 per person. children under eight travel for free, he said. >> translator: it's not dangerous. these are all large ships. you call the coast guard to say "we are sinking, we are sinking," so they come to take you. >> ward: upstairs in one of the hotel rooms, we found ahmad zaid al-abdu and his pregnant wife fatima waiting with their four young children. look at what they packed for the journey to italy. >> translator: only these three bags.
we had two big bags, but they said we are not allowed and that the bags will be thrown in the sea. >> ward: we brought the family to a safe house to hear their story. ahmad told us the bombardment in their hometown of aleppo was so relentless that they stopped sending their children to school. so they sold their house to raise the $12,000 for the smuggler's fee. >> fatima: i am afraid. i am afraid for my children, for my husband, but also for myself, that we will drown. >> ward: do you know how to swim? >> fatima: no. >> ward: how do you feel, as a father, to have to make this choice? >> ahmad zaid al-abdu: i made this decision because it's better than staying in my own country. there may be a chance of dying on the way, but in syria, death is guaranteed. people became like monsters. no one loves anyone anymore.
people don't love each other at all. a brother doesn't even love his brother. that's why i made this decision. and, god willing, it will be all right. >> ward: would you have taken the risk if you had to go on one of the small boats, or are you only doing this because it is a big boat? >> al-abdu: no, i wouldn't have traveled because the small boats mean death. >> ward: but in the days after that interview, the turkish government cracked down on the ghost ships and the syrian refugees began flooding in another direction, this time to greece. ahmed and his family had to take a gamble on a small boat after all. it was a rubber raft like this one, captured for us on a cell phone by another syrian refugee
who made the same dangerous journey to a greek island. the safety measures are rudimentary. while some have life jackets others wear inner tubes. one man holds a child's pool float. when they finally reach the shore, you can see their relief. not everyone is so lucky-- just days ago, this boat packed with syrian migrants broke up after hitting rocks off the coast of the greek island of rhodes. at least three were killed, one of them a small child. ahmed and his family made the journey to greece at night. he captured the moments just after they were rescued. they had reached europe, but they too had paid a terrible price. fatima had a miscarriage, yet another casualty that will never be recorded. most of those who die at sea sink without a trace.
many of the bodies that are recovered are never identified. they are buried in small plots in anonymous graves. >> clarissa ward talks about life on deck of a coast guard vessel with 300 rescued migrants. go to 60minutesovertime.com sponsored by then the chronic, widespread pain slowed me down. my doctor and i agreed that moving more helps ease fibromyalgia pain. he also prescribed lyrica. for some patients, lyrica significantly relieves fibromyalgia pain and improves physical function. with less pain, i feel better. lyrica may cause serious allergic reactions or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing rash, hives, blisters, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling or blurry vision.
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>> now, david martin on assignment for "60 minutes." >> martin: without most of us noticing, our everyday activities-- everything from getting cash at an atm to watching this program-- depend on satellites in space. and for the u.s. military, it's not just everyday activities-- the way it fights depends on space. satellites are used to communicate with troops, gather intelligence, fly drones, and target weapons. but top military and intelligence leaders are now worried those satellites are vulnerable to attack. they say china, in particular, has been actively testing anti- satellite weapons that could, in effect, knock out america's eyes and ears. no one wants a war in space, but it's the job of a branch of the air force called space command to prepare for one.
if you've never heard of space command, it's because most of what it does happens hundreds, even thousands, of miles above the earth, or deep inside highly secure command centers. you may be as surprised as we were to find out how the high stakes game for control of space is played. the research being done at the starfire optical range in albuquerque, new mexico, was kept secret for many years-- and for a good reason, which only becomes apparent at night. first, the roof of one building is opened to the stars. then the walls retract, and an object straight out of "star wars" appears shooting a laser into the sky. the laser's beam helps a high- powered telescope focus in on objects in space so the air force can get a better look at the satellites of potential adversaries like china whizzing by at 17,000 miles per hour. it's part of a complex, and
mostly secret, battle for what the military considers the ultimate high ground. >> john hyten: there is no such thing as a day without space. >> martin: that's the mantra of general john hyten, the head of air force space command. >> hyten: think of what life used to be like and all the things that we have today in warfare that wouldn't exist without space. remotely piloted aircraft-- all- weather precision guided munitions didn't exist before space. now, we can attack any target on the planet, anytime, anywhere in any weather. >> martin: what would the u.s. military do without space? >> hyten: what happens is you go back to world war ii. you go back to industrial age warfare. >> martin: and your job is to make sure there is no day without space. >> hyten: absolutely. and you should be thinking right from the beginning that this is a contested environment and... >> martin: hyten drills into his troops that u.s. satellites are no longer safe from attack. 11 countries, including iran and north korea, now have the ability to launch objects into orbit. and russia and china have been testing new anti-satellite technologies.
it's a competition that i wish wasn't occurring, but it is. and if we're threatened in space, we have the right of self-defense, and we'll make sure we can execute that right. >> martin: and use force if necessary. >> hyten: that's why we have a military. you know, i'm not nasa. >> martin: space command has 38,000 airmen at 134 locations around the world. one of their most visible missions is to make sure u.s. satellites can always get into space from launch pads like this one at vandenberg air force base in california. >> hyten: this is where space begins. if you can't get the satellite into space, it's worthless. i'm a satellite guy, so i get very nervous around rockets. because the most valuable thing on the rocket is the top, is the satellite, because when you have 500,000 pounds of thrust, if anything goes wrong, it's an explosion. it's dangerous, and you lose the capabilities that's on the top. >> "t" minus 15 seconds.
>> martin: the u.s. has more satellites in space than any other nation- over 500 and counting. more than 30 military and civilian launches will take place this year at space command bases in florida and california. the pentagon told us it spends $10 billion a year on space. but we found a white house report that estimates the real cost is much higher-- $25 billion, when you count spy satellites and other classified spending. that's more than nasa or any other space agency in the world. some of those satellites provide the gps signals that guide smart bombs now attacking isis targets in iraq and syria. but a lot of people don't realize those same gps satellites provide the signals your smart phone uses to navigate. it's a service the air force provides free, not just here in the united states but to the entire world. >> william cooley: this is a global utility, and there's a lot of people depending on this, and we understand that.
>> martin: at a boeing plant in los angeles, colonel bill cooley showed us a gps satellite that was being tested in a special chamber to make sure it was ready for launch. >> cooley: when these things get on orbit, there's no depot. you can't... you can't drive it back into the maintenance shop. it's somewhat like trying to design an automobile that is going to run for, you know, 12 to 15 years, and you can't take it in the shop, you can't take it in for refueling, but it's got to run 24/7. >> martin: in orbit, the satellite will spread out its solar panels, point it's odd- looking antennas towards the earth, and broadcast its location, along with a time signal accurate to nanoseconds. a gps receiver needs signals from four of these satellites to figure out its location. cooley told us it costs a quarter of a billion dollars to design and build each one. and to put it into space, how much does it cost? >> cooley: that's about the same. >> martin: so you're pushing half a billion dollars to get that thing into space? >> cooley: that's right. >> martin: the u.s. has 31
active gps satellites in space right now, and a lot more than smart bombs and smart phones depend on them. bank atms, cell-phone towers and power grids use their signals. farmers use gps to work their fields. >> so at your active time, you are just going to go active... >> martin: the gps satellite system the whole world relies on is operated out of this room at schriever air force base in colorado by lieutenant todd benson and his team. >> prepass svn 34. >> martin: we were a little surprised by how many people it takes. >> todd benson: eight personnel. >> martin: eight people? >> benson: yes, sir. >> martin: for the entire world? >> benson: yes, sir. >> martin: so, are these... are these technological experts? >> benson: yes, sir. but they're as young as 19 years old. >> martin: isn't there a minimum age for driving satellites? >> benson: ( laughs ) not here. >> martin: another thing that surprised us is that there's no way to effectively armor an important satellite like this or to conceal its location from attack. so it can't hide in space? >> cooley: that's true. and we... in fact, it's... it tells you where it is.
>> martin: this is a system the whole world depends on, costs a small fortune to put it up there, and it's a sitting duck. >> cooley: well, this is one of the challenges that... in space command that we're... we are very aware of. >> martin: today, can a u.s. military satellite maneuver itself out of the way of an upcoming anti-satellite weapon? >> hyten: it depends on a huge number of variables. >> martin: so the answer is, maybe. >> hyten: the answer is maybe. >> martin: you've got these satellites worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and they maybe could get out of harm's way? >> hyten: it depends on the satellite. it depends on the mission. it depends on when it was built, depends on how old it is. it depends on when we know the threat is coming. >> martin: knowing a threat is coming is no small task when the territory you're responsible for is 73 trillion cubic miles. space command maintains a global
network of radars, telescopes, and satellite communications antennas like this one. >> you can see the magnetic lines, just they are looping all over... >> martin: all the information feeds in to the joint space operations center, jspoc for short, at vandenberg air force base. this is the command center for space? >> jay raymond: yes, sir. 24/7, 365 days a year maintaining... >> martin: if a u.s. satellite were attacked, lieutenant general jay raymond would use this phone to alert a chain of command leading to the white house. is an attack on an american satellite an act of war? >> hyten: that's been a line of debate for as long as i've been in this business. >> martin: if there is an attempt to attack or interfere with a u.s. satellite, who makes the decision about what we do about it? >> hyten: that would be the president of the united states. >> martin: and it's not just an anti-satellite weapon they're worried about. there are other dangers, too. >> raymond: today, we track about 23,000 objects. >> martin: how many of them are actually functioning satellites? >> raymond: roughly 1,300 of
those are active satellites. the rest are debris. >> martin: junk. >> raymond: yes, sir, junk. >> explorer, this is kowalski reporting visual contact with debris. debris is from a bse sat... >> martin: the movie "gravity" dramatized the devastating effect manmade debris travelling at 17,000 miles per hour could have on the international space station. the jspoc tracks dead satellites, old rocket boosters, even stray space gloves, and alerts satellite operators and astronauts if a collision is likely. >> raymond: last year, in 2014 the international space station was maneuvered three times to avoid colliding with a piece of debris. a lot of the debris that's threatening the space station was created in 2007 when the chinese tested a ground-based anti-satellite weapon. it crashed into one of their old weather satellites 530 miles above the earth, shattering it into pieces. >> raymond: this is the debris that resulted from the 2007 chinese a-sat. so this is about 3,000 pieces of
debris just from that one event. >> martin: that came just from that one collision? >> raymond: just from that one collision. >> martin: debris apart, how important was that test in terms of revealing chinese space capabilities? >> hyten: it was a significant wakeup call to our entire military. until that singular event, i don't think the broader military realized that that is something we're going to have to worry about. >> martin: have they conducted any similar tests since? >> hyten: they continue to conduct tests. the testing they're doing is to make sure that the... if they ever got into a conflict with us or any other space-faring nation, they would have the ability to destroy satellites, and that is a bad thing for the united states, a bad thing for the planet. >> martin: a bad thing, no doubt, but is the u.s. doing it, too? and did china recently raise the stakes, test-firing a weapon deeper into space than ever before and threatening some of this country's most valuable satellites? that part of our story, when we come back.
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>> martin: tonight, we've been giving you a rare look at how a branch of the u.s. air force called space command is preparing for a battle most of us have never thought about-- one high above the earth defending the satellites upon which our daily life and national security have come to depend. few of those satellites are more important to the u.s. military than the ones that provide early warning of a long-range nuclear missile attack. even at the height of the cold war, those satellites-- stationed deep in space, some 20,000 miles above the earth-- were considered safe from attack. but deep space is no longer the sanctuary it once was. a former space command officer told us that, two years ago, the chinese tested an anti-satellite
weapon that went higher than any previously reported, and came too-close-for-comfort to the area where those missile warning satellites are located. >> brian weeden: if those satellites are now at risk, that is something that, from the u.s. military's point of view, is new. because it's always believed those satellites, there wasn't really a significant threat to those capabilities. >> martin: brian weeden served as an officer in air force space command until 2007. he's now technical adviser to the secure world foundation, which promotes the peaceful use of space. >> weeden: the topic for today's discussion is... >> martin: weeden says the chinese have test-fired as many as six ground-based anti- satellite weapons. only one, in 2007, actually hit a satellite and created debris. but one of the others soared to new heights. >> weeden: there was one test in may of 2013 that may have gone as high as 30,000 kilometers.
and that's one that i think really is kind of causing quite a bit of concern on the u.s. side. >> martin: to understand just how far that is, the international space station orbits at about 200 miles above the earth, and those gps satellites we showed you orbit at 12,000 miles. the 2013 test-launch weeden's talking about is believed to have gone up to 18,600 miles just shy of what's known as geo-synchronous or geo- stationary orbit. and that's where the u.s. military has stationed some of its most valuable missile warning sensors and top-secret communications devices that serve as its eyes and ears in time of war. >> weeden: i think what keeps a lot of american military planners up at night is if china has anti-satellite capabilities, when do they use those in a conflict? do they use them at the start to try and blind the u.s.? >> martin: those sound like the... the crown jewels of american satellites up there in geo-synchronous orbit.
>> weeden: absolutely. those satellites were developed in an environment where the u.s. assumed there would not be reason to attack them. so you end up with a small number of very expensive satellites that have a lot of capability packed onto each one. and result is juicy targets. >> martin: a spokesman for china's foreign ministry admitted testing an anti- satellite weapon in 2007, but china has denied conducting subsequent tests, and told us it is committed to the peaceful use of outer space. it said the 2013 launch into deep space was simply a science experiment. but using skills he honed as an officer in space command, brian weeden analyzed commercial satellite photos and other publicly available data about the launch. he concluded that science experiment was probably fired into space by a military missile launcher like this. >> hyten: this building was built... >> martin: general john hyten, the head of air force space
command, has seen the classified intelligence about that launch. these follow-on chinese tests, how high up do they go? >> hyten: pretty high. >> martin: well, how high's that? >> hyten: i won't characterize what... what the chinese capabilities are. i just will tell you that we know what they are. >> martin: well, i've read reports by a congressional commission, which said that, in the next five to ten years china likely will be able to hold at risk u.s. national security satellites in every orbital regime. do you agree with this statement by the commission? >> hyten: i think they'll be able to threaten every orbital regime that we operate in. now, we have to figure out how to defend those satellites, and we're going to. >> martin: space command is making its new satellites more maneuverable to evade attack and also more resistant to jamming. it's building a new radar system that will enable the space operations center to track objects in space as small as a softball.
and it's deployed two highly maneuverable surveillance satellites to keep watch on what other countries are doing high up in geo-stationary orbit. >> martin: satellites watching other satellites. >> hyten: satellites watching other satellites. >> martin: and how do they improve your knowledge? >> hyten: because they're up close. >> martin: normally, the capabilities of spy satellites are kept top secret. but space command put out this fact sheet about its new assets in geo-synchronous orbit. >> hyten: we want people to understand that we're watching. there will be no surprises in geo. and we want everybody in the world to know that there will be no surprises in that orbit. it's way too valuable for us to just be surprised. >> martin: deterrence in the nuclear world was built on weapons. >> hyten: right. and deterrence in the... in the space world has got to be built on a little bit different construct. it's the ability to convince an adversary that, if they attack us, they will fail. >> martin: air force secretary deborah lee james told us the pentagon plans to spend an extra
$5 billion over the next five years to protect its satellites. what do you consider to be the greatest single threat to u.s. satellites? >> deborah lee james: an anti- satellite weapon would certainly be a great threat. a laser would be a threat. jamming capabilities are also a threat. >> martin: do china and russia have lasers that could blind american satellites? >> james: they are testing and investing, and that is worrisome to the united states. >> all right, good morning bravo crew. we are going to start it off with intel... >> martin: testing and investing in sometimes mysterious ways. >> russia is going to be launching a soyuz 2... >> martin: last year, airmen at the joint space operations center monitored the seemingly routine launch of three russian communications satellites. lieutenant jay raymond and his team spotted what they assumed was just an ordinary piece of debris from the launch. >> raymond: about a week later a young air force captain detected that that debris started to move.
>> martin: move, as in maneuver, right up close to the body of the rocket that had launched it into space. so what is that object that keeps maneuvering in space? >> raymond: david, i'm not going to speculate, but i can tell you what it isn't. it's not a piece of debris. >> weeden: that type of maneuver is what's called a rendezvous and proximity operation. and it's actually something that the u.s. had been working on for the last several years, if not longer. >> martin: satellites that can rendezvous with other satellites may someday be used to refuel or make repairs. but they're potential weapons, as well. if you can get close enough to inspect or service another satellite, is that close enough to disable it? >> weeden: absolutely. and there's... there's a wide range of ways you can do that. >> martin: such as? >> weeden: breaking off a solar panel or even some have theorized, you know, spray- painting over optics so that the satellite can't see anything. >> martin: so if you thought space was a peaceful haven think again.
this is a new kind of space race, a cosmic game of hide-and- seek. and the same technology that enables this telescope to see more clearly into space could potentially be used to help a laser weapon focus more powerfully on a target. the bush administration wanted to develop such a weapon here in 2006, but ran into resistance from congress. is any work being done on lasers that could be used to blind satellites? >> james: there's no such work at this time. >> martin: does the u.s. have any weapons in space? >> james: no, we do not. >> martin: i'm thinking of satellites that maneuver next to another satellite, and then take some action to disable it without blowing it up. >> james: we do have satellites that maneuver, that look at things in space. but not what you just described. >> martin: you think the chinese believe that? >> james: i... i don't know what they believe.
>> martin: when the chinese look at america's space operations, they see a program that, by most estimates, spends ten times more than they do and has tested anti-satellite weapons of its own. space command told us an american f-15 fired a missile into space five times in the 1980s, and one of those times destroyed a u.s. satellite creating debris that remained in space for decades. one of the officers involved in that test was general hyten. >> hyten: i think it was a surprise to most people on that program, how much debris we created. >> martin: so where do we get off lecturing the chinese about testing anti-satellite weapons if we were the first and if we created debris? >> hyten: well, it... because we learned our lesson and told the world and the congress said, "you will not test that weapon anymore." >> martin: but when a u.s. intelligence satellite containing hazardous fuel malfunctioned in 2008... >> martin: ...the navy's aegis defense system, designed to knock out incoming missiles, was
used to shoot it down. chinese must think we've got an anti-sat... satellite capability as well. >> weeden: i think they certainly have come to that conclusion, or not... if the u.s. doesn't have a capability they certainly could field one very quickly. >> martin: what you just described is the formula for an arms race. they see a capability, we have that capability. they react to that capability. they react, we react, and there you go. >> weeden: i think it certainly could turn out that way. >> martin: one of the big dangers is that a problem in space could inflame a conflict here on earth. for instance, if a nation suddenly lost its early-warning satellites in the middle of a crisis, it might assume it was the beginning of an attack. >> weeden: now, in reality, it might've been a simple manufacturing failure. it might've been a piece of space debris. but in the moment of crisis, i think that's the sort of situation that could escalate something that might otherwise have... have stayed partly contained.
>> martin: general hyten told us space command is currently only developing weapons that do not create debris, like this mobile jammer which can be used to incapacitate satellites. >> hyten: we have a capability called a counter communications system that is built to deny an adversary the use of space communications. all i can say is it's a capability that exists on the ground, and it does not create debris in any way. >> martin: the only two things you told me about the u.s. ability to "fight in space," are the ability to maneuver your satellites and to jam other satellites. is that it? >> hyten:: that's not it, but that's all i can tell you. >> martin: one secret project is hiding in plain sight. it's the x-37b space plane, a small, remotely-piloted vehicle that can fly in space for 20 months at a time. a model of it hangs in hyten's headquarters in colorado.
so here is your chance to end all the speculation about what the space plane is really for. >> hyten: it's really for cool things. >> martin: for instance? >> hyten: for instance, it goes up to space, but unlike other satellites, it actually comes back. anything that we put in the payload bay that we take up to space we can now bring back. and we can learn from that. >> martin: can you tell me whether or not, someday, the space plane is going to become a weapons system? >> hyten: the intent is... i cannot answer that question. >> martin: but if... if you're determined not to create any more debris in space, why can't you say that this might not become a weapon system? >> hyten: i'm not going to say what it's going to become because we're experimenting. >> martin: hyten told us there are bound to be conflicts in space. the important thing is to avoid a shooting war that could create so much debris, it might become impossible to put satellites or astronauts into orbit. the chinese, of course, look at everything you're doing, and they... >> hyten: i'm sure they're
looking at this. >> martin: ... say... and they say you're developing the capability to threaten them, and that all those satellites are a direct threat to their national security. so why wouldn't they create a capability to take out those satellites? >> hyten: you know, the... the chinese are also building a very robust exploration program to go to the moon, to explore the stars. they could destroy their entire program by going down the way they are. >> martin: there's not a shooting war going on out there. but it sure does seem like there is a very high-stakes contest going on in space. >> james: it is high stakes. >> martin: high stakes with very few rules. a 1967 u.n. treaty calls for the peaceful use of space. that sounds nice, but leaves a lot of room for countries to do what they want. right now, is there any code of conduct for space operations? >> james: there is not an agreed-upon code of conduct. >> martin: so it's every country for himself?
>> james: pretty much. >> and now a cbs sports update presented by pfizer. at the classic of new orleans justin rose shot a final round 66 no win by one. in the nba playoff, lebron james and the cavs completed their weep of the celtics but kevin love left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury. and the clippers defeated the spurs to even their series at two games apiece. for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. this is jim nantz reporting from new orleans. rheumatoid arthritis. before you and your rheumatologist decide on a biologic ask if xeljanz is right for you. xeljanz is a small pill, not an injection or infusion for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz can relieve ra symptoms
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>> whitaker: now an update on our story about cardinal sean o'malley, the archbishop of boston, a member of pope francis' council of cardinals and head of the church's commission to combat child abuse. norah o'donnell asked the cardinal about bishop robert finn of kansas city/st. joseph missouri. a court found finn guilty of failing to report an abusive priest to law enforcement, but he remained in office. >> o'donnell: bishop finn wouldn't be able to teach sunday school in boston. >> sean o'malley: that's right. >> o'donnell: how is that zero tolerance that he's still in place? what does it say to catholics? >> o'malley: well, it's... it's a question that the holy see needs to address urgently. >> o'donnell: and there's a recognition? >> o'malley: there's a recognition of that. >> o'donnell: from pope francis? >> o'malley: from pope francis mm-hmm.
>> whitaker: this past week, following a vatican investigation, pope francis accepted finn's resignation. i'm bill whitaker. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes." tomorrow, be sure to watch "cbs this morning." good. very good. you see something moving off the shelves and your first thought is to investigate the company. you are type e*. yes, investment opportunities can be anywhere... or not. but you know the difference. e*trade's bar code scanner. shorten the distance between intuition and action. e*trade opportunity is everywhere.
captioning funded by cbs and ford captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org lily and miles... carrots and broccoli! how great is that? brocky's yucky, daddy. what? no, no, no. brocky's awesome. where are the hot dogs? that is a great question, lily. where is the... oh! ...the hot dog? oh! how did you make that happen? oh, no. what about you, miles? is there something there? when did your ears get so hungry? (laughing) how'd you do that? come on. hey... right. lily: let's eat. aiden: let's eat. i think that is a great idea. (kids talking over each other) come on. who's gonna say the blessing? i will! okay let's go. father, in the name of jesus we pray for this... food. (laughs) amen. amen. amen. aiden: amen, let's eat. miles: amen, let's eat! (conversation continues