tv 60 Minutes CBS April 28, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> is it a humanitarian crisis or is it a national security chris? >> absolutely both. >> alfonsi: "60 minutes" travels to the u.s./mexico border with the acting head of the customs and border protection, where a record number of individuals, 53,000 people, crossed the u.s. border last month alone. why are they coming in such massive numbers? how are the migrants being handled? and after being released, why are they getting on buses to points all across the country? that's our story tonight. ( ticking ) >> pelley: where did all this stuff come from? >> it comes from china.
>> pelley: some of this fentanyl was seized by the d.e.a. others was found in the u.s. post office. >> herdman: this is essentially enough fentanyl and carfentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the city of cleveland. >> pelley: carfentanyl is a derivative used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants. if you touch this stuff, it could kill you? >> herdman: yeah >> pelley: just touch it? >> herdman: there's a reason why we have a medic standing by. ( ticking ) >> martin: last fall, nato practiced what it would do in a serious crisis. bringing in 50,000 troops... ( gunfire ) 250 aircraft... ( jet plane takeoff ) and 65 ships. >> this is one of the largest nato exercises since the war.
>> martin: whose identity was a mystery to no one. and the message to russia is? >> the message to russia or anyone else who may want to challenge the f.t.c. alliance is think twice. ( ticking ) >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm scott pelley. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm sharyn alfonsi. >> i'm bill whitaker. those stories, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking ) with fidelity wealth management you get straightforward advice, tailored recommendations, tax-efficient investing strategies, and a dedicated advisor to help you grow and protect your wealth. fidelieamanameated advisor the way you triumph over adversity. ver li whye redesignedira. we wanted to make the experience better for you. now there's less pain immediately following injection.
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the president fired his previous d.h.s. chief, kirstjen nielsen, because he said he wanted to go in a tougher direction. as the new acting secretary, mcaleenan is facing the largest wave of illegal crossings at the u.s.-mexico border in a decade. 100,000 migrants were detained just last month. so, we went to mcallen, texas, one of the busiest sections on the border, to see for ourselves. we were surprised how many families were crossing, where they were detained, and how quickly they were released. we asked secretary mcaleenan how he plans to manage the crisis and navigate what may be the most difficult job in washington. how do you keep happy a boss, who wants to go in a tougher direction, when it comes to noncentive to get anythingreithy kevin mcaleenan: well, first, i believe you can be tough and compassionate at the same time. i'm going to do what i've always done-- give good law enforcement
operational and policy advice to lawmakers and to policy makers. and that's my intent. i think the ground has shifted in this discussion over the past month. >> alfonsi: how so? >> mcaleenan: i think the numbers from march, i think more members from congress coming down and seeing what we are facing at the border. they're realizing that something different is happening with this crisis. it's not manufactured. it's real. and we've got to sit down at a table and talk about ways to solve it. >> alfonsi: acting d.h.s. secretary kevin mcaleenan says migrants are crossing the border in record numbers because they know they will be released in the u.s. >> mcaleenan: if you come now, and if you come as a family or as an unaccompanied child, you will be allowed to stay. you will be released. because our court system is so backlogged, and our laws prevent effective repatriation, even if there's no right to stay in the u.s.-- >> alfonsi: they know, if they come-- >> mcaleenan: --even if you don't have a valid asylum claim. >> alfonsi: --they're going to be led out the backdoor. >> mcaleenan: that's exactly right. and smugglers are advertising that directly in their hometowns. >> alfonsi: there is no shortage of people fleeing poverty and crime who want to take the often-dangerous trip.
we rode with the u.s. border patrol deep in southeast texas. >> marcelino medina: ( speaking spanish ) >> alfonsi: we saw family after family walking into the u.s. >> medina: ( speaking spanish ) >> alfonsi: agent marcelino medina asks the migrants if they're okay, and points them to where they can turn themselves in to other agents. further along this dusty stretch of road... >> medina: there's a family right there. >> alfonsi: ...he spots a family hiding in the bushes. >> medina: ( speaking spanish ) >> alfonsi: he asks them if they're okay too, and points the way to where they need to go. >> medina: ( speaking spanish ) >> alfonsi: watch their faces when he tells them they are in the united states. >> medina: ( speaking spanish ) >> alfonsi: he didn't know where he was, did he? >> medina: no. he-- he asked-- how far to the u.s., right? so we were letting him know he's already here. so that's kind of what brought him to tears.
he just-- he said he just wanted help. >> alfonsi: last month, a record number of families crossed the border-- 53,000 people-- most with only what they could carry. the groups we saw all had children. this woman, eight months pregnant, told us she fled violence in honduras. she'd been traveling for 15 days. you're trying to get her a ride? >> medina: i wanted to get her a ride, yeah, but she's-- they're going to have to walk it. >> alfonsi: there are no border agents available to help her. this 277-mile stretch along the rio grande river separates the u.s. from mexico, and is one of the busiest sections for illegal crossings. >> medina: those are the rafts they use right there. >> alfonsi: agents told us they are overwhelmed caring for so many families. is this a typical day? >> medina: definitely. you're talking about a sector where recently we've been seeing over 1,000 people a day, and this mcallen station, the mc-- you can see there's some more coming down that way right now.
>> alfonsi: it never ends. >> medina: you know, it doesn't. >> alfonsi: agent medina takes us into the brush to show us why so many families cross at this particular area of the border. so once they get here, they're in u.s. territory. this is u.s. territory right here, and that there-- >> medina: correct. this is the-- that's the mexican riverbank, this is the u.s. riverbank. >> alfonsi: in some spots, it takes less than 15 minutes for a smuggler to paddle an inflatable raft full of migrants across. typically they pay between $3,000 and $9,000 a person. >> medina: you've got to keep in mind that all these bo-- every body that comes across, no matter adult, child, they're paying thousands of dollars. >> alfonsi: is it the cartel running this? >> medina: it's-- this-- this is exactly what-- what it is. this is one of their ways they can make money. >> alfonsi: we watched as hundreds of migrants walked from the river bank, about three miles, to a levee to turn themselves in to border patrol. it is orderly and oddly quiet, except for the sounds of the wind, and babies crying. tell me about your trip here. >> translator: ( speaking spanish )
>> julio cesar: muy deficil. >> alfonsi: "very difficult," julio cesar told us, about his 1,600-mile trip from honduras. failed crops and threats of violence led him to escape with his daughter. >> cesar: ( speaking spanish ) >> alfonsi: he said his daughter has some sort of chest infection. he hopes he can get her help. >> julio cesar? >> alfonsi: as we were talking, his name was called to get on the bus. this is the beginning of their immigration process. because they've reached u.s. soil, they are legally allowed to apply for asylum, and most will. but first, they are taken to the mcallen border patrol station to be processed. we were allowed to film inside. >> over there, those are the two cells. >> alfonsi: a first for the facility. they wanted us to see how busy they are. it looked like any other jail, except that there were mothers with children peering back at us
though the glass. men are kept separately. background checks are run, and fingerprints are taken. court dates are scheduled. how many people would you say are in here right now? >> rudy karisch: how many people would you say? >> we have 551 subjects here. >> karisch: 500? >> alfonsi: chief patrol agent rudy karisch says they are struggling to care for the increasing numbers of families. what are the agents having to do to deal with this new population that's coming across? >> karisch: 40% of my workforce right now is dedicated to the processing, to the care and feeding, to the hospital watch. so that takes that 40% away from their border security mission. >> alfonsi: i mean, they're making they're making formula. they are bringing juice. well, there's a pile a diapers right there. >> karisch: yeah. and that's what we have to do. >> alfonsi: the flood of families comes nearly a year after the white house ended its "zero tolerance" policy that led to the separation of thousands of children from their parents. kevin mcaleenan was responsible for enforcing that policy, as
the head of customs and border protection. did you have any regrets about the way that was carried out? >> mcaleenan: yeah. i, i-- i think-- when you lose the public trust in a law enforcement initiative, and you have to c-- recalibrate at the presidential level-- that means that wasn't successful. >> alfonsi: looking back on it, did it work? >> mcaleenan: so the-- the enforcement of the law against parents who violated our border laws and brought children with them, was effective. but it didn't work in the sense that we lost the public trust in the implementation of that initiative. and i agreed with the president's decision to stop it. >> alfonsi: president trump has said he is "not looking" to restart family separations. but he has threatened to completely shut down the border. >> trump: in many cases, they put their worst people in the caravan, they're not going to put their best in. >> alfonsi: according to the d.h.s., since october,s an 1% of the migrants who crossed the border had any criminal history. the families we saw were travelling from honduras, el salvador and guatemala, an area of central america referred
to as the "northern triangle." why so many people from this northern triangle of countries? >> mcaleenan: right. there's poverty. there's drought that's affected the crop yields. certainly, there are issues with food insecurity. in other parts of central america, there are still violence issues and gang-control issues. >> trump: we stopped payment to honduras, to guatemala and to el salvador. we were paying them tremendous amounts of money. >> alfonsi: an estimated $700 million in aid a year, aimed at preventing violence and curbing extreme poverty and hunger in those countries. he said, "we're not paying them any more, because they haven't done a thing for us." you've testified in congress, "we need to continue to support those areas." do you still believe that? >> mcaleenan: so, i think the president's right, that we need to have aid that has targeted impact. it needs to support american interests. it needs to support economic development. and it needs to help reduce the causes of migration-- everything from insecurity on the food side, to security, in terms of the cities and gang issues.
>> alfonsi: but wouldn't it just push more people to the border, if there's no aid coming in? >> mcaleenan: well, aid that's not being used effectively by an accountable partner isn't helping. >> norma pimental: we must address the root causes of why these families are coming. i don't think that if they had given a choice, they would come. >> alfonsi: sister norma pimental runs the catholic charities respite center in mcallen. the border patrol has nowhere to take the families after they are released from custody. luckily, sister norma welcomes them all. they are free to go wherever they like, but most stay here for a few days. they are exhausted from weeks of travel and hungry. volunteers hand out donated clothes and meals. how many meals are you doing a day in here? >> pimental: well, thousands of meals, because, we may have, like, 300, 400, sometimes up to 600, you know, people we feeding on that day. >> buenos dias. buenos dias. >> alfonsi: sister norma took secretary mcaleenan through the
respite center. it is noisy and crowded... with more people wanting to come in. sister norma says she doesn't turn anyone away. if you weren't here, where would all these people go? >> pimental: they would be in the streets, begging and asking for help, and-- and exposed to so many people taking advantage of them. you know, it's-- it's so sad that people are suffering like they are. >> alfonsi: from sister norma's, the families go to the bus station. for some, it was just three days ago they crossed the border. they tell us they are headed to places where they have family, or cities where they offer free legal help. catholic charities gives the migrants signs that say, "please help me. i don't speak english. we saw the migrants leaving catholic charities, getting on a bus, and going off to different
parts of the united states. >> mcaleenan: those families are-- are given a court hearing. they're-- they're given a date for a court hearing. and that court hearing could be two years out, five years out, for an initial hearing. that's how overloaded the s-- the system is at this point. >> alfonsi: i think a lot of people are going to be surprised to see that. >> mcaleenan: i agree. >> alfonsi: to see them get to the bus station. and i think there's that moment when they leave, and you're either going to think, "that's great," or, "this is horrifying." >> mcaleenan: yeah. the reality of the system today is r-- is very hard to understand. >> alfonsi: there is a border wall in mcallen, but it's not on the river. at some points, it is miles inland from where we saw the migrants come ashore. secretary mcaleenan says it does slow down drug traffickers and the migrants who are trying to evade capture. >> mcaleenan: we don't need it everywhere, but we need it in several key places. and the support we're getting to build the additional wall is essential. >> alfonsi: secretary mcaleenan is also lobbying congress to change the law so d.h.s. can detain families while they await a decision on their asylum claims.
>> mcaleenan: we've asked congress to modify that law, to allow us to detain families together, through a fair, transparent and expeditious court proceeding. and if they have an asylum claim or a valid right to stay, under our laws, they would receive that certainty. and if not, they would be repatriated to their home country. >> alfonsi: keeping families longer would require more facilities, potentially costing billions of dollars. what about tent cities? is that on the table? >> mcaleenan: tent cities, i think, is-- is a misnomer. for-- for us, right now, we are looking, at d.h.s., at putting up some soft-sided facilities. in fact-- >> alfonsi: isn't that a tent? ( laughs ) >> mcaleenan: it-- it is-- sure, it could be-- it could be a tent. but i want to explain the purpose for it. usbipaan om the homelseadsorync, that lot the siion wee facing on the border, and said, "you need additional facilities. you need to be able to take families and children out of a border patrol station," which is a police station. it's built for single adults, who have violated laws. and you need them in a better setting. >> alfonsi: one day after our
interview, we learned d.h.s. had already broken ground on two tent cities in texas, to hold migrants for short-term processing. but concerns linger about whether the department of homeland security should be in the business of holding families in any setting. last year, despite efforts to treat them, two children died in d.h.s. custody. are you worried that another child's going to die in custody? >> mcaleenan: so, what i know is our agents and officers are doing everything they possibly can to take care of vulnerable people in our custody. when you're looking at people arriving, sometimes more than 4,000 in a day, so with that level of volume, with children that young, with-- with the weather getting hotter, i'm very concerned we could have another tragedy. >> alfonsi: is it a humanitarian crisis? or is it a national-security crisis? >> mcaleenan: it's absolutely both. ( ticking ) ♪
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>> pelley: by now, you may know a family shattered by the opioid epidemic. in 2017, there were 47,000 opioid deaths. that's more americans than were killed in vehicle accidents or by firearms. one drug, fentanyl, is like rocket fuel in the sharp rise of this crisis. fentanyl is a painkiller invented in the 1960s and used to relieve the agony of advanced cancer. it is 50 times more potent than heroin. but today, fentanyl can be ordered on the internet, by drug dealers and addicts, for an online overdose. tracking the source of this illicit trade is a story that begins with james rauh. like most in akron, ohio, he'd never heard of fentanyl, until the police told him his son was dead.
>> james rauh: they told me that the drug was so powerful that he was unable to finish his injection, and then he died immediately. >> pelley: he didn't even finish the injection? >> rauh: he'd only... only just started the injection. he didn't even have a chance. >> pelley: james rauh's son, tom, was 37 when he died in 2015. he'd started opioids years before, after an injury. when his prescription ran out, he turned to heroin. he'd been in and out of rehab more than half a dozen times when fentanyl inundated ohio. >> rauh: there was something extremely dangerous going on, because tom was a veteran addict. he knew how mue could he could handle. i was wondering, how in the world this would get here and who would be selling it?
>> pelley: one week after tom rauh's death, the mother of 23- year-old carrie dobbins grabbed her phone. >> operator: akron 911, what is the location of your emergency? >> mother: my daughter is dead. i just went, got home from work a little bit ago, and i went down in the basement. she's dead! >> operator: please stay on the line with me, ma'am. you need to be very specific. >> mother: i think she did drugs. >> pelley: two deaths in akron in seven days made assistant u.s. attorney matt cronin wonder where all the fentanyl was coming from. the target of an investigation, a low-level drug dealer, had the answer. >> matt cronin: the target said that he can get any drugs he could ever imagine, over the internet from china. >> pelley: cronin's investigators went online and discovered overseas labs offering most any illegal drug. >> cronin: we just said, "hey," according to the source's instructions, "we're interested in buying fentanyl." and the result was, to say the least, surprising. we have dozens, probably over 50 different drug trafficking
networks reaching out to us, saying, "we have fentanyl. we have even more powerful fentanyl analogs. whatever you want, we'll get it for you, for cheap. we'll get it for you in bulk." >> pelley: you got 50 replies? >> cronin: at least. >> pelley: and all of these came from where? >> cronin: it was universally china. >> pelley: what did you do next? >> cronin: instead of trying to find our way to a target, we had far too many. so what we decided to do was go through the list and see any that popped out. and one name in particular struck out, out of the list. >> pelley: what was that name? >> cronin: gordon jin. >> pelley: when gordon jin was making claims about what he could provide, what did he tell your undercover agents? >> cronin: what gordon jin said he could provide to you was essentially, any drug you could imagine: those that exist, those that don't even currently exist. he called it custom synthesis. what it really meant was made- to-order poison. >> pelley: we'll track down the man prosecutors say is gordon jin, in a moment. but first, have a look at fentanyl and its derivatives. justin herdman is u.s.
attorney in cleveland. he told us some of this was seized by the d.e.a.thst wasounl by u.s. postal service inspectors. >> justin herdman: this is essentially enough fentanyl and carfentanyl to kill every man, woman and child in the city of cleveland. >> pelley: just this? >> herdman: just this. >> pelley: carfentanyl is a derivative used by veterinarians to tranquilize elephants. >> herdman: carfentanyl is another 100 times more potent than fentanyl. here, you've got 300 grams of powder that could ve fatal dose to 150,000 people. here, you've got only five grams of powder which could deliver a fatal dose to over 250,000 people. >> pelley: so if you touch this stuff, it could kill you? >> herdman: yeah >> pelley: just touch it? >> herdman: there's a reason we have a medic standing by, scott, and that's because an overdose s prepar for, even-- even dealing with it in an evidence bag. >> pelley: herdman showed us pills that look like prescription opioids, but are dangerous counterfeits.
>> herdman: whether it's cocaine, or you think it's heroin, or you think it's pills, it's going to have fentanyl in it. >> pelley: why? >> herdman: it's cheaper to buy fentanyl. and because it's so potent, you can cut it in a way that you can deliver far more doses with a little bit of fentanyl. so it's a profit motive for them. >> pelley: where did all this stuff come from? >> herdman: it's from china. it's manufactured in china. these are all related to cases that involve the mail or the use of the postal system. so this, somebody put this into a box, sealed it up and sent it through the postal system. >> pelley: the united states postal system has been, for many years, the most reliable way to smuggle drugs from china to the u.s. >> rob portman: that has to stop. it should've stopped years ago. >> pelley: ohio senator rob portman's staff investigated the traffic. what did your office's investigation find? >> portman: shocking, what we found. which was that people who were trafficking in fentanyl told us,
if you send it through the post office, we guarantee delivery. if you send it through a private carrier, not so. >> pelley: that's because after 9/11, all private carriers like fedex were required to give u.s. customs advance descriptions and tracking of foreign packages. the postal service was allowed >> portman: they gave the post office some time, and said, you need to give us a report as to how you can also comply with this. that was 16 years ago, scott. it's primarily produced in laboratories in china, and it's primarily coming to the united states through the united states mail system. >> pelley: portman sponsored a bill to force the post office to send advance notice of shipments from china. and last fall, the bill became law. >> portman: we now have this legislation in place. they need to implement it quickly. they need to do everything ten e packages coming in. >> pelley: but the postal service was supposed to do that by the end of last year.it sayct
cooperating. about a third of the packages from china, shipped by the u.s. postal service, still do not have advance content information. >> cronin: the gordon jin drug trafficking organization, in their own communications and advertisements online, say that they ship to five continents, in all 50 states. they advertised, and it seemed accurate, they had special ways to bypass customs in the u.s., the u.k., the e.u. and russia. >> pelley: assistant u.s. attorney matt cronin told us that gordon jin would often slip fentanyl past u.s. customs by shipping it to a co-conspirator in the united states, posing as a legitimate chemical company. shipments between chemical companies weren't considered suspicious. a large crate would arrive at the u.s. company, but inside, there would be as many as 50 individual drug packages, each addressed to the person who'd ordered them. >> cronin: so they take out these 50 different parcels and send it across the united states
and, as i mentioned, even the world. >> pelley: they were going out to the door of the individual people that ordered them online. >> cronin: that's right. we realized that we found gordon jin's drug trafficking route, essentially his camouflage to get the drugs into the united states. >> pelley: according to prosecutors, gordon jin, is an alias for a father and son drug lab in china. matt cronin briefed chinese authorities on the evidence, but the chinese failed to act. later, a grand jury in the united states indicted the father and son, and they're now wanted in the u.s., but enjoy freedom in china. "60 minutes" producer bob anderson found guanghua zheng, the father, outside a shanghai grocery store. >> robert anderson: this is you and your son. this is put out in the u.s. to arrest you in the u.s. >> pelley: when anderson asked zheng if he was still selling fentanyl in the u.s., zheng answered with an emphatic, "no! no!"
the woman with him did not like our questions. she tells him, "don't speak, don't speak!" she tells us, "don't come back." >> anderson: will the chinese government ever arrest you? will the chinese government ever arrest you? >> pelley: he said, "the chinese government has nothing to do with it." >> anderson: what do you say to parents? what do you say to parents whose children died from taking your drugs? >> pelley: zheng had no answer for that. but, he had had enough of "60 minutes." prosecutors say the fentanyl that killed carrie dobbins and tom rauh came from the gordon jin lab in china and arrived in akron via the u.s. postal service. >> cronin: the thing that got me the most, though, was how brazen they were. they wrote a blog and posted it on a website about how they create a certain type of
synthetic narcotic. and they stated in that blog that it's tied to overdoses. in other words, that it's so potent, it can kill you. >> pelley: why would they want to associate themselves with people who'd died using these drugs? >> cronin: the unfortunate truth is that when you have an addict, sometimes they're seeking the greatest high possible, and that can be the high that comes closest to death. >> pelley: and so they were bragging. >> cronin: absolutely. >> pelley: that their drugs were so potent, that people had overdosed and died. >> cronin: they were the best out there. that's right. >> pelley: their boast was tragically true for the son of james rauh. >> rauh: it destroys families. because what happens to a family is, a person gets sick, and you're trying to help them, and you're trying to do everything that you can. and then you lose them, and so you suffer. you suffer up to that point, and then you suffer when they die, and then you suffer afterwards, because you could have stopped it. you feel that every single day. you think, "what could i have
done to stop this from happening to my family?" i was in charge. i didn't do this right, and it's-- it's breaking my heart. >> pelley: the u.s. has sealed off the overseas bank accounts of guanghua zheng and his son. the feds also shut down what prosecutors say were the zheng's 40 websites selling illegal drugs in 20 languages. we don't know if their lab shut down, but the network has been, at least for now. >> cronin: it is a fact that the people's republic of china is the source for the vast majority of synthetic opioids that are flooding the streets of the united states and western democracies. it is a fact that these synthetic opioids are responsible for the overwhelming increase in overdose deaths in the united states. and it is a fact that if the people's republic of china wanted to shut down the synthetic opioid industry, they could do so in a day.
>> pelley: china has been criticized by the u.s. government for failing to put the many forms of fentanyl on its list of controlled drugs. now, in a concession, china says, next month, all derivatives of fentanyl will be on its list. but u.s. law enforcement remains skeptical about whether china will crack down. ( ticking ) >> last question, last question. >> producer bob anderson on what it took to ask the questions that needed asking. go to 60minutesovertime.com. seresto, seresto, seresto.
70th anniversary, is widely considered the gold sphard of military alliances. binding countries on both sides of the atlantic in common cause against russian aggression. but president trump complains that other members of the alliance don't pay their fair share of what it costs to defend europe against the intimidation tactics of vladimir putin. the president has told aides he doesn't see the point of the alliance, and has even mentioned withdrawing from nato. despite those misgivings, the u.s. and its nato allies have been steadily increasing the frequency and size of their military exercises. last fall, nato held the largest one yet, in norway, one of the countries president trump has singled out for failing to spend enough on defense. might not think of norway, which has a tiny military, as a vital nato ally, but we found a country that is on the front lines with russia, and serves as nato's eyes and ears in the high north.
norway's f-16s are on 15-minute alert, 24/7. every time russian military aircraft are detected, these pilots scramble to intercept them. ( jet plane takeoff ) >> martin: videos they bring back show nuclear-capable russian bombers as they fly up and down the norwegian coast. most of the encounters are routine. ( jet plane ) >> martin: but sometimes, says lieutenant general rune jakobsen, norway's joint force commander, they're anything but. >> rune jakobsen: what we have seen lately is aggressive flying and simulated attacks against norwegian exercises. >> martin: simulated attacks. >> jakobsen: yeah. >> martin: how do you know it's a simulated attack? >> jakobsen: the airman knows what an attack looks like. >> martin: so, they go to the point at which they would release their weapons? >> jakobsen: exactly. >> martin: jakobsen tracked
those "simulated attacks" from his command center buried deep inside a mountain. after the cold war ended, a nuclear-proof bunker seemed positively old-fashioned-- until lately, when russia became more threatening. >> jakobsen: this is illustration of a russian attack formation, simulated attack that was flown in may 2017, not far north of, of this position. >> martin: and the red dot is the target? >> jakobsen: the red dot is the target. >> martin: that doesn't look like the act of a friendly country. >> jakobsen: no, that's not something you should do to your neighbor. >> martin: norway shares a 120-mile border with its neighbor russia. it is some of the most remote, rugged and beautiful landscape in all of europe. captain carina vinterdal guards the northern sector, with 120 soldiers. >> carina vinterdal: they're along the border all the time. 24/7, i have people along the border. so i have four observation posts
that are manned at all time throughout the whole year. >> martin: are your soldiers armed? >> vinterdal: yeah. >> martin: do they ever had to use their weapons? >> vinterdal: no, but we have to be prepared. >> martin: we went to the most remote of those outposts, in the high north of the norwegian mainland. one unit was just finishing its three weeks on watch, and a new one coming in. to get there, you have to lug your gear up a long, steep staircase, part of which is covered over, to defend against the arctic winter. the observation post is manned year-round, and once you get to the top, you can see why it's worth the trouble. these norwegian soldiers are able to look deep into russia and far out to sea, making this a key piece of terrain for the nato alliance. that's russia over there, and this is where the border with norway ends. it's nato's northern-most flank, and you don't need to be a military expert to know you can never leave your flank exposed.
that includes the barents sea out there. those are the home operating waters of russia's northern fleet, and are kept under constant surveillance by the u.s. and norway. this map shows what lies just over the horizon on that thumb of land, called the kola peninsula. it is the home of russia's northern fleet: naval bases, airfields and nuclear weapons storage sites, which represent that country's single greatest concentration of military power, especially submarines. >> james foggo: they have a very capable submarine force, and we've seen an increase in submarine activity over the last few years that causes me pause. >> martin: admiral james foggo, the commander of u.s. naval forces in europe, is particularly concerned about this submarine, the severodvinsk- nuclear-powered and armed with land-attack cruise missiles, with a range greater than 1,000 miles. >> foggo: the severodvinsk is a
brand new class of submarine. and, it's very capable and it's very quiet. so, that's the most important thing, i think, in submarine warfare. >> martin: when you say quiet, you're saying harder to detect, harder to track. >> foggo: yeah, that's what i'm saying. >> martin: does that sub come down into the atlantic? >> foggo: suffice it to say that the russians have increased their presence in all bodies of water around europe and in the atlantic. >> martin: have you ever lost the severodvinsk? >> foggo: i'd rather not comment on submarine operations to that specific level of detail. >> martin: foggo won't comment, but pentagon officials told "60 minutes" that last summer, the severodvinsk slipped into the atlantic ocean and, for weeks, evaded all attempts to find it. in peacetime, losing a russian sub in the atlantic is embarrassing. in a crisis, it could be a disaster. >> foggo: think about the global infrastructure that rests on the bottom of the ocean.
>> martin: you're talking about the undersea cables. >> foggo: that's correct. >> martin: those fiber optic cables carry 99.4% of the data exchanged over the internet by the u.s. and its allies and trading partners. depending on your point of view, they are either the backbone, or the achilles heel, of the world economy. >> martin: have russian submarines gotten close to those undersea cables? >> foggo: i'm not at liberty to talk about any of that. >> martin: that's because tracking russian submarines is a top-secret, day-in-day-out game of hide-and-seek. but the norwegian military allowed "60 minutes" aboard one of its maritime patrol planes to see what sub-hunting looks like. the pilot, copilot and engineer are up front, while the crew in the back scans the norwegian sea with radar and high-powered cameras. flying at less than 300 feet, they can clearly make out anything on the surface, including passing cargo ships. for what's under the water, they
drop patterns of sono-buoys, which send out sound waves. ( pinging ) >> martin: that will bounce off a submerged submarine. ( pinging ) >> martin: major leif otterholm, the plane's tactical coordinator, has been flying these missions since the 1980s. >> leif otterholm: it is very important to collect on remote locations. >> martin: how big an area is it that you have to cover? >> otterholm: the area of operations for this kind of aircraft is six times larger than the area of land in norway, so it's quite, quite big. >> martin: so, how frequently do you encounter the russians out here? >> otterholm: we encounter them regularly when we go further east. >> martin: further east lies the headquarters of the northern fleet, and norwegian patrol planes frequently spot russian submarines while they're still on the surface. but the most valuable intelligence is collected by a ship, one you've never heard of. there it is, down there in the harbor, the crown jewel of norway's fleet.
that's norway's newest spy ship, the "marjata." it's at sea nearly 300 days a year, monitoring the northern fleet, but just happened to be in port the day we arrived here in kirkenes, the town closest to the russian border. the "marjata" flies the norwegian flag, but much of its eavesdropping equipment comes from the u.s. its mission is to collect intelligence on the operations of russia's northern fleet ( gunfire ) >> martin: which lieutenant general jakobsen says is arming itself with a new generation of precision-guided weapons, and testing them in the waters off norway. ( missile launch ) >> martin: are you able to monitor those? >> jakobsen: yeah, because most the koinsulaand wef newup northo present there, every day, with our maritime patrol aircrafts and our vessels at sea. >> martin: that daily haul of intelligence, all of which is
directly relayed to the u.s. and nato, didn't stop president trump from sending this letter of complaint. norway, he wrote, is "the only nato ally sharing a border with russia that lacks a credible plan to spend 2% of its gross domestic product on defense." >> ine ericksen soreide: well, i think that he, he has a fair point in, in pointing out that we need to step up. >> martin: ine ericksen soreide is norway's foreign minister, the first woman to hold the job. so, these are all your predecessors. >> ericksen soreide: they are, they are. and they're all men. >> martin: you're the first woman. >> ericksen soreide: yes. >> martin: before that, she was defense minister, in 2014, when all the members of nato pledged to increase their military spending to 2% of their g.d.p. have you met that pledge? >> eriksen soreide: no, we haven't met it yet, but we are moving in the right direction. and, we are doing a lot of big investments. >> martin: the investments is the american-made f-35, a stealth fighter designed
to defenses. >> eriksen soreide: it will dramatically increase operational capabilities, both in high north and beyond. >> martin: norway is buying 52 of them, at a cost of $89 million each. it's a very expensive airplane. >> eriksen soreide: well, and it also functions well, and it has capabilities that we need. our f-16 has served us well, but they are starting to get old. >> martin: those f-16s are going on 40 years old, and were never designed to be stealthy. until they are replaced by the f-35, lieutenant general jakobsen told us, norway's air force will be no match for russia's modern air defenses. >> jakobsen: meaning today, if we had a conflict, we would not be able to fly in the northernmost part of norway. >> martin: so your air force today couldn't operate in the very high north? >> jakobsen: no, not in a serious crisis.
>> martin: last fall, nato practiced what it would do in an 50,000 troops... ( gunfire ) >> martin: ...250 aircraft... ( jet plane takeoff ) >> martin: ...and 65 ships, all under the command of admiral foggo. >> foggo: this is one of the largest nato exercises since the cold war. >> martin: called trident juncture, it was a war game designed to repulse an invasion of norway by an unnamed country whose identity was a mystery to no one. and the message to russia is? >> foggo: the message to russia, or anybody else that may want to challenge the alliance, is think twice. you don't want to mess with us. >> martin: it was the first time in nearly 30 years the u.s. had sent a carrier strike group, the u.s.s. "harry s. truman" and its ly om t above the arctic persian gulf and the wars in iraq and afghanistan. >> martin: did you feel that nato jussn attention to, to norway?
>> eriksen soreide: what we saw was that nato, over many years, had been engaged heavily, for instance, in afghanistan. and that's a very important mission, but we also saw that some of the, i would say core areas of, of nato, the territorial defense, maybe, had, not had the same attention over years. >> martin: well, now, you have an american aircraft carrier- >> eriksen soreide: yeah. >> martin: operating off your coast. >> eriksen soreide: yeah, i think it is a very good way of showing that we have to practice in peacetime, to be able to operate if the crisis occurs. >> martin: norway will never have a military that can take on its much larger and more powerful neighbor. ( jet engine ) >> martin: but the pilots who fly these f-16s call themselves the guardians of the north. they can't stop the russians, but they are the first to spot them.
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controversial surgical implant, a polypropylene mesh used to relieve incontinence and lift organs that shift after pregnancy. manufacturer boston scientific defended the device as safe and effective. but, more than 100,000 women sued the company, complaining of pain and a chronic inflammatory reaction. our investigation not only found that the mesh rapidly deformed and disintegrated after implantation, but also that boston scientific imported counterfeit polypropylene from china, which was not certified for medical use. this month, the food and drug administration ordered boston scientific and another manufacturer to stop selling one type of these mesh products immediately. i'm scott pelley. we'll be back next week, with another edition of "60 minutes." ( ticking ) what does help for heart failure look like? it looks like george having a busy day.
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