tv 60 Minutes CBS November 24, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
and ford. we go further, so you can. >> it's not different than watergate. it's not different than when, you know, republicans came into the d.n.c. and stole documents from the file cabinets. it's the cyber version of that. >> she's talking about the russian government's hack of the 2016 american election. "60 minutes" has been investigating what 12 russian military officers actually stole, who received the information, and what was done with it. >> the russians never left. i can guarantee you in 2016 after this all hit the news, they never left. >> this summer, a searing image of desperation was captured on the bank of the rio grande. a father and his 23-month-old
daughter drowned after attempting to cross the river illegally. the details of their lives and ill-fated crossing have largely been a mystery until tonight. this is tania avalos, the mother and wife who survived. >> who among us hasn't wished we could read someone else's mind? well, we've been following studies that are doing just that. identifying patterns in the brain that can reveal what a person is actually feeling. >> i think the emotion is envy. >> wow. >> that was correct. >> what were you thinking for envy? >> i was just thinking of beautiful models. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm anderson cooper. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories and more, tonight, on "60 minutes." ( ticking )
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lot of testimony during this past week's impeachment inquiry about foreign interference in our 2016 election, including the president's assertion that ukraine was involved. but the president's own intelligence agencies say it was the russians who hacked the 2016 elections. special counsel robert mueller spelled it out in his report. now the justice department has at least two open cases against russian citizens for interfering with our presidential and congressional races, we decided to take a closer look at one of them: the case against 12 russian military officers accused of breaking into the democratic party's computers, stealing compromising information, and selectively releasing it to undermine democratic candidates. there's no evidence of similar operations against republicans in 2016. with the 2020 election approaching, the story of "the russian hack."
>> robert anderson: the russians never left. i can guarantee you in 2016 after this all hit the news, they never left. they didn't stop doing what they're doing. >> whitaker: this wasn't just a one-time thing? >> anderson: no way. russia doesn't do it that way. >> whitaker: robert anderson should know. he spent 21-years inside the cloak and dagger world of spies and hackers overseeing the f.b.i.'s counterintelligence and cyber divisions and tracking moscow's spy agencies, an alphabet of artifice: the f.s.b., s.v.r., and especially, the g.r.u. >> anderson: the g.r.u. is military intelligence. so when we look at the attacks that happened during our presidential races in 2016 you had military organizations inside of russia attacking our infrastructure. >> whitaker: so are they hackers or are they soldiers? >> anderson: so they're both. and in most cases, in most of these units, they're not justhae
of the best mathematical minds in russia. these are seasoned professionals that have worked their way up the ranks to be in these units to carry out these strategic attacks on behalf of that country. >> whitaker: these are the hacker-soldiers from g.r.u. unit 26165 who, according to the justice department, were responsible for "breaking and entering" into the democratic party's computers, remotely, from moscow. their names, ranks and faces are now on the f.b.i.'s most wanted list for stealing, among other things, the democrats' strategic plans, detailed targeting data, and internal polling. g.r.u. colonel aleksandr osadchuk commanded a separate unit, 74455. one of his officers was in charge of spreading the stolen material to political operatives, bloggers, and the media. another hacked state election boards. it wasn't some 400-pound guy in
his parent's basement? >> anderson: no. this was a well-choreographed military operation with units that not only were set up specifically to hack in to obtain information, but other units that were used for psychological warfare were weaponizing that. this is not an operation that was just put together haphazardly. >> john demers: so that was the 26165 unit? >> whitaker: the justice department's national security division is overseeing the russian hacking case. >> demers: once they're doing that keystroke monitoring. >> whitaker: assistant attorney general john demers runs the division, along with deputies adam hickey and sean newell. d.o.j. attorney, heather alpino, worked with special counsel mueller on the russian indictments. all have access to the underlying intelligence, and have no doubt the russians interfered in the 2016 election. this really happened. >> demers: yes.
that really happened. and we believe that if we had to we could prove that in court tomorrow using only admissible, non-classified evidence to 12 jurors. >> whitaker: do you ever expect to get the 12 russian officials to trial? >> demers: i would be surprised. but the purpose of the indictment isn't just that, although that's certainly one of the purposes. the purpose of this kind of indictment is even to educate the public. >> whitaker: for a legal document, the 29-page indictment is a page turner. it details how u.s. intelligence agencies tracked each defendants' actions, sometimes by the keystroke, revealing the fictitious names and phony e- mails used to infiltrate the democrats' computers, and tracing the stolen data on its circuitous route from washington, d.c. to moscow. the information in the indictment is very detailed. you have descriptions of the
russian agents typing into their computers. >> demers: obviously i can't go into too much detail because i don't want to reveal investigative methods. but the insight here is that behind every one of those keyboards is not an i.p. address. it's a human being. >> whitaker: those indicted g.r.u. agents. the u.s. says one team, working out of a building in moscow called the tower, created a website and a provocative character to disseminate the stolen material: guccifer 2.0. >> demers: so guccifer 2.0 is a fictional online persona. it's all an effort on the russian side to hide their involvement. >> whitaker: and these guys are pretending to be one lone hacker. >> demers: correct. >> whitaker: and that works? >> demers: what it gives them is plausible deniability, right? they don't need for it to work 100% as long as the russians can say: "wasn't us."
>> whitaker: posing as guccifer 2.0, the russians offered up stolen documents to julian assange's wikileaks and self proclaimed "dirty trickster" roger stone. it was all part of a broad campaign to disrupt the presidential election. but there was another, less well-known part of the russian operation: to undermine democrats running for congress. >> kelly ward burton: it started as large document dumps, where guccifer 2.0 was kind of taunting and saying, "i have more." >> whitaker: kelly ward burton was executive director of the d.c.c.c., the democratic congressional campaign committee, when the russians hacked the committee's computers. >> burton: these bullet points at the top are the summary for how we need to win. >> whitaker: they swiped and dumped on the internet material she told us cost millions of dollars to produce: battle plans for codehic search on voters;
and extensive dossiers on the weaknesses of their own candidates. >> burton: so when we deliberate internally about anything, you know, that's not intended to be made public. and that's what makes this so important to understand these as stolen documents. it's not different than watergate. it's not different than when, you know, republicans came into the d.n.c. and stole documents from the file cabinets. it's the cyber version of that. they came into our office, and they stole our documents. documents that were never intended to be public. and then they used that in the election. >> even democrat party bosses are questioning his character. >> whitaker: ward was shocked when republicans used the stolen internal materials in this negative ad. >> burton: we reached out to them and asked them. you know, we-we said, "we have been the victims of a cyber- attack by a foreign adversary. will you make a commitment not
to use any of these stolen materials in the- in the campaign, or in the 2016 election?" and they wouldn't make a commitment to do so. >> whitaker: she says in the months leading up to the elections, russian tactics evolved. the indiscriminate document dumps became more frequent and strategic. >> burton: there would be thousands of documents that would show up on one day and then they got smarter, and they started to release specific documents related to our specific races, or documents that were, you know, in our most-targeted states and our most-targeted areas. >> whitaker: the russian agents stole material about candidates running for congress in pennsylvania, new hampshire, ohio, illinois, nebraska, new mexico and north carolina. but one swing state seemed to be the kremlin's primary target: florida. in 2016, annette taddeo was running for congress in the 26th district, which stretches from
south miami to the florida keys one of the most hotly contested races in this battleground state. taddeo had the full backing of the d.c.c.c. but her campaign was upended two weeks before the primary. >> annette taddeo: i was on my way to a tv debate, live tv debate, and i get the call about the fact that not only were we hacked, but our information is now public, from our polling our mail plan. in addition to that, the entire "path to victory." >> whitaker: it's your game plan? >> taddeo: yes. my opponent, joe garcia, showed up at that debate with a printout of all the documents. her primary opponent, a fellow democrat, used the hacked material as a prop to paint her as a conniving politician. >> whitaker: the same day
guccifer 2.0 dropped this mocking post: "the congressional primaries are also becoming a farce." taddeo lost the primary. garcia went on to lose the election to the republican candidate. you describe south florida as rough and tumble. but this seems to ratchet it up a notch? >> taddeo: we've seen a lot here. but this was, this was a foreign government. this was so much bigger. you know, i've been told by a lot of people, "you should stop talking about this. it's really not good for you politically to remind people that you lost." but i refuse to stop talking about it. because, again, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. and it didn't happen to me: it happened to our democracy. >> whitaker: you lost by how much? >> taddeo: about 700 votes. >> marc caputo: this is a state where elections are decided by a percentage point or so. a coin toss. add the russians onto that and
you're looking at a real problem. >> whitaker: marc caputo has covered florida politics for 20 years. the senior writer for politico was one of the reporters who received and wrote about the hacked documents. not a lot of people know that the russians interfered in five congressional races here in florida. when did you first get wind of it? >> caputo: well, i'd been paying attention, like the rest of the press corps, that russia had been hacking and russia had been trying to interfere in our election system. and then out of the blue i got contacted by this blogger, hello florida. >> whitaker: the blogger turned out to be this man, aaron nevins, one of the shadier political operators in the sunshine state. the republican strategist wouldn't talk to us on camera, but he did talk to special counsel robert mueller's investigators. he admits direct-messaging guccifer 2.0, asking for any florida-related documents.
seeing a willing participant, the russians flooded nevins with hacked materials." holy f man," he responded." i don't think you realize what you gave me. this is probably worth millions of dollars." guccifer 2.0 responded: "ok, you owe me a million," with a smiley face. nevins posted the stolen documents on his website, organized in files, and alerted florida journalists who couldn't resist publishing the democrats' secrets. at one point nevins wrote the russians: "i honestly think you helped sink annette taddeo in florida 26." you played a role in disseminating this stolen information. >> caputo: i have a role to play as a reporter covering campaigns. and sometimes that information comes to us from a variety of sources. and in this case, it came to us from a source right at the edge of being unusable. but ultimately we decided,
"well, this tells a legitimate story about how these campaigns view their own candidates." and voters have a right to that information. >> anderson: this operation was a huge success. >> whitaker: former f.b.i. spy- hunter robert anderson says russia's goals today are the same as in the soviet era: to sow discord in the u.s. and doubt about our democracy around the world. >> anderson: the thing that you need to worry about with russia and every one of their intelligence services is they will learn from these operations. they'll learn how easy it is to gain access to government and private accounts. they'll learn how quickly the information that they put in front of somebody will be disseminated. they will analyze everything they did right or wrong. and when they attack again, they will not come at you the same way. ( ticking )
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>> sharyn alfonsi: this summer, an image of desperation was captured on the bank of the rio grande. if you saw the photo, you may never forget it. a father and his 23 month old daughter, face down in the muddy river. the two drowned trying to get to the united states. like hundreds of others who have died trying to cross the river illegally, many of the details of their lives and how they died were either a mystery or reported incorrectly. but tonight, you'll hear from the only person who knows the story behind that photo, including the moment she saw her husband and daughter swept away. her name is tania avalos. and last month in el salvador, she told us her story. this is the photo that appeared on the front page of newspapers. a father with his young daughter tucked inside his t-shirt face
down on the bank of the rio grande. but this is the photo tania avalos wants you to remember of her family. that's her, with her husband oscar and daughter valeria. it was taken on valeria's first birthday. tania had not spoken to anyone about what happened to them. but she told us she wanted to talk about her faith, so that was our first question. tell me about your faith and how your faith has guided you through the last few months. >> tania avalos ( translated ): first, i'd like to thank god, above all for the opportunity he's giving me to share a message with the world so they can see and think that sometimes, bad decisions are really painful. >> alfonsi: tania and oscar met five years ago. she told us she was attracted to his quiet confidence.
>> avalos ( translated ): ask anyone, "what's oscar like?" and they'll tell you wonderful things about him. god gave me a good man. he would say to me, "i want to be a father. i want to be a father of a little girl." and i would say, "calm down! i have to study! and so at the end, we formed a family. >> alfonsi: the daughter oscar wanted so badly was born in july of 2017. tania showed us family photos. oh, she looks like daddy, too. so cute. here she is a year old, trying to learn to pronounce her own name: valeria. >> como se llama? >> alfonsi: tell me about valeria. >> avalos ( translated ): my daughter was an extraordinary girl. very intelligent. everyone called her by her nickname- "culocita," because she had curly hair. she loved to dance.
i would go to work. i had a job that took all of my time. and i would say, "for you my love, for you we do all this." >> alfonsi: the young family lived on the outskirts of san salvador in a suburb called san martin. it has the same problems as much of the country: a third of its residents live on less than $5.5 a day and gang violence is rampant. el salvador has the highest homicide rate of any country not at war. tania and oscar's neighborhood was controlled by the barrio 18 gang, which demands protection money from businesses and some people's paychecks. tania worked at a chinese restaurant. oscar at a pizza place. they lived in this small house with his mother. what were your dreams for your family? what did you hope? why did you leave home? >> avalos ( translated ): our
dream was to move our family forward. every human being has dreams. oscar was a person who would say i don't want my mother to have to work. i don't want my father to have to work. i want us all to get ahead. >> alfonsi: oscar, 25 years old, sold his most valuable possession, his motorcycle, and in march the young family left el salvador for the united states. their first stop was the city of tapachula on mexico's border with guatemala. there, the family waited for a travel visa that would allow them to go through mexico. to support the family, oscar worked at a food stand for $7.50 a day. >> avalos ( translated ): we stayed for two months in tapachula. every day was a new day and a new challenge, but always in god's hands. >> alfonsi: in tapachula, oscar
met another salvadoran, milton paredes. the four of them decided to rent a room together, and later, to make the bus trip to the u.s. border. tania told us they didn't have any money after they spent $300 on the bus tickets. it took 32 hours to make the 1,000 mile trip. they arrived in matamoros, mexico in the early morning of sunday june 23rd. the border town was a blistering waiting room for central americans hoping for asylum in the united states. according to data from the department of homeland security, there was at least a two month wait to see a u.s. immigration judge. even then, just two out of 10 salvadorans meet the threshold to be granted asylum. oscar, tania and milton didn't know those odds when they got to matamoros and they'd spent all of their money. soon after they arrived, they went to cross the main bridge that stretches over the rio grande, to brownsville, texas.
but tania and milton both told us they were stopped on the mexican side by thugs who demanded $1,300 to pass over the bridge. >> avalos ( translated ): we probably spent a good amount of time walking around and thinking about what we were going to do. so, we thought, let's cross the river because we don't have any money to pay someone to get us across to immigration. right then and there, we decided that we were going to cross the river. >> alfonsi: this is where they went-- the banks of the rio grande. known in spanish as the rio bravo, or "rough river." here, it's about 50 yards wide. i tania said they made the decision to swim across the river and enter the united states illegally. >> avalos ( translated ): we said to each other, "the time is now.
the time is now for us to do this." >> alfonsi: their improvised plan was to surrender to the u.s. border patrol once they got to the other side. oscar swam across the river first to see if anyone would stop them. >> avalos ( translated ): he was signaling to us that no one was there. so then, he came back, because i was on the mexican side with my daughter. i said to him, "i'm scared." and he said to me, "everything's going to be fine." >> alfonsi: the surface of the rio grande appears calm. but emergency responders in south texas told us the river's current can be unpredictable and ferocious enough to suck you under. tania couldn't swim so they decided milton, who was a strong swimmer, would carry her on his back. oscar decided to carry his daughter, valeria. >> avalos ( translated ): he put our daughter inside his shirt. obviously, he couldn't carry her on top because she might fall
off, but since he was thin and his shirt was very big, our daughter fit perfectly inside, and he started to swim, and i followed behind him. and i saw him doing okay, i mean, he was close, very close, and i noticed him starting to get frustrated. i could see that he was coming up and going under. >> alfonsi: tania told us that in her panic she was barely able to hold on to milton as he turned back. >> avalos ( translated ): i swallowed so much water, i swallowed so much water, and i was desperate. and i got out, i got out on the mexican side, and i could still see my husband there, struggling, struggling, along with my daughter. i saw her. i saw her.
and i said, "my god, my lord, please get them out of there." and i just saw my husband giving me a glance, and then, i couldn't see him anymore. i could not see him anymore. >> alfonsi: that's tania showing mexican officers where she saw oscar and valeria last. divers suspended their search at sundown. >> avalos ( translated ): they took me to the migrants' shelter in matamoros. when i walked in, i saw a lot of immigrants from different countries, and i started telling them, "don't sacrifice your children. pray to the lord, and he will give you everything you want, but don't emigrate." >> alfonsi: oscar and valeria's bodies were discovered the next morning, washed up on the
mexican side of the river. a photographer was there and snapped the now famous photo. father and daughter in a final embrace. in the days that followed, the image became a global symbol of the crisis at america's southern border... >> the photograph that all of us saw this week, should tear all of us up. >> alfonsi: it prompted a brief moment of bipartisan reflection for a congress deadlocked on immigration. >> i hope that picture alone will catalyze this congress, this senate, this committee to do something. >> alfonsi: within a week, congress did pass an emergency multi-billion dollar package to hire new judges and build facilities to deal with the surge of central americans at the u.s. border. since then, the congress has not passed any immigration legislation. >> avalos ( translated ): after this all happened, many people wrote to me.
they said they were very sorry. others called me names and told me that i was greedy, that i put my daughter's life at risk that i didn't love them, and they made me feel so bad. >> alfonsi: since oscar and valeria died in june, the bodies of at least 52 more migrants have been found in the rio grande, four of them, children. most of their stories are unknown. this story ends with a 21 year old widow, and a modest memorial on the bank of the river-- it reads, "in memory of little valeria and her papa oscar." do you have family here, family supporting you? what is your life like now that you've been back? >> avalos ( translated ): i do. i have my mother and my siblings. i almost never cry at home because i'm afraid they'll feel bad.
i hold it all in. but there are times when i just break completely. i cry all i have to cry. i wash my face and i go out, and i go back to work. and i keep going. ( ticking ) >> sshes sports hq is presented by from guessive insurance. i'm james brown with the scores from n.f.l. today. will lutz hits a 33-yard game-winning field goal for the saints. derrick henry runs over the jags for two scores. seattle forces five turnovers to move the 6-0 on the road. cleveland wins its third straight behind three baker mayfield t.d. passes. pittsburgh moves back into a playoff spot. buffalo improves to 8-3 for the first time since 1996. for more go to cbssportshq.com.
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someone else's mind... know exactly what they're thinking? well that's impossible, of course, since our thoughts are, more than anything else, our own -- private. personal. unreachable. or at least that's what we've always, well, thought. advances in neuroscience have shown that, on a physical level, our thoughts are actually a vast network of neurons firing all across our brains. so if that brain activity could be identified and analyzed, could our thoughts be decoded? could our minds be read? well, a team of scientists at carnegie mellon university in pittsburgh has spent more than a decade trying to do just that. we started our reporting on their work 10 years ago, and what they've discovered since, has drawn us back. in carnegie mellon's scanner steady stream of research
subjects come to have their brains, and thoughts, "read" in this m.r.i. machine. it's a type of scanning called functional m.r.i., f-m.r.i. >> alright, we'll cue it up and then we'll start. >> stahl: that looks at what's happening inside the brain as a person thinks. >> marcel just: it's like being an astronomer when the first telescope is discovered, or being a biologist when the first microscope is developed. >> stahl: neuroscientist marcel just says this technology has made it possible for the first time to see the physical makeup of our thoughts. >> okay, you ready to get started? >> stahl: when we first visited dr. just's lab 10 years ago, he and his team had conducted a they put peoplhe and asked them t s-- fivef them tools like screwdriver and hammer, and five of them dwellings like igloo and castle-- while measuring activity levels
throughout their brains. the idea was to crunch the data and try to identify distinctive patterns of activity for each object. you had them think about a screwdriver. >> just: uh-huh. >> stahl: and the computer found the place in the brain where that person was thinking "screwdriver"? >> just: screwdriver isn't one place in the brain. it's many places in the brain. when you think of a screwdriver, you think about how you hold it, how you twist it, what it looks like. >> stahl: and each of those functions are in different places? >> just: correct. >> stahl: he showed us that by dividing the brain into thousands of tiny cubes and analyzing the amount of activity in each one, his team was able to identify unique patterns for each object. you're reang >> just: we're identifying the thought that's occurring. it's-- >> stahl: whoa. >> just: --incredible, just incredible. >> stahl: incredible, but only the beginning. in the decade since, professor just's lab has taken this technique and applied it far
beyond hammers and igloos, to increasingly complex thoughts. this is basic science, knowledge for knowledge's sake. not trying to cure disease, but to understand the fundamental workings of our bodies, and in this case, of our minds. one of dr. just's main questions was whether he could find patterns for abstract ideas, so he did a study asking people to think about forgiveness... gossip... spirituality. could they be identifiable in the brain the way the screwdriver was? remarkably, the answer was yes. this was the activation pattern when people thought about spirituality. and this was gossip. one of my favorite subjects. ( laughter) >> just: and you see a slightly different pattern. >> stahl: one difference between the two was in areas of the brain scientists had already shown become active when we think about other people, circled in blue.
those areas lit up bright red when subjects thought about gossip; not so much for spirituality. in another study, dr. just tested whether patterns are the same when people think in different languages. they are. and he's asked acting students to conjure up emotions in the scanner to see if feelings have distinctive activation patterns too. and what did you find? >> just: each emotion had its own characteristic values, and you could tell which one was which. >> stahl: and it's the same in every head. >> just: amazingly, it was common across people. >> stahl: common across people? does that mean we could put our colleague, associate producer jaime woods, into a scanner for the first time, and dr. just's team would be able to identify her emotions? so she's seeing words. job was to think of little scenarios that would conjure up
the feelings on the screen. after she came out... welcome back. (laughs) >> thank you. >> stahl: a computer program took the brain activation data gathered by the scanner, and tried to decode her thoughts. >> so what were you thinking about for disgust? (laughs) >> i was thinking of someone throwing up on me at, like, a baseball game. >> stahl: so could the computer read her brain patterns and tell what she'd been feeling? >> the program's answer is "i think the emotion is disgust." the experienced emotion was actually disgust. that was correct. >> awesome. >> stahl: next... >> i think the emotion is envy. >> stahl: what were you thinking for envy? >> i was just thinking of beautiful models. >> stahl: the computer program got all of jaime's emotions right. it's reading what jaime's feeling. >> just: and it's funny isn't it because it's so personal. we all think of our own thoughts as so individual, so intimate, how could anybody else's thoughts be like mine? and they are.
>> stahl: it's feelings, too. >> just: yes, feelings. now obviously, people think very different thoughts. but you know, like people choose to do different things with their bodies. but they all walk putting one foot in front of the other. nobody walks sideways. nobody walks backwards systematically. there's something about the biological apparatus that makes you act in a certain way with your body. and i don't think we realize the degree to which the biological apparatus that we have in our skulls governs, shapes the way we think. >> stahl: professor just's goal is to one day create a dictionary of brain activation, a key to what all different thoughts look like inside our minds. but he also started wondering whether those definitions might be different in people with disorders like autism. >>kay, you'rgo your legs up at is end.: r reard found structural differences in the brains of people with
autism, so the question was whether thought patterns might differ too. >> hi jeff, this is rob. >> stahl: dr. just's team recruited 17 adults with autism and asked them, as well as 17 control subjects, to think about social interactions like adore, hug, humiliate, challenging terrain for many with autism. the results were striking-- the activation patterns differed enough to tell who had autism and who didn't with 97% accuracy. >> just: the people with autism thought of these social interactions apart from themselves. >> stahl: as he showed us in these findings for the word" hug," the key differences were in brain regions that activate when we think about ourselves, circled in blue. right there. >> just: there, and there. those areas light up much more among the controls. >> stahl: whereas the autism
subjects showed far less activation. >> just: they thought of it more like a definition of "hug" without self involvement. >> stahl: and that, you saw, with word after word? >> just: yes. >> david brent: i just thought, "wow, this is the coolest thing i've heard in i don't know how long." >> stahl: david brent is a psychiatrist at the university of pittsburgh medical center, where he runs a clinic for suicidal adolescents. he happened to attend a talk marcel just was giving about his autism findings and immediately wondered about his own patients. >> brent: so i went up to him afterwards and i said, "would you be interested in talking about maybe doing a study on suicide?" >> stahl: you hear about cases of suicide where the person had been depressed, but you also hear of situations where people say, "there was nothing wrong. >> brent: suicis a gat mystery, because the person who knows the most about why it happened isn't there to talk with. you try to reconstruct what happened but nobody has a window
into people's, you know, interior-- thoughts. >> stahl: nobody, that is, except someone with a mind- reading device. drs. just and brent began planning a pilot study to see if the scanner might reveal what is altered in the thoughts of people contemplating suicide. they reached out to matt nock, a harvard professor who has studied how difficult it is for doctors and emergency rooms to know which patients are safe to send home. is this the first time anybody's looked inside the brain to see-- about suicidal thoughts? >> matt nock: yes. this is the first study i have ever heard of where someone's looked in the brain of someone who's suicidal, who's actively thinking about death or suicide. >> dan toski: you don't see life as something that's going to be fixed. the only way to get out of it is to kill yourself. >> stahl: dan toski, a former patient at dr. brent's clinic,
volunteered to participate in the study to help science better understand suicidal thinking. do you think in terms of the word pain? >> toski: pain is when you break a limb or you have a migraine, and it hurts so bad that you can't see, this being depressed and suicidal, it-- it's much greater. >> stahl: much greater? >> toski: much greater than pain. >> stahl: to be in the study, subjects had to have had suicidal thoughts within the prior month. they, and control subjects, were asked to think about words like funeral and death, as well as positive words including praise... good... and carefree. in both categories, the suicidal group differed from controls. this is the group that's thinking about suicide? key differences turned out to be in those self-related areas.
they lit up bright red among suicidal subjects when they thought about death-related words. >> brent: i give you the word funeral, you know, what do you think about? maybe your grandmother's funeral, or something like that. >> stahl: exactly. >> brent: a suicidal person is much more likely to say, "my funeral." >> stahl: for positive words, the findings were exactly the opposite. when the non-suicidal controls thought about the word" carefree," they thought about something that involved themselves; suicidal subjects significantly less so. did you ever imagine that you could ask people to think about the word "carefree," and you'd be able to tell if someone was having suicidal thoughts? it's-- >> just: no. you know, i-- >> stahl: it's-- it's a breakthrough idea. >> just: it's a lot of fun, if you're a basic scientist, to discover how things work. but it becomes-- there's an extra level of gratification when you learn that it's possibly helpful and useful. >> stahl: this work is still in its infancy. drs. just, brent, and nock are
doing a larger n.i.h.-funded study to collect more data. and while for now it's too costly and cumbersome to put people into m.r.i. scanners to see if it's safe to release them from the hospital... if they could come up with an easier way to do this-- >> nock: absolutely. just like the first g.p.s. was, you know, a big computer in a big room, and now it's in all of our phones, if there is a way to a few steps down the road make much more compact this approach and bring it into emergency rooms and outpatient clinics, it could go a huge way towards moving forward clinical care. >> stahl: but as this technology advances toward fulfilling its full promise, it's hard not to also wonder about its peril. will it ever be possible to read someone's thoughts precisely? >> just: the thoughts are there precisely, if you could just get close enough to the electricala. >> stahl: you think one day we'll figure out how to do that. >> just: yes. >> stahl: which means that we'll never be able to have-- our
thoughts completely secure within ourselves. >> just: i think it will be technologically possible to invade people's thoughts. but it's-- it's our societal obligation to make sure that never happens. ( ticking ) >> the art of the follow-up. what does it take for "60 minutes" to revisit a story? >> not just a change, but an interesting change. >> at www.60minutesovertime.com. managing type 2 diabetes?
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and ford. we go furth , so you can. captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org - if dad believes he can find that balance, doesn't he deserve the chance to prove that to you? - we're soul mates. - i wish i believed in soul mates, 'cause then i'd know this wouldn't really be over. - adam wants to team up on this story about some potential wall street scandal? - i traced those dummy emails you wanted me to look at for your story. they're all registered to the same guy, jonathan carter. - the god account wanted cara and i to find each other. - how do you know it wasn't to test you, to make sure you would sacrifice love to prove your worth? - i would choose cara. - i don't think that the god account is gonna give you that choice. - ♪ i woke up early in the morning ♪ ♪ just to feel the light of day ♪ - all right, now that you are the bishop of new york, do not expect me to go easy on you, because that, uh, purple shirt is not gonna save you. oho, wait, did i just take the bishop from the bishop?