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New Concerns For Oil Containment?; Apple iPhone Headaches

Aired July 16, 2010 - 18:00   ET



Happening now: concerns about the pressure inside BP's new well cap? It's not quite where officials want it to be. We're going to brand-new information this hour about the crucial integrity tests. Stand by.

The U.S. freezes assets of an American-born terror suspect believed to have helped plan that failed Christmas Day airline bombing, but why did the feds wait so long?

And Apple confronts reported problems with its new iPhone 4, offering customers a free fix, but saying the issue has been blown way out of proportion.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You are in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We are watching that critical ongoing test of BP's new well cap in the Gulf of Mexico, and while officials insist the news is generally good, there is one cause for deep concern that everyone involved is a little bit on edge right now.

Let's go straight to CNN's David Mattingly. He is in New Orleans working this story for us.

We are talking about the pressure readings not exactly where they would like it to be, David?


Generally good news in the regard that the pressure is going up very slowly each hour, which tell them that this well has some integrity, but they are at 7600 PSI, pounds per square inch, and they're way short after 24 hours of reaching that goal of 8,000 PSI, which would tell them that this well is in great shape.

So, a couple of questions come up. Is this because there is a leak they can't see, or is this because that, after 88 days, this well has spewed out so much oil, that it has actually lost some pressure? They don't have the answers to those, so what Thad Allen has decided to do is they need to proceed again for another six-hour period, continue this testing, but he tells BP he wants them to watch it even more closely.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) ADMIRAL THAD ALLEN (RET.), NATIONAL INCIDENT COMMANDER: I have been in contact with BP regarding our requirements. To continue to leave the well shut in at the pressure that it is at, we would liken enhanced monitoring. That includes inspection of the seafloor, acoustical sensing in and around the wellhead, to make sure that if there is any leakage, we that we are capable of detecting it.

We have asked for additional seismic runs that would give us a better cross-section to understand whether or not there are any anomalies down in the formation that could be resulting from oil leaving the wellbore. There is a condition that we would have no anomalies noted during that time.

And finally, we have a NOAA vessel that is in the area that has a sensor on board that is capable of using acoustics that detect very small bubbles of methane gas, which would be an indicator that might be leakage from the well floor.


MATTINGLY: And let's be clear here, Wolf. Right now, they have seen no signs of any leaks, but as they go forward, they want to make sure that these questions are resolved without them causing any more damage possibly to this well.

BLITZER: Admiral Thad Allen, the national incident commander, as you know he was on this conference call with reporters. How worried do you think he is right now, based on what he was saying?

MATTINGLY: Well, this is consistent with everything I have seen for the last several months. Their concern about the condition of this well down below where they have not been able to see it, their concern for this has been so great, it has been involved in every single decision they have made about how to move forward on this, and this at this crucial time is being very obvious to everyone they want to make sure they don't do any more damage if this well is already damaged.

BLITZER: And there is going to be a further technical update at the bottom of the hour. We are going to check back with you, David. We will get the very latest on this story. We are not going very far away.

Right now, though, we want to shift to some other major news we are watching, international intrigue involving the United States, Iran and a scientist who returned to his homeland after a year here inside the United States. He says he was coerced into sharing information with the U.S. about Iran's nuclear program.

Not exactly, according to a brand-new report in "The New York Times."

Joining us now is David Sanger of "The New York Times." He co- wrote this latest report.

David, thanks very much. First of all, the money that he was paid, you have learned that he was on the U.S. government's payroll, what, even before he fled Iran, while he was still in Iran?

DAVID SANGER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": That is right, Wolf.

What we have been told by U.S. officials is that, for at least two years before Mr. Amiri left Tehran, and defected to the United States, or if you believe his story was kidnapped during a trip in Saudi Arabia, he was providing information from inside the Iranian nuclear program.

He was a research scientist, a specialist in radiation detection , at a university that is right across the street from the main offices of the organization that runs many of the what is believed to be the covert military side of the Iranian program.

And the university itself, according to information he and others provided to American intelligence authorities, was a cover for some of these operations, which are run by a man most Americans have never heard about, but the CIA is very focused on named Mohsen Fakrizadeh, who was the sort of chief scientist of the program.

BLITZER: And I take it -- this is your reporting -- that Mr. Amiri, the information he was providing to the U.S. before he left Iran was the basis or at least a significant part of the basis for that controversial national intelligence estimate scaling back the notion that Iran was actually trying to weaponize a nuclear device?

SANGER: We are told, Wolf, that he was one of the sources of many sources for that 2007 NIE, which came out in -- right around Thanksgiving time 2007. And you may recall this was a national intelligence estimate that said Iran was working very heavily on a design of a nuclear weapon up through 2003, but then halted their work after 2003.

And it left open the question of whether they ever resumed it. Now, there is a new national intelligence estimate that has been cooking for probably more than a year now, and that national intelligence estimate apparently when it is finally published will reverse many of the original findings, and conclude that that work is continuing to this day, though perhaps at a slower pace.

BLITZER: Now, he was promised $5 million if he eventually relocated permanently in the United States over a period of many years. Do we know for sure in all of your reporting, A, why he came, B, why he decided after staying here for a year to all of the sudden go back to Iran?

SANGER: Well, the way it has been explained to me, Wolf -- and there is a lot here we do not know, so we have to be somewhat humble in our ability to reach any conclusions -- is that he came over voluntarily as a defector, the American story is, leaving a hotel in Iran in Saudi Arabia when he was on a religious pilgrimage. That was in June of 2009. We began asking him questions about him later that fall when it was clear that he had disappeared. American officials would not say very much about him, but it was clear he was providing some information to American and European intelligence agencies.

We didn't know where he was. At some point in the spring, he began to get very nervous about his role. I think that by that time, they had finished debriefing him, and he particularly was worried about his 7-year-old son and his wife, who he had left back in Tehran. It is not clear to us why he did not attempt to leave the country with them. Maybe he could not.

And he began making these YouTube videos. You have seen some of these. And the first one that he made, he said that he had been kidnapped. He basically picked up on the Iranian story. Then, if you believe the American version of events, he felt bad about this, made a second video, much more professionally made -- he looks like he is on one of your studio sets -- in which he says, no, he is just a student here studying for his Ph.D., looks forward to completing his studies and returning to Tehran.

And then a few weeks ago a third video came out that was more like the first one and then he pulled up in a taxicab in front of the Iranian intersection of the Pakistani Embassy in Washington on Monday night and said that he wanted a passport and a ticket home.

BLITZER: Yes. And he is back in Iran right now, got a hero's welcome. We will see how long that lasts.


SANGER: Yes, he got a hero's welcome, but we're also told that he was taken off for interrogation. So...

BLITZER: Right. I suspect he is in deep trouble right now back in Iran, but we shall see.

David, good reporting. Thank you.

SANGER: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: David Sanger is with "The New York Times."

Jack Cafferty is coming up next with "The Cafferty File."

We are also standing by for a technical briefing from BP this hour on the Gulf disaster. We will get the latest also from an oil expert. Stand by.

And an American-born man believed to be a leader in an al Qaeda offshoot, now the federal government is freezing his assets. Will that really make any difference?

Plus, state employees suspected of compiling information on illegal immigrants, including the due dates of pregnant women, there are new details emerging on this investigation. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: If you like your job, like Wolf does, you better hold onto it, because Congress is thinking about raising the retirement age.

As lawmakers run out of options on how to pay for Social Security, which is broke, "The Washington Times" reports how top Democrats and Republicans have been making unusually frank comments on this very topic. Usually, politicians talk in generalities about things like cutting the deficit and other stuff. It's what they do best.

But it seems the flashing warning signs of our skyrocketing and unsustainable deficits have finally gotten their attention.

And now they're getting down to business, with party leaders saying that with people living longer and in better health, the nation cannot afford to keep paying out benefits for as long as 30 years after people retire.

House Minority Leader John Boehner suggests raising the retirement age for full Social Security benefits to 70 for all those people who are now 50 or younger.

Boehner also says we should provide benefits only to those who need them, means-test the benefits. He says, with the government broke, it shouldn't be paying benefits to those who have substantial income from other sources while they're retired.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer also talks about raising the retirement age and providing benefits primarily to the poor.

Government watchdog groups are impressed at how serious both parties seem to all of a sudden be about fixing Social Security. They say the leaders are realizing Social Security, which was long considered the third rail of politics, is now low-hanging fruit, meaning it's one of the easier budget problems to address.

All this comes at a time when many European countries are already moving toward raising their retirement ages in order to fix their budget crisis.

Currently, Americans can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62.

So, here's the question: Is it time for Congress to raise the retirement age?

Go to and post a comment on my blog.

Wolf, when -- at what age might you retire?

BLITZER: Never. I'm hoping to work a long -- I love my job. You know that.


CAFFERTY: I know you love your job.

BLITZER: I am not retiring any time soon.

CAFFERTY: Never retire, all right.

BLITZER: I hope not, no.


BLITZER: I hope you don't either, Jack.


BLITZER: All right, stand by. We are going to discuss this later.

The Treasury Department is freezing the assets of American-born terrorist suspect Anwar al-Awlaki. The U.S. calls him a key leader in the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula operation in Yemen and a planner of the failed Christmas Day attempt to bomb a plane bound for Detroit.

Let's get some insight from our national security contributor Fran Townsend. She was the homeland security adviser to President Bush. She served in the Clinton administrations during -- in the Justice Department as well. She's also a member of the CIA's External Advisory Board.

I guess the question is, what took so long?

FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, not only was Awlaki implicated in the attempted Christmas Day bombing, but remember, Wolf, going back to the Fort Hood shooter, he had contact with al-Awlaki.

One sort of has to wonder. It is not six months, it's more like 10 months since we really had a basis upon which to act against him. The other thing that strikes me, I mean, look, Awlaki probably does not have any assets here that he wants to get access to. What it may help, though, is those who are here in the U.S., Americans who may be inspired by him or want to communicate with him and help send him money, it will stop them from being able to do it or it will make it...


BLITZER: He is a U.S. citizen still. He was born I think in New Mexico, later lived in Virginia, eventually wound up in Yemen, where he is now, doing these videos, speaking in English, obviously, fluently, trying to recruit sleepers or terrorists who will go out there, kill themselves and kill a whole bunch of other people in the process. TOWNSEND: That is right, some of those who have access, the ability to cross the American border more easily than someone who has got a travel pattern from countries of concern to the United States.

And so, they are inspired by him. He knows how to speak to Americans and he is a very effective recruiter.

BLITZER: I think -- as you point out, he probably does not have a whole lot of money here in the United States, probably does not have a whole lot of money anywhere right now. What is in my opinion much more significant is whether or not the U.S. government has put a formal hit out on him to kill him.

Has he been targeted for assassination because he is involved in these terrorist operations?

TOWNSEND: It has been reported that he has, but if you talk to sources inside the intelligence and defense community, what they say is there's been an awful lot of hand-wringing back forth about whether or not the Obama administration will actually give them authority if they can locate him.

They don't feel the real pressure to do this and make an absolute pressure, because they're having really difficulty. As long as he stays in cities, in settled areas, it is a very difficult operation. And so what you really need is the Yemeni government to sign on and take the lead.

And while we provide them a lot of assistance and a lot of training, you know, it is not a very capable government. These are people who let 25 people escape from a prison in Yemen, and so we don't have a whole lot of confidence in their capability.

BLITZER: The president, President Obama, did praise the government of Yemen this week, saying they are doing the best they can, which obviously is maybe not a whole lot.


BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Fran, for that.

They confessed to funneling top-secret U.S. information to Cuba for decades. Now a retired U.S. State Department analyst and his wife learn their punishment.

And three million phones sold in less than a month, but not everyone is very happy. Apple chief Steve Jobs announces the company's iPhone 4 fix during a sometimes emotional news conference.

Stay with us. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.



BLITZER: Did disgruntled state workers collect data on people they suspected of being illegal immigrants, breaking the law themselves in the process? Stand by.

Also, concern about the pressure inside that new well cap in the Gulf of Mexico. We are expecting momentarily a new briefing from BP. We also have an expert standing by to help us better appreciate and understand what's going on.

And Apple's Steve Jobs speaks out after weeks of bad press over the new iPhone 4. Apple is now offering a free fix -- details of what the company plans to do coming up.


BLITZER: Let's get back to our top story this hour, the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

There are now new questions about the pressure levels inside that new well cap.

Let's bring in Don Van Nieuwenhuise. He is a petroleum expert from the University of Houston who has been helping us understand what is going on.

We heard Thad Allen, the national incident commander, say the pressure level right now is at 6,700. He would like it to be a lot higher than that. This is sort of an ambiguous reading. Explain what is going on.

DONALD VAN NIEUWENHUISE, GEOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON: Well, as they shut in the flow of the oil, the pressure would start to build back up, because when you have 20,000 to 40,000, maybe even 50,000 barrels of oil escaping, it draws down the pressure in the rocks.

And then when you close it off, it takes a while for that pressure to build back up. Now, if that pressure built back up to 9,700 PSI -- or 8,700 PSI, rather, that would suggest that they had integrity all the way down the length of the well.

As it is right now, it suggests that they could have a leak somewhere around 11,000. And that would be the worst alternative except that at that depth, it is not too dangerous. And the other alternative would be that the reservoir, itself, that the oil has been in has lost a lot of its own initial energy. And because it has lost that energy, it is not going to get back up to that 8,700 PSI. And it is a very complicated process to figure that out.

BLITZER: So, what is the worst-case scenario?

VAN NIEUWENHUISE: The worst-case scenario is not too bad, in that it suggests that there could be a leak somewhere around where the pore pressure in the rock is about 6,700 PSI. And I would take a wild guess that that is close to 11,000 feet, 10,000 feet in the wellbore, which is well below the surface of the ocean. And ,therefore, you don't have to worry too much about a subsurface leak coming all the way to the surface, because there are many rocks that we call sealing shales and sealing rocks and some people call them capping rocks that could block the flow of that to the surface. So, it is not too dangerous if that is what is happening.

BLITZER: Well, momentarily, BP is about to begin another teleconference, another phone briefing for reporters and update us on what is going on. And, of course, we will share that with our viewers as soon as we get that information.

But, at this point, it is fair to say that these levels, these pressure levels, 6,700, that is an ambiguous result. How much longer will it take before we know what the next step is?

VAN NIEUWENHUISE: Well, I think they are going to want to make sure they get that seismic data processed, so they can take a very good look at what those results are.

In other words, if they see a leak somewhere around 10,000 or 11,000 feet, then they will know that is what the issue is and it will no longer be ambiguous. Otherwise, if it really is just a loss of reservoir pressure, it will take a long time for that pressure to build back up, because the pressure is building from deep in the reservoir, and laterally far away from the wellbore. And it takes a while for that pressure to come back and build back up.

And it could take a lot longer than 48 hours. But, as long as they see a clear sign on the seismic, then it shouldn't be a real problem.

BLITZER: We're going to let you go listen to the teleconference right now and come back and help us to appreciate what's going on. We're standing by for new information. Professor, thanks very much. Dan Van Nieuwenhuise is with the University of Houston. Much more on this story coming up.

Also, President Obama poised (ph) assigned the newly pass financial reform bill. We're taking a closer look at the new powers it gives Washington, and we'll find out what a former federal reserve chairman thinks should happen to some longstanding tax cuts to help bring down the deficit.


BLITZER: They're beginning a technical briefing right now for reporters. BP experts on this current status of this test that is under way. There's still some concern that the pressure levels are not where they should be right now. We're going to share with you all the latest information we're getting. Thad Allen just a little while ago said the results, so far, are a little bit ambiguous, so they can't declare a success yet. We're watching this closely. These are critical hours in this test right now. Stay with us. As soon as we get the information, we'll share it with you.

We'll move on, though, for the time being to some other news we're following. We just learned that next Wednesday, President Obama will sign the landmark financial reform bill passed by Congress into law. Our national political correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is here with more on this part of the story. Remind our viewers, Jessica, for those who haven't been paying as much attention as they should how this came about.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: OK. So, there is one thing these days that Republicans and Democrats can agree on, everyone hated the Wall Street bailout, but think back to why we had the bailout. It was almost two years ago, Americans woke up to find the country's most trusted banks on the verge of going under. Officials were warning of possible total economic collapse, and we all got the sense that government watchdogs have been asleep at the switch, but there was no time to deal with fixing government regulations then. The banks needed an immediate bailout we were told.

Well, cut to this week, after more than a year of wrangling, Congress came up with a plan that the president will sign next week, and some of the things it does, one, it gives the government power to unwind huge financial firms like AIG, so they can be taken apart without putting the larger economy at risk. This is how the officials say we will end too big to fail. The bill is also designed to streamline bank supervisors to prevent banks from shopping around for the one regulator they think might turn a blind eye to some other riskier practices. And it also establishes a consumer protection bureau. That's to watch over those mortgages, loans, and credit cards that we all get to make sure that the rules are clear and responsible.

The bill does a lot more, but those are just some of the highlights, and Wolf, as you might guess, everyone with a stake in it has an opinion. Some say it doesn't do enough, some say it does too much. We won't even know what it does exactly for at least two years in some cases. That's how long it'll take for some the elements to be implemented.

BLITZER: And we, certainly, will know what it does if there's a crisis. Then, of course, it will have to prove itself to see if it's good or bad. Jessica, thanks very much.

Meanwhile, significant tax cuts put into place under President George W. Bush back in 2001 and 2003. They are now set to expire at the end of this year, and the former Federal Reserve chairman, Alan Greenspan, says let them go. He says we need the money to bring down the huge, huge deficit. Let's talk about it with CNN's John King. He's the host of "John King USA" which begins right at the top of the hour and our chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley. She's the host of "State of the Union" which airs Sunday mornings 9:00 a.m. eastern.

I'll play a little clip of what Alan Greenspan told Bloomberg Television.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meaning, what happens?

ALAN REENSPAN, FORMER FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Taxes go up. The problem is, unless, we start to come to groups with this long-term (INAUDIBLE), we're going to have major problems. I think we misunderstand the momentum of this deficit going forward.


BLITZER: Wow. That's a pretty surprising from Alan Greenspan who was a big architect, at least, he supported all those, a lot of those tax cuts back in 2001 and 2003?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This politics have a term for squaring the circle, if you will. You remember back in 2001, Candy remembers it very well, George Bush came in after the contested election. He didn't win the popular vote. Most people thought he would retreat. The advices retreat (ph). Instead, he went for a tax cut even bigger than the one he campaigned on, and it was the blessing of Alan Greenspan.

Alan Greenspan would tell you he said, we have to keep an eye into deficit, but what they took the headline was, I endorse this approach, the Bush tax cut. That changed the dynamic here in Washington. It helped the new president back then get those tax cuts. Now, Alan Greenspan is saying let them go away.

BLITZER: Yes, and it's interesting, Candy, because President Obama says, you know what, if you make under $250,000 a year, keep the tax cuts. At least, that's what he says he's going to try to do, but if you make more than that, you're going to lose. You're going to go a higher -- you're going to have a tax increase. You're going back to the old rates that existed during the Clinton administration.

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Listen, there are all kinds of political traps for President Obama in what we just heard Greenspan say. First of all, he said we have to get this -- I don't think people really understand what's coming with this rolling deficit. That's been a huge problem showing up in the polls. It does not help Democrats at this point to have that sort of thing brought to the fore. It also doesn't help because the president going into next year, I've talked to advisers prior to this, economic advisers, and the problem is as it's always been, if the country is still in the middle of a recession or in the middle of a recovery, sort of, there is a case to be made that you don't want to raise taxes at that point.

And you're perfectly right, the president also has promised not to raise taxes on anyone making under $150,000, I think, for a single person or $250,000 for a couple. So, there is no good way to go on that because everybody knows, and the truth of what Alan Greenspan said is you cannot get a hold of this deficit unless you raise taxes and cut spending, and that is just something as you know has been really, really hard to do in Washington and harder still to talk about in election year.

BLITZER: Candy is going to have more on this, Sunday morning 9:00 am eastern on "State of the Union". John will have much more coming up at the top of the hour. Guys, thanks very much.

And illegal (ph) list that compiling data on illegal immigrants and details of some serious allegations against state workers in Utah. Standby.

And Apple answers critics of its controversial iPhone 4 and criticism of what some say is a major design flaw. We have details of the what the company plans to do about it.


BLITZER: Remember, we're standing by for an update on what's happening right now with the oil test. We're getting new information. There is a briefing under way. Standby. We'll share it with you momentarily.

Meanwhile, Utah officials say strong opinions and frustrations over the immigration issue likely played a role on the creation of list of hundreds of people allegedly living in the United States illegally. Let's go to CNN's Mary Snow. She's been checking into this list for us. A major update today, what are we learning, Mary?

MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, two state employees are now suspected of being behind that infamous list that's created such an uproar. The names of 1,300 people were on that list described as illegal immigrants. Very personal information was included such as social security numbers and even due dates for pregnant women. It was distributed to law enforcement agencies and the news media earlier this week.

Now, today, Utah's governor called it deplorable. It turns out the employees suspected of being behind it work for the Utah Department of Workforce Services. The agency's executive director suspects that a couple of other workers may be involved.


KRISTEN COX, EXEC., DIR., DEPT. OF WORKFORCE SERVICES: The people identified certainly have strong political opinions and seem to be frustrated with issues surrounding immigration. Regardless of what their frustration is, if they work for Department of Workforce Services or for state government, they understand what the rules are. They understand the protocols, and if they want to go rogue, they need to quit the department. I think it's a immense hypocrisy to talk about taking people to task for being illegal and do so by breaking the law.


SNOW: The workers have been put on administrative leave pending an investigation. One leader of a Latino advocacy group says it's been traumatizing for the Latino community in Utah with many people very afraid. Utah's governor said today, there were names on that list that were incorrect, names of people who are legally living in the United States -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So, they've been put on administrative leave, but then what? What happens after that?

SNOW: Well, now, this case is going to be turned over to the attorney general of Utah. A spokesman there says at the very least at this point, they could face up to six months in jail, but there is a possibility of federal charges, and those carry penalties up to ten years in prison. BLITZER: Mary Snow working the story for us, very disturbing story out of Utah. Thank you.

Our oil expert and our reporters, they're standing by right now. They're getting details of BP's latest technical briefing. We're going to see what the company is now saying about the pressure levels inside the well cap. Earlier results today were ambiguous. We're watching this very significant story.

And is it time for Congress to raise the retirement age? Jack Cafferty has the your e-mail.


BLITZER: Get back to our top story, what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now. We want to bring back the petroleum expert, Don Van Nieuwenhuise of University of Houston. Don, you've just been listening to this technical briefing with BP officials. We've been monitoring it as well. They sent out a tweet just a moment or so ago saying no indication. We don't have well integrity. We'll continue to monitor and pay particular attention to that. They also said Kent Wells of BP, well integrity tests is proceeding as planned, and the pressure continues to rise slowly as predicted by our modeling. All right. Give us the bottom line. What's going on?

NIEUWENHUISE: What they think right now is that they use the term -- Kent Wells used the term depletion, and earlier, I explained to you that what happens when you produce a reservoir, the pressure draws down and then it takes a while for the pressure to come back up, but if you deplete enough of it or expend enough of that oil and that energy, it will never get back up to that pre-existing state or that high pressure level of 8700 pounds. So, the 6700-pound per square inch reading that they're getting could just mean that the reservoir has lost some of its own energy, and it has been slightly depleted and that's a good sign and suggests that there is no problem whatsoever with the integrity.

On top of that, they also looked at their sonar, and they did get some results from their seismic. They have processed the seismic quickly, and looked at that, and they see no leaks at this point. So, this is very, very good news from where I'm sitting.

BLITZER: It's because they're also bringing in some more sophisticated technical ships and other sonar equipment to monitor what's going on around there. This could take a while though before we know for sure that it is working, right?

NIEUWENHUISE: Absolutely. But, one of the key things here is that the biggest concern is if they have a shallow leak from that well and it reaches the surface quickly. That could cause a lot of problems, and because of that, even though they have no indication of some sort of problem like that, they are checking it, double-checking it, and they're even getting additional vessels with the side-scan sonars to scan even larger areas just to make sure there is not a leak somewhere else around perhaps if there's a fault, a crack in the earth, that they know about from their previous seismic that could be leaking. They're double checking this, and I think they're just being very careful at this point in time.

BLITZER: Well, we're looking at all the camera angles that they have up there, and we don't see any oil coming out which is good news, but we're keeping our fingers crossed. Stand by, Don, we're going to continue to monitor what's going on. More information coming in. So far, so good, but they're not yet ready to declare victory.

Let's go back to Jack, he got the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Question this hour, is it time for Congress to raise the retirement age.

John Rice (ph) from Louisiana, forget the retirement age. Drop the cap on Social Security taxes and raise the percentage people and employers have to pay in.

Mac in Michigan writes, I'm sure the Republicans would prefer to just kill the poor and working class when they reach 61, but this will have to do until they regain the House and Senate.

Ed in New York writes, this is a likely candidate to be put successfully through Congress during the lame duck session.

Gary in Michigan, yes, the age should be raised. It's documented that with the advancements in stem cell research and other technology, in 20 years, the average life span will be 110 years old. Only common sense to adjust any program to fit the realities of the day.

Jeannie writes, Jack, I have no problem with raising the retirement age. We're all living longer. It only makes sense, but the Social Security fund has full of my money, and I should still be permitted to live off its benefits.

Greg in Ontario, who the hell gets to retire these days? Politicians, doctors, and a few people we say are celebrities. Everybody else works until they drop.

Steve writes, Social Security was started with the knowledge that most people would not live to an age to get it. They're just trying to screw us, again.

And Shaun in Las Vegas writes, I hope the retirement age goes up to 100, so we can see you on the SITUATION ROOM for decades to come. That sounds like fun.

If you want to read more on this, you can go to my blog, -- Wolf.

BLITZER: They pay us to have fun, Jack.

CAFFERTY: And we do. We have a lot of fun here in the SITUATION ROOM.

BLITZER: Every single day.

CAFFERTY: Each day except Saturday and Sunday which are tomorrow and the day after.

BLITZER: We need to recharge our batteries.

CAFFERTY: Yes. And so, I'm going to leave now, and I'll see you on Monday.

BLITZER: Go home.

CAFFERTY: I'm going to leave.

BLITZER: Thank you, Jack.

These waves that ongoing war of words with the NAACP over charges of racism. The Tea Party Express spokesman, Mark Williams, talks about it. That's coming at the top of the hour on "John King, USA." Stand by for that.

But up next, Apple iPhone is taking a lot of heat for not performing up the speed. Steve Jobs announces a fix, a so-called fix for dropped calls. We'll tell you what he said right here in the SITUATION ROOM.


BLITZER: Here's a look at some hot shots. In Afghanistan, two teenage boys work on a laptop outside a mosque.

In Germany, this area with view of the fields (ph) shows a map of the United States made of straw.

In New York City, a couple dressed as Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross protest financial reform.

And In West Hollywood, check it out, a stylist groom as dog for a doggie fashion show. Hot shots. Pictures worth a thousand words.

The Apple boss, Steve Jobs, confronted weeks of criticism with the company's new iPhone 4 today. Listen to his news conference in California, Silicon Valley.


STEVE JOBS, CEO, APPLE: You know, we're not perfect. We know that. You know that. And phones aren't perfect, either. But, we want to make it -- make all of our users happy. If you don't know that about Apple, you don't know Apple. The first thing we've learned is smart phones have weak spots. This is not unique to iPhone 4. This is a property of smart phones. They have weak spots. You can grab them in the course of normal use, and they're all different, but you will drop reception. For those small number of customers that are having problems, we're going to give them cases, which we think will take care of most of those problems.

And for those that still are unhappy, we're going to give them a full refund. And that's everything we can do to try to make every customer happy. But, the data supports the fact that the iPhone 4 is the best smart phone in the world. And that there is no antenna gate. There is a challenge for the entire smart phone industry to be able to improve its antenna performance some day to where there are no weak spots on any smart phone. We do all this because we love our users.

And when we fall short, which we do sometimes, we try harder. We try harder. We pick ourselves up, we figure out what's wrong and we try harder. And when we succeed, they reward us by staying our users. You know, Apple has been around for 34 years. Haven't we earned the credibility and trust from some of the press to give us a little bit of a benefit of a doubt of our motivations and the fact that we're confident we're going to solve these problems, we're going to take care of our users?


BLITZER: So, will this be enough to make iPhone users happy? CNN's Richard Roth is getting their reaction.


RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, customer affection for Apple will get slightly tested by the iPhone 4 issue. Customers are still flocking into this Apple store in lower Manhattan. Steve Jobs says this is not antenna gate saying that phone drop almost (ph) happen with all their products. We talked to several customers who have already purchased the iPhone four.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being more (ph) with not such petite hands. I've been having issues here and there. You know, I waited here about a month ago for six hours to claim my device. Now that I have it, I've been enjoying it. I'd like to get maximum usage out of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I bought the bumper when I got the phone. So, I'm going to go on mine and try to get my money back for buying the bumper. At first, we haven't had such an issue because I don't speak on the phone much. I'm a texter. So, maybe two of my calls have dropped, but it hasn't been so bad for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't have any problems with the iPhone. I used to have a (INAUDIBLE) before I got this, and I also cued (ph) up on the release day, and I got this. I just kind of forgot to get the bumper on the day it was released. But I really didn't have anymore problems with it than I have with the 2 J.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's nice to see them go out and try to accommodate the people. At the end of the day, most of us spent a lot of money on this device, so we would want to get compensated. I think it may take a bit of a toll, but you know, this device has so much more to offer that other phones out in the market. I think a little antenna issue isn't going to make such a big deal out of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALEI I want him on my team. I think he's the ultimate diplomat. He's a CEO without blemish, but I think he knew about this beforehand, that they could have come out sooner.

ROTH: Customers will have until September 30th to request a free case for their iPhone 4 and a month in which to return their iPhone 4 to get a refund -- Wolf.


BLITZER: Richard Roth on the streets of New York, thank you.

Remember, you can always follow what's going on here in the SITUATION ROOM on Twitter. You can get my tweets at, all one word. You can also follow the SITUATION ROOM on Facebook. Go to to become a fan.

Don't forget tomorrow, 6:00 p.m. eastern, Saturday SITUATION ROOM. Until then, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in the SITUATION ROOM. "John King USA" starts right now.