CBS News: Government rejects Armstrong's $5M restitution offer
(CBS News) Lance Armstrong has offered to pay more than $5 million to the federal government to compensate for the fraud he allegedly committed against the U.S. Postal Service, CBS News has learned. The Postal Service paid Armstrong's team more than $30 million to sponsor it from 1999 to 2004 as part of a contract that banned doping.
CBS News has also learned Armstrong offered to be a cooperating witness in a federal investigation.
But our sources say the Department of Justice has turned down both offers as inadequate.
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This is the latest development as Armstrong's career comes crashing down around him. He won the Tour de France, sport's most grueling event, seven times. But late last year, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency produced evidence that the U.S. Postal team ran "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program the sport has ever seen."
Armstrong sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey, which will air on Thursday. On Tuesday, Winfrey appeared on "CBS This Morning."
Watch Oprah Winfrey's full interview with "CBS This Morning," at left.
"I would say he did not come clean in the manner that I expected," Winfrey told "CBS This Morning." "It was surprising to me. I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers ... but I think the most important questions and the answers that people around the world have been waiting to hear were answered, and certainly answered -- I can only say I was satisfied by the answers."
CBS News has confirmed that Armstrong offered at least a limited confession in the interview.
We spoke to a rider who was once Armstrong's trusted lieutenant. Tyler Hamilton helped him win the Tour de France, but in an interview for the Showtime program "60 Minutes Sports," Hamilton told us both he and Armstrong used banned drugs and engaged in the illegal technique called blood doping, when a rider infuses a bag of fresh blood during a race to beat exhaustion.
SCOTT PELLEY: Would there have been a Lance Armstrong without doping?
TYLER HAMILTON: You know, doping definitely helped him. You know, a lot of people say, "OK, well, you know, everybody's doping. So it was a level playing field." But it -- that's not true. That's not true. Doping took a lot of money, took a lot of -- it took a risk taker, took a lot of -- having connections. And a lot of people just weren't willing to make -- take all those risks. A lot of people didn't have the money, you know? Blood doping, for example, took a lot of money, a lot of details, a posse of sophisticated, you know, know-what-they're-doing kind of people. And Lance had those.
PELLEY: So most everyone at the top of the game was doping, but not all the doping programs --
HAMILTON: Not all the doping --
PELLEY: -- were equal?
HAMILTON: Exactly, exactly. The people who run the sport were actually some of the dirtiest people involved. And, you know, they still run the sport today. It's pretty wild stuff.
PELLEY: Who do you mean?
HAMILTON: The U.C.I., which is the governing body of cycling.
PELLEY: International Cycling Union?
HAMILTON: Yup, yup.
PELLEY: Why do you say so? What did they do?
HAMILTON: There were a lot of favors made to Lance, made to the -- made to the team. Doping cover-ups. You know, they had their sort of golden boy. They're -- they had their -- you know, their ticket to a lot of money.
PELLEY: And their ticket to America. It made America crazy about cycling.
HAMILTON: Oh, incredible, incredible.
PELLEY: But it is your opinion that the U.C.I. would sanction the cheating as opposed to suffering the consequences?
HAMILTON: Yeah, 100%, 100%.
The International Cycling Union says that it has established a fully independent, external commission to look into the various issues and allegations against it.
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