ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 6, 2013
Guests: Jeff Merkley, Liza Goitein, Spencer Ackerman
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I am Chris Hayes. And
thank you for joining us.
There is big breaking news tonight you definitely want to hear about if you
have ever used the Internet. I mean that seriously. It is pretty
incredible what we have just learned.
Plus, remember when Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was doing everything in her
power to block Obamacare in Arizona? Crazy thing, she is now doing
everything in her power to implement Obamacare in Arizona. Sometimes,
reality trumps ridiculousness.
And speaking of reality, that there is a photo of the president in the
White House Situation Room being briefed last week on the latest threat to
our homeland. And that threat is climate change. It`s hurricane seasons,
But we begin tonight with this guy. All right. This is U.S. District
Judge Roger Vinson. He`s a senior federal judge for the northern district
of Florida, appointed by Ronald Reagan. He has a Facebook fan page with
He is a camellia flower enthusiast, and, in fact, was former president of
the American Camellia Society.
And today, not for the first time, Judge Roger Vinson has found his way
into the news in a very big way. Judge Vinson enjoyed brief new stardom
and Tea Party in 2011 with his ruling that Obamacare was unconstitutional.
He was actually the second federal judge to rule the health care violated
the Constitution but the first to rule it was so thoroughly and offensively
unconstitutional that the entire law needed to be thrown out wholesale.
It was an incredibly wide-ranging and scorching opinion in which Judge
Vinson quoted James Madison at length and argued that penalizing people for
not buying health insurance would be a radical departure from existing law.
And that if Congress can raise your taxes for not having health insurance,
quote, "it is not hyperbolizing to suggest that Congress could almost
anything it wanted." It`s a classic slippery slope. One day, you let
Congress attached a tax penalty to heath insurance coverage. The next day
you know, you`re living in an in escapable Orwellian dystopia.
This is a man who looked out and saw a duly passed law that combined tax
penalties and subsidies to nudge people towards participating in the
private insurance market as doing absolute violence to the charter of
liberty that our sacred forefathers gave their blood to enshrine.
Of course, Obamacare ultimately made its way to the Supreme Court where a
majority of justices disagreed with Judge Vinson`s finding.
But today, Judge Robert Vinson is involved in another very high profile
case. This is a top secret court order compelling Verizon to hand over to
the NSA all of its call detail phone records for calls made between the
United States and abroad or wholly within the United States, including
local telephone calls.
The order requires Verizon to hand over these records, quote, "on an
ongoing daily basis." In other words, if you are a Verizon customer, the
NSA is collecting records of who you talk to and when and for how long
right now, every single call.
Here is the signature of the judge who approved the order, one Roger
News of the secret order and the order itself came by way of this
blockbuster piece published last night by "The Guardian" newspaper. Quote,
"The document shows, for the first time, that under the Obama
administration, the communication records of millions of U.S. citizens are
being collected indiscriminately and in bulk, regardless whether they are
suspected of any wrongdoing."
So, the same guy that thought that paying slightly higher taxes if you did
not purchase private health insurance was an offense to our revolution
thinks it`s just fine for the government to demand to see every single call
record everyday for millions of Americans who are not suspected of any
crime, think for a second about what James Madison would have thought about
the crown keeping a comprehensive list of every single piece of mail sent
in the colonies.
But here`s the thing: Judge Roger Vinson is not some anomalous hypocrite in
this story. No, no. He is the norm. He is not the only person that wants
to wave the Gadsden flag while simultaneously actively supporting the post-
9/11 national security state.
This is par for the course in Washington is right now. That is where the
political consensus is right now. The Patriot Act, which authorizes this
sort of wholesale find originally passed the House in 2001 by a more than
5-1 vote margin.
It passed the Senate that year with literally one -- one single "no" vote,
that looming no vote was cast by then-Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin,
in case you`re wondering. Despite Russ Feingold`s best efforts, it keeps
Barack Obama, who as a candidate ran against the sort of abuses define this
kind of policy-making now as a president apparently fully, fully embraces
And senators on both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, spent
the day either defending the policy the government demanding all the phone
records for all of Verizon`s customers or passing it off as no big deal.
Quite simply, this kind of suspicious list, spying on Americans is the
post-9/11 bipartisan governing consensus of the country. Roger Vinson is
just part of it.
HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, and one
of the rare lawmakers who does not accept the broad political consensus in
Washington right now that this sort of spying is totally fine.
Senator, I want to begin with your reaction to this story and just ask if
you`re surprised or whether you actually already knew about is.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: Well, so, the inform -- I was very
surprised about the document being released. This is consistent with my
impression, but I am not on the Intelligence Committee to see a document
like this and have it come into the public realm. This hopefully will
create the kind of conversation we need have about our government surveying
information -- detailed information about its citizens.
HAYES: You attempted during the last Patriot Act reauthorization 2011 to
introduce an amendment, legislative language, that would have changed some
things about how the Patriot Act is interpreted and how the government can,
in secret, interpret the law. Does that seem relevant to you given the
revelations we just have?
MERKLEY: This completely demonstrates why we need to d declassify the
opinions of the FISA court. The plane language of the law is that the
government can accept or seek tangible items that are relevant to an
Now, what does tangible mean and what does relevant to an investigation
mean? As I said then, is relevant to an investigation, a peephole with
high standards set by the courts, or is it in fact a barn door thrown wide
open where the government can obtain any information on any one at any
And I think what this document says that was released yesterday is that
this is a barn door -- the government can seek virtually anything on anyone
and does so on a daily basis.
HAYES: The reaction by many members of Congress, both houses across the
political divide, has been a collective shrug. This is what we do.
And I want to play a representative example. This is your colleague,
Dianne Feinstein, with her reaction to the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Right now, I think everyone
should just calm down and understand this isn`t anything that is brand new.
It`s been going on for some seven years.
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: This is a routine every three
months court reauthorization of a program that`s been in existence for a
very long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s Senator Reid and Senator Feinstein. What`s your reaction to
MERKLEY: They are confirming what`s never been confirmed before, which is
that our government is spying on its citizens on a daily basis. Now, we
don`t know if it`s just phone records. Does it extend to library records?
Does it extend to licensing of firearms? What does it extend to? What
kind of data collection?
All of this is not in the public realm because up until now, those in the
know have kept it classified. The attorney general kept it classified.
What my amendment would have done, it would have said, ay it`s not OK to
classify the interpretations of the words of the law so we don`t know what
the law means. I would think most people say relevant to an investigation
implies that there is a current investigation and you`re collecting
information that`s directly tied to it. And, certainly, collecting all the
phone information on all Americans who have Verizon as a phone carrier
doesn`t come close to meeting that standard.
And so, this is absolutely unacceptable in a democracy, that this is not
clear to us what the boundaries are under which the government is
operating, and we can`t debate whether we think we should modify that. And
citizens can`t get input whether they are OK or outraged about it.
HAYES: Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat from Oregon -- thank you so much.
MERKLEY: You`re welcome. Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now is Liza Goitein, co-director of the Liberty and
National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, and Spencer
Ackerman, national security editor of "The Guardian U.S."., where he`s got
a front page story, big blockbuster story on his first day at the paper.
It`s great to have you both.
All right. We have this story yesterday and now, right now, we have
another huge breaking story that`s very similar. This is being reported
right now, it`s being reported in "The Washington Post" and in "The
Basically, it is about a program called PRISM. "Washington Post" reporting
that the NSA and the FBI are tapping into the servers of nine Internet
companies. The program is codenamed PRISM. It was established in 2007 and
nine tech companies are knowingly participating. Companies being tapped
are Microsoft, Yahoo!, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and
Information being collected includes audio, video, photos, e-mails,
documents and collection logs. The -- I want to read this part about it.
Analysts who use the system from a web portal at Fort Meade key in
selectors or search terms that are designed to produce at least 51 percent
confidence in a target`s foreignness.
I should also add that Apple has told our colleagues at CNBC that they deny
that they have anything to do with this. They do not know what PRISM is.
What is you reaction to this after the day after we have this huge scoop
about NSA and Verizon, where you have this about PRISM? What is going on
ELIZABETH GOITEIN, BRENNAN CENTER FOR JUSTICE: Well, my first reaction
was, you`ve got to be kidding me? What is happening here? And I have to
say I was baffled by some of the things I read in this story, at least in
this story about the collection of domestic phone records by the NSA.
I understand the legal hook that the government is trying to hang it on.
They`re trying to hang it on the so-called business records provision of
the Patriot Act. You can read that provision and like Senator Merkley, you
can think that the government got it wrong and FISA court got it wrong.
In this case --
HAYES: Let me just stop there, right? There is a very business records
provision of the Patriot Act.
HAYES: And a very generous interpretation of it could conceivably allow
one to do the kinds of things that are reported on with NSA and Verizon.
You think no conceivable interpretation.
GOITEIN: Too generous.
HAYES: But the government`s case, right, is that this is how they`re
interpreting it. They`re duly going to a FISA court, a judge, Judge
Vinson, sign off on it. It`s all squarely within the bounds of the law.
Now, this PRISM thing, is that legal, from what you can tell?
GOITEIN: Well, I would like to know what the argument is for its legality.
It does not appear legal to me. But I`m curious, and maybe Spencer is able
to answer this question whether the government believes that it`s
proceeding completely outside the FISA Amendments Act which governs that
collection of any sort of intelligence that involves any kind of U.S.
person, because it`s only targeting foreign people and story, or whether it
thinks it`s proceeding under the FAA, in which case there should be some
court oversight going on in terms of approving --
HAYES: What they`re doing.
HAYES: So, Spencer, can you -- can you -- what is going on here? With
this story which by the way "The Guardian" broke almost simultaneously with
the "Washington Post." You both have copies of a 41-pager PowerPoint that
outlines the present program.
SPENCER ACKERMAN, THE GUARDIAN: That`s right.
HAYES: What`s going on here?
ACKERMAN: The government does believe it`s acting legally. What will be
very interesting to see over the coming days, weeks and months ahead is
what, in fact, it`s willing to justify about the legal basis for its
There`s a really important legal history here, which is over the course of
the last 11, 12 years, there have been so many different reauthorization
and carve outs of very important surveillance laws from the Foreign
Surveillance Act, to the creation of the Patriot Act, to the amendments of
both, to the accommodations what we learned towards the end of the Bush
administration about the warrantless surveillance aspects of its
intelligence collection programs, that all of the spread indications by
which the government can collect surveillance on American citizens has
gotten so enormously broad that common sense restrictions embodied in these
laws do not appear to jive with the actions we have seen.
HAYES: So, this brings me to this question. This is a line from the
"Washington Post" and this is a story behind the story that I really want
"Washington Post" says, "Firsthand experience in these systems and horror
at their capabilities is what drove a career intelligence officer to
provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to `The
Washington Post` in order to expose what he believes to be a gross
intrusion on privacy. They quite literally can watch your ideas form as
you type, the officer said."
Now, Spencer, I don`t obviously want you to give up sources here, but I`m
trying to get my head around the timing of these two stories back to back,
two days, one after the other, as some kind of rebellion by the
ACKERMAN: Chris, I`m not going to go there.
HAYES: OK. No, no, that`s absolutely fair.
Are we going to see reaction on the Hill, Liza, to this -- to this, or are
we going to see a collective shrug like we saw today?
GOITEIN: Well, we saw a range of reactions. We saw -- and overall, yes,
you might describe it as a collective shrug. But you did see people full-
throatedly defending what`s going on. You saw Senator Graham doing that
and you saw Senator Chambliss doing. You saw Senator Merkley saying that
this is a real problem. You saw obviously Rand Paul saying this is a major
And then you had everybody in the middle. You had the members of the
intelligence committee, you had Dianne Feinstein, who has to say it`s OK
because she`s known about this and not just known about it. I mean,
Senator Wyden has known about it and complained.
GOITEIN: She`s known about it and done nothing as the leader of the
intelligence community. She has to say that.
HAYES: And one of the things we`ve seen throughout the post-9/11 era are
that the oversight communities in both the Senate and the House haven`t
quite aligned with the Intelligence Committee, largely, on these questions.
Liza Goitein from the Brennan Center for Justice and Spencer Ackerman, who
is having a bang-up first day on job at "The Guardian" -- thank you both.
A Tea Party hero who sued the federal government over Obamacare is now
doing everything she can to save Obamacare in her state. I`ll tell you
about the latest red state reversal, next.
HAYES: Coming up next, everyone remembers this famous picture. But now,
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is giving a different finger to her own
Republican legislature. I`ll tell you why.
And still to come, an inside look at a film with so many jaw-dropping
revelations you`ll think it must be fiction, even though it is absolutely
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JAN BREWER (R), ARIZONA: Medicaid restoration deserve as vote by the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Amazing. That was Arizona`s Republican Governor Jan Brewer at an
Obamacare rally last month. Not a repeal Obamacare really, but "I`m going
to ram Obamacare down the throats of Arizona lawmakers in Arizona" rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Brewer shared the stage with emergency responders,
veterans, business leaders, all hoping to win over Republican lawmakers.
ABC 15`s Christina Estas (ph) is taking action, breaking down this
And, Christina, this is the same governor who sued the Obama administration
over Obamacare. Now, she wants to expand Medicaid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s right. This Jan Brewer, who wagged her finger in the
president`s face, the Jan Brewer who signed into the law one of the
country`s most severe anti-immigrant bills, a woman who eat scorpions for
breakfast. The same Jan Brewer who signed a law giving the Tea Party flag
the same protections as the American flag, is putting pressure on
Republicans in her state to pass Obamacare`s Medicaid expansion.
And not in some half hearted way. Governor Brewer basically called a
moratorium on all legislation by threatening to veto any bill that came
across her desk until the Arizona Republican lawmakers passed Medicaid
This wasn`t some idle threat. Last week, the governor vetoed a handful of
bills, and in a letter explaining her actions wrote, "I warned I would not
sign additional resolutions into law until we see two most pressing issues
facing us, adoption of a 2014 state budget and plan for Medicaid."
Well, yesterday, Arizona`s Republican House acknowledged defeat and took up
the $8.8 billion state budget passed by the Arizona Senate that includes
Medicaid expansion and assigned it to a committee for hearing.
For Jan Brewer and seven other Republican governors who supported the
Medicaid expansion, this is not some ideological olive branch. But as
Brewer said, `There comes a time you have to look at the reality, you have
to do the math. It`s not only a mathematical issue, but it`s a moral
Joining me now is Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst, "Bloomberg View"
columnist and author of the new book, "The Center Holds: Obama and His
Jonathan, you`ve been covering the rights obstruction of Obamacare.
There`s some of this in the books. Are you surprised by Jan Brewer`s
JONATHAN ALTER, BLOOMBERG VIEW: I`m a little surprised by how vehement she
HAYES: I totally agree.
ALTER: But the fact that she`s doing, I`m not surprised by it, because --
all these other fire-breathing Republican governors are doing it, too. The
reason they`re doing it is, it`s free money. And they don`t have --
particularly if they come from states with a lot of retirees like Rick
Scott in Florida or Jan Brewer in Arizona, what a lot of people don`t
understand, much of Medicaid goes for seniors --
HAYES: Yes, exactly.
ALTER: -- to keep them from moving in with their children in the rec room
or on the couch. It gives them money for assisted living.
HAYES: And nursing homes.
ALTER: Nursing homes of all kinds. The point here is that she can`t deal
with her budget crisis until she gets some money for her Medicaid shortfall
and she can`t do that without eating crow on Obamacare.
HAYES: So, here are the dollars and cents from the RAND Study that came
out, the loss in federal dollars for those states that are going to be
opting out, $8.4 billion, increased state spending of a billion dollars.
So, here`s my question to you: you have Republican governors like Jan
Brewer and Rick Scott in Florida, who is also pushing for Medicaid
expansion, who were you know, Rick Scott was the guy that tried to kill
Obamacare, what is the difference between the state governors in the
Republican Party and Republican members of Congress?
ALTER: Well, they don`t have to close budget gaps in Congress. They don`t
have to deal with Medicaid shortfalls. They just can get up with no
consequence repeal Obamacare 31 times.
But they`re also not serving their constituents by doing this. What`s
going to be interesting to see whether it catches up to them. So, I was
talking to Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn a few days ago. She
was talking about it.
HAYES: She`s a conservative Republican.
ALTER: Conservative Republican. She`s talking about her constituents are
coming up to her with technical fixes that are necessary for Obamacare.
Some of them are very good points because any major piece of legislation
The Republicans can`t serve their constituents and fix this bill until they
get out of coco land and stop trying to repeal it.
So, one of the things I point out in this book, and reasons (INAUDIBLE)
hold of this, Obamacare ain`t going anywhere. You know, they can shout as
loud as they want. He`s got the veto pen. It`s here for good and they
might as well get on with fixing it.
HAYES: OK. Here is -- this is the big question, right, whether the center
does hold in American politics, given the nature of the modern Republican
Here`s "The National Review" editorial board reacting to Governor Brewer.
"Governor Brewer shenanigans are the political equivalent of holding one`s
breath and stamping one`s feet. She is the Veruca Salt of governors.
She`s throwing a gubernatorial temper tantrum on behalf of expanding
government-run health care."
That`s "The National Review," which is not even the farthest out there,
right, on the right wing. That`s the kind of thing any Republican
presidential as aspirant is going to face when they`re talking about
immigration reform, when they`re talking about whether they`re going to
play ball on Obamacare.
ALTER: I didn`t say that the center of the Republican Party was going to
hold. I was talking about the center of the country.
ALTER: That essentially, this was a monumental titanic presidential
election. And I -- you know, it happens to be the first book out about
ALTER: I was trying to put it in historical context for people on Father`s
Day, whatever, so there is a sense that if Romney and Ryan had won and the
Ryan plan had been implemented, they would have moved this country sharply
to the right for a lot of different reasons.
And instead, Obama has the veto pen. They can`t override his veto. Until
2017, at the earliest, because of demographic shifts, probably not even
then -- we will be a centrist country.
They can yell as much as they want at "The National Review", it doesn`t
make any difference.
So, depressed progressives who are worried about gridlock, all the good
things we want to have happened aren`t happening, they should look at the
glass half full. We dodged a big bullet last year.
HAYES: Right. Jonathan Alter, MSNBC political analyst -- thank you so
ALTER: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Today, we witnessed the first wave of what is predicted to be a
series of assaults on our country. How we respond or fail to respond will
directly impact the future of every single one of us. That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Tropical Storm Andrea rushed across the Florida peninsula,
kicking up surf and flooding in coastal communities, while inland the
bigger concern continues to be tornadoes spawned by the first named storm
of the season.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Yes. Hurricane season has arrived. And our first named tropical
storm of the year is just about through Florida and is about to head up the
East Coast. It`s our A storm. Tropical Storm Andrea and it has spawned a
few tornadoes and caused a fair amount of flooding.
And the damage is fairly limited as it crosses into the Atlantic Ocean.
But it`s hurricane seasons. So, you know what that means? It`s time for
all of us news organizations to send our reporters to Florida, to the
Carolinas, to the Gulf Coast, to New York City, to turn our reporters into
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll show you the tape of Geraldo Rivera. This is how
strong the waves. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let`s go for cover.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m trying to stand!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s a wind gust right there. Whoa. That`s a wind
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Looking -- it looks like the Sandy walkway out to the
beach is actually got my boot stuck.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s awful dangerous out here. These waves are trying
to knock me over. If that happens, that current will take me down and pull
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: No one can dispute the entertainment value of a good Geraldo
platform and more knows this network will be sending out our fair share of
reporters to be there when weather attacks. The point is weather is
attacking. Take a look at this picture. This is the president last week
on the eve of hurricane seasons in the situation room. He`s being briefed
by homeland security, FEMA and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric
They are in the room where Obama watched the Osama Bin Laden raid and he is
being briefed on the upcoming hurricane season because hurricane season is
no longer just part of your local news weekend weather outlook. It us now
a situation room where the threat to the country. We all need to get used
to that idea because that is the era we have entered into right now. It`s
Our most recent big disaster hurricane, Hurricane Sandy, killed 117 people
and caused more than $50 billion in damage. That`s billion with a "b." It
wasn`t just a one-off freak event. It`s the kind of disaster that is going
to happen now again and again because of the carbon we put in the
atmosphere and are continuing to put in.
We are now entering the first stages of the disaster years. That`s what
they`ll call it when the history books are written, the time when the
uncommon became common. Just last week, NOAA predicted a far more active
than normal hurricane seasons with 13 to 20 named storms. Keep in mind,
last year they predicted 9 to 15 named storms and we got 19.
When NOAA explained their prediction for this year`s extremely active
hurricane season, they, of course, cited warmer than average water
temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. More carbon
in the air plus warmer water equals bigger and more frequent storms.
You can see, as the planet climbed past 400 parts per million of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere, the average number of named storms in the
Atlantic has shot up over the last two decades. There are more of them.
They are getting longer and they are showing up earlier too. Between 1966
and 2009, the average date of the first named Atlantic storm was July 9th.
The past four years including this one, we have named the first storm in
June and May. Tropical Storm Andrea was early and thankfully doesn`t look
like it will be that bad. We may not be that lucky when the storms named
Barry and Chantal and Dorian and Erin and Ferdinand are done with us.
As you watch other channels treat their storm coverage like (inaudible),
you should know that I am going to be covering those storms, too. I will
cover them as if they`re some kind of random independent acts of God or
fate. I am going to cover them as what they are. The scientific results
of what we are doing to this planet and the planet we`re giving to our
children. We`ll be right back with Click 3.
HAYES: This man was congratulated for a job well done by being presented
with a number 1,626. That`s how many people he killed as an Air Force
Drone operator. He says he lost respect for life. Coming up, Jeremy
Scahel joins me on the impact of these wars and whether there`s an end in
But first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet today
beginning with a fascinating look into who says what and where they say it.
We`ll start off with a classic, what do you call this? You say soda or is
it pop? Maybe it`s just a Coke. Of course, what you call it depends where
you live. East and west coasters say soda. The Midwest calls it pop while
parts of the south say Coke.
This map, along with over 100 others were created by researcher, Joshua
Cap, based on surveys from folks across the country detailing the nation`s
linguistic differences. Like the rubber soled thing you wear on your feet
to the guy are only called sneakers in the northeast and South Florida,
practically, everyone else says tennis shoes.
And what do you call a drive-through liquor store? Well, if you live in a
tiny swap of Virginia and North Carolina, seen here in yellow, you called
it a brew through. If you live in areas in blue, you might refer it by its
Christian name, mobile fun time shop.
And you live in the red areas, you are probably thinking yourself right now
as I am is a drive through liquor store a thing and how do I know this was
a thing? It is a great way to learn about regional vernacular. You know
the old saying one man`s garage is another man`s car hole.
The second awesomest thing on the internet today comes to us from Turkey,
where thousands have taken the street to protesting their government.
There`s been a veritable blackout on reporting among traditional media
outlets. In fact, one network opted to show penguin documentaries during
So it fell upon a game show host, Ali Esan Barol of the word game to weigh
in. And as the "New York Times" reports he did it in the best way
possible, crafting questions so that all of the answers, phrases like
toxeme, gas mask, Twitter and dictator were thinly veiled references to the
Mr. Barol reportedly used 70 phrases in total, many Turkish viewers
tweeting their surprise and delight in the host`s action. Mr. Barol said
he has since been asked to air a pre-recorded episode of his quiz show
instead of live broadcast. And now one Turkish newspaper is reporting the
host describes his current employment situation as somewhat complicated,
best of luck to Mr. Barol and hats off for speaking truth to power.
For the third awsomest thing on the internet, an act of patriotism gone
viral, we now go to Eisenhower Junior High School in Darien, Illinois. The
school band is performing a rousing rendition of the national anthem when
14-year-old Andrew Pavel, check on the cymbals. Kudos to young Andrew for
quick thinking turning a potential disaster into resolute awesome. We
salute you. You can find all the links for tonight`s Click 3 on our web
site, Allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In an earlier life, he had been America`s enemy
offering protection to people on the U.S. kill list. The warlord has since
changed sides and now on the U.S. payroll and assumed the title of general.
The men fired across the rooftops, but it didn`t make sense to me what we
were doing here or what the Americans were doing here in Somalia arming
this warlord turned general that seemed like a senseless war.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to move.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These were fighters you buried here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you capture a foreigner alive, you execute them on
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was my friend, Jeremy Scahill in Somalia talking to a Somalia
warlord, a Somali warlord who is now a U.S. partner in the war on terror.
It`s a clip from the exceptional documentary "Dirty Wars" that opens in
theatres tomorrow, directed by Rick Rowley and co-written and produced by
The film takes viewers from Yemen to Somalia to Afghanistan and documents
the reality of the American war on terror and its many, many casualties.
It`s arguably the most comprehensive look at the secret war on terror that
exists. A war that we continue to fight across the globe, a war that day-
by-day, piece-by-piece is being dragged into the light. The latest in that
process comes from an MSNBC news report exactly how much the CIA knows
about the people it kills.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): NBC News has examined classified documents
detailing 114 drone strikes in Pakistan in 2010 and `11. Locations, death
tolls, alleged terrorist affiliations, but they also reveal what U.S.
officials don`t know, like how many killed, between seven and 10 in one
strikes, 20 to 22 in another. U.S. officials do seem certain they almost
never kill civilians. In those 114 strikes, only one acknowledged civilian
casualty. What`s more, about a quarter of those killed are described
generically as quote "other militants."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After a decade of ever expanding secret wars, we, the American
people are just now having public debate discussion about the wars we`ve
already been waging. Joining me now is Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer
of "Dirty Wars," which opens tomorrow, June 7th. He is also the author of
a book by the same name and national security correspondent for my magazine
Jeremy, I want to get your reaction to the Richard Engel story yesterday.
It`s in the ballpark of other things we`ve learned along the way about the
practice of what are called signature strikes, which is the government
engaging in a strike and then not really knowing who has been killed, but
assuming that they aren`t civilians essentially.
JEREMY SCAHILL, WRITER/PRODUCER, "DIRTY WARS": This was a practice that
began at the very end of the Bush era, the end of the second term. The CIA
started saying there are certain regions. It began in Pakistan. There are
certain regions of Pakistan that have such intense activity of the Taliban
or al Qaeda that we`re going to go ahead and classify anyone who is in a
group of military aged males as a terrorist posthumously or a militant,
As Richard said in his report, his identifying other militants and so if
you`re a military aged male and you`re with a group of others and someone
in that group maybe have been to a mosque that someone the U.S. was
tracking attended or you had been in a restaurant with another individual
and then you end up with another group.
If you are killed in that strike, the U.S. will say that you are a
terrorist. So what we`re saying right now or what we`re seeing is a policy
that`s continued and intensified under Obama. Obama authorized the
expansion of that program to Yemen.
So what we`ve seen were repeated strikes where the United States is
intentionally targeting individuals whose identities that may not know and
against whom they may not have any evidence whatsoever that they`re
involved with criminal or terrorist activity.
HAYES: Based on essentially patterns of behavior, you were in a restaurant
with this person who we have ID`ed or you showed up at a training camp or
you showed up in some location, not even a training camp.
SCAHILL: Yes, it could be purely coincidental or they are up to no good.
We don`t know who we`re killing in these strikes is the point.
HAYES: One of the things that I think is remarkable about the film, which
is -- it`s just an incredible document. I really want people of any
politics to see this movie, really. It`s not from a political standpoint.
It`s just raw footage of what this looks like on the ground. One of the
things about it is that when you hear, I see a spread sheet, this person
It`s very hard for me to have a human connection to that number. It`s
remote and one of the things about this movie is you go and talk to people.
This is an interview I want to play, which is the grandfather of Abdul
Rakman Al-Awlaki, the American citizen, 16-year-old who was killed in a
drone strike, whose father was also killed --
SCAHILL: Not at the same time.
HAYES: Not at the same time, accused by the U.S., his father of being a
terrorist, but no one has ever made that accusation against him. This is
you in Yemen talking to his grandfather.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rakhman left without telling us. He said in a small
note that he`s going to look for his father. He left from the kitchen
window and he took a bus. Then, when his father was killed, his
grandmother told him there is no use for you to stay anymore. He said,
yes, I will come back in two days.
On the morning of October 15th, we got the telephone call and they told us
he was blown up to pieces by the drone and they saw the back of his hair.
His relative, his cousin, he knew his hair from the back and recognized it
and knew he really was dead. But they could not recognize his face or
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: How did reporting this change you?
SCAHILL: It gutted me as a person. You know, I don`t write articles in
the first person and I don`t often talk about myself, I talk about people
I`ve met and stories that I`m covering. I think in the course of -- people
will see this was a very personal film. It wasn`t that way in the
beginning. We set out to make a very different film and ultimately, you
know, we could not be in it ourselves because it affects all of us as
reporters. We`re not robots.
I think sometimes when you cover war you can think you can steal yourself
and then jump from one thing to the next. In writing the script for the
movie, I realized how many people I`ve met. This is all I`ve done my
entire adult life is this kind of reporting. I still remember people I met
in Iraq in the 1990s in Basra.
I remember families that had loved ones killed in the war in Yugoslavia and
in the 1990s and then of course, Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. What
always strikes me is the incredible humility and kindness that people have
lost so much can show. In many of these cases I`ll go a place I`m the only
American that they`ve ever met or the only American besides those that did
the night raid on their home and killed their loved ones.
I found myself. I`ve been attacked for this and I say it in the movie, I
find myself apologizing when I go into these homes and saying we`re sorry
we did this to your family. People say that makes me not objective. I
don`t care. I think objectivity is kind of a farce. It`s transparency
HAYES: One of the themes of this film is the ways in which the war in
terror has and has not changed under President Obama. It`s a very
complicated story actually. It`s not as simple as George W. Obama and not
as simple as everything was solved when Barack Obama was elected. I want
to get into that particularly in light of today`s news right after we take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: This will involve
partnerships with other countries. Already, thousands of Pakistani
soldiers have lost their lives fighting extremists. In Yemen, we are
supporting security forces that have reclaimed territory from AQAP. In
Somalia we helped a coalition of African nations push Al Shabab out of its
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Obama speaking on the war on terror in May, a long
speech, unprecedented in his detail and scope about his theory behind that.
I`m here with Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer of "Dirty Wars," which
opens in theaters tomorrow, June 7th, on Saturday night at 6:25. I will be
doing at IFC here in New York doing Q&A with Rick Riley who directed the
film. You guys should come check that out.
The president talking about partners, you talked to some of those partners.
Who are those partners?
SCAHILL: Yes, I mean, well, in the case of Yemen, you know, the United
States has been backing something called the Counterterrorism Unit, the
CTU, which is supposed to be targeting AQAP, al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula and they certainly have been engaged in battles with them.
But when the Arab spring uprising was happening and there were protests
against the dictator (inaudible) all of the personnel are elites, Special
Operations Forces that were inside of Yemen pulled out because there was a
perception that they were involved with supporting units that were being
used by the regime to repress the uprising.
So U.S. counterterrorism funding was actually used in an attempt by the
dictatorship to protect itself. The Wikileaks cables reveal that U.S.
officials repeatedly are in these discussions with the dictator of Yemen
saying you can`t use the counterterrorism funding to defend your own
He just basically continues to do it and you know, has milked the U.S. with
this counterterrorism funding and then Somalia, you know, part of the story
is that the U.S. is partnered with the Ugandan military and the Burundian
But also we`re working with these warlords as we saw earlier and the CIA
has this base at the airport in Mogadishu. They actually line one of the
Somali agents every month and pay them $200 in cash and it`s effectively
become an outsource kill capture force that`s being run -- I saw it when I
landed. Looked like a forward operating base and I started asking around
and got forces to confirm that`s what it was.
HAYES: Two huge stories. Yesterday and today, one about NSA, getting all
the phone records for three months from Verizon today about the NSA`s prism
program which is nine -- the servers of nine different internet companies
including Google so here`s my question to you.
My feeling about the Obama administration and the Bush administration and
the difference is much of the same policies have been continued. What the
Bush administration saw as the war giving them an exception around the rule
of law the Obama administration has pushed out and expanded the legal
architecture or interpretation of law so all of it is punitively legal.
It`s the same stuff but it is now within their assertion of what the law
SCAHILL: Right. You look under Bush and Cheney it was murder inc around
the world. It`s not like, you know, sort of Obama is worse than Bush and
Cheney. I mean, these guys, let`s be clear, these guys were running Murder
Inc. around the globe and violating Americans rights left and right.
Why this is such an important story, I agree with your point is that
because Obama is who he is, a brilliant man, a constitutional law scholar
and because he is popular with the liberal base he`s selling people on the
idea, there`s actually a legitimate legal way to do all these things by
tweaking the Bush/Cheney machine a little bit. I think he has convinced
many liberals that`s what he`s doing.
This story is this tip of the iceberg. I think a lot more revelations are
coming out in the coming weeks about this NSA story. That`s all I`ll say
about it. I think there`s a lot more that we are going to be reading in
the coming weeks on this. We have this pervasive over classified
perception of secrecy in the United States government.
There is a massive bureaucracy. American citizens are being spied on. The
whole idea of courts almost irrelevant when you have this behemoth breaks
where they can data mine with a 50 percent likelihood you might be a
foreigner. What does that mean? How does one prove that?
When you compare that with the drone strikes and signature strikes we have
gotten out of the business who we`re actually fighting anymore. A lot of
this is this unanimous big brother state. A lot of people say you`re
exaggerating. Every time we see these stories critics are proven right.
Glenn Greenwald has been talking about this through the Bush and Obama
administrations. A lot of his reports have been vindicated, not just war
on terror under Obama, but spying on its own citizens.
HAYES: Jeremy Scahill, his film is called "DIRTY WARS" and it opens in
theatres tomorrow. If it is an absolute must see if it comes to a city
near you, do what you can to see it. Whatever you think about the
president or the war on terror, you have to see it. That is all in for
this evening. The "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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