June 11, 2013
Guests: Anne Gearan, Tim Pawlenty, Jonathan Weisman, Dana Priest, Doug
Brinkley, William Gray
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: The fog thickens over Foggy Bottom.
Let`s play HARDBALL.
Good evening. I`m Chris Matthews in Washington.
Let me open tonight with this. Something may have gone terribly wrong at
the State Department. There are now disturbing allegations of serious
abuses and perhaps interference in several investigations during the period
Hillary Rodham Clinton headed that department.
Documents obtained by NBC News that relate to an ongoing investigation
involving the State Department contain some disturbing allegations. An
October memo cites allegations of abuse in eight cases labeled open at the
time, including engaging prostitutes, pedophilia, sexual assault,
unexplained shootings, unauthorized leaking of information and a possible
underground drug ring.
Among the allegations, that members of Hillary Clinton`s own security
detail, quote, "allegedly engaged prostitutes while on official trips in
foreign countries" on the secretary`s detail. Two of the countries were
Colombia and Russia.
And perhaps more troubling, another related document describes interference
in investigations from above. Quote, "Several examples of undue influence
from within Bureau of Diplomatic Security and from the top floor of the
department," raising concerns about the integrity of some internal
investigations. A senior State Department official says no investigations
were interfered with, to counter the charge.
Well, this is a firestorm of a story obviously. Let`s get the facts. Anne
Gearan`s "The Washington Post`s" diplomatic correspondent. Kasie Hunt is
NBC News political producer.
I want you, first of all -- nobody -- very few people know about this
story. I saw it in "The New York Post" this morning. It`s getting wide
discussion. It was on CBS last night. Let`s get the facts.
First of all, what do we know, starting from the beginning, Anne?
ANNE GEARAN, "THE WASHINGTON POST": There was a memo written last year
recounting, by the department of -- office of investigation at the State
Department -- recounting eight instances in which some fairly serious
wrongdoing was alleged to have taken place by State Department contractors,
employees and in one case, an ambassador.
There are twofold allegations here. One is that these instances of
misconduct occurred and were under investigation, and two, that those
investigations were not allowed to run their course, that either the undue
influence from above that was alleged that you referred to occurred, or
that the investigations were watered down.
And several investigators wrote up these eight instances and passed it on
in a draft report, which was never made public but which has now been
leaked. There was an official version of the report, and these instances
are not in it.
MATTHEWS: They were all taken out.
MATTHEWS: Now, how many sources do we have for this, that the IG report,
which detailed information about or investigations involving prostitutes,
pedophilia, sexual assault, possible underground drug ring, apparently, in
Baghdad -- do we have any evidence -- you`ve seen the document. You`ve
seen the document.
GEARAN: Yes, the original. Yes.
MATTHEWS: And that document was a memo from who to who? Can you say?
GEARAN: From a group of investigators within the IG`s office, and they
were reporting on investigations primarily undertaken by the Diplomatic
Security Bureau, which is the State Department`s law enforcement and
protective branch. These are all things that DS would have had
responsibility for investigating or looking at originally.
And in one case, the allegations concerned DS agents themselves, that there
were -- there was a -- as the report put, endemic hiring of prostitutes
MATTHEWS: So we know for sure from the reporting, your reporting and
others, that there was, in fact, documentary evidence, there is, in fact,
documentary of these abuses being charged?
GEARAN: What we know is that there were allegations that were serious
enough to begin an investigation. As the State Department keeps pointing
out, all of these are unsubstantiated allegations, and the State Department
will not say...
MATTHEWS: What does that mean, "unsubstantiated"?
GEARAN: Well, it could mean a lot of things. They won`t tell us which
ones have been closed and they won`t tell us which ones had enough
investigation to have been referred for criminal prosecution, if any.
MATTHEWS: So the charge here is, from a memo inside the Department of
State, that the IG`s report, which came out and written up, had all this
GEARAN: Right, heavily redacted.
MATTHEWS: Heavily -- let me go to Kasie Hunt for NBC News, Kasie Hunt.
Fill in what you heard there. Fill in around and give us your sense of the
hard news here.
KASIE HUNT, NBC PRODUCER: Absolutely. For the folks up here on the Hill
who are starting to look at this really closely and kind of comb over what
Anne was just talking about and looking at these different allegations, the
main issue is potentially what was covered up, what was changed, and
especially as they look to try and tie this to Secretary of State Hillary
They`re really looking carefully at suggestions that top-floor management
at the State Department knew about some of what was going on and actually
played a role in watering it down.
And the first reaction here on Capitol Hill was to say, Look, the State
Department hasn`t had an official inspector general in years, for all of
Hillary Clinton`s tenure, and they suggest that these State Department
investigators who prepared this report were intimidated by political
MATTHEWS: And that`s -- so in other words, people have told NBC or have
told anybody in the news business that they were intimidated from telling
the full story here about these abuses in the department?
HUNT: I talked to staffers on Capitol Hill who are familiar with the
investigation, who say that they`ve had State Department employees, or
rather, people who are familiar with what`s gone on at the State Department
come to them and discuss the allegations generally, and also the
investigation itself and how it was conducted.
People are being very careful in these early stages, but they are telling
us at this point that they know who the person is who is talking most
aggressively about this and that they`re going to make sure to follow up
with that person at great length.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s get the dramatis personae straight, the characters
here. You mentioned, Kasie, that there`s some people trying to connect
this to the secretary of state, the former secretary of state. Can you say
who they are who have been trying to make that connection?
HUNT: At this point, there are very few people who are willing to go on
the record or say publicly that they want to make that connection. All I
can say at this point is that it`s a connection that`s being made behind
the scenes up here.
I will say there are already political people who are out there publicly
essentially saying that, you know, secretary of state -- former secretary
of state Hillary Clinton won`t come out and publicly discuss this. You`re
already seeing some Republican operatives, some people who used to work for
Mitt Romney`s presidential campaign, who are coming out and...
MATTHEWS: Of course.
HUNT: ... and suggesting that that -- that they are tied together.
MATTHEWS: Well, let`s go back -- let me go back to Anne Gearan on this
case. A couple things here, a couple threads. First of all, regarding the
former secretary of state, who`s generally been seen as clean as a whistle
in every regard in public life -- let`s talk about the one thing, her own
security guard, this charge that the security guard were hiring prostitutes
down in Cartagena, the same kind of situation we had with the Secret
Service down there with the president...
MATTHEWS: ... and also over in Russia. What`s that? How sound is that,
that charge right now?
GEARAN: Well, the allegation in the original report is that it was more
than one agent and that it happened in at least those two places. The
action in Columbia would have predated the Secret Service scandal with
agents hiring prostitutes there last year.
But it sounds like a very similar allegation, that agents who were
traveling for work either before the secretary got there or while she was
visiting were hiring prostitutes in their hotel. The original allegation
on that is, like the others, basically, an outline of a charge. There`s
very little that can be independently verified in -- among those
MATTHEWS: Kasie, let`s go (ph) on that. What do we have from your end,
from NBC regarding that, the security detail covering the former secretary
of state when she was traveling through Cartagena, and of course, traveling
to Russia on different trips?
I mean, this does have a certain parallelism to the charges involving the
Secret Service covering the president in Cartagena. I was down there
covering that thing. Actually, I was involved in the -- one of the big
debates down there.
And the question, I guess, is what role does the secretary or the president
play in watching the day-to-day or night-to-night activities of their own
security details? It would seem to me something that wouldn`t come up in
regular conversation. My thoughts, involving the person you`re -- and
you`re laughing. It`s not something they would be telling her about or
even reporting to her about. Only in a general sense would she be
responsible for it.
HUNT: Right. Well, and I -- you know, I covered Mitt Romney`s campaign
right after that Secret Service scandal. And the changes that were made
immediately in the wake of that were very obvious. There were many, many
new rules about socializing that the Secret Service detail that was
attached to Mitt Romney was basically forced to follow after that scandal
So, no, it`s not something necessarily that the principals are aware of.
They may know that somebody is standing outside of their door most of the
day. But beyond that, there`s no real reason why they should know.
As far as what NBC News knows, I mean, we`ve seen the draft report that
Anne mentioned earlier, and we`re sort of very carefully trying to ferret
out exactly who it is that`s talking.
MATTHEWS: Are we going to read in the paper tomorrow about anyone else in
Hillary`s world, her counsel or anyone else over there at State Department,
being involved in any interference here in these investigations?
GEARAN: Probably not. The main development from the senior (ph) State
Department today was an on-the-record denial from Patrick Kennedy, both
Hillary Clinton`s undersecretary for management, the guy who basically runs
the floor (ph)...
GEARAN: ... and now John Kerry`s undersecretary for management, that there
was any interference, any improper diversion of these cases, basically,
anything at all. And that is also what the State Department spokeswoman,
Jen Psaki, maintained from the podium today.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, this is going to be a big story in the papers
tomorrow, I can tell you. I just -- you`re top of the fold tomorrow, Anne.
Anyway, thank you so much for coming on, Anne Gearan of "The Washington
Post," Kasie Hunt of NBC.
Coming up: This afternoon, the Senate vote -- and this is a big vote, 82 to
15, to begin debate -- in other words, for cloture -- to kill the stalling
tactics on immigration reform. That`s a bipartisan "gang of 18" -- or
eight, rather, bill coming that`s coming through here.
That was -- the hard part is coming up, of course. What are the chances of
passing a law that actually addresses the problems with our immigration
system, including order security and what to do with the millions of
undocumented workers already here? Well, former Minnesota governor Tim
Pawlenty`s coming here to tell us about what it looks like from his
Also, one of the journalists who broke the story about the classified NSA
program says there`s more significant revelations coming down the road
again. How did a somewhat low-level contractor in the NSA -- that`s my
question -- stationed in Hawaii get access to so much information about our
agents around the world? And did he act alone in this case?
And 50 years ago today -- what a day -- the president of the United States,
John F. Kennedy, gave a speech, a great Civil Rights speech that will go
down in history as one of the most consequential American presidential
speeches given. It was about Civil Rights and it paved the way for major
changes in this country.
And we`ll get an update from Richard Engel in Istanbul about the half hour
mark about those dramatic clashes -- they are some amazing scenes in the
streets over there -- and about the rioting going on and the police and
anti-government protesters going at each other.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, here`s some news. Bill Daley announced today that he`s
running an exploratory committee to run for governor of Illinois. In a
video on his Web site, the former White House chief of staff under Obama
used a common saying about the Obama administration, "We can`t wait."
Daley would be running against incumbent governor Pat Quinn in the
Back in November, a PPP poll showed Quinn with an approval rating of just
25 percent, making him the least popular governor in the country. That
same poll showed that a match between Daley and Quinn would put Daley on
top by 3 points, 37 to 34. Not much of a jump there, but enough -- good
enough for Billy to get in this race. It`s going to be a great race, and
Daley is a great guy.
We`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL. Let them in, let them stay or kick
them out and keep them out. Those are the battle lines, of course, being
drawn around the most contentious provisions of the immigration overhaul
bill right now, border security and amnesty.
The Senate`s "gang of eight" immigration legislation passed its first major
procedural hurdle today with flying colors. An overwhelming majority in
the Senate -- catch this number -- 82 to 15 voted in favor of moving to
debate. In other words, for cloture (INAUDIBLE) legislation. President
Obama says he wants a bill on his desk by this summer.
Well, let`s take a look at the nay votes today. I`m fascinated (ph).
These are the people, Republicans all, are the senators that didn`t even
want to consider the bill, didn`t want to consider even immigration reform.
Catch this -- Barrasso of Wyoming -- he didn`t want any (INAUDIBLE)
immigration reform -- Boozman, Arkansas, same deal, Crapo from Idaho, Cruz
from Texas, Enzi from Wyoming, Grassley from Iowa, Inhofe from Oklahoma,
Kirk from Illinois -- a surprise there -- Lee, Mike Lee from Utah, Risch
from Idaho, Roberts from Kansas, Scott from South Carolina, Sessions from
Alabama, Shelby from Alabama, Vitter from Louisiana.
And the bill they refused to discuss as it`s currently written would aim to
boost protections along the southern border via $4.5 billion of new funding
and 3,300 new customs agents. Also establishes a road map for 11 million
illegal immigrants to gain full citizenship, a process which would take a
total of 13 years and require a payment of $2,000 in fines.
Well, Democrats are confident they`ll be able to win passage of the bill in
the Senate. But Republican leaders have made one thing very clear. It
won`t be without a fight. And getting the bill through a Democratic-
controlled Senate is going to be easy compared to what`s looming in the
Republican-controlled House, where the bill faces a much more uncertain
If -- and that`s a big if -- a bill gets to the president`s desk, what`s it
likely to look like? Will it be worth it? Will it be something we`ll be
proud to enforce? That`s my question, which honestly does bring real
Well, Tim Pawlenty is a former presidential candidate, we all know, and
former governor of Minnesota. He`s currently the CEO of the Financial
Services Roundtable. And Sam Stein is an MSNBC contributor with the
HuffPo, with the HuffingtonPost. Thank you, gentlemen.
I guess my question is, as we go into this -- we`ve gotten past cloture
today. We`re going to have a vote in the Senate. They`re going to deal
with this issue, probably pass it. Are we headed towards a real bill, a
bill that`s going to enforce immigration, like any other country in the
world, including Mexico, or are we going having to laws we intend to
enforce and are proud to enforce?
MATTHEWS: I`m mildly optimistic, Chris, that that`ll be the case.
Clearly, there`s momentum and the will to get something done in the Senate,
and they`re serious about it. And then the action`s going to shift to the
House. And that`s going to be more challenging for all the reasons that
But I would say this. And you`ve seen this before and talked about it. If
this is a situation where one side or the other demands a whole loaf,
nothing will get done. But if they`re willing to take two thirds of a loaf
or three quarters of a loaf, then a bill can get done. And I hope that`s
the spirit, the Reagan-Tip O`Neill that...
MATTHEWS: Yes, well, I`d like to see that again.
Here`s President Obama. He held his only second official event on this
issue today. Compare that to as many as 80 held on gun control, for
example. He was flanked today by key allies, which include the presidents
of both the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce. In his remarks, he took
direct aim at critics of the legislation, including Ted Cruz of Texas,
who`s basically said point-blank he doesn`t want to support any path to
citizenship. And Senators John Cornyn and Marco Rubio are pushing for more
effective border protection. They may not be pushing -- I think Rubio
definitely wants a bill. I`m not sure about Cornyn.
Let`s take a listen to the president on both these issues.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there`s a lot of talk
right now about border security, so let me repeat. Today, illegal
crossings are near their lowest level in decades. And if passed, the
Senate bill, as currently written and as hitting the floor, would put in
place the toughest border enforcement plan that America has ever seen. So
nobody`s taking border enforcement lightly. That`s part of this bill.
So this won`t be a quick process. It`ll take at least 13 years before the
vast majority of these individuals are able to even apply for citizenship.
So this is no cakewalk. But it`s the only way we can make sure that
everyone who`s here is playing by the same rules as ordinary families,
paying taxes and getting their own health insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Sam, where are you on reporting this? Do you think we`re going
to have a real bill we`ll be proud of and it`ll be around for 20 or 30
years, or is it going to be another Simpson-Mazzoli joke that doesn`t do
what says it`s going to do? What`s your sense of this? A real bill we`re
proud to enforce -- that`s my phrase.
SAM STEIN, HUFFINGTONPOST, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it really just comes
down to what the House does, I think, at this juncture. It looks pretty
promising in the Senate, although I would caution people that when gun
control passed the first cloture vote, everyone was exuberant, but then it,
of course, failed on the second cloture vote.
STEIN: But in this one, I think...
MATTHEWS: Do you smell that? Do you think some people just voted for it
so they weren`t being seen as enemies of the bill itself?
STEIN: Oh, I`m sure some of them did.
But we have such a margin here that it`s hard to imagine at this juncture
that it won`t clear 60. But, again, it comes down to what happens in the
House. And John Boehner could take one of two paths. He could bend to
this pressure to bring up the Senate bill, something comprehensive, violate
what`s known as the Hastert rule, which says the majority of the majority
has to be on board, or he can do a piecemeal approach and then hope that
the House and Senate conferees can hammer something out.
I think that`s the real determinative factor. The question you asked can`t
be answered at this juncture. We have so much more to go in this saga.
MATTHEWS: Well, there are so many stakeholders here, obviously, the Latino
community and the people worried about the votes of the Latino community,
both Democrats and Republicans. Let`s be honest. Democrats wants to keep
those votes. Republicans want a bigger share of that vote.
Business wants cheap labor. And I have been told for years the cheapest,
best labor in the world is the guy who just got across the border and is
working his butt off. That guy is cheap and he works very hard and he may
be very well-skilled.
So, I keep looking around for who doesn`t want illegal immigration? Who
really wants to -- so we don`t have NBC cameras out there the night after
this bill passed with people racing through the floodlights again -- what`s
going to stop that racing through the lights in the middle of the night so
we can say our border is secure, people aren`t sneaking into the country,
they come through a process of either guest workers or regular applicants
PAWLENTY: Chris, I...
MATTHEWS: Are we going to get to there?
PAWLENTY: Yes. If you think of this as a stew instead of a roast, in
other words, there`s enough elements to put together to compromise here.
Let`s look at some of those elements.
Number one, border security. It seems like there`s some general consensus
around that. They should be able to come together on that. Number two,
enough latitude to accommodate both high-skilled workers, the so-called H-
1B visa issue is so important, but also enough in those areas where there
are shortages for low-skilled workers as well.
PAWLENTY: A pathway to legal status for those who are deserving who don`t
get to cut in front of line and meet the other requirements.
Also, making sure that we have other protections in the bill, and there`s
another elements for compromise here. But if any side digs in and says
it`s got to be all my way, it`s not going to be...
MATTHEWS: Well, then what about verify?
Sam, are you a believer that we can have a system, given all the
electronics we -- these incredible electronics we keep reading about, that
certainly the NSA has it, this ability to know every time somebody does
something wrong? They have got pictures of them at the ATM machine. They
have got pictures of them going to Wal-Mart. They got -- apparently, we`re
MATTHEWS: So, it seems to me hard to believe we can`t tell if a person`s
really the guy he claims to be or woman she claims to be or not.
STEIN: Sure. Well, that`s the big sticking point right now.
MATTHEWS: What`s so hard about it?
STEIN: That`s the big sticking point right now. E-Verify is one thing.
But this biometric fingerprinting system is a whole `nother thing.
And the question is, is it too costly? Will it take too long to implement
100 percent across the board? I think there`s a general consensus among
the actors that they want to move to a system in which we use our
electronic advantages to help make secure the border, help make sure that
people aren`t hiring undocumented workers, et cetera.
STEIN: The question is, is it so onerous, is it so burdensome that you end
up putting the pathway part so far down the road that it makes it pointless
for pro-immigration-reform supporters to sign onto the bill?
MATTHEWS: Well, wait a minute. Let`s be fair here. You and I, Sam, and
the governor here have to show a passport to visit these other countries
besides the United States. We have to have a form.
MATTHEWS: We have to be legal. Why don`t people coming here have to have
a passport? Why does it seem so onerous? Any American who travels says
it`s not onerous to have a passport. It`s the law.
MATTHEWS: And we enforce it. So, why isn`t it true to come the other way?
STEIN: The onerous aspect is on the people who are already here, not the
people who in the future may come here.
STEIN: And the question is, what is the metric, what is the -- how will we
define a secure border? Because I`m not sure people realize what we would
have to devote to have 100 percent secure border. I`m not even sure if
that is possible.
MATTHEWS: No, how about making it 100 -- how about making it 100 percent
you can`t work in the United States without a worker -- a work permit,
which you need to have? If you were to go to Belgium to get a job, you
went to France tomorrow or Swaziland, Sam, you would need a work permit.
PAWLENTY: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: So, what`s wrong with asking for a work permit?
STEIN: There`s nothing wrong. This was what Mitt Romney`s focal point was
on the immigration -- on his immigration reform platform, which was, we
need a very robust E-Verify program.
STEIN: I`m 100 percent positive that that polls exceptionally well.
The question, though, is can -- it`s not whether you can isolate one
component and say, we need to do this. It`s -- the governor said, you have
to have a stew of these things. Otherwise, all the stakeholders won`t buy
into the end product.
MATTHEWS: I know.
OK. I just -- I live in the -- Governor, I live in the backwash of
MATTHEWS: I lived through all that. You live in all that, and nothing
worked. Nothing worked. It was all B.S.
PAWLENTY: That`s right, Chris.
And so, look, you fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Right.
PAWLENTY: And on this last point on E-verify, it`s not perfect, but the
system we have now, this paper system, is a joke.
PAWLENTY: If you come to me and I`m a hardware store owner, and you give
me a piece of paper, a Guatemalan birth certificate, a Honduran passport,
what am I supposed to do, go down and conduct an international
investigation to verify the document?
PAWLENTY: Of course not.
MATTHEWS: So, I want to make it possible for people to honestly hire
people and know they`re doing it honestly.
PAWLENTY: Yes. Thank you.
MATTHEWS: That`s what I want to do, so business doesn`t get blamed for
something it didn`t intend to do.
Thank you, Sam, and thank you, Governor Pawlenty.
MATTHEWS: Up next, we`re going to go to NBC`s chief foreign correspondent,
the best in the business, Richard Engel, with the latest on the situation
in Turkey. I don`t know if you have been watching these pictures. They
are something else. And they`re calling for the resignation of Turkey`s
prime minister. Good luck with that.
And this is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: There was a dramatic confrontation today on the streets of
Istanbul, Turkey. Riot police fired tear gas -- these pictures are amazing
-- and used water cannons to drive back thousands of anti-government
These demonstrations have been growing for the past two weeks, with
protesters demanding now the resignation of Prime Minister Erdogan. And
Turkey is of course an important U.S. ally. It borders Iran, Iraq and
Syria. Where it is on the map is amazing. And what happens there will
have serious repercussions around the region and the world.
So, the question today is, where is this heading?
NBC`s chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel, is in Istanbul, where
he`s watched everything that has unfolded today.
Richard, these are amazing pictures to watch live. Tell us how you see it.
Most people in this country don`t even have a grasp on what this is about.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think this has
also come as a great surprise to the prime minister of this country, who
didn`t see this coming, who has been dismissive of this, who seemed to
think this morning that he could send in the riot police and it would all
Now, beyond midnight, well -- 14 hours into this, it is certainly not over.
There is still a lot of tear gas here. There are still those water cannons
in the square just below me. And I`m not sure if I`m going to be able to
get through this whole report with you without putting a tear mask -- tear
gas mask on.
So how did it begin? A small demonstration here that started about two
weeks ago. Riot police moved on that demonstration as well. And some
images of attractive young people, the kind of people who didn`t look
threatening at all getting pepper gas -- pepper spray sprayed into their
faces were suddenly posted all over the social media.
People got angry. The protests grew. They grew to the point that this
morning at around 7:00, the prime minister ordered the heavies to come in.
The riot police came in very strong today. And there have been running
battles ever since.
It peaked just a few hours ago, when there must have been 10,000, maybe
15,000 people in the square. And then, in what seemed to me to be an
unprovoked action, the riot police rolled in. They came in, caused
something of a stampede. Quite a few people were injured as they were
falling on top of each other. And now, as darkness has overtaken the city,
it is just a -- maybe a couple of thousand people in -- just on the
outskirts of the square. And there are still these clashes.
MATTHEWS: This is an elected government. This isn`t like Mubarak, where
you have something of an elected -- this is a real democratic election.
And this guy`s been reelected three times now. What is it they don`t like
about him, those people in the streets?
ENGEL: And he does, Prime Minister Erdogan, have a big constituency.
There are many people who are watching Turkish television tonight who are
seeing what is going on here and are saying, good, these people are getting
what they deserve. They are causing problems for the government. The --
the -- they are hurting the economy, and that the prime minister is acting
as he should by being strong and driving the people out.
The protesters here, however, think that Prime Minister Erdogan has become
such a strong leader that he is now becoming an authoritarian leader. And
they also that he is imposing a hidden Islamic agenda, that he is a
nostalgic leader who wants to look back to the Ottoman Empire and
reestablish his dominance, something like a sultan over Syria, over the
recently changed regimes in Tunisia, in Libya.
And there is a big split in this country with people who want a secular
democracy and others who like what has been so far quite successfully, I
might add, for the last -- economically successful, anyway -- for the last
decade, Erdogan`s Islamic democracy.
MATTHEWS: I get it.
Thank you so much, Richard Engel. Take care of yourself, our great foreign
correspondent for NBC News.
Up next, the latest on the former NSA contractor, the young guy who broke
the story about the government`s online surveillance.
You`re watching HARDBALL, the place for politics.
COURTNEY REAGAN, CNBC CORRESPONDENT: I`m Courtney Reagan with your CNBC
Well, the Dow fell 116 points today. The S&P sank 16 and the Nasdaq was
down 36 points. Google announced it will buy Waze, a user-generated mobile
mapping service, reportedly for $1.3 billion. Sony PlayStation4
undercutting Microsoft Xbox 1 on price. Sony tagged its latest console at
$399. That`s $100 less than Xbox 1. And Lululemon shares plunged more
than 17 percent after CEO Christine Day announced she`s resigning.
That`s it from CNBC. We`re first in business worldwide -- for now, back to
MATTHEWS: Welcome back to HARDBALL.
Two days after outing himself as the man who revealed details about secret
NSA programs, there are still many unanswered questions. I have them,
certainly, about Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old contractor working at a
satellite NSA office out in Hawaii, somehow got his hands on highly
classified documents that had nothing to do with what he was actually
working on as part of his job.
Well, how exactly did that happen? Did he act alone, by the way? And what
else did he have access to? Meanwhile, Snowden seems to have vanished from
public view around the planet. He was last known to be in Hong Kong, but
he reportedly checked out of his hotel Monday and it is not known whether
he has fled the city.
Another potentially significant development, one of the reporters who was
leaked the information from Snowden said there was more coming. "The
Guardian"`s Glenn Greenwald told the Associated Press -- quote -- "We are
going to have a lot more significant revelations that have not yet been
heard over the several -- last several weeks and months."
Well, in other words, this story isn`t over by a long shot.
Dana Priest is the Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter for "The
Washington Post" and Jonathan Weisman is the congressional correspondent
for "The New York Times."
Dana, thank you so much.
I guess what`s confounded a lot of us is the -- sort of the implications of
this story more than the revelation, the implication being how does a young
contract employee over in Hawaii get to leak something to somebody down in
Rio that ends up in the London newspapers and comes bouncing back to us and
the entire world, when, in fact, he also claims, I could have outed every
CIA agent station chief in the world? How does a guy have that kind of
DANA PRIEST, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well,
if he`s really what he says he is, he -- it was a big mistake that he would
have access to such sensitive information.
There`s a principle in the intelligence world, which was -- which is need
to know. So even if you have a top-secret clearance, it doesn`t mean that
you get to see everything the government has that`s marked top secret. It
means that you should only be able to be have what you`re working.
On as a systems administrator, he might have had access to the system in
his office and to a broad array of e-mails and documents. But he really
should not have been able to access them. I mean, his job, as he describes
it as we know so far, was to make sure the I.T., the information technology
computer systems were working correctly.
So, just like in the Bradley manning case. He should not have had access
to all the State Department cables. He was an analyst on a given topic,
but he had access to things way off that topic. And I think what we`re
seeing is the government still struggling to figure out how to get that
right, how to share information with those that need to know and how to not
share it and not let it out with people who have no need to know.
MATTHEWS: Well, Dana, here he is in that interview over the weekend with
"The Guardian." Here`s where Snowden raised some eyebrows certainly about
making that claim. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD SNOWDEN, LEAKED DETAILS OF U.S. SURVEILLANCE: Anybody in the
positions of access with the technical capabilities that I had could suck
out secrets, pass them on the open market to Russia. They always have an
open door, as we do.
I had access to the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire
intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world, the
locations of every station we have, what their missions are and so forth.
If I had just wanted to harm the U.S., you know, then you could shut down
the surveillance system in an afternoon. But that`s not my intention.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Well, some officials pushed back on the claim he made there
about his access to that kind of information. One former CIA or senior CIA
official told "The Washington Post", quote, "When he said he had access
every CIA station around the world, he`s lying."
Let me get to another question with Jonathan.
You know, maybe it comes with being a computer -- sort of, I don`t know,
Internet web sort of person who lives basically their life at a desktop and
doesn`t have a lot of social contact or allies in life on this planet. But
David Brooks raised the question today, this kind of a character, this
fellow here, his loyalty to the organization, to the country at least
institutionally, was zero.
Why wasn`t he picked up when they recruited him, that he wasn`t the kind of
guy that, even to give an oath to? He wasn`t going to keep it.
JONATHAN WEISMAN, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": I think that Dana raised the
really pertinent question about Bradley Manning. These are two young men
who understood computers and their skills were very much in demand in this
world. I mean, these IT guys are really needed especially as intelligence
moves from spooks on the ground to electronics in the air. Their skills
are need. They`re not widely available.
MATTHEWS: Let`s take a look at what Boehner -- I`m not with him yet -- the
speaker was very strong on this. I think this is a more complicated case
for people like me to handle, especially in moral terms.
Let`s watch the speaker.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He`s a traitor. The
president outlined last week that these are important national security
programs to help keep Americans safe, and give us tools to fight the
terrorist threat that we face.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Dana, the word "traitor" certainly is going to rouse reactions
to me. A lot of us I think are watching this. You know, we`ve got a new
poll out that shows most Americans understand the need for this kind of
surveillance, the metadata collected by the NSA and maybe even the phone
calls back or the e-mail going back and forth with foreigners. They sort
of accept it by a majority vote, acceptable 56 percent.
I think people are having a hard time with this one. You know, the good
guys/bad guys doesn`t seem to work here.
DANA PRIEST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": You know, the government just like
they did in Bradley Manning came out right away saying this was awful.
He`s damaged national security. And yet today, we have the Senate
Intelligence Committee asking the government to declassify information
about the same program so they can explain it to people more fully because
they don`t think that would damage national security.
So what the real damage is we`ll see. Again, the fact that he had access,
that`s a huge problem. And one of the reasons they need those IT people is
because the people in charge tend to be older and less fluent in the new
technology. And they have no clue what`s out there that they themselves
have put out there.
MATTHEWS: I think that`s fair, Jonathan. How many grandparents have said
to their kids to help them with their other kids, the grandkids, can you
fix this thing for me? Can you explain this thing to me?
Anyway, on House floor today.
WEISMAN: I have a 13-year-old. So --
MATTHEWS: It`s true.
Texas Republican Ted Poe accused the administration of engaging in Soviet-
style dragnet. So, he`s going the other way. Let`s watch this guy`s from
the right going at the center. Let`s watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TED POE (R), TEXAS: Mr. Speaker, the American people have lost trust
in this government. You think? The government spooks are drunk on power
and it`s time for Congress to intervene to prevent the invasion of privacy
by government against the citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: You know, I don`t think Congressman Poe I`ve never heard of
would have said the same thing if W. had done this, Dana. And the hardest
thing is to find consistency.
I would say people like can Lindsey Graham have been consistent. They
believe in this system under the previous administration. They believe it
now because they are concerned with national security primarily.
But the far left, I don`t know if I`m going to say that, the left and the
right seem to be in cahoots on having a question about this thing.
PRIEST: Well, you`re not going to be surprised that politics would play
here. But the fact is, we`re talking about two different programs. One is
not a dragnet. That`s the program called PRISM where they are targeted
foreigners and they, we learn, can go after a lot of different sorts of
digital exhaust that they create.
The other program, the Verizon program, that does seem like a dragnet,
where they scope up all the records, all the phone records of Americans and
non-Americans and keep them, store them, analyze them and when they get
tips or things they want to look at, they can go in and mine that data.
That is a broad program that is getting all of the records. It is more of
a dragnet approach. The other is not.
MATTHEWS: OK. You stuck a word in there. I know what dragnet means from
Jack Webb. But you stuck that word, a digital exhaust.
PRIEST: You like that?
MATTHEWS: We`re going to learn this stuff. Thank you so much, Dana
Priest, Pulitzer Prize winner from "The Washington Post", and Jonathan
Weisman o the great "New York Times".
Up next, today marks 50 years since one of Jack Kennedy`s most significant
speeches, it`s about civil rights. It was the civil rights speech that led
to monumental changes in this country after he was killed.
This is HARDBALL, the place for politics.
MATTHEWS: Well, for all those people who say that Congress is an awful
dysfunctional place, there`s no shortage of people out there who want to
get in or in some cases back in. Last year, we saw nine former members of
Congress returning to the House of Representatives, the highest number of
almost half a century.
Now, Marjorie Margolies who joined us here on HARDBALL recently is hoping
to win back a seat in Pennsylvania, in fact, it`s a city where I grew up.
Margolies lost her seat in 1994 after voting for the Clinton budget cuts,
the big tax increase there.
Anyway, Bob Barr, the man who helped lead the impeachment proceedings
against Bill Clinton is running for his seat in the Atlanta suburbs. There
And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: We`re back.
June 11th, 1963, a pivotal day in civil rights history. President John F.
Kennedy took to national television to make a plea for fair treatment of
blacks, calling civil rights a moral issue. At the time, racial tensions
in the country were at an all-time high. Just a month before, Birmingham
safety commissioner Bull Connor unleashed police dogs and ordered fire
hoses to be turned on peaceful African-American demonstrators.
On the same day as Kennedy`s speech, Governor George Wallace ordered the
doors of the University of Alabama to be blocked so two black students
could not enroll.
Here is John F. Kennedy 50 years ago tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN F. KENNEDY, THEN-U.S. PRESIDENT: We are confronted primarily with a
moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and as clear as the American
The heart of the question is: whether all Americans are to be afforded
equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our
fellow Americans as we want to be treated.
If an American because his skin is dark cannot eat lunch in a restaurant
open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public
school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who represent
him -- if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us
want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin
changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with
the counsels of patience and delay?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEWS: Joining us right now is presidential historian Doug Brinkley,
and also William Gray, former congressional leader. He is head of the
United Negro College Fund.
Congressman Gray, thank you so much for coming on. You know all about the
civil rights movement. You`re part of it.
I do think that speech made it official at least from the United States
government`s point of view that civil rights was the moral cause for our
WILLIAM GRAY, UNITED NEGRO COLLEGE FUND: It was like a nuclear bomb being
dropped -- a president of the United States of America on television saying
to the American people that we have to have equal rights. No president
before Kennedy had ever done such a bold act.
And it hit like an atomic bomb. People were talking about it for months.
Not just in the black community, but also in the white community as well.
Television was a vehicle that allowed Kennedy to carry a message to
everyone, a message that no president, none before -- Truman had not.
Eisenhower had not. And even Roosevelt had not called for equality of
opportunity when black troops were fighting in the Pacific and in Europe.
And even though Truman integrated the armed services through executive
order, he never called for total racial equality.
So, it was a tremendous statement by Kennedy that it was the predicate to
later civil rights legislation.
MATTHEWS: Well said. Doug, I think as an historian, what is staggering
here, I don`t know, a political guy, that he was basically kissing goodbye
to the South. The solid South that had gotten Democratic presidents from
Roosevelt on elected, despite ideological differences, they let Jim Crowe
get away with it down there. They let the South get away with what they
were doing. And Kennedy came along and said in a year before a
presidential election where it was not going to be a cakewalk for him,
saying, OK, I`m going to do this thing and I know the price.
DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: That`s right. But, you know, in
1960, as you well know, he got 70 percent of the African-American vote,
JFK, over Richard Nixon. And there is some anger in the black community
that he wasn`t doing enough, Kennedy.
Now, Bobby Kennedy did a lot with James Meredith at Ole Miss and -- as
But this is John F. Kennedy stepping out prime time, 8:00 p.m. and giving
what I think is one of the great speeches ever. And, of course, that
night, Medgar Evers was watching in Mississippi and was murdered in Jackson
and had to crawl into his living room. So, it`s profound.
MATTHEWS: You know, the idea, Bill, Congressman, this whole question of --
I know from studying this, when Kennedy was shot down in Texas, he was in
Texas for a reason. He needed Texas, and he needed at least Georgia. He
was hanging on to two Southern states at this point in his race for
reelection. He knew how bad things had gotten for him politically down
GRAY: Yes, he understood. But he really understood before that.
There was another bombshell that Kennedy dropped. And that was in 1960.
He did something unthinkable. He picked up a telephone and he called
Coretta Scott King, the wife of the civil rights leader Martin Luther King,
Jr. expressed his concern about Martin being in jail in Birmingham. That
hit the news media, and that angered a lot of people.
Now, what it did, though, is it won him the election, because Daddy King,
the father of Martin Luther King, was ready to endorse Nixon, and he
withdrew that endorsement, endorsed Kennedy. And a group of black
ministers got together, put together a blue book called the Blue Bomb and
gave it out to black churches, and that helped New York, Pennsylvania,
Illinois, and Michigan to be carried by the narrowest of margins by Kennedy
and win the election.
MATTHEWS: Thank you. Harris Wofford and Louis Martin, the gentlemen that
did that. Thanks so much.
GRAY: That`s right.
MATTHEWS: Doug, I`m sorry, we can`t have you back. But we`re going to
have you back again and again, one of the greatest historians of our time,
Doug Brinkley. Thank you so much.
We`re just hit on time here. And we`ll be right back.
MATTHEWS: Let me finish tonight with this.
In May of 1963, the city of Birmingham, Alabama, was all over the news.
But it was not the kind of news we wanted the world to see -- not from our
country, our land of the free -- unleashed police dogs and fire hoses were
turned on peaceful civil rights demonstrators. People saw for the first
time everywhere the hostility with which some Americans were facing the
claim of other Americans to enjoy the same rights as they had.
It was, as I said, a scene Americans hated the world to see because it said
that we were not necessarily the good guys in the Cold War, not at all the
land of the free that we said we were -- told ourselves we were.
At the University of Alabama, two young students were applying for
admission. James Hood was one. The other was Vivian Malone, whose sister,
Dr. Sharon Malone, is today the wife of Attorney General Eric Holder.
Governor George Wallace was promising to bar the door to their entering the
university. Well, the Kennedy brothers, president and attorney general,
were on the case. Stand aside, the tall commander of the Alabama guard
ordered the governor, which he did.
The president then called up the TV networks personally and asked for time
to address the nation. He called civil rights that night a moral issue as
old as the Scriptures and as clear as the American Constitution. Until the
day he died, Kennedy lobbied the Congress for passage of the civil rights
bill, opening the door of every restaurant, hotel, and gas station rest
room to all Americans.
The cruel irony is that the bill passed largely because of the national
grief over Kennedy`s death.
And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us.
"POLITICS NATION" with Al Sharpton starts right now.
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