All In With Chris Hayes, Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
September 5, 2013
Guests: John Kerry, Lawrence Wilkerson, Rep. Alan Grayson, Karen Finney, Adam Goldman, Matt Apuzzo
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from Washington, D.C. I`m Chris
My exclusive interview with Secretary of State John Kerry in a moment,
and his response to a troubling new video obtained by "The New York Times",
which shows the moments leading up to the brutal execution of seven Syrian
government soldiers at the hands of Syrian rebels.
These are images which seem to buttress fears about what kind of
rebels might be emboldened if the United States is to take military action
against the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
According to "The Times", the video was smuggled out of Syria just a
few days ago by a former rebel who became disgusted by the execution.
We would like to warn our viewers that this edited video, while not
showing the execution, may be disturbing.
In the video, the rebel leader Abdul Samad Issa, also known as "The
Uncle", recites a verse, translated by "The Times." The rebel leader vows
avenge against President Assad and his allies. The seven prisoners are
purportedly Syrian government soldiers stripped of their clothes lying
The video was reportedly shot in April. In a portion of the video not
shown here, the rebel leader executes the first prisoner with a shot to the
head and the other gunmen killed the remaining prisoners.
The rebel leader, Mr. Issa, believes the government of President
Assad`s father was responsible for killing his father in a 1982 government
Further information about these rebels only makes the situation more
troubling. The rebel group which boasts about 300 members has taken the
name Jund al-Sham, a name it shares with three international terrorist
groups according to "The Times."
The leader, Mr. Issa, has reportedly told these fighters that he wants
to exterminate the minority Islamic sect to which the Assad family belongs,
It is a further reminder that the Syrian civil war is a mess of
sectarian as well as secular interests.
Today, Secretary of State John Kerry told me how he felt about being
the public face of the Obama administration`s push for a U.S. military
strike, and his reaction to the Bush era architects of the Iraq War, Donald
Rumsfeld and others, criticizing this administration.
But, first, I asked him about that "New York Times" video.
HAYES: Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for making the time today. I
really appreciate it.
KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: I`m very happy to be with you.
HAYES: There`s a -- a pretty shocking video by "The New York Times"
posted today. It`s Syrian rebels executing captured Assad soldiers, a
gunshot to the back of the head, naked.
If the U.S. attacks Syria, do those men in those videos become, by
definition, our allies?
KERRY: No. In fact, I believe that those men in those videos are
disadvantaged by an American response to the chemical weapons use because
it, in fact, empowers the moderate opposition.
We all know there are about 11 really bad opposition groups -- so-
called opposition. They`re not -- they`re fighting Assad. They are not
part of the opposition that is being supported by our friends and
ourselves. That is a moderate opposition. They condemn what has happened
today and they will -- they are and we are busy separating the support
we`re getting from any possibility of that support going to these guys.
HAYES: How confident can we be, though, that that support can be
cordoned off or quarantined in any way?
KERRY: Well, it is being, because there`s a very careful vetting
process that`s taking place with people that have to come out of Syria.
They spend a period of time. They are trained appropriately, after being
vetted. And then they go back in. And the Turks, the Jordanians, the
Qataris, the Saudis, the Emiratis, a lot of people are involved in that
But there are jihadists who have been attracted to the chaos of Syria.
Now, most importantly, Chris, we`re not remotely talking about getting
America involved directly in between any of those forces. The president is
not talking about -- assuming responsibility for Syria`s civil war. What
the president is trying to do and what we believe is important to America`s
national security interests and to humanitarian interests and to the
interests of Israel and Jordan and Lebanon and all of our friends in the
region is that you hold Bashar Al-Assad responsible for use of chemical
weapons and that you degrade his ability to use them again and deter him
from using them again.
That`s what`s really important here. That`s all that we`re talking
about in this.
HAYES: So, I think that part of the confusion or trepidation from
folks is aside from that, what is the -- what is the Syria policy the day
after the missiles land?
Is it the U.S. policy that we want the rebels to win?
KERRY: The U.S. policy is that we want Assad to leave office through
the Geneva communique process that has already been agreed on, which the
Russians have signed up to, whereby there is a transition government put in
place with the mutual consent of the opposing parties. That means the
Assad regime has to agree, the opposition has to agree.
And that is the negotiation that Russia and the United States have
joined in mutually supporting to take place in Geneva.
But you can`t get there while Assad is in the state of belief that he
is able to gas and -- and massacre the people of Syria into defeat, he will
Now, that`s not the calculation of what we`re -- of what the president
has proposed in the military strike he is seeking to get authorization for.
That is specifically to enforce the international norm, almost a
century old now, that came out of World War II -- out of the horrors of
World War I -- whereby 189 nations have signed an agreement that we will
not use chemical weapons in warfare.
And Bashar Al-Assad joins with Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein as
being somebody who has crossed that line.
We are trying to enforce the international norm against that behavior
and that`s all that this military strike seeks to do.
HAYES: In terms of the longer strategy, though, I mean you`ve invoked
Hitler and Saddam Hussein before. I think there`s some confusion about how
can it be the case that this is a Munich moment or we`re dealing with --
KERRY: So let me --
HAYES: -- and there`s a diplomatic solution.
If this is a murderous thug war criminal, what possible negotiated
settlement can there be with him?
KERRY: The Russians, who are supporting him, and the Iranians and
others, have suggested that you could have an agreed upon settlement
whereby you have a transition government, because it`s in everybody`s
interests to preserve the state of Syria and to have stability restored to
the region with a peaceful transition.
Now, how do you achieve that if the parties themselves are unwilling
to come to the table?
You know, in the case of -- well, I don`t even want to go to other
cases. Let me just say that, very simply, the president is not asking
Congress to authorize him militarily to engage in that transition. He
wants to enforce the almost century-old prohibition against the use of
Would that have some downstream impact on Assad`s military capacity?
Sure. But the purpose of that is to exclusively deal with chemical
Then, day after, the president is supporting -- the United States is
supporting the moderate opposition, as are many friends of ours -- France,
England, others, many in the region are supporting the moderate opposition
as they battle for the future of Syria, that will be democratic, free and
protecting all minorities.
Now, that is a fight that was going on for some period of time without
the United States of America being engaged in that fight directly.
HAYES: If we strike -- if we strike Assad, what happens if he uses
chemical weapons again?
It seems that we have then committed ourself to an escalated punitive
KERRY: Well, I --
HAYES: -- (INAUDIBLE).
KERRY: -- I disagree. And, first of all, let me make this clear.
The president -- and this is very important, because I think a lot of
Americans, a lot of your listeners, a lot of people in the country are
sitting there and saying, oh, my gosh, this is going to be Iraq, this is
going to be Afghanistan. Here we go again.
I know this. I`ve heard it.
And the answer is no, profoundly no.
You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck
Hagel, now secretary of defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the
president`s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that
evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.
I can guarantee you, I`m not imprisoned by my memories of or
experience in Vietnam, I`m informed by it. And I`m not imprisoned by my
memory of how that evidence was used, I`m informed by it. And so is Chuck
And we are informed sufficiently that we are absolutely committed to
not putting any evidence in front of the American people that isn`t
properly vetted, properly chased to ground and verified. And we are both
convinced that what we are putting before the American people is in the
security interests of our country and it will not lead to some further
There will be no American boots on the ground. This is not Iraq.
This is not Afghanistan. This is not even Libya. This is a very limited
targeted effort to reduce.
Now, to answer your question, what happens if, again?
KERRY: The authorization we are asking to allow for the opportunity
so that Assad knows, use it again, then you could get hit again.
Our belief is that that will not happen, that Assad will not strike
back. He hasn`t struck back once against Israel when Israel has held him
accountable for the use of certain missiles or the preparation of the use
of certain missiles.
We -- we are quite confident that the Russians and Iranians fully
understand the limitations of this potential action with respect to
And both of them have condemned the use of chemical weapons.
HAYES: But isn`t -- isn`t Assad fighting for his life?
He saw what happened to Gadhafi. He knows --
KERRY: He is fighting for his life, but that fight for his life is a
fight that will be related to the opposition and to the days ahead, in
which the United States will not be on the ground and will not be engaged.
Our effort is to -- is to preserve this international norm regarding
the prohibition on the use of these terrible weapons. And people saw the
other day, Chris, in the horrible scenes and in -- in the social media of
these children who were snuffed out at night in their sleep, parents,
grandparents, everybody killed by gas, by something that the world has
condemned and said we will not use.
Now, if we don`t stand up to that, together with the people who are
prepared to stand up with us -- and there are many -- and the French are
prepared to and others in the Middle East are prepared to and our friends
in Turkey and others, Poland and other places in the world.
Because we have more people prepared to stand up today and join the
United States than actually we could use in the limitations of this kind of
But if we don`t do this, Assad will have the message that he can use
these weapons with impunity. We will have turned our back on the next
batch of children, on the next batch of parents. We will have turned our
back on the international norm, we will have lost credibility in the world,
and I guarantee you, if we turn our backs today, the picture that we all
saw in the paper today and the media of those people being shot, that will
take place more, because more extremists will be attracted to this because
they will be funded as the only alternative in order to take on Assad.
HAYES: Quick clarification about that video. "The New York Times"
has posted on update to their piece on the video showing rebels executing
Syrian soldiers saying the video was made in the spring of 2012, not April
Coming up, more of my exclusive interview with Secretary of State John
Kerry. We talked about how he feels about being the public face of this
intervention and what it`s like to be criticized by the architects of the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Donald Rumsfeld has said your leadership on this issue, the
president`s leadership, has been feckless. You have seen architects of the
Iraq War from the Bush administration coming out and criticizing the
administration, criticizing the policy.
How do you respond to seeing the architects of the Iraq war come and
criticize you, personally, criticize the president?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: His answer when we return.
HAYES: More of my interview with John Kerry is coming up. He has a
few things to say about the criticism leveled at him by the people who
brought us the Iraq War.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD RUMSFELD, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY: I think that the fact that
the American people are confused and the fact that the Congress seems
uncertain and the international community is not supportive is a reflection
of a fact that so-called commander-in-chief has not been acting as a
commander-in-chief. He has not provided leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Because the specter of the Iraq invasion haunts everything
involving the debate to launch air strikes in Syria, I decided to ask
Secretary of State John Kerry what it`s like to have the master architects
of a war based on lies criticize him and the president.
But I began by asking what it`s like to be the person who is the
leading spokesperson out front for an attack on Syria.
HAYES: You have made the -- this case more strenuously, passionately,
more out front than anyone else in the administration, I think it`s fair to
Given the experience you had in Vietnam and given the experience of
the Iraq War, how do you feel about being the public face of this
KERRY: I feel confident that what I am doing is informed by my own
lessons of war and informed by my opposition to war, but informed also by
my years of supporting certain military actions when they`re important to
the security of our nation.
I believe this is important to the security of our country. I believe
that if we don`t do this, that we will have sent a horrendous message of
permission to a man who has already shown his willingness to use weapons of
I believe that if we don`t stand up, our friends in the region,
Jordan, will be more fragile, potentially at risk. Israel will suffer the
greater potentiality of these weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah,
that Iran will feel emboldened. Iran, whom we are already in a major
confrontation with over the potential that they may be developing a nuclear
weapon. Iran will read this and they could read it in the way, which could
create an even more dangerous confrontation down the road.
So, Chris, you know, I`ve thought a lot about this. I know the
lessons of war. I don`t believe this is taking America to war.
I believe this is enforcing a very limited military action, not going
to war, that will, in fact, stand up for the notion that you should not use
chemical weapons, something we fought -- and by the way, we`ve protected
our troops with his prohibition --
KERRY: -- in World War II, in Vietnam, in Korea, in both Iraq Wars.
People didn`t dare use chemical weapons against our troops because they
know there is a prohibition and that would unleash even greater wrath of
We need to do stand up for that same principle now.
HAYES: In terms of the lessons and because the American public is so
informed by these last 12 years, Donald Rumsfeld has said your leadership
on this issue, the president`s leadership, has been feckless. You have
seen architects of the Iraq War from the Bush administration coming out and
criticizing the administration, criticizing the policy.
How do you respond to seeing the architects of the Iraq War come and
criticize you personally, criticize the president?
KERRY: Well, I -- I don`t pay any -- it doesn`t -- it just doesn`t
make a difference to me, because they`re so discredited by their own
judgments, that it`s hard to see that they have a judgment today that is
relevant to this.
I`ll listen to people whose judgment I clearly trust and respect.
But with respect to this particular moment, from the moment that I
have been sworn into office, I`ve been working with our allies, working
with the opposition to define the ways in which we can guarantee that
weapons are not going to the worst actors out there, the ways in which we
can guarantee that the future of Syria will be a democratic future, but
also to guarantee that we are not presenting to the American people the
same shoddy intelligence that was -- that was presented to the American
people back in Iraq, that we do not make that mistake, that we will not put
American boots on the ground, we will not take over a war that is a civil
war in which the United States clearly has no business being directly
HAYES: Could I ask about --
KERRY: We`re not going to do that.
HAYES: We keep -- can you unilaterally declare that you`re not taking
responsibility for a civil war when the rebels on the ground are going to
see this American intervention as possibly a door opening to further
intervention and that is going to affect the way --
KERRY: We have made it --
HAYES: -- they conduct themselves.
KERRY: We have made it crystal clear to them. We make it crystal
clear now in every statement that we have made, this action has nothing to
do with engaging directly in Syria`s civil war on one side or the other.
It has to do with enforcing a norm of international behavior that has
protected people against chemical weapons. And it is one of the things --
chemical, biological, nuclear warfare, we have decided as a world we are
going to protect people against those weapons.
And this measure that we`re asking the Congress to authorize will have
a profound impact on the judgment of the North Koreans and the Iranians and
others as to whether or not the United States will stand up for the
policies that it adopts and whether or not the United States, when it says
something, means what it says.
HAYES: Is the president calling members of Congress, Democratic
members of Congress, to get them to vote yes on this?
KERRY: The president will be directly communicating to the members of
Congress. The vice president, we are all engaged in trying to define, with
clarity, what this is, but also, Chris, what it is not.
It is not Iraq. It is not Afghanistan. It is not even Libya.
There will be no American boots on the ground. We are not sliding
through a back door into a war. We`re not going to war.
KERRY: We`re taking a limited military action to enforce a very
HAYES: Will the president address the American people to make that
KERRY: I am confident the president will address the American people.
HAYES: Finally, your colleague and friend and the man who took over
your seat, Ed Markey, yesterday voted "present," he was so apparently un-
persuaded by the testimony you gave in front of that committee.
How did -- what is your reaction to Ed Markey voting "present" --
KERRY: Well, that`s not what Ed told me. Ed told me that he felt
that he hadn`t had a chance to read the intelligence report in its
entirety. He didn`t want to read the public version. He wanted to read
the full version.
So we will talk again and, my hope is that when he feels fully
informed, that he`ll make the right decision.
HAYES: Thank you so much for your time.
KERRY: Thank you.
HAYES: John Kerry making the administration`s case for a military
strike on Syria, talking about a wide range of issues in our interview
today exclusively in the State Department.
Joining me now is Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former
chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, who`s now an adjunct
professor of government in public policy at the College of William and
It is obvious the way Iraq weighs over all o this. The parallels to
Colin Powell having -- going out when you were working for him and selling
the American people and the world on intelligence, John Kerry doing that.
I don`t want to say there are parallels in the falseness of the
What -- what do you think when you watch him talk about the Iraq
experience? Do you think we`ve learned our lesson?
COL. LAWRENCE WILKERSON (RET), U.S. ARMY: In some ways, perhaps. In
other ways, not.
My first reaction -- and this is in no way meant to be cold. It`s
meant to be the exact opposite. What`s the difference in a child dying of
sarin gas in night, or child dying in the morning with napalm, and a child
dying in the afternoon with white phosphorous?
Personally as a soldier, I`d rather die of the sarin gas than the
other two. Those other two are perfectly legal. And people are dying in
Syria from other causes than chemical weapons.
So, I have a problem with this from that point of view --
HAYES: So, you question drawing this ring around this class of
weapons and the way the civilized world, if we can use that phrase, has
basically said you can`t do this.
WILKERSON: The main reason we have the chemical weapons ban, and the
success we do with 188 countries, members of the convention, is because
they aren`t very good weapons. That`s the real reason. The United States
continues to use depleted uranium, white phosphorous, wouldn`t join the
land mine ban and so forth. That`s all because we find utility in the
weapons. That`s not to be cold. That`s simply to be rational about it.
HAYES: The secretary said something that is contentious and
contested, which is, I don`t believe this is taking America to war. That`s
the basis of the president`s assertion that he has the power to do this
unilaterally without Congress, if they vote it down. What`s your response
WILKERSON: That`s the most frightening thing I heard in the
interview. The enemy has a vote. When we drop bombs, cruise missiles,
high-performance aircraft with PGMs or whatever, the enemy has a vote.
Let`s say it unfolds exactly the way Secretary Kerry explained it. A
very light strike, two or three days of cruise missiles and PGMs. And we
say, Mr. Assad, don`t use chemical weapons again. What if he shrugs that
off and continues to march and even maintains his present position and even
possibly wins? What do we do then?
I guarantee you the United States will want to have another vote in
that. If we were to do what my party wants to do, John McCain, Lindsey
Graham and others, and conduct robust strikes, 78 days like we did against
Milosevic in Kosovo and really join the war and change the balance of
power, what do we do then?
What do we do then when Syria, not Libya, Libya was a pariah of
Africa. Syria is in the heart of an incredibly strategic region. What do
we do then? Do we put boots on the ground?
HAYES: What about this argument that we basically to have enforce
this norm but also maintain this odd, kind of equilibrium that will be the
perfect equilibrium to force both parties to think they can`t win and go to
the negotiating table in Geneva.
WILKERSON: The equilibrium that`s killed 100,000 people already. I
just -- I see this as being a vicious civil war fueled by Saudi Arabia and
others furnishing arms and so forth, and if we joined it, we`d better be
prepared. I`m not necessarily opposed to what Kerry said in and of itself.
But if we join it, we need to tell the American people there`s a high
potential for us having to go all the way -- a lot of time, lots of money,
a lot of resources and boots on the ground.
HAYES: Quickly, having been inside the armed forces, having been
inside State, what is planning inside those buildings looking like now?
WILKERSON: I suggest it is probably very hectic, but I don`t think
either at the Pentagon or at State anybody is looking beyond this more or
less punitive strike, and that`s wrong, because we probably are going to go
HAYES: Retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, thank you so much for
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Coming up, while the president lobbies members of Congress to
get them to vote yes on going into Syria, I`ll be joined by a congressman
who`s lobbying hard to get them to vote no.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY: Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, who needs them. I
mean, I have strong feelings about this being the correct action. And, I
think, you know, people really need to look hard at what this is standing
up for and also what it is not as an action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Congressman Alan Grayson, Democrat from Florida,
member of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He opposes any
intervention in Syria; so much so, he owns the domain name
And, Karen Finney, former spokeswoman, director of communications at
the democratic national committee, who now hosts "A Disrupt With Karen
Finney" at 4:00 p.m. Eastern weekends here on MSNBC. Congressman, it
seems very unlikely to me there`s going to be many republican votes in the
house for this, given the character of the conservative grass roots on this
issue, given the fact that Boehner and Cantor have said this is a
conscience vote. They won`t win votes for it. It`s going to come down to
democrats to pass this. Don`t you think so?
REP. ALAN GRAYSON, (D) FLORIDA: No. I don`t think there are votes on
the democratic side, either the current whip count shows the democrats
running 4-1 against this in the house of representatives. Republicans
running more than 10-1. The votes simply aren`t there. It`s
understandable because the people have spoken -- the people of America
don`t want this attack. It`s not our responsibility.
HAYES: But, you`re going to have a conversation with Nancy Pelosi at
some point in the next few days in which she is going to say to you, and
not I think implausibly, if this vote goes down you are destroying the last
three years of this president`s administration. You are destroying his
political capital and you are frittering away any opportunity to get any
meaningful legislation passed because you will have essentially declared
your own party`s president a lame duck.
REP. GRAYSON: No. First of all, Leader Pelosi does not whip on
issues of war and peace. Secondly, the president, himself, has said that
his own credibility is not at stake. I accept that. Third, as soon as
this blows over, we`re going to have a hullabaloo about the debt. We are
going to have a hullabaloo about the budget.
HAYES: And, you honestly don`t think there`s a carryover effect in
the strength of the president if he loses this vote on Syria?
REP. GRAYSON: No.
HAYES: Karen, do you agree with that.
KAREN FINNEY, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS AT THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL
COMMITTEE: I don`t. I would like to believe it, but I think there`s no
way to think that republicans, even -- I mean, look at how the
republicans, even the ones who support him on the strike have to use, like,
the first 2/3 of the time that they use to say they support the strike to
criticize the president, right?
So, there`s no way they won`t try to use it against him. But, I think
we can`t view this in that context. It`s more important that the president
did come to congress. I think that -- And, also think sort of from the
lens of history, that`s going to be a much more important thing than
whether or not he wins this vote or doesn`t win the vote. Because, I think
this is a really critical moment in our history on this issue.
HAYES: Karen, this is Dianne Feinstein who supports the president`s
proposal here talking about her constituents and the fact they largely
oppose it. She says "It weighs on me, no question, because I`m very
constituent-oriented; but, you see, then they don`t know what I know. They
haven`t heard what I heard and I like to believe now that after 20 years I
have some skill in separating the wheat from the chaff." That`s a really
tough argument to go back and sell to your constituents.
FINNEY: Yes. It is. I mean look. Here`s the thing, though, Chris.
I mean you got to the heart of this in your interview with Sec. Kerry. I
actually believe the president and I believe the secretary in terms of the
credibility of the intelligence that they have. I believe that they
believe this would work.
I just don`t think many others of us believe that air strikes are
going to solve the problem. Because, remember, this did not start as a
civil war. This started as part of the Arab spring. This started about
jobs, right? -- and, the economy, and people wanting a better life.
Assad very wisely turned it into a civil war and turned it into a
sectarian war and brought in all this proxy war so that he -- because he
knew he needed the support. So, one air strike, I don`t think solves what
is now a much larger problem.
HAYES: Is there anything you saw in your interview, in the interview
with the Secretary of State Kerry, that you find compelling or convincing?
GRAYSON: Not at all. Listen, most people understand this is simply
not our problem. This is not our problem to solve and we are not going to
be able --
HAYES: That sounds --
GRAYSON: There`s nothing we can do --
HAYES: -- That sounds -- I have to say, that sounds a little morally
obtuse to me. I mean --
GRAYSON: I`m sorry.
HAYES: -- Well, no -- but, I mean I`m being totally honest.
GRAYSON: That`s how the American people feel, overwhelmingly, so.
The calls are running 100-1 against intervention.
HAYES: Well, the American people can be wrong about things.
GRAYSON: No, listen, they`re not wrong about this. And, they have a
right to decide. They`re the ultimate vote here. At our website that you
mentioned, 50,000 people came to our website in no time and signed our
petition against this.
The calls that they say are running 100-1 against this. The polls
don`t show something. The polls say may the public is 2-1, 3-1 against
this. It`s the intensity of feeling. People don`t want war. It`s not
that they`re tired of war, it`s they`re disgusted with war and anything
that looks like a war. And, that`s exactly what this is.
They can`t micromanage this. This is going to backfire everybody
knows it, everybody sees it except for the people in Washington, D.C., and
that`s why the people are going to stand up as they have and dictate to the
representatives exactly what the outcome is here.
FINNEY: You know, Chris, I`m not comfortable with the idea that, you
know, we think it`s not our problem when over 100,000 people have been
killed. I mean we`ve been talking about the use of chemical weapons. But,
we`re talking about insidious ways that this man is killing his own people.
That we should care about that.
But, I just don`t think that the air strike, and I hope that this is
what the majority of Americans are saying when they say don`t do this,
that the air strike in and of itself is going to solve that problem. Not
it`s not our problem. Certainly, we should care, but certainly, you know,
is the air strike the way to get us to the Geneva process that the
secretary was talking about? I don`t think it is.
And, I think a majority of Americans recognize that the chances that
this becomes a, you know, we get sucked into mission creep, are so high
that we want better assurance of what we`re really trying to do here. And,
we don`t think an air strike is going to solve it.
GRAYSON: Listen. It is true that people understand that this is not
going to work. It`s not going to solve anyone`s problems and that it`s
expensive and it`s dangerous. But, also people understand that we`ve got
20 million people in this country who are looking for full-time work. 40
million people who can`t see a doctor when they`re sick --
FINNEY: But, that doesn`t mean we can`t care about children being
GRAYSON: Let me finish.
FINNEY: For heaven`s sakes.
GRAYSON: 40 million people -- We`re not going to be able to solve
that problem --
FINNEY: I`m agreeing with you on that --
GRAYSON: As the war have started in Civil War. It started in Vermont
FINNEY: -- But, I don`t agree that the American people don`t care
that children are being killed or that people are being killed by their
GRAYSON: Listen, what they want above all is for us to solve our own
problems. Not being the world`s policeman, not be the world`s judge,
executioner and jury. That`s not what they want. They want us to work on
solving our problems and meeting our human needs.
HAYES: Karen, the point that the congressman made before about
HAYES: -- as opposed to polling I think is a kind of key one because
I really am having a hard time figuring out how this vote goes through in
HAYES: And, precisely because of that dynamic. It`s not just the
polling. I mean, I remember covering the immigration fight on the hill in
2006, 2007. When you`re getting 1,000-1 calls, 100-1 calls that really
affects the way the members think of the vote.
FINNEY: Well, of course, I mean let`s just be totally political about
this. Every member of the house has to think about how they are going to
go home and explain this with 0 14 coming up, right?
And, when they are looking at call at those call sheets and they are
looking at where the numbers are running, we`ve got -- you know, you`ve
heard a lot of members I think are genuinely put in a tough spot because
they want to support the president but don`t necessarily think this is the
right thing to do, and they know that their constituents don`t want this.
So, absolutely, I think this vote is going to be a very, very tough
one. I don`t think the president is going to get it at this point. From
what I`m hearing, it doesn`t sound like the votes are there. But, I just
want to say, I believe that the American people can say, it`s horrible
what`s going on over there. Military strikes are not the right answer, and
we`ve got plenty of problems to solve here at home. I don`t think that
those are mutually exclusive to each other.
HAYES: We`ll note the politics here that Vice President Joe Biden and
former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton considered to be the likely
front-runners in any democratic field are staying very far away from this.
Former Secretary of State endorsing it through an anonymous spokesperson
the other day. Congressman Alan Grayson and Karen Finney, host of "Disrupt
With Karen Finney" on MSNBC. Thank you.
GRAYSON. Thank you.
HAYES: If you missed any of my exclusive interview with Secretary of
State John Kerry, the full interview and analysis can be found on our
website allinwithchris.com. Coming up a new book as New York City Police
Commissioner Ray Kelly on the defense over his controversial surveillance
operations. I`ll talk to the authors, coming up.
HAYES: New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly probably wishes a
new book that pulls back the curtain on New York City`s controversial
surveillance program had never been written, but it has and it is
absolutely fascinating. I`m going to talk to the authors coming up.
But, first I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet
today beginning with Norway`s latest and greatest export to the world.
These two guys are Norwegian Talk Show hosts known as Ylvis. Lucky for us
they sing, too. And, their latest single, "The Fox" just dropped. And, if
all of your knowledge of Norwegian culture comes from that creepy ride at
that call center, friends, you`re about to get an education.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
YLVIS: Dog goes woof. Cat goes meow. Bird goes tweet and mouse goes
squeak. Ducks say quack and fish go blub and the seal goes ow, ow, ow.
But, there`s a sound that no one knows. What does the fox say. Ding,
ding, ding, ding, ding, ding -- Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding -- Ding,
ding, ding, ding, ding, ding -- Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. What`s
the fox say? Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow -- Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow
-- Pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. What`s the fox say? Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho
-- Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho -- Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Oh, that`s weird. What does a fox say? Reaction from the
internet has ranged from proclaiming this the song of the summer to "Oh my
God, please make it stop." The second awesomest thing on the internet
today takes a closer look at the gold standard in the documentation of
"The New York Times" wedding announcement section, now your favorite
leisurely hate-read, as Slate calls it is in chartable form. One of the
guy behind rap genius has shifted through 60,000 announcements over the
past 30 years and poured all that data into a computer program, calling it
You can chart the popularity of different keywords using the
announcements or word debutante getting few mentions over the years, while
terms like hedge fund and Universal life minister have only gained in
Slate roller for one "Can`t wait for the day, until new lingo enters
the lexicon worthy of wedding crunchers. The two brides who operate a gas
station together in Omaha twerk down the aisle.
And, the third awesomest thing on the internet today, takes us to
D.C.`s national zoo, where today officials revealed a panda cub born last
month is in fact a girl panda cub. The second piece of the puzzle? Who`s
the baby daddy? Due to the magic of modern reproductive panda science,
there are two possible fathers. Tin Tin of D.C. and Gao Gao of San Diego.
Betting money was on the strapping Gao Gao who has already sired five
Zoo experts considered Tin Tin an ineffective reader with poor natural
technique. Technique s far as a "New Yorker" reports during Panda sexy
time, Tin Tin stands there like a man who opened a large box from Ikea and
has no idea what to do next. Time now for the official "All In" Panda
paternity test, Tin Tin, or D.C.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You are the father.
[ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. [ bleep ].
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With five kids running around already, you know San Diego`s
Gao Gao is doing the happy dance right now. You can find all the links for
tonight`s #Click3 on our website, allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: May 2008, a group of women in the Bronx organized a Mother`s
Day boycott in protest of the killing of Sean Bell. He was a 23-year
unarmed black man, who was killed the morning before his wedding after five
New York Police officers fired at least 50 bullets into his car.
The announcement for the protest against police brutality posted on
the group`s website read, quote, "This Boycott Was Seat For May 11th 2008,
Mothers` Day. There will be no shopping for cards, flowers, clothing,
shoes or ding out. Spend time with mom at home. Serve her dinner or buy
her flowers from a black-owned business. We can be effective if we unite
in the name of our children."
That note, that peaceful expression of grief and anger in the wake of
a horrible injustice. That was enough to get Agnes Johnson who helped
organize the boycott flagged and written up by the New York Police
Department`s secret spying unit called the "Demographics` Unit."
A unit created by New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and
retired a CIA veteran in the weeks and months after the attacks of
September 11th. And, their blockbuster new book, "Enemies Within: Inside
The Nypd`s Secret Spying Unit And Bin Laden`s Final Plot Against America."
Pulitzer prizewinner journalist Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman detail how
people like Agnes Johnson got caught up in one of the most secret and
dubious illegal surveillance operation in the country.
NYPD`s own mini CIA aimed mostly at New York City`s Muslim population.
Starting in 2002, NYPD officers in plain clothes were regularly dispatched
to parks, cafes, sports arena, and shops to sit for hours and take note,
cataloging everything from their name, conversations, appearance, and
ethnicity of people accused of nothing more than being Muslim.
In order to be able to spy as freely as possible, NYPD would designate
entire mosques as a, quote, potential terrorist hub and everyone inside is
potential suspects. Allowing themselves the ability to spy without even a
whiff of specific criminal activity.
They infiltrating Muslim student groups at colleges and at one point
designated a Brooklyn Park a, quote, location of concern, simply because
middle-aged Albanian men would hang out in the afternoon and play chess.
Over the past decade the demographics unit secretly monitored
hundreds, possibly thousands of primarily Muslims in New York City.
Demographics unit was renamed to the zone assessment unit and it is still
operational. Get this. In 2012, the NYPD admitted that the unit had not
been responsible for uncovering any terrorist plots, had led to zero
arrests, and not a single leak.
HAYES: Coming up, I`ll be joined by the authors of "Enemies Within."
Stay with us.
HAYES: Joining me now, Pulitzer Prizewinning investigative reporters
for the "Associated Press" Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. Authors of the
book "Enemies Within: Inside The Nypd`s Secret Spying Unit And Bin Laden`s
Final Plot Against America." How is this legal?
MATT APUZZO, PULITZER PRIZEWINNING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, you
know, it`s hard to say whether it`s legal or not legal. It`s one of those
things like waterboarding, indefinite detention, Guantanamo Bay,
warrantless wiretapping that were created post-9/11 in that post-9/11
framework, where the laws were rewritten and the rules were rewritten, and
So, there are lawsuits out challenging this right now. And, we
haven`t seen any indication this is purely illegal. It certainly goes
farther than what the federal government could do. You know, for instance,
I`m sure some of your listeners have at one point sat in a restaurant and
perhaps watched the "State Of The Union" and talked about it. The
documents we`ve shown that the NYPD would actually write down. We were at
this restaurant and we heard these people talking about the President`s
"State Of The Union" address and here`s what they said.
HAYES: We have a map showing South Asian sports locations and Arab
Sports locations that was created by this unit. Then also a write-up of a
restaurant, a Pakistani restaurant, has a small room downstairs. The floor
was covered, fliers for local community events. Other ethnic groups,
Afghanis, Bangladeshis and Indians. I mean this looks like fairly
beauteous racial profiling of a kind of crudest form.
ADAM GOLDMAN, PULITZER PRIZEWINNING INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Well, the
Muslim community certainly asserts that`s what the NYPD was doing there
being targeted on fairly based upon something know as ancestries of
interest. If you were a Muslim, if you where from Egypt or Syria,
regardless of whether you`re an American and you own one of these
businesses, or you are arrested, you would be targeted. The NYPD what you
are looking at there produced by the demographics report, the NYPD was
literally trying to map the human terrain of the five boroughs.
HAYES: So, what is the -- take the devil`s advocate argument here.
My understanding from your book is that they would go to events that were
open to the public. They would take notes about what they saw in those
events in the public in the same way a reporter like myself has done
hundreds if not, thousands of times. What`s wrong with police going to big
public events, going to restaurants anyone could walk into and just
APUZZO: Well, I mean, that is certainly what the NYPD says and, you
know, under their rules, they`re allowed to go to any place that the public
can go to. I mean the difference to what you can do, Chris and what we can
do, and go to an event and write down what we hear is -- I don`t have the
authority to throw anybody in jail.
I don`t have the authority to keep people off airplanes or search
them. And, that`s what when you see government collecting information,
even information that might be in the public domain, that`s why people
should be concerned here. And, you know, certainly you have the ability to
go out -- the NYPD can go to where the public can go. And, under their
rules, they are allowed to keep it in police files if it pertains to
criminal activity. So, either, they are not following that rule or
anywhere there are Muslims, there`s a possibility of criminal activity.
HAYES: And, Adam, I think one of the most fascinating aspects of your
reporting shows that forget about your constitutional concerns, your moral
qualms with this. It doesn`t look like it was very effective. There`s
this great anecdote, Hector Bardacia, who took over the demographics unit
in 2006, a kind of a whistleblower on this. He said "One frequent
destination the police officers are setting out was the Kabul Kabob House
in Flushing, Queens.
When Bardacia asked whether if they suspected a threat that should be
reported up the chain of command, he was told they were conducting routine
follow-up visits. But, a look of a report showed nothing worth following
up. That is when he realized in the hunt for terrorists his detectives
gravitated toward the best food." This seems like this became the
sprawling operation that wasn`t actually tracking or catching anyone.
GOLDMAN: No. I mean in the end they were doing things for the sake
of doing them. But, this is what the NYPD has become. It`s made very few
cases. And, this intelligence division has become a true intelligence
division. It`s out gathering intelligence on the community. And, it`s not
taking that information and finding criminal cases.
HAYES: And, it`s a lesson that more intelligence doesn`t always mean
better intelligence, which I think is a pretty important role.
HAYES: Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman. Author of the book "Enemies
Within." Thank you so much.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. The "Rachel Maddow Show"
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST OF "RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Good evening,
Chris. Thank you. Congratulations on that John Kerry interview today.
That was a huge deal.
HAYES: Thank you.
MADDOW: Well done.
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