All In With Chris Hayes, March 17th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Monday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 17, 2014
Guests: Clive Irving, Joycelyn Elders, Chris Murphy, Karen Pellicore, Ross Aimer, Latane Campbell
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Tonight, 10 days after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight
370, investigators say it was taken off course deliberately. But exactly
where it was taken and where it is right now is still the greatest mystery
NAJIB RAZAK, PRIME MINISTER OF MALAYSIA: This movement are consistent
will deliberate action by someone on the plane.
HAYES (voice-over): Here`s why investigators now believe the plane
was deliberately steered off course -- MH370 took off at 12:41 a.m. local
time. At 1:07 a.m., the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting
System, or ACARS, which send maintenance information to the ground, sent
its last transmission.
It was, apparently, disabled sometime within the next half hour after
that transmission. A maneuver that may have required someone to climb
through a trap door right by the plane`s left hand front exit in full view
of the cabin crew to switch the circuit breakers.
At 1:19 a.m., the plane signed off from Malaysian air traffic control.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The last voice message from the aircraft was
from the co-pilot who said, "All right. Good night."
HAYES: At 1:21 a.m., just as MH370 was meant to be signing in with
Vietnam`s air traffic control, Malaysian authorities say the plane`s
transponder, which transmits the plane`s location to ground controllers,
was switched off.
At 2:15 a.m., Malaysian military radar picked up what is presumed to
be Flight 370 miles west of its original flight path.
At 8:11 a.m., an Inmarsat satellite picked up a final ping from the
plane which places the last known location of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370
somewhere along two massive arcs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it went south, it likely headed deep into the
vastness of the Indian Ocean, not covered by radar. If it went north, it
could be anywhere from Burma, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan.
So far, five countries including India and Pakistan say their radars
did not pick up the plane.
HAYES: Twenty-six countries are now involved in the search for the
missing plane, while back in Malaysia, the focus is on who might have had
the technical expertise and ability to disable two communication systems
and fly the plane off course.
RAZAK: The Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation
into the crew and passengers onboard.
HAYES: Among those under investigation, an aviation engineer who was
one of the passengers onboard MH370. The co-pilot who at 27 years old had
just graduated to flying a Boeing 777, and the pilot who had flown with
Malaysia airlines for over 30 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Video on YouTube unverified appearing to show the
pilot and co-pilot pass through security.
HAYES: This weekend, investigators searched both of their homes
taking out a home built flight simulator from captain Shah`s house.
KHALID ABU BAKAR: We have dismantled it from the room and assembled
it at our office and we are getting experts to look at it now.
HAYES: Malaysian officials tamp down rampant speculation this weekend
pointing out the two have no known ties to terror groups and had not
requested to fly with each other on the MH370. Even with the question of
who could have taken the plane and why and how still unanswered -- of
course, the biggest mystery that remains is where. Where is the plane?
WNYC identified 634 places within the current search radius with
runways long enough to accommodate a Boeing 777, fueling the no longer
quite as farfetched speculation. Could Flight 370 have possibly even
HAYES: Joining me now, NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders, who`s
been covering this story.
And, Kerry, when you`re looking at a search radius that is the current
search radius, am I fair in saying it`s to longer really even a search in
any recognizable fashion? That is, just a swath of the earth that is just
too massive to look for anything in an orderly manner?
KERRY SANDERS, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right. I think the
commander on the USS Kidd put it well when he said, just in the Indian
Ocean, which is larger than the continental United States, flying over and
looking for something associated with this plane is sort of like flying
over the United States and looking for one person. That`s how much space
and how small of an area that they`re trying to find here.
HAYES: My question, then based on that is, how much longer before
some corner is turned that this no longer really even is a search
operation? I mean, I think we`ve been anticipating all along that some
kind of physical evidence in some way or another will be located. What do
investigators do, if and when that`s impossible?
SANDERS: Well, you know, you have multi nations involved here and
we`re beginning to see some of that pullback already. India`s pulled back.
In fact, the United States, the USS Kidd has pulled back. We still have a
P3 and the P8 aircraft flying out of Kuala Lumpur, but we`re beginning to
see a drawback. Not for a lack of will but for a lack of indication that
the work that`s being done is actually going in a direction that`s going to
HAYES: That is really, really interesting.
Thank you, NBC News correspondent Kerry Sanders, for that. Appreciate
Joining me, Clive Irving, senior consulting editor for "Conde Nast
Traveler", and contributor to "The Daily Beast". He`s been reporting about
the airline industry for 30 years.
And, Clive, I wanted to talk to you because you had a piece today I
thought was very important about the timeline and basically about two
minutes that are the key to understanding what happened.
And you basically say the original report that came from Malaysian
authorities that had transponder being turned off before the final vocal
contact from the cockpit would indicate very strongly that the locust of
suspicion would be on the pilots, themselves. That they had done something
to turn the transponder off, and just said, hey, OK, good night, and go on
The fact the transponder goes out now in the new timeline after the
final vocal contact, you think is really important.
CLIVE IRVING, CONDE NAST TRAVELER: Yes, I think that shows you two
things. It shows how unfirm the information is that they`re putting out
that they would do something as radical as changing that key part of this
timeline. A timeline is a very essential instrument in building a picture
of what`s happened. The chronology of what`s happened because the sequence
is a key to understanding how a plane can crash, or a plane in this case
But, you know, Chris, I think what`s really interesting, if you
reverse-engineer this timeline, in fact, instead of starting at the
beginning, start at the end, you`re faced with a fascinating phrase which
is, it flew until it ran out of gas. Now, that is a very odd thing,
unusual thing to do to fly for estimates of how long it was flying suggest
it may have been about six hours, which would put it 3,000 miles away from
where this whole saga started.
And if that flew 3,000 miles into southern Indian Ocean, which is a
probability, all that time, what was going on in this plane? There are so
many elements of this story that are missing.
HAYES: Well, you wrote something that made me kind of stop what I was
doing. You said that the -- you wrote a piece with the headline, "The
baseless rush to blame the pilots of flight 370."
HAYES: It`s very interesting. I was reading some pilots today, who
are writing, I was actually corresponding with a few, and there`s a kind of
growing, you know, resistance or backlash amongst pilots towards the theory
this was the pilot or crew doing this.
Explain why you`re a little hesitant to go along with that.
IRVING: Well, to paraphrase Orwell, blaming the pilot is the last
resort of the scoundrel. I think this was unseemly the way this was done
and I think there was no evidence on which to impugn these two pilots.
And there`s a political element here, I think, coming out of the
situation in Kuala Lumpur where the pilot`s being labeled as a member of
the opposition party, in a system where it`s basically a one-party state
where the media is supine, where they`re not used to being challenged. So
they`ve grown used each day I think in these to have the confidence to put
out that which they can bare face retract the next day.
HAYES: Well, just to kind of push back on that a little bit or to ask
for further elucidation, the Occam`s razor approach here, which is to try
to come up with a hypothesis that is the most kind of like theoretically
clean and simple, would suggest that were a plane to go wildly off its
course, were it to be flying for hours and hours, the most likely suspect
to undertake that kind of thing would be the people with the most amount of
flight experience on the plane, presumably the person who was piloting it.
So, it doesn`t seem to be --
IRVING: No, there`s another hypothesis here, which is the crew could
have been incapacitated in some way. Everyone on the plane could have been
incapacitated in some way, rather than someone intervening.
And there are two ways in which that could have happened. There`s the
decompression theory which is if the plane lost pressure in the cabin,
there would be an oxygen shortage and both the crew and passengers would
rapidly become unconscious as a case of that happening in the Mediterranean
a few years ago.
Or there could be a fire which generated a certain kind of smoke. The
fire could have come from the cargo hold where we know there were lithium
ion batteries in there. Could have been the kind of smoke without flames,
which would have done that, which would have faded away. In fact, a fire
in the cargo hold could have taken out those two systems.
The problem with my hypothesis here is when you work your way back
from the end to the beginning, you hit this thing about the transponder
being turned off and about ACARS being disabled, which those two things
make this theory very problematic, but the same time, can we accept that
those two things were turned off actively or did they just fail for some
HAYES: That I think is the key question and it seems to me that there
was a bit more authoritativeness that is necessary necessitated by the
facts in the way that the turning off was portrayed over the weekend.
Clive Irving from "Conde Nast Traveler" -- thank you very much.
IRVING: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC national security analyst, Don Borelli,
former special agent in charge of New York Joint Terrorism Task Force.
It`s striking to me you have a manifest of 239 passengers on this
flight, I believe. You immediately had information about two stolen
passports. That was identified and flagged immediately.
But in 10 days, as far as I can tell, nothing more forthcoming that
would lead investigators or anyone in the widening circles of inquiry to
suggest that there was some kind of motive for whatever might have happened
if it were the case the plane were taken off course deliberately.
DON BORELLI, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Exactly. You know,
whether or not you accept the Malaysian version of the timeline or you
think it might be suspect, you`ve got so many possibilities here. You`ve
got almost no clues to go on other than the technical data from the radar
and the other, you know, information systems.
So, you have to look at every plausible thing. One of the things that
might help investigators narrow down the search is looking at, was there a
motive? Looking at the background of the people. Not just the pilots, but
hone in on the pilots because they had the technical capability, and maybe
other people on the plane.
HAYES: Well, that`s -- I mean, as a line of investigative inquiry,
what strikes me is that you have total -- you`re flying blind, as it were,
in terms of the actual physical evidence of the plane, right? The thing
you know is, or you think you know is who was on the plane or who was
supposed to be on the plane.
And in this era, those folks leave long trails, right? You should be
able to reconstruct a fair amount of those. It`s just very striking to me
that 10 days in, whatever pursuits have been on that side -- I imagine
you`ve done this kind of work before -- you think you would have hit
something fairly early if there was some real bright flashing --
BORELLI: Maybe or maybe not. I mean, some investigations proceed
very rapidly. Others, it takes a lot of time to unfold. You may want to,
you know, be requesting certain records like phone records or bank records.
And those may take time to come in and analyze. There may be a shred of
evidence that takes you down a path where you start to put the pieces
Sometimes you get lucky and get those smoking guns right away and
other times it takes months. It just depends.
And in this case, there might not be a smoking gun. I mean, we just
don`t know. But you still -- you can`t wait for everything else to unfold
then say, well, now let`s investigate. You have to parallel those
investigations both technical and the criminal type.
HAYES: What does that look like? If you found yourself in this
position, you have the plane manifest, what do you do?
BORELLI: I`m basically looking at the background of everybody on
those planes. Presumably, there`s a lot of countries involved. A lot of
Chinese citizens, citizens from other countries. I want backgrounds and
investigation on all those people.
I`m going to be asking all of, you know, basically my allied
intelligences services to go out and shake the bushes. Find out what are
they hearing? You know, what is the chatter, as the word is used in the
intelligence community? Is there anything that leads investigators to
think that this might be, you know, a deliberate criminal act, which is
what it was called by the Malaysian authorities? And that`s yet to be
HAYES: Yes, that deliberate criminal act, did that -- were you
surprised that that phrase was used as plainly and specifically as it was?
BORELLI: I`m not an aviation expert, so I`m reliant on what I`ve
heard from the people on the various shows commenting on, you know, the
level of skill and the deliberacy that this -- you know, the plane took
evasive maneuvers and the transponder was turned off and it happened just
at this handoff period, which would be this window of vulnerability. So,
based on all that, from the layman`s point of view, from the aviation
perspective, it seems deliberate.
But you know, could there be another theory? Sure. Absolutely.
HAYES: MSNBC national security analyst, Don Borelli -- thanks so
BORELLI: Thank you.
HAYES: We`re going to be talking about the mysterious disappearance
of Flight 370 again later in the show with three commercial airline
There`s a lot of other news to get to today, including what the NRA
has done, what the NRA has to do with the surgeon general.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The top law enforcement officer, the top doctor in
America, should not be partisan ideologues. They need to focus on the job
at hand. Teaching people about obesity and all those issues that keep
people healthy and safe is where the focus should be, not on the gun
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Need to focus on all those issues that keep people healthy and
safe. Why guns are, indeed, a public health issue, ahead.
HAYES: Do you know that show "The Americans"?
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
HAYES: The show is set during the 1980s at the height of the Cold War
and it carries a whole new level of fascination right now because of what`s
going on between Russia and Ukraine, which some are saying is the start of
a new Cold War. I`m going to ask a U.S. senator how we avoid a new Cold
HAYES: For the second time in two weeks, a major Obama administration
nominee appears poised for defeat and this time the president`s nominee
looks ready to go down without even getting a vote.
Dr. Vivek Murthy nominated by the Obama administration to be surgeon
general. But now, amid opposition from the Senate, White House telling
"The New York Times," it`s, quote, "recalibrating our strategy around his
floor vote. A recalibration that could allow allowing Dr. Murthy to
withdraw his nomination."
The opposition to Dr. Murthy centers around the excessive concern he
developed as an emergency room doctor with the ravages of gun violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL NOMINEE: My concerns with regard to
issues like gun violence have to do with my experience as a physician,
seeing patients in emergency rooms who have come in with acute injuries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But Murthy`s unforgivable sin maybe that last year, as
president of health reform advocacy group, he signed on to a public letter
to Congress saying, quote, "as health care professionals, we`re unwavering
in our belief that strong measures to reduce gun violence must be taken
immediately." The letter advocated for such radical notions as a ban on
military-style assault weapons, a proposal by the way that more than half
Americans agree with.
Murthy`s letter also advocated that doctors are not prohibited from
talking to their patients about gun safety in the home. Quote, "One of our
most important tasks as health care providers is to counsel our patients
about how to take care of themselves and prevent disease and injury. Yet
gun violence is an area where both state and federal policies have
prohibited us from doing our jobs."
You know who supports Murthy on this? Those radical insurgents
belonging to the American Medical Association. In fact, in 2012, the AMA
filed a brief opposing Florida`s attempt to ban doctors -- ban doctors --
from talking to their patients about firearm safety, stating the AMA will,
quote, "vigorously defend the patient/physician relationship and the free
speech necessary for the practice of medicine."
But the NRA and Rand Paul have managed to whip up quite a frenzy over
Murthy, convincing the faithful he would use a surgeon general`s office to
vilify gun owners. That has been used to apparently sink his nomination.
And according to "The New York Times", quote, "Opposition from the NRA
has grown so intense it`s placed Democrats from conservative states,
several of whom are up for re-election this year, in a difficult spot."
Senate aides telling "The Times" as many as 10 Dems are believed to be
considering a vote against Dr. Murthy on those grounds.
And that -- let`s be clear -- that is what this fight is really about.
It`s about the decades-long battle the NRA and its allies have waged
against doctors and health professionals to make sure that gun violence,
which kills tens of thousands of people each year, is never considered to
be in the domain of public health.
Joining me now is Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former surgeon general of the
United States under President Bill Clinton.
Dr. Elders, you know a thing or two about the politics of that office.
What`s your reaction to the apparent end of the nomination of Dr. Murthy?
JOYCELYN ELDERS, M.D., FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Well, I think
there`s no question that Dr. Murthy is very well qualified to be surgeon
general, he -- but I think that we need to be concerned about gun violence
as a public health problem.
When we have 300 million guns in our country, and we have 30,000-plus
people killed each year related to gun violence, more than 140 injured each
day and seen in our emergency room, I do think we have a public health
HAYES: You know, that position -- I`m sorry to interrupt you because
I want to just note that that position, that this is a public health issue,
that has not been necessarily a radical position to take. C. Everett Koop,
the legendary surgeon general under President Reagan said, "No society
including ours need be permeated by firearm homicide. Regarding violence
in our society as purely a sociologic matter or one of law enforcement has
led to unmitigated failure. It is time to test further whether violence
can be amenable to medical/public health interventions."
ELDERS: Well, you know, I think we all would agree with what Dr. Koop
has just said. And we`ve got to begin to be more aware of what we can do
to regulate and keep the tools of violence out of the hands of our children
and our young people, especially our young African-American men.
Young black men are far -- 20 times more likely to be killed in regard
to gun violence than other young men during their lifetime. And I think we
need to begin to educate our society as to how to handle and use guns.
You know, my father was a hunter. We lived in the country. But we
know that there are far more injuries of gun violence going on especially
in among poor people, in rural areas, than in other areas.
So I think what we need is a lot of education, more rules, more
regulations and policies. I don`t think anybody has any problem with
hunters using guns. But it`s the guns we`re beginning to use
indiscriminately in our streets, in our homes and in our schools and
against our most vulnerable resource, our children.
HAYES: Doctor, you had your own run-in with the kind of buzz saw of
national politics. You became this polarizing national figure. You
actually ended up stepping down as surgeon general and amidst controversy
and amidst a lot of Democrats running away from you. Do you have advice to
offer Dr. Murthy from your own experience?
ELDERS: Well, obviously my experience -- my advice wouldn`t be very
good, but I feel that I did the right thing. I feel that you need to stick
by what you believe in. Stick by what you believe to be right. And do
what you think is right for the American people.
I have absolutely no regrets about my being forced out, but I think
when we look back now, you know, when I`m talking about protect yourself,
take care of yourself --
ELDERS: -- and, well, I think we all look back and say, well, you
know, we really should do that. None of us want our children to be lost,
whether it`s to gun violence, sexual violence, whatever. So, I would tell
Dr. Murthy -- just really make sure he sticks to what he, himself, believes
in and don`t blow whatever the way the wind`s coming.
And so, we may just have to educate our politicians a little more.
HAYES: Yes. Well, not being the surgeon general may enable him to be
much more true to what he does believe.
Former surgeon general of the United States, Dr. Joycelyn Elders --
thank you very much.
ELDERS: Thank you. It`s a pleasure.
HAYES: Coming up, I`m thinking of starting a new recurring segment
called "A major media magnate tweeted this" that will feature musings of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: News Corp`s Rupert Murdoch is a modern day press
baron who rules newspapers and magazines, television networks and cable
channels, film studios and satellite systems, often reflecting the message
of their provocative and polarizing chairman.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Because owning one of the biggest and most powerful media
companies in the world isn`t enough of an outlet.
Stay with us.
HAYES: "What interests me about the United States are Tupac Shakur,
Allen Ginsberg, Jackson Pollock. No visa is needed to access their work,
so I`m not missing anything.` Those were the words of Vladislav Surkov, a
chief aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin and a man who was one of a
number in Putin`s inner circle who were sanctioned today by both the United
States and the European Union.
Those sanctions are the next step in punishing Russia for its
incursions into Ukraine, particularly into Crimea, which under the watch of
Russian soldiers, with a Russian puppet government, voted by a whopping 97
percent to secede from Ukraine with the accompanying celebrations.
President Obama`s executive order today froze the assets and banned
the visas of about half a dozen people, including Russian-backed leaders in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And as I told President
Putin yesterday, the referendum in Crimea was a clear violation of
Ukrainian constitutions and international law. And it will not be
recognized by the international community. And if Russia continues to
interfere in Ukraine, we stand ready to impose further sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But, today, Vladimir Putin under somewhat uncertain authority,
signed a decree recognizing Crimea as a sovereign state.
Tomorrow, Putin will go before the Russian Parliament to call for
annexation of Crimea. Just for good measure, Putin will reportedly
retaliate with similar sanctions against top Obama administration officials
and high-profile U.S. senators, including Democratic Senator Dick Durbin
and Republican Senator John McCain.
Speaking of Senator McCain, he continues to hammer President Obama`s
response to the unfolding crisis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Vladimir Putin must be encouraged by
the absolute timidity. I don`t know when the president and his advisers
are going to wake up to what Putin is really all about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Henry Kissinger once told President Nixon that withdrawals of
troops from Vietnam were like salted peanuts, to which the American people
would become addicted.
After this weekend`s vote in Crimea, I`m left wondering if we are now
viewing something in reverse, whether Vladimir Putin will be able to resist
the temptation to annex something else? If Crimea went so easily, why not
Donetsk or Kharkiv, the biggest city in Ukraine and only a few miles from
the Russian border?
And if this round of relatively mild sanctions is not the end, then
what does the next step look like?
Joining me now is Democratic senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a
member of the Committee on Foreign Relations who just got back from
Senator Murphy, you along with Senator McCain I think have been
probably the two most outspoken members of the United States government in
condemning Russian incursions and supporting the Maidan uprising.
I want to play for you what -- a little more of what Senator McCain
had to say about the president`s handling today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCAIN: The president said we will -- quote -- "consider other
options." The president should have said, we`re going to provide military
assistance to Ukraine, and that will be in defensive weaponry. But to not
do that after this country has lost a large part of its territory due to
Russian aggression, I think, frankly, it`s encouraging and it makes me less
optimistic about Putin exercising restrain in Eastern Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You agree with your colleague, we should be offering military
assistance to Ukraine?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Yes, you know, John and I have
agreed on most of our policy towards Ukraine. We traveled there twice
together in the last three months.
But it`s probably no secret that I don`t agree with him on this score.
First of all, John has been a critic of the Obama administration on this
issue since day one. And, frankly, the fact that we are here today with a
very weak Russia, having had the entirety of the Ukraine turn away from
Russia and towards the E.U. and having to have engaged in a panicky
reaction of invasion, is a result in part of the United States` strength on
this issue standing with the protesters throughout that difficult period of
time at the end of last year and the beginning of this year.
And the difficulty now is that ultimately the United States can`t
change the calculus in Russia on our own. We have to work in conjunction
with the Europeans. This is a first step, which sends a very clear signal
to Putin that we are going to stand together with our European partners,
and that if he doesn`t reverse course in the coming days, I imagine there`s
going to be a new round of crippling economic sanctions.
And so I think this is a process by which we`re trying to give Putin a
chance to de-escalate, and then the next step will clearly be a new set of
HAYES: Well, that -- so this chance to de-escalate, what strikes me
here is that it does seem as if we are at the beginning of a kind of
classic logic escalation sort of situation, in which the U.S., as a means
of trying to deter, you know, further territorial incursions threatens X,
and then the territorial incursion happens, and so you have to come through
with a threat.
And then there`s a response from Russia, which does not want to be
seen as weak or backing down or cowed by the Americans. And I just do
worry about how we change the course of this unfolding in a way that does
not lead toward a kind of tit-for-tat cycle of escalation, escalation,
MURPHY: Yes. Well, remember, there is a history here which suggests
that Putin can make a different decision. He marched into Russia in 2008,
and then when there was a threat of sanctions from the United States and
Europe, he backed off.
And so I don`t think it`s beyond the realm of possibility that that
can happen here, but you have got to give him the chance to reverse course.
I would argue that we should follow on with this announcement pretty
quickly with sanctions on Russian banks, on Russian petrochemical
And part of the difficulty is convincing Europe to come along with us.
He marched into Crimea because he didn`t believe that these sanctions were
going to happen. And I think today is just the first step. Ultimately,,
it`s our only way out right now. Senator McCain`s idea that you`re going
to be able to arm up the Ukrainian military in the next several days in
order to forestall the Russian invasion is fiction.
There are ways that we can help their military, but let`s be honest.
If the Russians choose to march in the coming days, there`s not a lot that
we or the Ukrainians can do to stop that.
HAYES: And that gets to part of the core issue here, right, is the
asymmetry between how important Ukraine is to Russia and how important it
is to the U.S., which is to say, Ukraine is whole lot more important to
Russia than it appears to be the U.S.
MURPHY: Yes, but I`m not sure that that`s ultimately true, in the
sense that Putin is rewriting the rules of international border setting
And you could look at all sorts of other countries that have their
eyes on other territories, China looking at the Senkaku Islands, for
instance, that are going to draw lessons from this. It should matter to
Europe much more than it matters to us, because if he gets away with the
incursion into Ukraine, well, then it`s a NATO ally that`s likely next.
But there are precedents that are being set here that do matter to the
United States. We`re not getting into another Cold War. The world is not
aligned along those parameters any longer. But there are precedents that
will cause us to ratchet up sanctions very quickly.
HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy, thank you for your time tonight.
MURPHY: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, amid all the speculation about what could have
happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, there are some people out there
who are in a unique position to talk about whether some of the scenarios
being floated are actually possible because they have actually flown planes
Three of them will join me ahead.
HAYES: For my money, the most illuminating Twitter feed on all of the
Internet belongs to Keith Rupert Murdoch.
The octogenarian who runs one of the world`s most powerful media
empires finally has a venue to express himself, to share his thoughts on
politics, just like all the rest of the civilians who don`t have billion-
dollar broadcast avenues to push their agenda and party line.
So, on this St. Patty`s Day, Rupert blasted Guinness for its laudatory
decision to withdraw sponsorship from today`s parade over the fact that in
the year 2014, no gay Irish group is allowed to identify and march in the
parade as a gay Irish group. None.
You can get gay married in Iowa, but you cannot walk down Fifth Avenue
in New York City holding a rainbow flag and a shamrock. But that`s not the
only thing Murdoch is weighing in on. He`s also on the case of the missing
Malaysia Airlines flight, tweeting that, in light of the missing plane --
quote -- "U.S. and China should be working more closely on Muslim extremist
threat" and -- quote -- "World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance.
Maybe no crash, but still effectively hidden perhaps in Northern Pakistan,
like bin Laden."
With Twitter being the wonderful democratic medium it is, many
ordinary joes responded directly to the media mogul, including famed
pourmecoffee who tweeted -- quote -- "I`m just spitballing here, but do you
think perhaps the U.S. might have some assets monitoring Pakistan
I have to agree. They probably do.
Now, up next, we have some people, actual pilots who are much more
qualified than billionaire megalomaniacs to talk about what might have
happened to this plane.
HAYES: In the mystery of missing Malaysia Airlines 370, the thought I
think that is lurking in the back of everyone`s mind, the sliver of hope
that families of those on board are desperately clinging to, is the
possibility the plane somehow landed somewhere and that the 239 people
aboard the jetliner somehow, some way or still walking the earth, they`re
For that to be the case, something miraculous and improbable and
bizarre would have had to have happened, but a lot of improbable and
bizarre things have already happened in the 10 days since this flight
disappeared. Until any sign of wreckage is found, some small amount of
hope remains, however tiny.
Still, the reality is this. The jetliner was flying in the dark, cut
off from contact with the ground. And it would have had to find a way to
land without getting word out despite its massive size and a worldwide
effort to locate it.
There`s no one that understands exactly how difficult that would be
than the people who fly these sorts of planes.
Joining me now, Latane Campbell, international captain of a major U.S.
airline who has 14 years of experience flying international, Captain Karen
Pellicore, a pilot for another major U.S. commercial airline, retired
United Airlines Captain Ross Aimer. He spent five years flying the Boeing
777, the same plane as the Malaysia Airlines, now CEO of Aero Consulting.
Ross, let me start with you. In the dark with no ground control and
presumably it appears certain automatic functions of the plane turned off,
could you get this thing to ground in any way? Or is that just an
ROSS AIMER, FORMER COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT: No, Chris, it`s a simple
thing for a pilot of that caliber that gets to fly a 777. That aircraft
has onboard equipment that could be used to find your way basically
anywhere around the world by itself.
HAYES: So you do think that, even given the conditions, that getting
to an airstrip that could take a 777, getting it to ground, that`s not a, I
guess, like obviously preposterous notion that should be dismissed out of
AIMER: Yes, obviously, we can`t leave any stone unturned. There are
many hypothesis and guesswork, but we really don`t know anything as of this
moment. Nothing solid, not a shred of evidence has come up that back any
of these theories.
HAYES: Latane, I see you nodding your head. And one of the things I
thought interesting today in talking with pilots, corresponding with
pilots, reading some pilots online is a real kind of backlash against what
a lot of pilots see as an unfair move to cast aspersions on the pilot of
this plane, a lot of kind of countertheorizing.
And I wonder if you share that, A, and, B, is that just professional
solidarity or something else?
LATANE CAMPBELL, COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT: I think any pilot is
loathe to question the abilities of another professional pilot. This
captain, in particular, had a lot of experience.
However, I keep trying to jump on some logic train that would lead me
away from the crew, and coincidence keeps getting in the way, the
coincidence, for example, that just two minutes after the last
communication, the transponder was turned off, the fact that the airplane
turned just as it was transferring from Malaysian airspace into Vietnamese
airspace, where they would have additional radar coverage happen, also, the
fact that the airplane was flown deliberately and apparently descended
deliberately perhaps in an attempt to avoid radar.
I would really want to know if either one of these crew members was
prior military, prior Malaysian military and had a knowledge of radar
coverage along the Malaysian coast. One more coincidence, the fact that
the airplane apparently flew out toward Penang on the western coast of
Malaysia, out of the Straits of Malacca, and the pings the they received
from the engine data aligned almost perfectly with an airway, Bravo 466,
heading Northwest toward Sri Lanka.
HAYES: So, I want to talk about that theory.
But, first, Karen, I wanted to ask you if -- there`s been a lot of
confusion about what exactly the transponder is. Right? It`s a frequency
that`s in there in the cockpit that you can set. Have you ever had
occasion as a pilot to turn the transponder off? Is there some aspect of
that that doesn`t seem as incriminating or mysterious or bizarre as it
appears to layfolks like me?
KAREN PELLICORE, COMMERCIAL AIRLINE PILOT: Well, our procedures are
to turn on the transponder right before we take off, and then we turn it
after we land.
I don`t really see any reason to turn it off en route at all. It
sends out a signal so that air traffic come can see where you are.
HAYES: Have you ever had an occasion where you have lost a
transponder for a reason where there was some kind of mechanical difficulty
that would take it out?
PELLICORE: I have. However, we have backups. So, if one side went
out, the other side started working. So, I have never had a case where it
So -- so here is the issue as I see it, Ross. You say we don`t know
anything. We do know a few things, right? And that set of facts bring us
nowhere. But I want you to respond to what Latane was saying, which is
basically this kind of process of inference folks are doing, which is
coincidence, coincidence, coincidence.
Is it not the case that catastrophic crashes are almost, in this day
and age, particularly with the advanced safety engineering we have, the
product of a string of unlikely events happening together? Just because a
set of unlikely things happened adjacently does not mean they didn`t
happen, because planes are so safe these days, they go down so rarely under
these conditions, that anything that would take them out would have to be
some set of very unlikely events strung together.
We all know this aircraft is one of the safest airplanes flying.
There`s -- almost 1,200 of them are flying as we speak around the world,
only one fatality in the past and that was -- basically had nothing to do
with the aircraft. So, obviously, as anything is possible, I don`t know if
this was obviously a catastrophic failure of the aircraft itself, or
perhaps an explosion.
And, you know, the argument about this altitude change, without the
transponder, you can see the airplane, but you can`t tell what the altitude
is. So, unless if they have some other military radar, highly
sophisticated one that could tell the altitude from just the primary
signature of the aircraft, I don`t know how they`re getting these altitude
HAYES: Right. And there`s been some notes of caution that those --
altitude reporting might be out of whack.
Latane, you mentioned a theory that was sort of shooting around today,
this kind of shadow theory. I wanted you to sort of talk about that,
explain again that plausibility, right after we take this break.
HAYES: We`re back.
I`m here with three captains who are flying or have flown for a major
U.S. airline, Latane Campbell, Karen Pellicore, and Ross Aimer.
And, Latane, you mentioned the idea of essentially a kind of shadow --
shadowing another plane, that part of the strangeness, the trajectory of
the flight, the northern trajectory of this for seven hours would go
through so much airspace, so many air traffic control towers, so many
different sets of radar, it would be impossible to do it with --
There was someone today sort of suggesting that perhaps if it had
gotten behind another plane, that that would be possible. Does that strike
you as plausible?
CAMPBELL: That strikes me as very unplausible.
The level of coordination would be extraordinary. They would have to
time everything perfectly to be able to climb back up to altitude, catch up
with another aircraft. I think once they reached the extent of the radar-
controlled airplane space in Malaysia under normal circumstances and headed
out over the Indian Ocean, all bets are off.
If I were a betting man, I would be looking at the deepest part of the
Indian Ocean, which is very deep, by the way, right now.
HAYES: Yes. That seems to be -- if the plane did go down, that seems
to be more and more the likely place, and of course the sheer size of that
makes that really difficult.
Karen, do you agree with what Ross was saying before about just the --
this kind of basic principle of how confident you as a pilot would be under
these conditions to be able to land that plane if there wasn`t some
catastrophic mechanical failure, if you had to get it down, you could?
PELLICORE: Well, absolutely. We have onboard computers. We can type
in the destination. It`s kind of like using your iPhone and Google Maps.
You can just follow it where you need to go.
There was nothing wrong with the airplane, it sounds like. It was
just the transponder. So, there should be no difficulty getting it
HAYES: And, Ross, every time that we have had big catastrophic
commercial air disasters, there has been a kind of engineering response to
it or regulatory response to it.
And, of course, that`s part, right, that`s part of why getting to the
bottom of the mystery is so important, just in terms of improving the
system as a whole, which is really kind of a miracle if you take a step
back and recognize just how many planes are whizzing through the air
without incident every day.
AIMER: Absolutely, Chris.
The majority of improvements to aviation in general, modern aircraft,
was as a result of some sort of a crash or incident that occurred, and we
have learned from it. And what is happening is that manufacturers,
airlines themselves, they try to improve and learn from other mistakes.
So we want to know what happened to this airplane, and I`m confident
we will find it. Even if it`s in the deepest ocean, we will find it
HAYES: But there`s going to be a certain -- it seems to me
increasingly likely given the data that we have so far, particularly this
final ping at 8:00 in the morning, the seven hours of flight time after
they last contact, it does seem to me increasingly likely, Latane, that
there`s going to be a huge amount of time that will pass between when it is
recovered, if it is recovered, if it`s actually in the ocean, that there`s
going to be a huge amount of time that passes.
And there`s a lot of anxiety that`s going to be produced in that
interim, not just for obviously the people who are feeling this the most
profoundly and deeply, which is the families, but the entire commercial air
CAMPBELL: I think everybody has a reason to be interested.
We`re now 10 days into this event. The data recorder can ping for,
what, 30 days. If it`s in a deep part of the ocean, you have got 20 days
to find it. Otherwise, it`s going to take some extraordinary technology
used to try to find it, for example, submarines or whatnot, that eventually
may even find the aircraft.
But the average depth of the Indian Ocean is 12,600-plus feet. It has
parts of it that I think are as deep as 26,000 feet. When you started
getting in these deep depths later on, if -- for example, if it were like
Air France 447, where a year later they`re looking for the airplane, I`m
sure they can come up, and they -- and I`m sure there will be enough
interest long-term for this to happen, that they would look for the
airplane, but it`s going to be expensive and it`s going to demand some
HAYES: A reminder of the sheer scope of the size of this Earth, and
not just that, but the remarkable feat that is air travel and the fact that
we do this every day is extraordinary.
Airline captains Latane Campbell, Karen Pellicore, and Ross Aimer,
thank you so much.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
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