THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW>
Date: April 2, 2014
Guest: Michael Leiter, Nicholas Confessore
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, it`s now 9:00 here on the East
Coast. We`re continuing our breaking news coverage tonight of what has
turned out to be another deadly shooting at the Fort Hood military base
just outside of Waco, Texas. Fort Hood is about equal distance between
Austin, the capital city of Texas and Waco, it is in central Texas. It`s a
very large military facility. One of the largest U.S. military facilities
anywhere in the world.
Fort Hood, of course, was the scene of a mass shooting five years ago back
in November 2009. That shooting left 13 people dead and more than 30
people wounded. The shooter in that previous incident at Fort Hood was
convicted on capital murder charges last August. He has since been
sentenced to death.
But to tonight, that same army base, again, one of the largest U.S.
military installations anywhere in the world, that same base, again, went
into lockdown and again, is the site of what is reported to be gunshot
wounds and fatal injuries.
The latest information we have right now is that four people have been
confirmed dead at Fort Hood and 11 more have been wounded. Now, those
numbers have fluctuated and sometimes widely, those numbers have fluctuated
over the course of the day and in tonight as recently as the last half
hour. But again, the latest numbers that we have are four confirmed dead
and 11 additional persons who have been wounded. Do not consider those
numbers to be set on stone. But the is the latest that we have.
And the important detail that we`re learning tonight from NBC News,
officials are telling NBC news tonight that among the four people who are
reported to have been killed is the suspected shooter himself. He appears
to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wounds at the base.
Now, this all started around 4:30 p.m. local time this afternoon. That is
when the first report started to come in of an active shooting underway of
Fort Hood. The shooter at that point was said to be inside a building
called the medical brigade building on base. Witnesses there describe
hearing about 20 shots being fired. Shortly afterwards those shots were
fired, warning sirens went off at the base.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
MADDOW: All Fort Hood personnel were ordered to shelter in place
immediately. Again, this was in the 4:00 p.m. hour locally which is the
5:00 p.m. hour in the east coast. Fort Hood personnel were instructed to
close all doors and to stay away from windows, the whole base, a huge base.
Tens of thousands of army personnel and their families were all ordered
into a lockdown position. About an hour after those first reports came
out, Fort Hood posted a statement on the base`s official Web site
confirming that a shooting had taken place. There had been reports of
injuries and that emergency crews were on scene.
In addition to the lockdown that was ordered at Fort Hood, interestingly, a
college called Central Texas College which is located right near the base,
they also cancelled all their evening classes and asked all students and
faculty there to evacuate the area immediately.
The emergency response to this incident tonight was not just from Fort Hood
personnel on base. The bell`s county sheriff`s department also dispatched
deputies and troopers to the scene.
As of the FBI, President Obama was informed of the shooting late tonight
after giving a speech at the University of Michigan earlier today. The
president delivered this brief statement to reporters just a short time ago
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just got off the phone
with the vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to get the latest
report on the situation in Fort Hood. Obviously, we`re following it
closely. The situation it fluid right now, but my national security team
is, of course, in contact with not just the defense department, but the
FBI. They are working with folks on the ground to determine exactly what
happened to make sure that everybody is secure. And I want just to assure
all of us that we are going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
You know, any shooting is troubling. Obviously, this reopens the pain of
what happened in Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We
know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they
make. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers were -- are with the entire
community. And we are going to do everything you can to make sure that the
community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current
situation. But also, any potential aftermath.
We`re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And
I don`t want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has
happened. But for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country
is keeping the families and the community of Fort Hood in our thoughts and
prayers. The folks there have sacrifices so much on behalf of our freedom.
Many of the people there have been through multiple tours in Iraq and
Afghanistan. They serve with valor, and they serve with distinction. And
when they`re at their home base, they need to feel safe. We don`t yet know
what happened tonight, but obviously, that sense of safety has been broken
once again, and we`re going do have to find out exactly what happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s President Obama speaking just moments ago in Chicago. He
was there on a campaign style event at the University of Michigan today.
Again, the details out of Fort Hood tonight are still fluid, but the latest
that we have at this hour is that four people have been killed on base, 11
more have been wounded in a shooting at the Fort Hood military base. The
four dead are believed to include the suspected shooter who is reported to
have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
There are initial reports that it was suspected there were two shooters
involved in this incident which would make it (INAUDIBLE) of a different
magnitude of potentially of the different quality. Those reports are now
believed to be false and it is thought there was one shooter in this
Fort Hood officials say that the injured personnel are being transported to
local hospitals at this hour. Scott & White Memorial Hospital reported
within the last few minutes, within the last half an hour that they have
received a total of four patients so far, all of whom have gunshot wounds.
They describe their conditions as ranging from stable to quite critical.
They said they had two more patients on route by air, so patients being
med-evac (ph) to that level one trauma facility. Those two patients
expected to go immediately into surgery upon arrival at that facility.
Military and civilian officials are telling NBC News tonight that they have
identified the gunman. They say it was a 34-year-old man, an enlisted
soldier in the U.S. army, named Ivan Lopez. He lived in the Fort Hood
area. He may have been stations at Fort Hood.
At this hour, the lockdown at Fort Hood has been lifted. But this is still
a very fluid story with our level of information out of Fort Hood changing,
and frankly increasing by the minute. I will tell you something that we`re
keeping an eye on right now. I just got a second monitor over here that I
am watching, because they have just set up microphones and cameras and
lights at the main gates, just outside the main entrance to Fort Hood,
which means we are awaiting a news conference from U.S. army officials and
base officials on those shootings.
Joining us now as we wait for this next press conference is Jim
Miklaszewski, NBC News chief Pentagon correspondent.
Mik, thank you for being with us. What`s the latest you`re hearing from
your Pentagon sources tonight, and anything that I just said, is it
obsolete at this point?
JIM MIKLASZEWSKI, NBC NEWS CHIEF PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: You know, they
have pretty much buttoned down the fact that this appears to have been one
lone shooter, this 34-year-old enlisted soldier, Ivan Lopez. And according
to military and federal officials, this shooting rampage started as a
result of an argument that erupted in the motor pool there at Fort Hood.
Now, normally soldiers, when they`re on the base do not carry weapons. The
rules and regulations are different at each individual base. But after
that 2009 incident in which army major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13,
wounded 32 for which he was eventually convicted and sentenced to death,
he`s still on death row as of tonight. There were some strict rules about
the carrying of weapons on base.
Now, if in fact you`re in uniform on a military base, you could carry
easily carry a weapon in a backpack, in a pocket of your BDU`s and not be
stopped, frisked, go through any metal detectors. The fact is on any
military base around the world, there are a lot of guns. And as we`ve seen
now at Fort Hood twice, they are used in tragic mass shootings.
MADDOW: Mik, let me ask you for some clarification on that, from the
officials that are telling you about this idea that it may have stemmed
from some sort of argument that erupted at the motor pool, are they
describing this as a heat of the moment event? A heat of the moment
reaction? Or is this something where this aggrieved shooter for whatever
reason that he was aggrieved actually plotted this out in response to an
MIKLASZEWSKI: Nobody knows, that`s way too early yet. You know, the FBI,
the U.S. military are working together on this? As far as we know, they
have yet to gather any meaningful forensic evidence. Go to his -- we don`t
know if he lived in a private home on base, in a barracks. They would
obviously seek out his computers, his cell phone. Figure out as they did
with Nidal Hasan, figure out who he had been in contact with. To try to
determine what the motive is.
Right now, we`re only hearing that it was with apparently the result of
some kind of altercation, or at least it was an altercation and the
shooting then erupted. But the motive is entirely unclear at this point.
MADDOW: Do we know if anybody who knew the alleged shooter has made
themselves available to authorities or to reporters or any of your sources
on this story? Has any now that a name has been out there for more than an
hour, has anybody who knew him or could speak to him, even his potential
innocence, has anybody come forward on his behalf?
MIKLASZEWSKI: If they have, you can bet that federal and military
investigators will keep that person under tight raps. And so far we
haven`t heard about any potential witnesses coming forward who may have
known this suspect, who may have known what his motive may have been.
MADDOW: Jim, one last question for you about the immediate response here,
obviously, Fort Hood has been through a mass shooting not that long ago,
4.5 years ago, 2009, did that affect the ability of the base to respond
once it was apparent that there was another active shooter? Do we know
anything about essentially the immediate first responders type response
here? Both in terms of trying to go after the shooter, but also trying to
rescue the wounded and the hurt?
MIKLASZEWSKI: By all initial accounts, the security forces there at Fort
Hood responded quickly and took appropriate actions. You know, there was a
lot of chaos, some people reported a shooter from one angle, some from
another angle which apparently made it appear anyway that there could have
been two shooters. So once they determined that the shooter himself had
apparently shot and killed himself, they nevertheless continued their
methodical and really aggressive search of the surrounding areas.
There were reports, for example that security forces were marching people
including families out of buildings at gunpoint. Forcing them down on the
ground so that they could be searched in the event -- in the possibility
that there may have been another shooter.
So you know, it`s clear that they learned their lessons from that 2009
shooting incident in terms of an immediate response. And again, in terms
of the fact that a soldier on a military base would have a gun, it`s
impossible to believe that that would ever be totally eliminated. And so,
therefore, that threat in some respects will probably always exist.
MADDOW: And in terms of motivation to be clear, nothing has surfaced, at
least not yet, to suggest any sort of political or ideological or
radicalized motivation for a shooting like this. If they`re suggesting it
was a product of some sort of altercation or argument, that would seem to
preclude any deeper seeded reason for this? But we are not hearing
anything about any radical ties or this alleged shooter, are we?
MIKLASZEWSKI: Not yet. And this, we understand that people are digging as
deeply as they can, as quickly as they can into his private effects in an
attempt to -- and talking to everybody they can in an attempt to learn a
motive, but if they even have an inkling, they aren`t sharing it with us
MADDOW: Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News chief Pentagon correspondent, on this
story from the very beginning. Jim, thank you very much for helping us
MIKLASZEWSKI: OK, Rachel.
MADDOW: Let`s bring in Jim Cavanaugh. He`s a former hostage negotiator
and special agent in-charge with the ATF.
Mr. Cavanaugh, thank you for helping us with this tonight. Appreciate you
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Just that last question we were discussing with Mr. Miklaszewski
there. The question about motive, my guess is that you do not approach an
investigation like this with motive as your first -- as the first thing
that you are trying to discern. But where does an investigation like this
CAVANAUGH: What you`re going after when a suspect is deceased like this,
Rachel, is you want to find out, number one, is there any other
conspirators or people involved. And you maybe be able to sort that out
pretty quick if it looks like a lone actor who committed suicide.
But then the investigators, this is going to be pretty much for, you know,
the forward agency on this is going to be the United States army criminal
investigation division called the criminal investigation command. They`re
extremely good. I worked with them for years. Some of the best
investigators in the world. They have a big contingent in Fort Hood.
But they`re set up just like federal civilian law enforcement agencies, the
FBI, the ATF, their special agents in-charge, assistance special agents in-
charge, you know, supervisors, agents. They`re great investigators. And
what they`re going to try to do is go back on Mr. Lopez here and get a
motivational picture. They`re going to want to know everything about his
life for the past 60 days.
When you`re running a case like this, you want to know everything about
him, his influences, his behaviors, where he goes, who he visits, who were
his friends, what has he doing his off time, did he have for breakfast a
month ago. You`re trying to put the picture together of who Mr. Lopez is,
and you`re looking for what is the motivational picture that would drive
this kind of activity.
MADDOW: With army CID taking that kind of the sort of controlling role in
this type of investigation, what role is there for these FBI agents who we
saw as part of the response today. Texas state troopers who we saw as part
of the response, even county sheriffs, personnel moving in. With all of
these different jurisdictions having some claim to what happened there in
central Texas, how is it organized and who reports to who?
CAVANAUGH: Well, yes, it is very collegial actually. What we do when we
get to these things is we set up what we call a JOC. We call if a JOC.
It`s the joint operational center, and that`s where the command is. And
the commanders from all the agencies, these special agents in charge, and
the chiefs of the agencies collectively are there, and usually we have a
giant room set up, you know, like a giant boiler room, phones and
computers, and we computerized the leads. And then the assignments are
And you know, there may be between the agencies, as if there`s no
difference. You know, the U.S. Marshall and a DEA agents may go out on
this lead. CID U.S. army CID and FBI may go out in that lead. It all
comes back to the command it`s sorted through, it`s very collegial. You
know, how they would likes to have lots of infighting. Once in a while
there`s disputes between agencies, but actually, they`re all like brothers,
they fight amongst themselves a little bit, but basically to get the job
And clearly, this will happen at Fort Hood, everybody will pull together,
they`ll get the facts, but unfortunately, it`s not going to bring the
MADDOW: Jim, let me just ask you, considering the prior incident at Fort
Hood five years ago, how does that affect the response to an ongoing
incident like this, how would that have affected the planning for another
active shooter. Obviously, this is a huge military base, one of the
biggest ones in the world, tens of thousands of army personnel and their
families, it takes a big chunk of that area in central Texas. It was
chosen as that site because it was sprawling, because they could do large
scale weapons training there. It`s a big place, with a ton of people. But
also this very recent history, how would that have affected their planning
for a response to something like this?
CAVANAUGH: Well, that`s a great question, Rachel.
I think they have probably a very fast response. You heard Jim
Miklaszewski talk about how, you know, the teams were moving quickly. The
MP`s, the base police, I`m sure they swiftly move. They started evacuating
everybody. But look, if you have a shooter that has a handgun with 15
rounds, for example. He can unload those 15 rounds in a matter of seconds,
a matter of seconds. So five seconds, eight seconds. He could shoot all
those rounds. So there`s no possible way that the base police or the MP`s
could even get there necessarily. It depends how the shooting unraveled
and how it unfolded, you know. Was it all in one room or two adjacent
rooms? Or did he walk distances and we`ve seen all these different cases.
But you can shoot the rounds very quickly. And so, you have 14 people shot
and then you have the shooter dead. So you have somewhere around that
number of rounds shot and it can happen very, very quickly.
MADDOW: Jim Cavanaugh, thank you very, very much for helping us understand
this, really appreciate having you here, Jim. Jim is a former ATF agent
and hostage negotiator.
In terms of what Mr. Cavanaugh was just saying there about how this
unfolded and the response to it. Also, who may be among the victims here.
We don`t yet know if this was a targeted shooting, whether this was
bystanders, whether this was some sort of ambush or whether this was
something more like what happened in Fort Hood in 2009, where the shooter
essentially shot in a fan pattern near him, and people who were unlucky
enough to be near him were most likely to be shot.
We are going to be trying to figure out some of the locations described by
people who were the initial witnesses phoning in to news stations and
posting things on to social media about where the shooters were.
Again, the initial reports that we first heard were from the medical
brigade building on site at Fort Hood. But then later in the evening,
officials are telling NBC News, as we just heard from Jim Miklaszewski
there, that this may have stemmed from an argument that erupted at the
motor pool on base.
Again, Fort Hood is a large, sprawling facility. In terms of understanding
exactly what happened here, the way this unfolded, who may have been in the
path of the shooter and how many people he tried to get access to before he
eventually reportedly took his own life. We`re going to be looking at that
geography among all the other details we can get our hands on.
Again though, right now, we are awaiting news -- a press conference, excuse
me, from a Fort Hood spokesperson who is army master sergeant Jacob
Coldwell (ph). They`re set up right now at the front gates at Fort Hood.
So we`re expecting this first press statement from Fort Hood itself
The latest numbers right now according to NBC News, four dead, including
reportedly the shooter and 11 wounded. Some of those wounded are said to
be in very critical condition.
Stay with us. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: We are continuing to follow the breaking news tonight out of Fort
Hood Texas where there has been another deadly shooting on the U.S.
military base at Fort Hood. At this hour, we are awaiting a news
conference from Fort Hood. That will be the first news conference we`ve
had from authorities at Fort Hood. We`re expecting to get from them the
latest information about the shooting that could start at any moment.
We`re keeping an eye on the cameras and lights and microphones they have
set up there. but we`re expecting at least the official U.S. army
spokesman for the base to be speaking if not other army officials.
NBC News has confirmed there are four people dead in this incident and 11
more people wounded. Again, the shooting took place at Fort Hood Texas,
which is one of the biggest U.S. military installations in the world. The
suspected shooter in this incident is among those reported to be dead. In
his case, he`s reportedly dead by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Now, obviously this is an outrageous and horrifying ,ass shooting. It
would be -- if it happened anywhere in this country. But in this case, the
horror and the worry is exacerbated by the recent history at Fort Hood. It
was four and a half years ago, it was November 5th, 2009, when the same
military base was the scene of the deadliest shooting rampage on the U.S.
military base ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Good evening. As the nation`s largest
military post deals with a concussion of what happened there yesterday, the
colossal loss of life. Tonight, a single gunman is hospitalized under
heavy guard. And the numbers have gone up to 13 killed, 43 injured in that
single attack on Fort Hood in Texas. And a new picture is emerging of this
accused gunman literally and figuratively, the army major, a trained
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The army`s top brass at Fort Hood today
leading soldiers in a moment of silence. Exactly 24 hours after one of
their own turned this state side post into a battleground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ll tell you candidly, this was a kick in the gut.
Not only the Fort Hood community but also our entire army.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Officials today confirmed that cartridge (ph)
was the work of one man, army major and psychiatrist Nidal Hasan who they
say turned on the very soldiers he was charged with carrying for.
When at 1:34 p.m., Hasan dressed in his army uniform, opened fire inside
the Fort Soldier readiness center, where men and women preparing for
deployment were undergoing medical screenings.
Also in the line of fire, a group filing into a graduation ceremony. The
rampage ended when civilian police office Sergeant Kimberly Munley shot
Hasan four times wounding him, despite being shot herself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Twelve of those killed in the 2009 Fort Hood shooting were
soldiers, one was a civilian, it was initially thought that the shooter
himself, Nidal Hasan, had been killed at the scene of the rampage. He was
shot, but he survived his injuries. He was paralyzed from the chest down,
but he lived.
Nidal Hasan was an army psychiatrist. He was a U.S. citizen who was a
Muslim who became radicalized once he was in the army. He never denied
being the shooter in fort Hood. He cited his radicalized religious beliefs
as the reason that the shot and killed 13 people and injured more than 30
Nidal Hasan tried to mount his own defense said his court marshal. That is
a legal decision that almost never ends well. And August of last year, he
was found guilty and he was sentenced to death. And although that sounds
like maybe the suspected sentence for a suspected mass murder, especially
in Texas, it should be known that a sentence of capital punishment is
extremely rare in a military court-martial, but he is on federal death row
After that 2009 shooting, the worst mass shooting to take place on an
American military base in history. After that shooting, the U.S. military
tried to re-con with the question of what went wrong. Could anything have
been done to stoop Nidal Hasan before he killed those people?
In 2010, the Pentagon launched an internal investigation into what went
wrong. That investigation revealed quote "a wide range of security lapses
at U.S. military bases including a failure to consider the possibility that
a threat might come from an insider.
And internal Pentagon report issued 47 different recommendations for how to
make U.S. military installations safer. Later two years later in 2012,
another report was made public. This one commissioned by the then director
of the FBI, Robert Mauller (ph). And it was supposed to find out what the
FBI knew about Nidal Hasan before the shooting and how they handled the
information that they had about him. That report found that the FBI knew
about e-mail traffic between Nidal Hasan and a suspected terrorist
overseas. But they did not share that information with anyone outside of
the FBI. Even though they should have played that information known to the
By all accounts and from what we know so far, what happened today at Fort
Hood is very different from that shooting rampage in 2009. What we are
told today, according to sources speaking to NBC News, is that the alleged
shooter in this again, who is believed to be dead in this incident is
believed perhaps who have started the shooting incident in response to some
sort of argument, some sort of dispute with people on base. He is thought
to be himself, an enlisted army soldier who at least lived in the Fort Hood
area, if not was based himself at Fort Hood. . We expect to learn more,
perhaps as soon as we hear from Fort Hood authorities. They`re due to
start a press conference shortly, within the next few minutes.
But looking back at 2009, looking back at the last mass shooting at this
same base. After those investigations into what went wrong in 2009 at the
same base. How is it possible that this happened again. At the same base.
Did the U.S. military succeed in what they said would make these -- what
was aimed at making their bases safe?
I want to bring in now the former director of the U.S. counterterrorism
Michael Leiter. He served in the Bush administration and Obama
Mr. Leiter, thanks for being here.
MICHAEL LEITER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF THE U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM: Good to be
MADDOW: It`s too soon to try to take a big picture look at what has
happened because we`re not sure what has happened yet?
LEITER: That`s right.
MADDOW: But looking back at 2009 -- that was the kind of a crime that a
lot of people thought would -- was impossible on a military base. Did that
change America`s understanding of these kinds of mass shootings and the
LEITER: I think so. And I have to say up front, I was deeply involved in
that 2009 investigations so this is very personal in that sense.
But I think what it did show, is first of all, military bases, the military
aren`t immune from the violence we`ve seen in society with guns. You can
move around on a military base with a weapon just as easily as you can in
almost anywhere else in the society. And I think the security steps that
were taken were largely focused on insider threats associated with known
terrorist organizations and ideologies. So I think the U.S. military and
the FBI did a much, much better job it has than in 2009 of connecting the
But if this isn`t in that category, there`s not a lot in my view that was
done in 2009 which keeps people who have other problems, other issues from
getting a gun and getting on a base. Viewers have to understand, this
isn`t like the movies. Bases are relatively open. You have an I.D., you
come in. This is much easier to get on to a base than to your flight at an
airport. So soldiers, civilians, come on bases. and if they want to bring
guns, there`s nothing that the military can realistically do to stop them.
MADDOW: Yes. You don`t think about the military as being a gun free zone,
any military facilities. But so, to be clear, though, what you`re saying,
is that essentially the lesson of the Hasan shooting in 2009 was to pay
more attention to potential terrorist connections and potential radicalized
motivation among individuals, to try to learn to spot those things. And
from what we know about this case, there`s no reason that would have
applied to stopping this particular shooter?
LEITER: I think that`s exactly right. And the failures we had in Fort
Hood in 2009 were both people in the military not seeing signs and symptoms
and warning signs of radicalization. People in the FBI not understanding
them, and both sides not communicating with each other. We have no idea,
it doesn`t look like that happened here.
I think the other piece that the military has been struggling with, over
the past 13 years of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are broader issues
of the pressure on the force and the families, and certainly people who had
been deployed, people who have not been deployed over the past 12 or 13
years, the military has seen significant increases in suicides, significant
increases in other forms of violence.
So in that sense, the military has focused tremendous resources and who
knows if that`s a part here. But there`s both the insider threat piece and
then there`s simply the pressure which is on the force as a result of these
wars which really can lead to some very unfortunate circumstances.
MADDOW: Well, let me ask you about sort of another axis on that graph
though. And that is rather than focusing on the potential perpetrators of
these crimes, either because of somebody cracking under some kind of
pressure, the kind of pressure that could affect a civilian or somebody who
has been through combat stress or anything else, rather than focusing on
that and the potential radicalization and terrorist ties as a motivation
for the shooter, isn`t there also a consideration that members of the
United States military made themselves be at heightened risk of being
targeted? Because of the what the U.S. military has been through over the
past 12 years. I mean, the Unites States military stands for a lot of
different things to a lot of different people. Isn`t it possible that the
U.S. military bases should be seen as targets themselves, have to be
hardened simply because they house military personnel?
LEITER: They absolutely are viewed that way, and really since going back
to the USS Cole attacked overseas, but also U.S. facility outside of war
zones have been attacked targeted by terrorists. They are absolutely
viewed as that, and they are a harder target.
So, if you`re a civilian and you don`t have access to a base, it`s harder
to attack a U.S. military base than it would be, frankly, to walk into a
shopping mall and shoot people.
MADDOW: But somewhere between shopping mall and airport is how we protect
LEITER: That`s about it. And If you are not, if you don`t already have
access to those bases, it`s hard to get in. And again, we have seen pots
like that in New Jersey and Fort Dicks (ph) back in 2006, 2007.
MADDOW: And the naval facility. The Navy yards in Washington?
LEITER: But if you have access to those bases, frankly, it`s really no
harder than walking into almost any other office building anywhere in the
United States. And in that sense, the military remains vulnerable to its
own personnel that has already given a card of trust to. And again, it`s
not immune from the pressures that lead to violence or the presence of guns
in these sorts of facilities.
MADDOW: Former director of the national counterterrorism center, Michael
Leiter, again, I should mention was deeply involved in the Nidal Hasan
investigation in the 2009 Fort Hood attack.
Thanks for being with us and helping us understand. Appreciate it.
LEITER: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Again, we are awaiting that press conference which will be the
first press conference. The first opportunity to explain things and also
answer questions from personnel at Fort Hood itself. The Fort Hood press
conference we are expecting.
Stay with us, we`ll have it here live.
MADDOW: Two things underway right now. We are continuing to cover this
breaking news story out of Fort Hood Texas where a multiple shooting today
has claimed four lives, including reportedly the shooter himself, 11 people
are known to be wounded in this incident. We`ve heard from hospital
officials in and around Fort Hood in the Killeen, Texas area tonight that
the people who are being treated for gunshot wounds after having been
wounded in this incidents, their conditions range from stable to very
critical, including some people who had to be Medevaced (ph) into a level
one trauma facility, where they were expected to be rushed immediately into
surgery. So those are people who were thought to be quite seriously
But again, the death toll right now is four, including the alleged shooter,
and 11 wounded. We are awaiting right now within the next few minutes, we
expect a press conference at the gates of Fort Hood, that will be the first
time today or tonight that we have heard from Fort Hood itself. We`re
expecting lieutenant general Mark Milley to be explaining the situation on
base. Again, that is shortly and hopefully the lieutenant general will be
taking questions as well. The press is assembling there right now.
Beyond the story today, there was some important political news today. The
United States Supreme Court issued what looks to be a landmark ruling
that`s being decried on the left making the Democrats very unhappy and
making Republicans very happy.
It`s campaign finance ruling. The Supreme Court did that today, and we
have that story for you as well. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, the United States Supreme Court had a landmark ruling
striking down another set of limits on money in politics. The courts five
conservative justices today threw out the limits on the aggregate amount of
money that any one donor can spend on candidates and political parties in
any one election. There used to be a limit of about $123,000 for what you
could spend on federal candidates, and the fund-raising committees for the
political parties. That aggregate limit is now struck down.
So for the very fortunate people in our country who are bumping up against
that six figure ceiling in terms of what they wanted to donate in an
election cycle, those folks are now free to be way, way, way more powerful
than you and me.
There`s still a limit on what you can spend directly on any one candidate
or the various committees if you have the means to write quite large checks
to unlimited candidates and political groups than a Supreme Court`s
conservative majority today cleared the way for you to break out the ink
pen and just do what you wanted to do. That was the decision today by the
John Roberts led majority.
But interestingly today, justice Stephen Breyer who was not part of the
majority, who was part of the descenting four liberal justices in this
decision, he took the very unusual step of reading his descent out loud
from the bench in open court. Along with the parts he read out loud,
justice Breyer, and three other descanters Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The descenting justices also included in their
descent, a set of tables, showing how getting rid of the aggregate limit on
campaign donations, creates a loophole, in which not only can you blow
through what used to be the aggregate ceiling on what you can donate in any
one election cycle, but you can blow through what is supposed to be the
still intact limit on what anyone donor can give to any one candidate.
Justice Breyer said in his descent that the court today eviscerated our
nation`s campaign finance laws. He said today`s ruling creates a loophole
that will allow a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a
political party or to a candidate`s campaign. And then he provides tables
in his descent showing you just how to do that.
Along with those tabulated calculations, Justice Breyer also quotes from
the historic record of elected officials testifying about the effect on
Congress of outsized giant donations. But I think the effect of Justice
Breyer reading his descent out loud, today is probably going to be
remembered as the important thing in this ruling. I mean, obviously, the
effect of the ruling itself is important, but the (INAUDIBLE) descent from
Justice Breyer was both rare, informed ends in its actual words.
He said the decision understates the importance of protecting the political
integrity of our government institutions, taken together with citizens
united. Today`s decision eviscerates our nation`s campaign finance laws,
leaving a remnant incapable of dealing with the grave problems of
democratic legitimacy that those laws were intended to resolve.
According to Justice Breyer today, where enough money calls the tune, the
general public will not be heard. In so far, corruption cuts the link
between political thought and political action, a free marketplace of
political ideas loses its point.
Analyzing the decision today in "The New York Times," Nicholas Confessore
bottom lines it like this. He says quote "the ruling most empowers two
groups of people, those with the wherewithal to spend millions of dollars
on campaign contributions and those with access to them.
Oh, good because those folks didn`t have enough influence in our politics
Joining us now is Nicholas Confessore who covered the story today for the
Times and who has been intensively covering the overall issue of money and
politics for the Times.
Nick, thanks for being here.
NICHOLAS CONFESSORE, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Hi, Rachel.
MADDOW: When you said that the two people who are going to benefit the
most here include people with millions of dollars to spend on campaign
contributions, some of the limits that exist on those contributions are
CONFESSORE: That`s correct.
MADDOW: But Justice Breyer essentially said they`re not intact in any way
that means anything, the loopholes are big enough to drive a truck through?
CONFESSORE: That`s right. Under current law, you can give $5,200 to any
candidate you want. But there`s this overall cap on how much you can spend
in total, which means you can only give to about nine candidates around the
country. What`s happened today is they`ve removed that cap. You can you
make that contribution to every single candidate, every party and every
political action committee in the entire country.
MADDOW: And then if they form joint fund-raising committees or if they set
themselves up structurally to do it, once you donated to all of those
different candidates, the people to whom have you donated can move the
money around in such a way they may be able to funnel it all to one guy
CONFESSORE: That`s correct. In fact, we saw a version of this in 2012,
under the current cap. Both candidates for president would actually raise
these large checks for a couple of state parties, and eventually the state
parties would give the money to other states and battleground states and it
would be spent on the activities which would benefit the people who would
raise the money.
The important thing here, it puts presidents and politicians and others
back in the business of soliciting two and three million dollar checks, and
we haven`t had the soft money days, the Lincoln bedroom scandals.
MADDOW: I think part of the reason it was hard initially to appreciate the
magnitude of this ruling, we`re used to the idea of billionaires spending
not just a million or two million or three million, but tens of millions
of dollars in elections. Because they have done that through other means.
Correct me if I`m wrong, but it seems like what changed today, is that yes,
billionaires can still spend that money the way they have been in the past.
But now other billionaires can spend that money not just for independent
expenditure groups that are going to do what they want and can`t coordinate
with the candidates. This money can go to the candidates themselves and
the political parties themselves.
CONFESSORE: It can go right into the system of candidates and parties. So
you can get huge amounts of money. Remember an official asking for this
check or a lobbyist or donor who is giving it, in the old days it might
have been a few thousand dollars or $10,000 or $20,000.
But now, if you`re Nancy Pelosi, if you are John Boehner, you can go to
your best donors and say, if you have $2 million, I have a way to use all
MADDOW: And I can maybe use it to funnel it all to one individual
candidate who needs it the most.
CONFESSORE: That`s right. And imagine what the donors are going to want
in exchange for what Boehner or Pelosi if going to want in exchange for
MADDOW: And this is now the law. This is the Supreme Court. This is
Nicholas Confessore, political reporter for "The New York Times." It was a
little hurly burly getting you in here tonight in the middle of all these
breaking news. Thank you for being here.
CONFESSORE: Any time.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
All right, again, we are awaiting for the press conference that we are
expecting tonight from authorities at Fort Hood. Fort Hood itself has not
yet spoken about the mass shooting that happened there today, but we`re
expecting that press conference within the next few minutes. Please stay
MADDOW: We`re continuing to follow the breaking news at this hour of the
deadly shooting that took place tonight at the Fort Hood military
installation just outside of Waco, Texas. That took place at 4:30 p.m.
local time, this afternoon, about 5:30 p.m. on the east coast.
At this hour, the latest information that we have is that four people have
been confirmed dead in the shooting, 11 people are said to be injured.
Among those confirmed dead is reported to be the suspected shooter.
Reportedly a 34-year-old named Ivan Lopez, who, again, reportedly is an
enlisted soldier in the U.S. army. That`s not officially confirmed by the
U.S. army publicly, nor do we have any information about Mr. Lopez`s rank
or his service history.
NBC`s Jim Miklaszewski has been told by officials tonight that the shooting
appeared to have stemmed from an argument that took place in the motor pool
at Fort Hood. Beyond that report, though, we do not have any detail about
what may have led to the shooting or whether the victims in this shooting
may have been targeted specifically.
Now, in terms of the 11 people known to be injured, a local hospital, Scott
and White hospital has been receiving the wounded. They announced within
the last hour that they had received four patients tonight already at their
level one trauma facility. They said the four patients they had already
received ranged from stable to very critical.
Those hospital officials also said at the last hour they were awaiting the
arrival of two more patients who they say were very seriously wounded and
who were expected to go straight into surgery upon their arrival at Scott
white. All the injured are said to be suffering from singular or multiple
Fort Hood, of course, was the scene just five years ago of the deadliest
shooting rampage in a U.S. military installation ever. In November `09, an
army psychiatrist stationed at Fort Hood open fired and killed 13 people
and injured more than 30 others. The shooter in that incident was
convicted on capital murder charge last year. He has been sentenced to
death. He`s currently on death row.
But again tonight at Fort Hood, there has been another mass shooting. At
this point, four confirmed dead, including the suspected shooter and
another 11 injured. Fort Hood officials are expected to provide their
first live update on the situation there within the next few minutes.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The news of the hour is the deadly shooting at Fort Hood Texas
with NBC News confirming four people have been killed, including the
suspected shooter. Now, we`ve been waiting the first press conference from
officials at Fort Hood. They tell us it should now be expected at 9:15
central time, which is 10:15 on the east coast. Within a few minutes of
that start time from Fort Hood, we`re also told to expect another update
from Scott and White memorial hospital, which is a local hospital that`s
treating six of the injured, including patients who may be the most
seriously injured of the 11 people who were shot in this incident but
So this next hour is going to be crucial and it is going to be very busy.
Please stay tuned to MSNBC for our continuing coverage.
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