Guests: Jason West, Scott Lehigh
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Lawrence. Thanks very much.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
This is the sport of jai-alai. Jai-alai is not really widely known in the U.S.
But if people here know anything about it, they probably know these three things. Number one: jai-alai is very hard to spell. It‘s spelled J-A-I-A-L-A-I. It‘s Basque. The Basques invented, so, yes, it‘s hard to spell.
Second thing anybody knows about it if they know anything at all, the people who market jai-alai call it the fastest sport in the world. It is dangerous. When you are playing jai-alai, this ball that they are flinging around, these little baskets on their arms, the ball they are flinging can reach speeds of over 150 miles an hour.
The third thing anybody knows about it is gambling. Even though jai-alai is by no means widely played in the U.S., there are five or six different places in Florida where people play jai-alai and where you can go bet on it. You bet on jai-alai in the same way that you would bet on horseracing or the way you‘d bet at the dog track.
So, jai-alai, at least because of its connection to gambling, is often connected with money, at least in our minds, right?
Well, 30 years ago, in May of 1981, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the owner of World Jai-alai was murdered. He was shot right between the eyes in the parking lot of his country club in Tulsa. The investigation of that murder quickly turned to the question of—well, who might want to kill the owner of World Jai-alai.
At the time, the Boston mob had been skimming money out of World Jai-alai, and by some reports, they have been trying to take over World Jai-alai altogether. A year after that murder in Tulsa, another World Jai-Alai executive helping with the prosecution put together their case in the Tulsa murder, himself turned up dead, found shot to death and stuffed into the trunk of a car at Miami airport.
Who done it? The Boston mob done it.
How did the Boston mob find the witness? How did the Boston mob find the witness who was helping put together that case against them from the first jai-alai murder?
They found that witness in Miami because they got a handy tip on that from the inside. The mob got a tip from law enforcement. An FBI agent tipped off the Boston mob about where to find that witness who was helping investigators put together the prosecution‘s case for that Tulsa murder and the mob went and killed the witness.
The FBI agent who tipped of the mob was the bureau‘s handler for the head of the Boston mob. The Boston mob headed up at the time by a man named Whitey Bulger. That FBI agent who tipped of the mob, he still got 40 more years in prison ahead of him today for his role in all of that.
And now, as of today, after 16 years on the run, Whitey Bulger is finally in custody, too. Florida, Oklahoma, and Whitey Bulger‘s native Massachusetts are all among the jurisdictions fighting for the opportunity to please put Whitey Bulger on trial for murder.
The reason the arrest of Whitey Bulger led to front pages like this
look at the size of the font in “The Boston Globe” right there. The reason it led to front-pages like this in Boston today, the reason this has stopped New England it its tracks today is because everything about Whitey Bulger‘s story was so unbelievable that nobody believed he would ever be caught.
Whitey Bulger is wanted in connection with 19 different murders. But he was an FBI informant while he was allegedly killing a number of his victims. The corrupt FBI agent who is still in prison, he signed Whitey up as an informant to the FBI in 1975, but Whitey Bulger is alleged to have been killing people all the way through the mid-1980s, while he was working with the FBI.
Whitey Bulger was due to be indicted finally in 1995, but that corrupt FBI agent, again, tipped Whitey off that the indictment was coming, and then Whitey Bulger ran. That was in 1995.
And until yesterday, nobody had seen him since.
Even after Whitey Bulger fled Boston, even after the FBI put him on their most wanted list, the evidence of his crimes kept turning up. Former henchmen kept turning up, as did the bodies of Whitey Bulger‘s victims.
This is an NBC News report we found today. It‘s from September 2000. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The Boston mob‘s triangle of death ends here, this spot beneath the red line train tracks—the yellow and white tent hiding the excavation of the third in a series of unmarked graves.
Bulger himself disappeared in 1995, just days after he was indicted on racketeering charges. His photo has appeared on the FBI‘s 10 most wanted list for more than a year. The most recent sightings have been in southern California, where the 71-year-old is believed to be living with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And indeed he was. Again, that news footage is 11 years ago. That was from the year 2000.
But in fact, as you heard the anchor say there, Whitey Bulger was with Catherine Greig. Catherine Greig, incidentally, the sister-in-law of one of Whitey Bulger‘s alleged murder victims. They were both, as you heard the news reports say there, they were living in southern California.
Three nights ago on this show, you may have remembered that we covered as part of our “Best New Thing in the World Today” segment, we covered the FBI‘s new initiative to try to track down Whitey Bulger by tracking down his girlfriend, by tracking down Catherine Greig.
The FBI revealed they had been looking for her through ads they placed in dental association trade magazines and in the plastic surgery trade magazines—the theory being that she was well-kept enough and vain enough that she might reasonably be expected to be seen at a beauty salon or at a plastic surgeon‘s office. They also described her as having well-kept teeth. She had previously been a dental hygienist, hence the ad in the dental magazines.
The FBI also started running this ad on daytime television this week in the hopes of reaching female viewers who might have seen Catherine Greig somewhere.
Whether it was that ad itself or news coverage of the fact that the FBI was doing this, it did result in a tip. The FBI announced this new initiative on Monday. They started airing that ad on Tuesday. And at 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Tuesday, 11:00 p.m. on the East Coast, the FBI got a tip.
The tip was about an apartment complex in Santa Monica, California. That tip came in Tuesday night. By Wednesday morning, they had a surveillance team at the apartment complex, and just before 6:00 p.m. Pacific Time last night, just before we went on the air on this show, they somehow managed to lure Whitey Bulger out of his apartment there and they arrested him—without incident, after 16 years on the run.
Whitey Bulger and his longtime girlfriend Catherine Greig had been living as Charles and Carol Gasco. They were described today as ideal tenants, who always paid their rent on time. And they were very friendly and helpful to their neighbors. The couple always paid their rent in cash, that apparently been living there for more than a decade. They had always paid in cash.
The FBI said today that in addition to the nearly 30 guns found inside their apartment, Whitey Bulger also had a stash of several hundred thousand dollars in cash.
One of the intriguing unanswered questions here is where did all that cash come from? Is that—I mean, he‘s been on the run for a long time, right? Is that leftover Boston mob cash from when he left? Was somebody getting money to him somehow in the meantime? It doesn‘t really seem like he was working, and besides he is in his 80s now.
Is it possible that Whitey Bulger was the “Geezer Bandit”? The elderly white bank robber who has knocked off 14 southern California banks since 2009? Most recently, last month. Could that have been Whitey Bulger? Do not know.
What is clear at this point is this—the FBI in the last two months has been able to cross the only two household names off of its 10 most wanted list. Osama bin Laden, of course, killed in Pakistan last month. His picture still up on the FBI Web site with this handy caption, “deceased.” And Whitey Bulger is now up there, too—listed with the same type of caption as captured.
But for all of the scandal and the salaciousness and the 48-point font of this story, for all of the gangster-ism and corruption of law enforcement and how much America loves stories about the mob, ultimately, the most important thing about this is that this is about murder.
One of Whitey Bulger‘s alleged victims is a woman named Debra Davis. She was the girlfriend of another man in Whitey‘s gang, his most frequent partner in crime. Two years ago that, man testified in detail in U.S. district court about Whitey strangling Debra Davis, and how the two men then cut off her fingers and removed her teeth so that her body could not be identified. They then buried her along the Neponset River in Quincy.
Debra Davis was 26 years old when she was killed. Today, our NBC affiliate in Boston tracked down Debra Davis‘ brothers to get their reaction to Whitey Bulger‘s capture.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m an eye for an eye type of guy. I would have been more glad if I found him.
REPORTER: What would you have done?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same, you know? But I don‘t want to say it on TV. I would have done the same thing to him as he done to my sister. Done the same thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The saga of Whitey Bulger has been so dramatic and so unbelievable, and has gone on for so many years, that now that he‘s finally in custody after 16 years on the run, there are as many questions as answers.
Will he confess, to how many murders? And to what else? Who else will he implicate in his crimes? Are there other corrupt law enforcement officials that he will implicate, if and when he talks?
Whitey Bulger‘s brother, William, was the Massachusetts state Senate president, one of the most powerful politicians in Massachusetts while Whitey Bulger was Boston‘s mob boss, and while Whitey has been on the run. He then left the state Senate, and became the president of the University of Massachusetts system.
What‘s gone on between these two men over the past few decades?
Tomorrow night on the show, we will be joined live by the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts who is now responsible for prosecuting Whitey Bulger, as well as the head of the FBI in Boston responsible for capturing Whitey Bulger. That will be tomorrow night right here on this show.
We‘ll be right back.
MADDOW: President Obama is in New York City tonight—so is Justin Bieber. It‘s probably just a coincidence. The president spoke at a gay fundraiser tonight in Manhattan, on the night that the New York state Senate is wrangling into the wee hours over whether or not New York state will legalize same-sex marriage, which, of course, president Obama opposes, though he hints that his feelings are on the subject are evolving.
And that is one definition of an awkward dinner date. I don‘t really believe in the rights you are fighting so hard for right at this very minute, but I do believe in your right to give me your money.
That is coming up.
MADDOW: After last night‘s major address on his plan for the war in Afghanistan, the president started his day today meeting with Democratic leaders at the White House. He then left Washington for Upstate New York, home of Ft. Drum and the 10th Mountain Division. The 10th Mountain Division has since 9/11 been one of the most deployed divisions in the United States Army.
President Obama spoke with soldiers at Ft. Drum, telling them that their sacrifice was why the United States was now able to start bringing home troops from Afghanistan this year. The president then had a closed to press meeting with gold star families, military families who have had a member of their family killed in wartime. And the president left Ft. Drum and flew to New York City.
In New York City tonight, it‘s one of those events that‘s been on the schedule forever. It‘s been months in the making. But then when the day comes, it feels like—wow, this could not be more dramatic timing. The president is actually going to three fundraisers tonight, all raising for the Democratic Party and for his own re-election effort.
But one of tonight‘s fundraisers for Mr. Obama, the one getting the most attention, is the gay one. It is the LBGT group within the Democratic Party. Their event is hosted by the actor Neil Patrick Harris tonight, featuring a speech from the president.
And all this happening tonight at a time when there is frankly a lot of drama on this particular issue in this particular state right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that to discriminate against people was wrong. I had no choice. I was born that way. In Hawaii—
OBAMA: I believe that gay couples deserve the same rights as every other couple in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)\
MADDOW: The New York state Senate has just about finished or at least agreed to, if not voted on just about everything they needed to get done this legislative session, but they are still in session. They say they may be in session until midnight tonight or even until tomorrow or maybe even until Monday, because of one remaining thing they are thinking of voting on, but they are still not sure. And that remaining thing is same-sex marriage rights in New York state.
Heavily supported by New York‘s very popular Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo, the measure already passed quite easily in the New York state assembly. Republicans control the state Senate, and nobody knows if there are enough votes to pass it through that chamber or whether Republicans will even let it come up to a vote. Two years ago, the Senate thought they would pass it, only to have the vote collapse at the last moment.
This vote has been front page in New York for a solid week now, with what sometimes seems like hourly updates about how it‘s about to happen, it‘s on the brink, we‘re on the precipice of this happening.
But, you know, in the year 2004, this already did happen in New York. In one small town an hour and a half north of New York City, the town‘s mayor, using his legal power to officiate weddings, decided to officiate a whole bunch of same-sex weddings, and that decision was not without consequence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DAN ABRAMS: A New York mayor, New York state mayor, has been
charged with 19 criminal counts for performing marriage ceremonies for
same-sex couples. New Paltz Mayor Jason West married 25 gay couples last
REPORTER: In San Francisco, a spark became a wild fire.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I now pronounce you spouses for life.
REPORTER: More than 3,700 same sex marriages before today‘s court order, 1,700 more in Oregon. Still others in New York, New Jersey, and New Mexico.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On close-up this morning, the debate over same-sex marriage. The mayor of New Paltz, New York, has been charged with 19 criminal counts for marrying gay couples, but he‘s vowing to go ahead with even more.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: The actions of the mayor of New Paltz, New York, in 2004 made a lot of people very, very happy—as you can see from these pictures. But, of course, he also made some other people upset. Jason West lost his first bid for re-election as mayor after the same-sex weddings in New Paltz, even though those misdemeanor charges brought against him were later dropped.
In the end, anyone who was mad at New Paltz mayor, Jason West, over the same-sex marriage issue appears to have gotten over it. Jason West was, just last month, re-elected to his old job, as the mayor of New Paltz, New York. And he joins us now in studio for “The Interview”—Jason West, the mayor of New Paltz.
Mayor West, thank you for being here.
MAYOR JASON WEST, NEW PALTZ, NEW YORK: Thank you for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: The vote or the lack thereof in the state Senate tonight, what do you think is going to happen?
WEST: You got a coin? I‘ll take heads, you take tails, see which one is anything.
It‘s so close. I mean, you know, the story has been we need one vote, we need one vote. But I had one political organizer kind of pulled aside and said, you know, that‘s not quite true, what we probably need is three. There‘s probably going to be enough coverage so that no one Republican is going to be the guy. It‘s your fault we have marriage equality.
MADDOW: Oh, right.
WEST: So there‘s enough of a buffer. And I‘m hoping that‘s what the delay is. I‘m hoping they‘re trying—they got the votes to pass. They are just trying to get enough of a buffer so that no one Republican senator is targeted as it‘s your fault.
MADDOW: Do you have any advice for state senators trying to figure out what to do here? I mean, I think you‘re right in sort of focusing in on the issue of bravery and political cover and how much people really want to stick their necks out in an issue like this, particularly, I mean, within the Republican Party. Do you have any advice for Republicans or politicians thinking about this now?
WEST: Yes. Don‘t look at your career next year. Look at your career 10 years from on now. Do you want to be George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door, or do you want to be reelected with your name being a synonym for political courage? That‘s a choice.
And this isn‘t just pie in the sky, idealistic, wishful thinking. I mean, look at the demographics. The younger you are, the more in favor of marriage equality you are. If these Republican senators want to stay in office, when people who are 10 or 20 and voting, they should probably be on the side of history, if the argument, you know, that it‘s just the right thing to do isn‘t persuasive enough.
MADDOW: If gay marriage does not pass in this legislative session, and with this big push from Governor Cuomo and his very, very high approval ratings, it seems like this might be the best chance for marriage equality in New York, at least for a while. If it doesn‘t pass, though, would you ever consider doing again what you did before, the kind of civil disobedience you did?
WEST: I honestly don‘t think it would be necessary. I mean, look, the weddings we did in New Paltz in 2004, the weddings that Gavin Newsom did, the licenses issued by the clerk in San Joaquin, New Mexico, in 2004, these aren‘t the beginning of anything. They‘re the end point of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, simply just coming out of having that conversation, shifting people‘s perception.
It‘s the middle or end point of just the change in TV role models.
You know, it‘s not just Robin Williams in “The Birdcage” anymore.
And the weddings in ‘04 were a result of that, not a cause of it. And that pressure doesn‘t stop just because I was stopped. And that pressure is building. And if we lose by one vote, I‘ve been saying, I think there‘s going to be a Republican senator walking out in that chamber filled with regret, knowing they are on the wrong side of history, and going to vote yes next year.
What happened to the marriages of the people who you married? I had assumed that that they were—that they had been nullified. They had been overtly nullified. Did that ever really happen? Was there any clear resolution?
WEST: Jerry Falwell‘s law firm, Liberty Counsel, tried to have them annulled, actually sued all 300 couples, because when I was done, I got a restraining order placed on me, (INAUDIBLE) minister up and continue the weddings. And the Church of Christ came in and we had weddings every weekend for three months. It was fantastic.
But there was an attempt to have them all annulled. The judge said, no, you can‘t mass annul the weddings. You got to sue them individually, and that was the end of it.
Around the same time, these are just a better lawsuit by gay and lesbian couples suing their towns for civil rights violations for not being given a license. And it was just much better than mayors—whether the mayor ceremonies were legal. So, we just kind got pushed to the side and it‘s a no man‘s land. It‘s never been ruled on one way or the other.
Practically speaking, some couples were able to use the licenses we gave them to get health benefits from their corporate employers, who just wanted some kind of paperwork. But that‘s really about it legally.
MADDOW: The president tonight speaking to a gay audience in New York City, one of the three fundraisers that he was doing tonight. And, of course, he has said in the past that he is against same-sex marriage, but he has said also that his views on the subject are evolving. People protesting tonight saying—with signs saying, evolved already.
But the president saying tonight, I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country. Do you have - - (a), do you have reaction to that statement from the president? But any other thoughts on his leadership on this issue? Just as somebody who made your own decision in your small town in which you were the executive to do something quite confrontational on this.
WEST: First, I agree with the statement. Same-sex couples do deserve all the rights and privileges of everyone else. And I just wish that Obama would walk his talk. He has the authority. He has the bully pulpit.
He could shift it so that we don‘t have to bite our nails for days waiting on a single vote. He is choosing not to. And maybe it‘s a matter of political pressure building around him. What‘s evolving him and maybe we just need more of that, and I wouldn‘t be surprised. It tends to be what changes politician‘s minds—fear of losing their seat.
MADDOW: In terms of change and pressure, after what you did in 2004, I know that you weren‘t re-elected mayor. You‘ve since been re-elected mayor this year. Anybody who was mad at you or who really opposed what you were doing at the seem, have you talked to people on the other side of it who have—who are still angry about it, still have the same position, or anybody who has changed their mind? Have you seen personal evolution on it?
WEST: Yes, but it happened much more rapidly than that, actually. What—well, think back in 2004, that‘s seven years ago. I think the national poll numbers were roughly 60 percent opposed, 40 percent in favor nationwide on marriage equality.
Now, those numbers have flipped, at least in New York. It‘s 60/40 the other way. When I talk about the tide of history, it‘s a little bit hyperbolic, but it‘s real and it‘s there and things are shifting and shifting fast.
What changed people‘s minds more than anything else was, I think, seeing the weddings themselves. I mean, you saw the footage. There were 25 couples, and the applause for the last couple was just as loud as the applause for the first.
I mean, it was tears. People were—florist shops were delivering flowers to the parking lot. And just having it not be abstract, having it be real.
And that‘s why I talk about coming out is so important. It makes it real to people. These are real people with real issues and real lives—not just them, not just the gays or whatever you want to categorize people as.
WEST: And when people see their neighbors, you know, have the conversation, see each other in the grocery store, it becomes less threatening for people who come from bigoted backgrounds, homophobic backgrounds. It normalizes it, and I think that‘s really was going to win this issue.
MADDOW: Jason West, mayor of New Paltz, New York—again, it is great to have you here. Thank you very much for coming in.
WEST: Thank you very much, Rachel.
MADDOW: How‘s things in New Paltz, by the way?
WEST: Oh, fantastic. You know, the Chamber of Commerce would probably want me to make—come visit us in tourist season.
MADDOW: All right. Well, allow me to make it.
New Paltz is lovely this time of year.
WEST: There we go. That‘s what I‘m looking for.
MADDOW: And the mayor when he is not being there is painting houses, which is about the coolest small town anecdote you could possibly tell about yourself, so I just did it.
WEST: Thank you very much.
MADDOW: All right. Something has disappeared in America. In this specific part of America right now, we are missing something that we used to have in that part of the country. We have been working all day to try to figure out where that thing has gone. We do have some clues for you. That is coming up.
MADDOW: Forty years ago this week, on June 17th, 1971, President Richard Nixon declared an American war on drugs. That‘s where we got the “war on drugs” term from. He declared a war on drugs and proclaimed drugs to be public enemy number one—the kind of public enemy that can be defeated in a war.
Four decades hence, two members of Congress from very different parts of the political spectrum have introduced the first ever federal legislation to decriminalize marijuana, to decriminalize it federally, so there will no longer be a federal ban on growing or selling or smoking pot anymore. The legislation would leave it up to the states. The states could decide if they want to keep waging Richard Nixon‘s 40-year war on pot or whether they wanted to decriminalize. There‘d be no more federal rule about it.
The politics of this, of course, are chaotic and therefore fascinating. Liberals have long supported decriminalizing many drugs, as have libertarians. But even non-libertarian conservatives like to scream state‘s rights, right?
They like to say that this is the sort of issue that should be decided by the states and not by the federal government. So, potentially, there‘s a left-right alliance on this one.
If it passes, though, or even if it just gets a lot of traction, I do foresee one problem with this federal decriminalization of marijuana bill that‘s been put forth by Ron Paul and Barney Frank. Even if this thing is sponsored by Ron Paul and Barney Frank, they have to be really careful to not ever call this the Paul-Frank bill, ever. Everybody will be so confused.
MADDOW: If there‘s one thing Republicans hate, it‘s red tape—regulation, government getting in the way. I mean, it‘s the worst. Am I right, Republicans?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN ®, ARIZONA: We need a return to the Reagan years. We need to have fiscal conservatism. We need less government. We need less regulation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let‘s reduce burdensome regulations that serve no purpose other than to insert more government into the lives of citizens.
MITT ROMNEY ®, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Take a weed whacker to excessive regulation and mandates.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO ®, WYOMING: Government rules and regulation and red tape.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Burdensome government regulations cause more red tape.
REP. MIKE PENCE ®, INDIANA: Continuous overregulation by this government.
SEN. JIM INHOFE ®, OKLAHOMA: I think that all of us can agree on one thing and that is, if you‘re going to do something, don‘t do this. Don‘t give a new power to the regulators.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m calling on Congress to enact a regulatory cooling off period.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Yes, a regulatory cooling off period. It‘s so hot with all the regulations.
Republicans do not agree on everything—Libya, for example, gay rights, how to pronounce the word “nuclear.”
But if Republicans agree on anything—the reason I stopped there, because it occurred to me that it was going to offend somebody by saying it that way. Nuclear, nuclear, it‘s OK either way.
Anyway, they don‘t agree on anything. But if they agree on anything, it‘s that they hate regulations. So, consider the fact that now in Kansas, with Republicans having taken super solid control of both the legislature in Kansas and the Kansas governor‘s mansion, Kansas Republicans have decided to use regulation, to use a whole new category of regulation, to use red tape, as a means of shutting down health care providers that they do not like—using government regulation to shut down businesses on purpose.
Republican Governor Sam Brownback signed a law last month saying that abortion clinics will now have to go through a special new licensing process in Kansas. The bill tells the secretary of Kansas‘s health department to write new rules and regulations for abortion clinics in the state. And then, essentially, to just enforcing them.
The House secretary writes the new regulations, then if he believes these clinics have not followed these regulations, that same health secretary can deny the clinic a license. Just shut them down.
So for the three abortion clinics that are left in the entire state of Kansas, there are a whole raft of brand-new regulations they have to follow. Rules about how many rooms they have to have, how many square feet those rooms have to be, and what those rooms have to be used for. There has to be, for example, 80 square foot patient interview room, 80 square foot per patient recovery room. There‘s new regulation on the type and size and number of janitorial closets these clinics are required to have. Also, the number and location of bath rooms—new regulations for the kind of lighting in each room, and what kind of emergency exits they are required to have.
These are all brand-new. None of these existed before. A lot of them are architectural regulations.
If you don‘t meet them, and at least one of the three abortion clinics in the state of Kansas has told that they do not, if you do meet these regulations you will be shut down.
Complying with regulations like these is really a matter of time and money. Once a clinic is notified it needs to have rooms and closets and doorways of a certain size, and this kind of lighting and this many bathrooms, if they don‘t have that stuff in place already, the question of whether they‘ll be able to stay open depends on their ability to get the necessary remodeling done before the new regulations take effect, right? That‘s how this works.
Here is the thing. Here‘s how Kansas is implementing the new regulations. Listen to this, this is amazing. The final draft of the new regulations mailed to the clinics after business hours on Friday. Planned Parenthood, which runs a clinic in the Kansas City, Kansas, area, tells us they received this mailing on Monday morning. This Monday, June 20th. New regulations arrive in the mail Monday.
Guess when the health department inspections begin to check whether these clinics are in compliance with these new regulations? So, the new regulations arrive in the mail on Monday. The new inspections to see whether or not the clinics are complying with them start on Wednesday.
So, on Monday, you get told the number of bathrooms and janitorial closets and exits your building needs to have. You get told that on Monday. Then if you do not have those bathrooms and janitorial closets and exits built and in place by Wednesday, you‘re going to be shut down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
MCCAIN: We need a return to the Reagan years. We need to have fiscal conservatism. We need less government. We need less regulation.
ROMNEY: Take a weed whacker to excessive regulation and mandates.
INHOFE: I think that all of us can agree on one thing and that is, if you‘re going to do something, don‘t do this. Don‘t give a new power to the regulators.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Yes. Don‘t give any new power to the regulators, unless they are regulating something you don‘t like. Then make their power boundless and iron fisted and un-appealable and arbitrary.
Abortion providers in Kansas are publicly worrying that these trap laws are going to be 100 percent successful at what they are very obviously trying to do, that this is going to be the way that Kansas finally bans abortion. That Kansas shuts down the only three remaining abortion clinics in the entire state.
The practical effect of that if that happens will be this. As far as we can tell, what this law is going to do is clear away roughly this entire swath of the country where there will be no known regular provider of abortion services—none, from Columbia, Missouri, all the way over there to Denver, Colorado, because Kansas Republicans have decided to use punitive regulation to get that done.
MADDOW: Breaking news in the world of political hacking tonight. The hacker group Lulz Security, which recently claimed responsibility for taking down the CIA‘s Web site and for breaking into the United States Senate Web site, Lulz Security has tonight announced this. Quote, “We are releasing hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement. We are targeting the Arizona Department of Public Safety specifically because we are against SB 1070 and the racial profiling, anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona.”
The documents classified as law enforcement sensitive, not for public distribution, and for official use only, are primarily related to border patrol and counterterrorism operations and describe the use of informants to infiltrate various gangs, cartels, motorcycle clubs, Nazi groups, and protest movements.
“Every week,” they say, “we plan on releasing more classified documents and embarrassing personal details of military and law enforcement, in an effort not just to reveal their racist and corrupt nature, but to purposefully sabotage their efforts to terrorize communities fighting an unjust war on drugs.
Hackers of the world are uniting and taking direct action against our common oppressors, the government, corporations, police, and militaries of the world. See you again real soon.” And then it signs off with a sideways emoticon.
The group statement accompanied a 436-megabyte file of the information that was described in that statement I just read. Lulz Security has had political actions attributed to it in the past, including attacks on the Web sites of PBS and FOX. This does appear to be their most aggressively damaging political act yet. If this is, in fact, Lulz Security, and their website makes it look like it is, the Arizona Department of Public Safety has confirmed tonight that its system has been hacked as well.
But if, in fact, Lulz Security is responsible for doing this, it should be noted that this is also notable for being really humorless for them. They are generally known, even as they take on very powerful targets, for being kind of sarcastic and snarky in the way that they announce these things publicly. There‘s none of that going on here.
But, again, what appears to be hundreds of pages of private and sensitive Arizona law enforcement documents posted online, purportedly by hackers who say they are motivated by anger over Arizona‘s anti-immigrant legislation, SB 1070, and also by what they describe as the unjust war on drugs.
We‘ll stay on this as we learn more.
MADDOW: This was the scene around the Pentagon and around Arlington National Cemetery during the morning rush hour last Friday. Traffic is often bad around there, but this is really bad, almost at a stand still. Roads shut down by the police.
It was all allegedly because of this man. He‘s a 22-year-old Marine reservist named Yonathan Melaku. And when officers found inside Arlington National Cemetery, in the very early morning last Friday, they also found inside a backpack that he had with him—spray cans, work gloves, a notebook that they say had numerous references to al Qaeda in it, as well as four bags of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate, of course, can be used as a component in homemade explosives. Ammonium nitrate was one of the components of the bomb, for example, used at Oklahoma City.
A search of Mr. Melaku‘s home, authority say, turned up a list of components for a timer potentially to be used with an IED, as well as a laptop with, quote, “numerous documents concerning bomb-making and explosives”—which is why traffic was shut down around the Pentagon last Friday morning.
But today came word that another discovery in Mr. Melaku‘s bedroom appears to have solved a mystery plaguing law enforcement since last fall. In October and November, you may remember a gunman firing shots at the Pentagon. Do you remember this story? Shots fired at the Pentagon. And then at a Marine Corps recruiting station in Chantilly, Virginia. Also at a Coast Guard recruiting office in Woodbridge, Virginia. And twice shots fired at the National Museum of the United States Marine Corps.
The FBI had already said in those shootings that all of those bullets fired in the five separate shootings over two months came from the same gun. But they also said they had no suspects—until Friday, when in Mr. Melaku‘s bedroom, following up this arrest in Arlington National Cemetery, they found a video reportedly of him shooting at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
It‘s thought that he posed himself—excuse me, he posed himself in relation to the camera in such a way that made it seem like he was shooting at the Marine Corps Museum. It also appears to have not been shot by anybody else. He seems to have used that video camera to shoot himself fire or appears to be firing a gun outside his car as he drove past the museum.
This young man has now been charged now in conjunction with two of the five shootings. The FBI says they think he is responsible for all of them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
NEIL MCBRIDE, U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA: The complaint which we have now released contains video of Mr. Melaku firing a weapon outside of—from inside of a vehicle, at what appears to be at the Marine Corps Museum, and making a number of statements that he has done this before, that military installations are his explicit target, and that his goal is to shut them down.
JAMES MCJUNKIN, ASST. DIR., FBI WASHINGTON FILED OFFICE: This gentleman was not on our radar screen prior to Friday‘s events.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: And while the FBI on the East Coast was announcing that breakthrough came news of another arrest in a separate plot involving another U.S. military facility—this time on the West Coast. The FBI in Seattle is announcing the arrest of two men facing multiple charges of terrorism and firearms violations for reportedly planning a machine gun and grenade attack on a U.S. military recruiting station. The two men were apprehended after a source who says that he or she was recruited to help with the attack instead became an informant for the FBI.
According to the criminal complaint in this case, one of the men arrested, quote, “told the source that the attack would be in retaliation for alleged crimes committed by United States soldiers in Afghanistan.” He also, quote, “admired Osama bin Laden,” and, quote, “referred to the 2009 Ft. Hood massacre,” saying that if one person could kill so many people, three attackers could kill more.
He apparently first wanted to attack Fort Lewis, thinking that the attackers could simply drive a tank through the base‘s gates.
Then the planned target was switched to a military processing station in Seattle, thinking that such an attack might deter people from joining the military and thereby send a message, as well as inspire other Muslims to carry out similar attacks. Quote, “Imagine how many young Muslims if we‘re successful will try to hit these kinds of centers. Imagine how fearful America will be, and they‘ll know they can‘t push Muslims around.” All that from the complaint filed today.
Both of the suspects arrested late last night. After which according to the FBI one of them waived his Miranda rights and admitted he was planning on carrying out an attack at the MEPS, military facility, for the purpose of killing U.S. military personnel in order to prevent them from going to Islamic lands and killing Muslims.”
Interesting to note that the Seattle police is crediting these arrests to the level of comfort that the residents of Seattle feel in approaching their police department, saying that the source in this case felt comfortable enough and safe enough to approach a Seattle police detective with this information because of that good relationship between the police and the community.
You know, we don‘t—we do not usually spend the whole show talking about the FBI and arrests and anonymous sources to the police and hackers and crime. This as very atypical show for us, but this has—it has been that kind of night. A lot of late breaking and fast-moving news.
And we will be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the last 16 years, the leaders of the FBI and the FBI Boston division have stood on this podium and promised to spare no effort to return James Bulger to Boston. I am proud to say the FBI has fulfilled that promise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They got Whitey. They got Whitey.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was shocked. Yes, because I never thought they‘d catch him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hum, what took them so long?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They can catch Osama bin Laden, they can catch anybody.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn‘t trust the FBI. I didn‘t think—I didn‘t know if they were really looking for him or not.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I‘m just glad they got him. Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No reaction. He could kill us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think he was a mobster, but so what?
Everybody‘s got an occupation.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: That excellent piece of video from south Boston today produced by “The Boston Globe.”
“The Best New Thing in the World” on this show on Monday night was the FBI‘s brand new initiative as of Monday to catch Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger by hoping someone in the public might recognize his long-time girlfriend with whom he was thought to be on the lam.
“The Best New Thing in the World” tonight is that Monday‘s “Best New Thing in the World” worked slam dunk. On Tuesday night, somebody who had seen one of the ads or saw news coverage about the new campaign called in a tip to the FBI. On Wednesday morning, the FBI got a team in place outside Whitey‘s apartment and by that night, on Wednesday night, they had Whitey Bulger in custody, captured, after 16 years.
Largest reward for an international suspect on the FBI‘s most wanted list was, of course, Osama bin Laden. Largest reward for a domestic suspect on that list was Whitey Bulger. Both now gone.
In the last 24 hours, Whitey has gone from dwelling in the American conscience as this fedora mob Sinatra-esque guy—he‘s gone from that to this. He and his glamorous 20 years younger blonde girlfriend grew up to be the nice old couple next door, with the nearly 30 guns and the bricks of hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and the 19 murder counts in three states and counting.
Joining us now is Scott Lehigh, columnist for “The Boston Globe.”
Scott, thanks very much for your time. It‘s nice to have you here.
SCOTT LEHIGH, BOSTON GLOBE COLUMNIST: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: I got to say, it is unimaginable to me that Whitey Bulger has been caught, this sort of feels like the end of an era. But do you think this is the start of something too? What do you think is going to happen next here now that Whitey is in custody?
LEHIGH: Well, he will come back obviously and he will be tried here in Boston for this. His girlfriend with him, she will have a real incentive I think to talk. She faces a harboring—federal charge, harboring a fugitive. That‘s a—obviously federal prison time, five years, I think. She will have an incentive to tell a lot of tales. She probably will clam up and won‘t say much, but the apartment also should be a treasure trove of documents.
And I think there‘s a huge interest in how they survive this long on the run, who might have aided and abetted them, where their money came from, how they managed. So, there are a lot of questions left to be answered.
This is the end of his life on the lam, but it‘s sort of the beginning of the next search for truth here.
MADDOW: Scott, there was a lot of suspicion over the years that part of the reason Whitey had not been caught might have been because there were people in law enforcement who did not want him to be found.
Do you think that is just conspiracy theorizing or is there something to that?
The FBI agent who handled him when he was an FBI informant, obviously, is going toto be in prison for decades yet because of what he did with Whitey.
LEHIGH: Yes. I mean, he really—Whitey had managed to corrupt his handlers in the local FBI office and as you say John Connelly just finishing up a 10-year federal racketeering sentence, federal sentence, and now is going to start this month a 40-year second-degree murder sentence for complicity in a murder in Florida.
So—we have other people in the FBI office, former FBI people, who are now retired, but who had accepted—admitted accepting bribes from Whitey.
So, there has been huge cynicism about whether the FBI really wanted him caught. But, you know, that was addressed at the press conference. They talked about that this morning. The agent said, I know a lot of you doubted that we really had a resolve to do this, but we did and we have.
I think the new generation, much younger guys, you know, I think they really did want to catch him. Some of the older ones—well, I think probably some of the retired generation of FBI agents are having heart palpitations tonight.
MADDOW: Scott, is there any way to explain to the rest of the country how earth-shattering this is in Boston?
LEHIGH: Yes. I mean—
MADDOW: If you live in Massachusetts, it‘s like waking up to the sun rising in the west today. Is there any national translation for this?
LEHIGH: This is about one tick below locally catching Osama bin Laden with the way that was as a national story. Whitey Bulger had killed 19 or more people. They had—a decade ago, they were unearthing multiple bodies in shallow graves around the Boston area in Quincy and Dorchester.
The stories are just horrific about the murders, the torture, someone begging to be shot rather than strangled—young women, girlfriend of one of his associates being strangled. I mean, just awful, horrible stuff. Not just—not just gangland executions but really sadistic murders. So—I mean, it‘s a huge story here particularly because of the way he managed to corrupt the FBI office and the fact that people didn‘t really ever think—a lot of people thought he was dead and other people thought he never, ever would be caught.
So, it was just a stunner. And you know, it‘s transfixed the community.
MADDOW: “Boston Globe” columnist Scott Lehigh—Scott, I‘ve been enjoying reading you on this subject and others for a long time now. It‘s nice to have you on the show. Thanks a lot.
LEHIGH: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: This has been one of the weirder shows we‘ve done in a long time. I have to say not that we‘ve done any one thing that is particularly any stranger than we do, but we never spend the whole hour essentially talking about crime and arrests and what the FBI is telling us now about their sources and methods and when people are going to get indicted. This was a day of—a strange day in the news, but one with a lot of late breaking and fast moving stuff and all of these stories are things that we‘re going to be staying on because these are all things that have a lot of dangling threads.
Now, it‘s time for “THE ED SHOW.” Thanks very much for being with us tonight.
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