ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 3, 2013
Guests: Barry Scheck, Akhil Amar, Alex Smith
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Thank you for joining us tonight.
All right. Tonight, we crack down one of the mystery men in John
McCain`s Syrian rebel photo. He will join me live.
Plus, four years ago, child Republicans were all the rage. Today,
young people view the GOP as little more than the walking dead. I`ll
explain what happened.
And you might think we decided as a society to just ban smoking on
airplanes, but it was actually a fight led by one man. And we`ll pay our
respects to Senator Frank Lautenberg tonight.
But we begin tonight with a question at the center of two of the day`s
biggest stories. It`s a simple question: can you keep a secret?
Now, you have been asked that question before. Have you answered no?
Of course not. No one ever says no.
You say yes. You always say yes because you want to know what the
secret is. And, of course, the person asking you in that moment if you can
keep a secret are themselves not keeping a secret. You may well already be
thinking who you`ll tell even as you are saying that yes, of course, of
course, absolutely. Of course, look at me, yes, I can keep a secret.
But you want the information, we as humans want to know secrets. We
want to know secrets and we want to tell secrets and, we also, and this is
what makes it all so tricky, want to keep secrets.
And the question, "Can you keep a secret?" is a question that we find
ourselves tonight in a really fascinating news day, learning that more and
more, no matter who you are, the most powerful government on earth, where a
private citizen, the answer to that question is no.
As of the end of 2011, there were 1.4 million people with top secret
security clearance in the United States.
And today, after three years of pretrial detention, some of it in
conditions that were described by the U.N. special repertoire on torture as
at a minimum, cruel, inhumane and degrading.
One of those people, just one of the 1.4 million people with top
secret clearance is on trial for leaking a whole heck of a lot of the
Bradley Manning is, of course, the 25-year-old soldier accused of
turning over hundreds of thousands of government files to WikiLeaks
including diplomatic cable, battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan
and videos of airstrikes that killed civilians. His trial got under way
today and he faces life in prison if he is convicted.
Bradley Manning is viewed by some as a hero, others as a villain and a
But what Bradley Manning really is, is proof that the government
cannot keep its own secrets. If 1.4 people had access to the information
Bradley Manning had access to, that information is not a secret in any real
If I asked you to tell me what is a secret that 1.5 million people
know, you would tell me nothing because it`s not a secret if that many
people know it. The grand irony of the construction and the post-9/11
securities state is this country is grown so large, it laid claim to so
many secrets, that it is now imploding under its own weight.
And so, the government has to act with increasing aggression and
desperation to make examples of people who are among those 1.4 million
people who leak secrets. So, we get under President Obama more
prosecutions of government officials for alleged leaks under the World War
I era Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined.
We get Bradley Manning on trial, a trial brought by a government that
is quite understandably chilled by imagining a world without secrets,
terrified of the thought that in this century, the answer to the question,
"Can you keep a secret?" is no. No, you can`t.
The government is the world over are having a harder and harder time
keeping secrets from their citizens.
But in this strange new world we find ourselves in, citizens too are
having a harder and harder time keeping their secrets from their
government, which brings me to the other big story today out of Washington.
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that people who are arrested
-- not convicted, but arrested as suspects in certain crimes -- can be
forced to take a cotton swab in their mouths to give up a DNA sample that
can be stored in a government database.
Now, when you think about the secrets you hold as a person, as a
citizen, your DNA may not be at the top of your mind, but it is actually
the ultimate secret. It is your very biological essence. What diseases
you might be prone to, where you come from -- quite simply, who you are.
The court decided that that information can be taken without your
consent and kept in a database. Of course, Justice Anthony Kennedy who
wrote the 5-4 majority opinion a point of noting that all of the
precautions taken with the database in this case, the state is not allowed
to just play around with it and search it for fun or interesting facts
about people. It can only be used to identify suspects.
But no matter how responsible the state promises to be with it, it is
a government database that is subject to the statement forces that our top
secret clearance system is. And that system that America is trying and
failing to keep Chinese hackers out of these days, which is to say it is a
system that cannot keep its secrets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anybody want to crash --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Turn it off.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, it`s the code breaker.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the code breaker. No more secrets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: No more secrets. Who you are, down to the very molecular
fiber of your being could find itself on a spreadsheet that 10 years or 20
years from now, the Chinese government or some rogue terrorist, or some 19-
year-old hacker kid is going to get their hands on. And who knows what
they`re going to do with it?
Because the answer to the question, "Can you keep a secret?" in the
21st century increasingly is a resounding and terrifying no.
Joining me now is Barry Scheck, cofounder of the Innocence Project of
Benjamin Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. An organization
assists prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. He`s
also commissioner of New York state forensic science review board.
Also with us is Akhil Amar, Yale Law School professor and author of
the book, "America`s Unwritten Constitution: The Precedents and Principles
All right. Barry, I want to begin with you.
You are as associated with DNA and the law as anyone in the country.
I want you to me if I`m being paranoid or crazy to genuinely worry about
the slippery slope of a government DNA database, particularly when a
government DNA database is what you had used to such amazing effect.
BARRY SCHECK, CO-FOUNDER, THE INNOCENCE PROJECT: Well, the issue in
this case was not is the database good or is the database bad. A database
appropriately used is terrific for both identifying those who have
committed crimes and exonerating people who are wrongly convicted.
The issue in this case has to do with the warrant requirement and to
what extent we will defer to magistrates to make decisions, balancing,
crime, control issues versus privacy.
HAYES: OK. Explain what you mean there -- in terms of we have a
Fourth Amendment protection, right? You can be secure in your person and
papers, right? That there has to be a warrant to search you.
SCHECK: Right. And it has to be individualized suspicion when the
government is seeking to solve a crime. And when you read the opinions in
this case, you will see that Justice Scalia is completely correct when he
is reciting the facts. The facts are that Maryland set up a system taking
DNA from people they arrest that was designed to see whether or not they
had committed other crimes.
It was not designed to identify whether Mr. King, the individual in
this case, was in fact Mr. King.
And no matter how much the majority tried to rewrite the statute or
rewrite its practical application, it was --
HAYES: It was to find out if they committed other crimes.
Akhil, I want to read you parts -- so, one of the interesting stories
today is that Justice Scalia writes the opinion for the four justices in
dissent, it`s quite an intense classic Scalia opinion. He is with the
liberals on this one.
He says, "Today`s judgment will to be sure have the beneficial effect
of solving crimes, but then, again, so were the taking of DNA samples from
anyone who flies on an airplane. Shortly, the Transportation Security
Administration need to know the identity of a flying public, applies for
drivers license or attend a public school. I doubt that the proud men who
wrote the charter of our liberties would have been so eager to open their
mouths for royal inspection."
What say you to that from Justice Scalia?
AKHIL AMAR, PROFESSOR, YALE LAW SCHOOL: I doubt he has carefully
considered the actual history or frankly the text of the Fourth Amendment.
So, contrary to Barry whom I hold in very high regard, of course, and
his work is just amazing, I assert that the Fourth Amendment has no general
Let read to you its words, "The right of people to be secure in their
persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and
seizures shall not be violated." OK? So, unreasonable searches and
seizures, nothing about warrants being categorically prohibited and no
warrants shall issue that upon probable cause afforded by oath or
affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the
person or things to be seized. Warrants are limited but not required.
Let`s take a bunch of situations where there is no probable cause,
therefore you could not actually have a warrant and yet we have searches
and seizures literally every day in America, as in airport metal detectors,
as is at the border, as with a stop and frisk. They are not based on
HAYES: Let me interrupt you. Where -- the question is where does
this end, right? If that is the case, if there is no bounding principal --
AMAR: There is a bounding principal. It ends with reasonableness.
And one could think this policy in Maryland is unreasonable. That`s a fair
But Justice Scalia because this is being used to solve crimes. I say
Justice Scalia just made up that rule. There is nothing in the rule that
said when the government is acting to solve crimes as opposed to do all
sorts of other things, like collect revenue, secure the public safety. You
know, metal detectors are designed to actually prevent and solve crimes as
well as protect public safety and fingerprinting and so on.
So, you have to ask, is it reasonable? And here are the things we
HAYES: Wait, I want to let, Barry respond first.
SCHECK: Akhil, his argument is I`m sure you realize, is that when
you`re looking at the Fourth Amendment and you are talking about
particularizing the people to be seized and items to be searched, that has
been read to mean you have to have individualized suspicion and the way
that individualized suspicion is adjudicated is with a neutral detached
And the cases that you are describing of people going through airports
or other random kinds of stops or even the Skinner case where you are
taking blood from somebody that is driving a train as part of a general
rule that has to do with the special needs to the Fourth Amendment, that is
different than going after someone because you want to find out if they
committed a crime.
AMAR: Barry and Chris, show me a single Framer who said that, because
I have seen no Framer who said that and spent years studying it. That`s
not what the text of the Fourth Amendment says. That`s not what any
founding (INAUDIBLE) says. That`s not what any state constitution at the
HAYES: OK. So --
AMAR: You can have that view, but that`s actually not consistent with
Scalia`s originalist or textualism.
HAYES: Let`s push it further then. Can we have -- is it permissible
to have a database of the DNA identifiers of every citizen in the country
that would run as a matter of course when they interfaced with law
enforcement. They want to make sure we don`t have a rapist for an unsolved
rape around the country running around.
AMAR: Chris, I`ll take on the hypothetical. It may very well be that
in 20 years, you will reach such a brave new world. That`s why they have
to have protections about how the database is used. We already have, as
Barry mentioned at the outset, DNA databases.
So, the world that you are worrying about is already here. You
already have databases. And indeed, there may be arguments that this is a
problem, this particular policy, because certain categories are being
singled out. Maybe in some ways, misery loves company.
Frankly, I like the fact that they don`t put me through the metal
detector at the airport, they put you and people who look like you in the
metal detector because I`m not being singled because I look a certain way.
HAYES: This is a grim vision with a quality where we subject everyone
to, say, DNA testing.
My question for you, Barry, as someone who dealt with the practical
administration of these databases is, can we trust the way in which they
are administered as they grow larger and larger? Because to connect to the
Bradley Manning question, what we have seen in the national security state,
is that as the secret state, as secret government has grown larger and
larger, it gets harder and harder to administer, you get more leaks, you
get more problems with it. And my question is, as this data grows bigger,
do we have reason to trust people who fairly administer?
SCHECK: Well, that`s my greatest concern here. I`m not going to
debate Akhil, of all people for whom I have enormous respect, about an
originalism debate with Scalia about the meaning of the want requirement
and whether he`s inventing that or others have invented that overtime.
But let me get to the reasonableness argument that Akhil raised. I
personally am not particularly thrilled by the idea that the state has
everybody`s DNA in this day and age. Let me give you a perspective. I
have been involved in this DNA database implementation from its very
beginning. When they were sequencing the human genomes, a lot of us who
are on commissions about the ethical, legal and social implications with
the genome, and what you may or may not do.
And I watched all these statutes being implemented. In New York, I`m
a commissioner. So, think about this. Our statute like statutes all
across the country said all you can do with the DNA hit is look at some
crime that have been committed, a sample from some crime, or identify a
And then the next thing that happens when they can`t get legislation
through as they want, all of a sudden, the commission that I`m on and my
colleague could get out and they say, OK, we are going to start doing
partial matching or really familial searching.
HAYES: They start looking, OK, well, maybe your family members.
SCHECK: And I wonder what Akhil thinks about that, because I am
telling you that all across the country, people are doing that without
HAYES: And, Akhil, obviously there is a difference between what is
constitutional and what is wise policy and how it`s administered.
Barry Scheck, cofounder of the Innocence Project, and Akhil Amar,
professor at Yale Law School, thank you, gentlemen, both. Really
SCHECK: Thank you.
AMAR: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Young people hating on the Republican Party.
There`s actual, tangible proof when we come back.
HAYES: Coming up, college Republicans, the college Republicans have a
dire warning for the Republican Party. Not just in need of rebranding,
it`s on the verge of extinction.
And later, the full story of John McCain`s meeting with Syrian rebels
has not been told. Tonight, we get closer to knowing the full details.
One of the men from that photo will join me live.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT: We need you. We need your youth, we
need your strength, we need your idealism to help us make right that which
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That, of course, is President Ronald Reagan giving -- 1981
giving the commencement address at Notre Dame University.
So, why are we showing you that? Because the last time Republicans
won voters, young voters, were in the 1984 and 1988 election cycles. Those
students are now in their 50s. And there`s a new report that says young
people really cannot -- cannot stand Republicans.
I`m only slightly exaggerating here. In an extensive 95-page study
studied titled, "Grand Old Party for a Brand New Generation," the College
Republican National Committee acknowledges their party is driving away
young voters in droves.
This is not entirely surprising. You only have to look at the past
two presidential elections to notice the generation gap. President Obama
won 60 percent of the youth in 2012. In 2008, he won 66 percent of that
What makes this so stunning is that the College Republican National
Committee went out and did the work and flap down a significant investment
for an actual, in-depth, commissioned study of 800 registered voters under
30 and six focus groups to discover that and I am quote, "Our focus on
taxation and business issues has left many young voters thinking they will
only reap the benefits of Republican policies if they become wealthy or
rise to the top of the big business. We become the party that you will
path on the back when you make it, but won`t offer a hand to help you get
Of course, the problem for Republicans here is that is a largely
accurate assessment of the party`s domestic policy priorities. For
instance, 54 percent of young voters saying taxes should go up on the
wealthy as opposed to just 3 percent who think taxes should be cut for the
Of course, this cohort voted overwhelmingly for the presidential
candidate who pledged to raise taxes on the wealthy over the presidential
candidate who voted to vow to cut their taxes.
In other words, that is not a branding problem. That is a genuine
rejection of the party`s core unifying economic agenda.
It gets worse. According to the study, Latino voters tend to think
the GOP couldn`t care less about them. When asked what words came to mind
when young voters are to phrase the Republican Party, here are the common
responses: closed minded, races, rigid, old fashioned. All in all, brutal.
The Republican Party doesn`t need a new coat of paint so much as it
seems to need a complete gut rehab.
Joining me now is Alex Smith, national chair of the College Republican
And, Alex, in the beginning of this report, you talk about three sets
of theories about what went wrong in the last election between Republicans
and young voters. Folks who think it was a technology problem in terms of
how it was administered, people who think that it is a branding problem and
people who think it`s a substance policy problem. What camp are you in?
ALEX SMITH, NATL. CHAIR., COLLEGE REPUBLICAN NATL. CMTE.: Our report
and thanks for having us on. Our report posits that branding is the
problem for the Republican Party in the past and something we can fix going
HAYES: OK. So, here`s why I disagree. I understand in some ways you
are institutionally required to say that, but let`s talk about raising
taxes on the wealthy. That is a very central economic platform of the
Republican Party. It was a central message of Mitt Romney and wildly
unpopular among this cohort. That doesn`t seem to me a branding problem.
That just seems like young voters just disagree with this very fundamental
part of what the party believes in.
SMITH: In the same section on taxes, though, that you are quoting,
younger voters viewed cutting taxes on the small businesses as something
that promotes economic growth and jobs for them in the future and --
HAYES: Everyone thinks that. That`s like saying you like apple pie
or that you think, you know, criminals to go to jail. Like everyone likes
to cut taxes for small businesses.
SMITH: Well, the problem is, is that younger voters didn`t
necessarily connect those making over $250,000 a year as being small
business owners. That in a lot of ways, these terms of wealthy and
different income levels were meaning that taxes should go up on the
wealthy, when in fact a lot of the taxes that the president were proposing
were actually taxes that were going to go up on small business owners.
HAYES: Right. But those two groups are often the same thing, right?
There small business owners who are quite wealthy.
SMITH: Well, we are looking at the term of branding perspective.
We`re looking at this how younger voters viewed the Republican Party, how
they viewed the policies we espouse, and in general, they favor cutting
taxes on small businesses. They view that as something that benefits them
economically in terms of job growth and economic growth.
Moreover, our study found that young people are incredibly
entrepreneurial, particularly in the studies that we examined. So, we
think that in terms of fighting for what we believe in as the party, the
Republican Party has a natural advantage in talking about these kinds of
HAYES: But here`s my question about the business part. It`s not like
Mitt Romney didn`t talk about small businesses. It`s all he talked about.
I mean, I covered the whole campaign, I hosted a television show, we talked
all the time about Mitt Romney talking about small businesses, how Barack
Obama wants to raise taxes on small businesses, how actually his tax cut
for the top 1 percent or 5 percent was going to be for small businesses.
So, if it`s a branding problem, why wasn`t Mitt Romney`s absolutely,
repeated, ad nauseam emphasis on small businesses not enough to lodge in
the minds of the kind of young voters you were talking to?
SMITH: Well, another part of the story is young voters didn`t feel
like the Romney campaign or Republicans were speaking to them. And that`s
a huge problem. The youth is decreasing as a percentage of the total votes
in this country. It`s grown by one percentage point every presidential
elections for the past four presidential elections in a row. So, from 16
percent in 2000 to 19 percent in 2012.
Moreover if the voting demographic started at age 30, Governor Romney
would be president today.
HAYES: Right, it was young voters that delivered the margin. Can I -
SMITH: Sure. What are we think and we talk about when it comes to
technology and the media through which we communicate our ideas to younger
voters is that, often times, younger voters didn`t feel like we were
actually communicating with them. That`s a great opportunity for us.
HAYES: Let me ask you this question, final question and quickly, you
know, the college Republicans have this reputation on campus, if you`ve
gone to a campus, as college rep of the Republican chapter, which is often
this kind of like trolling sort of thing where they make fun of the
liberals on campus. This is the Berkeley College Republican affirmative
action bake sale, which has been something that`s been repeated in a lot of
campuses, where if you are white you pay more than if you are Asian or
Latino and black., and it`s mental lampoon, the ridiculous notion of any
kind of racial preferences.
And I wonder when you look at that, if you are talking about branding,
is that the kind of thing that is part of what contributes to the way that
young people think about the Republican Party?
SMITH: Well, listen, I have to tell you, we released this report this
morning. Obviously, it was the article you mentioned before. I have
gotten countless messages from our chapter chairs and from state chairs
across the country who said, thank you. This is what we need. These are
the ideas that we can work with.
And they are terribly excited. They see the opportunities in this
report and they see real room for growth. That these are incredibly
HAYES: That was an incredibly definite answer and I`m interpreting
that as Alex Smith bringing the hammer down on affirmative action bake
sales at chapters across the country.
Alex Smith, national chair of the College Republican National
Committee, I really appreciate it. Thank you.
SMITH: Thanks so much, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Remember the days when smoking on airplanes was
acceptable and legal? We have the late Senator Frank Lautenberg to thank
for the changing that. My obituary for him is next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: The no smoking signs in airliners flying in
this country may soon be lit up on all seats on all flights. The Senate
today debated a total ban that would replace the current no smoking rule on
flights of less than two hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`re hearing today about the passing of Frank Lautenberg, New
Jersey`s longest serving senator and the last World War II veteran in the
United States Senate. But amidst the coverage of his life and legacy, the
thing that really caught my attention was Lautenberg`s fight to ban smoking
on airplanes. What a perfect example of public service that fight was.
This is what we want our representatives to do. We want to elect them
and send them to Washington and we want them to fight on our behalf for
people`s health and well-being and security and dignity against entrenched
interests that profit off of their misery.
We look back on that tape of "Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw
reporting that the smoking ban that is about to pass, taking people smoking
on airplanes, you might just be chuckling as you watch it. I chuckled when
I watched it, too, because it just seems incomprehensible that we would let
people smoke on planes.
We look back and we think, well, it was inevitable that this behavior
would stop. But at the time, it was not inevitable. Far from it. Frank
Lautenberg, to his tremendous credit, set the wheels in motion for that
transformation because he picked that fight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. FRANK LAUTENBERG (D), N.J.: Separating the passengers, the
nonsmoking from the smoking passengers, does not separate the air they
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If he hadn`t picked the fight then, the status quo might
easily have lasted another five or 10 or 15 years. This despite the fact
the public opinion at the time was against smoking on airplanes and surveys
by airlines in 1989 found that fewer than 20 percent of their passengers
were smokers and that an even smaller percentage preferred to sit in a
Yet the smoking section to which Senator Lautenberg referred, the
smoking section the tobacco industry might portray like this, but is
actually a lot more like this: row 34 non-smoking, row 35 smoking.
And yet success in banning smoking in airlines was not inevitable
because there was a huge, massively entrenched wealthy, powerful interest
that wanted people to smoke on planes. it was called the tobacco lobby,
along with those who would do its bidding in the United States Senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JESSE HELMS (R), N.C.: What I am interested in are the farmers
who are going to be and already are affected by this onslaught.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Jesse Helms, sticking up for the farmers. Well, tell that to
the Association of Flight Attendants who, in 1989, said passing the ban
would be a vote for the lives of thousands of flight attendants in this
country and of millions of passengers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CATHY GEBEERS-SEVA (PH), FORMER FLIGHT ATTENDANT: By the time I got
off of the flight, I was very sick. My lungs were completely full and
congested. My sinuses were full and blocked and my ears were blocked. And
I was sick for two weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Success was not inevitable. It was not inevitable when
Senator Frank Lautenberg helped write the original legislation in 1987 that
-- the one that bans smoking on all flights of two hours or less. It was
no inevitable when Lautenberg fought for a total ban in 1989 when the 1987
law was about to expire.
Similarly, success was not inevitable when Lautenberg led the charge
to raise the drinking age to 21 in all 50 states at a time when there was
growing concern about drunk driving. Success was not inevitable when
Lautenberg sponsored one gun control measure after another, some of them
enacted; more recent ones not. But at a time when public opinion is
overwhelmingly in favor of basic gun safety measures that cannot seem to
pass, Frank Lautenberg is more relevant than ever.
His finest moments as a public servant represent liberalism at its
best and Frank Lautenberg was an unapologetic liberal who understood how
progress happens. You identify a social problem -- people getting screwed,
ignored, treated unjustly, forced, for instance, to suck down cancerous
tobacco smoke day in and day out simply to keep their job.
And then you pick a fight against the folks who maintain that status
quo and you relish the conflict and galvanize public opinion and don`t
allow big money to cow you away from your vision of what`s right. And once
the big interests are well and thoroughly whupped, in 20 years later
everyone is looking back saying that was inevitable, no, it wasn`t.
Some group of people made that happen. Senator Frank Lautenberg made
Next time you are on a plane, take a deep breath and enjoy the
victory. We`ll be right back with click3.
HAYES: Last week we told you how one of the Syrian rebels pictured
here with John McCain was alleged to be a kidnapper. We now know the
identity of the one of the other men from the photo. And he joins me live
to explain his version of events. That`s coming up.
But first I want to hear the three awesomest things on the Internet
today, beginning with the sheer anguish and disbelief felt around the
Internet. I am, of course, talking about the reaction to last night`s
episode of "Game of Thrones."
The plot twist known as the Red Wedding first stunned readers of the
book`s series over a decade ago and now the HBO took its turn to serve fans
several minutes of shock and awe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, no. Oh, (inaudible). Oh. Oh, really?
HAYES: (Inaudible) the episode are popping up on Tumblr and viewers
are using Twitter to work through the pain. Reactions vary from "I need a
hug; I have never been so traumatized by a television show" to "I love the
show and I love the books, but I hate them at this moment and I want to
burn them and puke on their ashes."
The good news is the TV episode might explosion some very strange
behavior from the early Osp (ph). Those watching "Game of Thrones" who
didn`t read the books, remember when your really nerdy friend was super sad
13 years ago? This is why.
The second awesomest thing on the Internet, a new addition to a time-
honored tradition. I am referring to the iconic half-column stipple
portraits that dot the pages of the August " Wall Street Journal." These
artistic renderings of society`s elite have been a hallmark of the
newspaper since 1979.
Now a there`s a new luminary joining the likes of Barack Obama, Warren
Buffett and Oprah Winfrey. Enter Grumpy Cat, the famed online feline is
just the latest boldfaced name to nab his own portrait. The drawing, known
as a head cut, is coupled with an article detailing the cat`s rise from
mean to movie. Grumpy Cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce -- that`s
Tardar with a D -- hasn`t commented on this latest piece of immortality.
And, frankly, I am not sure how "The Wall Street Journal" can help an
Internet meme, but I can certainly see how an Internet meme can help "The
Wall Street Journal".
Which brings me to the third awesomest thing on the Internet today.
Everyone seems to have an opinion on New York`s flight show program, but
you really only need to hear two of them
First, legendary "New York Times" photographer Bill Cunningham just
loves it. The octogenarian and cycling enthusiast gushes with praise in
this online commentary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CUNNINGHAM, PHOTOGRAPHER: This week, the city started its rent a
bicycle. And it`s absolutely wonderful. There are bikes everywhere.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And then there`s "The Wall Street Journal" editorial board
member Dorothy Rabinowitz. (Inaudible) Ms. Rabinowitz`s views on bike
sharing are not quite as charitable.
DOROTHY RABINOWITS, "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL": Do not ask me to enter
the mind of the totalitarians running this government of the city. We now
look at a city whose best neighborhoods are absolutely begrimed, is the
word, by these blazing blue Citibank bikes. It is shocking to walk around
the city to see how much of this they have sneaked under the radar in the
interest of the environment.
The bike lobby is an all-powerful enterprise.
HAYES: Now all Ms. Rabinowitz is trying to do is protect the city
from bike-sharing fascists. Yet people are interpreting that kind of
dedication as something negative or even something comical, saying things
like OMG, dying and asking tough questions such as, "When was Dorothy
Rabinowitz last on a bicycle?"
Of course, Ms. Rabinowitz is entitled to express her displeasure at
something that gives joy to many people, but you might want consult her new
acquaintance at the "Journal" for a different way to go about it. You can
find all the links for tonight`s click3 on our website, allinwithchris.com,
and we`ll be right back.
HAYES: Last week after Senator John McCain traveled to Syria, we
spent a lot of time looking at this picture, the senator posing and smiling
with a group of Syrian men, men who to most Americans were completely
But as we told you last week, it turns out that according to a
Lebanese newspaper, this man`s name is Mohammad Nour (ph), and he is
allegedly associated with a Syrian rebel group who kidnapped 11 Lebanese
religious pilgrims last May.
McCain`s office has called the photo "regrettable." But he was back
at this weekend, defending not only his position to arm rebels but the
character of the rebels themselves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: They are not Al Qaeda; they are not
extremists. I met with some 19 battalion commanders, both in Turkey and in
Syria. But they are badly outgunned now. So I met with General Idriss,
who is the commander of the military inside Syria. He escorted me in and
out. He`s a fine leader.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now John McCain`s trip to Syria became defined in many ways by
this picture. And the reports about this man, because they almost
perfectly encapsulate the many problems with arming the rebels. But while
the picture has been shown across the world, thousands of times over, the
attention has all been on this one man.
Who are the other people in the photo? What is their story?
Well, after we talked about John McCain`s trip to Syria last week, a
friend of mine who lives in Washington, D.C., e-mailed me and said, hey, I
know one of the guys in that photo, not the alleged kidnapping associate,
but this guy.
Turns out this man is the person who actually arranged the trip. His
name is Mouaz Moustafa. He has spent years working on Capitol Hill. He
is now executive director of the Syrian Emergency Task Force, an
organization that raises awareness in the U.S. about the Assad regime and
the political director for United for a Free Syria, an advocacy group.
And he joins me now.
Mouaz, thank you so much for joining me.
First, I just want to get a sense from you, how did they find yourself
in this position? How did this trip come about?
MOUAZ MOUSTAFA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SYRIAN EMERGENCY TASK FORCE: Yes,
no, thank you for having me. And as far as this try, I am regularly back
and forth between Washington, D.C., and Syria, usually working with
emerging civilian governing structures that are rising up in liberated
areas and we usually regularly brief Congress.
So when we heard of Senator McCain`s willingness and interest in going
and visiting and meeting with the Free Syrian Army commanders, we saw that
as something that is very welcome and we were more than happy to facilitate
at least getting out the commanders into Turkey for meetings, 10 commanders
in the first meeting; (inaudible) four in the second one.
And then the meeting inside Syria territory. And so we were already
there, working on some of the things that we work regularly on through our
offices in Syria and Turkey and we were more than happy to arrange the
visit for the senator.
HAYES: But how did you come to be an intermediary in this? My
understanding is you yourself are not Syrian and I am sort of fascinated by
the kind of structure that has grown up in the U.S. from the -- in terms of
lobbying the government to -- for further aid for the rebels.
It`s just very hard for me to figure out, like who are these people?
Like who are you and why are you involved in this battle?
MOUSTAFA: Sure, absolutely. Look, I was born in Damascus, Syria. I
moved to the United States when I was 12 years old. I went to college and
high school in Arkansas College in Missouri and Arkansas and then came and
worked on The Hill as you mentioned before.
My father is Palestinian and mother is Syrian. And I identify most
when I think of Syria with kids that were my age. I left at about 12 years
old. And so when I go back, I see those 12-year-old kids and I see what
challenges they face every day.
Syria more than anything, beyond the complexities of the revolution
and the interests of the region, is a humanitarian disaster that, according
to Oxfam International`s president, rivals or surpasses what`s happening in
We`re talking about a regime that sends Scud missiles, that has used
chemical weapons. that uses its army to kill civilians, a revolution that
for seven to eight months at the beginning was (inaudible) peaceful, not
violent at all, by his own words.
And so that`s the simplicity of it. I think that`s missed a lot by
all the other sort of --
HAYES: So I want to ask --
MOUSTAFA: -- comes around.
HAYES: I wanted to ask about complexity rather than simplicity,
Mouaz. So this photo, right, the man who, according to the "Daily Star
Reporter", a Lebanese newspaper, was identified as having been a
photographer for a group that kidnapped these Shiite pilgrims.
What do you know about that? Do you know who that man is? Was he
associated with your group?
MOUSTAFA: So I was responsible for getting all the commanders from
different geographical parts of Syria, Qusayr, Aleppo, Homs and other
places, 19 all together to come out and meet in three separate meetings.
In the meeting that was arranged inside of Syria, the -- first of all,
the gentlemen outside that is referred to, by the "Daily Star" paper, by
the "Daily Star" paper -- and this is fact, we know after talking to them,
got its news from a Hezbollah mouthpiece TV report that came out.
So it`s very disturbing to see how Hezbollah propaganda has overtaken
the word of a senator, the State Department, Syrian-American NGOs and the
Free Syrian Army commander, all of which again reassured many times that
there were no kidnappers whatsoever. The two referred to in the article,
one of them is dead.
We knew -- and confirmed that he is dead earlier this year. And he
has been listed missing last fall. The other gentleman, Mohammad Nour, was
not present. That gentlemen outside didn`t identify by that name and
neither did he take part in the meeting, which is very important. He
wasn`t even sitting. I sent the picture to the producer of the meeting
HAYES: So he was --- right. He was not at the meeting. And you`ve
definitively said he is not the person in question.
But my -- the broader point here is that there`s a group called the
Northern Storm. But they`re associated with the rebels. That`s not --
that`s not disputed, right. They are fighting against the Assad regime and
it`s also not disputed that they just pulled over a bus of religious
pilgrims coming back from a pilgrimage to take hostages, to hold them as
And I want to hear -- when I hear stories like that, it makes me
really -- wait, wait, wait; hold on one second.
When I hear stories like that, it makes me and I think people who hear
those stories really worry about what we are about to get into in Syria.
And I want to bring in my friend and colleague, Jeremy Scahill. And I want
to talk about what actual intervention in Syria right now would look like.
And, Mouaz, if you would look like to explain to me why my fears about
the U.S. becoming more bound in this conflict can be -- are overstated, I
want to hear that as well, right after we take this break.
HAYES: Like I said, joining me at the table tonight is Jeremy
Scahill, producer and writer of "Dirty Wars," which opens this Friday.
There is a movie version that is absolutely astounding; you have to see it.
It opens this Friday, June 7th.
He is also author of a book by the same name, national security
correspondent for the (inaudible).
Jeremy, I want to talk to you -- and I want to come back to Mouaz as
well, but I want to talk to you about, as a very experienced war
correspondent in the region, what -- the track record of U.S. intervention
in bringing about humanitarian outcomes has been as a general matter.
JEREMY SCAHILL, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: It`s been a disaster. I mean,
I think that you could say that the U.S. has been one of the primary
destabilizing forces in the region. I mean, you look at Syria`s neighbor,
Iraq, the United States invades Iraq. And, of course, John McCain was a
huge cheerleader for that. If it was up to him, there would still be
100,000-plus U.S. troops.
What was it that really happened in Iraq? They say, well, the surge
won the war in Iraq. No. What happened was that the U.S. backed Shiite
death squads called the wolf brigades that were effectively just murdering
people and then paid off Sunni tribes not to shoot at American forces. So
you have this fake victory that was declared in the form of a surge. Iraq
is in an utter stage of chaos with suicide bombings regularly.
HAYES: And, in fact, exporting a lot of folks to --
SCAHILL: And exporting them now to Syria, becoming deeply involved in
Syria and has also had to deal with a huge refugee crisis from Iraq as a
result of this.
Then you look at Libya, where the United States was deeply involved
with overthrowing admittedly a horrid dictator, Moammar Gadhafi. And then
you have these Islamist radical groups that end up butchering our
ambassador and overrunning a consulate. We don`t know who we are backing
in a lot of these cases in very short-sighted goals. And I think John
McCain has no credibility on this issue. This man has never met a sort of
rebel group that he has not been in love with. He has a multi-decade track
record of calling for it. And in the end it turns out, had we listened to
McCain, it would have been an even greater disaster.
HAYES: So, Mouaz, my question for you is this. Let`s stipulate I
think universally how loathsome the Assad regime is, how horrible they have
been. I mean, just at that, I think -- I don`t think there`s anyone here
that disagrees with that.
The question is just as a sheer practical matter, does more U.S.
involvement, more weapons flowing in, what plausible cases that for
reducing the humanitarian disaster as opposed to simply prolonging it?
MOUSTAFA: Sure. First of all, Syria is not a partisan issue. It is
a humanitarian issue and a national security issue for the United States
and for the region as a whole, including our allies. So what John McCain
does or does not do should not mold our views on this issue.
Number two, Syria is a place.
HAYES: Wait. So stop there (inaudible).
Why not? John McCain has a record here. He is making a judgment call
and as people who interpret politics, I don`t think it`s crazy to make some
of your reasoning off the track record of someone who is making this kind
MOUSTAFA: You should make your reasoning based on what`s happening on
the ground and based on what the situation is in the region and based on
your understanding of all the facts, not on what John McCain does or
doesn`t do. John McCain could be right and he could be wrong on many
issues. He could have a track record either way, but that should not be
the way that you make your decisions or anybody else does.
But as far as Syria is concerned, right now, as we are talking, Qusayr
is under heavy gunfire and heavy airstrikes surrounded by more than 5,000
members of Hezbollah. We are talking about a country that is in the Middle
East, where Iran is actively working to save its own national -- its own
interests in the region regardless if Assad survives this or not, where
they keep their (inaudible) is where they`re able to continue to arm
Hezbollah, where we have major implications for the region and for us in
And being able to support a hierarchy where we see people that have
joined Islamist battalions and others, that by no means subscribe to their
ideology, begging for a third way out and to have a hierarchy and a
structure of commanders willing to be under civilian command and to see in
mostly liberated areas democratic elections that are rising up and having
Christian and Muslim schools in towns. It`s beautiful to see and that`s
what is inspiring.
MOUSTAFA: And that`s what I feel (inaudible) so many times.
HAYES: I want Jeremy to respond to this proxy war point about Iran
SCAHILL: First of all, there already is a full-blown proxy war going
on in Syria That`s not a disputable fact. The United States already is
involved with destabilizing Syria, but the other part of this is that the
very forces that John McCain wants us to get in bed with have not actually
been vetted. The fact is there are massive human rights abuses that are
being committed on a daily basis also by the so-called rebels in Syria.
Bashar al-Assad is a thug and a gangster. But I don`t have any faith that
many of these groups that are being generically referred to as the rebels
are going to be anything other than thugs and gangsters themselves. And I
think this is a civil war that already too many countries and too many
weapons are involved with. The United States getting involved can only
make it worse.
HAYES: Mouaz, quickly, how can you -- how can -- what assurance can
you give when people say, well, are they going to be a vetted opposition,
that in the midst of a war zone, that weapons aren`t going to, say, move
MOUSTAFA: Well, first of all, remember weapons are coming in
regardless, whether we arm or not, weapons are coming in from Gulf states,
from other places.
MOUSTAFA: It`s important for the United States which vets when it
does give weapons, to give weapons to the right people. We are not saying
give weapons to everyone.
SCAHILL: certainly does not vet them. And in fact, the United
States, there`s -- there are amendments that have been passed by Congress -
- the United States is supposed to vet the very people that it`s giving
weapons in support to. And time and again, human rights groups produce
evidence that that is just not being enforced. So I --
MOUSTAFA: No, you`re talking in -- look, we are talking and not in
general for all the rebels. And we are talking about the hierarchy of
defected rebels that left because they didn`t want to shoot back at their
own civilians. They didn`t want to kill their own families.
To be able to support them to end this war.
HAYES: Mouaz Moustafa, the executive director of the Syrian Emergency
Task Force; Jeremy Scahill, producer and writer (inaudible) the world is a
Thank you very much. That is ALL IN for this evening. The Rachel
Maddow show starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
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