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'The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell' for Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Tuesday show

December 9, 2014

Guest: Michael Davidson, Glenn Greenwald, Ali Watkins, Eugene O`Donnell

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Rachel, for me, today is one of those
"save the C-Span video" days.


O`DONNELL: The Senate floor was just amazing to watch today.

MADDOW: That`s right. On the record, that`s exactly right. Thanks,

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

Well, last night, I wasn`t sure why Senator Dianne Feinstein wanted to
release the report about the CIA`s torture practices, and I wasn`t sure if
the Senate should release that report, if it was a good idea to release
that report.

The Senate debate today was thoughtful and well-reasoned on both
sides, and left very few of us undecided.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: This program has been and remains
one of the most vital tools in our war against terrorists. It is
invaluable to America and to our allies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today, the conclusion of the intelligence
committee`s controversial and damning torture report was finally released.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is the result, $40 million, 5 1/2 years,
and this is only the summary.

SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Let me now turn to the
contents of the study.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s absolutely repugnant. It`s brutal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gruesome details on what was done in the name of

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was done in our name, the American people`s

FEINSTEIN: Detainees were often subject to harsh and brutal
interrogation, stripped naked, diapered, physically struck, constantly
shackled in isolated cells. They were deprived of sleep for days.

SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER (D), WEST VIRGINIA: These harsh techniques were
not approved by anyone ever.

FEINSTEIN: This program was morally, legally and administratively

ROCKEFELLER: The detention and interrogation program was conceived by
people who were ignorant of the topic and made it up on the fly.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Its use was shameful and unnecessary.
It produced little useful intelligence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s also fear that the report itself could
spark a backlash against the United States.

MCCAIN: Yes, I suppose that`s possible.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: But I guess there`s no good
time to do things like this.

MCCAIN: When we fight to defend our security, we fight also for an
idea. Our enemies act without conscience. We must not.


O`DONNELL: United States senators take an oath to support and defend
the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and

Today, the United States Senate took a bipartisan stand against
domestic enemies of the Constitution. Enemies of the Constitution do not
have to be people.

The Constitution is an idea. The Constitution is a piece of paper.

A piece of paper can be an enemy of a piece of paper. An idea can be
an enemy of the Constitution. A memo can be an enemy of the Constitution.
A legal memo justifying torture can be an enemy of the Constitution.

Domestic enemies of the Constitution are the most dangerous enemies of
the Constitution because they have access to it, especially enemies of the
Constitution residing inside the government.

Senator Dianne Feinstein today exposed the CIA`s now extinct enhanced
interrogation techniques. A term which Senator Jay Rockefeller said was
the CIA`s eerily sanitized term for torture.


FEINSTEIN: I believe the documentation and the finding`s inclusions
will make clear how this program was morally, legally and administratively
misguided, and that this nation should never again engage in this tactics.


O`DONNELL: The executive summary of the report released today
included 20 findings. The report found that the CIA use techniques that
were, quote, "brutal and far worse" in what the CIA had represented to
policymakers and others, and that, quote, "The CIA`s use of enhanced
interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring
intelligence or cooperation from detainees."

The report also found that the CIA used techniques that were not
approved by the Department of Justice or authorized by CIA headquarters,
and that the CIA`s management of its detention and interrogation program
was deeply flawed.

And that the CIA impeded oversight from the CIA inspector general, the
White House, and the Congress.

President Obama responded to the report on Telemundo tonight.


that we`re reading about in the Senate Intelligence report were brutal, and
as I`ve said before, it constituted torture in my mind. And that`s not who
we are. And so, although I am concerned about potential ramifications
overseas and we`ve taken precautionary steps to try to mitigate any
additional risks. I think it was important for us to release this so that
we can account for it, so that people understand precisely why I banned
these practices as one of the first acts I took when I came to office.


O`DONNELL: Here`s a sample of the details about CIA interrogation
included in the report. "CIA detainees, particularly those subjected to
standing sleep deprivation, were routinely placed in diapers. Waste
buckets were not always available in the interrogation of Abu Hazim. A
waste bucket was removed from his cell for punishment according to a CIA
cable. Abu Hazim requested a bucket in which he could relieve himself but
was told all rewards must be earned.

CIA medical officers discussed rectal hydration as a means of behavior
control. As one officer wrote, `While IV infusion is safe and effective,
we were impressed with the ancillary effectiveness of the rectal infusion.`

The same officer provided a description of the procedure, writing
that, `Regarding the rectal tube, if you place it and open up the IV
tubing, the flow will cell regulate, sloshing up the large intestines,`
referencing the experience of the medical officer who subjected KSM to
rectal hydration. The officer wrote that, `What I infer is that you get a
tube up as far as you can then open the IV wide.`

As described in the context of the rectal feeding of al-Nashiri,
Ensure was infused into al-Nashiri in a forward-facing position with head
lower than torso. Majid Khan`s lunch tray consisting of hummus, pasta with
sauce, nuts and raisins were pureed and rectally infused."

Senator Jay Rockefeller who served as vice chairman of the committee
in 2003 said that Congress was not fully briefed on the program.


ROCKEFELLER: They take the chairman and vice chairman, take them down
to the White House, give them a flip chart, 45 minutes with the vice
president and off we go. Senator Roberts and I went down by car and were
instructed we couldn`t talk to each other on the way back from one of those
meetings. It was absurd.

Questions or follow up requests were rejected and at times I was not
allowed to consult with my counsel. I`m not a lawyer. There are legal
matters involved here. They said we couldn`t talk to any of our staff,
legal counsel or not, or other members of the committee who knew nothing
about this because they had not been informed at all.

It was clear that these briefings were not meant to answer any
questions but were intended only to provide cover for the administration
and the CIA. It was infuriating to me to realize that I was part of a
check box exercise that the administration planned to use and later did use
so they could disingenuously claim that they had, quote, in a phrase that I
will never be able to forget, "fully briefed the Congress."


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Michael Davidson, who served as minority
counsel for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence from 2003 to 2006,
and as general counsel for the committee from 2007 to 2011.

Mr. Davidson, you served under Jay Rockefeller on the committee. You
just heard him talking there about this kind -- the way the administration
handled so-called briefing of Congress. I worked for a senator who was
once on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Moynihan, who had his own
problems with the CIA. He and Barry Goldwater had bipartisan objections to
the way the CIA was misleading them on actions in Central America.

So, this challenge that senators have of trying to get real
information out of the CIA is not now.

not new, but it`s ground that has been very important to cover in the past
and obviously was critical here. And one thing that was especially unique
about this situation is that the government secrets didn`t have to do with
something like is a raid that was happening the next day or the next week
in which there was time sensitive information, about a program that went on
for years and years in which the Congress was being asked to fund

O`DONNELL: Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican who supports the
release of this report, supports the findings in it along with Republican
John McCain said today that he believes that this happened out of fear,
that the CIA`s motivation for doing this was out of fear after 9/11, what
he considered an understandable fear. He thinks it was done by well-
meaning people, and it got out of control.

In your experience with the CIA, would that be your impression of how
this happened?

DAVIDSON: I think there`s probably an element of that. But there`s
also a fear of criticism, and fear of being called to account and being
asked hard questions. And that can never be a defensible basis for keeping
the Congress uninformed about something as basic as this.

O`DONNELL: There is a disagreement on the Senate floor today between
Senator Feinstein, Senator Chambliss who is the Republican leader on the
intelligence committee. Senator Chambliss seems to be saying that there
was indeed intelligence obtained through these torture methods that among
other things led to finding Osama bin Laden. Senator Feinstein says
absolutely not.

How are we to sort that out?

DAVIDSON: Perhaps the way to sort it out is first to carefully
examine what the factual basis was of the Senate report today to the extent
that the committee was permitted to lay it out. But to also recognize that
there is about 6,000 other pages of careful examination of a record that is
now available to the government. Some of it may not be public information
for some time, probably in the course of time more of it can be, but all of
it is now in the possession of the executive branch and of the White House
and can be a teaching tool within the government for years to come.

O`DONNELL: Michael Davidson, thank you very much for joining us

DAVIDSON: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: We`re joined now by Glenn Greenwald, the co-founding
editor of "The Intercept."

Glenn, you`ve anticipated a lot of what is in this report today, but
now we have the actual documents, a lot of the documents, a lot of memos, a
lot of e-mails. A lot of what was going on here.

And with Senator Rockefeller`s description of how much misleading was
going on for years with the CIA, I think we can all now see the pent-up
frustrations on that committee trying to oversee what the CIA was really
doing here.

What`s your reaction to this release today?

GLENN GREENWALD, THE INTERCEPT: Well, the savagery and depravity that
is detailed in the report is obviously stunning, and there`s no question
that the CIA systematically lied to the Congress and therefore the American
people, including the top officials at the agency, such as General Hayden.

But at the same time, Lawrence, I have to say that, you know, I`ve
been writing about torture for almost 10 year now.

And although there are some new details in this report, it`s been very
well-known for a long time in Washington that the CIA was brutally
torturing people, not just at Guantanamo, but at Bagram and the entire
American prison system as part of the war on terror. And for a long time,
members of Congress, the media, even the American population, more or less
acquiesced to it. So, I`m a little bit uncomfortable with the idea that
CIA should bear all the blame. They certainly bear of it, but I think as a
country, our political and media class was comfortable with the fact that
we were torturing people systematically and it`s a reckoning for all of us,
not just for that agency.

O`DONNELL: Yes, I think prior to today, it was hard -- certainly hard
to get at this kind of fact base, but I think you`re right, there wasn`t a
lot of eagerness to look into it.

Let`s listen to what Senator Chambliss said today on the Senate floor.


must remember that the CIA was directed to conduct this program by the
president. I have spoken with a number of CIA officers over the years who
remember the contentious debates about the program at the time it was being
considered. But at the end of the day, the agency did what the president
directed them to do, under color of law and based upon opinions issued and
updated by the Department of Justice.


O`DONNELL: But, Glenn, in the documents today, we discovered that the
president didn`t know as much about this, while -- when it was first
getting under way, didn`t know as much about it apparently for possibly a
number of years while it was going on.

GREENWALD: Right. I mean, the CIA has been a rogue agency for
decades. I mean, it more or less exists beyond the realm of democratic
accountability. And I think a lot of people in Washington like it that
way. They get to do the dirty work.

But, you know, again, Lawrence, George Bush was proud of the fact and
said in his memoirs that he actually approved waterboarding. Dick Cheney
said the same thing. Again, some of the details about brutality and
savagery that they probably didn`t know about, but I think on some level,
they probably wanted it that way.

And all Senator Chambliss is really saying is, George Bush and the
people in the Justice Department who approved these torture tactics are
essentially culpable as war criminals. We have treaties that say you
cannot torture even if there`s a justification of war or national security
for it. Otherwise, everyone would use that excuse.

We need to maintain the taboo, and people who don`t are by definition
war criminals.

O`DONNELL: And it seems, the thing that strikes about what the Senate
was doing today, Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller, is they were doing
everything they can to make sure this doesn`t happen again, because by
going public like this and getting that report out there, it is saying to
the current CIA and it`s certainly saying to the next 20 years of people
going to work in the CIA, we`re going to be on you if you tried to do this.

And I think, Glenn, and I think you and I probably share the view that
a few decades down the line or at some point down the line, this is going
to come up again in the CIA. There`s going to be some kind of terrorist
threat where this kind of question comes up again. What kind of tactics
should we use now that we`ve been hit in this way or now that we face this

And I think what the senators are trying to do today was lay this
marker down in such a way that they will always remember. Their chants
today, their bumper sticker today was "never again."

GREENWALD: I agree with you about their intent and it was
commendable. I`m glad they did it.

At the same time, you know, the United States imprisons more of it
citizens than any country in the world. And reason is because we believe
that if we don`t punish crimes by putting people through the justice system
and prosecuting them, that we actually can`t deter it.

And I think one of the biggest disappointments or errors of the last
six years of this president was protecting these torturers from going to
the criminal justice system and being prosecuted, not withstanding the
political cost it would have had. Because I do think it`s a hard question,
how do you deter future torturers if the message was sent that if you
torture, you actually won`t be prosecuted. We just converted it into a
policy debate, where Republicans go on TV on Sunday shows and say it was
necessary for national security, and Democrats say it wasn`t.

It`s not just a policy debate. It`s a crime. It`s a crime under our
statutes and our treaties. And I wish it had been treated as that.

O`DONNELL: It seems like the two agreements that exist across the
parties in Washington tonight, Glenn, are they should not prosecute anyone
involved in having done this because -- on the belief that they had good
intentions going in. And then, secondly, we should absolutely never do it
again. There wasn`t one defender on the Senate floor today of torture
saying, let`s preserve this right.

We`re out of time. Glenn Greenwald, thank you very for joining us
tonight. Thank you.

Coming up, Senator Jay Rockefeller says that the CIA program was
managed incompetently by senior officials and not very many senior
officials, and that waterboarding was not the worst of it. That is next.

And there was another killing by New York City police last night. One
bullet ended the life of a suspect and yes, this time, there is video.



OBAMA: The CIA set up something very fast without a lot of
forethought to what the ramifications might be, that the lines of
accountability that needed to be set up weren`t always in place.


O`DONNELL: That is about the most diplomatic way you could describe a
program that was out of control -- understandable, of course, because the
president has to work with the CIA every day. The president is, in fact,
on the organizational chart, the executive head of all those departments
including the CIA. They all report to him. So, it`s understandable he
talks about it today.

The senators today on the Senate floor were much more blunt. We`re
going to have more of that, next.



ROCKEFELLER: First, the detention interrogation program was conceived
by people who are ignorant of the topic and made it up on the fly, based on
the untested theories of contractors who had never met a terrorist or
conducted a real world investigation of any kind. Second, it was executed
by personnel with insufficient linguistic and interrogation training and
little, if any, real world experience.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is Ali Watkins, national security reporter
for "The Huffington Post".

Ali, what strikes me about what Senator Rockefeller said right there
is that no one contests that. Senator Chambliss, the Republican, who stood
up with some disagreements on the Senate floor, does not contest that these
kinds of mistakes were made and this was the kind of personnel that was
running this thing.

Lawrence, when you read through this report to even attempt to make that
case. I mean, in the first few pages, we`re confronted with the kind of
mismanagement that really pervaded through this program. You know, whether
it was the CIA ignoring internal critiques, whether it was disregarding
warnings that came from field officials to medical professionals advising
the program. It`s very difficult to kind of build a defense.

We know that the Republicans and the agency have both issued their own
rebuttals to the study. Then we page through the case that Senate
investigators build, it`s difficult to challenge the notion that the
program was mismanaged.

O`DONNELL: You know, this was based on documents, e-mails, memos at
the time, and John Rizzo was actually on CNN tonight and was asked a
question about one of the e-mails that he wrote. And actually said he
couldn`t quite remember about that e-mail, which is one of the reasons why
the e-mails are so powerful. It doesn`t rely on someone`s memory of what
they said at a particular time. This is contemporaneous. He wrote this on
that day about these events.

And I want to get to one of the descriptions in this report of how
this was run at one of the detention sites, one of the secret detention
sites. "The CIA officer in charge of detention site Cobalt was a junior
officer on his first overseas assignment with no previous experience or
training in handling prisoners or conducting interrogations. CIA officer 1
was the detention site Cobalt manager during the period in which a CIA
detainee died and numerous CIA detainees were subjected to unapproved
coercive interrogation techniques."

And, of course, it`s no surprise that they didn`t have anyone who knew
how to do this. The CIA wasn`t in the business of doing this kind of

WATKINS: Yes, absolutely. And that really stands out, the example
you pointed out. And sadly, several instances of that explained throughout
the report, where we had these officers who were put in charge of these
detention sites who clearly were not qualified to run a kind of
interrogation program like this.

As that passage would continue with that officer that you were
referring to, there was actually a supervisor who issued a warning to the
agency saying that this person should not be put in charge of a detention
site. That he was concerned he wasn`t going to follow orders. And we see
that example played out throughout a lot of other things that the committee
points to, that there were several instances of people put in charge of
these sites where supervisors even passed up the chain of the agency that
these people should not be in charge of things. And yet, they were still
given these posts.

O`DONNELL: And things we`re reading here are not testimonies made by
prisoners saying these are the bad things they did to me. This is what
people within the CIA, within the program wrote to each other about what
they saw happen to these people, or what they did to these people.

WATKINS: Yes. Colleagues of these people saying they should not be
put in charge of bases. You know, they would anger management issues.
Again, there was concern with insubordination.

And then, we also had these examples, one particularly disturbing one,
an internal critique that was again passed up the chain of the CIA chief of
interrogations, I believe, who resigned over concerns for these programs,
saying he wanted to get off the train before it crashed. And I believe
that note came in 2003 and we know now the program continued and the use of
these techniques continued through far beyond 2003. So, the fact that
those kinds of internal critiques, that there was a selective ignorance to
the kind of criticisms that were passed up the chain should be very

O`DONNELL: Well, if the CIA and if this government never does this
kind of torture again, it will be because of what the United States Senate
did today.

Ali Watkins, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

WATKINS: Thanks for having me.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, video of the shooting by New York City police
last night killed a suspect. You can judge if this was a correct use of
deadly force.


O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, New York City Police and the
use of deadly force, again. Around 1:30 this morning, Calvin Peters
entered a Brooklyn synagogue and stabbed a 22-year-old rabbinical student
in the head with a nine-inch knife.

What happened next is captured in a cell phone video. The network
wants me to warn you that this is graphic video.



POLICE OFFICER 1: Drop the knife.

PETERS: Are you sure.


PETERS: Yo, sure.

POLICE OFFICER 2: Drop the knife.

POLICE OFFICER 3: One more time, mother (bleep).

POLICE OFFICER 1: Drop the knife.

POLICE OFFICER 3: Drop the knife.

UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER 2: Drop the knife. Stay away, stay away.
No. Drop the knife.

POLICE OFFICER 1: Move the knife.

PETERS: Are you going to shoot me?


POLICE OFFICER 2: If you don`t drop the knife, I will.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking in different language)

POLICE OFFICER 3: Drop your knife and stay right there. Move the
knife. Throw it.

PETERS: Just throw it?



POLICE OFFICER 1: Step away. Hands up. Hands up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whoa, whoa, whoa.


Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.

POLICE OFFICER 2: Drop the knife. Drop the (bleep) knife.


(Bleep) Don`t (bleep) move. Don`t move. Don`t move.


O`DONNELL: Calvin Peters, the man with the knife, later died from
that single shot to his torso. Calvin Peters` family says that he suffered
from emotional and psychological problems, and he was not taking his


The rabbinical student, Levi Rosenblat, is in serious but stable
condition at a local hospital.

opportunity to review the several tapes that we have, and briefings by
Internal Affairs and chief. Of course, I am very comfortable that this
incident this morning
, this tragic event that the three officers involved behaved in an
admirable way.

They are to be commended, particularly two of the three officers who
were most at risk during the incident.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Eugene O`Donnell, a former New York City
police officer and a former New York City prosecutor. He`s currently a
professor of Law and Police Study at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Eugene, when you look at that video from a cop`s perspective, a
prosecutor`s perspective, what do you see.

EUGENE O`DONNELL, FORMER NYPD OFFICER: I see preservation of human
life at the top, and officers taking every step they possibly can to avoid
the ending here.


And, literally, they did everything I think you could conceivably do
in a very serious situation. This is somebody who had stabbed somebody,
had a large weapon, was close to civilians.

But this is really a textbook example of extraordinary police

O`DONNELL: Yes. He`s already wildly stabbed someone in the head, so
you know he`s capable of anything. They ordered him to put down the knife,
which he does.

They -- the officer, you see him put the gun away. He is done now.
He doesn`t see a deadly threat now that the knife is down, moves toward

Once he starts moving back and grabs that knife, then the gun comes
out again. The other thing that I think is crucial about this video, when
we compare it to, say, Ferguson, he fires one shot and stops.

He assesses -- the officer assesses what has happened now after this
one shot.

EUGENE O`DONNELL: Yes, the shot is obviously fired with the greatest
reluctance. It is worth noting, and you would know this because you`ve
studied the topic, the unpredictability of this does bear worth noting.

Because you would think that this -- that was over. And for anybody
who`s ever pointed a gun at somebody as a police officer, and I have, and
fortunately, never had to fire, there`s almost a surreal feeling to this.

It almost feels, at times, that the guy is play acting.


EUGENE O`DONNELL: You can almost feel a load into feeling this is not
serious. But in the blink of an eye, it can be deadly serious.

O`DONNELL: It is. It`s a great example of "It`s not over until the
handcuffs are on."


O`DONNELL: That`s a perfect example of that. And the mayor, --


-- we saw standing there with police commissioner, Mayor de Blasio,
also agrees with the police commissioner that this video is clear and
convincing evidence of a perfectly fair, reasonable police use of deadly

The other -- you know, another part of it, I think, is instructive as
in so many of these cases, the number of shots fired was the number of
shots in the police weapon. That`s the case in Ferguson, 12.

And how many shots did he fire, 12. How many rounds did he have, 12.


O`DONNELL: Meaning, there wasn`t a decision made about each one of
those shots, and there should be.

EUGENE O`DONNELL: Yes. And there`s totally legitimate criticisms
that go around for this department and other departments. But this
department, typically, is very good on restraining of deadly force.

It really is their signature. They shoot 45 shootings in a year.
Almost all are --

O`DONNELL: Yes, it should be -- I mean, people are going to criticize
this department as all departments should be criticized. This New York
City Police Department is the leader in reforming police use of deadly

And they did it during a deadly time period when police work was much
more dangerous for police officers.

EUGENE O`DONNELL: The cops are doing everything they can, be assured.
I believe, on any given day, not to have these events. And each week, we
have a shooting avoided because the cops use restraint.

O`DONNELL: And mistakes will still happen.


O`DONNELL: Eugene O`Donnell, thank you very much --


O`DONNELL: -- for joining us tonight.

Coming up, the single-minded focus of the senator who spent a third of
his Senate career, trying to find out the truth about CIA torture.

And, later, Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist who helped create the
Affordable Care Act, had to apologize today to a House committee for what
he said about the Affordable Care Act.


Two years after I started the K.I.N.D. Fund, Kids in Need of Desks, a
partnership that we have with UNICEF, where we desks made in Africa for
African schools -- it is a jobs program, first of all, for the workers.

Now, we make these jobs, and then it provides desks in schools that
have never had desks. After a couple of years of that, we added to it a
program for tuition for girls to attend high school.

High school is not free in Malawi. There are some school fees
involved. Most families can`t afford it.

And most families will use whatever school fees they have for their
sons instead of their daughters. And so, girls need extra help.

Very important news about the girls` scholarship fund in the K.I.N.D.
Fund. We have just crossed --


-- the million-dollar mark. We have now raised $1,039,161 for the
girls` scholarship part of the K.I.N.D. Fund. The total amount we`ve
raised so far is $7,879,239.

Thank you very much for that. The girls thank you for that. We`ll be
right back.



History was made on the Senate floor today. The United States Senate
took a stand against torture. Republicans joined Democrats in condemning
the torture program that was run by the CIA.

Not one senator rose to defend torture. The biggest dispute on the
Senate floor was about releasing this information today.

Republican Saxby Chambliss made the point that today is a bad day to
release information like this because of all of the threats it might pose
to the United States around the world.

That point was answered by Republican Lindsey Graham who supports
releasing the report.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: There is no good time to do
things like this.


O`DONNELL: Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chair of the Intelligence
Committee, concluded her presentation by giving credit where credit is due,
beginning with the man who started what eventually became Senator
Feinstein`s investigation.


Senator Jay Rockefeller. He started this project by directing his staff to
review the operational cables that describe the first recorded
interrogations, after we learned that the videotapes of those sessions have
been destroyed.

And that report was what led to this multi-year investigation. And,
without it, we wouldn`t have really had any sense of what had happened.


O`DONNELL: Without Jay Rockefeller, we would have learned nothing
about the CIA today. John D. Rockefeller the IV`s great-grandfather was
America`s richest man.

His grandfather built Rockefeller Center, including the building I`m
sitting in now. Jay Rockefeller was born with enough money to live a life
of leisure among the idle rich.

But I doubt Jay Rockefeller has had an idle moment since childhood.
He was a hardworking Harvard student who then studied in Japan for three

And in 1964, became a VISTA volunteer, Volunteers in Service to
America. He chose to do his service in Emmons, West Virginia.


SEN. JAY ROCKEFELLER IV (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Emmons is where I came to
understand that out of our everyday struggles, we can enlarge ourselves.
We can grow greater.

Truly making a difference couldn`t be an afterthought. It never
could. Rather, it requires a singular focus and relentless effort.

It would be hard but the work would matter. That`s the deal here.


O`DONNELL: That`s the deal here -- singular focus and relentless
effort. Jay Rockefeller made West Virginia is home, eventually serving two
terms as governor, and 30 years in the Senate representing West Virginia.

I got to know Jay Rockefeller as one of the senior members of the
Senate Finance Committee when I became the staff director of that committee
in 1993.

One way that Senate staff judge senators is how that senator`s staff
feels about the senator. Some staffs fear their senator, some grudgingly
respect their senator, some like their senator.

Jay Rockefeller`s staff loves their senator. And you could easily see
why. He`s a big man, well over six feet, who`s always gentle, soft-spoken,
considerate, and ready to laugh.

He once told Senator Moynihan and I a story about a problem his
beloved mother -- and, oh, he --


-- loved his mother -- a problem his mother caused him in the early
days of his political career in West Virginia.

There was labor strike in New York City which, normally, would have no
effect on a West Virginia politician. But the workplace on the verge of a
shutdown was the Metropolitan Opera, and Jay Rockefeller`s mother was on
the board of the Met.

As Jay told it, when his mother was cornered by a reporter, she said,
"The musicians were behaving like a bunch of coal miners."


Senator Rockefeller`s laugh about the political trouble his mother got
him in was as loud as ours. He got the joke. He got the joke about being
a Rockefeller.

And he got that a Rockefeller was going to have to work harder than
any other politician to win the votes of West Virginia coal miners. And he
was willing to do that.


Senator Rockefeller brought that singular focus and relentless effort
he learned in West Virginia to his work in Washington. In every hearing,
senators have briefing books that explain to them in detail the subjects
covered in that hearing.

Jay Rockefeller did his homework like no other senator. I mean,
literally, like no other senator.


We, staff, sitting beside him -- behind him in the hearing room, all
noticed that as he pored over his briefing pages with a highlighter, he
ended up highlighting every single line on every page.

He couldn`t find a word about a subject that he cared about that he
didn`t think was important. Most public scorecards used for senators are

Bills passed in their name but that doesn`t tell you very much because
the credit for passing legislation is usually far too complex to assign to
any individual.

Jay Rockefeller didn`t run for Senate thinking, "I want to get there
so that I can someday investigate the CIA." That was a role that history
presented to Senator Rockefeller and that he accepted. And, for 10 years,


-- became the subject of his singular focus and relentless effort.
One-third of his Senate career was devoted to the work that was presented
to the Senate today.

One-third of Jay Rockefeller`s Senate career was dedicated to doing
something that possibly no other government on earth would do -- dig into
an important secret activity that the government got very wrong, and tell
the world about it, and leave that government in a position where it will
not be able to make that same mistake again.

If that was the only thing that Jay Rockefeller did in his lifetime,
it would be a great accomplishment. Senator Rockefeller did much more on
many other subjects, including healthcare, where he was always a Senate


Senators do not do their work alone. There is no senator who will
tell you that he or she works harder than their staff. 6.3 million pages
of documents were reviewed not by senators but by the Intelligence
Committee staff to produce the report that was revealed in the Senate

6.3 million pages is the equivalent of about 20,000 books. It is more
than I will read in my lifetime.

That material was studied by a staff of only 20. If the work was
evenly distributed, that would be the equivalent of having to read about a
thousand books each.

But this kind of work is never evenly distributed. Some carry a much
heavier load than others.

The work presented to the Senate today, and to the world, is one of
the most momentous staff accomplishments in the history of the United
States Senate. And they did this with no less a power than the CIA trying
to stand in their way, even improperly and possibly illegally searching
Senate staff computers, much to Senator Feinstein`s outrage.

Government workers like this don`t punch a time clock. They come in
early and they stay as late as they have to, and they work weekends, and
they miss some of their kids` soccer games. And they don`t expect credit
for what they do.

Senate staff are thanked for their work publicly, more often than you
realize, because whenever a senator gets to that point in the speech where
he or she thanks the staff, the TV cameras usually find something more
important to cover.

Senator Feinstein gave the staff the thanks that they more than
deserved today.


FEINSTEIN: Most importantly, I want to thank the Intelligence
Committee staff who performed this work. They are Dan Jones, who has led
this review since 2007.

And more than anyone else, today is a result of his effort. Evan
Gottesman and Chad Turner, two other members of the study staff. Each
wrote thousands of pages of the full report and have dedicated themselves
and much of their lives to this project.

Alissa Starzak, who began this review as co-head, and contributed
extensively until her departure from the committee in 2011. Other key
contributors to the drafting, editing and review of the report were
Jennifer Barrett, Nick Basciano, Mike Buckwald, Jim Catella, Eric Chapman,
John Dickas, Lorenzo Goco, Andrew Grotto, Tressa Guenov, Clete Johnson,
Michael Noblet, Michael Pezner, Tommy Ross, Caroline Tess and James Wolf.

And, finally, David Grannis, who has been a never-faltering staff
director throughout this review.

O`DONNELL: Senator Feinstein said today, "This study is bigger than
the actions of the CIA. It`s really about American values and morals.
It`s about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, our rule of law."


And it`s about the singular focus and relentless effort of Jay
Rockefeller, Dianne Feinstein, and the Senate Intelligence Committee Staff.

Senator Rockefeller is in his final days as a United States senator.
He will be missed.



Kennedy Center Honors, where they honored Tom Hanks, famously, Forrest
Gump. The ultimate in successful stupid man. Are you stupid.

JONATHAN GRUBER, ECONOMIST: I don`t think so, no.

ISSA: Does MIT employ stupid people.

GRUBER: Not to my knowledge.



GRUBE: This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did
not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the
bill dies.

Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And, basically,
you know, call it the stupidity of American voter or whatever but,
basically, that was really, really critical to get this thing to pass.


O`DONNELL: That video was discovered recently. And, today, at a
House Oversight Committee hearing chaired by Darrell Issa, Professor
Jonathan Gruber said this --


GRUBER: I sincerely apologize for conjecturing with a tone of
expertise, and for doing so in such a disparaging fashion. It`s never
appropriate to make oneself seem more important or smarter by demeaning

I knew better. I know better. I`m embarrassed and I`m sorry.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is "Huffington Post" healthcare reporter,
Jeffrey Young. Jeffrey, Washington, the only place where you have to
apologize for telling the truth.


because, during the course of the hearing, what Professor Gruber was saying
is that, "Well, that stuff on those tapes that I didn`t know were out
there, that`s not really what I meant."

"What I really meant is what I`m saying right now." And to the
committee members here and, I think I can say, having watched the whole
thing -- this is true for the Democrats as well as the Republicans -- we`re
really buying it.

O`DONNELL: Well, yes. I mean, look, it was -- these kinds of things
are written in a tortured way because they tend to start with a budget
number that it must fit into.

And, therefore, the policy gets contorted to fit that budget number.
In this case, they wanted to get pass certain kind of semantics, like if
you call this thing a tax then, politically, some people can`t vote for it.

And actually calling the mandate a tax was one of the ways that it
passed the Supreme Court.

YOUNG: Well, just take that example right there. It`s also kind of
funny. I mean, whether you call it a tax or whether you call it a penalty
or whether you call it a fee, it does the exact same thing, and it costs
the exact same amount of money.

So, it really is just a semantics game. I can understand why that
kind of stuff grosses people out, you know. This is why, to use a really
horrid cliche, and they talk about, you know, legislating sausage-making.

I think part of what happened with the Affordable Care Act is that it
dragged on for so long and it hit so many twists and turns that we saw the
sausage-making, in many ways, more up close and in greater detail than we
do with other laws that are made, and I think in a way that`s part of what
people got upset about, that gives these comments from Gruber such

O`DONNELL: Sorry, we`re out of time. I for one prefer the Gruber
when he thinks he`s off camera than the one who`s on camera. Thank you
very much for joining us tonight.

Chris Hayes is up next.


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