The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/01/09
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thank you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
We will have former Senator Bob Graham of Florida here with us this hour to discuss former Vice President Cheney‘s most recent remarkable speech. And as Keith mentioned, we will also talk with Frank Schaeffer, who Keith just quoted in his final segment.
We begin tonight with another deadly act of domestic terrorism. The first time a doctor was murdered by the modern anti-abortion terrorist movement in America was March 1993. Anti-abortion demonstrators were protesting at a clinic in Pensacola, Florida. As Dr. David Gunn arrived at a clinic, a young man named Michael Griffin shot Dr. Gunn several times in the chest with a snub-nose .38 revolver.
Michael Griffin, the killer, became a cause celebre among anti-abortion extremists. He was associated with the group called Rescue America, which said after Griffin killed Dr. Gunn that while they did not condone the killing, they didn‘t condemn it either.
Five months after Dr. David Gunn was killed, another doctor, George Tiller—yes, the same Dr. Tiller from today‘s headlines—was shot by a woman named Shelly Shannon. Shannon had written letters of support for Michael Griffin, who killed Dr. David Gunn. She called him a hero.
In 1992 and 1993, Shelly Shannon set fires and used acid to attack at least 10 abortion clinics in Oregon, California, Idaho and Nevada. In 1993, she went to Wichita, Kansas, and used a semiautomatic pistol to shoot Dr. George Tiller in each of his arms outside the clinic at which he worked.
While she was in prison, Ms. Shannon signed on to a pledge of support for Paul Hill, the murder of yet another American doctor. In June 1994, Paul Hill shot to death Dr. George Britton and a 74-year-old clinic escort named James Barrett, and he seriously wounded Mr. Barrett‘s wife.
Six months later, a man named John Salvi walked into two clinics in Brookline, Massachusetts, and killed two receptionists and wounded five other people. In January 1998, yet another murder—security guard Robert Sanderson was killed and a nurse named Emily Lyons was critically injured by a nail bomb that exploded at an Alabama abortion clinic at which they worked. That bomb was planted by a man named Eric Rudolph.
Eric Rudolph had also bombed another abortion clinic and a gay bar in Atlanta the year before and he had famously bombed the Atlanta Olympics the year before that, killing Alice Hawthorne and wounding 111 other people. The Atlanta Olympics bombing was a terrorist act committed by an anti-abortion extremist.
In October 1998, another murder—in Amherst, New York, Dr. Barnett Slepian was standing inside his house when James Kopp shot and killed him with a sniper rifle. Kopp was a member of an anti-abortion extremist group that calls itself the Lambs of Christ.
And in yesterday, George Tiller was shot again. This time, it was inside his church in Wichita. He was killed instantly. A man named Scott Roeder is the suspect in custody in this case. He‘s known in extremist anti-abortion circles. He has had writings published in a newsletter called “Prayer and Action News,” which promotes the idea of killing people who provide abortion services as justifiable homicide.
Someone calling himself Scott Roeder had participated in anti-abortion discussion at a Web site of the group called Operation Rescue. The group‘s founder, Randal Terry, spoke at the National Press Club today and celebrated Dr. George Tiller‘s death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDALL TERRY, FOUNDER, OPERATION RESCUE: I stand before you today saying about George Tiller what I said in his life. He was a mass murderer. George Tiller was a mass murderer. He killed tens of thousands of innocent human beings at his own hand. George Tiller was a murderer and he was doing something that was literally demonic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Another anti-abortion extremist group, Operation Save America, also put out a statement celebrating George Tiller‘s murder today, saying, quote, “He is now vowing before Jesus and confessing that Jesus is right and that he, George Tiller, was wrong.”
If you go to the Web site of the Army of God, you will find hagiographic websites for anti-abortion terrorist movement heroes, like Paul Hill and Eric Rudolph and Shelly Shannon. You can actually scroll through pages and pages of mug shots and descriptions of bombings and shootings and murders and attempted murders—all praising the perpetrators, and even suggesting ways to get away with the same types of crimes that these people committed but you could do it without getting caught.
On their front page today—there‘s Dr. George Tiller, just murdered, under the caption, “The lives of innocent babies scheduled to be murdered by George Tiller are spared by the action of American hero, Scott Roeder.”
There‘s an anti-abortion terrorist movement in the United States that operates relatively openly. They advocate and their members commit acts of violence, including murder, against Americans who are not breaking the law, who are engaged in protected legal activity on American soil.
These acts of violence are politically motivated. They are designed to change American policies and to terrorize Americans. They have succeed in making providing abortion services to American women so dangerous, so intimidating that there are only a handful of doctors in the entire country who provide late-term abortions—as Dr. Tiller did—abortions late in pregnancy.
In other words, this terrorism is working. Violence as a political
strategy is working to make abortions so unsafe for doctors that they are
unwilling to bear the risk of performing it so women can‘t actually get one
regardless of whether or not it‘s legal. It‘s the same outcome as if abortion had been outlawed. They‘re winning.
What‘s the strategy to stop them?
Joining us now is Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University.
Professor Turley, thanks for joining us tonight.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR: Hi, Rachel.
MADDOW: I‘m making these observations politically just as a citizen, but I wanted to ask you tonight if it‘s legally appropriate, legally useful, to approach this problem as terrorism?
TURLEY: Well, in some cases, it is. You know, some of these past cases have elements of terrorism. Rudolph is a good example of that—although, you know, he was not just anti-abortion, he was anti-homosexual. He was sort of at war with the world. And that makes this definition a little more difficult.
Some of us, particularly on the civil libertarian side, are uncomfortable with using the terrorism label because, you know, the Bush administration expanded this definition to the breaking point. I testified not long ago in Congress of how the Bush administration would classify what were rudimentary criminal cases as terrorism cases and use these laws against them.
The problem we have, as you know, is to deal with lone actors like this. I don‘t believe that the man who killed Dr. Tiller was a classic terrorist. I think that he was a murderer. He assassinated him.
But I don‘t see the elements of an organized terrorist plot. And in many ways, he‘s the most dangerous thing that we face.
I think the Clinton administration got this right when they really saw the danger as the McVeigh type—this lone actor who goes out there, who may be fueled by rhetoric, but who‘s acting alone. In this case, it looks like he targeted this very doctor who had been demonized by many.
MADDOW: To the extent that there is a movement that this man saw himself as part of, and I spent a lot of time in very dark corners of the Web today looking at the websites and publications .
MADDOW: . of the organizations that identify themselves as part of this movement. Famously in the 1990s, there was a statement put out in support of one of the people who was found guilty of killing an abortion provider, saying, “We, the undersigned, believe these actions to be justifiable” and encourage others to do them because—in order to save the unborn.
To the extent that there is something beyond the loner, the lone
murderer here, to the extent that there is a rhetorical association, there
are organizations that support this sort of thing, does it give law
enforcement any additional tools to consider them while they prosecute this
crime? I‘m with you on the civil libertarian concerns about these things -
freedom of association, freedom of the press are to be protected, freedom of speech are to be protected at any cost—but are there law enforcement tools that would be useful in these cases to acknowledge those ties?
TURLEY: There are, Rachel. I mean, you have the FACE Act, which protects access to abortion clinics. There have been prosecutions under that. It was upheld by courts. And you also have standard prosecutions for intimidation. In fact, the FACE Act has intimidation as one of the elements.
So, there are ways to prosecute. The FBI‘s done a very, very good job, you know, for many years now at focusing on these domestic organizations. But as you‘ve already noticed or referenced, we have this difficult line to walk between free speech and preventive law enforcement. And it all—that line is often found on violent speech.
And the Supreme Court said in the Brandenburg case that violent speech is protected. In fact, I‘ve represented people accused of violent speech, including terroristic speech. And that is a very difficult line, because it is, in fact, protected, to say all abortion doctors should be killed. And what the Supreme Court said was that we have to look where that violent speech raises an imminent threat of violence, and then, you can prosecute that person.
But it‘s obviously a very difficult line to walk.
MADDOW: And it‘s an intelligence matter, oddly, as well. We think of intelligence in terms of where our—in terms of where the dividing lines are within our own government about the tools that are available to people who work for the U.S. government. That‘s an important distinction between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for example.
We collect intelligence on foreign bodies. In terms of what we do domestically to disrupt homegrown terrorist plots, to disrupt criminal enterprises, to break up organized crime in these efforts, there‘s—I mean, there‘s civil liberties concerns, there‘s also strategic concerns about how these things can be done legally on American soil.
TURLEY: Yes, but I would also caution though is that no matter what we do—we‘re probably never going to be able to stop the lone actor, the McVeigh, or the individual today, without becoming a totalitarian regime. I mean, lone actors are dangerous because they don‘t come up on the radar screen.
What we‘ve learned—ever since cases like Brandenburg—is speech isn‘t the problem. In fact, you want them to speak. You want the speech to be protected so they come up on the radar screen and you can watch them. And the FBI has a long history and a very effective history and a commendable history of following these dangerous groups.
But we can‘t do what we‘ve done in the past and say, “Because there was an attack, our system must not be working.” I think we have to accept that, unfortunately, we‘re not going to be able to protect against all attacks. And this guy represents the greatest vulnerability in the law and in terms of law enforcement.
The guy who‘s out there, you know, some dark corner, filled with hate, against the world, and he takes it upon himself to personify it into one person—we may not be able to stop that. And efforts to try to stop that, I think, are going to likely be fruitless.
But the reason I appreciate what you‘re saying is that you‘re very mindful that we walk this careful line .
TURLEY: . in protecting speech and looking for that speech that presents imminent threats.
MADDOW: And looking for the—yes, exactly, protecting our constitutional values, protecting the reason that it matters that we have an America, as opposed to any other country, but also taking these threats to security seriously. It‘s what we‘ve been talking about in all of these different contexts for eight years now.
Constitutional law professor, Jonathan Turley, thank you so much for your time tonight. It‘s really helpful.
TURLEY: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: In the context of an extremist anti-abortion movement that has seen the murder of seven abortion providers and clinic workers in a five-year period during the course of the ‘90s, that saw another doctor shot by a sniper in his own home in the late ‘90s, a movement that publicly, openly celebrates the people who have killed these doctors as heroes—what should we make of it when figures in the media denounce other doctors already targeted by these groups as Nazis, as killers, as people with blood on their hands?
We will talk about reckless incitement and the shrinking distance between extremist media and real-world violence—next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Back in April, the Department of Homeland Security was lambasted by conservatives for publishing a report on the potential for violence from right-wing extremist groups. It was the Bush administration that had actually commissioned the report and they had done one on the potential for violence from left-wing groups, too, but that did not stop conservatives from getting very, very angry about that report.
At least three Republican members of Congress, Michele Bachmann, John Carter, and Michael Burgess said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano should resign for having issued that report. Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said that report meant that Napolitano had an awful lot of explaining to do.
That report actually warned for the potential for violent behavior from far right-wing groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion. DHS got even more specific in March, warning about, quote, “antiabortion extremism” groups and “sovereign citizen movement” such as a group called the “Freemen.”
We know now the man who is the chief suspect in the killing of Dr. George Tiller was reportedly associated both, with extremist anti-abortion groups and with the sovereign citizen movement known as the Freemen.
Still think Janet Napolitano ought to resign for that outrageous warning about guys like Scott Roeder?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, FOX NEWS HOST: Tiller the baby killer out in Kansas, acquitted—acquitted today of murdering babies. I wanted George Tiller, Tiller the baby killer, going—hey, I can‘t make more money killing babies now. Tiller the baby killer. As “The Factor” has been reporting, this man will terminate fetuses at anytime for $5,000.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you think about Dr. George Tiller?
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: I don‘t think anything about Dr. George Tiller.
O‘REILLY: She doesn‘t seem to be real upset about this guy operating a death mill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Death mill. That was FOX News host, Bill O‘Reilly then.
During the life of George Tiller, for four years, he repeatedly accused Dr. Tiller of murder, of infanticide. He publicly compared him to everything, from Nazis, to pedophiles, to al Qaeda. He described him as having blood on his hands.
Now that Dr. Tiller has been murdered inside his own church, here is Mr. O‘Reilly tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: Anarchy and vigilantism will ensure the collapse of any society. Once the rule of law breaks down, a country is finished. Thus, clear-thinking Americans should condemn the murder of late-term abortionist, Tiller. Even though the man terminated thousands of pregnancies, what he did is within Kansas law.
The 67-year-old Tiller had performed abortions for more than 35 years. “The Washington Times” estimates he destroyed about 60,000 fetuses. Very few American doctors will perform the operation. None of that seemed to matter to Tiller, nicknamed “the baby killer” by pro-life groups, who stated he was helping women—Tiller stated that.
I report honesty. Every single thing we said about Tiller was true. My analysis was based on those facts. It is clear that the far left is exploiting—exploiting, the death of the doctor. Those vicious individuals want to stifle any criticism of people like Tiller. That and hating FOX News is the real agenda here.
Finally if these people were so compassionate, so very compassionate, so concerned for the rights and welfare of others, maybe they might have written something, one thing, about the 60,000 fetuses who will never become American citizens.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Do you think he‘s sorry that Dr. Tiller is dead?
Mr. O‘Reilly went on to claim he never tried to incite anything, he was just reporting.
Joining us now is Frank Schaeffer, who grew up in the religious far right, who made a documentary anti-abortion film series in the 1970s, and whose latest book is titled, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elects, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All or Almost All of It Back.”
Mr. Schaeffer, thank you very much for your time tonight.
FRANK SCHAEFFER, AUTHOR, “CRAZY FOR GOD”: Thank you for having me on, Rachel.
MADDOW: Today, writing at “Huffington Post,” you apologized, as a former member of the religious right, for what happened to Dr. Tiller. Why did you feel the need to apologize?
SCHAEFFER: Well, words have consequences.
And what we did in the ‘70s and ‘80s, my father, Dr. Francis Schaeffer, Dr. C. Everett Koop, who became Reagan surgeon general, members of the Republican Party who worked with us to make abortion part of the Republican agenda, the Roman Catholic allies that we had in the church, various people—we talked and our talk got more and more extreme, and less and less democratic. Until, finally, my dad actually went so far as to write a book called “A Christian Manifesto,” where he said the use of force to change Roe v. Wade and roll back the law legalizing abortion would be legitimate and he compared Roe and the American government to Hitler‘s Germany in the 1930s.
And when you look at what happened to Dr. Tiller, there‘s a direct line connecting the rhetoric that I was part of as a young man and this murder. And so, people, like me, are responsible for what we said and what we did and the way we raised the temperature on this debate out of all bounds. And so, when O‘Reilly talks about the fact that these people of the far left are against FOX or against him or trying to muzzle the debate, he‘s telling a lie.
I am not a member of the far right—until I voted for Barack Obama in the last election, I am lifelong Republican. I am still pro-life. I also believe abortion should be legal, but I agree with Barack Obama when he says we ought to find ways to help women, help children, give contraceptives, sex education, to lessen the number of abortions. I think abortion is a tragedy.
But I also think that pretending that you can call abortion murder and Tiller the baby killer, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera—and that these worlds don‘ words don‘t have an impact, is crazy.
So, this is what helps unhinge a society, talking like this. And I
was part of that, and that‘s why I apologize—and I would apologize again
I am sorry for what I did.
And I think that people who say extreme things should stand up and take the consequences and admit when they were wrong. And in this case, we were wrong. We were wrong more really. We were wrong politically.
And as a believing Christian, I was wrong in terms of someone who says he follows Jesus Christ.
MADDOW: There are a lot of people in this country, obviously, who are part of the pro-life movement, the legal pro-life movement, and who hold pro-life views and who seek to change the laws of this country about abortion. There‘s obviously what I consider to be a terrorist movement who believes not that the laws should be changed but that the laws should—but that people who are legally engaged in providing abortion services are legitimately targets of violence that they should be intimidated, harassed and in some cases killed.
Those two movements are not the same thing. And it‘s important to me as an American that people who are pro-life feel that they can safely articulate those views and that they are not being attacked for what extremists have done.
MADDOW: But I also don‘t want to excuse anybody who incites violence, or who, I guess, makes excuses for the violent wing of this movement, that has two very different wings. How do you see the connection there?
SCHAEFFER: Well, you know, the book you mentioned earlier, “Crazy for God,” has a number of chapters talking about the way we took the movement from its early stages when it was more a moral concern, not so much about politics and not so much about changing the law, and radicalized that movement. I follow the step by step process. Secret meetings with Pat Robertson down at the 700 Club, Jerry Falwell sending his jet up to me to bring me down to his church to speak a couple of times.
And what we did is we talked one game to the large public and we talked another game amongst ourselves. And amongst ourselves, we were very radical. And I don‘t think it takes much imagination to guess that, tonight, there are people who are publicly saying, “This is terrible, we never advocated killing, abortion is murder, but we didn‘t mean people to take us this seriously.” But in private, you know, if these folks popped champion bottles, they would be drinking a toast to this murder tonight.
I know that this is the case because of the fact that I was part of the movement, but also understood very well what we were doing back then was to attack the political issue when we talked to people like Ronald Reagan and the Bush family and Jack Kemp—the late Jack Kemp that we were very close to in all this. But on a private side, we also were egging people on to first pick at abortion clinics, then chain themselves to fences, then go to jail.
We knew full well that in a country that had seen the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther king, two Kennedy brothers and others, that what we were also doing was opening a gate here. And I think there‘s no way to duck this. We live in a country in which guns are all over the place. We have plenty of people with a screw loose, plenty of people on the edge. It only takes one.
And what scare me is that I see the rhetoric of the Republican Party right now—including the former vice president—about our newly elected African-American president has the same sort of coded stuff in it. He‘s not a real American. He‘s making America less safe. He‘s a secret Muslim. Some Christians in the same groups that are pro-life groups are running around saying he‘s the anti-Christ.
They also know full well that we have people out there who will take it to the next step and say, “Well, gee, if he‘s the anti-Christ, if he‘s anti-American, if he‘s a communist, maybe the best thing we can do is pull another trigger some other day.”
We live in a country where people get killed for their views sometimes. We‘re a very divided nation coming out of this culture war.
It is irresponsible for people to make these wild statements—like Bill O‘Reilly does—and then step back after it happens and say, “Oh, I never meant that.” Yes, they did mean it. They meant exactly what they said.
And when you start calling people those sorts of names—the way I did back in the ‘70s and the early ‘80s—for which I am apologizing today, not just because of this but other incidents like this, if people don‘t stand up and actually take back these words, take back these angry word, they are still culpable for the next event that happens. And we need to be able to just call it what it is.
MADDOW: Frank Schaeffer is author of the book, “Crazy for God: How I Grew Up as One of the Elects, Helped Found the Religious Right, and Lived to Take All or Almost All of It Back”—Mr. Schaeffer, it‘s just bracing testimony from you tonight. Thanks for—thanks for being here on the show.
SCHAEFFER: Thanks for having me on.
MADDOW: Abortion is still legal in this country. But how much does that matter if it‘s legal, if it‘s impossible to actually get one? How the far right is extinguishing women‘s right to get an abortion by picking off doctors one-by-one, and by intimidating and regulating legal abortion into extinction. That is coming up.
And the answer to the burning question: Can Dick Cheney defend torture all day long? The answer is apparently yes. You will not believe what he said today.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: President Obama took his wife to dinner and the theater on Saturday night. They went right past where I was walking my dog. It was so cool. There were spontaneous ovations on the street of New York City. And there was spontaneous fury on the right wing. Presidential date night correspondent Kent Jones will have the report for us in just a few minutes.
And former Sen. Bob Graham is here to talk about yet another day of Dick Cheney in the news. That is all coming up.
But first, it‘s time for a couple of holy mackerel stories in today‘s news. Kim Jong-Il has reportedly named his successor. The next dear leader will apparently be his youngest son, 26-year-old Jong-un. If you‘re thinking that guy doesn‘t look like he‘s 26, well, that‘s because Jong-un has been seen so infrequently, the only photo we can find of him is this one from 15 years ago when he was 11.
Two South Korean newspapers are reporting that right after North Korea‘s May 25th nuclear test, the regime sent word of this succession to its diplomatic missions, essentially demanding that their ambassadors around the world pledge allegiance to young Jong-un. North Korea has yet to confirm the news.
At the same time, this is the week that two American journalists will be going on trial in North Korea. Euna Lee and Laura Ling were taken captive on March 17th along the North Korea-China border. They were there working for Current TV, which is the media outlet owned by Al Gore.
Reporting on this story has been difficult over the last few months, not just because North Korea is a totally closed society that hasn‘t issued very many statements about it, but also because the interested parties, the journalists‘ families and the American government have been holding their tongues. They‘ve been keeping quiet in public while presumably diplomacy and negotiations go on behind the scenes.
As of today, that dynamic has changed a little bit. The TBS television network in Japan is reporting that Al Gore may travel to North Korea to lobby for the journalists‘ release, though we should caution that Gore‘s office has not confirmed that report.
And the families of both Laura Ling and Euna Lee are breaking their silence. They appeared on the “Today” show this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LISA LING, LAURA LING‘S SISTER: We‘re terrified and that‘s why we are here. Because we hope that both governments will be able to separate them and come to a resolution on humanitarian grounds on our issue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Euna Lee and Laura Ling will be going on trial in North Korea on Thursday. Nobody exactly knows what “trial” means in this Stalinist, isolated, backward country. The two young women will be facing up to 15 years of hard labor if they are convicted. We will have much more to come on this story over the course of the week.
MADDOW: Welcome to month six of the Dick Cheney selective memory media tour. The former vice president has not let up at all. He is still making media and public appearances anywhere that will have him, except for this show.
And today, during an afternoon visit to the National Press Club in Washington, he hit some of his favorite notes again, calling for the release of those magical, still classified CIA memos he insists prove that torture works and that therefore we should be doing it more.
Mr. Cheney also admitted that he and the Bush administration were wrong about Saddam Hussein having a role in the 9/11 attacks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DICK CHENEY, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT: I do not believe and I‘ve never seen any evidence to confirm that he was involved in 9/11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Really? Just like that, huh? After all those years of talking about the evidence that he connected to 9/11? After all those years of suggesting that Saddam helped al-Qaeda attack this country? It just didn‘t happen that way. Now, he tells us.
But who could have been to blame for that colossally false impression? How could we have been under that false impression? Apparently, the butler did it - George Tenet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: The prime source of information on the relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda was George Tenet, who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. That‘s not something I made up. That‘s not something I thought of. That‘s what the director of central intelligence was telling us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So that‘s why George Tenet got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On the subject of Guantanamo, Mr. Cheney revealed a new novel approach to immigration law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: If we had not had Guantanamo, we would have had to take captured terrorists, people we picked up on the battlefield trying to kill Americans, and bring them to the United States. And you would have been faced with the possibility that if a judge had ruled that we had to release them, we would have had no choice but to release them inside the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If we hadn‘t set up an off-shore prison in Cuba, we would have had to bring people from the battlefield to the United States and release them on American streets? That‘s not the only reason, though, that Mr. Cheney thinks keeping Guantanamo open is so important. Apparently, the only options for suspects captured by U.S. forces are Guantanamo now or death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHENEY: If you‘re going to be engaged in a world conflict such as we are in terms of global war on terrorism, you know, if you don‘t have a place where you can hold these people, you only other option is to kill them. And we don‘t operate that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Actually, I think there are three options. You could hold them illegally, you could hold them legally, or you could gin up some way to kill them. I will say as PR work, Mr. Cheney‘s argument is well made. It leaves out the “hold them legally” option and thereby makes Guantanamo sound like the better of two options.
Joining us now is former Florida Senator Bob Graham. He was chair of the Intelligence Committee between 2001 and 2003. Senator Graham, it is so nice to have you here. Thank you for being here.
FMR. SEN. BOB GRAHAM (D-FL), FORMER CHAIR, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:
Rachel, thank you very much for the invitation.
MADDOW: Part of the Bush administration‘s rationale for the Iraq war was alleging this connection between Saddam and al-Qaeda - long ago disproved. What do you make, having had this catbird seat and this incredibly important role in what happened between 2001, 2003? How do you feel about Dick Cheney saying now Saddam had no connection to 9/11, there was never any evidence of that?
GRAHAM: Well, I‘m glad he finally fessed up. I sometimes think the vice president is like some of those Japanese soldiers, years after the war was over, still living in a cave on a Pacific island thinking that they‘re fighting the war still.
I think the vice president needs to realize that that war is over, he lost. The American people in November decided we were going to go in a different direction. And I believe that Barack Obama is fulfilling the faith of the American people by the quality of people that he‘s putting in charge of our national security institution such as Sen. Clinton at state, keeping Bob Gates, Department of Defense, Gen. Jones at the National Security Council. And I‘m a big fan of Leon Panetta at the CIA.
MADDOW: On the issue of Vice President Cheney, his current credibility, his assessment and what seems, at times, to be sort of rewriting history about happened in the first term of the Bush administration - today, he said it was Richard Clarke‘s fault that 9/11 was not anticipated. He also said it was George Tenet‘s fault that the intelligence was wrong about going into Iraq. Any reaction to those claims?
GRAHAM: Well, first, I don‘t think it‘s acceptable that the leader of the country, or the number two person in the country, takes at face value what he said, that he has a responsibility to validate that this information is correct.
Let me tell you what we did in the Senate Intelligence Committee. We received a briefing from George Tenet that said there were precisely 550 sites in Iraq where weapons of mass destruction were being stored or produced. We had pictures from satellites and on the ground. We had street addresses of many of those.
When we asked George, “Where did you get all this information,” the answer was, from the exiles. Well, they had a little minor conflict of interest and the only way they were going to get back was in the fumes of a U.S. tank. So then we asked him, “Who has been on the scene validating what the exiles told us?” The answer was, zero, that we didn‘t have anybody in Iraq whose job it was to knock on doors and find out what was really on the other side in these 550 sites.
Now, you would think the vice president of the United States would have asked a few questions challenging the credibility of the information that he was getting, whether it was on weapons of mass destruction or this relationship of Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda.
MADDOW: Both the quality of the CIA‘s work, the quality of the intelligence community‘s work, generally speaking, and the use to which that information was put, are obviously still very hot issues, still very much being debated.
Recently, you have been in the news because your famously fastidious notes over what you do over the course of your work days, as you said you have here, were essentially called forth as evidence in the discussion about whether or not Nancy Pelosi was telling the truth about her recollections about the CIA‘s briefings.
GRAHAM: I couldn‘t comment on what Nancy saw because I was never in a briefing on the subject of enhanced interrogation with Nancy. What I could say is I was told that I was briefed on four separate occasions and there was significant detail as to what the briefing was supposed to have entailed and who was also at the briefing.
When I went back to my notes, I found that three of the four occasions, there was no briefing on any subject on that day. And the CIA has now concurred in that and no longer presses that matter, but it says something about the quality of just basic information management.
MADDOW: You‘ve written a new book called “America, The Owners Manual:
Making Government Work for You.” It‘s sort of a clarion call to make citizenship participatory. Do you feel like we‘re getting better at that or worst at that?
GRAHAM: We‘ve been getting much worse at it, Rachel. Since the 1970s, there has been a decline of every indicator of citizenship. Voting‘s been on the decline, participation in civic organization, people getting together with their neighbors to solve a problem. All of those have been going south.
Now, 2008, we had a little upward bump in voting. And we had a lot of people, for the first time, involved in a political campaign. That‘s encouraging. The question is, is it just an aberration, or is this a representation of a new trend in American citizenship?
MADDOW: Former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, of course, between 2001 and 2003. Obviously, still quite civically engaged yourself, encouraging all of us to do the same with the new book. Thank you for being here.
GRAHAM: Great. Thank you very much.
MADDOW: The new book is called “America, The Owner‘s Manual: Making Government Work for You.”
OK, the pattern of violence that includes the murder of Dr. George Tiller this weekend may have already achieved its intentions, making access to safe legal abortions performed by qualified individuals prohibitively difficult.
Coming up, I will talk with one of those professionals about how this terrorism campaign is working. It‘s actually working.
MADDOW: There are three states in this country that have precisely one abortion provider in the entire state - North Dakota, South Dakota and Mississippi. The great state of Missouri has two clinics. But in Missouri, women, by law, have to have an in-person talk with a health practitioner, which is similar to laws in 23 other states that require a waiting period, usually about 24 hours, before getting an abortion.
Those laws effectively require women to make two separate trips on two different days, taking two days off work to obtain this procedure. Idaho, Kentucky, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma - they all heavily restrict private insurance providers from covering abortion services.
Other states require that abortions be performed in hospitals, not in clinics. Some states ban abortions from being done in any facility that gets public funds. Some states say institutions that get public funds can‘t even recommend a clinic where the services could be provided or provide any abortion-related counseling.
The effect of all these restrictions is that in 87 percent of all U.S. counties, it is not possible to get a legal abortion. Why bother making it illegal if you can just make it impossible to get? How impossible?
Well, Dr. George tiller, who was shot dead in his church this weekend, was one of just three doctors in the nation who provided late abortions. Three in the entire country. Now, two.
As the number of abortion-related regulations increased and as those who do provide abortion services are threatened and demonized for doing so, as the cost of providing abortion services skyrockets through non-medically motivated regulations and security costs, and as fewer medical students are even trained to provide such services, the importance of the safe legal work of physicians like George Tiller becomes clearer.
As does the efficacy of domestic terrorism designed to intimidate abortion out of existence when they can‘t succeed in making it illegal.
Joining us now is a friend of the late Dr. Tiller and physician who used to log serious miles on a plane traveling to five different clinics in three different states to perform abortions in underserved areas, Dr. Susan Wicklund. She‘s also author of the book, “This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor.” Dr. Wicklund joins us from her clinic near Bozeman, Montana. Thank you very much for your time tonight.
DR. SUSAN WICKLUND, WOMEN‘S HEALTHCARE PROVIDER: Thank you for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: I have to ask, first, as a friend of George Tiller, for your reaction to his murder.
WICKLUND: Well, the time since he‘s been - since this happened yesterday has been filled for me with sadness and rage and outrage and then back to sadness again. It‘s been hard to work. It‘s been hard to function.
Today, many, many E-mails and calls from friends and from other colleagues trying to figure out what‘s going on where, when his service might be, when we can come and all grieve together. And then, I just sit in the corner and cry. It‘s been a real hard day.
MADDOW: Do you think that there aren‘t more doctors providing abortion services in the United States today because they are afraid that they will be killed, that they‘ll be afraid they will be targeted for harassment and violence?
WICKLUND: How could they not feel that or be afraid of that? Of course, that‘s a concern for anybody that‘s chosen to provide this very, very common procedure for women, the most common procedure we do in the United States when you look at minor surgeries.
There‘s so much intimidation, there‘s so much negative impact or negative words put in relationship to abortion, which is not from the women themselves. It‘s not from us. It‘s from another area altogether. And I know you‘ve talked about it earlier on your program, about the anti-abortion people and out the rhetoric they have used and how that has been so inflammatory.
And it scares many physicians and other people from - away from working in the clinics. It‘s unconscionable, what‘s happened.
MADDOW: I know that after years of doing so, you‘re no longer traveling to states to perform abortions. Is there still a need? Are restrictions on availability getting worse or getting better?
WICKLUND: Oh, it‘s getting worse. It‘s much harder now for a woman to find an abortion than it was 20 years ago when I started providing services. You listed a lot of the restrictions and they have had a huge impact on women and on the clinics themselves and have closed many clinics, unfortunately.
And the number of providers has dropped dramatically in the last 20 years. As you mentioned, we have a huge gap here in the Midwest. There‘s only a handful of us in Montana there providing abortions. And some of the clinics in Montana only do abortions, you know, twice a month which is not very good access.
And then, many women have to drive hundreds of miles. There is, as you mentioned, one clinic in all of North Dakota, one in all of South Dakota. They are on the eastern border of those two states. So, I am seeing patients from both North and South Dakota, from all of Wyoming, parts of Idaho, all of Montana.
The availability is very limited in many parts of the United States. And again, I think it really does have - or it is reflected from what‘s happened with the anti-abortion movement and all the negative impact that‘s put on it. We have to get women to start standing behind us as providers. We need the 45 million women who have had abortions in this country Roe versus Wade to stand beside us as providers and clinics now and come out of your homes, come out of your comfort zone and talk about it. Make everyone know how common this is.
MADDOW: Dr. Susan Wicklund, author of the book, “This Common Secret:
My Journey as an Abortion Doctor.” I‘m sorry for the loss of your friend and I thank you for taking time to join us tonight.
WICKLUND: Thank you very much.
MADDOW: Coming up on “COUNTDOWN,” Keith‘s special guest will be filmmaker Michael Moore to say goodbye to GM. Next on this show, my friend Kent Jones will be here.
MADDOW: We turn now to our date night in chief correspondent, Mr.
Kent Jones. Hi, Kent.
KENT JONES, POP CULTURIST: Barack and Michelle Obama had a big date night here in New York City on Saturday. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(voice-over): Here‘s what the Republicans are reduced to, slamming Obama for going on a date. The Republican National Committee issued this statement, “As President Obama prepares to wing into Manhattan‘s theater district on Air Force One to take in a Broadway show, GM is preparing to file bankruptcy and families across America continue to struggle to pay their bills. Have a great Saturday evening, even if you‘re not jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense.”
OK. First, never mind they didn‘t fly on the big Air Force One. They took a smaller gulf-stream jet. What exactly is wrong with taking your wife to dinner and a show? Shouldn‘t that score Obama some serious “family values husband” points or something?
And what‘s with that line about GM and families struggling to pay bills? Oh, yes, that‘s Obama‘s problem. He doesn‘t keep up. It all just washes over him. And as for jetting off somewhere at taxpayer expense, apparently, it was just fine all those times President Bush flew to Crawford because he was clearing brush, commuting with the land sometimes for six weeks at a stretch.
The RNC had to get in one last dig saying, “If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn‘t the presidential box at Kennedy Center in Washington good enough?”
Yes, I mean, why would anyone want to go to Broadway to see theater? I hear you can get really good sushi in North Dakota, too. You know what I think is the real reason the Republicans are so upset? Obama enjoys being married and he‘s not wearing a tie. The nerve of some people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Thank you, Kent. “COUNTDOWN” with Keith Olbermann starts right now.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon MSNBC and CQ Transcriptions, LLC‘s copyright or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.>
Transcription Copyright 2009 CQ Transcriptions, LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
No license is granted to the user of this material other than for research.
User may not reproduce or redistribute the material except for user‘s
personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed,
nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion
that may infringe upon MSNBC and CQ Transcriptions, LLC‘s copyright or
other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal
transcript for purposes of litigation.>