The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/01/11
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, “THE LAST WORD” HOST: Richard Engel, the
documentary is “Day of Destruction: Decade of War.” Part one of that
special is up next.
Richard, thank you very, very much for joining me tonight.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS: Thank you. And I hope people watch.
O`DONNELL: They are going to watch. Right now, you can have THE LAST
WORD online at our blog, thelastword.MSNBC.com, and you can follow my
Richard Engel and Rachel Maddow are next.
ANNOUNCER: And now an MSNBC special event.
Anchor Rachel Maddow, NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard
Engel draws from the frontlines of reporting from the war on terror.
Together, they examine what America has done for national security since
9/11, to itself and the world.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR (voice-over): The U.S. military`s largest
building project since the Pentagon in Fairfax County, Virginia, the
National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, taxpayer-owned. Our Department of
Homeland Security headquarters, a $3.4 billion refit of a former
Washington, D.C., mental hospital. Also, our National Counterterrorism
Center, our joint use intelligence analysis facility, our National
“The Washington Post” this year calculated that since 9/11, we have
built enough new American national security office space to fill 22 U.S.
capitals. And that`s just what is set aside for top secret intelligence
There`s also the military bases: closing them in Saudi Arabia, opening
them in Afghanistan and Iraq, expanding them all over central Asia. Of
course, there`s the prisons, too.
When the Pentagon was hit on September 11th, 2001, nearly 1/3 of the
usable office space in that, the largest office building in the world, was
damaged by the impact of the hijacked plane, and by the fire that burned
thereafter. The Pentagon was completely rebuilt, less than one year after
the 9/11 attack.
(on camera): In New York City, the reopening of what everyone still
calls Ground Zero will mark 10 years since the attack. Understanding how
we were changed by 9/11 takes some analysis and some understanding, but
some of it is just physical. Some of it you can just see.
Thinking about how we have changed since 9/11, it`s almost like the
more granular, the more specific, the more physical you get the more you
can understand what happened. We think about 9/11 having an address, as
being Lower Manhattan, as being the Pentagon, as being Shanksville,
Pennsylvania. But it`s really changed the world that we are in.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: It`s really very
physical. Some people think about the war on terrorism as a concept. I
have lived these places the last 10 years. There are new bases. There`s
new national security infrastructure that has been created.
And since 9/11, U.S. foreign policy, domestic policy to a degree, has
really been driven by fear.
MADDOW: Is it a disconnect between the understandable desire to
prevent another 9/11, to keep us safe from something like that ever
happening again? Is it a disconnect from that desire to be safe and what
would actually make us safe? Did we outfit national security in a way that
made us feel better but did not make us safer?
ENGEL: Al Qaeda has been decimated, and a lot of the leaders,
including bin Laden, are dead. But are we safer as a nation?
Look at the money being spent. And money being spent is real threat.
If you accumulate debt, debt is what brings down empires. Not necessarily
small cells of radicals.
We have gotten very good at killing militants in places like
Waziristan and finding their phone numbers and locating where they live and
eliminating them. We have gotten good at that. But are we safer as an
American nation in our position in the world?
MADDOW: Well, it`s a difference between safety and strength.
ENGEL: Well put.
MADDOW: If you can be provoked into reacting in a way that prevents
something like that from happening again, but that also causes you to spend
yourself into weakness, or to make yourself weak in other ways or to remove
the things about you that made you a desirable and proud place in the first
ENGEL: If you swing wildly at something and you have exhausted
yourself, did they get you to compromise on your national – your strategic
strength in order to react to them? Maybe you have.
And then look at what the impact has had on the real people fighting
this war – the military, for example. This has been a generation, a
generation has come that has been defined by the wars in Iraq, the wars in
Afghanistan. The men, the women, their families, these two wars have been
all consuming, deployment after deployment. And that also has a toll.
(voice-over): Since 9/11, more than 2 million American troops have
been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. On the upside, America`s armed
forces have probably never been more combat-ready and more experienced.
But these were not training exercises. The costs have been heavy.
Nearly 6,500 troops killed, almost 10 times that many wounded.
And were the thousands of patrols and gunfights necessary to keep
America safe? What did they really accomplish?
May 2010 in Argandah Valley in southern Afghanistan. It`s rich
farmland. It`s also a Taliban stronghold.
Charlie Company, second of the 508, lives on a tiny base called Combat
Outpost Nolan. The base is a walled adobe farmhouse. It`s home to about
150 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division. They patrol the fields, but
it`s so dangerous the soldiers climb over mud walls because the main trails
are seeded with IEDs.
SGT. LOUIS LOFTUS, U.S. ARMY: Make sure you get security to this
ENGEL: Sergeant Louis Loftus from Akron, Ohio, is often the point man
on patrol. He volunteers for the highly risky job. Because he`s up front,
if there`s an IED in the ground, he`ll most likely see it first. Or step
LOFTUS: I really don`t think about it. It`s just our job. You know,
to get done what needs to get done. I try not to think about, you know,
what`s going to happen if I step on an IED or something, you know, or
landmine or whatever. You know, you just don`t really think about it.
ENGEL: Loftus is a two-time combat veteran with a previous tour in
Afghanistan. He`s only 23.
LOFTUS: All right. Keep going.
ENGEL: And the young man is in love with a girl back home named
Deidre. Back on base, Loftus looks at her photographs, waiting for the day
they`ll get married.
But there are still many months to go before Loftus is home, and many
risks. One of his friends was just killed by an IED. The stress and pent-
up emotion come pouring out.
LOFTUS: Right now, I`m kind of numb to it, to be honest. I just
don`t really feel much. I pray for his family. I pray for his soul, you
know, that – yes. I try not to think about it, because when you think
about it, then I get like this. And it`s not – you know, I don`t – yes.
So, yes, you know, everyone deals with it in their own way. I try to
hide it. I try not to think about it because I have to stay 100 percent.
You know, I`ve got to keep a good sample for the other soldiers. I`m
ENGEL: The next day, Loftus and the other troops walk to a memorial
for the soldier killed by the IED, and pay their final respects. Then they
make a somber march back to base.
ENGEL: As soon as they enter the gate, the Taliban attack.
SOLDIER: Get me up there, get me up there!
ENGEL: The ambush is timed to catch the troops off guard. Soldiers
rush to the roof of the outpost and fire back.
ENGEL: From here, they have the best view – the best chance of
keeping the Taliban from storming the base. The Taliban fire an RPG at a
guard tower on the roof.
(on camera): This place is under heavy attack. Already one soldier
has been severely injured.
(voice-over): The injured soldier is down, out of the fight. But
other soldiers on the roof keep fighting, even though several of them are
also injured and dazed. Twenty Taliban fighters are so close the troops
have to launch small mortars nearly straight up, practically firing on top
of themselves. Ammunition is running low, and it`s worse than anyone first
As the battle rages, the soldiers find two more Americans both
Under fire, the soldiers load the injured men onto stretchers and
carry them off the roof.
With so many men hurt, Loftus moves in, he takes up a machine gun, and
lays down suppressive fire.
After 30 minutes, the fighting stops it. A medevac helicopter carries
away the wounded. The Americans have won the day.
But why? For nearly a decade, there have been fights like this one
repeated in Iraq`s Fallujah and Sadr City, and countless other towns the
soldiers had never heard of before they deployed. But they know them now,
and the battles stay with the troops.
Coming up –
LOFTUS: If you ask me right now if I could sign a dotted line and say
get everyone out of Afghanistan, I wouldn`t hesitate. I would say it`s not
worth one more soldier getting killed.
ENGEL: Reflecting on the cost of war while adjusting to life back
ENGEL (voice-over): In November 2010, Sergeant Louis Loftus is back
home in Akron, Ohio, after fighting in Afghanistan for a year. He is
moving in with the girl he loves, Deidre.
DEIDRE: It`s really dirty. It looks like it`s been worn.
ENGEL: Unpacking his gear for the last time, Loftus is getting out of
LOFTUS: What? Yes, every one? I don`t think these have been washed
since I was over there.
ENGEL: Loftus is settling into his new life.
LOFTUS: How are you? Good to see you.
ENGEL (on camera): It`s good to see you. It`s been a long time.
(voice-over): He calls his service the greatest accomplishment of his
LOFTUS: I loved being in Afghanistan. That probably sounds funny,
but, you know, it was such a good experience, and I fought for my country,
and I`m proud of what I did. I`m proud of the guys I fought with and the
people I met. And that is going to be part of me forever.
ENGEL: But Loftus has doubts about the mission. He was sent to
protect people in , but they wouldn`t cooperate.
LOFTUS: The average 45-year-old male in the Argandah River Valley
doesn`t want to talk to us, doesn`t want to look at us. Some of us feel
like it`s like we`re bait. We are just walking around until we get shot.
It`s like, really, what are we doing?
If you asked me right now if I could sign on a dotted line and get
everyone out of Afghanistan, I wouldn`t hesitate. I would say it`s not
worth one more soldier getting killed. If you asked me right this second,
sign this paper, we`ll bring them all home, I would do it without
hesitation, you know? But I also feel that what I did wasn`t a waste. I`m
just saying that maybe it`s time to get our guys home.
ENGEL: The White House says that Afghanistan is no longer an al Qaeda
sanctuary, and that it has a plan to stabilize the Afghan government and
bring the troops home.
But at least Afghanistan was linked to 9/11. The Taliban did host
Osama bin Laden. Invading Iraq, on the other hand, had nothing to do with
9/11 – despite claim after claim by the White House that it did.
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: The liberation of Iraq is a
crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We have removed an ally of
al Qaeda. And cut off a source of terrorist funding.
ENGEL: For some of those hunting bin Laden, like the CIA`s Hank
Crumpton, now retired, Iraq remains a head snap. Many at the CIA never
believed in the link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.
HANK CRUMPTON, FORMER CIA AGENT: The majority of the people in the
U.S. thought that Iraq had some responsibility for 9/11 which was not the
case at all. In fact, if you look at Saddam Hussein, he was a secular
despot. He was a tyrant. And he saw al Qaeda not as an ally but as a
ENGEL (on camera): Did you feel pressure to come up with intelligence
that fit this narrative that Iraq was somehow working with al Qaeda?
CRUMPTON: No. I do recall – this was in the spring of 2001, a query
that came from the White House, about the alliance between Saddam Hussein
and al Qaeda. And I remember at the time that that sounded so absurd. And
I remembered speaking with an analyst about it, and dismissing it out of
ENGEL: When this memo came down, saying give us some intelligence or
what do you know about this alliance between Saddam and al Qaeda, your
response was basically, what alliance?
ENGEL (voice-over): NBC terrorism analyst Mike Sheehan has served as
the State Department`s director of counterterrorism.
MIKE SHEEHAN, NBC TERRORISM ANALYST: I can think of a good dozen
reasons why Saddam Hussein should have been kicked out of Iraq. Dating
back to all of the atrocities he conducted in the region against his own
Nevertheless, in my view, as a terrorism expert, I did not feel there
was a justification in terms of counterterrorism to invade Iraq.
ENGEL: The United States sent 2 million troops to war, but in the
end, Osama bin Laden was killed by 23 American commandos acting on
intelligence provided by the CIA. And bin Laden was killed in Pakistan,
where troops were not sent in large numbers.
Nineteen men attacked America on 9/11. Twenty-three Americans killed
bin Laden. But in between, more than 6,000 troops would die and well over
$1 trillion spent.
CRUMPTON: We have basically doubled our defense budget in the last 10
years because 19 al Qaeda operatives with box cutters hijacked planes and
attacked our homeland. I think we could have been much more nuanced and
specific and precise in our defense response, whether it`s measures in
budget or in lives.
ENGEL (on camera): Doubled our defense budget because 19 people with
box cutters attacked us.
ENGEL: So this was a major overreaction in your estimation?
CRUMPTON: Yes. I think so, particularly if you look at Iraq.
ENGEL: When you add up everything that has happened, all the money
that was spent, all the lives that were lost, and the things that were
ignored, do you think the activities of the last 10 years have made the
U.S. safer, a lot safer, a little bit safer? Not safer at all?
CRUMPTON: I think our homeland is safer, because of our efforts
against al Qaeda in particular. But I think that overall as a nation, we
may be weaker. And that is because of a debt, in part because of money
that we have spent in Iraq and Afghanistan – money that I don`t think we
need to spend. Not to that degree.
SHEEHAN: Terrorism is an instrument of the weak. Terrorism is the
instrument of a weak group, al Qaeda. This is a very weak organization.
But it uses terror to try to attack our psyche. And if we overreact
to terrorism attacks, we empower them. We embolden them. We amplify their
power, and we fall into their strategy which is to create fear in our
ENGEL (voice-over): A strategy of turning America into a nation
driven and perhaps misguided by fear. The United States hasn`t been
attacked again since 9/11, but at a huge and some argued unnecessary cost.
In battles fought and lives lost.
Coming up – after almost a decade of combat, and billions of dollars
spent on national security, are we safer?
DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: There has not been another
attack on the United States. And that`s not an accident.
MADDOW: Nationally, the investment that we have made in war fighting
since 9/11, the investment that we have made in the intelligence apparatus
and the whole national security getting so much bigger than it was, that`s
money and investment that we made in that direction that we couldn`t make
in some other direction, that we didn`t make in infrastructure, energy,
health care, whatever you have.
ENGEL: At the end of the day, bin Laden and the top leaders from al
Qaeda were killed by institutions that existed before 9/11. They were
killed by the CIA. They were killed by the military. They were killed by
military special operations.
MADDOW: The argument, though, from those who have defended the
massive expansion, particularly in intelligence and in top secret work,
say, you know, you can complain all you want about it, but there hasn`t
been another 9/11. And so, that proves it was worth it.
ENGEL: Well, there hasn`t been another 9/11, and that does prove that
certain things work. But that doesn`t prove that the whole apparatus
works. And it doesn`t prove that, well, you can just keep adding more and
And there`s also a real danger here that it`s hard to take it away.
And I think that`s why it continues to grow, because any politician or
anyone who says, well, we need to dial some of this back, suddenly is
accused of being soft on terrorism.
MADDOW: But what I think is poorly understood is how this huge
investment in national security since 9/11 is going to change what
decisions we make about the next decade, about what we`re going to spend on
in the future. And now we have all of these interest groups that are very
powerful, very monied, very respected, that will have a big influence on
the sorts of decisions that we make as a country.
(voice-over): In the decade since 9/11, the closer we are to an
election, the more likely you are to hear a politician assert that we
haven`t been hit again.
CHENEY: There has not been another attack on the United States. And
that`s not an accident.
MADDOW: It`s a neutralizing rejoinder to any criticism of post-9/11
counterterrorism measures. Or policy of any kind justified as
counterterrorism. No matter what you think of what we`ve done, there
hasn`t been another 9/11.
It`s true, there hasn`t been. There`s been nothing of that magnitude
in 10 years.
But the United States has been targeted in the past 10 years over and
over again. One week after the September 11 attacks, the anthrax mailings
to senators` offices, media outlets, and some apparently random civilians,
17 people are infected, five die.
Three months after September 11, the so-called shoe bomber, al Qaeda
member Richard Reid, a British citizen, tries to blow up a U.S.-bound
flight from Paris, using high explosives hidden in his shoes. Fellow
passengers and flight attendants stop him, and Reid is sentenced to life in
Overseas in 2006, Scotland Yard arrests 21 men planning to kill
thousands by detonating bombs on up to 10 Trans-Atlantic flights from
Britain to the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was intended to be mass murder on an
MADDOW: Back on U.S. soil, in 2009, Najibullah Zazi is arrested by
the FBI for a plot to carry out bombings in the New York City subway
system. Zazi received training in an al Qaeda camp. He pleads guilty.
Later that year, on Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab
unsuccessfully attempt to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his
underwear on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. He is apprehended. He
pleads not guilty. He is currently waiting trial.
Times Square, the heart of New York City – in 2010, 30-year-old
Pakistani American Faisal Shahzad attempts to detonate an improvised bomb
inside his parked Nissan Pathfinder. The crude device fails to explode,
and Shahzad was apprehended days later.
One attack is successful and causes multiple U.S. casualties, the
largest U.S. military facility in the world, Ft. Hood in Texas, is the site
of a mass shooting by U.S. Army psychiatrist, Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S.
citizen. In touch with al Qaeda clerics online, but not formally linked to
any terrorist groups, Hasan kills 13 U.S. Army personnel and wounds 29
others before he himself is shot and paralyzed by military police.
But the most deadly post-9/11 terrorist attack take place overseas,
Bali, in October 2002, 202 people killed. Madrid in March 2004, 191 people
killed. Beslan in Russia, 334 people killed, including 186 children.
London, July 2005, 52 people killed. Mumbai, November 2008, 164 people
None of these major post-9/11 attacks was directly linked to al Qaeda.
That is if inspiration doesn`t count as a link. But one alleged plot to
carry out coordinated attacks in the U.K., France, and Germany, a plot
thought to have been ordered by Osama bin Laden himself, is foiled in
September 2010. It`s discovered through international intelligence
In the face of continued real threats, it`s also true that some of the
supposedly thwarted terrorist attacks post-9/11 essentially were symptoms
created by the cure, plots that arguably would never have come into being
without counterterrorism law enforcement themselves suggesting targets,
providing means, facilitating aspiring terrorists acts of furtherance that
they would not have achieved on their own but for which they could be
In 2009, after back-to-back mistrials, five men from Liberty City, one
of Miami`s poorest neighborhoods, are convicted on terrorist charges after
trying to team up with al Qaeda, even though they seemed to have no clue
how to do that. Their only contact with al Qaeda is with the government
informant pretending to be associated with the group. They claim
entrapment. It`s a defense that has never worked in a terror-related case
Later that same year, federal officers again pose as members of a
terrorist sleeper cell. They provide this 19-year-old Hosam Smadi of
Dallas, Texas, with what he thinks are chemicals to build a bomb. Smadi
attempts to detonate the fake bomb in the basement of a Dallas skyscraper.
In 2010, Smadi pleads guilty to attempted use of a weapon of mass
destruction. He is sentenced to 24 years in prison.
As hyper-funded counterterrorism law enforcement reaches as far as
possible and then some to find and disrupt and in some cases conjure
terrorist plots, the newly created Department of Homeland Security, a
department consolidating 22 previous agencies representing the largest
increase in the size of the federal government since World War II, is a
product of the 9/11 commission`s findings. And as the federal government
grows in response to 9/11, so does a government-funded security gravy
train. Getting yourself listed in the national asset database of terror
targets becomes a way to attract government funding.
Auditors of the national asset database find more than 1,300 casinos,
more than 160 water parks, nearly 160 cruise ships, nearly 250 jails, more
than 700 mortuaries, nearly 600 nursing homes.
Also listed as targets of terror, old McDonald`s petting zoo near
Huntsville, Alabama. The Mule Day parade held in Tennessee to celebrate
mules. And the Amish country popcorn factory in Berne, Indiana. In fact,
the state of Indiana listed nearly 9,000 potential terrorism targets.
That`s 50 percent more than the state of New York, more than twice as many
Five years after 9/11, by the government`s own very political
figuring, the Hoosier State is the most target rich state in the nation.
If any rational sense of proportion in identifying terrorism targets
had been sacrificed to politics and simple greed, there may have been no
hope from the beginning for a sense of proportion in identifying real
potential terrorists and terrorist tactics.
Coming up – America`s collateral damage in our own war on terror.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was the darkest, most harrowing ordeal myself
or my family ever had to experience.
MADDOW (voice-over): The perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks were
airline passengers, armed with weapons that were legal to bring onboard
those planes. Their travel history, their radical ties, their training,
their dry runs, all red flags. But ones that had not signaled the system
enough to stop them before the attack.
What would the next red flags look like? And how would we find them?
The lasting impact on daily life legacy of 9/11 for most Americans is
a new normal, a new normal of intrusion. The sacrifice of some privacy and
some civil liberties, and in some cases our dignity, in the name of
In November 2001, President Bush signs a law creating the
Transportation Security Administration. The new mega-agency, the
Department of Homeland Security, would provide over air travel safety now,
not the Department of Transportation.
Bag and suitcase contents scrutinized, shoes off, jackets off, luggage
locks and lighters gone. Liquids limited to tiny containers. Laptops out
of their bags, explosive detecting swabs, metal detectors like we used to
have but also puffer machines and body scans – and really detailed body
Intrusion by means the public at least knows about, but also intrusion
by means kept secret. Despite federal laws limiting the security agency
from collecting only foreign communications, in 2002, President Bush
expands more or less eavesdropping on U.S. citizens within the United
That directive remained secret until “The New York Times” exposes it
in 2005. A year later, the program is ruled unconstitutional by a federal
judge. But the government appeals the decision, and wins.
Bank accounts, credit cards, email, phone calls, business records,
library records – all subject to government inspection in new and often
secret ways. The around the law extraordinary intrusion powers previously
reserved for America`s spies abroad, for the black arts of the intelligence
world, are now put in the hands of law enforcement.
The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools
Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2002, better known as
the USA Patriot Act, tears down many of the walls constructed over the
years between law enforcement and spying, walls designed to protect
American citizens from being spied on by our own government, walls designed
ultimately to protect the presumption of innocence – walls that came
tumbling down on Brandon Mayfield.
(on camera): When did you first have a sense that you and your family
might have been subject to direct surveillance by the government?
BRANDON MAYFIELD: There were footprints on the floor. That were
bigger than any shoe size that we had. So, we could only surmise that
somebody had been in the house.
MADDOW (voice-over): Mayfield and his wife, Mona, were leading a
quiet suburban life with their children outside of Portland, Oregon. But
in May 2004, after weeks of what was clumsily intended to be secret
government search and surveillance, federal authorities come knocking on
MAYFIELD: I said, if you have any questions to ask me, put them to me
in writing – and I could tell right away that wasn`t going to make them go
MADDOW: In March 2004, a terrorist attack on trains in Madrid, Spain,
had killed 191 people. Spanish police found a fingerprint near the scene
on a bag of detonators. They sent a photocopy of that print to the FBI.
The FBI decided that that fingerprint matched Brandon Mayfield.
MAYFIELD: They started actually to physically, forcibly making their
way into my office. And they proceeded to forcibly handcuff me.
MADDOW (on camera): While you were being taken into custody at your
office, were they also at your house?
MAYFIELD: They had a search warrant at my house. My wife was home.
They had insinuated that I was a terrorist.
MADDOW: Meanwhile, you had been taken into custody, did your family
know where you were?
MADDOW (voice-over): With federal prosecutors pledging to get a
conviction, Mayfield`s legal team grows more concern about his status.
MAYFIELD: I was arrested under the material witness statute, created
to protect witnesses. But the attorney general`s office just flipped it on
its head after 9/11, and started using it as an investigative tool. In
other words, to detain somebody without rights, without probable cause as
they continue to gather more information.
MADDOW (on camera): You were never charged with anything though?
MAYFIELD: I was never charged at that point.
MADDOW: Had you ever been to Spain?
MADDOW: Do you speak Spanish?
MAYFIELD: No, my daughter does. And at that time that they were
poring records in our house and documents, they found some of my daughter`s
MADDOW: To be clear, though, when they say they confiscated Spanish
language materials from your house, that was your daughter`s Spanish
MADDOW (voice-over): As Mayfield`s legal team prepares his defense,
they also learn what else had been used to justify his arrest beyond that
MAYFIELD: Virtually everything that was cited as a reason to arrest
me, had to do with my being a Muslim or associating with Muslims. I was
married to Mona Mayfield, aka Mohammad, an Egyptian national. I attended a
One can only surmise one of the reasons I was arrested is because I
was Muslim. And there was this insinuation that somehow being a Muslim
meant that you are a criminal element.
MADDOW: Declaring his innocence, Mayfield is incarcerated for two
weeks on 24-hour lockdown and under constant surveillance. With federal
agents claiming a match on the fingerprint, despite major doubts by Spanish
authorities, a judge rules in favor of temporarily releasing Mayfield.
(on camera): False ID in law enforcement, has always happened. Post-
9/11 with the powers of the Patriot Act and some of the other expanded
powers that the government took, did false ID become a more dangerous
MAYFIELD: There are certain rights that were demanded by the people
and guaranteed to us. And one of those is the Fourth Amendment to privacy,
which essentially says you`re to be free against unreasonable searches and
seizures, and no warrant shall be issued but upon probable cause,
particularly describing the place, person or thing to be seized. And it is
seriously under attack.
MADDOW (voice-over): Prior to the Patriot Act of 2001, guidelines for
search and surveillance are spelled out by the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act of 1978. It allows for secret surveillance only to gather
MAYFIELD: The Patriot Act amended that, and it seemed like a slight,
innocuous change. But it said you could get a secret warrant to do a
secret search so long as the significant purpose was to gain foreign
intelligence. The wall that was breached is the one that undermined you
and I, American`s, rights.
MADDOW: Ultimately, the case is dismissed against Brandon Mayfield,
who later sues the federal government. His legal challenge of the Patriot
Act is dismissed. But federal authorities do issue formal apologies and
Mayfield is eventually awarded a monetary settlement.
MAYFIELD: I grew up in Kansas. So, a handshake and an apology mean
something to me.
MADDOW (on camera): You reflect on what this decade has been like,
how would you describe the overall experience?
MAYFIELD: It was the darkest, most harrowing ordeal on myself or my
family ever had to experience. To quote Benjamin Franklin, “Those who
would give up liberty for security will lose both and deserve neither.”
MADDOW: Coming up – the business of warning America.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks, these are terrorists. They come kill your
MADDOW: The war on terrorism conceptually is a hard idea, because
terrorism is a tactic. But as we know, it has translated into real war in
Iraq and Afghanistan and in other countries around the globe. It has also
translated into a sort of war footing, war mentality domestically, even in
terms of law enforcement.
ENGEL: It hasn`t just stayed in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan. It
has come back to the United States. The same idea of us versus them, that
we`re looking on patrol for terrorists, has come back to domestic American
policing as well.
And who`s giving the training that police officers in the United
States are receiving?
There is an entire circuit of experts hired with national security
money who are being trained to train the police force, train the military,
and some of these people have ideas that are a little bit extreme. And
some of them are – they`re popular within the police force. Some of them
have been accused of being anti-Islamic. But they are very busy.
MADDOW: Anytime there is an open spigot of money, especially one that
doesn`t look like it`s going to end anytime soon, people will make
themselves available to be collectors of that money. And in the war on
terrorism era, that has meant a whole market for experts in this field.
ENGEL: I guess in the Cold War days, there were soviet experts. For
the last 10 years, it`s been terrorism experts. If you wanted to get
money, you were a terrorism expert.
(voice-over): It`s Mardi Gras, March 2011, in Mobile, Alabama –
100,000 people line the avenues to see the floats and the parade. For the
local police, it`s a big event.
POLICE OFFICER: We have more going on today than we will any other
day of the year.
ENGEL: But even in small American cities, 9/11 has changed the way
police operate, think, and who`s training them. The cops know how to
handle Mardi Gras. But they don`t know much about terrorism.
So, the Mobile Police Department is bringing in an expert from out of
town to teach them.
DAVED GROSSMAN, TERRORISM EXPERT: Y`all listen to me. It`s a mean
old world. I don`t have to tell you, you`re cops.
ENGEL: He is a retired Army lieutenant colonel named Dave Grossman.
GROSSMAN: What`s your plan?
ENGEL: A colorful speaker with high energy.
GROSSMAN: Like, whoa, what was that?
ENGEL: Grossman theatrically tears his notes.
GROSSMAN: You will read 100 military manuals.
ENGEL: He wants to get his audience`s attention for what he believes
is the most important message in America today.
GROSSMAN: We can have all the warning in the world.
ENGEL: Nine-eleven was just the beginning.
GROSSMAN: Folks, these are terrorists. They don`t piss in your
water. They don`t sprinkle (INAUDIBLE). They come kill your kids.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We turn to the tragic events of the past 24 hours
ENGEL: One of Grossman`s main theories is that al Qaeda will carry
out simultaneous attacks on American children. He says the horrific attack
in Beslan, Russia, in 2004 was a trial run for America.
More than 300 hostages, many of them children, were killed when
militants took over the Russian primary school.
GROSSMAN: I pray with all my heart, I fear some dark morning across
America, not once but multiple times cross America, cops will pull up
behind the school bus parked on the shoulder of a country road. They`ll
walk on the school bus to find every kid dead. It will destroy our way of
ENGEL: Grossman says local police and all Americans must be armed and
ready for commando-style battles when terrorists hit schools in small town
GROSSMAN: Absolutely serious, every cop here in America needs a smoke
ENGEL: To be safer, Grossman also wants schools to have armed guards,
classroom doors locked and teachers armed to shoot terrorists.
GROSSMAN: And folks, we`ve had armed teachers at American schools for
over a decade. The state of Utah has been doing it for over a decade.
It`s a county by county thing. The sheriffs are making the calls. One
sheriff brought me out to train his whole county.
ENGEL: The police in Mobile are captivated by Grossman`s talk.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been in law enforcement 25 years. This is
the best training I`ve had in 25 years of law enforcement.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s brought us back to the basics of always
being aware that you never know when something going to happen, but you`ve
got to be prepared.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Just keep your mind open.
ENGEL: Grossman is one of America`s most prolific speakers – 300
days of lectures a year. He`s taught police in all 50 states, the Coast
Guard, even the U.S. Forest Service.
Grossman is not a fringe radical. His book “On Killing,” won critical
acclaim in the 1990s for exploring the psychological effects of war. It`s
required reading by the U.S. Marine Corps. And he`s invited to some of the
military`s most high-profile places.
At Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in January 2011, Grossman draws a crowd
of about thousands of officers at the Army`s Command and General Staff
The Army considered Grossman, who once taught at West Point, an expert
in resilience. It`s a buzz word in the military which after a decade of
war is spending millions on counseling and suicide prevention programs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Army has been putting — investing so much
effort into building people physically for years. We haven`t put the same
amount of effort into building our soldiers mentally and emotionally.
ENGEL: But Grossman thinks America`s last decade of wars has made the
military stronger. Most of these officers served in Iraq or Afghanistan.
He tells them the threat of post-traumatic stress disorder is exaggerated
by the media.
GROSSMAN: We`re calling everybody and their brother PTSDs. If you
look carefully, you see symptoms of PTSD. Like saying somebody five pound
overweight symptoms of obesity.
ENGEL: Grossman also talked to the officers` families how they must
be on the lookout for terrorists coming to their children`s schools while
their spouses are deployed.
GROSSMAN: Between bombs in parking lot to killers in the school, it`s
entirely possible to kill 100, 200, 300, 400 kids in the schools tomorrow
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s important for me to know that she knows the
realities of what it is that I do and threats that are out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It helps me to do my job better and to support
him in what he does.
ENGEL: For Grossman, this is a mission and a living. He`s paid about
$4,000 for his lectures and sells his books.
But some of the officers at Leavenworth aren`t convinced.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s definitely interested in selling books.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s got almost kind of conflicting interest it
seems. He`s also got a product he`s selling.
ENGEL: That product is something the military and teachers across
America are willing to buy.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 2011. In a conference room in one of
the big casinos, these men didn`t come to gamble. They`re police officers
who signed up for a two-day seminar with Grossman on mental toughness and
GROSSMAN: I`m convinced from a lifetime of study, the single best
thing to prepare for combat is hunting.
ENGEL: The course is part of a police continuing education program.
It helps with promotions within the department.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether we`re on duty, off duty, always be
ENGEL (on camera): So, you don`t think it`s a scare tactic?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. No. You always have to be ready for the
ENGEL: Some of the things he talks about, locking the school doors,
armed guards at schools, that wasn`t the kind of childhood I had and it
certainly wasn`t the kind of childhood you had. Is that the kind of
childhood you think we should have for children?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not to say whether we should or shouldn`t
have, the reality of it is it`s here. The times have changed, it`s a new
game we`re playing nowadays.
ENGLE: What exactly are you training people for? What are you
training them to do?
GROSSMAN: Mental preparation for combat.
ENGEL: Since 9/11, an industry has been borne of security
consultants, of trainers, lecturers, and you are a part of that.
GROSSMAN: What you`re seeing is a nation that`s preparing itself for
the threat and the possibilities. Gun purchases across America just
exploded. Concealed carry permits have taken over.
ENGEL: And that is a good thing, you think?
GROSSMAN: Well, folks think it is.
ENGEL (voice-over): Grossman insists America`s future depends on how
each citizen prepares for the threats.
(on camera): Do you ever worry these local police officers are going
to go out and be looking for terrorists in every small town and pulling
people over and looking them up and down and saying, is this a terrorist?
GROSSMAN: We`re not seeing people`s rights being trampled. We`re not
seeing individuals being abused. We must constantly be alert to that.
Life is all about balance.
ENGEL: You fervently do not believe you are a fear-monger. But you
want people to use fear as a weapon?
GROSSMAN: The gift of fear – to be aware of the potential for threat
and to take action to deal with that. That`s the healthy path.
ENGEL (voice-over): Oppose it or embrace it, Grossman`s message is
popular. He`s expanding beyond school, the military and police departments
and is training major corporations to be on the lookout for terrorists.
ANNOUNCER: On the conclusion of “Day of Destruction: Decade of War.”
ENGEL: Was Iraq a gift to al Qaeda?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course. Yes.
ANNOUNCER: And –
MADDOW: Could torture have been avoided?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seemed like there was a real willingness to do
it and nobody said no.
ANNOUNCER: Tomorrow tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on MSNBC.
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