The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/01/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
They held a party today in Texas, 5,000 people turning out on their
lunch hours in Austin – look at this – outside the state capitol in the
baking July heat. They had dancing and music, including from Natalie
Maines from the Dixie Chicks. Plus, a band called the Bright Light Social
Hour did a song that went on for at least four minutes and contained a
single word, Wendy.
MADDOW: That would be Wendy as in Wendy Davis. The Texas Democratic
state senator who last week filibustered an antiabortion bill in Texas
until the clock ran out on the special session.
And even though Texas` majority Republicans are back again this week
as of today trying to pass that same bill, the scene outside the Texas
state capitol in Austin today, at least for opponents of that bill, it was
kind of a party today. It was kind of a party – a righteous Texas party
in the heat. Thousands of people on the steps of the state capitol
spilling out onto the capitol grounds.
Inside the capitol, inside the legislature, so everybody could see
what they were doing with that bill, the legislature opened a live feed of
the House debate. It worked fine. The live feed the Senate did not work
fine. You could not really hear what the Texas senate was saying.
The crazy thing about it was how many people complained about that on
YouTube because people were online trying to watch the Texas state Senate.
A lot of people were online trying to watch. They got really annoyed when
the feed didn`t work. So everybody was complaining all over YouTube and
all the rest.
In politics, now, with Congress unable to do even the most basic
things they say they want to do like keeping the interest rates on student
loans from doubling today like they did, our country right now with only a
few exceptions, really the political action that counts has shifted over to
the states. There isn`t very much action in Washington most days. There`s
a lot of it in the states.
And if you live in a blue state like Colorado or Rhode Island, that
means right now, you`re getting gun reform laws and marriage equality laws
and all sorts of stuff like that. If you are in a red state, you are
getting new restrictions on abortion.
There are not bipartisan results in the states there isn`t any
consensus governing going on in most places, just a matter of which party
is in charge and where you live. And if you are lucky, you still have
somebody or some news outfit following your state officials around so you
can watch them work and figure out what`s going on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: He said I think even when life begins in the horrible
situation of rape, it is something that “God intended.” Is that something
that you would denounce or –
JOSH MANDELL (R), OHIO SENATE CANDIDATE: I think I`d want to see his
comments. Is there a video of it?
REPORTER: It was in a debate last night.
MANDELL: I think I`d want to see the video or the debate before
commenting on it.
REPORTER: But it`s true you don`t have an exemption when it comes to
abortion? You`re pro-life in all cases, even in the –
MANDELL: I think it`s important to protect the life of the mother.
I`m proud to be pro-life.
REPORTER: Even the possibility of rape, that`s true?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Ohio state treasurer and ultimately failing U.S.
Senate candidate Josh Mandell trying really, really, really hard during
that election to not say what he believes about abortion. That clip was
posted online by a longtime mainstream Ohio reporter named Marc Kovac who
frankly is doing the Lord`s work of just flip-camming everything he covers
in Ohio politics. Then he posts all of it basically raw on to his Web site
at the Ohio capital blog.
A lot of what Ohio knows and what the whole country knows about what`s
going on with the politics of that state we know, we know thanks to Marc
Kovac and his nonpartisan, no agenda, just the facts devotion to flip-
camming everything in Ohio politics. Yesterday, he flip-cammed Ohio
Governor John Kasich, signing the state`s new budget. You can see the
budget there. That`s that great big column of white there, great big bill
which budgets tend to be.
This particular Ohio budget, though, contains a number of measures
that you would not necessarily expect to find in a budget. This stuff
jammed into budget is not necessarily widely known because Ohio Republicans
added a lot of it into the budget at the last minute, without debating any
of it. And then they passed the whole giant budget on a party line vote.
So without debate, without any Republican public comment on the matter
whatsoever, the great state of Ohio, as of about last night, dinnertime,
Ohio got a ton of new really radical changes in its laws that are all about
rape – rape and abortion.
Ohio Republicans stuffed into the budget a gag order for rape
counselors. So, if you`re counseling a rape victim, you will have public
funding yanked from your rape crisis center if you let the rape victim know
that she can have an abortion if the rape made her pregnant. It`s a gag
order. You can`t say that anymore or else you`ll lose your funding.
Also on the budget, Ohio Republicans basically defunded Planned
Parenthood clinics. If you want to get an abortion in Ohio, the budget
just passed by Ohio Republicans and signed by John Kasich will mandate you
get an ultrasound by order of the state which is a fine thing to have if
you want one and your doctors want you to have it. But it`s a whole
different idea because John Kasich says you have to have one, even if you
don`t want it or your doctor doesn`t want you to have it. It`s mandatory
Ohio Republicans will make you have it and they will make you pay for
it, too. Ohio Republicans also wrote into the budget a requirement that
Ohio doctors give you a speech about that forced ultrasound, regardless of
whether the doctor agrees with the speech or thinks it is good information
to give you.
Ohio Republicans added all of that to the budget, to the nuts and
bolts spending plan for the great state of Ohio. Now it has a special
focus on the human uterus. For one part of the budget, Ohio Republicans
even wrote in a new requirement that any clinic in the state that provides
abortions has to have a transfer agreement with local hospitals.
Then in the next breath, they banned Ohio public hospitals from making
those transfer agreements with the clinics. So, the clinics would get a
new thing that they have to have and also they cannot happen.
Ohio Republicans and John Kasich also in the budget decided to
redefine the word “pregnancy” in that state. Now by decree, from
Republican Governor John Kasich and the Republicans in the Ohio state
legislature, your pregnancy begins even before implantation of a fertilized
egg in the uterine lining.
Since several forms of popular birth control work by stopping
implantation in the uterine lining, the Ohio state budget now essentially
says, hey, you want an IUD or want to be on birth control pills? That
means you want an abortion. And now, of course, there`s a mandatory
ultrasound before you can do that, followed by the speech from your doctor
that your doctor doesn`t have a choice about.
I mean, under this bill, under the letter of this new law, Ohio women
might conceivably need to get a mandatory ultrasound by order of the state
just so you can keep your birth control pills. The birth control, the IUD,
the birth control pill you`ve been on forever, now mandatory ultrasound?
That`s how the law is written.
Nobody knows for sure if they really freaking mean that or if they
have considered that implication of the change in the definition of the
word “pregnancy” that they put in the state budget. Nobody knows if that`s
what they really meant because they never debated it. Never came up.
There was no debate. So, nobody got to ask questions. Nobody ever had to
Ohio Republicans just passed it silently and sent it to Governor John
Kasich. The governor had until midnight last night, midnight, Sunday, to X
out rape and abortion laws he wanted to X out. He has a line item veto,
could have taken any of them out of the budget. He used the line-item veto
22 times yesterday, including vetoing part of budget that involves owning
He thought the spider monkeys provision was an outrageous step
backwards for the residents of Ohio, but the abortion stuff, all of it,
including redefining pregnancy in biological terms new to Ohio, all of it
stayed in the budget. John Kasich said yes to all of it. So all the male
Republican leaders from his administration and from the legislature
gathered around John Kasich yesterday and he shook all of the guys` hands
and then this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, I just have a few comments. Is
that your son?
Come on over here. What`s your name? Come on. I won`t bite you. Is
he a little shy?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Felix.
KASICH: Hey, Felix. I`ve heard a lot about you. How old are you?
Four. Guess how old I am?
Can you give me the rock? You know that? Huh? Yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He did call the kid over a little later again. See there on
his lap, called him over again to help him sign the bill with all the
ceremonial pens. The governor let the kid dot the “I” in Kasich. He let
him dot the “I” on the new state budget with forced ultrasounds and
requirements to shut down the clinics in Ohio and the redefinition of
So that`s what happened in Ohio. Ohio Democrats lost this fight in
their state. But at least thanks to the Ohio capital blog`s video, the
whole country can see what it looks like when lawmakers add stuff into a
bill that never gets debated. Tons of new laws dramatically affecting the
lives of Ohio women specifically and then all the men gather around to sign
it and congratulate each other.
No debate, no explaining, dot the “I” and call it done. That`s Ohio.
That`s governor ultrasound, John Kasich, and what he did to your rights
over the weekend in Ohio.
Meanwhile in North Carolina, the new Republican majority in that state
just passed a bill forcing school health teachers to lie to seventh graders
– to lie to seventh graders about abortion.
If you`re a health teacher, North Carolina Republicans say the law
should direct you to teach that abortion is a health risk for future
They`re telling seventh grade teachers to tell seventh graders in
North Carolina that if you have an abortion, you won`t be able to have kids
in the future. That abortion keeps women from carrying future pregnancies
to term. And that is not true. According to the American College of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, that isn`t true. The script that North
Carolina Republicans are writing for the state seventh grade teachers is
not science, it`s not based in fact.
When North Carolina Republicans brought this bill to the floor,
lawmakers lined up at the microphone six deep. They wanted to ask
questions about that bill. There was a debate, but when a Democrat asked
that the debate be transcribed for the record, so people could read later
what was said, one of the bill`s Republican supporters intervened to stop
any transcript from being made of the debate. So the debate is not on the
Then, North Carolina Republicans passed this thing with as little
explaining as they could manage. North Carolina`s Republican Governor Pat
McCrory pledged when he was elected in November that he would not sign any
new antiabortion bills into law in that state. But now he says he`s going
to sign this one, with the fake science and the no transcript debate,
because after all, it`s about abortion. I know he said he would. He can`t
And there`s Texas and the weather has been hot and the politics are on
fire these days. Right red Texas where now you can turn out several
thousand outraged blue voters without much effort at all, and where an
obscure state lawmaker gets this kind of reaction on a Monday afternoon in
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Women will not be bullied! Women will not be bullied! Women
will not be bullied! Women will not be bullied! Women will not be
bullied! Women will not be bullied!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Texas Republicans had spent the regular session this year
saying they were done with legislating against abortion. When Governor
Perry called a special session, the only item on the agenda was supposedly
an interim redistricting plan, but then Republicans decided they would
unload all their antiabortion legislation, so it`s a new ban in Texas.
A new ban on abortions past 20 weeks and a new ban that will shrink
the number of clinics that provide abortions in the state from 42 to 5,
restriction on access to abortion that will affect millions of American
women. Texas Democrats and their supporters blocked this bill the first
time around, that was the Wendy Davis filibuster, and all the associated
Democrats were outnumbered in the legislature, but they won in the
first round and lit up the politics of Texas in so doing. Now, Texas
Republicans are back with a new special session that started this
afternoon. They`re going for it again. If you just look at the numbers,
just on the votes in each chamber, Republicans clearly have the votes to
pass the new antiabortion bill.
And the Democrats will do everything they can to try to stop them.
Again, already in Austin, there`s talk of regular citizens, again, lines up
by the hundreds to testify the way they did last month in the citizens
filibuster. Democrats are also hinting that they might even go back to
their playbook from a decade ago when they fled the state to deny the
Republicans a quorum.
But if you look at the votes, alone, the best-case scenario for the
Democrats in Texas is really just to slow this thing down. The point of
fighting is not to defy the fact that Republicans have the majority in the
legislature. It is rather to make it clear that Republicans are going to
have a fight on their hands nevertheless if they want to pull this off.
The Texas Republicans, if they want laws like this, are going to be
forced to explain themselves, repeatedly. And when Republicans are forced
to explain themselves on these bills, sometimes everything goes nuts.
Like last week when the Democrats were slowing everything down in
Texas and the sponsor of the Texas bill was asked to explain why her bill
contained no exception for rape or incest victims and she explained she
thought that rape kits which are used to collect forensic samples from a
rape victim`s body to be used in potential prosecution of the rapist, she
explained she thought rape kits somehow solved the problem of rape-causing
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. JODIE LAUBENBERG (R), TEXAS: You have hospital emergency
rooms. We have funded what`s called rape kits that will help a woman.
It`s basically cleaning her out. And, again, hopefully that will alleviate
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Their belief in a magic cleaner out kit is why Republicans
did not include an exception for rape victims in their abortion ban.
That is a terrible argument and not based in fact at all. But at
least the Democrats forced the Republicans to make that argument out loud,
so now we all know that`s what they think and we all know that`s why
there`s no rape exception in the bill. That`s what`s happening in Texas
right now inside the legislature and outside on the statehouse steps.
That process was not happening in Ohio because Republicans there were
able to pass these radical new antiabortion laws without having to explain
themselves. In Ohio, they did these new laws in such a way that they
essentially prevented them from being debated. They did not get explained.
Governor Kasich did not refer to them at all when he signed them into
law. After he signed them into law, he just got up and walked away, taking
no questions on the most restrictive new antiabortion measures in the
country. Just another quiet Sunday in Ohio.
Ohio, you will know, does not tend to be a very quiet state when it
comes to politics. Voters in Ohio, remember, rolled back the union
stripping thing. They scared Republicans off a bill to limit voter rights.
They know how to make noise in Ohio.
So what happens now in Ohio? Is to too late for Texas-style magic in
Ohio? I can see how you win on the way to losing sometimes, but how do you
win after you have already lost? What happens next here?
Joining us is Connie Pillich. She`s an Ohio state representative.
She`s a Democrat. She`s running for Ohio state treasurer.
Representative Pillich, thank you so much for being with us tonight.
STATE REP. CONNIE PILLICH (D), OHIO: I really appreciate joining you
and letting the world know about the right-wing attacks on women`s health
MADDOW: You know, Governor Kasich, he could have vetoed the abortion
amendments in the budget if he had chosen to. He still could have signed
the overall budget, but not used the budget to advance all this
antiabortion legislation. Did you expect that he would veto any of them,
or do you think he was in on this from the beginning?
PILLICH: I think he has very little control of his caucus, frankly.
But I never expected him to veto any of the antiabortion language. He
signed bills in the previous general assembly to restrict access for women.
Of course, the things in this budget are so much worse.
As you mentioned earlier, they limit women`s access to birth control.
They make it harder to get cervical cancer screenings. They insert the
legislature in between e conversation of a rape victim and her counselor.
And they mandate expensive and unnecessary medical tests on women. It`s
MADDOW: Was there an advantage for the Republicans in putting this
stuff into the budget instead of moving it as normal legislation? They`ve
moved a lot of other antiabortion measures as standalone legislation, but
this ended up in the giant budget bill. Why strategically did they do
PILLICH: Well, if they had gone through the normal committee process,
they, of course, would have been subject to the outrage of women across
Ohio, as we saw happen last year when women flooded the statehouse to
protest these egregious measures.
But to put something as extreme and outrageous as eliminating birth
control and cervical cancer screenings, I don`t see how that could have
survived public scrutiny in any kind of open process, so they had to slip
it in. Basically they used the budget as a dumping ground for all these
assaults on women`s health.
Look, I have been having public meetings in my district ever since I
took office, every month since five years ago. And no one has ever once
come to me and said, we want you to eliminate birth control. We don`t need
cancer screenings. We want you to interfere with rape counselors and
No one has ever said this. And I think this is why people are so
frustrated with government because they send me to Columbus to work on jobs
and education, and what they get is this bizarre right wing extreme fringe
agenda to assault women`s health.
MADDOW: As far as I understand Ohio law, these specific measures
can`t be put up for recall the way the union stripping bill was put up for
recall a couple years ago because they are part of the budget. Because of
that, because of the way they pass these, they not only avoided scrutiny in
getting them into law in the first place, but as far as I understand it,
they also have avoided the threat of recall here.
If that is the case, what happens next? What sort of political
consequence did you and other Democrats hope to mete out in response to
PILLICH: Well, you`re very correct in saying we cannot exercise our
right to referendum on these issues because they`re in the budget bill.
But going forward, the best bet is for Democrats to take over all the
statewide offices and frankly, that`s why I`m running for state treasurer.
MADDOW: Connie Pillich, Ohio state representative, candidate for Ohio
state treasurer. Thank you for helping us understand this. It`s nice to
have you here.
PILLICH: Thank you.
MADDOW: Lots to come tonight including a people`s revolution that may
be morphing into a military coup.
Plus, we`ve got “New York” magazine`s Frank Rich here for the
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In February 2011, a dictator who had been in power for 30
years stepped down after his three decades in power. He was pushed out
after weeks of mostly but not entirely peaceful demonstrations in Egypt.
It was one of those “I remember where I was” moments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
ANNOUNCER: This is an NBC News special report: Revolution in Egypt.
Here`s Brian Williams.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Good day from New York.
If you`ve been following the news throughout this day, then you know
the news that the people of Egypt have toppled their government, their
leader. Hosni Mubarak has left power and left Cairo.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS: This is the statement they have been waiting
for. Not that he is in Egypt, not that he is in Sharm-el-Sheikh, but that
he is stepping down.
This, again, one of the cheers that has been iconic throughout all
this. The army and the people hand in hand, and today, the army is
stepping in to join with the people and now will be taking charge to hand
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: There are very few news days in this business where the
breaking news business is not only in all caps but in all caps and italics.
Big deal, right, Mubarak gone after 30 years?
What Richard was talking about there is the chant, the army and the
people hand in hand. When Mubarak gave up power in Egypt after 30 years,
the military in that country was an ultimately decisive factor. Thousands
of people camped in Tahrir Square and protested against Mubarak night after
night and day after day. But the Army, by and large, stayed on the
The army was visible but did not interview in the demonstrations or
attack the protesters. They tried to stay on basically friendly terms of
the people on the streets but mostly they stayed out of it, until this
moment, this game-changing moment. The high council of the armed forces in
Egypt, this high council of the armed forces convened without President
Mubarak on February 10th, 2011. That was the only third time they`d ever
And they announced they would support the legitimate demands of the
Since the demands of the people were really just one demand that
Mubarak step down, the military meeting that day without him and announcing
that they would support that demand, that was the end. That meeting of the
high council of the armed forces, that was on February 10th, and on
February 11th, one day later, Mubarak was gone.
The military is a very powerful and very independent institution in
Egypt. When they decided to weigh in and say Mubarak had to go, Mubarak
had to go. After 30 years in power, he was gone. It was a remarkable
It paved the way for new presidential elections in Egypt. Egyptians
picked this guy, Mohamed Morsi. He was inaugurated a year ago yesterday.
And yesterday this year, Egyptians marked that one-year anniversary with
the largest protests the country has seen since the revolution that toppled
Mubarak in the first place.
Over the past two days in half a dozen cities, there have been massive
protests in Egypt again, 16 people have died. Hundreds of people have been
injured. A young American who was in Egypt to teach English for the summer
was killed in the protests in Alexandria. He was a 21-year-old college
student from Maryland named Andrew Pockter (ph).
The protests this weekend, protesters swarmed the headquarters of
President Morsi`s political party. They destroyed the headquarters. They
lit the place on fire. They looted it. The people inside the headquarters
were reportedly evacuated but not before somebody fired actual live rounds
into the crowd, reportedly killing eight people. A year after he took
office, protesters are demanding that Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi step
down, the country to hold early new presidential elections. The people are
back in Tahrir square in an apparent re-enactment of the demonstrations
that brought down the last guy.
And just like it was in 2011, everybody this time around has been
waiting for a sign from the military. What side will the military take?
Well, today the military spoke. It was an audio statement from the
head of the Egyptian military that played on state TV today. And the
message seemed to be clear. The military said it was giving President
Morsi 48 hours to meet the demands of the people – whatever that means –
or else the military will implement its own roadmap to resolve the
political crisis – whatever that means.
The terms are vague, but the timeline is not. They`re demanding a
political response to resolve the crisis in 48 hours, or the military says
it will step in. This is an ultimatum.
As if to mark the occasion, the military flew helicopters over Tahrir
Square. See there`s something underneath the helicopters there? They`re
towing Egyptian flags. The crowd cheered and cheered and cheered.
So the same institution that ended the last guy`s decades-long hold on
power is now giving the new democratically elected president 48 hours as a
deadline. Fix what is causing the people to be upset with you, and to pour
into the streets by the millions, or the military will fix it for you.
How does the president meet the military`s demands? What would that
look like? What does the military do if the protests continue?
Is the most populist country in the Middle East, one of the most
strategically important countries on earth, about to get a new regime in
the next 48 hours?
Don`t know, but this is happening very quickly and it`s really
Watch this space.
MADDOW: If you`re curious about how to get a job at the super
secretive National Security Agency, the NSA, it`s not that hard. Right
there in the NSA`s official Web site, look, this charming young
businesswoman will lead you in the direction of careers at NSA. Wonder how
she got the job there – maybe because it was of her wide ranging
experience as the stock photo model. Maybe that`s all the NSA needed to
know before they hired her.
After all, she is businesswoman with holders. She`s also well-dressed
and looking at camera. She is everything the NSA needs and more.
Literally, there is too much of her. The NSA decided not to use her legs.
I`m not saying the NSA stole this stock photograph, but they did
noticeably crop it just above the Getty water mark on her legs and the
water mark is generally how you know this is a photo of a model that is for
sale. I`m just saying.
Aside from the NSA possibly stealing stock photos, there`s something
else newsworthy going on at the NSA`s website right now. This page used to
hold the NSA`s latest fact sheet, responding to the reporting on that
agency that has sprung from the Edward Snowden leak. This page used to
have that fact sheet, but now, error notice. It seems you have experienced
So, this agency is answering its critics but then erasing its answers.
And there`s more to that. Hold on.
MADDOW: Back in 2003, the much beloved singer and actress Barbra
Streisand filed a lawsuit. She decided to sue a group called the
California Coastal Records Project.
The California Coastal Records Project documents erosion on the
California coast by taking pictures and posting them online. It`s not
super controversial activity, but Barbra Streisand`s home happened to be on
the California coast in an area they were documenting erosion and she
really did not want people to see pictures of her house on this group`s Web
site. So she filed a lawsuit to force the group to take down the picture
of her house. She sued them initially for $50 million.
The group fought the lawsuit and not only did they win the lawsuit,
and not only was Barbra Streisand ordered to pay the group`s legal fees,
but her attempt to make this one picture of her house disappear from the
Internet totally backfired. Instead of making the photo disappear, she
drew a ton of attention to it.
Before she filed her lawsuit, this image had been downloaded six times
and two of those six times were by her own lawyers. After the lawsuit, and
all the publicity, more than 400,000 people had visited the site and seen
That is why when somebody tries to erase a piece of information
online, something they don`t want anybody to see, and that effort backfires
and more people see it than ever, that backfire effect is called the
“Streisand Effect”. So keeping in mind the Streisand effect, that it is
hard to erase things from the Internet and that by trying to erase things
from the Internet, you only draw attention to them.
This is what you see today if you try to track down a PDF document
from the National Security Agency Web site. It was a fact set that was
supposed to explain the rules the government follows when it comes to
spying on Americans. As you can see here, though, it has been removed from
the Internet. It seems you have experienced an error.
Naturally, even though the NSA tried to remove this document from the
Internet, it still lives. It lives because everything online is archived
one way or the other. The NSA of all people ought to know that. And, of
course, if is when you try to erase stuff that everybody notices what it
So, now we know that this is the information that the NSA made
available for a minute that was supposed to explain what is and is not
allowed under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
According to this fact sheet that the NSA made available for a hot second
before they tried to erase it, the government does not target Americans for
intelligence purposes. And if it does target a U.S. person by accident,
quote, “any inadvertently acquired communication of or concerning a U.S.
person must be promptly destroyed if it is neither relevant to the
authorized purpose nor evidence of a crime.”
Shortly after the NSA put up that fact sheet on their Web site,
Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall wrote a letter to the head of the NSA
saying the fact sheet was bunk. They said they had a problem with some of
the information on that fact sheet. They said they couldn`t explain the
exact nature of the problem in this letter without revealing classified
information, but you know what, that part about how information on American
citizens is destroyed promptly – that`s not true.
Senators Udall and Wyden wrote that letter on June 24th. The next day
the head of the NSA wrote back to them saying that the NSA, yes, possibly
could have been more precise in its language, in the fact sheet. And then
right after that, poof. The fact sheet this appeared.
The NSA tried to take the document off the Internet, which you cannot
do because really it`s the Internet. And when you try to take things off
the Internet, boom, it`s the Streisand effect. Here`s the story of the
missing NSA fact sheet on national TV, which never would have happened had
they left it up there, and just fixed it. Strike through. It`s OK.
Hold on. More ahead.
MADDOW: (AUDIO BREAK) Monday. Frank Rich is here for the interview,
MADDOW: Meet James Clapper. He already knows you. He`s the director
of national intelligence, the head guy in charge of the nation`s 16
intelligence agencies, including the NSA and the CIA.
“The Washington Post” revealed James Clapper has just apologized. He
apologized to the Senate Intelligence Committee for lying, for not telling
them the truth when he answered this question from Senator Ron Wyden a
couple of months ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RON WYDEN (D), OREGON: So what I wanted to see is, if you can
give me a yes or no answer to the question, does the NSA collect any type
of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?
JAMES CLAPPER, DNI: No, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No, sir. March of this year, the NSA does not collect any
type of data on millions of Americans.
A few months later, of course, Edward Snowden revealed that the
government sure does collect and keep data about millions of Americans.
And once that information was made public by Edward Snowden, the Director
of National Intelligence James Clapper tried to explain his way out of what
he had said at that Senate hearing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS: Could you explain what you meant when you
said there was not data collection on millions of Americans?
CLAPPER: I thought, though, in retrospect, I was asked “when are you
going to stop beating your wife” kind of question, meaning not answerable
necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was
the most truthful or least untruthful manner by saying no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The most truthful or least untruthful manner. Following that
ridiculous explanation which made it seem like maybe James Clapper had been
taken off guard by the question, he just did the best he could? After that
explanation, Senator Wyden released this revealing that actually Mr.
Clapper had the question in advance.
Senator Wyden had warned Mr. Clapper`s office specifically that he was
going to be asking that question. When Mr. Clapper gave him that “no, sir”
response, Senator Wyden gave him a chance afterwards to amend his question
and Mr. Clapper refused.
So, apparently, the supposedly least untruthful answer thing was the
planned response all along.
Well, now, James Clapper is admitting it was just a lie, it`s not
true, and he`s saying he`s sorry. And that is kind of a big deal.
Officials at the highest and most secretive levels of government are being
held accountable for things they have said to mislead Americans and that is
something that does not happen very often.
And senators who were tasked with overseeing these high ranking
government officials and these programs are publicly and privately
questioning their efforts to mislead people and proving that they lied when
they lied and making them admit it.
You may like or dislike the idea of Edward Snowden as a character in
the middle of this NSA drama, but the fact remains no matter how you feel
about him, he`s a consequential cat. He`s changing a lot about what we
know about our government and the way it has to explain itself.
Today, we learned that Mr. Snowden, the NSA leaker who`s reportedly
seeking asylum in Russia after being stuck in the transit area of Moscow`s
airport for more than a week. The State Department has not confirmed his
asylum request, but Russian authorities say that he has made it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that he will only consider
Mr. Snowden`s request for asylum if Mr. Snowden ceases, quote, “his work
aimed at damaging our American partners.” No matter how strange that
sounds coming from me.
Then, tonight, Mr. Snowden released his first statement since leaving
Hong Kong. It says, quote, “In the end the Obama administration is not
afraid of whistleblowers like me. We are stateless or imprisoned or
powerless.” “No,” he says, “the Obama administration is afraid of you. It
is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional
government it was promised. And it should be.” It should be afraid.
Edward Snowden`s leaks have forced a difficult debate about things
that the government does not like to talk about. It is a debate that now
includes the director of national intelligence apologizing for lying to
Would that apology have ever happened? Would that correction of the
record have ever happened without him?
But is the on the lam leaker who started all this right? That an
informed public on this subject is an angry public? Is he right that the
government should be afraid of public backlash here?
Joining us now for the interview is Frank Rich, “New York” magazine`s
writer at large. His new column is called “When Privacy Jumped the Shark.”
It has a dirty picture in it which is at least the lowest common
denominator to check it out at “New York” magazine. It`s a very tastefully
done dirty picture.
FRANK RICH, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Very tastefully. Try for that. Don`t
MADDOW: So, you contend that Americans have no expectation of
privacy, so even bombshell revelations about violations of our privacy on a
grand scale basically elicit yawns.
RICH: Yes, I mean, look, there are people who care very much
including me and you and also people on the right like libertarians like
Rand Paul who`s outraged by this. But the vast middle seems to be
indifferent. In part I think because we`re so used to surrendering our
privacy, whether it`d be to social networking or commerce sites or, you
know, anything we do.
I read in this new book “Big Data” that when a 140-character Twitter
message, a tweet, there are 33 different pieces of information that you`re
surrendering in addition to the actual content of –
MADDOW: So the tweet`s only 144 characters – 140 characters, but
there`s 33 pieces of metadata associated with it?
RICH: Yes, and so we`re used to it. We`re inured to it.
Particularly people under 50. The polls show that under 50, people don`t
tend to follow the Snowden story. It doesn`t mean it`s not a real issue,
it is. But I think you see it reflected in the political environment in
Who is – take James Clapper who lied and really should be out, in my
view. Also, he`s such an incompetent liar you think, why is this guy
running national intelligence? At least a spy should be able to do his lie
But anyway, who`s calling – who in Washington is calling for him to
be out? Not the Democratic leadership or the Republican leadership. And
indeed, I think whether it`s Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid or Mitch McConnell
and John Boehner, they`re all sort of on the same page.
Snowden`s sort of the villain. He should be apprehended. And the big
issues are being lost. Indeed, they`re being lost under the shadow of
Snowden, who`s a fascinating character.
MADDOW: The reaction in Washington I think actually is fascinating
because it`s not – it doesn`t break down on partisan terms. But we have
seen – I mean, Steve Benen writing at the blog for the show this morning
was talking about how calls for resignation, calls for the heads of
administration officials are basically as regular as having a cup of coffee
when you wake up in the morning. Now, like they`ll call for the
resignation of anybody for anything because they hope it will hurt the
MADDOW: But with Clapper, even with him not just lying to Congress
but admitting that he lied to Congress after having previously told a
different story, that was itself actually untrue about the lie in the first
place, beep, beep, beep, I mean –
RICH: Nothing. The only people who seem concerned are, as you
mentioned, Udall and Wyden on the Democratic side, Paul on the Republican
side. You`d think the Republican Party which is so angry about intrusive
government and Obamacare and the supposed IRS scandal, even if it`s sort of
a non-scandal, you`d think that they would care.
But no, there`s just absolute dead silence. And I think that reflects
the public to some extent. I don`t think the public is terribly engaged by
Obviously, some people are. Civil libertarians are. There`s a base
in the Democratic Party that is. And there`s a libertarian part of the
Republican Party. But I think that`s it.
MADDOW: Do you think that the drama of Mr. Snowden`s flight from
American prosecution makes people more or less focused on the privacy
concerns at the heart of what he has disclosed?
If he were a boring guy or a guy who had turned himself in or a guy
who we never knew who he was, would we be more focused on the substance of
what he leaked rather than on him?
RICH: I think we might. We don`t know that. But look, he`s become
now like Clyde Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde. He`s thumbed his nose at the
establishment. He`s defied – the press couldn`t find him. The government
couldn`t find him.
So he`s become this kind of interesting “where`s Waldo?” figure. But
I bet many people who are watching it with some amusement can`t quite
remember what the substance was of the leaks that he gave up to the press.
MADDOW: Frank Rich, “New York” magazine writer at large. Thank you
for your time tonight. I occasionally feel like this is our job, that you
and I talk about stuff that gets us all fired up but doesn`t feel reflected
in the world at large. But I take comfort from talking to you about it.
RICH: Same here. Thank you.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is the Fleetville Fire Company. Station 63 of the
Fleetville Fire Company, which is located in northeast Pennsylvania. It`s
a 45-member team that protects about 1,800 residents there.
The Fleetville Fire Company has been around for 65 years, and it is
very proudly a 100 percent volunteer fire company. What you`re seeing here
is a part-time gig for all the men and women who make up this company.
There are thousands of all-volunteer firefighter companies all across our
country, standing at the ready just like they do in Fleetville.
When you put together all of the firefighters across the nation, 70
percent of them are volunteers, 70 percent. And these volunteers generally
make up the fire units in small towns and counties.
In bigger cities, of course, you have standing fire departments. You
have professional firefighters who work fires, who also work emergency
calls full-time. These firefighters like the FDNY here in New York City,
they`re deployed not just to put out fires but also to be our nation`s
first responders for disasters of any kind.
So you have volunteer firefighters in small towns and counties. You
have standing fire departments in big cities. But then you have the Hot
Hot Shot crews are sort of like the Special Ops commandos of
firefighting. In the 1940s, specially trained crews were put together not
to battle house fires in small towns and in the big cities, but instead to
battle giant wildfires, to battle wildfires that were breaking out on
national forest land. These 25-man squads were called hot shots because
the hottest part of the fire is where these elite firefighters did their
work. They went to the center of the blaze.
There are now over 100 Hot Shot crews at the ready to fight wildfires
24/7 during fire season. Being a Hot Shot firefighter means staying in
peak physical condition all year round because the job itself requires it.
When a wildfire breaks out, these Hot Shot crews, they`re the ones who
hike into the wilderness toward the fire. They`re armed with chainsaws and
rakes and shovels and they do the backbreaking work to create a break line,
that`s essentially meant to starve the fire of fuel. They starve it of the
brush and vegetation that these fires feed off of. They make a line that
the fire can`t cross.
Hot Shots carry 40-pound packs on their backs with their equipment as
well as the food and water that they need to survive. They are self-
contained. They also carry something else that`s really important. They
carry specially designed fire shelters that serve as, God forbid, their
last line of defense against a wildfire that gets out of control that they
cannot get away from. These are fire shelters made of aluminum foil
essentially. They`re reflective. They sort of look like fireproof
And Hot Shots are trained to get into these fortified bags in under
two minutes if it looks like the situation is getting beyond their control.
These shelters are considered to be their last resort.
Well, yesterday afternoon 19 of these fire shelters were discovered in
the hills of Arizona in the midst of a blaze that is raging across
thousands of acres in Arizona. Nineteen members of an elite 20-person
hotshot crew out of Prescott, Arizona, were found dead battling that fire.
Many of them were found inside their last resort fire shelters.
Last month, the Granite Mountain Hot Shots were fighting fires in
nearby New Mexico before they were called back to Arizona, their home
state, to fight a wildfire that was raging less than an hour from their
home fire department. It was that fire that ultimately took the lives of
19 of these firefighters.
Tonight, the city of Prescott, Arizona, is mourning the loss of their
hotshot team. The governor of Arizona said, “It was as dark a day as I can
remember in the state.” Fourteen of the hot shots who died yesterday were
only in their 20s.
This tragedy yesterday marked the single deadliest day for U.S.
firefighters since the 9/11 attacks. It was this country`s biggest loss of
firefighters to a wildfire in 80 years.
Today, President Obama called those 19 hotshots American heroes. The
fire that they were battling in Arizona remains tonight zero percent
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Thanks for being with us tonight.
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