The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/12/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
In December 2012, just a few days after the tragedy in Newtown,
Connecticut, the rather infamous Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas,
they announced plans that they would protest at a vigil for the victims of
the Sandy Hook shooting.
Not long after their announcement, a barrage of personal contact
information for if Westboro Baptist Church members turned up online. The
Twitter account for the Westboro Baptist Church`s leader was hacked. The
Westboro Baptist Church`s Web site was taken down off the Internet. It was
an all-out cyberattack.
And the self proclaimed proud perpetrators of this attack on the
Westboro Baptist Church was the hacker group that calls itself Anonymous.
In the end, the Westboro folks decided that they would not to show up
to protest the vigil for the people who were killed at Sandy Hook.
But the Westboro Baptist Church folks have not escaped the wrath of
Anonymous since. Anonymous continues to run a fake Facebook account
dedicated to the group. It`s called the Official Westboro Baptist Facebook
Page Y`all. Church leaders, Marilyn Manson, Anonymous and Captain Crunch.
The cover photo reads “God loves cats”.
This in very small part is what Anonymous does. Anonymous is a loose
collective of anonymous vigilante hackers from across the globe, and what
they do is retaliate against pretty much anybody they don`t like for any
reason and they do it on their own, often crude but usually pretty
In 2011, during the Arab Spring protests, Anonymous took
responsibility for hacking several government Web sites for the Tunisian
government. They hacked those Web sites in support of the Arab spring
In the past, Anonymous has successfully shut down big, well-protected
corporate Web sites like PayPal and Visa and MasterCard and those sort of
hacks are not easy to do.
After members of a local Klan group, a local KKK group, threatened
protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, a few months ago, Anonymous launched
attacks against a Klan affiliated Web site into Twitter accounts affiliated
with the Klan, announcing, quote, “To the protesters, do not be afraid, we
are here for you and we will protect and serve you. We are the law now.”
Agree with their cause du jour or not, Anonymous really does just do
it their own way. Anonymous now appears to have aligned itself, in support
of the victims of the “Charlie Hebdo” massacre in France.
On Friday`s show, we reported that Anonymous had posted online this
sort of grainy, spooky video threatening that in retaliation for the
terrorist attacks in France, Anonymous would basically destroy the online
presence, the web presence and social media presence of the terrorist
groups responsible for the French attacks.
This video posted on video had the guy wearing the Guy Fawkes mask,
which was sort of a symbol of Anonymous. Essentially, it shows the guy
acting out this monologue even though you can`t see his face moving,
because he`s wearing the mask. But he makes these threats against ISIS and
al Qaeda and he uses a computerized voice in order to make the threat.
That video that they released on Friday, the voice they used in the
video was speaking French. It`s a French language video. That was
released on Friday.
Now, Anonymous has released a new, much slicker version, as you can
see, of the same threat. This time the guy wearing the mask is speaking
English. The video is much less grainy. It is just as spooky, has higher
production values and, in fact, the part where the guy talks is proceeded
by a long montage of moving images about the response in France to the
terrorist attacks there.
That said, by the time you get to the end of the message it is
basically the same. Like the earlier video, it ends with a threat against
the terrorist groups.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any organizations and enterprises linked to those
terrorist attacks should expect a massive reaction from Anonymous. We are
dragging you down. We will find you and not leave you any rest.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After releasing that video, Anonymous then posted online a
long list of more than 70 Twitter accounts which they basically invited
their members and their followers to target, for alleged links to
They then also released a shorter list of Web sites with basically the
same implied message to their followers.
Anonymous always described as a loosely organized collective of
hackers from around the world. It seems like part of the way they are
mounting this attack on terrorist groups in revenge for the French attacks
is that they have posted this list, not just the Twitter accounts but also
those Web sites, posting that list and essentially pointing their own
members and followers at that list of Web sites so that their own followers
and members go after those Web sites and shut them down.
Just before we went to air, a bunch of Web sites on that list, not all
of them, but a bunch of the Web sites on that list did seem to be down.
Either they just time out when you try to go to them or it looks like their
servers have just been overwhelmed, which is one of the most simple ways
that hackers take down Web sites online.
One particular Web site, though, Ansar al-Haqq, that appears to have
been singled out for special treatment by Anonymous. That Web site didn`t
just get a denial of service attack today. They got all of their would-be
viewers redirected to a very cute, super fast little search engine called
duck, duck, go.
So, you try to go to Ansar al-Haqq and instead you get to duck, duck,
go, which is nice.
Ansar al-Haqq has been described as being an online hub specifically
for French Islamic extremists. So, that may be why they received this
special hacking attention today from Anonymous, and that hack appears to
have stayed up all day.
So, there`s a little bit of vigilante justice operating around this
story now, for all that implies.
But this hack, right, this Anonymous attack on terrorist groups and
their operations online, this is territory where ISIS and al Qaeda and
these other groups that they are targeting are pretty well-versed, right?
This isn`t a one-sided fight. It was a real strange story that
happened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, over the Christmas break. It happened
on Christmas Eve, first reported on Christmas Day. It seemed like a
complete outlier, almost a funny story at the time it happened, but
suddenly today, that story became more relevant and less funny.
Something that happened on Christmas Eve to the website of the
“Albuquerque News Journal” newspaper. The Web site got hacked by somebody
who was apparently an ISIS sympathizer and claimed to represent the ISIS
terrorist group. Why did they attack the “Albuquerque News Journal”? No
idea, no explanation. That was sort of part of what was funny about it.
Why that paper among all of the papers in the world?
That attack was on Christmas Eve. They hijacked an article on “The
Albuquerque News Journal” Web site and replaced the existing article with
this one. “Christmas will never be merry any longer” – which is
ridiculous. And they posted stuff like this, you`ll see no mercy infidels.
We are already here, we are in your PCs in each house and each office.
With Allah`s permission, we begin with Albuquerque.”
No offense to Albuquerque, but why would anyone begin with
Albuquerque? It`s going alphabetically, like skip Akron, which is weird.
It seems like such an outlier, right? Such a weird story when that
happened on Christmas Eve. But then, last week, round two, it happened
again. It was the same imagery as you can see, some of the same language.
I love you ISIS, cyber caliphate, all of that same stuff. Same stuff that
was used in the attack on Christmas Eve, but the attack last Tuesday – I
should say they also changed the banners, as I said, to say, cyber
caliphate, showed this guy wearing the scarf over his head and “I love
So, that all looks the same, the same imagery from the two attacks.
Same language appeared in the second round of hacking last week on Tuesday.
And again on Tuesday, when we got round two, again, it was the “Albuquerque
News Journal” that got attacked, still nobody understands why.
But when we got round two, we also saw a random TV station in
Salisbury, Maryland, get attacked. WBOC TV, which is the CBS affiliate in
When they got – the group posted this sort of weird message on
Christmas Eve, right? In the second attack a last week, they posted a very
similar message – not referencing Christmas this time but a New Year`s
message. “Infidels, New Year will make you suffer.”
That was posted on the WBOC TV station Twitter account last week.
That same message was posted on the Web site of the “Albuquerque News
Journal” last week.
I should mention, though, that even though the attackers managed to
get their “I love ISIS” guy and their cyber caliphate message and the
picture of the guy in the scarf, right, they managed to get that up there
again and take over the Twitter accounts and everything, the way they had
the first time around – when they tried to post this article on the
“Albuquerque News Journal” Web site, look, they couldn`t defeat the pay
wall. So, they`re able to do all of this stuff to the online presence of
this newspaper, but if you want to read the article they posted called
“Infidels, New Year will make you suffer,” you had to click through the
consumer questionnaire on the newspaper pay wall in order to read that
Even international jihadist hacking has its technical limits and the
technical limit is they can`t get around the pay wall. It`s weird, right?
In some ways it is funny, funny strange as in an Albuquerque newspaper and
a Salisbury, Maryland, TV station – why did they get picked? What`s that
It`s also laugh-out-loud funny in terms of them not be being able to
defeat the pay wall and the stupid messages that they post, Christmas will
never be merry? Come on. I love ISIS. It`s stupid stuff. There`s
something just sort of juvenile and blowhardy about that kind of
threatening that stuff that gets posted when hacks like this occur. It`s
worrying and it`s weird, but it`s also just inane.
The Albuquerque newspaper and that TV station in Maryland, they still
have no idea why they were targeted. But now we know they appear to have
been the warm-up for the big event, because the big event happened today.
At about 12:30 Eastern Time this afternoon, the Twitter account for CentCom
was taken over by the same dumb “I love ISIS” picture with the guy in the
scarf, the same cyber caliphate banner that had previously been used
against that TV station and that newspaper in New Mexico.
For 40 minutes, whoever who hijacked the CentCom Twitter feed used it
to post taunting messages like this to U.S. soldiers. And also pictures
and links of what it said was classified information.
As it turns out, what looked to be Pentagon military plans for China
and North Korea turned out to be not that. For example, the map that was
posted of potential North Korean nuclear facilities turns out to have been
lifted from the Web site of the Federation for American Scientists. That`s
where they got that from, not some classified Pentagon database somewhere.
Other information that got posted included this list of retired
general officers from the United States Army, including a lot of very well-
known retired generals.
And it`s worrying to see a group like this posting personal
information about retired generals from the U.S. Army. But that`s also not
classified information that they somehow prized out of the Pentagon`s
protected servers. It turns out that stuff has been publicly available if
you know where to look for it.
Over the course of the 40 minutes before the Pentagon was able to get
the Twitter account shut down, the account posted, we think, about ten
tweets and they posted lots and lots of files which they said were
classified military material, but they weren`t. They also uploaded two
ISIS propaganda videos to the CentCom YouTube page.
By 1:10 this afternoon, the Pentagon appeared to be back in control of
its social media accounts.
Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman said nothing damaging to
national security was posted by the group when they got their accounts
hijacked. Colonel Warren told reporters that, quote, “there is no evidence
that any DOD system, computer or network has in any way been compromised.”
In the Pentagon`s view, he said, quote, “This is little more than a cyber
prank. It`s an annoyance but that`s all it is.” Quote, “In no way
compromises our operations. This isn`t our Web site. This is just our
And he is right about that, right? This is Twitter that was hacked
and YouTube that was hacked. This wasn`t the Pentagon`s central servers.
Still it is discomforting to see the U.S. military to lose control of
its YouTube page and its Twitter account, right? It`s still discomforting.
So, the Pentagon spent the afternoon trying to convince people that
the social media account they suffered wasn`t a big deal, nothing really
dangerous even if it was really spooky.
At the same time today, New York City officials were trying to
convince the public that something else that happened in social media
actually is a very big deal and could potentially have really bad real
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN MILLER, NYPD COUNTER-TERRORISM: You may have noted that a couple
of notices went out department-wide involving officer safety, but also
intelligence relating to a communication that went out late Saturday on an
ISIS Twitter account. This was a message from the ISIS spokesman Shaykh
Adnani who reiterated language that was posted in a threat in late
September that said civilians, but also police officers, intelligence
officers and soldiers were all targets, legitimate targets, according to
ISIL. And they were asking their followers wherever they were with to
carry out those threats with whatever means they had available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, the video that the deputy police commissioner there is
discussing is a video that was first released in September by ISIS. It
showed the leader of the group calling on ISIS sympathizers around the
world to attack police and security targets in their home countries. What
happened in New York today is that police drew a link between the uploading
of that video last September, that ISIS video calling for attacks at home,
they drew a link between that video being released in September and a
number of attacks being carried out against police and security forces in
the weeks following that video`s release.
They specifically cited the hatchet attack on four New York City
police officers in October, also the twin fatal attacks against soldiers in
Canada a little while after that, as well as a few other incidents.
They`re not saying that those incidents are necessarily directly connected
to ISIS having called for attacks on police and soldiers in the West, but
they do say that they are worried there is a connection.
And now, this weekend, somebody reposted the ISIS video from September
but added footage from the killings in France.
So, police now say given that, given the resurfacing of this video and
the addition of the stuff from France, police now say they are on alert,
they want law enforcement agencies and the public to be on alert, that this
renewed call from ISIS for low-level attacks in the West, it could be seen
as a call to action, and countries around the world for that group`s
There is one other ISIS propaganda video that raised concerns of a
different kind today. It was this one, which was uploaded over the weekend
via Twitter. This video appears to show one of the assailants from last
week`s attacks in France, a man who killed a policewoman before attacking a
kosher market in Paris, it shows him pledging support to ISIS and
explaining why he did.
We should say that NBC News has not verified when, where or under what
circumstances this video is taken. But in the video, the assailant – he
spouts propaganda while sitting under an ISIS flag that he seems to have
printed out from online using a home printer, we blurred that out.
He describes his attack as retaliation for airstrikes against ISIS in
Iraq and Syria. Worryingly through, this video also includes footage of
the man`s death. The video includes at the very beginning and the very
end, screen grabs and video from the moment at which police shot and killed
that man as he left through the front door of the kosher market at the end
of the hostage scene.
The reason that`s worrying is because the inclusion of that footage
video showing his death clearly means that he didn`t upload the video
himself, right? The video was completed by somebody else other than him
after his death in order for it to be posted this weekend after he was
Who did that? Who added the death footage to that video and posted
it? How did they have access to that video that he made before he was
killed? Were they working with him all along?
And there remains this important question of whether or not this is an
ongoing plot, right? French police said they are looking for six
additional suspects who are linked to the perpetrators of last week`s
attacks, including one who they say has been seen since the attacks driving
the car that was registered to Amedy Coulibaly`s widow who is at large,
who`s still being treated as a suspect in these attacks.
She apparently left France and traveled to Syria via Spain and Turkey
but her car, apparently, is still back in France and is now being driven by
somebody who French police are trying to track down. On it goes.
NBC`s Richard Engel joins us live next from Paris.
MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel joins us
live from Paris in just a moment. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: Take a look at this surveillance video that surfaced today.
This reportedly shows the fourth suspected accomplice behind the attacks in
Paris last week, Hayat Boumeddiene. You could see here on the right side
of the screen, in the white head scarf. She is inside the airport in
Istanbul, in Turkey.
The man she is traveling with has been identified by French officials.
You can see them at the airport`s passport control desk with they get their
passports stamped and then they go along their way.
This surveillance video was taken on January 2nd. So, this was before
the attacks in Paris. On that day on January 2nd, Hayat Boumeddiene flew
from Madrid, Spain, to Istanbul. Once she arrived in Istanbul, she is
believed to have stayed in a hotel on the eastern side of that city, in the
middle class neighborhood. After two days in Istanbul, she`s thought to
have left and flown to the southeastern Turkish city of Urfa.
You may have heard the name of that city, it may sound familiar to
you, because Urfa is now pretty famous worldwide as basically a good way to
get in to Syria. Urfa is right at Turkey`s border with Syria.
Intelligence officials monitoring Hayat Boumeddiene`s whereabouts say they
followed her phone signals from Istanbul to that border city of Urfa until
last Thursday, until a day after the attack on the “Charlie Hebdo” offices
Turkish officials say they believe she then crossed in to Syria that
day, into Syria, into chaos of the Syrian civil war. That day, she is
believed to have crossed into Syria. That was the day after the Charlie
Hebdo attacks. It was also the day that her common law husband Amedy
Coulibaly killed a policewoman on the outskirts of Paris and then the next
day, he attacked that kosher market in Paris, killing four hostages before
he himself was killed in a shootout with French authorities.
Amedy Coulibaly and the Kouachi brothers who carried out the Charlie
Hebdo attack are all dead now, all killed by police but she is at large.
BBC reports today that officials placed her last known phone call as coming
this Saturday from an ISIS-controlled town inside of Syria not far from the
Turkish board border. French police today say that as many as six people
overall who are linked to the terrorist attacks are still at large and they
still sought by authorities, including one man reportedly seen driving her
car after she left it behind in France to make her way to Spain and then to
Turkey and then in to the ISIS stronghold of war-torn Syria.
Joining us now from Paris is NBC News chief foreign correspondent
Richard, thanks very much for being with us in the middle of the
What do we know about the investigation? French police saying they
are looking for as many as six suspects now.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Actually, those
– that information is coming from leaks. There are two reports that say
French police are looking for as many as six different suspects and that
one of those suspects was seen driving her Mini Cooper around Paris
But when we contacted the official spokesperson for the French
prosecutor`s office here in Paris, they won`t comment at all. France is
treating this very much like an ongoing investigation. They clearly are
looking for people. Over the last 24 hours, France has deployed 10,000
troops and police officers nationwide, about half of them in front of
Jewish schools, the 700 Jewish schools that are in this country.
France is worried that this is an ongoing plot, that there are more
suspects. That`s why it has done the biggest deployment of forces since
World War II.
Richard, in terms of those troops and police being deployed, as you
say specifically the bulk to guard Jewish schools, Jewish facilities, do we
have any reason to believe that they have specificity in their fears about
this is an ongoing attack that they believe Jewish schools are next on the
list? Or are they surmising it is a likely target, if there is a target?
ENGEL: I don`t really know but I think it is a fair assumption,
especially when you look at the past history in testimony that Cherif gave
himself. One of the younger brother who was involved in the “Charlie
Hebdo” attack. When he himself spoke to judges and prosecutors when he was
arrested in 2005, he said that his initial goal was to attack Jewish
targets in France.
Then you saw Coulibaly attack the kosher market, which he had scouted
out the week before. An employee at the kosher market said they noticed
him there, and noticed that he wasn`t one of the usual customers at the
kosher market here in Paris, and didn`t think much of it and then thought a
lot more of it when he showed up with his assault rifle and started taking
So, it`s unclear if they have specific information to indicate Jewish
targets but given the past behavior of this cell, that seems like a fair
MADDOW: Richard, the “Charlie Hebdo” attacks happened on Wednesday,
follow-on attacks happened on Thursday and beyond. That is when Hayat
Boumeddiene was named as a suspect in the attack. She was named on
Should we be surprised that she was able to cross an international
border two days after that when she reportedly crossed over from Turkey in
to Syria? I know you have reported from Urfa. We had you on the show
reporting live from Urfa, reporting from that place essentially as a portal
into Syria. Should it not be surprising she was able to cross that border?
ENGEL: There have been so many intelligence failures. It is
obviously always easier to look back in retrospect, but there are many
intelligence mistakes in all this.
First, all of these suspects, the three dead militants who, by the
way, I`m not sure we should call them suspects anymore. They have
confessed to being involved in their telephone calls or video messages.
All of these individuals were well known to authorities. Yet, they were
either ignored or they were under appreciated. That`s one issue.
And then, two, this is what happened with Hayat Boumeddiene, according
to Turkish officials. We don`t know exactly when she left France. We
don`t know exactly when she arrived in Spain, but on the 2nd which is
significantly before the attacks began, she arrived on the Asian side –
there`s two international airports in Istanbul. She arrived at the Asian
side airport on a Pegasus Airlines flight, a small airline, a Turkish
After that, she stayed for a couple of days in Istanbul, and then made
her way down to Urfa. All of this stage, and all of this time, nothing had
happened there was no reason for the Turkish authorities to particularly be
following her, except that she had previous run-ins with French
authorities. She had been questioned – there are reports that she was
questioned for involvement with extremists here in France.
The Turks started to follow her. The Turks started to follow here.
We`re told not at the request of France, just they thought there was
They were tracking her phone, they`re keeping tabs on her, not
physically keeping tabs on her because in the end, on the 8th, she crosses
in to Syria, into a town called Tal Abyad, which is very well known ISIS
stronghold. It is absolute no man`s land, and they lost her because they
lost her cell phone signal. So, they didn`t have it seems a body on her,
they had a somewhat casual trace on her cell phone.
Then, after the French authorities put out their BOLO, put their APB,
releasing her picture, putting it out to the public, at that stage the
Turks got in contact with the French and said, you know, we have been
following this woman who`s disappeared. This might be the woman you are
So, why didn`t the Turks communicate this information that they lost
track of someone who crossed into Syria earlier to the French? Should they
have contacted the Spanish because she was coming from Madrid?
There are many people who go in to Turkey and there`s a real problem
with Turkey right now with so many foreign fighters, or so many extremists,
or so many people who go in to Turkey and then just disappear. It`s
unclear that the Turks really knew where she was until she failed actually
on the 9th to catch her return flight to Madrid. It was on the 9th when
that BOLO went out and it was on the 9th she missed her flight and they
lost her tracking data the day before.
So, something fell through the cracks here. And when you look back
and I think when this will be investigated by the Turks, by the French, by
a variety of authorities, they are going to see that even after a decade
after 9/11 or over a decade after 9/11 which was supposed to be a time when
all of the dots were going to be connected, they were not connected.
MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel live for
us in Paris – Richard, thank you very much. Really appreciate it. It`s
good to see you, my friend.
All right. We`ve got much more ahead, including some unexpected
military news and some unexpectedly constructive normal news from
Washington, of all places. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So, the streets are filled with millions of people. The plan
is to march. But when there are millions of people in the street,
inevitably, there were be a lot of also not marching.
And at one point, somebody who has an apartment in the center of
Paris, an apartment overlooking the route of the march, that person decided
to entertain the many, many, many people stuck under his or her window.
This person later posted the video of what happened to Reddit. You
know, I heard the news about how huge the rally was in Paris this weekend.
I had read the reports of what it was like on the ground.
But until I saw this, this guy turning around his own stereo speakers
to play John Lennon`s “Imagine” not just in his apartment but out the
window to the crowd below so they could hear it, until I saw his video of
the crowd hearing him do that, I did not really understand how big it was
or anything what it was like.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: It gives you an idea of the mood in Paris yesterday. At what
French officials describe as the largest demonstration in modern French
After 12 people were killed at the offices of the satirical newspaper
“Charlie Hebdo” last week, the surviving staff announced that they would
make their production deadline, that their staff being decimated in that
massacre, they would publish “Charlie Hebdo” on schedule this week.
Usual print for “Charlie Hebdo” is about 60,000 copies. Last week,
they announced that the newspaper they plan to put out this week will have
a print run not of 60,000, but of 1 million copies.
But then after millions of people turned out in France this weekend to
protest the “Charlie Hebdo” killings and the other terrorist attacks last
week, they have now announced that the print run will be 3 million copies.
And it will be printed in 16 languages, instead of just French.
Our Ronan Farrow is in Paris today. He interviewed longtime “Charlie
Hebdo” contributor, Caroline Fourest, about what it`s like to work making
the next edition of the magazine in these conditions now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAROLINE FOUREST, CHARLIE HEBDO CONTRIBUTOR: The survivors are very,
very under shock for sure. The day was difficult for them to work, to just
focus. They are very few now but because they know that our dead
colleagues wanted to draw and make laugh about those crazy stupid guys who
can kill for a cartoon, they started again to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Caroline Fourest also talked to Ronan today about the cover
of the new edition of “Charlie Hebdo,” which was released tonight ahead of
its scheduled publication date on Wednesday. The cover is a cartoon of the
Prophet Muhammad shedding a tear, beneath the words “all is forgiven”. He
is also holding a sign “Je Suis Charlie”.
And the reason I am describing it to you in of me showing it to you is
because we operate under NBC News rules, and NBC News will not allow us to
show it to you.
Caroline Fourest from “Charlie Hebdo” addressed that concern head on
today when she spoke with Ronan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FOUREST: We had some other cartoons, more “Charlie Hebdo,” like this
one I knew because we are in America you are probably going to blur it,
which is just crazy.
RONAN FARROW, MSNBC`S “RONAN FARROW DAILY” HOST: Let`s talk about
that. It is a debate going on in newsrooms around the world. It is true,
many stations including NBC News, have decided they will not show some of
those covers that are most offensive, particularly the depictions of
Prophet Muhammad. What`s your response to that?
FOUREST: I think it is the saddest news in all of this, credibility
(ph) and moving mobilization around “Charlie Hebdo.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now live from Paris is Ronan Farrow, host of
“RONAN FARROW DAILY” here on MSNBC.
Ronan, thanks for staying up into the middle of the night to be with
us. I really appreciate it.
FARROW: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, we heard just a bit of –
FARROW: So, obviously –
MADDOW: Sorry, go ahead, Ronan. Go ahead.
FARROW: The feeling here is exactly what you were talking about,
Rachel, all of the people in the streets echoing exactly what those
remaining staffers talked about, what the former staffers talked about.
So, it`s apropos that you`re using that sound. It`s what we heard all
through that rally here.
MADDOW: In terms of that specific discussion that you had with
Caroline for us – I mean, from those who work at that magazine, for people
who work in the industry, for people who are part of the response in
France, is it a source of anger that news outlets still see it contrary to
standards, that particularly American news organizations essentially are
labeling it offensive and won`t show it.
FARROW: The biggest surprise, Rachel, is that people aren`t aware of
that here. People were taken aback, even people within the community, even
those who are part of this very tightly-knit family of former editors at
“Charlie Hebdo”. You heard the response from Caroline Fourest, she was
actually taken aback when I described that debate. We had a longer
conversation about it as well. And she said, as you just heard that, it
was one of the saddest things.
That`s something I heard echoed indeed by the widow of the chief
editor, Charb, something of an icon here, his poster being held up
throughout all of those massive crowds. She was utterly shocked that
countries were undertaking these standards and blurring out images, as
we`ve seen in England, or declining to show some of the supposedly most
offensive ones, as our own network standards mandate. And she joined that
chorus in seeing that`s one of the saddest parts.
I think it`s summed up best by Caroline`s thoughts on this. She said
the fundamentalists have already won if we self-censor in this way.
MADDOW: Ronan, in terms of your interview with Charb`s widow today, I
guess – I guess I just want to ask you what her overall – I guess, what
her overall position is right now? I mean, obviously, she`s lost her
beloved, right? She`s lost – she`s lost her partner in life.
But it seems like she`s talking – she ended up talking to you about
some of these other strange things have emerged around their relationship,
including his family denying that she was his girlfriend and some other
strange things that have emerged since killing.
Can you just describe some of that to us?
FARROW: Yes, certainly. I think the most surprising twist in what
she said was just to remind the world that Charbonnier was actually one of
the most avid opponents of anyone who would crack down on religious
freedom. He was a great advocate of all faiths, expressing himself, of
course, as you`ve discussed on your own program, the publication went off
all different faiths. It was satirical about everybody, Rachel.
And she reminded people that, you know, he was in a relationship with
someone who came from a Muslim family and that they stood for freedom in
all of its forms, that there wasn`t in her view, an anti-Muslim sentiment
there. Of course, that`s something that her critics, that critics of
Charb, that critics of the publication would take issue with.
In terms of the spat with her family, the family of Charb, it seems to
be a personal sidebar issue. She`s certainly showed us pictures of the two
– of their relationships together, however you want to characterize it.
They had been cohabitating much of the time. Her child called him dad.
And she showed me home videos of her child doing that.
She talked about their whirlwind “Romeo and Juliet” romance, that they
were at opposite ends of the political spectrum, and she talked about how
their families didn`t always approve of that. In her view, no one could
silence her, not politicians she had worked with, not these terrorists, and
certainly not family members. She was defiant about it, as she was on so
many issues. And, of course, Charbonnier`s legacy is in the face of
exactly this kind of terror and this attempt to suppress these images.
MADDOW: Ronan Farrow joining us live from Paris – Ronan, thank you
so much, and congratulations on these exclusive interviews today.
FARROW: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Ronan`s show, of course, airs weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern
here on MSNBC.
All right. We still got lots to come tonight, including, as I
mentioned, some surprising news from the U.S. military. Please stay with
MADDOW: When the Twitter account for U.S. CentCom got hacked today,
this is what it looked like. The dumb “I love ISIS” picture and their
generic cyber caliphate, you`ve been hacked imagery.
But this is what the CentCom Twitter feed looked like just before it
got hacked. “France to deploy aircraft carrier to fight ISIS. “The U.S.
and partner nation forces continued to attack ISIS terrorists in Iraq and
Syria.” “Pentagon press secretary says Mosul is going to be the
significant step forward in the fight against ISIS.”
I can`t imagine why ISIS might want to replace all of information with
There is significant news to report in the actual U.S. war against
ISIS and that story is next.
MADDOW: Meanwhile, from yesterday into today, the United States
military launched 27 separate airstrikes against ISIS targets over a 24-
hour period, between 8:00 a.m. yesterday and 8:00 a.m. today, the U.S.-led
international coalition that has been bombing ISIS targets in Iraq and
Syria say they bombed 27 different sites. And that comes after they say
they launched 11 airstrikes against ISIS on Friday and then a dozen more
over the weekend.
It`s been sort of lost in the sauce in terms of the coverage of the
French terror attacks and the Western response to the French terror
attacks. But as the perpetrators claim credit for al Qaeda and for ISIS,
an international air war continues and seems to be escalating against ISIS
targets in Iraq and Syria. With the world newly focused on the global
threat of those groups, will Congress ever pass authorization to fight
ISIS? Do we get to debate that war now and how it should be waged?
We have been waging that war against ISIS for months now without ever
making a formal decision about it in our own country. Is it now a good
time to assess whether or not the effort thus far has been successful,
particularly given what`s just happened in Paris? Is this a good time to
decide whether or not, moving forward, we should somehow change course?
Joining us now is Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He`s a member
of the Foreign Relations Committee. He`s been calling for a vote in
Congress authorizing strikes against ISIS since they begun last summer.
Senator Murphy, thanks very much for being with us.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Sure.
MADDOW: Do we know enough about what`s happening now in Iraq and
Syria to be able to say that the pace of operations is speeding up, that
there is anything more intense about the way that ISIS is being fought
MURPHY: Well, we certainly know that there is significant military
progress on the ground in both Iraq and Syria. You`ve had – as you`re
reporting – increased activity just over the last 24 hours. But if you
look back over the last 30 days, you`ve seen progress on the ground, you`ve
seen significant progress in pushing ISIL out of Kobani, you`ve seen Mt.
Sinjar come back under control of our allies. You`ve started to see some
reports of tribes in western Iraq expelling or beginning to take steps to
expel ISIS. So, that`s all good news.
What is, frankly, less certain is whether there is the political
reform happening on the ground that is actually going to be the end of
ISIS. And that`s part of the reason why Congress has to have a debate
about this, because we can hear reports of military progress, but unless
it`s accompanied by real political reform, economic reform, societal reform
on the ground in places like Iraq, then the stalemate, or a little bit of
momentum on our side doesn`t actually help us in the long run. That`s why
it`s imperative for us to start talking about this in the next several days
We`re at a pivotal moment I think as military success is building, but
we are uncertain of whether there is a component, political success next to
MADDOW: Do you see a meaningful connection between the military fight
against ISIS on the ground in Iraq and Syria and the international threat
posed by ISIS both through propaganda, perhaps through directly organizing
foreign attacks and inspiring the kind of fighters we saw strike last week
MURPHY: Well, you know, I clearly think that you`re seeing a flow of
foreign fighters back and forth into Syria and Iraq that`s presenting real
problems and threats to our allies in Europe and potentially here to the
But I think it is important just to recognize that the individuals who
carried out these attacks in Paris were originally radicalized not by ISIS
but in coordination against the United States` invasion and occupation of
Iraq. That`s what initially brought them into this fight. And it`s worth
repeating that those who would call for another insertion of U.S. ground
troops to fight ISIS would be essentially repeating the very mistake that
radicalized thousands of Muslims all across country during our 10-year
occupation of that country.
So, I certainly think ISIS poses a threat to the United States and our
allies, but we`re living with a decade-long mistake in Iraq that had
radicalized thousands already no matter whether or not is was present in
MADDOW: Do you think that there will be a vote in this Congress –
sometime in this Congress about authorizing what we`re doing in Iraq and
Syria and, thereby, for the first time really substantively debating it?
MURPHY: I don`t know. We took a vote in the Foreign Relations
Committee the end of last Congress. We passed a limited authorization that
did not allow for a ground troop presence in the fight, attempted to put
some geographic restrictions on it.
But you don`t see any hustle right now in the new Republican Senate
majority to bring an authorization vote for the Congress. I think Senator
Corker, who is the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee is
committed, but it certainly doesn`t like he`s going to spend the first few
weeks working towards it.
Let`s be clear: to many of us, this is an unauthorized extra-
constitutional conflict right now. We`re outside the War Powers Act
authorization. I do not believe and many others do not believe that there
is legal justification for proceeding without a congressional vote.
So, every day that we are not debating this is a day that we are
advocating our responsibility as members of Congress.
MADDOW: Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut. Thank you very much for
your take on this, sir. Thank you. Appreciate it.
MURPHY: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Spotted, last night, in one of America`s most influential
HOMER SIMPSON: Can we cuddle for a little while?
MARGE SIMPSON: Thank you, Svengali. I knitted us a blanket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma is no longer in Washington.
Before he left town, he made sure that one of his final acts as senator
would be to block a veterans suicide prevention bill that was all but
unanimously supported by every other member of Congress, in both Houses, in
both parties. Nobody else had a substantive problem with it at all.
But Tom Coburn decided to personally block it, anyway. And so, the
Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill was lost because of one standing
in its way while we keep losing 22 veterans a day every day to suicide.
But now, Tom Coburn is gone. It`s a new year. And with him out of
the way, now, it might happen.
The Clay Hunt act was reintroduced last week. And today, it passed
the House again unanimously. It`s already passed the House for this
Congress. The new chair of the Senate Veterans Committee is Republican
Johnny Isakson of Georgia. His office tells us tonight that the
legislation will be one of the committee`s first priorities in Congress.
Now, that`s not saying exactly when he means to get the ball rolling,
but with unanimous support in the House and bipartisan support in the
Senate, and Tom Coburn gone, it seems like this thing might finally have a
chance. I can`t believe it`s taken this long, but it might finally have a
chance. We will keep you posted.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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