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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/07/13

Guests: Noah Shachtman

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Ed. Thank you very much, man. ED SCHULTZ, "THE ED SHOW" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: My thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. President Obama announced on May Day, on May 1st, a couple of years ago that Osama bin Laden had been killed. The president said he had approved a covert mission inside Pakistan that resulted in the death of the founder and later of al Qaeda, the group that attacked us on September 11th, 2001, which led Congress to pass the authorization for use of military force, which has justified the 12 years of war that have followed ever since. So, the announcement that bin Laden was dead on May 21st -- excuse me, on May 1st, 2010, May 1st, 2010. Two days later, two days later, on May 3rd, 2010, two days after that announcement, retired Senator Chuck Hagel gave an interview to his hometown paper in Lincoln, Nebraska, "The Journal Star". He told the paper that the long pursuit and eventual killing of bin Laden, quote, "should reassure America and the world that America is still a leader, and we can and will get the job done." He said, quote, "That is very important for the world to realize." More the point, though, Chuck Hagel then said, "Well, now that we`ve killed Osama bin Laden, let`s leave Afghanistan." He said that the pursuit of bin Laden and al Qaeda was, quote, "the reason we invaded Afghanistan 10 years ago." Now that bin Laden was dead, the president he said has to, quote, "start heading toward the exits." He said, "I believe the president will come up with a cogent way to disengage. We need to start winding this down." He said the Taliban and al Qaeda are two different elements. He said that if we stay after killing bin Laden, we have lost our purpose, our objective. The worst thing we can do, he said, is get bogged down with no way of getting out. It wasn`t that long ago, but it was interesting to look back a year and eight months ago to when bin Laden was killed. I mean, at the time, anybody else think that maybe that would have meant we would come home from Afghanistan? It seemed like one of the real possibilities that opened up with that almost unbelievable news on that cold night in May. But we did not leave Afghanistan after this happened. This was roughly 600 days ago. We`ve got another 700 days ahead of us before the White House says this war will officially end, nearly two years from now. But how many American troops are left there between now and then? And what are those troops expected to do? How much fighting are they going to be doing? How much of our 11 and a half yearlong war is going to continue to result in Americans getting hurt and killed between now and then? All of that remains to be decided. What`s going to happen in Afghanistan this year and next year remains to be decided. And a lot of it is being decided right now. And some of it is being decided in a very unexpected place. I present to you Le Chateau de La Tour. It`s not just some fancy place like in the Midwest that put on a French name to sound fancy. This is actually place in France. It`s located about 40 miles outside Paris, in a place called Chantilly. It apparently has lovely some fine dining and live music. They have a pool table in the bar where you can play billiard anglais. You can also get hot stone massages. And here is the entrance sign for the hotel driveway. You see the little arrow there on the right? Those two guys who look like they`re wearing matching ski jackets from an old Olympics opening ceremony, those are actually the French police. And they are guarding the Chateau de la Tour because the Taliban is there. The Taliban is at the Chateau de la Tour, I should be clear, because they were invited. See, technically what our troops are doing in Afghanistan is supporting what is supposed to be the Afghan government`s war against the Taliban. And representatives from the Afghan government and the Taliban spent last month at this hotel in Chantilly, France, talking about peace, talking about how the war ends from their perspective, because when our war is over, over there, they of course will still live there with each other. You do have to kind of wonder, this is from the front page of the Web site from the hotel, if the Taliban like went to the Web site when they found where the talks were going to be. You have to wonder what they thought about the hot stone massage iconography. But regardless, the Taliban is at the table, maybe even at the massage table. The various Afghan sides are talking to each other about the end of the American part of the war and what it means for them. President Obama listed ending the Afghanistan war first on the list of -- on his list of priorities for the things he is going to work on post- fiscal cliff at this new start of his second term. The outgoing commanding general for the U.S. in Afghanistan, General Allen, the other guy whose e- mails are being investigated in conjunction with the sex scandal that caused David Petraeus to resign, General Allen, his outgoing recommendation as he leaves as commanding general of the war in Afghanistan is that, of course, we should leave tens of thousands of Americans there as long as possible until we finally have to leave at the end of 2014, and then we should leave tens of thousands of Americans there even thereafter. Naturally, that is his recommendation. When is the last time a general asked to please have fewer resources to work with? But however many Americans get left in Afghanistan in some training capacity in the long run after the end of 2014, after combat operations are over, however many people are going to be around in some capacity doing work other than fighting a war, once the war fighting is over, how quickly we scale down to that number, which means how many of our fellow Americans might die or get hurt in that war between now and then? That decision is being made right now. This is a live policy decision that the president is mulling right now in Washington. On Friday of this week, he is scheduled to meet in person with the president of Afghanistan, with Hamid Karzai. He is on his way to Washington already. Before his Friday meeting with the president, Mr. Karzai gets the privilege of one of the only in-person meetings that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is taking all this week after she returned to the office this week following her very scary concussion and blood clot. Of course, the job of replacing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state had looked early on like it was going to go to this woman, a current ambassador to the United Nation, Susan Rice. Susan Rice is a long-time friend and ally of the president whose name was floated very early on as a favorite for secretary of state. Ultimately, though, before anybody was nominated for the position, the White House sort of backed down from the prospect of nominating her. They allowed her to take her name out of the running when Republicans attacked her for the grave, grave crime of saying something wrong on Sunday morning talk shows -- something that by the way turned out to be mostly correct. But never mind, they criticized her anyway, and the White House did not back her up in the face of that criticism, and her name was removed from consideration. Now, faced with another high profile nominee who has attracted loud Republican nomination, this time it appears the White House is not backing down. This time, President Obama has officially nominated Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense as of today. Interestingly, another potential nominee for a big high profile national security job for this White House who President Obama reportedly initially wanted, but who also backed off from was this guy, John Brennan. This was John Brennan with President Obama when President Obama first took office. John Brennan was reportedly President Obama`s choice to lead the CIA after he first became president in his first term. John Brennan had been a career CIA figure. He had served as chief of staff to George Tenet when Director Tenet, CIA, under George W. Bush developed their torture and secret prison program. John Brennan`s association with the torture and secret prison program of the George Bush era CIA is what sunk his chances for being picked as director of the CIA at the start of the Obama presidency. It`s kind of weird. It`s almost a con foreign concept in American modern politics that the left might block something from happening, but it`s true. That`s how it works. Liberals who thought Obama stopping the torture program wasn`t enough. That people tarred by association with that program should not be promoted, that there should be political accountability for people who were close to the torture policy. Liberals raised enough noise about John Brennan`s potential nomination to run the CIA in 2008 and 2009 that it never happened. At least it never happened in the first Obama term. Now, it is happening in the second Obama term. Now, apparently, with the official nomination of John Brennan to lead the CIA today, now apparently we know that the White House has decided to go for it. Yes, the secret prisons are closed, and yes, this president outlawed torture. But I think the administration`s calculation is that the political statute of limitations on John Brennan`s liability for being associated with the torture and secret prison policies under the previous president, that statute of limitations means that it`s not enough to keep him from the incredibly powerful job of CIA director in the president`s second term. Because President Obama signed that executive order against torture, and because he did not reopen the secret CIA prisons, and because he has been trying to shut down Guantanamo, even though he has not been able to, because even if the idea of American troops flying covertly into a supposed allied country and killing somebody on the ground there and taking his body away with them when they left, even though that might not appeal to most civil libertarian minded Americans, in the abstract, the fact that the dead dude in question in that particular scenario for us as a country was Osama bin Laden has pretty much neutered any concerns about how exactly that went down. So, because of all those things, the big picture is that the most controversial national security elements of this administration are two. The first one is using drone strikes to kill people not in war zones. The controversial expansion of drone power so that it is used frequently in non-war zones to kill people who aren`t on any active battlefield after a kill list targeting process that the White House describes as very much like due process, but nobody else would ever describe as due process. That is one of the two most controversial elements of the national security legacy of the Obama administration, thus far. John Brennan has thus far during the Obama presidency been the most visible face of that policy. When the Obama administration decided just this past year that for the first time they were going to admit to the fact that they do this, instead of just allowing it to be reported while they never confirmed it, it was John Brennan they had give that speech. He is the man who has been the face of the U.S. government basically outfitting a second Air Force outside the U.S. military to kill people around the world without the chain of command and authority and political responsibility that we expect from the U.S. military. If there were any doubts about how President Obama feels as part of his legacy, about whether President Obama was going to be shy about that being a central part of his national security legacy as president, those doubts would presumably be laid to rest today when he nominated John Brennan to be head of the CIA, offering this big promotion to the man who more than anybody else in government stands for that drone policy. The second most controversial element of the Obama national security agenda, of course, has been the fact that he tripled down on the war in Afghanistan. Now, this was not a surprise. He said he was going to do it before he got elected. Once he got elected, he did it. He tripled the number of troops there, and he put this long, long end date on when the war was going to end, at the end of 2014, even after killing Osama bin Laden when guys like Chuck Hagel were saying OK, bin Laden is dead. All right. Can we go now? We have not gone. And there is potentially another two years of it not ending ahead of us. By picking Chuck Hagel as defense secretary today, yes, the president has picked a political fight, although probably I think it`s one that he can win. But by picking John Brennan and Chuck Hagel together today, the president has made a complicated but emphatic statement about national security and how he intends to be remembered and how he intends to either keep fighting or bringing Americans home from the fighting after 12 long years over the course of this second presidential term. Joining us now is Andrea Mitchell. She is NBC`s chief foreign affairs correspondent. Andrea, thank you for being here. I appreciate you taking the time. ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Thank you. Happy New Year to you, too. MADDOW: Thank you. I haven`t seen you since the New Year. Yes. MITCHELL: Yes. MADDOW: Why was John Brennan too hot a political potato in 2009, but he is not too hot now? MITCHELL: You know, I`ve been thinking than question. And certainly the president had to be much more careful coming into office about his base and about his campaign promises. And I think once you inhabit that seat at the head of the table in the Situation Room, and you are responsible for fighting terrorism, and you take on that commander-in-chief mantle, your perspective changes. And clearly it did for Barack Obama. We see that. I think the two sides of his brain are really -- his foreign policy brain are really being exercised in these two nominations today, because you have Chuck Hagel, which is the Barack Obama who as a state senator had established his bona fides as someone against the Iraq war, and also against expansion I military engagement overseas. And that is Chuck Hagel. And the other side of that is he has also, you know, been slower to fight the good fight some would say from his base perspective of shutting down Guantanamo. He`s made compromises. And he`s also signed some of the defense authorization and the FISA reauthorization acts which many civil libertarians find deeply offensive. MADDOW: Andrea, one of the interesting things about Brennan is that his on-the-record comments about political controversies that have happened while he was in office divert pretty strongly from what has happened as policy around him. So, he said at the time he withdrew his name from consideration in 2009 that he wanted to be known as somebody who was against the Iraq war, known as somebody who was against torture, against what they were calling enhanced techniques, specifically against waterboarding. He`s now said in interviews recently that he is against the shifting of military power to the CIA, treating CIA effectively as an Air Force. MITCHELL: Yes. MADDOW: He says a lot of the drone strikes should be carried out by the military, under traditional military authority so we`re not doing this exotic extra legal stuff that I think we`re doing in order to kill people using the CIA. But those policies that he says he favors haven`t been enacted by him. And he doesn`t seem to argue for them publicly in a way that makes them happen. How should we interpret that as he is being considered for this big job now? MITCHELL: I think -- I`m not exactly sure how that is going to evolve, because the CIA clearly has been running the drone war, has taken on more and more of the apparatus and the policies and decision-making that formally had been with the Pentagon. And it has been a CIA mission, as you know, in large parts of Pakistan and Yemen and other places. So, seeing how John Brennan now in his new perch, if he is confirmed, and he was a career, 25-year career person at the CIA, and they say today they are welcoming him home if he gets confirmed, it`s going to be very interesting to see how he decides to rebalance that, and whether he does move it back to the Pentagon. MADDOW: So much attention on the Hagel side of this has been paid to the relative handful of Republican senators who have been complaining about Chuck Hagel and the conservative media figures who have been complaining. Is this one of the things where we`re sort of getting a squeaky wheel and getting a lot of the attention? My sense about Chuck Hagel is that he sort of a consummate Beltway choice, that he`s very popular in the Beltway, even if he does have his loud Republican critics. What`s your sense of the magnitude of the opposition to him? MITCHELL: Well, it`s always very hard to predict when the opposition is going to achieve critical mass. He has extraordinarily deep roots, as you point out, within the Beltway, and also without, outside the Beltway, and in the military circles and retired diplomatic circles. Really deep connection to the Brent Scowcrofts and the Colin Powells and the more moderate wing of the Republican Party. And what was really clear today, Rachel, is these two nominations were really close personal friends and colleagues, and intellectual soul mates, if you will, of Barack Obama. He really felt good about these two nominations. This is not a team of rivals. These are the people he likes being around. These are his friends. And it was personal and it was a happy day for him, I thought. Remember that when John Kerry was nominated on a Friday hastily in the Roosevelt Room, Kerry was not even invited to say a word at the microphone. And there was no acknowledgment really of John Kerry other than a quick statement from the president, and then out. And today, everyone had his turn, even those who, frankly, had not been nominated. Mike Morell, the acting director of the CIA had been passed over. And he had his opportunity. And Leon Panetta was given a very nice moment there, a platform. So this was a very expansive moment. They feel that they wanted to make a big deal out of this thing today. They`re hoping that he is easily confirmed, but you never know. You remember the John Tower nomination. You never know when one little thing will take off and reach critical mass. He does not have a ringing endorsement at all from many Democrats, including Chuck Schumer. There are a lot of disparate groups including some in the gay community who are waiting to see. I interviewed Tammy Baldwin today, and the new openly gay senator said she has a lot of questions that she wants to ask. So, the Wisconsin Democrat is going to ask some questions as well. MADDOW: This is going to be a fascinating process to watch. What you`re talking about there, that sort of non-explicit endorsement offered by the president`s warmth towards these nominees is itself a form of endorsement saying, listen, if you get him, he is going to be effective because he`ll have my ear because he is my friend. It`s fascinating dynamics at times like this. MITCHELL: Yes. MADDOW: Andrea Mitchell, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent -- thank you as always, Andrea. Appreciate it. MITCHELL: You bet. MADDOW: Talking about Tammy Baldwin there, one of the things that has been interesting to watch with the Chuck Hagel nomination in particular, is that a lot of the criticism that you might expect from the left toward Chuck Hagel has been silenced or has at least gotten a little bit quieter as the criticism from the right has gotten louder. We are in an enemy of my enemy kind of moment right now, which makes for some kind of bad strategic thinking. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: At the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, last year, the convention at which President Obama officially accepted the nomination of his party for a second term, the guy who stole the show kind of, the guy who had the audience in rapt attention for the better part of an hour was -- yes, Barack Obama, well received speech, yes. But the other than that guy, the guy who did that who wasn`t Barack Obama was Bill Clinton. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: People ask me all the time how we got four surplus budgets in a row. What new ideas did we bring to Washington? I always give a one-word answer. Arithmetic. (APPLAUSE) Arithmetic. We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone who will double down on trickle-down. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Bill Clinton gave a stem winder of a speech at that convention. He spoke for 48 long detailed minutes. He made a stronger case for President Obama`s reelection than he had ever made before. And in that process, he achieved the unlikely feat of winning over even a number of his long-time political adversaries. After that very well-received speech, Republicans across the country came out to proclaim their previously secret inner Bill Clinton love saying, oh, yes, Bill Clinton, I miss him. Now that was a guy we Republicans could work with -- as opposed to this horrible Barack Obama who we can`t work with at all. The Romney campaign put out a statement after that speech saying, quote, "Bill Clinton worked with Republicans. Barack Obama has not worked across the aisle." Bill Clinton`s long-time nemesis from Washington, Newt Gingrich, had a similar reaction to the speech. He said that Bill Clinton, quote, "worked with the GOP. Obama didn`t." Barack Obama won`t work with Republicans the way that old Bill Clinton did. Yes, remember how much Republicans loved Bill Clinton? Remember how the Clinton era was defined by eight long years of harmonious bipartisanship? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TV ANCHOR: William Jefferson Clinton has been impeached by the House of Representatives on at least one article. It will go to the United States Senate. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Kumbaya -- those were the constructive bipartisan days of the Clinton presidency. Even if Republicans were not exactly kind and welcoming toward President Clinton as president, he did at least make a sort of gesture of bipartisanship in their direction. He had a bipartisan cabinet. He appointed one Republican to one job in his cabinet, former Republican Senator William Cohen he appointed to his defense secretary. And then after him, the next president, George W. Bush, he did the same thing, he pointed one Democrat to serve in one job in his cabinet. Former Democratic Congressman Norman Mineta was chosen by George W. Bush to serve as transportation secretary. In George W. Bush`s second term, Norm Mineta stuck around. He did not leave until close to the end. So President Bush never appointed another Democrat, but he did have that one Democrat, Norman Mineta during that term in his cabinet. Barack Obama, at this point, has doubled the record of cabinet bipartisanship of his predecessors, and more that that. You`ll recall that he picked Bob Gates to stay on as secretary of defense. So Republican at defense. President Obama also picked Ray LaHood for the Norm Mineta honorary bipartisanship chair over at the Department of Transportation. Transportation was held by a Democrat under Bush. It has been held by a Republican the whole time under Obama. But beyond that, beyond defense and transportation, President Obama also had another attempt at bringing another Republican into his cabinet. You remember when he offered Judd Gregg the job of commerce secretary? Judd Gregg initially accepted the job, and then he inexplicably turned on a dime and decided that he was offended at the job and would not take. He withdrew his name from the job after he was nominated and then he went on to resign from the Senate. Nobody really knows what happened with Judd Gregg there or since, but President Obama did try to bring him on as yet another Republican for his cabinet. And now, today, for the fourth time, President Obama has picked a Republican, nominating Chuck Hagel, the former Republican senator from Nebraska for the job of defense secretary. That is four Republicans that President Obama has nominated to be in his cabinet. And below the cabinet level, there have been a ton of other Republicans. President Obama named then Republican Governor Jon Huntsman to be ambassador to China. There was Republican Congressman John McHugh who President Obama picked to be secretary of the Army. There was former Republican Congressman Jim Leach. President Obama picked him to head the National Endowment of the Humanities. Former Republican Congresswoman Anne Northup, picked to lead the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Republicans would love to make stick this idea that President Obama is rabidly partisan and can never work with Republicans. In the other perspective, frankly, a lot of Democrats would love it if President Obama were a little more partisan than he is. But he is just not. He`s not that guy, which today is driving Republicans crazy over this latest pick of Chuck Hagel. We will have more on that in a moment. But the question is: should it drive Democrats crazy that a Democratic president is again, for the third time in 15 years picking a Republican specifically for this one job, that is running the Pentagon? Should that drive Democrats crazy that Democrats do that all the time in terms of putting a Republican in charge of the military, but a Republican has never done that for a Democrat? Should that make Democrats nuts? That`s ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Do you know what the Laserium was or is? But they still have Laseriums? Laserium was from the 1970s and 1980s. You and your most rockingest awesome friends would go to the local planetarium, or place with the giant movie-like screen, preferably a dome and watch a laser light show while the sound system blasted your favorite rock music. Dude, you have not heard Zeppelin II until you have heard it in Laserium. Dude, seriously, dark side of the moon, Laserium and so forth. Well, tonight Laserium was slightly formative for me. And today, we have the best thing in the world that rivals the Laserium experience. Prepare to have your mind blown, seriously. It`s amazing, coming up right at the end of the show. Hold on. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is a man named David Addington. In order to understand who David Addington is, look back only as far as this former president, George W. Bush. During his eight years in office, President Bush set knew and really quite radical standards for the use of executive power. President Bush`s view of his office is derived from something called the unitary theory of the executive, which basically amounts to I am the boss. And you`re just congress or the courts or nobody, same diff. The chief enforcer of the unitary executive theory in the George W. Bush administration was of course the vice president, Dick Cheney. And the chief enforcer of the unitary executive theory for Dick Cheney was his top lawyer and later his chief of staff, David Addington. Whenever Vice President Cheney sought to expand the unreviewable power of the Oval Office, David Addington was right there with him, and often leading the way. Mr. Addington wrote that it was OK for the U.S. to torture people suspected of terrorism. He argued that President Bush could lock up terrorism suspects without charges or trials. It was his opinion that the president could withhold information from the public, that a wartime president should have broad powers of surveillance, and never mind what the courts said. David Addington`s nickname in Bush era Washington, D.C. was that he was Cheney`s Cheney. Well, now David Addington, Cheney`s Cheney, is getting a new title. Since leaving government office, he has been working for one of the top conservative think tanks in the country, the Heritage Foundation. Now, Mr. Addington has gotten a big promotion there. He is going to lead the foundation`s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, focusing apparently on President Obama having too much executive power. Mr. Addington says the Obama administration has made some, quote, "questionable steps." And so, the conservative movement has installed its most famous and perhaps most extreme modern advocate of unlimited executive power for the presidency as the lunch monitor watching for this presidency exerting too much executive power now that Bush is gone and there is a new guy in town. But, hey, it appears to be new project season in Washington, where if you are a certain political persuasion, being wrong never lasts long. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Whatever else you can say about this war, let me just make my point, George Bush is not fighting this like Vietnam. Whatever, we don`t need to be fighting the whole history of Vietnam. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Saddam, maybe, that`s the danger. KRISTOL: It`s not going to happen. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me take a call. KRISTOL: It`s not going to happen. This is going to be a two-month war, not an eight-year war. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is going to be a two-month war, not an eight-year war. He was talking about the war that did turn out to be an eight and a half yearlong war in Iraq. Now, Bill Kristol, the living, breathing symbol of wrong about national security, Mr. Kristol has a fresh deal going. Now, his new project is that he wants to stop the nomination of former Senator Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense. President Obama today chose the Republican from Nebraska for that job. And despite having been fine with Mr. Hagel even as a possible vice president for George W. Bush in 2000, Bill Kristol is now leading the opposition to Chuck Hagel at defense. Bill Kristol, the same guy who said Iraq would take two months, who said the only consequences of us bombing Iran already would be good consequences, the man who thought up the Sarah Palin vice presidency, the one man in America who can least be the arbiter of what is reasonable in national security. That same one guy, Bill Kristol, now bought where you can go to learn that Bill Kristol believes that Chuck Hagel is not a responsible option. Oh, Senator Hagel, may you always be blessed with comically non-self- aware enemies. It is not every nominee for secretary of defense whose foes are their own punch lines. The character of the opposition to Senator Hagel is now so laugh-out- loud ridiculous in some quarters, including most especially Mr. Kristol`s corner, that is it now driving some of Mr. Hagel`s would-be critics on the left to support him. And I don`t mean that figuratively. When he first heard about the nomination, for example, outgoing congressman and likely incoming temporary Senator Barney Frank issued this rather vituperative and Barney Frank-esque statement against Chuck Hagel. He said, quote, "Then-Senator Hagel`s aggressively bigoted opposition to President Clinton`s naming the first openly guy ambassador in U.S. history was not as Senator Hagel now claims, an aberration. He voted consistently against fairness for LGBT people, and there does not seem to be any evidence prior to his effort to become secretary of defense of any apology or retraction of his attack on James Hormel. To those of us who admire and respect Mr. Hormel, to those of us who admire and respect Mr. Hormel, Senator Hagel`s description of him as aggressive can only mean that the senator strongly objected to Hormel`s reasoned, civil advocacy for LGBT people. I cannot think of any other minority group in the U.S. today where such a negative statement and action made in 1998 would not be an obstacle to a major presidential appointment." That was last week. Barney Frank last week. But considering the character of the opposition to Chuck Hagel that has emerged in the interim, Barney Frank has changed his mind. Mr. Frank said today, quote, "With the attack coming out of the right, I hope he gets confirmed." This fight over check Hagel as a potential secretary of defense gives us an interesting window to what going on in the right. The right post- election is sort of devolving in some ways. An architect of wildly expanded presidential power gets sent to nip at the heels of a president over this new guy having too much power. Everybody is now supposed to see Bill Kristol as the arbiter of reasonableness in foreign affairs. But the fight over Chuck Hagel also gives us a window into what is going on in the left, what is going on among Democrats. Does having the correct enemies outweigh all the left`s other concerns about Chuck Hagel? Will that be enough to get him confirmed in the Senate and to at least lock up Democratic and liberal support behind him? Or do those concerns get aired in full on their own merits? Joining us now is Noah Shachtman. He`s the contributing editor for "Wired" magazine and editor of "The Danger Room" blog, which I read every single day, even when it is to my detriment. Noah, thank you for being here. NOAH SHACHTMAN, WIRED MAGAZINE: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: Republicans are falling in line on a purely partisan base. If Republicans are falling in line in purely partisan basis and supporting Chuck Hagel for defense secretary because he is a Republican, do you think we`d be hearing lots of creative Democratic opposition to him? SHACHTMAN: Yes, I think we would. Look, this guy is not progressive, OK? He is not even a little bit progressive. He, you know, is with the Republicans or with the sort of bush Cheney era Republicans on warrantless wiretapping. He was there on lesbian and guy issues. He was there even to fund a giant missile defense shield. So, yes, you`ll probably hear some sniping. But this has happened. And now, to use a really terrible military metaphor -- battle lines have been drawn. Sorry. MADDOW: I think a lot of people are shorthanding the criticism from the left of Chuck Hagel as being about those anti-gay comments from 1998. I do think that that is a specific thing. But there are broader issues about what he would be like as secretary of defense. His opposition to the Iraq war after he initially supported it, his comments in favor of withdrawing from Afghanistan faster than we already are -- should we see that as being specifically on defense policies a more dovish agenda? SHACHTMAN: I don`t know that he is a dove or a hawk. I think he is an old school, you know, sort of realist Republican. And guess what? Pretty much so is Obama. MADDOW: Right. SHACHTMAN: Right? They`re pretty much of the same character. You know, intervene here where you can, don`t intervene there when you can`t. And, you know, I think they have a fairly strong and fairly sort of realistic view of American power and exercising it where you can. MADDOW: What about this idea that if the Obama administration is going to oversee significant cuts to the baseline defense budget, if the Pentagon is going to have to go on a diet, you can more effectively do that with a Republican in charge than with a Democrat in charge because Democrats are less vulnerable to the wuss charge? SHACHTMAN: Not buying it. MADDOW: Not buying it? SHACHTMAN: Yes. Look, there is guys like Ash Carter who is the current number two at the Pentagon who knows how that place works inside and out, and is a nuclear freakin` physicist for real. So I think he could execute the cuts just fine too. MADDOW: Without the same -- without different levels of political liability? Does the Republican affiliation insulate Hagel at all to be able to do that? SHACHTMAN: It doesn`t seem like it`s insulating him right now. I`m not buying it for later in. MADDOW: If John Brennan gets confirmed to lead the CIA, who do you think that would mean for that agency going forward? Would you expect any inflections from the Panetta era there? SHACHTMAN: I think that makes the CIA maybe the most important shop in town, right? So, theoretically, the director of national intelligence, Jim Clapper sits over the CIA and the 15 other intelligence agencies. You know, it was Clapper that said to David Petraeus, look, bro, you got to go -- MADDOW: Yes. SHACHTMAN: -- after his affair. It`s pretty hard to imagine Jim Clapper saying something similar to John Brennan, who has been sitting with the president in the Oval Office day after day, directing drone strikes, also working on cyber issues which are very important both to the president and to John Brennan. It`s really hard to imagine that. So I think John Brennan may keep a lot of his bureaucratic power, but have the entire CIA behind him too. And that makes him an extremely important player. MADDOW: It makes it such a double sided endorsement. Pick John Brennan because he is so close to the president, he`ll be incredibly effective as a director. Also, if crew want the CIA to be even more powerful than it is, this is the guy who is going to bring presidential power even to that agency. SHACHTMAN: Yes. MADDOW: It`s fascinating stuff. Noah Shachtman, contributing editor for "Wired" magazine, editor of "Danger Room" -- thanks for being here. SHACHTMAN: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: Appreciate it. All right. From the brass section, from the brass section, it`s not each a metaphor for the military. I mean, the actual brass section, best new thing in the world. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Only two weeks to go now until the Obama administration begins. The second Obama administration two weeks to go until the ceremonial swearing in of President Obama and Vice President Biden at the U.S. Capitol. It will happen on Monday, January 21st. Now, that is also Martin Luther King Day. Interesting, though, the Constitution says the president has to be sworn in specifically on the 20th day of January, not the 21st. But the 20th of January falls on a Sunday this year. So, they have decided to do this as kind of a two-step. On Sunday, the 20th, Chief Justice John Roberts will swear in President Obama for his second term. But they`ll do it at an official, small ceremony at the White House at noon on Sunday. The following day, on Monday, that will be the whole pomp and circumstance giant vent. But that second swearing in ceremony, the big one on the dais with everybody there, that is going to be ceremonial, because the real one will have happened the day before. It`s kind of weird, right? That this is the second time President Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts are going to have kind of a hinky time with the swearing in. Remember what happened the first time with those two? Chief justice said part of the oath wrong the first time. And so, just to be safe, they had to go back the next day and repeat the oath privately in the Map Room at the White House. This time, the private oath will come first and the public oath will come second. And this time they are planning that in advance, not having to improvise because of the screw-up by the chief justice. The big show that will be on Monday is going to be just as big a show this year as it probably was the last time. And the tradition is, no matter who is becoming president, and what their party is and whether they are becoming president again, the custom is that this is a ceremony that Americans really like to watch. We want to celebrate, chances are, statistically speaking, that your guy won. Also, free and fair elections and the peaceful transfer of power does not happen easily in much in the world, then it is a remarkable and awesome thing even when that transfer of power is from a president to that same president for four more years. Last time around, nearly two -- look at this, nearly 2 million showed up to watch the inauguration from the National Mall. They stretched all the way from the Capitol to the Washington monument and beyond. This year, there is a number of different ways to watch. You can watch at home on TV, I will be anchoring the coverage with my MSNBC colleagues that day starting at 9:40 in the morning. So if you want to do that, no tickets required. You just need cable. If you want to get closer, come out to the National Mall, like 2 million did last time. If you want a seat somewhere near the viewing platform, those tickets are distributed by members of Congress to their constituents, free of charge. There`s not a lot of seats, and they do go fast, but they are free, you just have to ask your congressman or your congresswoman. This year, though, another interesting thing, this year, the people who planned the inauguration also decided to make available to the public a certain number of tickets to one of the official inaugural balls. And also the tickets to watch the general parade for the general public. Tickets to the ball, 60 bucks, tickets to the parade, 25 bucks, which is steep, but not that steep, right? And certainly not a bad idea, not bad prices. But then it all went horribly wrong. The system for getting those tickets was supposed to be this: first, you need to request tickets at the Presidential Inaugural Committee`s Web site. And then somebody decided that Ticket Master would be handling the sales thereafter. Ticket Master, you know, the near monopolistic online ticket service. Ticket Master sent out an e-mail yesterday to people who signed up on the Web site, saying the public tickets for the inauguration ball would go on sale today. They also said that before the tickets went on sale today, on Monday, they would sent out another email with an exclusive link to buy those tickets. That`s what they said yesterday, nothing more to happen on Sunday, but today was the day for the link to the e-mail for the tickets going on sale. Except then they blew it. Four hours later, by 8:00 p.m. on Sunday night, it was still Sunday, Ticket Master inexplicably sent out the email with the link to start buying tickets and the link worked and people were able to buy tickets before they were supposed to be on sale. And yes, as a result, the Inaugural Committee says because Ticket Master inexplicably, accidentally started selling tickets a day early, quote, "a significant number of tickets were sold." And when they say a significant number of tickets were sold, they mean all of them. They sold all of the tickets, gone before this date on which they were supposed to be on sale. Ticket Master is blaming a computer glitch. They say they are, quote, "taking responsibility for the mistake." But them taking responsibility doesn`t mean that they are going to fix the mistake. They`re not going to say void the early tickets and start over in the interest of being fair, they`re just going with their mistake. So everybody who waited until tickets were supposed to go on sale, there are no tickets for you. And everybody who kind of illicitly accidentally bought an early ticket yesterday ahead of the announced schedule, you get to keep your tickets, unless you don`t want to keep your tickets. We don`t know how the ticket resell Web site we came across today procured its tickets to the inaugural ball, but the tickets to the ball were on sale there this afternoon for almost $1,900 each. If you`re getting them officially from the inaugural committee, remember, they were 60 bucks. But the day they were supposed to go on sale your option is a scalper for 30 times that much. And yes, Ticket Master still collected their service charge, which is nice work if you can get it. And tell me again why Ticket Master got this work? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK, this might not work, best new thing in the world. Do you know how there are kinds of extreme sports videos all over the Internet these days? Videos shot from the point of view of the athlete, they`ve got the camera on them so you can feel like it`s you hurdling down the ski slope or catching a wave, or whatever. The reason there are a lot of videos like this out there right now is because the cameras that you do this with have gotten small and cheap. Like the GoPro, a fairly cheap camera you can stick on a helmet or skate board while you do something involving velocity. And once people figured out they could do go fast stuff like that with a GoPro on them as they did it, it was not long before people started to using these cameras to do things other than just go fast. Like for example, somebody came up with the idea to attach a camera to a hula hoop, which alters your perspective on things and quietly possibly makes you throw up just looking at it. But now, one excellent American, one American musician, may have discovered the single best awesome use yet of a GoPro camera. This is a trombone, obviously, which is an inherently funny instrument. See? And this is a -- can you see that? A GoPro camera that we have attached to the slide. Remember the hula hoop thing? Well, imagine the perspective of the GoPro from somebody playing the trombone, OK? This is genius, watch. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: That is a professional musician, David Finlayson. He is the second trombonist with the New York Philharmonic. The song incidentally is an etude by Marco Borgonia (ph). Mr. Finlayson tells us he shot the video a year ago just on a whim. He put it on his personal Web site. This week, a friend shared the link and the world hive mind has collectively decided that this must be seen. And when we watched it in our show meeting today, we discovered a way to make the video even better. You have to watch it with the sound off. The last ten seconds are the best. Watch the end. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: Seriously, there is probably a master`s thesis in why this works. Something to do with the sudden altering of perspective or the slide moves, maybe it is the vein popping on the trombonist forehead. Whatever the reason, the split bulb eye view of the trombone being played is for obvious reasons, the best new thing in the world today. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" Have a great night. I don`t know how to do this. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END