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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/12/14

Guests: John Stanton

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. These iconic images of the helicopter taking off from the roof of the embassy apartments, right? This is what we think of, this iconic film. We think of this as the end of America`s war in Vietnam. In fact, that incident, those iconic images, this all happened two years, almost to the day, after the American part of the war in Vietnam, technically, ended. The United States pulled its American troops and ended U.S. military operations in Vietnam in the spring of 1973. And then this all happened two years later. This was April 1975. When this happened, U.S. troops had already been gone out of Vietnam for two years. But that war in Vietnam, of course, it was not our war. That war was happening there before we got there and that war was still happening there when we left, about a year and a half after the U.S. military ended its commitment in Vietnam, in 1973, the communist forces in north Vietnam decided that they were going to launch a big new offensive that they thought would allow them to conquer the south once and for all, take over the whole country within two years. In the end, it didn`t take them two years. It only took them about four months. The North Vietnamese, the communists, they won. And this picture, this iconic photo, showing the evacuation of the last American personnel left in the country, as well as whatever Vietnamese employees and allies could squeeze on to the proverbial off-ramp with the last Americans at that point, this iconic American image shows two years after the American military left Vietnam the desperate efforts to get the very last remnants of American personnel out of South Vietnam and its capital as they were captured by the North. This was April 30th, 1975. Toward the end of America`s war in Vietnam, the United States was going through some of our own upheaval at home. President Nixon, of course, resigned in disgrace in 1974. That made Gerald Ford into the president of the United States, even though no group larger than his congressional district back home in Michigan had ever elected him to anything. In April 1975, two years after the U.S. had pulled out our troops from Vietnam, when it was becoming clear that South Vietnam was about to lose the war, they were about to be conquered by the communists in the North, President Ford in April 1975, he went to Congress and he asked Congress for a big new round of aide, to try to prop up South Vietnam in the face of all of this obvious evidence that they were about to lose the war and Vietnam was about to become a single communist country. And yes, it was clear that South Vietnam was about to lose the war. And yes, we did still have a few thousand U.S. personnel of various kinds based at the embassy there. But when Congress in 1975, when they looked at the size of President Ford`s aid request, he was asking for $750 million for South Vietnam. Congress looked at that request and balked. They said, no, no way. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, at the time, they actually, physically got up and walked over to the White House and sat down in the cabinet room at the White House and demanded to speak with President Ford about this aid request and why they were saying no. They said they basically were not going to restart the war in Vietnam, no matter what was going on there. Senator Jacob Javits of New York told President Ford that day, in this remarkable meeting, in the cabinet room at the White House, which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Armed Services Committee, invited themselves to, Jacob Javits told President Ford, I will give you large sums for evacuation, but not one nickel for military aid for South Vietnam. Senator John Glenn was in the room too, the famous astronaut and pilot, right? He told President Ford, to his face, this is an amazing quote, "The idea here is very different from what I envisioned", he said. "I and most senators thought of a surgical extraction, not of a 10-day or two-week operation with a bridge head." Senator Glenn said, "This is a reentry of a magnitude we have not envisioned. I can see North Vietnam deciding not to let us get these people out and attacking our bridgehead. Then we would have to send forces to protect our security forces." "That," he said, "fills me with fear." John Glenn, famous astronaut, famous test pilot, says, "that fills me with fear." Congress was willing to fund an evacuation. Congress was willing to fund getting every last American out entirely. Every last one out of Vietnam, even if it meant plucking them off the roof of the embassy by helicopter. But Congress was not willing to provide one nickel for further military help for the government and for the south Vietnamese military, which more than 150 million Americans had already died trying to prop up. President Ford wanted back in to Vietnam, to stop that from happening, and the Congress said, no way. They said it in dramatic fashion, to his face, in the White House, when they were not invited. I should note that one of the senators who was in the room that day, when that super dramatic fight was happening, when that senate committee got up from their seats on capitol hill and marched to the White House and sat down in the cabinet room to see the president, one of the senators on the Foreign Relations Committee that day, having that confrontation with the president, was a very young senator named Joe Biden of Delaware. He took part in that meeting when he was a senator in his first term. The country was so against the Vietnam War, and Congress was so determined that no president would ever be able to get us into something like that ever again, but the Congress had passed something in 1973 called the War Powers Resolution. President Nixon, he was still president then, he vetoed it, but they passed it over his veto, anyway. It had that much support. And that War Powers Resolution was an effort by the Congress to assert that it was their job, under the Constitution, to make decisions about war and peace. It`s Congress` job to make those decisions, not the president`s. And while the power of that resolution has been questioned and some say it has withered over the years, in 1975, when Gerald Ford wanted to restart the war in Vietnam effectively, that was very fresh in Congress` minds and Congress had no qualms about telling him no when he said he wanted back into Vietnam. So, that is how that iconic footage, those iconic images came to be, because over President Ford`s objections, we did just evacuate as Saigon fell. Those pictures were taken on April 30th, 1975, and that is the day, the day, that Saigon fell. The communists from the north renamed Saigon "Ho Chi Minh City". Two weeks later, the communists held a victory parade through Saigon. And to this day, Vietnam is a communist country. And yes, that is how we left it. Since then, Vietnam went through a series of market-based economic reforms. In the late 1980s, they opened up a stock market, in the year 2000. That`s the year that President Bill Clinton visited Vietnam in November 2000, November that year. For the past decade, Vietnam has had one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. In 2007, Vietnam joined the World Trade Organization. Right now, Vietnam`s big fight in the world is a standoff they`re having over fishing rights and maybe oil rights or mineral rights with China in the South China Sea. Today, because he is required to, under the War Powers Resolution of 1973, President Obama sent this declaration to Congress, making his formal legally required accounting of where U.S. military forces are deployed around the world and for what. U.S. forces, according to the president`s letter that he sent to Congress today, are in Afghanistan and Somalia and Yemen and Cuba at Guantanamo Bay, in Niger, in Chad, in Uganda, and in other unspecified places in Central Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Kosovo, Libya. There`s no mention in the president`s declaration today about U.S. forces being in Pakistan. That maybe depends on what you define as forces. For all the political debate about the U.S. using drones to kill people in Pakistan, there`s actually been no drone strikes at least anybody knows in Pakistan since Christmas. Before last night, it had been six months since there had been a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, but apparently, there was one last night and another early today. Reports are still fuzzy, because they always are, because these things are secret, but it seems there were 11 suspected militants in Pakistan killed in the first drone strike last night and another eight people were killed in the second drone strike early this morning. These drone strikes, again, the first in six months in Pakistan. They come just three days after the Pakistani Taliban launched an attack on the biggest airport in Pakistan. They attacked the airport, a huge airport in a huge city of Karachi. The attack left 36 people dead, including 10 very well-armed attackers. The United States had reportedly stopped all its drone strikes in Pakistan last year at the request of the Pakistani government, because they wanted to stop them as a sign of goodwill as they entered into peace talks with the Taliban. After this attack on a civilian airport three days ago, though, there were notably no complaints about the Pakistani military about the U.S. apparently starting its drone strikes up again last night. So, the president`s letter today makes no mention of Pakistan, although he did apparently fire something like 14 missiles into Pakistan in just over the last 24 hours. President Obama in his letter, he does note that a classified annex to this report to Congress provides some additional information, so maybe that`s where they talk about Pakistan, but of course we never get to see that stuff. Also not mentioned in the president`s declaration of all the myriad places we`ve got U.S. forces deployed right now is the nation of Iraq. And maybe we do have some super secret classified force there that we`re not allowed to know about, like we do in lots of other countries around the world. But the fact is that conventional declared U.S. forces are not there anymore at all, other than a small embassy protection contingent of about 200 troops. As the news from Iraq in the last few days has gone from terrible to legitimately frightening, there isn`t a U.S. presence there. Nobody knows if the next fall of Saigon is going to be the fall of Baghdad, but the pictures today of these young men and teenagers in Baghdad, these are young men and teenagers in Baghdad, voluntarily signing up to join the Iraqi army. They did open air army recruitment events in Baghdad today. They`re signing up to fight to try to save their city, as militant groups approach Baghdad. And the pictures today of U.S.-made military equipment that was provided to the Iraqi army, the pictures of that equipment being set on fire in the streets of Mosul or not set on fire and instead driven over the border into Syria to be used there in the war against Bashar al Assad, it is almost as viscerally wrenching, right, to see those images as it is to see those people reaching for the skids of the helicopter as it took off from the embassy roof in April of 1975. When the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, under false presences, the Bush administration and its supporters at the time, they played up what turned out to be false threats about the existing Iraqi government and they aggressively played down any possible negative consequences of the U.S. invading Iraq and toppling that government. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WILLIAM KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There`s been a certain amount of, frankly a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow, the Shia can`t get along with the Sunni, and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There`s almost no evidence of that at all. PAUL WOLFOWITZ, FORMER DEPUTY DEFENSE SECRETARY: There are other differences that suggest that peacekeeping requirements in Iraq might be much lower than historical experience in the Balkan suggests. There`s been none of the record in Iraq of ethnic militias fighting one another that produced so much bloodshed and permanent scars in Bosnia. We have no idea what kind of ethnic strife might appear in the future. Although, as I`ve noted, it has not been the history of Iraq`s recent past. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Those kind of things never happen in Iraq, other than, you know, Saddam gassing the Kurds, and the huge Shia rebellion in the South, and the whole Saddam government, and the Baath Party and the army all running as a despotic Sunni tyranny over the other sectarian groups in the country and the other sectarian groups in the country resisting with all they had. Other than that, there`s no reason to think there`s going to be any ethnic or sectarian issues in Iraq. I looked it up. That was how the Bush administration tried to silence anybody who had doubts about the wisdom of invading Iraq in 2003, or what an undertaking it would be or how big a problem it was going to be for that long. Specifically, there in that clip that we just showed, that was Paul Wolfowitz trying to shut up then chief of staff, Eric Shinseki, who had said publicly, we would probably need a much larger force to try to hold Iraq together than the bush administration wanted to say that we would have to send. Iraq did descend into chaos and then into sectarian and regional civil war, as soon as Saddam Hussein was ousted and the army was disbanded. Over more than eight terrible years fighting there, the American fight in Iraq was not so much against the Iraqi army, which basically dissolved on contact with the initial invasion in 2003, before it was formally disbanded, the fight was instead between Iraqi factions and terrorist groups and insurgent militia groups fighting against each other and against U.S. forces. And when U.S. forces ended their combat operations in Iraq, on the timetable established by the Bush administration in 2010, and therefore, the Iraqi government would not consent to any agreement to keep U.S. forces after that point -- well, then, U.S. forces did leave, all of them. And naturally, the battle between sectarian groups and terrorist groups and militias and insurgent groups that Saddam had fought and strong-armed with a despotic iron fist for all those decades, yes, naturally, those fights kept going and now an army of several thousand radical Sunni fighters has taken over a wide and growing swath of Iraq, and also Syria. And now they say they are marching to Baghdad. And here at home, the people who most aggressively argued that we ought to start that Iraq war in 2003, those same exact people are now arguing that the United States ought to get back in there again. Senator John McCain, who based his 2008 presidential campaign around an aggressive campaign to further escalate the Iraq war, who`d been one of the most aggressive proponents for that war in the first place, today John McCain went to a classified briefing on the situation in Iraq. He went to that briefing for a couple of minutes. After a couple of minutes, he walked out of the briefing in order to go get back out in front of the cameras, where he demanded the resignation of President Obama`s entire national security team, announced who President Obama should hire back from the good old Iraq war days to replace all of his current team, and then he called the security situation in Iraq now, quote, "the greatest threat since the Cold War." John McCain has identified a lot of greatest threats since the Cold War. This is the current one for him. "The New York Times" today, apparently, with no self-consciousness about it whatsoever, went back to this guy for quotes about not just how terrible it is in Iraq right now, but specifically about how terrible it is that the Obama administration is not sending the U.S. military back into Iraq. The guy`s name is Ken Pollack, Kenneth Pollack. He authored this book you might remember, from 2002, "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq." Ken Pollack was a leading mouth piece for the bogus Iraq weapons of mass destruction claim. That was part of his argument. The other part of his claim for why we should invade Iraq was that invading Iraq was going to be super easy and super cheap. Listen to how this guy sold it. Look. "In purely economic terms, it is unimaginable that the United States would have to contribute hundreds of billions of dollars and highly unlikely that we would have to contribute even tens of billions of dollars." He said, "Those who argue that the United States would inevitably become the target of unhappy Iraqis generally also assume that the Iraqi population would be hostile to U.S. forces from the outset. However, the best evidence we have suggests that the Iraqi people would be pleased to be liberated." He was basically the captain of team wrong in 2002, Ken Pollack. But incredibly, today, "The New York times" goes back to him as an Iraq expert, specifically to get his views on why it`s so awful that the Obama administration is not putting the U.S. military back into Iraq again. These pictures were taken the day before yesterday in Mosul, showing some of the aftermath of the Sunni militants taking over that city. You see on the ground there, on the median there, that`s -- that`s clothing. Those are Iraqi army uniforms that were stripped off by members of the Iraqi military. They stripped their uniforms off, left them on the street, and fled. When the U.S. invaded Iraq 11 years ago, the U.S. government at the time made a decision to disband the existing Iraqi army, and instead tear that one apart and build a brand-new one from scratch. And the U.S. government, the U.S. taxpayers have funded that project of building a brand-new Iraqi army, arming them and training them. We funded that to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Remember, that was the whole strategy for why we had to stay so long. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS) GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Our military is helping to train Iraqi security forces, so that they can defend their people and fight the enemy on their own. Our strategy can be summed up this way: as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down. And as I remind the good folks of Idaho, our strategy can be summed up this way: as the Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down. And what that means is, as more and more Iraqis take the fight to the few who want to disrupt the dreams of the many, that the American troops will be able to pull back. Our policy is stand up, stand down -- as the Iraqis stand up, we`ll stand down. (END VIDEO CLIPS) MADDOW: That was the political bumper sticker justification in the United States for why the Iraq war had to go on for so much longer than the American public could stand it. It was because we had to build and train up and stand up a brand-new Iraqi army. Well, they are not standing up anymore. The battle for Mosul, for that city in Iraq this week, that battle is estimated to have been a battle between a few hundred, maybe a thousand of these Sunni extremist fighters on one side. The Iraqi military forces on the other side, roughly 30,000 in Mosul. But it was the 30,000, it was the Iraqi military that turned, dropped their uniforms, dropped their weapons and took office. Les Gelb at the Council of Foreign Relations today calls this today in Iraq, history as usual. He says, "The U.S. fights in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Vietnam provides billions of dollars in arms, trains the first handily soldiers, and then begins to pull out. And what happens? Our good allies on whom we`ve squandered our sacred lives and our wealth fall apart. That`s what`s happened in all of those places. That`s what`s happening in Iraq now." "No amount of U.S. air and drone attacks will alter the situation. This kind of outcome was inevitable for Iraq, given the political lay of the land in that country. It is almost certainly what is also going to happen in Afghanistan. There, too, we`ve fought and died, equipped and trained hundreds and thousands of Afghan troops. There, too, America should not be surprised if the Taliban soon regains the offensive and afghan troops take off their uniforms, lay down their arms and run." "Remember Vietnam?" he says. "The South Vietnamese had a million and a half men under arms. These armed forces had plenty to fight with, but they gave up too." The United States military is the biggest, finest, most expensive, most professional, most well-armed, most disciplined military in the world. There is no military battle that can be waged against the U.S. military that the U.S. cannot ultimately win. But that does not mean that everything that we want to win can be construed as a U.S. military battle. Right now, the people who thought it would be easy and a great idea and cheap to invade Iraq under George W. Bush, they want us to restart that war again. Frankly, if you press them, they`ll tell you they wish it had never ended in the first place. But if you look at those arguments today, and you`re overwhelmed by a feeling of, oh, my God, we have been here before, that feeling is not just because we have been in Iraq before. It`s because we have been here before as a country, in a big way, and we know how this goes. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GERALD FORD, FORMER PRESIDENT: We, of course, are saddened, indeed by the events in Indochina. But these events, tragic as they are, portend neither the end of the world nor of America`s leadership in the world. We can and we should help others to help themselves. But the fate of responsible men and women everywhere and the final decision rests in their own hands, not in ours. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So it was, and so shall it ever be. Richard Engel`s in northern Iraq and he joins us live, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: One of the scenes of our modern world runs through Iraq. That means that when our world starts to fall apart at the seams, it usually means that Iraq is one of the first places to start unraveling. And when that happens, one thing you can set your watch by is that NBC`s Richard Engel will be there in the middle of it so he can show the world what it looks like and sounds like from the middle of the unraveling. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some American veterans might be able to recognize their old Humvees. Given to the Iraqi army, some now shattered is, burned, others taken over by Islamic militants, a splinter group of al Qaeda called ISIS, the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria. Today, they vowed to march on Baghdad. They`re only a hundred miles away. And have surrounded the country`s biggest oil refinery. And Iraqi troops who were trained by the U.S., most are putting their hands up, instead of on the trigger. The goal, the militants said today, to impose strict Islamic Sharia law, not just in Iraq, but in Syria and beyond. They`re led by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, a militant who fought U.S. troops in Iraq, was must custody for years, but escaped. Many say he`s the true heir to Osama bin Laden, capturing more U.S. weapons and equipment in every town and more followers. (INAUDIBLE) Thirteen packed in one car, leaving Mosul. They said they heard gunshots near their home and had enough. Others were just on foot. What`s happening to Iraq? It`s splitting apart into three warring pieces. In the west, the militants are taking over and being joined by those nostalgic for Saddam Hussein. In the south, the U.S.-supported Shiite government under Prime Minister Maliki, who has excluded Sunnis from power, is struggling to survive. And in the north, the Kurds, who have longed for independence for a century, are now taking it. Today, Kurdish troops seized Kirkuk, home of one of the biggest oil fields in the world. This volatile patchwork nation the U.S. invaded and then stitched back together with the sweat and lives of thousands of American troops is rapidly coming undone. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: Richard Engel, NBC`s chief foreign correspondent filed that dispatch today from northern Iraq. Richard now joins us live. Richard, thanks for being with us. Give us a sense of what you are seeing and where you think this is heading. ENGEL: Well, I think we`re seeing state collapse. And where this is heading is some sort of civil war. We are seeing now Kurdistan, the Kurdish region where I am right now, expanding. We are seeing the western Iraq, the Sunni, anger, disgruntled Iraq on the march, marching towards Baghdad. And we are seeing the Shiite section, which still holds the government, preparing for battle. Today in Baghdad, mosques, Shiite mosques, were calling through the loudspeakers on top of the mosque, for people to come and collect weapons. Earlier, you showed the government holding these open recruiting sessions. Already, there has been some violence in Baghdad. I think it`s going to get a lot worse. The question is, is this going to be a long, horrible civil war or is it going to be some sort of short civil war that then leads to a coup or some sort of military takeover, as has been the case in Syria, might be the case in Libya in the future. That seems to be the emerging pattern in the Middle East. But if this continues the way it is, we`re going to a civil war. It might be short, it might be long, but that seems to be where things are going. MADDOW: Richard, one of the things we saw during the long U.S. war in Iraq was that, even as the nation of Iraq could be divided roughly into Sunni and Shia and Kurdish areas, Baghdad was enough of a mix that Baghdad was always a question. It was neighborhood by neighborhood. And the segregation among those neighborhoods changed during the course of the U.S. presence there. Whether or not those Sunni militants can mount an all-on assault against Baghdad the way they`re threatening, is it likely to become a street-by-street fight in that huge city like the way we saw during the worst of the earlier civil war? ENGEL: Actually, it would be a lot year`s today because of the last 10 years. Initially, Baghdad was very much a mixed city. And you had a street within a Sunni community that would have Shiite families and Christian families. And there were little pockets. Over the years, the pockets have changed and you have the eastern part of Baghdad, that is pretty much all Shiite right now, and the western side of the city, that`s divided by the Tigris River, which is pretty much all Sunni. They have self-segregated after so many years of violence. So, if the Sunnis came in and they came in from the west, which is the way that they are heading, they have already established some sort of beach heads in Abu Ghraib, it would be considerably easier than it would have been, say, 10 years ago. MADDOW: Richard, obviously, there`s no significant U.S. troop presence in Iraq anymore, in any part of Iraq. But in terms of the American presence more broadly, are there a lot of American civilians, American contractors, other people that are involved in some ongoing way with sort of nation-building efforts there, that are now, potentially, thinking about getting out? ENGEL: Security companies have already been advising contractors to get out and get out now, to evacuate immediately. And some mandatory evacuations have begun, from contractors at the Balad air base, that evacuation will be continuing tomorrow as well. We don`t know exactly how many contractors and diplomats, American contractors and diplomats there are here. We`ve contacted USAID, the State Department, the White House, and for security reasons, they don`t want to put a number. It is several thousand. It is probably somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000. But, I think, they are, frankly, at risk. And I don`t think Baghdad is going to be a safe place to operate in the coming days. You talked about the airlift out of the embassy in Vietnam. The U.S. embassy in Baghdad is an enormous fortress. It is well-secured. But by being so enormous, it also makes it easier to penetrate. It takes a lot more force to control an embassy that is bigger than the Vatican City. Maybe it was overreach in building that giant complex. But there are quite a few Americans still left in this country. MADDOW: Richard Engel, NBC News, chief foreign correspondent, joining us live at the -- at an ungodly hour from northern Iraq. Richard, thank you so much. I really appreciate it, man. Be safe. All right, we`ve got lots to come, including American southerners with giant beards doing something weird with an American governor. And that story is coming up on tape. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Just a heads up that we`ve got a scoop coming up in our next segment. John Stanton from "BuzzFeed" is with us and we think we`ve got some rather smoking new reporting on a story that hasn`t got much coverage, but I think it`s about to and that story is next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Last year, we reported extensively on a strange and surprising story about the FBI. FBI agents were interviewing a guy who was potentially a really interesting witness and/or suspect. He not only might have been a relevant witness to the Boston marathon bombing, because he knew one of the two bombing suspects, but he also might have had information about an unsolved gruesome triple murder that took place in the Boston area on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 back in 2011. And what was bizarre and surprising about that FBI story is that the FBI shot and killed that guy while they were questioning him. State troopers and FBI agents outnumbered the guy 4-1. The FBI agents and the troopers were all armed and the guy was not. But somehow, the night they were questioning him in his apartment in Florida, the guy ended up not just dead, but shot seven times by one of the FBI agents who had been conducting the interview. It was a strange and surprising story. What was not surprising about that story was that when the FBI reviewed that shooting, their review concluded that the shooting was fine. No problem. It was a good shoot. No disciplinary action will be taken. No further investigation is necessary. And the reason that was not a surprise, when the FBI exonerated itself, is because, in the immediate aftermath of that guy getting killed in Florida, "The New York Times" reporter named Charlie Savage, who reaped the benefits of a Freedom of Information Act request that he had filed for the results of previous shooting reviews by the FBI. At the time that Florida shooting happened, the FBI had been telling the press, don`t worry, we have an effective process for addressing shootings like this internally. Don`t worry, we know how to deal with this stuff. And, yes, their process for reviewing shooting incidents is a time- tested process. They`ve been doing it for a long time. But what Charlie Savage found out is that the results of those reviews are jaw dropping. It turns out between 1993 and 2011, so an almost 20-year period, there were 150 cases where FBI agents shot someone, 70 times when an FBI agent shot and killed someone, and 80 times when an FBI agent shot and wounded someone. In those 150 cases, the FBI shooting review process ruled that all 150 of them were good shoots. Every single one of them was fine. No disciplinary action, no need for any further investigation, 150 for 150. Amazing! And so, of course, when they shot Ibragim Todashev in Florida last year, they ruled that one was a good shoot as well. Of course they do, they always do. Literally, every time. They have never, ever done anything wrong. And maybe I`m just naive and everybody expects this kind of thing, but I remain surprised, I remain even stupefied that it is not a national scandal, that story about the FBI. Shooting and killed people with 100 percent impunity for two decades. Ask me how. Maybe, though, we can top that now. Because a different federal law enforcement agency, one that`s even bigger than the FBI, one with 50 percent more armed agents than the FBI has, their record of what they do when they shoot and kill people is a black box. It`s a total unknown. There`s no official statistics about how many people they`ve killed, but unofficial data indicates that at least 28 people have been shot and killed in this country by armed border patrol agents since 2010. And maybe all of those, maybe every single one of them was a good shoot and totally justified, but for those more than two dozen times that an agent has shot and killed somebody, we have absolutely no idea what happened next. There`s no official information available as to whether those shootings were investigated or how they were investigated. We certainly don`t know if any agent was ever disciplined. We have no information about it. And I mean it. Maybe all of those 28 fatal shootings were good shoots. But we have no idea. We don`t even know if there really were 28 of them. They don`t even say that they have exonerated themselves the way the FBI does. If this law enforcement agency, they don`t release any public information about it at all. How can this be? It`s not like this is the CIA running black site prisons and this is a covert op or something. This isn`t some military operation in central Africa run through JSOC and it`s all secret. This is American law enforcement on American soil and we`re not allowed to know when they kill someone, when they kill dozens of people or more? I mean, I don`t mean to suggest that any or all of those shoots are necessarily bad shoots, but how can it be that we do not know at all? Last month, an immigration advocacy group filed a FOIA for abuse complaints against border patrol agents. These aren`t about deaths, just abuse complaints. Again, this is a huge law enforcement force, 21,000 officers. The number of border patrol agents has more than doubled since 2004. OK, this agency is ballooning. How are they doing in terms of discipline and use of force since they`ve been up-scaling so rapidly? Again, we have no idea. There`s no single complaint process if you want to tell somebody in authority about misbehavior or abuse that you`ve seen by a border patrol agent. There`s no single official complaint process, which, again, is amazing. But the American Immigration Council filed this request specifically for complaints about abuse that somehow made it to the internal affairs offices at the border patrol. And they were able to get those records, specifically, and what they found was FBI-level shocking and then some. Again, this is abuse complaints, not killings, but look at what they found. Over a three-year period, from 2009 to 2012, they got a list of 809 abuse complaints that made it as far as the internal affairs bureau at the border patrol. A huge number of those complaints, 40 percent of them, were never resolved. They`re still pending, still open, no decision made of any kind, 40 percent. And the other 60 percent of the cases where a decision was made, the complaint process was closed out and in 97 percent of those cases, where a decision was made, the decision that was made was to take no action, 97 percent. And that went down quite significantly. We start with 809 complaints. A total of 13 of them result in some action being taken, yes, that`s the scale, and in most of those 13 cases, the action that is taken is that somebody has to have counseling. And this is the only information that we`ve got about this huge law enforcement agency. A random snapshot of a three-year chunk of some of the complaints filed against them at an agency that doesn`t have a single complaint process. These are just the ones that happened to go through an office called internal affairs. Well, now the head of the internal affairs office at the border patrol has been fired. He`s being kept on at the agency in some other capacity, but he has been relieved of his duties as head of internal affairs as of this week. He`s a Bush administration era hire, has been at the agency since 2006. In terms of the overall head of this agency, the Obama administration just put somebody new in charge of Customs and Border Patrols. His name is Gil Kerlikowske. He`s the former police chief from Seattle. He`s only taken over the agency since March. But as of this week, one major head has ruled that this totally opaque agency all right, the numbers that we do have out of this totally opaque agency are sort of shocking. The numbers we don`t have, the stuff we have zero information about, the things about which they released zero public information, it`s even more shocking that we`re not allowed to know. Is this one head rolling this week, is that the sign of an agency that`s starting to get its house in order, or is this the sign of an agency, a really big and important agency with a ton of political pressure on it that might be in the process of falling apart? Joining us now is John Stanton, Washington bureau chief for "BuzzFeed". John, thanks very much for being here. JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: It`s good to be here. MADDOW: So, I understand you have been doing some reporting of than story specifically, and that you`ve got some new stuff. What have you learned? STANTON: Well, sources of mine have told me that he was supposed to actually testify before the Senate Oversight Committee on Monday, the same day that he was conveniently fired or removed from office. And that the agency did not inform the members of the committee until, I guess, the day of the hearing, the day that he was moved out of internal affairs. They weren`t going to send him over, they were going to send his deputy over, because he had been removed from those duties. And, you know, I think, for an agency that values its secrecy and is unwilling to talk to the press or to members of Congress or the public, really, at all, you know, it does raise a red flag when the guy who would know where all the bodies are buried, sort of figuratively, and literally, within the agency, is suddenly moved the day he`s about to go testify before Congress. MADDOW: Well, that`s, I guess that`s the crux of it. I mean, is there -- I know you`ve been working on border patrol just as a story and as a sort of government accountability issue for a long time. Is there any indication from the firing, specifically, or from anything else about this official`s past, as head of the internal affairs, to suggest that he was about to be some kind of whistle-blower? I mean, honestly, it wouldn`t seem likely, with since he was the head of internal affairs and we know a little something about the record of internal affairs at that agency. But then again, he was fired the day he was going to testify and that seems really fishy. STANTON: Yes, I mean, there are sort of conflicting pieces of evidence here. I`ve heard some people who say that he had sort of become committed to this idea of trying to rein in some of the cowboy behavior that`s been going on along the southern border. But at the same time, he`s also been at internal affairs during a time where you`ve had the majority of these shootings, fatal shootings, that have happened in the last, you know, four, five years. And he`s been in charge of internal affairs. One would think that this would become a much bigger priority. There have been lots of stories about, you know, agents being involved with drug trafficking and other issues that have happened sort of throughout his tenure. So it`s unclear whether or not it was something like that, or if this was the agency trying to signal to the public and to particularly advocates along the border, that they were beginning to take this issue of the violence seriously. It`s very, you know -- and they don`t talk. They won`t explain themselves, they don`t tell anybody anything. So, it`s hard to know. MADDOW: There`s so much Washington noise about the issue of immigration, but the way that immigration is enforced, particularly in terms of boots on the ground at the border, this is a really big story and I think it`s about to get bigger. And we`re going to be doing more coverage on this in the coming days. John Stanton, Washington bureau chief at BuzzFeed -- John, thanks very much. I think this is really something here. Thanks. STANTON: It`s good to be here. MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So this happened in our world. Seriously, this happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, the governor will be here any moment. And you have got to get ready for Governor Jindal. Hey, hey, how you doing? Welcome. Welcome. Welcome to duck commander -- well, we are in the back of the warehouse here. I missed you at the front. GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Now, we just came back here. Got here early. Guys invited me to shoot around a little bit. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, shooting basketball day. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You may think "Duck Dynasty", Bobby Jindal -- there`s no chance that you think of "Duck Dynasty", Bobby Jindal and basketball. But that happened. And then today, about six minutes from the duck commander compound, basketball Bobby Jindal did something much less basketball, and much more the kind of thing you might expect from him. And what he did at the church down the road from the duck guys, it was a doozy. And it`s going to affect a huge chunk of the United States. And that story is straight ahead tonight. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Largest city in Louisiana is New Orleans, with a population of about 340,000 excellent people. Second largest city in Louisiana is Baton Rouge, about 230,000 people. And today, far from either of the population centers in the town of Monroe, Louisiana, at a church, Governor Bobby Jindal signed a new law that will close all the abortion clinics in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. For that whole state with a population of almost 5 million people, the law that Bobby Jindal signed today is expected to close every clinic in the state except for one maybe two. Neither of them in the state`s two largest cities. The Louisiana bill uses the same language used in Texas to close clinics there. That same language has just been put into law in Oklahoma as well. Expected to close all but one clinic in Oklahoma. Same language put into law in Alabama. And also in Mississippi. The one last place in Mississippi where women can get an abortion is now fighting to try to stay open. The state tries to shut it down. And now today, in Louisiana, Governor Jindal has signed the same law to start shutting down that state`s clinics as well. And, state-by-state, across the American south, that is how the anti-abortion movement is succeeding in making it so an American woman who wants to have a legal abortion really has nowhere to go. In addition to signing this law that will shut down either three or four of the last five places in Louisiana, where a woman can get an abortion, the law that Governor Jindal signed establishes a public registry of doctors who do abortions in the state making public their names and addresses. The Louisiana state legislature voted to overwhelmingly pass that bill at the five-year anniversary of Dr. George Tiller being stalked and murdered by an anti-abortion activist. And, voting in favor of a similar public registry of abortion doctors a decade ago that`s all but ended the nomination of a federal judicial nominee that`s never been able to explain this thing might help more doctors get shot in this country. But today, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed the bill to: (a), close all the clinics and (b), publish the names and addresses of all doctor whose do abortions in the state. He signed that legislation today in a church in Monroe, Louisiana. And yes, in case you are wondering, yes, there will be lawsuits. Now, time for "THE LAST WORD." Thank you for being with us tonight. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END