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tv   After Words  CSPAN  November 22, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm EST

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this week sharyl attkisson in her book, "stonewalled" my fight for truth against the forces of obstruction, intimidation and harassment in obama's washingt washington. in it, the former cbs news investigative reporter presents her account of the opposition she says she encountered while trying to report on the administration's middle east policies. the program is about an hour. >> host: welcome, so great to have you here to ask about your book, "stonewalled" and the subtitle is my fight for truth against the forces of obstruction, intimidation and harassment in obama's washingt washington.
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why did he want to write this book? >> guest: couple of people approach me with an idea if this was something i would like to write about and as it happens i have been thinking for a long time about the state and the things are happening in industry. some of it because of my experience at cbs and some of it not at all because of cbs. i attended investigative reporting can't conferences and compare notes of friends local news reporters and it seemed there was a common theme that signaled trouble as far as i was concerned and that is why i was interested in my experiences and observations. >> host: what is fat trouble? at some point in the book you talk about the journalists themselves not wanting to deal with the stress of taking on corporations and government. >> guest: i think at the ground level there is still a great deal of desire on the part of many reporters and producers,
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great original investigative reports. that is what we do and that is what every investigative reporter likes to do. i've noticed in the past couple of years and other porters have observed maybe there's less of the siren gatekeepers and managers to take on this tough issue whether they perceive them to be political issues or topics that go after certain special-interest that are protective for one reason or another or even corporate interest in some cases. all of that i argue in the book resulted in what i see as a narrowing slice of what may be on the news at night and as a result of a homogenized news can switch on a given night looks the same not because they're only 10 stories going on on the whole planet in a given night but i argued a similar decision-making processes are used at each of the networks to decide what should be in the news. >> host: i imagine your decision-making process and
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network executives are making have to do with the viewers and ratings so how does the viewer play into back? with a rather see the story and you talk about this is how cbs did the story. i think they used the word weather. is that the executive's fault and how does that relationship cannot? >> guest: i think it's a combination effect. certainly the types of stories i was doing for most of the 20 years i was encouraged to do government watchdog and waste reporting is proven to be by long-standing polls such as pew. the only thing the public likes less about the news media that's one thing they see as contributing to something of value. the idea that they didn't seem to want the stories in the last couple of years ago to me and my producers that there was something other than just viewer interest that play. also when i discuss in the book that there were some of these issues where were investigating
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that certain network managers like the story and the lights would go off and they would want them. the stories we knew were wildly popular, and a large chunk of yours. i was immediately told when i would take the stories to the web site that they would dominate the web site and attract all kinds of traffic so i don't think these decisions were made exclusively our holy with regards to what they thought viewers wanted to see. i think there were other factors at play. >> host: anything different in your mind or what you have seen between how an outlet approaches investigative reports versus what you want to? >> i think there are similarities. i again compared notes with some of my colleagues and some who are my acquaintances and friends and they describe similar pressures and similar trends. i concluded that there is something happening culturally
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within the industry. it doesn't mean there is no investigative reporting and no original reporting of course but i think other reporters will tell you these stories are harder flawed and many of them don't. one line that i use in the book is that people think a lot of effort goes into but putting great stories on television and would be surprised to know how much effort goes into it and i think that's a story and trying to tell. >> host: you talk a little bit about the early part of your career. talk about how you got the book to do investigative journalism. it's a special breed of person of folks who want to do this kind of work. >> guest: i think again as everybody did it be reports that i had as many reporters do that extra sense of curiosity instead of leaving the story at the end of the day i had a question or two. if you pull on the threat you find it more interesting story and one that other people don't have. i was really never assigned to be an investigative reporter.
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he was just an outgrowth of the reporting i did. >> host: and india covered, this book is largely about what you have done under obama's tenure but also you have covered the bush administration as well. >> guest: yes and i would say an exception that the bush era story scott and even the republican targeted story scott as recently as last year i won an investigative award for doing a story investigating republican fund-raising in the hypocrisy in their promise or implied promise that they would not operate as usual washington and yet we caught them with big-money big money donors. those stories when i do them are well received. they call me a liberal mouthpiece when i do those stories and nobody cues me of -- that i would be the two but i
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noticed when the same same breath i do a story perceived to go after the other side are lead to the obama administration all the forces, to claim that i am therefore conservative all of a sudden and i have these ideological things going on. i think that to me reveals the unintended bias of those making the judgment and the fact that they can't see the first of there's a record that shows i have covered both political parties or no political party at all but the idea that they think will make conservative would dig deeply into the controversy of the administration says something about how they feel. >> host: you have been asked about that this idea whether you are angling for roll it fox moved -- "fox news" and the book is done really well and has a broad audience and on "the new york times" bestsellers list. congratulations on that.
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what is it like now to be sort of a conservative start the will? >> guest: i don't mind either way. when i've been called liberal in the past that helps people to put that label on me that's what they want to do. doesn't bother me and it's not true that people say my reporting is conservative but if it makes them feel better and that's what they want to do it doesn't matter to me. i don't mind at all. i would point out i have been on "cnn" and "msnbc" and c-span and al-jazeera and only do they ask if i'm angling for a job at fox. nobody asks if i deny being a conservative reporter then are you angling for a job on "msnbc" and that reveals the inherent bias in a question that they assume if you do reporting targets of the demonstration you have to be conservative because who would do such a thing? >> guest: if you look back at the past few years or when obama was first running what do you think, there is a liberal
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leaning strain among folks who are reporters and what you think it does for the coverage over the last few years? >> guest: i wouldn't argue the point but i didn't over the course of my last 20 years find a problem with that. i have boxes that i knew were conservative leaning but great bosses that were able to keep their personal opinions out of their story judgment. i think the problem is when you have a few gatekeepers and i think we have that the less couple of years on cbs news and i wasn't the only one that thought this in daily conversations who can't keep their ideologies out of the stories and they can use the look of the newscast when the producers are trying very hard to put original stories on television and i think that was
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happening. >> host: is sort of rooting for the establishment if you will or routing for corporate interests. >> guest: i think so. all i can tell you is i detected desires to go after powers that be no matter who they are. my producer didn't want to certain stories to be perceived as going after political interests. we offered stories that had nothing to do with politics. we offered investigations that had to do with watchdog issues and consumer fraud stories, business stories. they at the end did not want any of them for us so we were at loggerheads for the broadcaster that did want to take on anything we offered unless it was the controversy that was being covered by everyone else. you probably know what i'm talking about in the e-mails that say you know "the new york times" story can you match it? "the huffington post" said the
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"washington post" says the spread i can't tell you how many times not that those aren't sometimes legitimate points to look at but everyone wants to their own reporting. they have their own expertise and they can turn out stories as good as the ones in "the new york times." >> host: you are paid as an investigative journalist to cover the stories that weren't being reported elsewhere. >> guest: i always called my job added value. i wanted to bring added value to everything i brought to the table. i wanted to try to take on issues for a variety of reasons stories that for some reason were getting the kind of attention that i thought they deserved that i thought the public would think was more deserving and that's what i brought to the table. >> host: this book is about
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the obama white house. one of your interactions the mic and we will go through at some point because you layout separate controversies and scandals that you cover. but overall what has that been like? this is a demonstration in the present became an in unprecedented transparency. what has that been like? >> guest: after clinton i think we all said hopefully there will be a change when bush comes in and things will be better and more transparent transparent. bush came in and out think things were more transparent in effect i think things are worse. obama comes in and we all say okay he specifically promising things will get better. he put out an edict that said freedom of information requests answered on the side of providing information and not withholding. it's been disappointing where we stand politically as a journalist seeing there was this great hope for the ability to have more tools to do our job and then to find general
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agreement because reporters from "the new york times" and "washington post" washington correspondent on white house photographers, we'll agree it's the most most difficult for transparency and press issues than we have dealt with in recent years. that's the foundation for what i'm about to say but i would just tell you there's a push back which has always existed. every has its own way of stopping negative recourse but is particularly aggressive and perhaps aggressively directed at me and other reporters who do this reporting but it was a daily thing. twice today meetings the contacts were made by people at the white house and people in the public when i told them that they will e-mail me and e-mail my boss. they will e-mail colleagues and call my boss. they will get their surrogates involves for talking points.
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they will do social media campaigns and before you know it there has been movement trying to controversial eyes and a story they don't like. the whistleblowers who are telling the truth from inside the government, even if they were once loyal upon administration employees are now marginalized by the president and it's just an aggressive campaign more so than what i experienced. >> host: that obviously as you laid out clinton promised a certain amount of transparency and bush did too and obama in the fact that there isn't sets up a pattern for whoever comes in. >> guest: i think i've heard other reporters say the same thing that we are all the same mindset. every is going to be tighter than a last. the federal bureaucracy and politicians for whatever reason seek to get more powerful to covet information and they somehow think they own public information. they forget our information that act like you are asking for
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corporate proprietary secrets. i think it's our job as the press to provide the tension that doesn't let that get out of balance. that's her information of bonds the public. here's her freedom of information. no you can't keep us out of that public building and you don't get to choose which reporters cover your stories. i don't think we have provided the last couple of years and the more we give up in the press the more -- the harder it is to get those rights back. those were hard fought and once lost i don't know how you go back no matter who's in charge. >> host: is the public on our side do you feel like in terms of their bedwetters submitted in 2013 complaining about when the white house had defense in the oval office and they wouldn't
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let reporters in and just release still photos. is there a need for the average joe to have sympathy with reporters who again they don't hold in high regard? >> guest: i think a lot of people pay no attention but among those that are guess people do care. people who consider themselves apolitical and obama supporters and those who don't. the overall believe the press has a role to play in providing that national government a whoever the powers that be are that we question authority and instead the dynamic i argue has been turned into question those that question authority. in other words of a reporter reports something you don't like the whistleblower blows the whistle inside the government. instead all the attention is being turned on the wrong side, that is part of a well orchestrated effort to keep it successful. >> host: in the book you layout a number of controversies
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and incidents that took over the first theme fast and furious. several times you talk about a you make the argument that perhaps reporters didn't want to engage for whatever reason. talk about how you came in the fast and furious scandal and what it was and what their reaction was from the white house? >> guest: fast and furious came from an anonymous letter sent to my producer. a copy of a letter by senator grassley sent to the department of justice asking for one of the programs whereby federal agents were helping facilitate the delivery of assault rifles and other weapons into the hands of mexican drug cartel. grassley was asking if this is true. having been familiar with how he works he had whistleblowers telling telling him that some insight. of course it piqued their
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interest. grassley wouldn't return my call so i stuck with the letter and no contacts but my producer and i began getting on line and finding sources of contact. one thing led to another and we were able to talk to enough people that we believed we had excellent sources. the story took off. the first tory have nobody on camera by name making the allegations and reliable off camera sources. we had quite an important story and let go a long time in television news something like five minutes to read the story we wanted to do it. he said write the story than wade needs to be written. the story could never have been done that way. after that story, there was an
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incredible reaction in the pushback as we call the pushback is a call it of the administration saying all these people were liars which we now know. all my reporting was wrong which we know was all correct but there was the pushback that always tells me i may be onto something because i knew my sources were good. there were internal memo someone leaves me with government officials from atf e-mailing other public relations officials inside the tea of saying thanks and as nobody else is picking up on the story story and most are not some positive press to drown out the cbs story which told me perhaps we are onto something. we were on a roll for a little while. i finally got a very brave sitting atf agent john dotson to blow the whistle on camera by name so it became irrefutable and undeniable after that. after a couple of weeks i never thought it was story that would lead to the attorney general the white house sounded like a
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phoenix arizona gun story, as it looked as though it was going to hire and allegations the department of justice had wiretaps in the case anew about it and perhaps there was white house knowledge. interest in the story at cbs stopped at least among the key people deciding what to put on television. the story kept going and we kept digging up information. it was long before that story and they had way more to being covered but the interest fell off and i think that was a pattern i describe in a number of stories whereby initially the stories were very welcomed and applauded internally and as i say say the lies which were not. >> host: is the light switch in your estimation doesn't have anything to do with -- is just an embed this -- investigative reporting about fast and furious at some point it becomes partisan partly because you have darrell issa bringing the attorney general before congress
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under these hearings and at some point he is held in contempt. is that part of the reason for what is your sense? >> guest: i would argue it doesn't become partisans and simply because the attorney general is called in to a hearing. he doesn't answer a subpoena, how do you not consider contempt? >> host: but is it seem that way? >> guest: i argue in the book this is a deliberate campaign. not that it would be seen to some degree that way anyway but there is a delivery campaign in my opinion to spend these negative stories in a negative way and a reporter's controversial iced the story is controversial iced and the whistleblower don watson is controversial. the knowledge they had false information on the stuff was true. the president stepped in with
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the executive privilege to withhold documents. why if this was a story that was an important? i think the story had its merit but it was to some degree successfully controversial iced including inside cbs by managers who either sometimes have an ideological issue that they couldn't deal with properly on their own in my opinion or had other reasons they wanted to avoid that story. i can tell having been in the business for 30 years my producer and i know when something is up. the trajectory of the story like that did not follow its natural trajectory that should've been dictated by the facts alone. >> host: at some point you talk about in the book katie couric e-mails you and ask you whether or not you got an interview with eric holder and can she get in interview with eric holder. apparently she's friends with eric holder and his wife but that doesn't happen. guess that is when i noticed so they were excited about the story making it clear to additional stories i had
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conducted on exclusive interviews for, yes katie contacted me and asked have asked holder for an interview and i said yes he wasn't going to do one and she said and she asked for an interview. she didn't do the interview and after that week the stories that were planned one was cut entirely and the one they did air was cut down drastically and that is when the appetite clearly was over. >> host: and at some point there are stories in the "times" i think the sort of suggest that holder was exonerated you point out. >> guest: took a long long time but the inspector general investigated. this is another what i see as a tactic. this was not about how deeper deep are the president of the united states knew it or eric holder first knew everything and otherwise is not a story. that is how the press treated it. we have to prove that they
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confessed. the people who perpetuated this summer found guilty by the inspector general's office something like a dozen employees and mismanagement of improper behavior were operating under the obama administration on behalf of eric holder under the present of the united states. he denied even though he was sent direct briefings on fast and furious by more than one of his top aides, i don't remember reading the briefings and things like that. let's accept that that he didn't properly oversee agents that were running a cross-border international gunrunning organization for over a year and he just didn't notice or know about it. that's fine but still i think it's a huge story and some of the press bought into the idea that you have to prove a certain level involvement by certain officials are also so nonstory. >> host: and there was this
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sort of framing a fast and furious by folks in the liberal press that oh well it really started under bush. that was something we heard. >> guest: well there is some truth to the idea and i was the first to report this, i learned fairly quickly on after fast and furious that earlier operations called wide receiver have been tried under bush and abandoned because it was so controversial. in other words that bush of justice department u.s. attorney's office according to my sources saw this as potentially perilous because the guns had been -- i do want to bring the cases to trial. it was a smaller operation and one of the same officials was working out of the phoenix office under bush and obama when this happened. both programs happened under the two administrations in them and president obama came into office they were looking for gun cases to bring and they pick that one up and started to be prosecuted. the process learned that the guns had been wanted in this
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inappropriate fashion. there were internal members that showed they were talking about gun walking and how the public understand if this comes to light. so yes there was an element in the bush administration which i reported. think what was interesting about that is i had a manager who was on my side who thought fast and furious should be getting more attention. he advised me whenever you try to pitch the stories mention the bush connection every time and maybe they will run more stories. that was the mentality. we knew the people keeping it off the air would be happier and more anxious to go after the bush angle than the obama angle. >> in another of your reports looked at green energy and of course we know as part of the stimulus package that obama passed in his first month of office a lot of money went to green energy to give money to
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these green energy companies for solar panels are battery-operated cars. they became part of the 2012 campaign with romney pointing to particular businesses that went belly-up. solyndra was one of them with 535 million in loan guarantees. talk to me about this investment in these green energy companies and what you found out. >> guest: i didn't cover cylinder. i tend to want to big story and it's pretty well covered and not worry about that. at some point if i find an angle i think it hasn't been widely covered by the network brings me in on the story i start digging. green energy i can't remember how i ran across after cylinder other examples that seem to be wasteful spending in which we should have known in advance or did know in advance that the money was probably going down
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the tubes tubes and there were conflicts of interest and so on. it was $90 billion in stimulus money and more money had been given under bush prior to that which i looked at as well. a lot of money had gone into green energy initiatives. i didn't see any of the stories as for or against green energy. it had nothing to do at that. everybody wants green energy to work. i don't think that's a question. i saw this as a taxpayer funding issue and i've specialized in doing no stories for many years. people appreciate the stories especially when the government is low on money and you can .. to these areas of waste. i started digging around into sbc reports of the companies that got a lot of tax dollars and was shocked at what they showed it had -- and what had not been widely reported. it's completely different than the press releases issued by them and the government on their behalf. anyway i went down that road and
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started reporting on the green energy issues. there was so much to report and be uncovered on many different levels. the first story i did was well received by the ceo of cbs news and everybody down. we were wanted as many stories as we could do and we wanted everybody to investigate. there was incredible pushback from the white house and they were horribly sensitive about it. >> host: let's remember this was a time where obama was touring some of these factories with the battery-operated cars trying to tout the success of the stimulus package in this investment in these cars and solar panels and were going to change the economy and change our dependence on fuel and things like that. >> guest: that's right and i argue what i've seen a book called the substitution game. i do believe this.
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if you had bush and cheney said of obama and biden attending for these groundbreaking ceremonies for corporate people who have gotten tax money in some cases made political donations to them they later were to be found quickly to be going belly-up like hundreds of millions of dollars after getting taxpayer funding. i think you would have seen all over the news the clips of bush saying this factories going to be full of 1000 workers making cars. he would show the contrast that they are not. nobody's doing that. it's really a stark and now this example that happened under the obama administration so i was digging into that because it was a great story. the appetite dried up fast. >> host: this question of what you have against green energy comes up? >> guest: we suspected, my producer and i and a few others trying to help get the stories on television would think what
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is it that they don't like about a story? they would never say we don't like the story, your story is conservative, we don't like you. they just said it's not interesting in these nebulous thing so we would try to think what is it that they don't like and we concluded and i think was proven rightfully so that one of the gatekeepers scott kelly just thought the public would be solid on green energy if they got their money was being wasted. i seem to be confirmed by a manager who overheard a conversation in new york when one manager was trying to get pat the executive producer to run the stories that i was saying no to because they were incredible stories. the answer from pat was what's the matter, don't you support green energy? that said it all to me. she couldn't get out of her head and understand these were stories about green energy and you have to trust the public or allow the public to make up their own minds. you don't censor a story or
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topic because you are afraid they might draw the wrong conclusion about something you care about. i think that's what happened. >> host: you mention this with the gunrunning stories where you put bush in there and that will make a more palatable to folks at the network. could you figure that out? >> guest: when the person who buys me to do that with fast and furious i refuse to do it and i said i haven't mentioned it since then. i will mention it when appropriate but i'm not going to work into a story. when appropriate, yes but i'm not going to try the story for the sake of putting it on. with green energy i can't think of a way they would have accepted. in fact one of the stories they turn down would have been perfect. the producer found the story and i won't tell the whole thing except to say unions, so this is a story some democrats would like, were upset because money had gone from the stimulus to
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support companies who were owned by koreans who had bought -- burning korean workers instead of hiring the locals from jobs and the local say this is supposed to stimulate our economy and hire our workers of the local unions wrote a letter to the democratic congresspeople and the president that they were worried about this. we have under cover video of the korean nationals working in the factories. they didn't want that but i thought that was good from a sense of it's not a democrat versus republican story. they can't call it a conservative story. it's actually some democrats raising issues with other democrats and sometimes those are the best kinds of stories but they didn't want that story there. >> host: you of course are no longer cbs. officially it seems to be no comment. >> guest: no comment. other reporters have told me that they are quietly saying disparaging things about me but i expected that and i don't
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think everybody's doing that. i think a few key people are. i got quite a bit of support from people who know what i say is true in some of them are quoted in the book and i got a nice e-mail this week from somebody i didn't know very well who said he thought it was good something positive was coming from the ugliness as he called it. so i'm pretty pleased overall with the reaction. i thought it would be a bonnier. >> host: another thing you cover in the book is then gauzy and this incident where two americans are killed one of whom was ambassador stephens and this is on september 11, 2012 right in the middle of a presidential campaign. it becomes the topic of debates and really fights in some ways over wording, terrorism and terror and whether or not obama called terrorism. talk about than gauzy or your experiences there and also the world at cebit -- the role cbs
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into play in into play and having misinformation about something obama said and not going with it. >> guest: four americans were killed and again that was the story i dove into my cell. three weeks and cbs asked me to start digging around because they were something we needed to look at and a lot of reporters were were covering it so as a team we started digging and my producer and i got a lot of important advances on the story. it was clear almost immediately that the was hiding information because they wouldn't answer straight simple questions like wended the event and and they weren't even saying there were two. >> host: and what caused it. >> guest: there were so many uncensored questions and initially let the stories that do as i describe cbs was pleased with several weeks of stories that we did. we were at digging deeply inserted to get at the heart of the questions with every step
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made the administration's response look worse. as we were at doing it a better and better job at getting more sources again not republicans. i was using democratic sources inside the administration and using documents from the obama administration. these were in some cases lifelong democrats getting information because they thought something had gone drastically wrong but again again the light switch went off. this got to be a more and more sensitive story and as the election got closer and the story was controversial, they really didn't want more of those stories even though i thought much more has to be done on that story so i published a lot on the web. i didn't stop investigating. >> host: is the idea here that there's a presidential election going on and we don't want to -- on the scale anyway.
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>> guest: do you mean cbs? i and don't know what conversation they had. they just said they thought the story was so well covered and what else was there left to say? they never said things like that. maybe they had discussions among themselves and maybe they told themselves that but on the other hand they took other actions that did put their thumb on the scale and you refer to one of them. we had unbeknownst to me at the time i was covering then gauzy we have a clip inside cbs from her 60 minutes correspondent steve kroft too conducted an interview the next day september 13 or september 12 with president obama in the rose garden. we never aired this clip and it became very relevant several weeks later. the clip steve kroft said to the president something like mr. president today you have avoided using the word terrorism and terrorist terrorist acts and the president says wright. steve says is that why?
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put aside the fact that already we now know in documents they did tell bolivians it was terrorist but at the time it wasn't a question of what wording was used. i was raised later and you may remember the debate with romney went romney said to the present you didn't even call this a terrorist attack implying there were some sort of cover-up that they didn't want the world to know in the president said well yes i did and checked the tape. >> host: the rose garden ceremony. >> guest: >> guest: we had a tape in my view would would have proved romney correct in the present by his own admission wrong because he said he did to boyd using the term but we sat on that cliff. i did not exist until several later when someone leaked about and talked about before the election. what's worse not only did we not reveal that clip i and another correspondent and covering then
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gauzy were directed by nuke managers to use a different part of the interview that we are provided in part with the context that we were told to use that gave the opposite impression that the president said the opposite of what we now know what he said. the complicated story that i thought he had been a party to directing a narrative in a specific direction intentionally giving the impression that something happened that had not happened at all and sat on a clip that was directly relevant to the news that given shooting ourselves in the foot because that's something that could have been valued added to the viewer directly relevant to the campaign. for whatever reason we didn't use it. >> host: what in these moments when you see this going on in cbs hasn't commented on the book or what you say in the book but in those moments, what do you do? are you nervous about being a troublemaker? what was your interaction with
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your bosses? >> it's never comfortable place to be but clearly i'm not too worried about the labeled a troublemaker. i wasn't alone so when they found out what the clip said and it was the friday before the election of another reporter brought it to my attention and read to me on the phone and we both knew it should've been published already. several of us, not just me but a couple of others got together and contacted our managers and work with them and they immediately agreed and nobody tonight we had made a really big mistake. i argued it was clearly intentional and it was really bad and we all try to figure out how to publish it quickly so that we see could say even if it was belatedly published it prior to the election. we have posted it the sunday night before the election. >> host: in many ways may be too little too late because a lot of this had already gone on. >> guest: my main concern, cbs
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was my home and for much of my career i thought i would work there for the rest of my career and i really did have cbs's protection in mind. i've been there and then if questions were asked we would have to show as soon as this came to our attention we took the proper actions to rectify it so that was what was important to me. must be published quickly and must be published before the election. if the president wins and it comes out afterwards and surely it would because people were talking about it inside cbs would look as though we affected the outcome of the election are tried but if we publish it before it would be harder to say that we had an outcome on an important issue in the election. i felt good that we got a published and yes it was tense and awkward for us to be talking with her bosses about something like this and saying the things that were said to them about it but it had to be done. >> host: another big story, health care and a web site which as we all remember didn't go well before the white house at all.
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what do you make of, first talk about the general coverage of it and then talk about your own coverage. >> guest: i think the press was asleep at the switch. i include myself. when i started looking into it and i was assigned to stories three weeks and cbs came and said why don't you take a look. there were so many warning signals. there were congressional hearings and testimony and tested it and get conducted. there were so many red flags that we didn't report on. we did mostly positive stories. >> host: thing that happened? why is their blind spot? is there so much else that's going on or its to technical and how hard is it to build a web site? >> guest: why do you think? >> guest: . >> host: you know i don't know. again we took the administrations word for it. >> guest: i argued in a book that bears this trend and i
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don't understand it that we often are taking whether it's a corporation or government whatever administration they issue something and i think it is to be that most of those new to say okay that's what they want us to report and verify and let's look at the facts to make sure it's true. i started hearing the last two years at cbs more often than i ever had a manager or colleague would say that the government says this or let's see what the government says as if that was the final board and that was to be the truth that we accepted. by and large people -- people wanted health care and people think health care should be changed in this country. >> host: or that wasn't the sense of the broken part was going to be this web site. maybe it would mess up in terms of the different states and the expansion and those sorts of things. >> guest: totally accepted -- unexpected but again there were signals when you look back in hindsight and maybe if we have been looking closer but who
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knows. maybe we wouldn't have caught that but certainly three weeks and there was a recognition we need to do stronger reporting. i think all the networks got on it and the newspapers did and there was good reporting done and then the light switch went off. so we have almost done, carefully monitor the network sense but after certain point no matter how important i felt the stories were that we continue to dig up my producer and i we didn't want them. >> host: and this was after the web site got fixed? >> guest: at the web site was fixed when for example is considered a big deal for short time for something like 4 million people were losing their insurance. the whole controversy if you like your insurance you can keep it. when i went to them and said -- i found evidence with the help of people who support obamacare and insiders have pointed out to me that it was in the cbo
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projections that something like 13 million more were going to get bumped off their work insurance i said this is at least as important because we are talking about more than three times the number of what you thought was important last week and they were like let's wait until that happens. wait until it happens? my producer and i went off and discovered it was already happening. people were losing their work insurance. we came back and said we have examples on the record. already has happened. you know there's no time for that in the program. it was stunning to me that we could bring important issues. more people were paying attention according to the polls for during this time period not just the a web site but the whole issue than a typhoon that killed so many people internationally. more people interested in and sometimes we were not covering any the developments once a light switch went off on this. >> host: cbs is different from
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"fox news" and "msnbc" because you have 30 minutes every night. i guess you have a morning show as well but that's 30 minutes of tightly edited curated news but still you are saying. >> i have this example in my book. the same day the poll showed how many people were interested in a huge percentage of american public. we were putting on stories largely the same stories that the three networks had nothing to do not even mentioning the court hearings with developments on both pro and con testimony. i'm not saying you have to skew the story, they just weren't reporting on it at all at some point even when it was a major issue in eyes of most americans. >> host: talk a bit about come you begin the book with really this kind of harrowing experience, freaky or creepy.
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where you are having these odd occurrences with your phone and you suspect may be you are being spied on or someone is tapping your phone's. he seemed to have a lot of faith in verizon coming up to help you. they do, i think on new year's day. talk about that. this is how you begin the book. >> i want to point out in hindsight things look clear. and it -- never thought i was being surveilled by the government. weird things are happening but i didn't think it was connected to a surveillance ever be the only reason i thought it was because people came to me in the fall of 2012 connected with familiar government practices and said you're been gauzy reporting is close to home in pretty good, keep it up but you are probably being monitored because of it.
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monitored? these are crazy people. these are decent sources so i was like what do you mean? over time one of them in this time period, someone was able to connect me to a forensics expert. it has to be the right kind. a forensics expert was able to look in the computer and identify a long-term monitoring surveillance that had gone on in my computer that had included a keystroke monitoring and activation of my skype so they could listen to audio. they had my passwords and they were in the cbs system. >> at some point the computer turns on by itself. >> guest: an arrest suspect i was saying this may be why during a nighttime my computers were turning on and people were warning me maybe you are being surveilled. by computers come on by themselves at night and i thought it was a normal thing that wanted experts say what you are describing is not the normal
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updates and handshakes that computers do. one thing led to another and ultimately i had three separate computer forensics exam each of which confirmed not just my cbs laptop of my apple desktop computer a remote intrusion effort ongoing for quite some time. >> host: i think some critics have said well she hasn't been fully open about this. she hasn't essentially released a report with names on it that say this is what happened. these are my experts and this is what they say. do you feel that's a fair criticism? >> guest: i have some information in the book and the name of my expert but while the investigation is going on there won't be a ports -- reports release but i'm not doing this to prove to my critics who will never be convinced of anything even if they see someone signed a confession. i'm pursuing this and people can believe it or not they want to.
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doesn't matter to me but i'm just telling you my observations and experience and a separate level i want to be sure who did this does not simply stalk off into the night and that is. they now know that i know and i know what they did whoever the day is an want to expose it and people want to disregard it they are free too. i simply tell what i know and what i i think in what the forensics said as much as i can in the book and you are free to believe it or just a number that happen. >> this is part of a larger story that a lot of us have been happening having about government surveillance of everyone but also part of a sliver of that is the white house's interaction with journalists investigating leaks. talk about that at that because this is the part of the book as well. >> again for those who think it's crazy to think the government could be in your computer and i might mention one of the first computer forensic exam included software proprie
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propriety -- proprietary to a government agency but for anyone who thinks it's silly i say you haven't been paying attention to the news because now we have a context we didn't have during my initial incident. since then we know as you know the government has overreached in my opinion pretty far in its handling of the press or the government has ignored perhaps it's overreached in surveillance of private citizens just as my sources had said when they came to me. i think it's a very serious matter when you have people worried about making phonecalls and communicating on e-mail because they assume they are being watched. let me ask you this don't mind you assume your communications can be monitored whether it's the phone or the computer? >> host: i do. if that's the government or my bosses at work i think there's at expectation. >> guest: your bosses have a right to at any time. the idea that now the government
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just kind of does i will tell you i have conversations with members of congress who will tell me on the phone they don't want to say certain things but because they assume phonecalls are being monitored. we know the government has acknowledged looking at phone records so where does it and? if everyone starts being afraid it reminds me of russia. if everyone is afraid of everything they say something that could be monitored or used against them are found out about it changes the whole tone of the way you do business in what you can report. >> that trend coming just as people seem frear than ever to post things on line and on facebook and twitter and be very open about their private lives. >> i think that's one reason why a lot of people have told me and this has been revealed they are not so worried. i say that in say that in the book say that in the book to people is that i have no secrets. i haven't broken any laws and i don't care if the government looks at me. i think well it doesn't matter whether you've done anything wrong, you may trust today's
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government but do you know who's going to be in charge tomorrow? do you trust that nobody outside the government you trust will have access to information and? do you trust even though you do nothing wrong there couldn't possibly be someone who would make an effort to make it look as if he has done something wrong? is in the culture today where people do give so much of their privacy up and they are not as word is that to be. i think journalists are concerned. >> host: where do you think journalists should be looking now? you are an investigative journalist and maybe you are going to give away too many secrets of what you're looking at but are there stories you feel the press is ignoring? >> i think the presses and ignoring terrorism but there's a lot more to be reported and uncovered about the steady march of terrorism which i think their counterterrorism experts think is coming here in a formal way. europe next and then us. that's what i was told. i think the immigration story has been well covered.
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some aspects of it but not others. >> host: you think the political press by cover the politics of it more than the nitty-gritty people? >> guest: i think it's been well covered the positive aspects of the contributions that illegal immigrants admitted the country and the good part about them being here and the people who have come here and become good citizens and make contributions and served in wartime and the entry things have happened to them. i think those have been well covered. i don't think it's been as well covered the perils that come with that. it's almost as if we don't want to say could be a bad thing or they could be bad repercussions when everybody knows there could be and they are dealing with it because i have been on the border to do the stories in these border towns. to cbs's credit we did do a long story that has to do with some of these issues for sunday morning but i think that's an important issue that deserves more coverage and then i would just say in general medical stories, huge friday that i think we have not well covered
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in my opinion partly because the pharmaceutical industry so much advertising the media and has so much influence. there's a story in a book about the sales department calling the executive producer who i once worked for and commenting on stories that he was having me do about a cholesterol lowering statin drug and how it could harm business. because of that we haven't covered a lot of pharmaceutical issues that we should be covering. >> host: and advice for young journalists in this business for a number of years. it's changing all around us day by day it feels like any advice for young folks? >> guest: it's tough. if you don't do what the bosses want when they want you to do something you think is not quite right will you ever get the next job? is hard to say what to tell somebody to do what i think there's room for people to follow a story to a place where it's going. don't leave it, follow it.
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try to resist the temptation to let others take you into place that you can tell they would like cisco and make your argument that this is where the story really goes. i think there are a lot of outlets as pessimistic as this may sound i don't think we'll ever go back to the world we had where most people got their news from three stations in the newspaper that something will be born of it. it has to work itself out so people can separate what's real from what's not but there's plenty of great reporting still be found in places like the networks and frontline and hbo vice and propublica and project censored and senate for public integrity integrity. you just have to find them and i think people will find new ways to find the truth about the issues they care about. it's just not going to be the same way they did before. >> host: what is next for you? >> guest: i think i'm just going to keep plugging along in the short-term. i have published a lot of what i call orphan stories like the story on a federal study in
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premature babies in which these women say they have no idea in some cases they were in a study study and the government ethics body found a consent form is unethical. as a result some of the babies in the study died and were blinded. >> host: where can we find you were? >> guest: sharyl and i try to cross-reference what i've done with al-jazeera or her efforts for her efforts ford or media television i try to cross reference on sharyl >> host: thank you so much for chatting today. i have learned a lot and i hope young journalists read this and there's a dog begins -- spirit. i have enjoyed talking with you. >> guest: thank you. >> that was "after words" booktv's signature program a witch authors of the latest nonfiction books are interviewed by journalists, public policymakers and others familiar
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with their material. "after words" airs every weekend on booktv at 10:00 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9:00 p.m. on sunday and 12:00 a.m. on monday. and you can also watch "after words" on line. go to and click on "after words" in booktv series of topics list on the upper right side of the page. >> as i say in my book war is the mother of necessity. as with many technologies especially aviation technologies were created the necessities that gave birth to the predator in the key innovations that made it evolutionary. the war in bosnia and the difficulty finding server's earlier -- artillery bombing sarajevo led to the development of the second drone called predator which in fact was a derivative of a smaller less capable uav called the map 750.
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in 1993 the cia but to map seven 50's to use in bosnia. in the photo at the bottom here the man to the right is at and a man at and up into at and a man to his his left as thomas quintanilla 1993 was a cia deputy director of operations and went to california to seal the deal for director jim woolsey who had known ad for years. at about the same time after conversations with joe multi multi-undersecretary of defense for acquisition created a program to create to develop an unmanned aerial vehicle similar to the map 750 for the military. deutch was in a hurry. he stipulated that this new uav had to fly within six months of contracted and to make that possible he adopted an idea his deputy larry linda, with in a
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rapid procurement method call that dancing concept technology demonstrations. in january 1994 the defense department gave him the first such contracts. a been a team of engineers who brought with him redesigned the map 750 and six months later the predator made its first flight. ..


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