national security. plus, encore presentations from recent book festivals. tune in for booktv in prime time all next week on c-span2. go to booktv.org for the complete schedule. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, it's for serious read -- television for serious readers. ..
for a complete television schedule, booktv.org. booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors, television for serious readers. we kick off the weekend with biographies on first lady michelle obama and supreme court justices sandra day o'connor and ruth bader ginsburg from coverage of the tucson festival of books, followed by an interview with panelist and author linda hirshman on the supreme court. >> good afternoon. it is my pleasure to welcome you to the eighth annual tucson festival of books. we are live on c-span so i will remind you if you haven't
already checked those cell phones please do so now, shut them off or silence them. we will be having a question and answer discussion for 30 to 40 minutes, we will open up her audience questions. we have two microphones in either i'll so if you ask a question of the panelists, please start forming a line about numb 135 or so we can move to your questions. we will be handling the book signing in a slightly different way than you might be used do. peter slevin will go from here to the bookstore attend for sales and signings immediately following this presentation. linda hirshman will be taking calls and doing an interview on c-span so she will be at the same tent, half an hour before the presentation is over following that appearance. it is our pleasure to welcome you and we like to thank c-span and cox communications for sponsoring this venue and we
thank the national institute for civil discourse for sponsoring this session. we hope to have a lively discourse about these wonderful subjects. make sure if you are enjoying the festival and not already a friend of the festival to check out our area in the south ballroom or sign up to become one and there are special benefits including earlier access to tickets for presentations like this so i encourage you to do that. it is my pleasure to introduce our panelists today. linda hirshman has brought historical perspective and deep analysis of controversial headlines and social movements to readers of her books and columns in the new york times, washington post, the daily beast, politico, grammar and salon. she will discuss her she will discuss her
recent book, "sisters in law: how sandra day o'connor and ruth bader ginsburg went to the supreme court and changed the world" was published in september 2015 by harpercollins. linda hirshman received a phd in philosophy from the university of illinois in chicago and chicago law school and bachelor of arts in cornell, linda predicted the recent supreme court ruling on gays and lesbians, have a constitutional right to marry three years in advance of it in her widely acclaimed 2012 book victory, the triumphant gay revolution, and get to work, manifesto for women of the world, a woman's guide to law school, hard bargains, and a great guest on 60 minutes, good morning america, cnn, npr, and the colbert report. and she was a professor of philosophy at women's studies at brandeis professor of law at northwestern while practicing,
focusing primarily on labor law, appeared in three supreme court cases including nicaea, a landmark case which defined the line between the federal government and the states. peter's love and is associate professor at mandel school of journalism at southwestern university, veteran national and international correspondent who spent a dozen years at the washington post before coming to southwestern, us world affairs and oral history which he used in his book he will be discussing today. peter slevin takes creative approaches to storytelling and believes the best journalism flows from research before the first question is asked. his career as a reporter has taken him around the country and the globe and allowed him to tell stories rich with the voices of people involved. he will discuss his most recent project "michelle obama: a life," released in 2015 and for
which he received a penn award nomination was his career included small afternoon newspaper and hollywood florida and the miami herald where he served seven years of european euro chief after the collapse of communism in central europe and the soviet union. and and the clinton presidential scandal. and wrote extensively about foreign policy. and the 2008 campaign and political tools, and remains a contributor. and a masters of experience from oxford university. please join me in welcoming
linda hirshman and peter slevin. since we are here to discuss powerful women of washington. we start our remarks with a comment, can you describe the source of your subject's power and how they deployed it to their best advantage. >> my subject, ruth bader ginsburg and sandra day o'connor who were born, o'connor in 1930 and ginsburg in 1932, derived their power from a combination of social change that happens around them as they reached their maturity and good fortune and of most interest to me there character. hundreds of thousands of women went to college in the 1950s and hundreds if not thousands of women went to law school in
those years. only they made it to the supreme court and changed the world and i attribute that distinction to their traits of character which enable them to rise in a hostile environment and friendly environment. >> it is such a strange job being first lady. you arrive in washington. you were not the one who was summoned to washington with laura bush and others that you become first lady on the vote of one man, one vote. you arrive, you have no army to command, no constitutional duties, no salary, you have people willing to hurl brickbats from all directions, michelle obama with no exception. she had to reinvent herself, gave up her 20 year career in chicago, gave up the power, what she had in chicago and had to re-create it in a way that was meaningful to her and it wasn't
easy to get to washington under those circumstances. what she figured out was one of her forms of power was her voice. that she could deliver messages and she needed to figure out what would those messages be? what was it that would matter? what would move the needle? that was the phrase she often uses, she turned to themes that animated her ever since, themes of inequality, themes connected to young people and mentoring, and she found that voice, i do argue in the book, in unusual paces, she found it in north london where she recognized that the power of her own trajectory was one of the strongest cards she had to play. >> we have a serious contender for the most powerful position in washington, that of president
of the united states. yet there seems to be a problem with her connecting with female voters. she may be able to break the glass ceiling, but she is struggling in that one demographic. what experience or advice from your subjects might be instructive if hillary were to call them? >> sandra day o'connor was a politician. she was in arizona state legislature and ran for one seat in the elected judiciary. before she went to washington. she is regarded as the natural politician on the supreme court, probably the most natural on the supreme court since william brennan, one of your sources told me after the book was written, so aggravating. [laughter] >> that will be in the paper.
sandra day o'connor had a laserlike sensitivity for people's emotional state. she could read people better than anyone else that a successful woman had ever met. i don't know if she were asked to tell hillary clinton what to do, if she could explain to clinton what it was that she could do, it is like magic. and charisma is related to the concept of magic. a wonderful anecdote about this. and o'connor clerk came to interview with o'connor for the much coveted position of supreme court clerk from the chambers of ruth bader ginsburg. the liberal dc circuit judge at
the time. otherwise you don't get in -- to interview with a position. the republican appointees's chambers. she and o'connor are chattering away like old friends and o'connor says did you like clerking for judge ginsburg? it was so wonderful, to clerk for a judge where you agreed with her. on every single thing she said. she said to herself marco my god. what did i just do? so comfortable, justice o'connor magically made this smart, sophisticated, young legal star and o'connor said to her how would you feel about clerking for a judge you don't always agree with?
that would be fine too. o'connor hired her on the spot which is a beautiful reflection of o'connor. i don't know if you can teach that. ginsburg figured out something hillary clinton reused which was how to relate perfectly wonderfully empowered for younger women. and that is a product of a lesbian woman, i asked her before, she came from a great lesbian and gay tradition in a
powerful way, and she turned ginsburg, there is a reason why you succeeded so well with ginsburg. ginsburg is the same all the way through, every molecule of ginsburg is exactly -- her opinions are coherent, philosophy is coherent and mark it to youngsters who value authenticity above most things very readily. i don't know if you could survive on an electoral system. and the kind of authenticity and coherence ruth gator ginsburg had. having life tenure means never having to say you are sorry.
[laughter and applause] >> the authenticity, if hillary clinton were to call michelle obama and michelle obama says what she thinks works for her, she would say know who you are, be that person, consistently be authentic. and michelle obama had to learn that, be mindful of your audience, be mindful of what is possible, but ultimately stick with it and don't be cowed. there was a moment not quite two years ago, when my angela died, michelle went to winston-salem, north carolina and spoke at her memorial service and michelle recalled in her remarks moments when she said she felt lonely in ivy league classrooms and on the
campaign trail where she said my womanhood was challenged. and people said she wasn't patriotic and in those moments she thought of my angelo and the poem phenomenal women. she said at the time the thing that made my angelo so meaningful was she was comfortable in her own skin. that is a piece of advice that has worked particularly well for her and she would pass along and indeed does to audiences all over the country. >> we have a little tiny crisis having to do with the supreme court. and add to the equation if they were going to weigh in on it. >> what is intriguing about the
way michelle obama looked at the supreme court and the way barack obama looked at the supreme court, they have a great deal in common, this notion of bringing to the court realized experience. remember the conversation in 2009 when sonja soto mayor was chosen, she would talk about it on the campaign trail and use the example of ledbetter who worked in a tire company, and people passed a note, and less for the same job. and she sued and the justices on the supreme court said you waited too long. that was a travesty as far as barack obama was concerned. working on the book about michelle obama, i spent a lot of time at harvard law school where
she spent three years, it was not the sort of legal scholar, how many angels would fit on the head of opinion, as her mentors told me she cared about outcomes, cared about results. what the law would mean in day-to-day life, something barack obama talks about. david wilkins, one of her mentors and a law professor at harvard said in fact that she wanted to know what would be fair and just and what would matter to actual people and i feel that we hear that in what barack obama says about what he is looking for. >> sandra day o'connor who is now retired has been asked and has answered that she thought the senate should participate in the nomination of a replacement judge. she disagreed with the party
that brought her. that reflects her reverence for the court as an institution. she was a wonderful colleague. when i interviewed justice stevens, justice stevens sat on the supreme court of the united states almost throughout the tenure of both of my subjects, was there before o'connor came and left just five years -- i was a journalist and therefore a rotten human being, to teach something bad about sandra day o'connor with whom he disagreed politically on various serious matters like the death penalty, really disagreed with her. i thought i am going to get him to say something really nasty
about her and have, if you pardon the expression, a scoop. but he wouldn't. he is an old friend of mine so he leaned forward and said linda, she never caused us any trouble. what was so wonderful about that moment is you knew the men on the supreme court were waiting for trouble when a woman claim -- came. she never causes any trouble at all. yet without causing trouble she made a lot of social change. it is sort of mysterious how she did it because she would cast the decisive fifth vote, the right to abortion in her vote in 1992, the way they went after justice blackmun, she was really good, without causing any trouble at all.
ruth bader ginsburg is different from the obamas. she is a true liberal. she was taught by robert bushman, liberal from cornell in the 1950s. she has a well worked out liberal philosophy, america is the story of increasing inclusiveness and it started with a bunch of rich old white blue blue, some of them slaveowners, the great story of america to ginsburg is the story of how the experiment widened and widened to let in white men to let in black men, to the equal protection clause. she was the author of that movement. to admit gays and lesbians to fool citizenship. so she would be as she said,
could not now appointed justice to the supreme court like me. she is a clear, coherent, jurisprudential liberal. if i could have one wish, it would be that someone could appoint a justice like ruth bader ginsburg to the supreme court. [applause] >> i would like to shift gears and talk about the research process for your books. you were not allowed direct access to your subject for interviews for purposes of these books. how do you approach research and handling of that situation, and how do you make a response to critics who might make that point? >> starting in earnest, during
the campaign, based in chicago, started to dig deeper into the life barack obama did, started to follow michelle obama around the country, came to realize here was a person that deserved to be in the center of her own narrative. she had a lot to say. i was looking forward to writing about her story and against the history. starting the book i started the way one might start reporting any biography, which is tech. always start with questions and not answers. not to assume i knew very much and to ask what were the influences on her life. i worked through her life's story often from her own words. i did not want my voice to be dominant, the voice of people who knew her. and dozens of people who knew
her at different points in her life who were able to tell a story, to help me paint a picture of a painting where there are many data points adding up to this one thing. and talking to mrs. obama she had the president said we are not helping others with books. in many ways i was very fortunate, not only had i started working on the book, my colleagues and friends, had never been published and due to the wonders of the public presidency and public white house, every word mrs. obama had spoken in public is transcribed so i read hundreds of thousands
of words, which most people did not go through. even though it wasn't directly reported was spoken to me. >> i learned a lot about michelle obama from reading the book, made me a better social commentator, thank you for doing that. so justice o'connor and justice ginsburg have a narrative that they have been expressing for decades. i know from interviewing other powerful and famous people that when people get to a certain level they get a pattern that is impossible to break through that narrative line. i don't think -- i read the
writings of people who have access to o'connor and ginsburg, the conventional narrative, i don't feel bad that i didn't get to interview them, i don't pride myself that i would have been able to break through that and being liberated from it enabled me to ask myself what i think about them, and if you read the book you will see that i have a voice in it and i also got to ask as you just expressed, the people who live with them from the time they were really young because people live a long time now. i got to interview the man who hired ruth bader ginsburg for the aclu in 1970, so i got to
find out from him what is that 40-year-old, 38-year-old woman, looks like in 1970 before she was anything. it was a brilliant interview. i feel fine about it. it is also the case, exactly as you just said, their words are public and thanks to the miracle of the internet, there are thousand, million, billion hours of youtube videos of them speaking, they do their most important work in the form of written opinions and all of that was available to me when she was a lawyer for the court. there was a tremendous amount of archival material. i just read as i had heard on the grapevine that ginsburg is
going to write the forward for a collection of her speeches and letters which is gathered together by her authorized biographer about a future biography of wendy williams. i said i am going to make a bet with myself. when it comes out i will put it next to the mountain of material in my home office and i promise you i will have had pretty much every single thing that is gathered in that because it is so widely covered. >> it is enforced when you don't have full access, you work harder to figure out a particular thought, might have the illusion in doing an interview, that is what the person told you. some of you know david marinus,
a colleague of mine at the washington post. i bumped into him in chicago in 2012 that barack obama's victory celebration, chatting about the book, he had written a wonderful pulitzer-winning biography of bill clinton and of barack obama which i will be talking about here tomorrow and he said if you get an interview with michelle obama it will be the least important interview you do. don't count on it being for much because there is a certain degree of comment by rote. i think one of the things that made the book possible is if you ask her a question she will give you an answer and often a direct answer but it is not the worst thing ever not to have her. >> this may be a question that answers itself but is there one that you wanted and couldn't convince that person to talk to you? >> i would have loved to talk
with michelle's closest female friends, very much like hillary clinton has an array of intensely loyal fascinating accomplished women, she lets down her hair, one in miami and one in washington. if i had my wish list, it couldn't have been her mother who was the most interesting person in the book, would have been one of those friends, to hear a little bit about how michelle made this transition in life from the person who had gone to princeton and harvard and had a successful career to be for better or worse wife of and how she navigated that. >> i am afraid god intervened with my most desired subject. ruth bader ginsburg's husband, the best husband since the
invention of monogamy. >> only if you could have cooked. >> he was a great cook, when he died, the supreme court published a book called supreme chef which had recipes and it. he was a tax lawyer so his recipe for french bread ran to dozens of stages. [laughter] >> and of course along with my acquisition of every single solitary thing ever written by or about my subject i bought a copy of supreme chef and his recipes, telling you how to make various things as if he is there talking to you, not only obviously a wonderful cook but a funny, smart, loving man. i would have loved to have heard
that, how early he recognized how valuable she was. she was the only boy she ever dated. she was 17 when she let all the other options go. so how much time does the rest of the male population have? the only boy she dated, whoever valued her for her brain. >> all minority groups struggle with tension between assimilation and celebration of diversity. can you comment on your subject's handling of personal lives or professional careers? >> my subjects are in interesting contrast. sandra day o'connor always believed, and said in a speech
that once she got in the door she never had any further problems at all. once she got to the arizona state legislature, nobody ever doubted she was competent to be a state legislator and she became the first female majority leader of state legislature. her position was if you just let me and i can do any job like a man could. she always said that a wise female judge and a wise male judge would come to the same conclusion. ruth pater ginsburg always said she was agnostic on that question. this is actually answering your question because it is a historical continuum. when sonja soto mayor was nominated -- she said that a wise latina woman in the
fullness of her experience would come to a better decision than a man who had not had such an experience. when she said it and they were pounding on her for saying it, ruth made a ginsburg spoke out from the supreme court and said she was right. she had to eat her words to get on the supreme court of the united states a completely defensible behavior and once she got on, having life tenure means never having to say you are sorry, what was the first thing she did? she wrote her story and shared the fullness of her experience as a wise latina woman with the rest of us. we have seen her doing it ever since. i think ginsburg's project of america becoming more inclusive is beautifully rendered in this evolution of the answer to your
question. >> michelle obama is walking as fine a line as any black woman has had to walk. she says i am a statistical anomaly, i am not supposed to be here. race and racism is at the heart of existence. there has been extraordinary focus on that. she is mindful of that experience. it comes from her earliest days. and she went to public magnet school, princeton and harvard where as you remember from her college thesis, she said i felt on campus so many people saw me as a black person first and a student second. you have seen in the campaign
what she has had to deal with even as she has sought clearly to be a first lady for all americans, not just african-americans, it is -- has required her to do a delicate dance just the issue she has chosen often have to do with inequality, racial inequality and gender inequality, her efforts now on pushing, encouraging, hugging young girls to get to college and around the country is indicative of that. the talks she gives around the country, the places she gives them shows how much this perception about race, gender and class inequality are central to who she is and her message. >> what do you think was key about the early experience class
each of your subject have and how do they influence her development of personal power and power in the office over time? >> sandra day o'connor was raised at a remote ranch in southeast arizona where there was as my mother told me it happened to her but i never believed it, no electricity and no running water. she was an only child until her sister was born when justice o'connor was 8. i think -- i always think of her as a wild child growing up in this remote place where everybody has to pull their weight, the whole thing will crash, economically very marginal and she didn't have siblings, she was alone with her parents and no one ever told her
that she deserved to be inferior because she was female. by the time she heard it which she heard if nowhere else when she couldn't get a job out of stanford law school, it was too late, she was ruined, had not internalized it. because she could not internalize it, she didn't believe it. she didn't act it and it made her the perfect first. justice ginsburg was also an only child, her sister died when she was very young. she was -- a wonderful jewish immigrant story, went to work when she was a teenager to put her brother through college. when ruth bader ginsburg died -- died. when ruth pater ginsburg graduated from high school her
mother date -- died the day before. he she found out even in those lean times of the depression, her mother had set aside money for her to go to cornell. i believe, inferring from those facts, that her mother placed all her own ambitions as immigrants often do, and beautiful musical child. >> with michelle obama, she grew up with electricity and water. chicago had those things. she grew up in a bungalow and said all that i am now happened in the four walls of this house, apartment above the house, and if you said it was more than 1100 ft. i would say i was
lying. michelle's heroes, people they could touch, they were not astronauts or singers or performers of any kind, people she knew in the neighborhood, people whose stories she heard at home, parents and grandparents, they came north in the great migration and found a time in chicago, it wasn't very easy for many people but in particular her paternal grandfather came from georgetown, south carolina to seek his fortune and fortunes were hard to find. and can be a banker. left the family at one point, went into the army, became a postal worker which was a have to the middle class, this
father, grandfather who had so much to say about where the deck was stacked, your destiny is not written before you are born. you can make it. she heard this lesson in the world her brother called the shangri-la of upbringing on the south side because her parents, did so many things together, those lessons of the south side are the ones that stayed with her most powerfully since. the voice i hear inside my head when i am wondering if i'm making a good decision is my father's voice, the father who did not get to go to college or for very long, got the patronage job, richard j daley's democratic machine who worked shiftwork at the city water plant. the daughter had a box, she could throw a mean punch. these were the lessons of people surrounding her, i found any
number of relatives who fought the good fight. a great and who sued northwestern university for discrimination in the early 1940s. a great and who was in trouble to integrating spiegel, the catalog stores, in the 60s who spoke to lyndon johnson's labor department, these were the people who populated michelle obama's youth and are with her in many ways. >> if you haven't read the book i would commend this very rich description of the history and life of chicago which i wasn't as familiar with as i should have been but it is a wonderful aspect of the book and also the six degrees of separation from michelle obama is astounding especially in terms of civil
rights leaders you will recognize who have either a connection or are related to her. pretty amazing. and thank you for your research on that. those who have questions, make your way to the microphone. we will cover two other areas and open up to questions. i want to start with linda hirshman. why do you think it is that justice ginsburg has been so for seal in forming friendships with people who are so ideologically different than she? >> people ask me that a lot. who besides justice scalia do you have in mind? >> i would put justice o'connor in that category. >> let's talk about, the relationship with justice o'connor. when i started writing the book i thought i would find out they went to lunch together and then snuck off to the store.
i wanted that store near the supreme court to talk to me about it because that would have been scope but in fact it is not true. they never snuck out to lunch together. i asked every person who breathes in their vicinity whether they sneaked out to lunch together. they had an infection it alliance and one of the lessons i hope people and women in particular take from my book is you can have an affectionate alliance and make more change than either one of you could make a loan. you don't have to be bffs. when justice ginsburg got to the supreme court there was no justice on that court who mattered more to her, not even the chief who had a lot of power than justice o'connor because she revered o'connor for being the successful pioneer she had
been and she knew o'connor's life would change and she wanted it to be in a good way. that relationship seems to be subtle and productive, and in 22 cases of women's issues when they said together 1993-2005, they disagreed on two of them, 127 was of a number. everyone asks about scalia so let me give you the executive summary. it represents an interesting path when people of different bullet political views go out to dinner or sit down to tea together as they say in britain. it is interesting because that is an era that is now gone. the second reason, you know what they say, they share a common love of the language and so on.
they share a common love of the constitution. the constitution that she loved and the constitution that he loved were only the slightest resemblance to one another. it is a little weird. he was funny and gregarious. when they went on junkets together he played that role for the inward looking ruth bader ginsburg. the better question is about the two women. >> peter slevin, one thing that struck me this week was michelle obama's condolences to nancy reagan, the mentoring she received from mrs. reagan which a lot of people don't know about. can you comment about the fraternity of first ladies and how michelle obama has been able to use the benefit to her advantage?
>> every first lady living when she got to the white house in 2009, she was particularly interested in how to raise melia and sasha in the public eye. in 2007 when they started running sasha was turning 5, melia was turning 9. one of her greatest worries as she tried to figure out what to say to barack obama, are we going to do this? you can run for the presidency. she sought advice on that, this completely bizarre world, the strangest world ever. you walk into the white house and live in the bubble, and what she said she would -- she wants to drive in a car with the windows down. barack obama said he would like to sit alone on a park bench. this is the world they inhabit.
each of the first ladies were unanimous in giving her one piece of advice which was escaped to camp david, the presidential retreat, as often as you can. get off into your own world as much as you can. it is intriguing that she was been toured and had relationships with these first ladies because it was such a central part of who she is and she is going to reach back, give back, want to be part of that sorority. >> what is your question? >> one for linda hirshman and one for peter slevin. i stay awake at night wondering about ruth bader ginsburg's health. how is she? peter slevin, i think michelle obama stated she would never run for office but do you think there is any hope that she would? >> hoping against hope.
on that one i would defer to when barack obama on that question, he was asked not long ago, if you woke up after ten years, a long sleep and learned michelle was running for president, what would you think? he said i would think she had been abducted by aliens. recently he said there are three things in life that are true, death, taxes, and michelle not running. it is clear in every way you can imagine, she really doesn't want to do that. can you picture her in a room with mitch mcconnell? that would be intriguing. she made clear this is not her work. >> i have no inside information. when i saw ginsburg she looked fine four years ago. her friend was quoted today as
saying she was still doing push-ups and been parasailing. she had gone horseback riding when i was working on my book. i have no reason to believe that she is in any imminent danger. women live a long time, so i hope that will be true of her. >> what is your question? >> i have a request from linda that she speak to justice o'connor's first job in law after she graduated and what she had to do to get that job. i am sure you know the story. >> justice o'connor was determined to get the job. when the california firm said to her we can give you a job in law, you can be a legal secretary, she said no thank you.
many years later got invited to speak at the anniversary of the founding of their locker. and reminded of the first encounter, told david letterman, the most fund speech she had ever given. she had heard a district attorney in california where they were living had once hired a woman so she went to him and asked if she could work for him and work for nothing until the next appropriation and had no room to put her at a desk and the secretary would share her office with the future justice o'connor because they got along
so well in the secretary said okay, justice sandra day o'connor went to work for nothing sharing an office with the secretary so determined was she, expressed with the training, she always looked out at the world and didn't say i am a woman, why have trouble, did whatever was necessary to make it happen, one of the great strengths. >> do they have questions for each other? >> a clean getaway. >> working on the michelle obama book, work/life balance, professional accomplishments and what is required to do that and living a fulfilling satisfying
home life, certain groups found their teeth grinding when she described herself as mom in chief, i actually think my most important role on this planet is to raise grounded, happy girls. feminism is about the right to make choices. i am curious what you found in justice ginsburg and justice o'connor and how they balance those two worlds. >> justice ginsburg and justice o'connor are only two years apart but ginsburg spent a little time in the national guard in some fashion in oklahoma. so she graduated from law school in 1959 where o'connor graduated from law school in 1962.
that is a big gap. by 1959, the world was starting to change. you had the poet in san francisco, brown versus board of education into pico, kansas came in between o'connor entering the world and ginsburg entering the world and i believe although they are close in age, their social histories are very different and so their attitude toward the role of marrying and raising children and having it fulfilling career are very different. o'connor would agree with michelle obama that being a feminist is about having choices, what choice do you make? ruth bader ginsburg would never say that. she thought the choices you make matter and for women to use their capacity in the public world was part of a fulfilling
life. she was very different from o'connor. interesting to hear o'connor's point of view, young enough to be her daughter or younger, so o'connor married john o'connor who she met in law school and had three children and at one point her nanny left and she quit her job and stayed home for five years. having justice o'connor as a stay-at-home mom was probably not the best experience, because she had such unbelievable energy and never sleeps and decided running the junior league, and she would cook a different meal every single night. even marty ginsburg didn't do that. she said in her classic o'connor way, to get away from the rigors she went back to work.
>> michelle was born in 1964, 30 years after justice o'connor, had the choice -- at the university of chicago and drive her crazy and she worked hard to balance things, the drive to make a difference and to succeed along the way. it has been intriguing how this played out. how many different groups perceive different choices in different ways. inevitably forever under this spotlight. >> first ladies are under the spotlight, not because of who remembers mrs. hoover, it is the rare first lady who is a roar shack test and object, eleanor roosevelt comes to mind.
why is eleanor roosevelt, pardon the explosion, hillary rodham clinton and michelle obama and the answer is roosevelt herself and clinton and obama, part of a social movement so women became important and what they did became important so that showed the spotlight on them. i don't remember anybody arguing about laura bush's decision whether to be the mom in chief. we didn't actually -- when i say we i mean me, care about laura bush. seems like a nice person and she was a librarian and seemed like a good job. but they stand for social change
and that is what made it so hard for michelle obama. >> this would not come as a surprise to any prominent african-american woman that you are meant to represent, that is one of the great challenges, she has thrown herself into and when one thinks about the legacy it would be the message of what she tries to do in terms of inequality and how she got that message out, hula hoops on the white house lawn and every social media there is and it will be a while before another first lady seeds kale chips to comedians dressed in drag on late-night television. she will do -- i will make a fool of myself to get the message out if that is what i have to do and has made extraordinary strides in figuring out this job, made no
sense to anybody. >> give her enormous credit for doing this unbelievably difficult job, no question she had the finest line to walk any first lady had, astonishing how hard it was and i give her enormous credit for doing it. i think at the end of the day the question is what is the message you are getting out? she did something a lot like what sandra did, by being there and being successful she got a message out that has little to do with kale, in my opinion. she was the icon as was sandra and it took an unbelievable amount of self-discipline. >> an excellent place for us to
end. we are out of time. please join me in thanking our authors today. we will be adjourning to the bookstore. in the signing area. we will be there very shortly. thank you again. ..nd. [inaudible conversations] will talk to gilbert who wrote "billion ball" it is about college sports and the funds they receive. >> host: linda hirshman, what is the relationship between sandra day o'connor and ruth bader ginsburg? were they friends? >> guest: i would say they had an affectionate alliances.
they were not bff's. ruth bader ginsburg was really with friends with scalia. and sandra day o'connor was really friends with lois powell and she and john and loi circumstanceslois went on vacation together. it was clear from their demeanor they had an affectionate alliance. >> host: what was their first meeting like? >> guest: i will say in 1981 when sandra day o'connor was approve pointed to the supreme court ruth bader ginsburg wasn't in washington. she heard about it on the radio and didn't know o'connor well. o'connor was a judge and
ginsburg didn't know here but said she was glad to hear it. we know they met before 1983 because when o'connor got on the supreme court she inherited >> host: what about at the supreme court? >> guest: we heard earlier that michelle obama had reached out for the other first ladies to get data on how to be a good first lady. there's a lot of supreme court that's the overrule tradition, and you've got -- the oral tradition, and you've got to learn it from somebody. and sandra day o'connor taught a lot of it to ruth bader ginsburg. she went to her chambers and explained to her how to do the lighting so it would be a
softer, more pleasant environment to work in and the etiquette of oral argument. there were many ways, unspoken ways in which o'connor wanted ginsburg to be a success becaus to conner wanted ginsburg to be a success. >> host: is ruth bader ginsburg going to miss her buddy? >> guest: she misses her buddy so much. after o'connor left in 2006, somebody asked ginsburg how she felt, and she said, "lonely." she really missed sandra dayid o'connor in a thousand ways, and here's a really cool way. she was senior by the time that, by the end of her term. she was very senior on the court. and so they speak in order of seniority at conference. so the chief justice speaks hiss opinion first and then the next senior judge and then the next senior judge.se so by 1993 when ginsburg came
on, o'connor was very senior.so she spoke, i think, third. and, of course, she was a swing vote. so once she expressed support, for example, for a woman plaintiff, then ginsburg didn't have to make the argument because o'connor had already made the argument. and after she left, ginsburg said that she -- ginsburg -- started to notice that the men weren't listening to her. now then -- right. isn't that interesting? sotomayor, justice sotomayor and justice kagan came, and ginsburg expressed herself as very well pleased that sotomayor and kagan were there now. elena kagan and ruth bader ginsburg had been friends before, so it was understandable that they would be glad. but there are wonderful stories about how justice sotomayor's warmth and camaraderie has been nourishing for justice ginsburg. she came right before marty ginsburg died, so ruth bader ginsburg was, as any normal human being would be, sad, and i
helped sotomayor helped that. >> host: and i apologize, i was referring to antonin scalia. >> guest: oh, i'm so sorry. so, you know, everybody asks me about that, and they say -- and i believe it -- that they had a common interest in music, andth they had a common interest in good writing, and they actually corrected each other's drafts and made them better which is extraordinary if you think about it. and -- >> host: especially since they were often on -- >> guest: they were often on opposite sides, and ginsburg always said that scalia's criticisms made her write a stronger opinion. they represent, i think, a time in the american politics when people could love each other for their character, and their character was not so tied up with their public/political positions. but it is now. i doubt that friendship would form again now. >> host: linda hirshman, as an attorney, as a cultural
historian, is lifetime>> appointment, in your view, best for the supreme court? >> guest: well, i've been thinking about that a lot because the demographics have changed. and even though supreme court justices in general, like many rich, old white people live longer than the rest of the country and always have, so it's not so striking as it is for the general population, people live longer now.ha and women live a lot longer now. so i've been thinking about this question. and there is an argument for limiting the tenure now that people's life spans is so long. you'd have to, i think, amend the constitution which would be very hard to do. but it's not a crazy suggestion. the protection of life tenure means that you have life -- you have room to grow as i saw justice kennedy do. you can, you can develop positions that are differentpl than the ones you held at the moment of your appointment, and that's positive.
and it's protective. but it's not crazy to suggest that in today's population. >> host: linda hirshman is our guest, "sisters in law" is the name of the book. and iris is in south line, michigan. iris, please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: well, hi, linda. we have the same hair, the same color, the same hair style. we could be sisters. anyway, i just wanted to -- >> guest: i would love that. >> caller: -- when they take on these tasks as first ladies, why don't they continue them after they leave? it's like a hobby, and i'd like your reaction to that. >> guest: oh, you mean like childhood obesity, would michelle obama continue to pursue it after she is done in the white house, is that what you're asking? >> host: i think it is what she's asking. a little off our topic here -- >> guest: but interesting. and there were matters like
beatification that, actually, lady bird johnson continued her beatification program after she left, after lyndon johnson left the white house. so i think it's a matter of is it sincerely something that interests them, or is it whatis they think is safe and politically popular to do and not hurting their husbands who are, after all, the elected people. >> host: let's hear from julie in san marino, california. julie, we're talking about the supreme court, women in the supreme court, etc.>> >> caller: yes, hi. i thought it was a great panel, and i really look forward to purchasing your book. and before -- >> guest: thank you. >> caller: -- the break you mentioned their self-disciplineh so i was wondering, what were their habits, and how did they develop them that made them so successful and to specialsome -- and so special? >> guest: well, one thing they had is that they never believed that they were cinderella. they thought they deserved to be in the governing class. they had absolute faith that
they deserved to be there. and pause they had faith -- because they had faith that they deserved to be there, they treated the men who were in that powerful role as if they, the women, were exactly the equal of the men. and because they treated the men be as equal, when the men pressed o'connor and ginsburg to admit that they were inferior a with, they took offense. and when they took offense, they were so self-disciplined that they only took revenge when it would be effective. t the classic example is the dean at harvard law school asked ruth bader ginsburg in 1957 or something what she was doing taking up the place of a man at harvard. and she said she thought she should know as much as possible about her husband's work. he was a year ahead of her at harvard. and after the feminist movement, ruth bader ginsburg told that story on dean griswold so many times that he finally wrote to the student newspaper at harvard and said he had only been
kidding, only kidding. but it was that capacity the wait until it would be effective that made them so effective. how did they get to be who they were. i think part of it was life on the ranch, and i think part of it was that ruth bader ginsburg is just smarter than any other person i ever heard of. and she was so smart she could see where the dangers lay, and she avoided them. >> host: did zahn dollar day o'connor -- sandra day o'connor sit down with you for the book? >> guest: no. she took the position that there wasn't enough material for the book. >> host: 400 pages later? >> guest: right. and i think she might have thought erroneously that i was only going to write about their relationship, which would not have supported a whole book. instead of using it as a basisag to tell story of their lives for which there was ample material. >> host: we're here in arizona,
the home of sandra day to conner. >> guest: right. >> host: what effect did where we are in the country have on who she became? >> guest: enormous effect. she was a product of the west, and i have lived in arizona myself for 32 years, and so i knew what was going on. and it's so interesting, what's going on. first of all, she lived on the ranch where there was no hand to spare, so she had to function and was expected to drive at 15 and do all the things that a boy child would have done. secondly, arizona and the west in general have a very robust culture of volunteerism. so women could volunteer in the bad old days before the civil rights act when they didn't get paid at all, much less equally. women could volunteer for really important jobs, and then they would show how good they were, and sandra day o'connor was so good, she was so unbelievably competent and smart and industrious and resourceful and
wonderful with people that as soon as she could do a job, you could see her doing a great job, and so she was valued. it's a more open world, and that's one of the reasons why i love it. >> host: the fact that sandra day to conner came from a more political background than ruth bader ginsburg, did that affect how they were on the court? >> guest: tremendously. held of the aclu and a great sponsor of ruth bader ginsburg, told me that sandra day o'connor had a laser-like intelligence for exactly where the american public was on any issue at any time. >> host: that's the head of the aclu -- >> guest: correct.e the head of the aclu giving that lavish praise to sandra day to conner x. she was. if you look at her opinions witc agonizing slowness from the standpoint of a feminist writer like me, she gradually moved the society forward. because she knew where they were. >> host: can you give an example
of a case? >> guest: so i would say one of the cases was the sexual harassment case, meritter v. benson. so this was the first case in which the supreme court of the united states held that sexual harassment was a violation of the civil rights act and not just a little good fun at the office. the first time. it was very, very, veryio important that the supreme court say that. and they had nine, they had a unanimous court to say that this ghastly harassing guy in the bank had violated the civil rights act when he made his female employees' life a living hell. but the question was whether the bank would be liable for the bad act of its employee. and the court split 4-4 on that, and o'connor was the critical swing vote. and she said unless the bank knew or should have known thatat their supervisor was harassing the employee, they would not be liable.
this is not a great feminist moment. so i asked her clerk why she did that. and the clerk said to me, she wanted that first opinion to be unanimous. >> host: ann in blakesburg, iowa, please go ahead with your question or comment for linda hirshman. >> caller: yes. you said that justice begins purring said that she would ---- ginsburg said that she would not be, that no one as liberal as her would be appointed again. and i think that's really too bad, because i think that our founding fathers would, were so much more liberal than all these people that say that constitution says this. what's your opinion on that? >> guest: well, some of our founding fathers were slave holders, so i would be reluctant to call them liberal. [laughter] i will tell you how i think you're right. they wrote a constitution that
was a living document. and so they expected it to govern a nation as it changed, as they could not even imagine it was going to change x. writing the constitution -- and writing the constitution as a living document was a pretty amazing and progressive thing in the 8th century. -- 18th century. >> host: linda hirshman has also written books on the gay revolution, victory: thet: triumphant gay revolution, came out in 2013, and her 2006 book, "get to work and get a life before it's too late: a call to arms for women of the world." 9 she's a former women's study and philosophy professor at brandeis. rachel in durham, north carolina. hi, rachel. >> caller: hi, can you hear me? >> host: we're listening. >> caller: can you -- okay. i've read several books about the supreme court, one with, i believe, jeffrey cuban, another
one by a woman who i can't remember her name. but in jeffrey's book, it seemed that when o'connor came on theme court, rehnquist with wanted it to be the rehnquist court, and it became the o'connor court. she always wanted to get david souter married, fixed him up. [laughter] >> guest: she called herself the yenta of paradise, which is a hilarious idea which considering the population of paradise valley, arizona, is like an old matchmaker person. she took a lively interest in the happiness of others. and when i did interview her one time on the phone, she said to me that she hoped that future female supreme court justices would be able to be married and have children as she had happily done and ruth had done.
she, it became the o'connor court because it split 4-4. once powell left and kennedy came on, he was -- powell had been the swing vote, and she then became the swing vote between the four liberals and the four conservatives including kennedy. so to some extent, her position was a reflection of the changes that the nation was going through as we elected ronald reagan, be and he put increasingly conservative justices on the court, and the number of liberals declined. so to some extent, it was fortuitous.. but i am so grateful that we had sandra day o'connor as the first woman on the supreme court,, because she did such a fabulous job, and i don't think another person appointed by ronald reagan could have possibly done what she did in those years. >> host: so, linda hirshman, is it fair to say it's the kennedy court today? >> guest: you would think it wad the kennedy court. he holds the decisive vote.
but i think that it's now the court in waiting. we're now 4-4, and we're waiting to see what the political nation is going to turn up to resolve it. otherwise they are going to start to split 4-4, and and that will mean it's the nobody's court. >> host: all right, linda hirshman, you're an attorney. make an argument for both sides; delay the nomination, push forward the nomination. >> guest: so i will say this, the constitution of the united states does not say that the senate has to meet and advise and consent.e it does not. that is not what the language says. and it's not, i think, the meaning of the language, not to be an originalist like scalia. so making the case for waiting, the constitution does not compel them to act, and that would leave it, in a sense, up the their political judgment.sn i think their political judgment is wrong, okay? i think that they are making the divide between, in america --
already very deep and wide -- worse by applying it to the supreme court of the united dive states. and just between you and me, most of the lower courts are dominated by democratic appointees. so by refusing to put another justice on the supreme court, what the republican senators are doing is handing the governance of the nation off to predominantly democratic lower courts. >> host: what about their spouses? what about their husbands? were they supportive, and -- yeah, well, they're both passed now -- >> guest: right. >> host: were they supportive of their wives' careers? >> guest: so apparently so. marty is the legendary husband who learned how to cook and was a fabulous cook and was constantly using his very great web of connections to advance his wife's career. of she couldn't have done it without him, she says, and ilo believe this.
o'connor was visibly advancing his wife's career, and shehout h stayed in phoenix when she could have moved to washington when nixon was elected, and she didn't because of her family. so it was a less obvious relationship. but when the moment came for her to go on the supreme court, john to o'connor left a veryte lucrative and important practice in phoenix and went to washington where he never again had as great a career. so you have to give him a lot of credit for supporting her as well..and i want to also say that whether it's same-sex marriage or opposite-sex marriage or no marriage at all, but if you decide to get married, these were great marriages. they made each other happy, they loved each other. it's a beautiful thing to see, and it was very heart warming to me, because my husband had just died when i started writing this book, so i really loved seeing how happy they had been. >> host: the next call for linda
hirshman is marcy in new hampshire. go ahead, we're listening. >> caller: yes. linda, i can't wait to read your book, and i look forward to it. my question is have you noticed or did you note in your book any of the differences that women on the supreme court now in their decisions make differently thann the previous supreme courts which were all men? and is it just the issues that they have to deal with? thank you. >> guest: so that's a very, very good question. >> host: great question. >> guest: so sandra day o'connor's jurisprudence on cases involving women was more liberal than her decisions in any arena. so sandra day to -- day o'connor
was in agreement with ruth bader ginsburg 90-95% of the time on questions involving women but certainly no more than 50-60% or the time on everything else. i actually looked at these numbers. and secondly, but did ruth bader ginsburg -- being a democratically-appointed woman, vote differently than stephen breyer?nc in the way they shape the discourse in oral argument when issues involving women and girls are in front of the court, the presence of someone like ruth bader ginsburg on the court made an enormous difference in the way that harassment and school children harassment was discussed in front of the court. and there's a big court journalism cadre now. so it gets reported in the
papers, and everybody gets a lesson on how you talk about what it means to to have a 13-year-old girl to have her body searched, which was one of the cases. having ginsburg on the court made a huge difference. and we just saw it two weeks ago when ginsburg, sotomayor and kagan together took the texas attorney general to task in the most astonishing way when he tried to defend texas' abortion law. so having those women's voices on the court makes a huge difference. >> host: new orleans, good afternoon to you. >> caller: good afternoon. >> guest: hello. >> host: please go ahead, we're listening. >> guest: hello. >> caller: hello. ms. lunge da hirschmann -- linda hirshman, i think you're a wonderful person. i didn't complete college, but g my daughters bid did. what -- did. what gave you the idea to write i is book? >> guest: so to some extent i swam in the stream of ruth bader
ginsburg and sandra day o'connor my whole career. i'm 71, so i graduated from law school in 1969. the supreme court had not yet said that the equal protection clause applies to women when ii was already practicing law. two years later when ruth bader ginsburg got them to say that, it meant the world to me. and similarly, i was as a professional woman in the '70s part of the movement to try to get the president to appoint more women to the supreme i court -- to the federal courts at all, much less the supreme court. so when sandra day o'connor was appointed to the supreme court, it meant the world to me. and i was so hoping that it would happen just like she said. she said it's okay to be the first, but i do not want to be the last. and i was watching her, because i was so many firsts. and i didn't want to have her fail. i wanted to be the next one too. so they were really my
defensive -- they were my offensive line. >> host: when will we see a woman chief justice? >> guest: there was talk about making to conner chief justice -- o'connor chief justice. she would have been so great, she was so fair and so widely expected. i think that could -- well, joht roberts is a young man, so i want to say probably in 40 years. [laughter] >> host: next call is jay in toledo, ohio. jay, we're listening, you're on with linda hirshman. we're talking about the supreme court. >> caller: thank you. linda, you have such a wonderful sense of humor, it's so great to hear that on c-span. so thank you for that. my questions, actually, there are two. one, what is the link to the first ladies, because you're talking about nancy reagan just passed and the other first ladies including now michelle obama. the next question i have is that
with all that has been going on, how did both justice ginsburg and sandra day o'connor link up with maureen scallion and the wife of -- scalia and -- the wife of antonin scalia. i think the women are always left out which is kind of unfortunate. thank you again. >> guest: right. well, ruth bader ginsburg was actually p responsible for the supreme court publishing a book about the first justice harlan's wife. she was the wife of another supreme court justice. and she turns out to have been very influential in getting him to say in the late 19th century in a horrible case called plessy v. ferguson that you should not by law separate black people from white people on trains. mauvena harlan was a real force in justice harlan's ear, and ruth bader ginsburg recognized
it and was able to make a book about her which got her a little of the respect and notice that she deserved. ruth bader ginsburg always saw possible women heroes in every walk of life. it's one of her great characteristics. >> host: last call for linda hirshman is jerry in charlottesville, virginia. hi, jerry. >> caller: good afternoon. i'm sorry i didn't go to brandeis to partake of your outstanding method of delivery. [laughter] my question simply is if you had an opportunity to appoint a justice or recommend to president obama that he appointo a justice or the next president, give us a couple of examples of people that you know in the law that you feel would be an appropriate choice to make. >> host: jerry, do you have any
choices at the top of your head that you'd like to share? >> caller: i'd like to put my name in contention. [laughter] >> host: all right. >> guest: i'd like a job with life tenure as well. [laughter] >> host: any recommendations? >> guest: so i actually do have someone that i would love to see appointed x her name is pamela karlon. she was the dean of stanford law school. and she is a very, very, very, very great constitutional scholar, and she has never hidden her liberal beliefs in an effort to make a blank record record to qualify herself for the supreme court of the united states. she thought that was too high a price to pay. so she combines both the education and the principles that i admire, but also she has such integrity that she would honor her intellectual journey more highly even than her
ambition. if i were the president and the senate, which would be a great thing for the country, i would appoint pamela karlon to the supreme court. >> host: lunge da hirschmann -- linda hirshman, the book called "sisters in law." thanks for sticking around and talking with our audience. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's a look at what's on prime time tonight. we kick off the evening at 7 p.m. eastern with a look at the relationship between pauli murray, cofounder of the national organization for women, and first lady eleanor roosevelt. then at 8:15, hitler's nine months in prison in "1924." at nine, james walsh goes undercover to pull back the curtain on union organizing. and on "after words" at 10 p.m. eastern, nancy cohen explores the advances women have made in politics and the possibility of a female president.
we finish up our prime time programming at 11 exploring gender bias and the need for equality in business. that all happens tonight on c-span2's booktv. >> and so now let me introduce fred. perhaps his most important distinction orrin to say that he was -- other than to say he was previously a new america fellow, but he has done one or two other things in his illustrious career. he is the national security columnist for "slate" and the author of four books, most recently "the insurgents," which i think he will tell us has at least more crossover with this new book than some people might necessarily imagine. fred is a pulitzer prize-winning journalist back from his days at "the boston globe," and i'm very
pleased to be able to host him here today. just a word on format. shortly i'm going to ask fred to give a few minutes describing the book and telling us a little bit about what's in it, then i'm going to take the opportunity to have a conversation, dig into a little bit more of the detail and explore some of the themes and what we might conclude from that. and then i will open it up to the floor to the give you the opportunity to ask fred some questions. we'll aim to wrap up at 1:45. so that should give us plenty of time to get into some quite interesting conversation. so without more of an ado, fred, all yours. [applause] >> so i'm just going to speak for a few minutes here. the subtitle of this book is "the secret history of cyber war," and when i was working on it, i had the subtitle already
worked out. i didn't know what the title was going to be for a while. somebody said, well, how long of a history is this? more people think, well, did it start with stuxnet? the discovery of that building in the outskirts of shanghai? no, in fact, it goes all the way back to the a dawn of the internet itself. in 967 when the around pa net was about to go up, the precursor to the internet, that was, you know, a network where all the contractors of the defense department would be able to, you know, talk with one another in their computer programs, there was a man named willis ware, he was a computer pioneer. he was the head of the computer department at the rand corporation. he was also, though few knew that at the time, he was on the scientific advisoryboard of the n -- board of the nsa. and he wrote a paper that was secret at the time. it's been declassified, it's a fascinating document, you can look it up, but he said, you know, here's the problem.
once you create a computer network, once you have access from multiple, unsecured locations, you're going to create inherent vulnerabilities. you're not going to be able to keep secrets anymore. and so when i was doing my research, i talked with this man, steve lieu kasich, who was the deputy director of arpa, and i said did you read willis ware's paper? he said, oh, yeah, sure. i said, what did you think of it? well, i took it to the guys on the team, and i got the story confirmed by a couple people, and they read it, oh, jesus, don't saddle us with a security requirement too. look how hard it was to do this. it's like asking the wright brothers that their first plane has to fly 20 miles carrying 50 passengers. just let's do this one step at a time x. besides, the russians aren't going to be able to do this for decades. well, it was decades, two and a half, three decades, but by that time whole systems and networks had grown up with no provision
for security whatsoever. so i see this as kind of, you know, the bitten apple in the digital garden of eden. the situation created from the very -- warned about and created from the very beginning. now, all of this was unnoticed until june of 1983 when ronald reagan watched the movie "war games" up at camp david. one of the guys who wrote it -- not the one who's coming here tomorrow, but the other -- his parents were in hollywood, they're hollywood producers, so they knew ronald reagan. so he got a copy can of the film. he watched it. and -- it's on a saturday night. the following wednesday he is back in the white house, and there's a big meeting to discuss the mx missile, actually, some of you might remember that. and at one point, everybody's there, his national security adviser, some people on the hill. at one point he puts down his index cards, and he says has anybody seen this movie called "war games"?
and nobody had seen it, it had just come out. so he launched into this very lengthy plot description, and people are kind of looking around like where's this going, you know? he turns to the general of the joint chiefs of staff, and he says, general, could something like this really happen? could somebody just break into one of our most secure computers? he says, i'll look into that, mr. president, and he comes back a week later, and he says, mr. president, the problem is much worse than you think. so one year later there was a national security decision directive signed by the president about telecommunications and computer security. it was the first document of this sort. but it took a strange direction. it was basically written by the nsa, which was the only agency that knew anything about computers. and the way they wrote it, the nsa would control the that standards for all computers in the united united states; gover, military, personal, business, everything.
there were some people on capitol hill who didn't go along with that. and so they rewrote it so that, basically, the nsa would have security over dot.mil, classified stuff, and the commerce department would have everything else. well, of course, the commerce department didn't know anything. they had no ability to do this. the nsa had no interest in securing these channels. they were interested at that time purely in exploiting security gaps, not in filling them. so for about a decade, nothing was done about problem. and i won't go any further. i just want -- it's just supposed to be a little introduction. the point is that these two incidents, you know, willis ware writing this paper, "the dawn of the internet," and the extremely unlikely coincidence of ronald reagan watching "war games" and asking a question that had everybody in the room rolling their eyeballs like, oh, christ, where is the old man going now,
led to the systems, the programs and more than that, the issues, the policies and the controversies and the tensions that persist to this very day. one more little thing about the "war games" connection before i go back down and sit down and we have a conversation. this is something that i discovered almost by accident. it turned out that the two writers of "war games," you probably have all -- i'm assuming that you've all seen or remember "war games," but, basically, the kid played by matthew broderick hacks into the norad computer. he has something called demon dialing,-before the age of the internet. he hooks up a system that automatically dials every phone number in the air code, and when a mow dumb is -- modem is reached, it goes back, so he breaks into the norad computer like this. he thinks he's latched into some new online game, and he almost starts world war iii.
but the screen writers were puzzled, is this really plausible? it's got to be a closed system, right? could somebody from the outside get into norad's number? they lived in santa monica and called the rand corporation, who can we talk to? oh, you'll want to talk to willis ware. turned out to be a really nice guy. you're right, it is a closed system, but there's always some officer who wants to work from home on the weekend, so he leaves a port open so he can get in. so, yeah, if somebody happened to dial that number, he could get in. and he says, you know, the thing is the only secure computer is a computer that nobody can use. so that's sort of the lesson that we've all learned since then, and now i'll sit and have a conversation. >> thank you very much, fred. i think the other link, one of those writers subsequently went
on to write another movie called "sneakers" -- >> they both did. >> and we will be talking to him on wednesday about what his next movie's going to be about so we can see what direction this goes in. [laughter] but before we get there, you've written a history of cyber war. and traditionally when people write books about war, they write about battlefields, and people tend to study those battles so that they can get a greater sense of how to fight battles in the future -- >> right. >> to try and appreciate strategy. what do you think, having done your research, written your book, are the events between 1983 and now that the student of cyber war should look back on and, you know, inthe stead of walking -- instead of walking the battlefield of gettysburg sort of take as lessons to study
for the future? >> well, there are no battlefields to walk, unfortunately. but i guess a pivotal moment came in 1997. there was, the director, the new director of the nsa at the time, a three-star air force general named ken min hand, he had been commander of something called the air force information warfare center in san antonio where they were doing a lot of things about what we would now call cybersecurity and cyber war. he couldn't get any of other officers interested at all. back then fighting wars was dropping bombs on people from the air force point of view. computer -- nobody even knew how to use computers, you know? so he decided, he couldn't get anybody interested, he knew about the vulnerabilities, so he got permission to do a war game where 25 red team members in the nsa would actually hack into all
the networks of the defense department. now, they had to go through a lot of lawyers to get this done, and one of the conditions was they had to use commercial hi-available equipment -- commercially-available equipment. they couldn't use their top secret stuff to mess with domestic networks. so they did this, and they prepared for a few months scoping out the networks, scoping out what they would do. the people who were being victimized were not to know. the only people who knew about it were the people actually doing it and the lawyers, the attorney general, secretary of defense. so they laid two weeks aside to do this. it turned out within four days they had hacked into all the defense department networks including the national military command center which is, you know, how the president communicates and sends orders to the secretary of defense. all of it just mercilessly hacked. you know? sometimes they would just leave a marker, you know, kilroy was here.
sometimes they would intercept messages, send back false message, mess up orders. people's heads were being screwed with, you know, like, what's going on here? i don't know what's happening? there was only one guy, there was a marine out in the pacific who knew that something was going on. but even if you knew what was going on, there were no protocols. what do you do about this? so he just unplugged the computer from the internet, which was the smart thing to do. everybody else -- when the debrief happened and they go through, you know, here's what we found and here are some passwords we dug out of a dumpster here, and here's a tape recording where a guy called up the secretary and said i'm an i.t. guy, i these to change passwords, what's the password for everybody, and they told them, and everything like that. and everybody was appalled. and that was when the deputy secretary of defense at the time said, okay, who's in charge? we need to fix this, who's in charge? and nobody was in charge. so, but then they started to set
up some warning centers and some 24/7 watch centers which was a good thing because within a few months, somebody starts hacking into the u.s. military. maybe it had been going on longer than that. but the big thing there was something called solar sunrise where some serious hacking -- turned out to be two kids in california, and some people, somebody said, whew, just two kids in california. but other people said, wait a minute, two kids in california can do this, what are the nation-states? a few months later they called up solar sunrise. then something called moonlight maze which was somebody really not just braching into -- breaking into defense networks, but persisting and kind of looking around for things. they were looking for particular things. and eventually, they traced that back to a, it was the russians. it was using a server of the russian academy of sciences. so those were the two -- and then the chinese started doing
it, and then -- oh, by the way, one thing very interesting. there's this war game called eligible receiver. when the nsa was inside the defense department networks, they noted some french ips just kind of strolling around. so so this was already really happening in 1997. okay? but then there were other things. there were some sort of -- a very big deal. remember when clinton was planning to invade haiti because some wlords had taken over, and they were working up war plans. and one part of it was, well, how do we get into, how do we get into -- haiti had a very rudimentary air defense system, but a lot of this was flying in people, you didn't want anybody to get shot down, and this is when this guy, minnehan, was in san tone owe. one of -- san antonio. one of his tech guys said, you
know, bob, i found out that the haitian air defense system is wired into the commercial telephone system, and i know how to make all the phones in haiti busy at the same time. so that's how they were going to deflect, you know, defeat the air defense system. years later yugoslavia, clinton's war against milosevic, remember the bombing went on for weeks and weeks, months and months? well, there was a cyber element to this. and again it was phones, but computer were run by phones too, but they did some of the same things. they got into the serbian phone system, a cia guy went in and put in a plant, and then the nsa was able to hone in on this plant. and they were, the air defense system was wired through the upon the system. so to they were able to go in there and mess with their radars so that on the screen it looked like there were some planes in the northwest, but actually they were coming from the west, so they would aim at the wrong spot. they would send messages to milosevic's cronies saying, you
know, we know you own this copper plant. we're going to turn out the lights in the copper plant if you don't get rid of milosevic. and they said, oh, you know, forget about it. and they would turn out the lights in the copper, in the copper plant. and then, okay, if you keep this up, we're going to bomb you tomorrow. so he -- that's how, that's how milosevic lo his cronies -- lost his cronies. they were threatened by what was called information warfare. so this was the first information warfare campaign. some admiral gave a briefing, it's a success and a failure. we only used about one-tenth of what we could have done, but it was very interesting. and then after that, you know, we know about some of the things, stuxnet. there were some things. i'll give one more and then we should maybe move to a different -- when the israelis bombed the nascent syrian reactor which really was a nascent syrian reactor, they
were helped by north korean scientists. what happened, a lot of people -- even the syrians, they didn't acknowledge it because it meant that four israeli f-15s had to go about 150 miles inside of syrian territory without being detected even though they had just installed some new russian surface-to-air missiles and radar. so they'd rather not even aing knowledge it had happened -- acknowledge that it had happened. what happened was they had used a program that was developed by the air force here and implemented by something called unit 8200 which is the israeli nsa. it intercepted something, not the radar and radar screen, but a data link between the radar and radar screens so that the people looking at the screens saw nothing. the radar was detecting planes, and, in fact be, the people in the airplanes were hearing bing, bing, bing, bing, so it took a little nerve to continue. but they also had people, they were able to intercept the signal be off the monitor that the radar operators were looking
at to make sure that this worked, to make sure that they really were seeing nothing. and they were seeing nothing. so these planes got in, dropped the bomb, destroyed the factory, and people were saying, well, how -- what? our screens show nothing. so that kind of thing. actually, i should do one more, and that is the iraq war. i wrote a book called "the insurgents: david petraeus and the plot to change the american way of war," where i accepted the idea -- this is the only thing in this book that i'll qualify or retract a little bit -- that, you know, there was a big turn around in 2007. basically, the surge and the change of strategy towards counterinsurgency. well, there was one other thing, and that is the nsa got involved. they actually sent 6,000 analysts to iraq. 23 of them were killed out on missions, what they basically did, they captured the computers, they got into the
systems, they got into the passwords, the e-mail connections, and they did things like they sent messages to other insurgents saying, okay, let's meet at such and such a place tomorrow at 4:00, and there would be these special operations forces waiting there to kill them. or they'd detect some drones, somebody planting a roadside bomb and running off. used to be you could follow them, but you had to send the data back to washington, it would take 16 hours. within one minute they could target these guys. so in 2007 through these techniques, they killed 4,000 insurgents, which is one reason why things really kind of turned around. i remember the first person i asked about this and he looked a little alarmed that i knew anything about it, he said, well, yeah. when the histories really get written about this, this'll be the equivalent of, you know, breaking the german submarine codes in world war ii which, of course, wasn't revealed for
decades after. so this cyber has been a part of these operations and these plans and thinking for quite a long time. >> just taking you back to moonlight maze, one of the anecdotes you tell is the delegation that gets sent from moscow. the first day, very warmly welcomed. >> yeah. so they started -- when they realized this was russia and, of course, this was, you know, this was post-cold war, you know, we're friends. so they decided, well, we should maybe send a delegation to moscow. maybe they don't know that this is going on. maybe it's not the government, you know? and we won't present it as a national security, we'll present it, this is the fbi. we'll present this is a criminal investigation for which we are seeking assistance from the russian federation. and this was a controversy whether to do this, but they said, yeah, let's do it. so they sent over this delegation. on the first day, you know,
caviar, champagne, welcome, our friends. and there was this one general in the military who was helping out. they brought over logs, and the guy brings out his own logs, and he's shocked. oh, this is terrible! these bastards in intelligence, this is awful! we will not stand for this, we're going to clean this up. so then they were going to be there for five or six days. second day, you know, we're going to have a sight-seeing tour today. we're going to go around, so they did sightseeing. and then the third day they were going to do some more sightseeing, then the fourth day, there was nothing. then the fifth day, there was nothing. well, can we talk to this guy? well, he's busy now. so they left. the embassy is calling, the legal office saying, well, we need to -- oh, yeah, we will send you a memo on this. anyway, it's over. what they realized when they got back is that this was a government program. and this poor general who, god knows what happened to him for
helping the united states -- [laughter] military and intelligence guys coming over, he just didn't know about it. and for a while, the hacking did stop. but then it started in again. and the chinese started doing it too and, you know? >> feels very distant in time -- >> long time ago, yeah, yeah. >> so the story that you've just told is a very military-heavy story, literally going through one of our most recent wars in iraq. and, you know, clearly solar sunrise, moonlight maze led to the establishment of a new organization, joint task force for computer network defense which becomes computer network operations years later. but in the 1990s, there's a little parallel development going on in the white house where people are starting to realize that critical infrastructure is vulnerable. did you want to talk a little bit more about richard clark and
what he was up to? >> well, as all this other stuff was going on, eligible receiver and other thing, well, a couple years before then the oklahoma city bombings led to president clinton signed a presidential directive on terrorists, kind of a policy on counterterrorism. and they started setting up a joint task force on, it was called the critical infrastructure working group because people are thinking, well, you know, they blew up a federal office building and, you know, a lot of people were killed and a lot of damage, but what happens if next they blow up a power dam or some electrical facilities? something that could affect the entire economy. so we need to set up some policies for this. so the working group, they defined what critical infrastructure was, eight sectors of the economy. transportation, banking and finance, water works, dam, you know, stuff -- and then they decided, as most working groups
like this, to create a commission, presidentially-appointed commission to look into this. well, the people who were on this working group and on this commission, they'd had some background in black programs, and they knew about this cyber element, and they thought, well, you know, it's pretty obvious how you protect something from physical damage. but there's this other thing going on, this vulnerability to electronic and computer hacking and that sort of thing. so as this report got written, half of it was about, and this is where the term was first used, they talked about two types of vulnerabilities, physical vulnerability and cyber vulnerability. and they said, you know, in the future somebody could do more damage with a keyboard than with a bomb. you know? that sort of thing. they were looking, this is the new nuclear weapon. so that was in 1997. and this analyst named richard clark, who you've probably heard
of since, was sort of put in charge of this. he didn't know anything about computers, nobody did, as i say. so he decided to go do a road trip with his staff, and he went out to silicon valley, and they went to talk to all of the executives x they learned that, well, you know, microsoft knows a lot about operating systems, and the guys at cisco know a lot about routers, and the guys at intel know a lot about kips, but nobody knew about anything else x they didn't know about the vulnerabilities in the things in between. and so he then -- i don't know how much you want me to get into this, but he basically meets up through an fbi contact with a hacker, a hacker who is, his name is peter, but who goes by the name mudge who's, like, very famous in these kinds of fields. and he met him in harvard square, and his whole group is called the loft. they took him to the loft. it was on the second floor of a warehouse.
in boston. and they had stuff there, and they were able to do things there like hack into any password, replicate any kind of equipment, hack into anything. and that changed the whole threat model to clark. he realized, okay, you guys are doing things or are able to do things that we in the white house have said and the intelligence community have said only nation-states can do. and clark at the time, he was head of counterterrorism. he was chasing osama bin laden all over the place. not physically, but -- and so he said, oh, this'll be great for part of my portfolio, cyber terrorism. because these guys were terrorists, they could do acts of cyber terrorism. so so that did expand the whole notion of cyber war and what it might result in. i think that's one thing that hasn't panned out, at least yet. i don't think there are any terrorist groups now that are
able to do quite the things that some of the white and gray hat hackers who are getting paid a lot of money to do certain things have actually done against our infrastructure. >> and we won't dig into just why that's happened, but just before we do k one more iteration where we have the arrival of mike hayden at nsa in 1990 and then 9/11 where surveillance, for want of a better word, becomes part of the story. >> right. >> can you talk a little bit more about sort of the impact of changes in the technology -- >> yeah. >> that takes us pretty much up to snowden and the present day? >> yeah. well, you know, the nsa up the about this time that we've been talking about, they were still very much wedded to the analog world. tapping phone circuits, intercepting radio signals, intercepting microwave emissions, that kind of thing. and then in the early '90s, actually a little bit before
what you're talking about, they noticed that, you know, they have these big listening towers and dishes all over the world. certain parts of the world nothing is coming in anymore. they're not getting any communications because they'd gone underground. they'd gone to fiber optics, or they've gone to cellular, and they have no ability to do this. and somebody who had been director of the nsa before wrote a paper for a congressional, very kind of classified congressional committee. the paper was called "are we going deaf." and they realized, you know, are we focusing on the wrong things? and the cold war was ending about this time too. the nsa used to be divided into the a group, guys tracking the russians, and the b group which was the rest of the world. but the a group, shouldn't this be cut quite a lot? we're not really tracking the russians anymore, or not so much. so they -- and this is where we get a little bit into the movie "sneakers." do you all remember "sneakers"?
okay. so mike mcconnell, he was a career navy intelligence guy. he gets into the nsa, he's looking around. he's saying what, what does this big organization do? the cold war is over, we're not, we're not getting these radio signals anymore, what do we do? and, you know, people would come boo his office with these -- into his office with these, you know, okay, here's a map of sea lanes of communicationing. okay, now, here's the map you really need to look at, and they were maps of fiber optics. he goes, okay, that's very very interesting. but he still didn't know. so then he went to see "sneakers." and for those who didn't see it, it's a movie about these hackers. this is 1993, i mean, nobody -- nothing like this really exited that much, but there's a whole kind of ridiculous plot where they get a call from the nsa, some bad guy has a decrypting code, and they want him to steal the black box, but it turns out the nsa people are really the
criminals, and they try to get it back. and there's one scene where ben kingsley who's this kind of evil mastermind who used to be a college roommate of the lead good guy hacker, played by robert red forth, there's this -- redford, there's this whole monologue on the roof, you know, marty, the wars now it's not about bullets and bombs, marty, it's about the information. it's about 0s and 1s, about we're in a war, and it talks about who has the most information. so mike mcconnell sits up in his chair, and he realizes, this is our mission statement now. and so he goes back, and he gets the last reel of this film, and he has everybody in the senior executive at the nsa watch it. he tells everybody to go watch this movie, even take off the afternoon to go watch this movie, this is what we're doing now. he takes one of his best field officers, brings him back to fort meade, creates a job for him called the director of information warfare. and then all these kind of nascent cyber-type ofi