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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  February 16, 2010 1:00pm-5:00pm EST

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in. if you look at who wall street has been giving money to, it is about evenly split -- actually more of it when chuck schumer was a member. i will close with this one thought about some of the proposals. i find it out. you will all hate this. the administration is so worried about foreign involvement in our politics what the politics. what i would say is that number one, this administration should make available to the public all of the donors. that would demonstrate whether or not money came from foreign sources. there is good reason to believe that there were foreigners given money -- getting the money to the campaign under the radar
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screen. i also find it odd that the administration that would give constitutional rights to would- be terrorists would deny the same constitutional rights to a foreign corporation domesticated in this country, that employs americans, pays taxes to the american government, as the first amendment right to lobby the government. . .
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next i'm here in all of those
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capacities as a pastor, a politician, is president of an institution, and now has a ceo of a charity, nonprofit organization funded by john gardner. and larry, you were founded by independent sector. john gardner founded by independent sector as well. he was a republican when we have moderate republicans who thought everyone had power in washington except average, ordinary people. let me ask you to write on your pieces of paper or out across the country these words, "we are the leaders we have been waiting for." i want to make the point that democracy is best served when the average ordinary people work to make a difference, stand up and speak out boldly. i think our founding fathers and founding mothers never intended corporations to be under the
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freedoms of speech of the constitution. i'm not sure they ever thought of corporations as persons. i think they thought of corporations as corporations. in your commentary, you started really well by saying, read what the supreme court said. i would urge you to read the minority view. remember, this decision was 5 to 4. if sandra day o'connor was still on the court, it would have been 524 the other way. -- 5 to 4 the other way. it can be changed if the mentality of the court changes, and i hope it will. and clita, i want to ask the question about the statements that there is no threat to elections in our democracy by allowing labor unions and corporations to take corporate
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money and spend it. allison, you like the decision, i would say, the court's decision is the super bowl of bad decisions. larry, i thank you for reminding us that foundations and philanthropists should be concerned about advocacy. i have been concerned for years that donation -- that corporations and large donors will often fund a study about poor people, but not help to advocate on behalf of those poor people. and abby, i like your watchdoging spirit that nonprofits already have the power to speak. i want to make a couple of quick points. first, i do not think anyone on the panel talked about the fear factor. as a former elected official, i can speak very personally about it. i am less money -- worried about the money that corporations can spend.
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if i am a congressman from suburban philadelphia and i represent boeing makes helicopters and i'm sitting in my office and just voted against a defense bill or an amendment to the defense bill, i can see that corporate leader coming into my office and saying, bob, we did not like the way you voted. we could put a lot of money in against you, but we are not going to do that unless you modify the way you think and the way you vote in the future. i think the fear factor is something that very few people have talked about. it is not just the gobs of money, which brings me to my second point. there is a money imbalance. i do not know how many of you know, but in 2008, corporations spend four to one the amount of money that labor unions spent on political action committees.
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here's the most important statistics, corporations spent 61% more money, 61 to 1 the amount of money labor unions spent. this impacts decisions on corporations and labour unions, and the dow, they both have lots of money to invest, but the imbalance -- and yeah, they both have lots of money to invest, but the imbalance is like this. i have to say very personally, i think corporations already have freedom of speech. it is hard to look at the mortgage crisis, the banking crisis, the investment crisis or this year-long conversation about health care and think that corporations have not had a voice in politics. what is our democracy getting too? when i ran for the u.s. senate, i ran against arlen specter. he calls me his favored opponent.
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he raised $6 million. i raised $4 million. we have a great campaign. i came in second, got the silver medal -- the silver medal for running in the senate. [laughter] it is ok. in the same stage just three years ago, the two candidates raised $37.5 million for the ñrsenate race. think about how much money they have to raise every day to run for the u.s. senate? in my case, i had to raise $2.5 million in 100 days. that was $25,000 a day, seven days a week for 100 days in a row. i spent 80% of my time on the telephone begging for money. begging for money from people i did not know. and in those days you could only give $1,000 per election. just think of what is now. think of our legislators who are not spending their time legislating. they are spending their time worrying about whether they will get the money to run campaigns
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in the future. corporations already have had an imbalance. corporations already have had plenty of money. the third point i want to make, not only is there a fear factor and a money imbalance, but the transparency issue. corporations and labour unions can stuff money into 527's, they can stuff money into nonprofits and other forms of advocacy. they can give money to the chamber of commerce for all kinds of things and they do not really have to show all the detail. in fact, that was one of the issues in the case in terms of transparency. i think there ought to be not only full transparency, but i think we ought to recognize that we need a a voter-owned elections, we need public financing of elections. the common cause that i represent is something called ferry elections now -- fair
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elections now. in connecticut in 2008 on november 4, 74% of the candidates running for state legislature used a small donor public financing system. 81% got elected, both democrats and republicans. in connecticut, maine, and arizona, those candidates voluntarily take no special interest money. i can retire as president of common cause the day after every public official serves the public interest and not the special interests. one final point is the impact on the poor. i think we have watched elections where everybody talks about the middle class, everybody talks about corporations rights and privileges. who talks for the poor and the working poor? i am a disciple of dr. martin luther king. i met him here in washington just five weeks before he was assassinated.
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i was one of the 12 house members who served on the select committee on assassinations looking into dr. king's death and president kennedy's death. i interviewed his assassin. i like the dreamer better. dr. king said this, "we will have to repent in this generation not only for the hateful actions of bad people, but for the appalling silence of good people." another one of my heroes was hubert humphrey, who was given an honor before his death that no other sitting senator has been given. he was asked by republicans and democrats to speak before a joint session of the house and senate. i sat in the front row. he came to the podium and he was known for his long speeches. he first told a story on himself. he said, one day, my wife came up to me and said, hubert, you do not have to talking to italy to be immoral. [laughter] -- to be immortal. [laughter]
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but then he said some of his most important words. he said the moral test of government is what we do in the dawn of life, our children, those in the twilight of life, the elderly, and all of those in the shadows of life, the poor, the sick, and the disabled. my commitment and passion is to get democrats and republicans and independents elected who want to serve the public interest and not the special interests. my passion is to see elected officials work across lines to solve the problems that we face, and it is not going to help us if we have this in balance not only of money, but of fear, lack of transparency and just the imbalance that we move toward with corporate democracy as t(opposed to citizens democracy. thank you. [applause] 8óhi>> thank you very much.
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i think we will go right to questions from the audience. i should add, alison is going to be leaving us at 1:03 p.m. she has to get up to george mason to teach a class. -- leaving us at 1:30 p.m. she has to get to george mason to teach a class. we will get a microphone. terry, i know, is a big advocate, and the capital research center is a big advocate for on released -- for on the scene -- on releasing law -- unleashing nonprofits. >> the alliance for justice, and not sure why they are afraid of lobbying. those of us that are my age and older that were drowned in the '80s when an era -- nan era, in
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the halls of congress trying to do in judge bork. you have got to look at your history there. mr. eckert, i do have to comment on your four to one ratio about corporate giving to labor unions. i do not think your figures are right, but even if they work, labor is to political candidates more than 95% of their money to democrats. the corporate money today, and i think that was pointed out by ms. mitchell here, is evenly split now. you have corporations like pfizer -- you know, what is worse than pfizer, a pharmaceutical? i am kidding, you know, here they are giving more money to democrats than to republicans. this big deal about corporate money is this place. is about evenly divided. >> let me say one other thing
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about that. let's be real clear about this. the citizens united case had nothing to do with money to candidates. the ban on corporate contributions to candidates still is in place. what the court decision dealt with strictly was independent spending by corporations and labour unions about candidates. we have to keep them separate. i would tell you, there are many more corporate pacs than there are labor pacs and those actually do give money to candidates. but if you look at the largest tax, whether it is the 25 or top 50, they are mainly labor and liberal pacs. they are not corporate. i think you have to get down to the 12 biggest pacs before you get to the corporate pacs that is as big as the labor pack ahead of it.
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what corporations do not do is spend independent money. the labor unions not only give money to democrats, but they spend millions on behalf of democrats. the numbers that you ", that is the myth, but it is a myth. -- the numbers that you mentioned, that is the myth, but it is a myth. >> i have to say, happen to myagree review. after all reforms take place, we need lobbyists. the problem is the toxic cocktail between lobbyists and money and the amount of money that is put inmg rçó between los and political action committees. we could argue my statistics in terms of corporations and labour unions and -- etc., i have a problem with the supreme court's decision that both labor unions and corporations now can dip into their treasuries and spend them on independent expenditures and campaigns, not directly to candidates,
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but to campaigns. i think clita is right on that point. but here is the challenge, as a stockholder, i do not have any rights in terms of what the corporation does. my hope is that people like warren buffett and perhaps bill gates will stand up and say, well, the accord is letting us do this, i'm not going to support -- the court is letting us do this, i'm not going to support that with the corporations on a part of. i do not think the treasury should be used. it ought to be voluntary money, money from labor unions voluntarily, and money from individuals voluntarily. small contributions is what we support. and we would like to multiplied that. the legislation introduced in both houses calls for $100 contributions only, matched by $400 public funds if, in fact,
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the dollar is from their state. it comes from outside their state, they can only keep the $100. what that does is give the power to the constituents and the people with in the state to fund the elections as opposed to having spectral interest funding. -- special-interest funding. >> i want to be clear and i'm not sure where this misperception grew from one we talked about myths we still very strong about advocacy and lobbying. my point that i have been trying to make is that, in some ways, regardless of whether you think this decision was good or bad, it allows more advocacy by nonprofits, by all corporations, and by nonprofits. and we, as nonprofits, need to take advantage of that. we need to do more issue advocacy, more lobbying. and that is a camp -- a key component in all of what we do.
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we and our organizations to speak out, whether to protect your right and to encourage your in -- your organizations that if you do not like the decisions to be able to talk about it and if you do like the decisions. will be working on a myriad of different positions. i want to be clear about that. >> so, i gather on this panel, interestingly enough, there is a kind of agreement, right? that this decision probably should be extended through -- i understand you have to get into tax law in order to do this, and certainly, larry is quite outspoken about this, the degree to which 501-c3's should become advocates in the sense of the full term, using to be a little less enthused about that. and i think maybe that is why terry picked up some reluctance. >> we believe that nonprofits
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and 501-c3's can lobby. the law allows them to do much more lobbying than they can. we have been part of the efforts to simplify the lobbying regime and continue to support that. the notion of whether it goes into allowing 501-c3's to support our discussion, i think we need to have a lot more conversation. there are a lot more policy reasons for and against it. but for policy reasons, they need to be able to lobby and understand what the law allows them currently to do. i think clita was talking about the fact there are a lot of myths about what these organizations can do and too many people are saying that you cannot get involved in election of all, you cannot do anything. that is some of what we need to continue to work to empower organizations and to allow them
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to do as much as they can. >> one thing that i would add to that -- it strikes me as inherently violative of the first amendment that 5 01 c 3 groups and veterans' organizations, etc., that you have to pay a tax for candidates related expenditures. that is what the law says. it is not very well in force. however, it is, to me, how can it be constitutional to tax a citizens group for exercising its first amendment rights? and yet, that is the state of the law today. that is an important element that we need to focus on at some point. i do agree that we ought to revisit this whole area of restricting their right, whether it is pastors in the pulte -- in the pulpit, or any c3 if related
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expenditure, because that is the death penalty, these are protected first amendment rights. i would agree 100% with what larry was saying in that regard. >> two questions. one is may be very simple. that is, what is it about the tax laws to that seems to trump the first amendment for 501- c3's? maybe you can point to a decision or a doctrine. i am a lawyer, but i am not aware of where that comes from? why does the tax law trump them? the second one is a moral issue. larry actually mentioned it. this is so inside washington, this discussion.
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because what is at stake is corruption on a massive scale. measured by any index, this country is way up there in corruption and the corruption comes from the money in politics. you could say, well, my vote would never change because boeing decided to threaten me or give money to my opponent. whether or not that is true, and maybe bob edgar has the moral fiber to stand up to that. i doubt it. [laughter] i doubt anybody does. but let's just say that is true. and let's say there are 50 congressman that can stand up to them. the american people do not believe it. i believe this system is corrupt because of the money. why not go to a constitutional convention? why not amend the first amendment?
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isn't that the basic issue of -- that is shutting down our democracy right now? it is money. we're talking around it. we can have these restrictions. we can keep clita in business and all of our children are educated. >> my child is educated. [laughter] >> it is you at the bottom of all this and shouldn't we just have a $100 limit that anyone could contribute? >> let me attack on to this just this question because obviously we are in a populist move in this country right now and as you think about your response to this question, how do think, in fact, this decision plays into that one way or another? one could say it is going to exacerbate populist tensions and frustration with the political system. on the of hand, you might be able to make the case that it actually will relieve some of those populist tensions.
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anyway, please, comments on this question. >> on the question of whether citizens united will play nice with populist tendencies or the other way around, i think a lot of that depends on what the legend or myth of citizens united turns out to be in the popular mind. if, in the popular mind, it is sold as a great mistake that will hurt individuals and their ability to deal with their representatives, then people will be upset. they should be if they believe that to be true. i happen to think that is not true. i also wanted to mention that as far as i know, citizens united did not find unconstitutional the criminal laws dealing with extortion and bribery. to the extent that there is a hypothetical out there involving somebody threatening
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somebody on a vote, the department of justice still would have jurisdiction to prosecute that. and if the member was complacent, or cooperative, with the deal, they would have their own liability under the ethics rules as well as the criminal law. >> i think the decision will encourage populism in the country, and i do not think it is focused on as much politically on one party or the other. i think that is reflected actually in the observations of david brooks that no one has responded to. he was not talking about whether this was going to help the right, the left, you know. these are companies, he said, that are set up to maximize profit. that is their fiduciary dutyñi. they're going to look for a rate of return and see a rate of return to lobbying and election-
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related activity. they will seek subsidies from the government, tax breaks and they will seek to squash competition to regulatory barriers. that, to me, seems to have a strong ring of possibility -- plausibility. i do not know whether we should expect that corporations and unions would not use the new advantages of the decision to their benefit. in fact, we would say they are not doing their duty if they were not trying to maximize that. on a personal level, there is the idea where the money influences, i agree with the gentleman. and i think there's no question that the public believes that there is -- that the money in
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politics is a systemic problem that needs to be addressed. i had a friend who has passed away and he told a story in his book called "the best congress money can buy" and he says, it is the bottom -- bottom of the ninth inning at yankee stadium and the other team is down by one, bases loaded, and the yankee pitcher called timeout and the umpire comes over and the pitcher takes out of his pocket and lays $50,000 increase bills and the umpire takes the money, sticks it back in his pocket, goes behind the plate to call the final batter with the bases loaded. the way he ended the story was that the fans objected and overturned, basically, the game ended and they said we will not attend a sham like this.
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we still have in many of our state's elections for judges that are privately financed. i think the question about that, i mean, we saw caperton. even this supreme court -- maybe i should not say even, but this supreme court decided it was too much for a private business interests to, basically, foot the bill for a campaign for a judge who ended up deciding their case and reversing the decision against their own financial interest. but i think that any state that has an election -- a problem with privately finance system is that money is not equally distributed in society. and we know that i'm we're not saying that it should be, but we would like the idea of a democratic system, of financing for who gets considered, and who can be nominated and who can run for office and represent our country. that is not necessarily the best system. that is where the public
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financing systems have come in, particularly the ones that match small donors and give them opportunity. cliff he has come in, it was a bill that we could endorse because it was broadening matching small donors. >> the populist issue, i think this decision in some way riles up populist anchor on two fronts. one is, the content of the decision about whether corporations are going to outspend interest and what we have been talking about, but also, as i alluded to earlier, the notion of how the court was decided and the notion, as many supreme court justices have said -- and some directly -- there are umpires to call balls and strikes as opposed to this decision were they really went out of their way to broaden the scope of this decision and
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decide the case on the merits, ask for a rehearing, things like that. i think the notion of, what does it mean for the courts? if this decision was at stake, what does it mean for the others? i think that has enraged and concerned a lot of people as well. >> let me say this about the populist issue and we will go on to other questions, but one of the things that the court talked about in the decision was that there were something like 11 million corporations in america today. and 90%, roughly 9%, have annual revenues of 1 million -- roughly 90% have annual revenues of $1 million or less. has there been stoking of the popular ira? when the president comes out and says the oil companies and insurance companies, i think that is playing upon populist sentiments. i come from a state that grew
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in 1907 out of a very populist heritage. so, the anti-corporate notion, i have sort of grown up with it. but i think that is what i was trying to say earlier, it has been stoked by those who basically are worried. they want to silence business. i do not think you have to worry about silencing business. what you have to worry about with business is getting them to on silence themselves. i bet you if we come back one year from today and have an analysis of what was spent by corporations verses unions in this election year, the unions and not-for-profit advocacy groups will have way out spent anything that any corporation spent. they just do not have the stomach for it. i wish they did, but they do not. >> i would like to get rob stein in here. we need to get a microphone over
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here. we need it, actually, for the recording. rothstein, founders of democracy, brought a little money into the process, as i understand it. >> so, this is a short answer question. i would like to get a sense of everybody's sense of direction here. it sounds to me like you all either begrudgingly or enthusiastically support corporations been able to spend more money, regardless of what kind of corporations they are. secondly, it sounds to me as though you are rather enthusiastic of the opportunities of 501-c3's to also be able to spend unlimited amounts of money, if i heard you correctly. tollison, you raised the possibility that maybe -- allison, you raised the possibility that maybe we should lift the restrictions on contributions to parties, if i
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heard you correctly. and finally, there was at least the suggestion that maybe we should put restrictions on contributions to candidates. i would like each one of you in a very short answer, do you agree that we should lift restrictions on all political contributions? >> no, no. i did not go into this because this is a group of people that are largely about nonprofits, not political parties or candidates. the notion that i've heard it might be suggested as a response to citizens united would be to lift the court in its expenditure restrictions the parties have with their own candidates, not a contribution limits into either parties or candidates committees. that would enable parties to mobilize if a candidate of there's is being scrutinized of
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these -- scrutinize badly in a way they feel is unfair. i'm certain they have loyalty and allegiance to their candidates and outside interest groups have loyalty and allegiance to their own interests. i think it would be very salutary. >> your position, then, would be to allow independent expenditure into organizations, and limit how much candidates and parties can spend. >> know. -- no, not spend. there are no limits on expenditures in my world. >> can raise? >> no limits on the amount they can raise. i think the country to limits are far too low. -- contribution limits are far too low. but this is getting into
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campaign finance and kikgeeky 1t i think there should be limits to some understanding for the potential corruption of a party, whatever that is. answer the, the contributions to candidates have to be calibrated to some real risk of corruption. $2,300 is not that. yes, it is more than most of us can afford. i have heard that one. i cannot afford $2,300 per election, either. but i do not think that somebody who could give a candidate $10,000 can buy that candidate, especially in a hotly contested race. then we could get into why is it that incumbents who have no challengers can raise money like there's no tomorrow and what do they do with that money? that is all campaign finance geek 101 stuff and i will leave you there because i need to go. i teach at 2:00 p.m. in arlington.
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>> good luck. thanks for joining us. [applause] other answers to this question. >> i think one of the real problems is that the campaign finance laws are designed to send the money outside the party and candidate structure, and i do not think that is healthy. if you are a wealthy person and you want to max out -- say you are george soros, and you know that $3.5 million is job change to him. but he wants to back out to as many democratic candidates as he wants to. you know how many can act out two in a given a two-year cycle? any guesses? eight. what happens is, you have people who do want to be involved in
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the process and they have more money than alison and i, and you drive them to the independent groups if that is what you are worried about. then remove the aggregate limits and at the very least, remove the aggregate limit to the candidates or to the political parties. i do not understand why they are there. they are a real barrier. and i absolutely do not believe that the parties should have limits on their coordinated expenditures. i think that is crazy. parties exist to support their candidates. how can the parties and candidates corrupt each other? that is what they are there for is to help elect the candidates. that formula was set in the 1970's. it is crazy, insane. allison is right. this is campaign finance geek 101, but there is a lot that should be done about that.
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but the problem is that we cannot have a conversation about that -- we cannot have a civil conversation about this because, frankly, people get hysterical every time we talk about the issues at the aggregate limits and the realities. i just gave up on it. just some basic changes that would actually encourage -- if you love the hard dollar system and you hate soft money, why do we have it so backward? but i gave up. >> just toñi clarify, maybe. currently, charities cannot do anything in regard to partisan political activity. in that regard, we were talking -- i was talking. at least, as a first step we should know what we can and cannot do in terms of non- partisan political activity, and that is unlimited.
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but we need to know what is. the lobbying side is still limited, and i appreciate the thoughts that maybe we should think outside the box. i was suggesting as a first step we should at least rationalize and simplify and update the system, which is operating under limits from 1976. our founding board chair, tom troy youer helped to put in pla. you know how it can confuse the rules, the founders, the charity's alike. i think there needs to be a broader discussion about democracy reform. i think we all should agree with public financing that would match small donor. you are not going to comment with this one? >> no, no, no. >> we will stick with the private advocacy.
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>> but i was certainly not saying that the limits -- that i was agreeing with the supreme court's decision that the limits should be taken off of corporations. but certainly, under the situation we need more disclosure of who is giving, at least the top givers of the public. certain -- first among the rights are not just for the speakers, but for the listeners, the citizens who are receiving information. and i think particularly in an election context, the voter rights are very important. i think there are some tensions we have not discussed around c4's and some of the nonprofit rights to keep some of that information private nurses the needs for voters to get that information -- to keep some of that information private versus the need for voters to get that information. but i think there needs to be a more level playing field where
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more voices can be heard and more decisions can be made on the merits. >> let me see, i should go to the back here. yes? he is right there. right, great. >> dorothy white, the center for law and social policy. as a director of an advocacy organization, i want to go back to the question of the difference between the tax laws and the campaign laws and the issue of a level playing field. i thought i knew the law pretty well, but i'm getting very confused at this point. so, because of the tax restrictions that remain on 501- c3's, foundations still cannot
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find issue advocacy, but corporations are going to be able toñi fund electioneering, n a sense. doesn't that fund the things that corporations fund vs. the things that foundations fund and an even greater amount of influence? >> what are you talking about by issue advocacy? >> i am talking about specifically about the kind -- definitely about the legal definition of issue advocacy, not even in elections. not necessarily an issue that is on a ballot. i'm talking about general policy advocacy, alleges that about because he. >> foundations can fund 501- c3's to do that work. unfortunately, they tend not d
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too. that is a whole nother conversation. but 501-c3's can engage naamua the issue out because he and they need to do more of that. -- can engage non-lobby issue advocacy and they need to do more of that. it is more important for 501- c3's to be out there talking about issues, to be lobbying and talking about why issues matter. >> but there are still restrictions on foundations that they cannot earmark. >> correct. >> again, the question is, that still is confining for 501-c3's. unless we change the tax laws, i am just wonderinghúc -- i thougi heard someone say that a 501-c3 could now put on their website the right and wrong vote, is that correct? >> no.
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>> so, i just miss heard that. >> to get to the earlier question, i do not think we addressed -- the supreme court in the case of wiegand vs. taxation representation that said that 501-c3's could be limited in how much lobbying they could do because they could have affiliated 501-c4's and that law has stood. i think we would expect to see someone challenging that in the wake and try to change some of the rules for 5 01 c therese -- 4 501-c3's. but because they have only -- been the only ones to receive eligible tax-deductible conjurations, that is a trade- off that corporations have lived with and the courts have upheld that. whether that will continue is, i think my anyone's guess.
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>> let me ask this question and maybe it is primarily directed at clita. conservative groups have for many years been very upset about the advocacy of nonprofits that receive government money. and periodically when you have republican congress's you have an effort to either curb the efficacy -- the advocacy by nonprofits that take government money or remove it all together, but some kind of effort. and immediately, other sectors become livid and introduce another generation of congress to the foolishness of that proposition. i guess this is a question for everyone. are we going to have to look at that again with a different set of eyes given this decision?
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in other words, is their momentum here now that is going to carry us into the 501-c3 irs regs, change attitudes to advocacy in general by 501-c3's? i guess, that is what i'm getting at. this is inspired partly by your statement here, which is, i do not know. in other words, we are not quite certain where this wave is going to carry us, if, in fact, there is such a wave. >> of course, when i hear chuck schumer start talking about going to crack down and make sure that no federal contractors can engage in any election related activities or expenditures, i'm thinking acorn. let's go down the list. who are they talking about? there are a lot of not-for- profit organizations that get
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government contracts. many of them through unions. they are subsidiary, not-for- profit entities that get government contracts. are those the government contractors that we are talking about? one of the things that happens is this rush to die of the vapors because we're so worried about wall street and oil companies who would not spend a nickel on an expenditure if their lives depended on it, but the fact is that it has the unintended consequences that really intended for the not-for- profit advocacy groups. after 2004, the sierra club pay $28,000 fine settled, a complaint filed against the sierra club to the fec because it had the temerity to print
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voter guides, the environmental records of john kerry and george of the bush and mill martinez and betty castor, the senate candidates in florida in 2004. and they handed those out in 2004 and i was deemed to be a corporate expenditure, an independent expenditure by a corporation that was illegal. and they ended up selling a couple of years later and pay $28,000 fine. i think what we ought to be doing is embracing the freedom that we have to advocate. i hope that these bills that are ill-conceived -- i did think it was interesting that the same day in the article in the "washington times" on page a3 about the proposal that chuck schumer and chris van on had announced the day before, was an announcement about these people
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running against chuck schumer. but i hope those things do not go anywhere. it is legislation by headline. we always suffer when congress raises to do something because they feel driven because of headlines. what we might do is build a coalition of right and left and say, you know what, it is time to take the and profs -- take the handcuffs off the non-profit advocacy groups. it is really people coming to the because they share a common belief for a common concern and let's remove the shackles. they should not have to be taxed on their political expenditures. and let's think about what 501- c3's can do. take their studies and actually advocate, whether legislatively or in the candidates are rinare. and as george will says, the five most beautiful words of the english language are the first five words of the first amendment, "congress shall make no law."
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[laughter] >> this is the shadow of a congressman bernie ishtook of oklahoma and the most pernicious part of what he was trying to do, which actually led to the founding of our organization, was not only to say that you cannot get federal money for lobbying, you cannot raise private money. the legal services corp. as an example -- and maybe we can come together on this because we were close to lifting these restrictions -- is still operating under 1996 restrictions that basically says if you get money from the legal services corp., you cannot use your own money or state and local money to do any kind of advocacy. you cannot bring class-action litigation. there is about -- there are a whole bunch of restrictions on the ability to represent your
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client and to advocate. and we saw it also with the served america act and i do not know if folks noticed because it went through with everything else going on without a lot of attention. rep virginia fox introduced this and it went through the house before a thing people knew what happened or thought it would be taking care of in the senate. it basically said you could not participate in the service america act. you could not participate if you were advocating. you basically -- if you use your own, you is we would not be able to do that. i just want to say, these kinds of thoughts that you mention are still around and it is an important time to put that idea down. >> yes, please, the gentleman toward the -- yeah.
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>> my name is michael halperin. clita, i have a question for you. it seems you are saying it is ok because they are spending just as much money on democrats as republicans. >> they being? >> anyone. they're giving as much money to democrats as republicans in the election cycle print corporations are not really going to endorse candidates, not really bring that forward, they will just follow money through other groups like the alliance for rainbows or whatever the nice sounding thing is. my question goes back to the common cause. you spoke about the fact that members of congress spend the majority of their time raising money. do you think is acceptable for members of congress to spend so much time raising money, and on -- and how on earth with this
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decision reduce that burden? >> #1, it does not impact that decision. and this decision does not impact that. it has to do with spending by individual corporations and unions, not contributions. i do not see why we do not just adopt the virginia law or the oregon law. do you know what those states? does anyone think of them as particularly corrupt state? i do not. but they both say any money from any source. it is just all disclosed. and i would still be able to make a living, i promise you. [laughter] but the fact of the matter is, the reason it takes so much time are two spots. at one of the reasons it takes so much time is because it is such a small increments. if you are trying to raise up to $7 million for a senate race
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in $2,300 increments, that is a lot of time. what i do think has to happen -- remember, this law was passed in 1974, 1975. there was no internet. there were three networks. there was no cable, no satellite. the whole framework is high button shoes. the senate still files campaign senate reports that the clerk of the senate instead of at the fec. put it on the internet. get it out there. people want to know where the money comes from before the elections, not two years later after the fcc does an election -- an investigation. -- after the fcc does anan investigation. the washington post ran an article 10 days before the election in the virginia governor's race -- remember, no
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amount, any source contributions. the of a washington post" ran an article saying you're the donors for both parties. sheila johnson gave bob macdonald $100,000. if you do not like that, do not vote for him. but you know before the election. and i will say this in defense of fundraising. i have been a candidate and i have helped people run for office. i once knew a guy who was in the legislature and he wanted to run against an incumbent. he needed to be defeated, i might add. i was going to help him. i said, how are you going to raise money? he said, oh, i cannot raise any money. i said, what do you mean? he said, there is no one in my district who is going to give me money. i said, how are you going to run this? he said, i thought you would help me. i said, go back to your district and if there is not one person
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in your district who will write you a check, that means there is no one who believes in you enough to help you. and i would take issue, i do not t$sq started -- [laughter] i do not believe that the system is totally broken. are there things that we could do to fix it? yes, but i believe very strongly that in business, i have to go find people who will be my clients to pay my bills. if your a not-for-profit, you have got to find donors who believe in your mission and will give you money because they believe in what you are doing. i do not think politicians should be exempt from that. the -- they need to go out and listen to us, the key constituents, and if the only way they can -- the icky
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constituents, and of dealing with a candor that is three fundraiser, so be it. -- and is the only way to do that is through a fundraiser, so be it. >> this whole world and universe of campaign finance has become so polarized and we are constantly talking at each other, tweaking the edges, trying to find little bits and pieces that we can. maybe this decision will provide some space for groups to come in my polley and a world where we can release it down and figure of what is best for democracy, what is best for congress, what is best for the poor, all of the different interests and issues and constituencies in our country and be able to figure out whatçó makes sense. so again, we're talking to each other, rather than just at each other. ñiçówhichç?i is always easier e fun, but not productive. ñiñiñrññiñi>> clitmlñ i]you mady
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ñipersuasive argument for fair ñrelections now, which a citizen owned elections. ñii would strongly support your effort if i thought that congress people were leaving capitol hill and going(dck to their districts to raise all of their resources. the president ofñrñrñcd common e said on her firstçóñi dayñi as n elected congressperson she was told by leadership that she should spend 20 hours a week raising money for reelection. onñiñi t&iá first day atçó the ñrdemocratic club, all the ñiçóñr>c'bbyistsñi orñiçsw oute çóout to a freshman congresqsp' ñiñiwho, inçów3ñr campaign, but the lobbyists wanted to make sure that they had resources. çóalso, the paper that you cite, and others, have reported on the fact4qñi many special interest groups have brought up the fact that town houses around capitol hill, so that congressmen and
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senators have to walk out the front door to a cocktail party in the town houses and get bundles of resources, or checks but by special interest groups. "washington post" which ixd rea, -- [laughter] ñiñrñithere was an article aboue senator from the great state of hawaii, who raises a great deal >ëátjñi from the defenseñi industry, and if you take a lookñi at how muchçóñiñre take a lookñi at how muchçóñiñre defense funds areçóxdçóñrom ñrññ q,piqq",xd=/%ñiñrçóñiñi we ì(lc@&c+ exquisitelyi prpzredçóñiokçóñr d war ii astjohtg a defense system that is prepared forçér e ñ'ixdcurrent environment wherex+ needñr açóñiçóñi strong,ñi prace t¤ñr. . ñiñiçóñr
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w3çw3t(>> i do not except, andl
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say this, i do believe that what people yearn for is a day when conservatives sat down, shut up, and suffered in silence. thanks to newt gingrich, love him or hate him, that is one thing he has freed us from. we have very realç differencesf opinion. çççi do not think there is ag wrong with that, even though it is on sightly. -- even though it is not cite the. i do not think that things are broken nearly as badly as some would have us believe. >> thank you all very much. thank you for being here. >> i think all of this shows and
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all of the interest and discussion has shown that people really want a person took -- participatory democracy. they want an opportunity to talk about the issues that they care about and a way to get involved. that is what really is at stake. that is what we need to make sure is the goal of all of the work that we are doing >> ok. let's thank our panel. thank you for coming out on this post-blizzard day. çççççç >> the hudson instis
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been holding a discussion on the implications of the citizens united versus federal election commission ruling of last month. in case you missed any of the discussion, it will be posted online at there is a lot more online about that case in particular. check out our series link at the top of our home page. last week we talked to the president of citizens united. you can takeçó a look online at that as well. also, we recently did an america in the courts program on the
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citizens united decision. if you go on the web site -- on the web site, that program is there as well, as long -- as well as the oral arguments. is theç place to go, the place to start anyway. earlier this afternoon president obama announced the first construction of a u.s. nuclear power plant. it is part of the stimulus programs and job spending that was passed last year. he made the announcement in nearby lanham, maryland. it runs about 50 minutes. ççw3[applause]
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>> thank you, everybody. have a seat. have a seat. good morning, everybody. before i begin, let me acknowledge some ofç the people that are standing behind me. first of all, two people who have been working really hard to make this day happen. my energy secretary. [applause]
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my white house advisor on everything having to do with energy. [applause] i want to acknowledge the outstanding governor of maryland, martin o'malley as well as his lieutenant the owner, anthony brown. we have marked and billy. give them a big round of applause. [applause] >> gregory, of the nuclear energy commission here, where is he? [applause] >> @ hill. -- ed hill. [applause] ç>> i want to thank check -- chuckç graham and the people at
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the localç 26. [applause] ñçç>> thank you forg# showinge around. i got the chance to pull the first fire alarm since i was in juniori]xd high and i did notçn trouble for it. t(thisç is anç extraordinarily impressive facility. ççworkers are instructedçok d everythink from hardware and software toçq/ qwhok the basisf currents and resistance. çwe need to look no further thn the workers and the apprentices standing behind me than to see that the future is possible when it comes to clean energy skilled laborers are helping us lead. it is a future where the energy efficient homes and businessesd, a future where we areç exportig home-grown energy technology, instead of importing foreign
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oil. it is a future where our economy is powered, not by what we borrow and spend, but what we invest and build. that is the bright future that lies ahead for america. it is a future that my administration is striving to achieve each and every day. we have already made the largest investment in clean energy in history as a part of the recovery act. 700,000 jobs acrossç america, manufacturing advanced batteries for more fuel efficient vehicles,çw3 upgrading powerw3ç grids,ççç doubling our nation capacity. after decades we have done little to increase the efficiency ofç cars and trucksç toççyó)educe our dependenceç
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foreignçw3ç oil while helpings more. that isçççqç what we're goi. w3inok the near --ç in the nea, we will have to makeç someçó th offshore areas. we will needw3ç to continue toe investments in clean coal technology. and, we will have to build a new generation ofç safe, clean nuclear power plants in america. that would brings ust( here, to the department of energy, under theq leadershipç of a nobel pr- winning physicist. just a quick side up. "u=çñçt(ç some of ç here,çi indicated to him that he could have saved a lot of money. instead of getting a ph.d., he
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could have come here and learned some of the same stuff. [laughter] [applause] >> the instructors here were keeping up. they were right there with him through the department of energy, and the secretary's leadership, we are announcing of roughly $8 billion in loan guarantees to break ground on the first -- the first new nuclear power plant in our country in three decades. [applause] >> it is a plant that will create thousands of construction jobs in the next few years and some 800 permanent jobs, well- paying permanent jobs in the years to come. this is only the beginning. my budget proposes tripling the loan guarantees with private --
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we provide. we will continue to provide financing for clean energy projects here in maryland and across america. there will be those that welcome this announcement and those who think it has been a long overdue. there will also be those that strongly disagree with this announcement. the same has been true in other areas of our energy debate, from offshore drilling to putting a price on carbon pollution what i want to emphasize is this -- even when we have differences, we cannot allow them to prevent us from making progress on an issue that affects our economy, our security, and the future of our planet. we cannot continue to be mired in the same old state -- staled debate between right and9o÷r le. our competitors are racing to create jobs energy interests --
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energy industries. japan and france have long invested heavily in this industry. meanwhile, there are 56 nuclear reactors under construction around the world. 21 of them are in china alone. six in south korea. 5 in india. commitment of these countries is generating demand for expertise in new technologies. make no mistake. whether it is new wind energy, we it -- if we fail to, we will fall behind. jobs will beç produced oversea, instead of here, in the united states of america. that is not a future that i except. i know it has been -- assumed that those who have championed -- champion the environment are opposed to nuclear power. the fact is that even though we
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have not broken ground and in new nuclear power plant in 30 years, it remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions. to make our demands and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, we will need to increase our supply of nuclear power. it is that simple. this one plant will cut carbon pollution by 16 million tons each year when compared to a similar coal plant. that is like taking 3.5 million cars off the roll out on the other side, -- off the road. on the other side, for those who have long lobbied for a new killer power, have to understand that we will -- nuclear power, have to understand the conclusion of many in the energy industry itself, including the ceos of the largest utility
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companies. energy leaders and experts recognize that as long as producing carbon pollution carries no cost, traditional plants that use fossil fuels will be more cost effective than plants that use new clear fuels. that is why we need comprehensive legislation and why this legislation has drawn support from across the ideological spectrum. i raised this just last week. i believe there is real common ground here. my administration will be working to build on areas of agreement so that we can pass a bipartisan energy and climate built through the senate. none of this is to say that there are not some serious drawbacks with respect to nuclear energy that have to be addressed. nuclear-powered generate waste. we need to accelerate our efforts of disposing this waste
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safely. these plants also have to be held to the highest and strictest safety standards. they will need to answer the the legitimate concerns of americans that live near and far these facilities. that will be an impaired. investing in nuclear energy remains a necessary step. what i hope is that with this announcement we are _ in both our seriousness in meeting the energy challenge, and our willingness to meet this challenge not a partisan issue, but it's -- but as a matter that is far more important than politics. the choices we make will affect many generations to come. the fact is, changing the ways that we produce and use energy requires us to think a new, act anew, and to act in good faith and move beyond the broken
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politics of the past. that is what we must do. that is what we will do. thank you, very much everybody. i appreciate it. [applause] ♪ ♪
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♪ [applause] >> while president obama was an lanham, maryland, vice-president biden went to michigan to talk about the federal recovery act, also called the economic stimulus, which marks its one-
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year anniversary tomorrow. a number of democrats and republicans have also been holding events. you can find out more online c- we will look at some of the spending for the stimulus program. officials and he is here to talk about his recently released report, the one-year report on state transportation successes under the american recovery and reinvestment act. welcome to the program. guest: good to be here. host: welcome to projects qualify for the money? guest: they have to be projects ready to go. you heard the expression shovel ready? these were highway projects, transit projects ready to go 120 days after the bill passed. host: among these shovel ready
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projects, your numbers show that once thousand 125 bridges have been improved, put 1,400 miles of pavement have been improved, -- 21,040 miles of pavement, 600 miles of bike lanes and 7004 into the but the buses have been purchased. how many are new versus those already under way and just needed more money to keep going or to get reinvigorated? guest: most of these projects were projects on the shelf that had been designed or planned but just did not have the funding to proceed. when the federal stimulus dollars became available it made it possible for states, cities, counties, transit authorities to move forward with projects that were otherwise ready to go host: how many are still up and running and how many are completed? guest: about 2500 have been
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completed. that means we have about 15,000 that are either under way or to be underway later this year when the snow goes away and in the ice thaws. for about half the country, the construction season does not happen till about april. ihost: any of that set aside for snow removal in areas like washington, d.c. have a guest: in just come down route 50 to get the studio, we wish there were some and some to go into pothole fixes but right now these are preprogrammed for projects that have been approved by the federal government to proceed. host: how would you compare these two wpa projects popular during the fdr had been a station? caller: we think these -- guest: thinke3v these provide double payouts.
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the gift that keeps on giving. the immediate impact is to give thousands of people jobs. but long-term payout is improvements to the highway system, safety improvements to bridges, improvements to the 10, 20, 30, 50 years into the future. host: we are talking about the recovery act one year later as specifically as it applies to highway and transportation projects with john horsley of the american association of state highway and transportation if you want to get involved -- if you have gone to work or were put to work because of one of these recover at projects, definitely give us a call and let us know what it is you are doing out there.
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or first call comes from sarasota, florida, michael maligned for republicans. caller: appreciate your speakers presence. i have a question -- not trying to be disrespectful but i'm curious about these employment figures. ;r know i drive by and road construction projects in florida nearly every day, and i notice there are 50 or 20 guys standing around, most of them waving flags and directing traffic. but for the number of miles under construction i don't see very many people out there actually on the job. i see people in tractors, and most of those seen to be contractors and already have jobs. i am wondering, when we look at the employment figures, are these new jobs?
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are these people unemployed and are getting jobs or are these replaced jobs? because it is a lot ofç money d it does have a significant impact on our economy. and jobs are needed so badly. is this really creating more jobs? guest: an excellent question. thank you for calling in. the documentation that has been done -- every state, the metropolitan planning organizations and transit authorities, have to report every month to the house transportation committee and house of representatives and they came up with a report at the end of the year that showed there were 280,000 direct on project jobs and those are either project job saved or created. in some cases, it could've been a person who was going to lose their jobs unless the project went forward and the other cases
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people out of work were hired to work on the project. but those weren't direct jobs, directly attributed to the stimulus projects -- those were direct jobs. and those together would direct jobs came to 890,000. across theç country, thousands and thousands of people have either been put to work or were able to keep their jobs as a result of the stimulus funding. i note that florida received around $1.3 billion in highway dollars and another $277 million in transit dollars. so i would be willing to bet it made a major difference in what florida dot and the cities and counties in florida were able to build the last year. host: you make reference to the numbers in a chart that is in the report. right next to the recovery funds allocated, $1.3 billion,
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recovery act funds are obligated, $1.2 billion. it is that the amount of money already spent or that has already been designated to a particular project in florida? guest: when it says obligated, that means it is ready to move to contract. these are federal dollars, and we have to qualify the projects before we can spend them. when it saysç obligated, that means they have gone through all of the federal paperwork, they have been given the green light by the federal government and then we can go to contract with contractors and actually spend the money to pave a road, improve a bridge or buy a new bus. host: the next call for john horsley comes from alex from jacksonville, florida. caller: good morning, john. my question is, i wanted to know, are there any regulations as far as the infrastructure of
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how these contracts are going to be dispersed among different construction companies to make it a fair range oft( different companies and workers that have these bids and can bid on the contracts? are there anyw3w3 regulations sn how it has to be doneç, or do t how it has been done? guest: in florida under state law and also under federal regulation, there are all sorts of rules that govern how to bid on these projects. the process the state goes through once they received the green light from the federal government is to advertise the project. contractors then submit sealed bids quoted best price they offered to do the work for.
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the contractors have to meet all of the terms and conditions of the state's build into the set of bid specifications. and then once they open the sealed bids, the states determine which of these of metals present the best cost or the best project overall proposal. çand then the contract is awarded. so there is a thorough review all called the federal and state legal requirements before the contract has led to a contractor. and it is open competitive. and the good newsç is we are receiving consistent bids 10%, to 30% below the engineer is estimates. we are getting a great deal for the taxpayer. it should not be do you know, but who has submitted the best, most competitive lowest price bid. host: our next call comes from franklin, arkansas, randy on the line forç independents. in arkansas they got $351
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million in allocated highway infrastructure investments and $20 million and change in transit capital assistance. the go-ahead. caller: i have a question. i was in dallas last november for about a month and during the time i was there, one of the local national networks brought in a story about the trinity river bridge project that they were@@@@@@bg pewj b@@@@ visas. .
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caller: we have plenty of unemployed welders. why do they need to bring in the italians? is there anything in these contracts that say it is not helping our economy to get italians a job? >> i am not acquainted with that. i would be happy to check with texas or maybe the city involved in that. i would not expect any of the project funded through the economic stimulus program to have the problems you described. when the texas department of transit petition or the city of got dallas would issue a bit on the private -- department of transportation or the city of dallas would issue a big, the
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department of transportation or the city of dallas would determine who has submitted the most responsible bid. it is not our understanding that a foreign contractor would be eligible. i cannot imagines that it would be cost-effective to bring in an italian workers from out of state to do the work. i would be glad to check in for you. this would not be typical or even allowable under federal procedure as far as i am aware. host: larry brown, the president of the department of transportation rights that "we would like to seek a second stimulus bill, one that would allow us to embark on a well- planned project status long been needed, one that would provide relief."
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how much would like to see in a second stimulus bill and do you think you have any chances of getting that passed through congress? i am glad you brought that up. i am sure butch brown is watching the program. we are definitely interested in a second round, job creation, legislation. in december, the house passed the bill that would provide another $27.5 billion, another $8.5 billion for transit. in december, they put up this report, calling for a hundred projects valued at $79 billion that we have documented, that harsh -- ready, if -- that are
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shovel-ready, if the congress approves it. majority leader reid came out with a broader recommendation last week, and we expect it to affect transportation shortly. if congress has dollars that they think they want to commit to transportation, we can do a great job of delivering also, we only received 6% of the overall economic stimulus legislation, but the highway and transit projects have created over 25% of the jobs so far. if congress wants to create come to pass, transportation is the answer. host: if congress to keep on putting money into programs like this, how much incentive is
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there from the private sector and public to contribute money and cut off the money coming from washington? when will state money be able to stand up on their own 2 feet and pay for the projects that need to be taken care of -- two feet and pay for the projects that need to be taken care of? >> 35 states have had to cut back on spending. 25 state, because of the reduction of tax revenue, will be cutting down on transportation projects. once the economy picks up and revenue returned to the state coffers, states will spend about 75% of the money spent on roads. state and counties to pay the lion's share of in already, but right now we could not survive with the economic stimulus
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dollars to help us in the downturn. host: john horsley is our guest, of the american association of state highway and transportation officials. scott in springfield, virginia. caller: i happen to sit on the 50-yard line of utilities in washington. it is a good program and it has been great for the country and has been putting people to work. people cannot really invalidate where illegal aliens come from, and yes, it happens, but i think the federal government needs to watch it a little closer. i have been there on payday, and i see people going to western union, acquiring money south of
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the border. -- wiring money south of the border. guest: i am under the impression that state government has to pressure win every state contractors present their payroll for review, that they have checked the immigration status of the employees they have, social security, and other documentation, or they cannot be paid. the federal government has obligations they place on state, and states on contractors, for the people they employ. hal rigorously that is enforced, we have to see. you make a good point, i think it is under control, but it is something that states have to follow up on. host: how much of this money is going to projects like high- speed rail? guest: two weeks ago, i had the
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honor of joining president obama, vice-president biden, in tampa, florida when they announced who would get the first round of economic stimulus dollars dedicated to high-speed rail. tampa and orlando about $1.2 billion. california also got some. they were the two big winners. over all, there were 37 states that wanted to compete. ultimately, 31 states received grants under that program. the exciting thing about the tampa to orlando project, and los angeles to san francisco, -- it will be true high-speed rail. 220 mile per hour service is being planned. in florida, they have the right
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of way already acquired on the interstate going between tampa and orlando, and they plan to provide service down to miami as well. president obama believes this could open up a new era of trouble in america, similar to what you see in japan -- travel in america, similar to what you see in japan, europe. this $8 million will be accompanied by $12 billion in additional dollars. we think we are off and running. host: how soon before they begin construction on this project? guest: there are several projects that will improve and upgrade the speed on already
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existing service, so those projects will take place this summer, this year. the florida and california projects are longer-term. it will take several years before service is launched on that true high-speed rail. faster service on existing tracks, those could be completed before the year is out. host: will it be a private enterprise running those rails, will it be a waquasi-government organization like an term? guest: we are almost sure amtrak would be a major player. florida is giving consideration to having an open competition that could bring up a contractor
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other than amtrak. host: springfield, maryland. delano on our line for democrats. caller: my question about this high speed rail system, going from los angeles to las vegas, is that still on track? guest: i am not certain if that project received funding. i know there were several grants given to california, a smaller one given to nevada. i will have to see if that was in the next or not. what i did want everyone to be aware of -- we have a website,, and
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it contains more material than what is in this hard copy. that is our website for those who would like to see specifically what is being done in your state. host: next phone call comes from georgia. ivy on the line for independents. caller: thank you. you do a great job. i think you would be fun to hang out with. i have three points, if you do not mind. callerhost: just because i themo hang out with.
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caller: my father was a contractor a while ago. people would put in bids low, and then they would have to come in with secondary funding. in essence, it is in made up job, they made up number. whatever in a bid will not be the true cost paid by taxpayers. i wonder if that was being tracked in your work? second, i know that state governments for seed money for all lot of bridge work, prior to the collapse of the bridge collapse in minneapolis. it turned out, governors were taking that money from the bridge missionary -- discretionary fund, and putting it back into the state budget.
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the third thing -- the fact that you are doing something about infrastructure is awesome. infrastructure jobs stay in the country. if you could make sure we have the americans doing the job, people registered to work here, that would be great. it does seem to political reality is, they love to see new things, new bridges, new roads. but right now in this environment, rebuilding bridges is a critical infrastructure needed in our country. if all we did was bid on bridge replacement, and mandate that a certain amount of steel had to come from this country, then you would be able to not only revitalize the construction industry, but you could also
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affect some of the jobs in the steel industry. guest: those are all three could questions. the first one, the fixed bids that contractors submit are binding, the answer is yes. contractors are given excellent bids, about 10% to 30% below the enne the minneapolis collapse. we found 2004 was the last year that we have complete data.
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in that year, they received $4.7 billion in bridge funds, but net-net, they ended up spending about $10.2 billion, so they are spending more. year after year, states are putting a great deal of our overall spending into bridge repair. the third question, should there not be a buy-america provision, and shouldn't more money be spent on rebuilding facilities? both of those are in the bill. over 90% of recovery dollars are going into bridge and highway repair/replacement. and there is a buy america provision that requires us to purchase american steel. we believe the program is responsive to the legitimate concerns that you have brought up.
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host: according to the figures you provided, 1125 bridges have been renewed or reconstructed. shreveport, louisiana. ben on the line for republicans. caller: we have to get rid of some of the red tape. my second point is, and that man who called from georgia makes too much sense. we do not have any more money in america for another stimulus. 80% of the people are with me on this. we cannot be hiring illegal aliens to do american jobs. obama, in his own words, to the
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hispanic caucus -- this is their way to citizenship, through high wage jobs. this is going to be the democratic party that does this to america, and this offsets the hell out of me. god bless you, you have not hung up. host: it sounds like you have had experience with red tape. caller: yes, i have built bridges before. i have done tons of work. i have done more construction work that you can imagine. i poured the concrete at the gm plant in shreveport, louisiana. that person from georgia hit it on the mark. there are more jobs that can be done. get rid of some of the red tape.
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we have to have the americans go back to work, not illegal aliens. there is a process to come to america, and that america is on my side on this. host: in louisiana, highway infrastructure investment, just over $4 million came to your state. were you able to get any of that money? caller: i am not going to lie to you, i do not know. interstate 49, i do not know where we are. i cannot answer that question. what americans do not know about bobby jindal, he is no governor. conservatives down here do not like him. the news media does, they love bobby jindal. guest: there is nothing we could
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agree on more than this need to get rid of red tape, cut it back. the good news is, the highway administrator who used to be the president of the national association of state highway and transportation officials -- he was the director in arizona before. he has made the commitment to cut in half the time it takes to authorize federal highway projects. we have a team working with his to work on cutting back federal red tape. but there is no question, we can do better in that regard. with regard to whether or not we need another round of stimulus investment, we believe two things. the unemployment rate in the construction world where you are from is about 22% naturally -- nationally. we believe that is too high.
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the house and senate are working on a bill that may well provide somewhere in the range of $30 billion. if there is any area that can put that money to work fast and effectively, it is transportation. i think we saw that last year. host: john horsley served as the deputy secretary of the department of transportation from 1993 to 1999. he is also the chairman of rebuild america coalition. he was also a peace corps volunteer. where did you serve? guest: i was in the mountains of peru. when i was younger and slimmer, i played soccer with the local soccer teams. i was building schools and water systems.
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i will tell you, the peruvians that i worked with, they work hard. host: one year later, with regard to transportation in recovery projects. next phone call on the democrat line. caller: i want to start with an observation and then ask a question. i find it interesting, on the previous topic, everyone was talking about socialism this, socialism that. this is government programs, government spending. almost speaking of in as if it was an evil institution. now we have the actual implementing of the drums, and everyone seems to be more concerned now about who gets a piece of the pine. to me, it seems hypocritical.
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we were just talking about how this government, in their words, take over, of these institutions is an unjust. now we are talking about how these jobs are being doled out. getting to my question, it is a topic that has not yet been touched upon, but it is something that the current administration has made great strides on. that is the dependency on foreign oil. i look at the high speed rail system in europe, the efficiency of britain's transit system, and i wonder, how do you think all this government spending is doing creating projects and
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improving the transit system? how is that going to help our dependency on foreign oil? guest: that is a good question. the position of the 50 states is we ought to double transit rider ship in this country -- write ridership in this country. we believe this will reduce the dependence on foreign oil. another trend that we support is the shift to vehicles that are no longer powered by gas and diesel, but powered by electricity. 20% of the vehicles in the market 10 years from now will be powered by electricity. we think that is a positive sign, and something that will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. but no question, that means we
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need to produce more electricity through renewable resources, whether it is through nuclear power, solar, or wind power. we see a major change coming in, petroleum we use and how much we produce internally. we also see people promoting natural gas. there are many taxi and bus fleets that have converted to compressed natural gas. we think that is another good alternative to foreign oil. host: there was an article in the sunday section of the "washington post" talking about the revenue from gas taxes shrinking. basically, the premise of the article it is saying as we get more fuel efficient
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the detention facility at guantanamo has become one ofç e mostv: controversial responses o
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the september 11 attacks. while the bush administration supported its closure, it was unable to make that happen. president obama campaign in support of closingç guantanamo can it signed executive order after his inauguration -- supposedly today. we are here today to discuss why the obama administration has been unable to fulfill that pledge and what the future holds for guantanamo and the men detained there. the failed christmas day bombing made the return of our country to the rule of law more difficult on a wide array of issues, including things like reform of the usa patriot act and the state secrets privilege. but it is guantanamo that is probably the most visible piece of this retrenchment. unfortunately, the christmas day bombing attempt has put the issue of whether guantanamo should be closed back on the
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table and has spurred a more politicized debate about how to do so. i am sure the election results in massachusetts will further complicate this matter. beyond guantanamo, a bipartisan declaration it demonstrates there is consensus for how to close guantanamo in a way that is consistent with our constitution and our countries values. the constitution project released last november, in coordination with human-rights first. it has been signed byç diplomats, federal judges, former congressmen, national security experts, and families of september 11 victims. all of them support trials in federal court as opposed to military commissions and oppose indefinite detention without charge. the declaration reject the
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arguments of those who say we must curtail our constitution and to keep our country safe. it rejects the polarized politics that have for too long lead our country astray. jeffrey tubin is a graduate of harvard college and harvard law school. he covered sports for the "harvard crimson," where he wrote a column called inner tubin. >> we only have two hours. i do notxdt(ç know if you wanto through that level ofi] detail n my background. xd>ndxdçç heç was a federalr ina]okççów3çok yorkw3-szg çñrcounsel inw3çxdçt(i] thet counsel's investigationw3çóok o] -çqççcontra. he isç now a senior analyst for w3çcnn and staff writer for "ad yorker -ç- "the newç yorker." xççi want to thank all of our r
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panelist and provide a when the administrative note and it88 panel participants will be uóe press after our program. now, pleaseç welcome jeffrey >> çqw3hello, everyone. çipúráhqpá to be here on what i i]suspect may be the first çny"oç[(jájuáp)yçw3 of pr's çpledge toq close guantanamo. ai] coupleç ofçç notes for yr çinformation. thisw3 is being strained over te web. it will[ó be broadcast on c-s. helloçç to everyone on c-span. ççççqó%qgkd
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forcing a five minuteç limit on introductions. let me introduce everyone. practiceçu! lawyer,xd a former intelligence officer in the u.s. army reserves. i]ççhe is someone who isç inn analysis of terrorism during his military career. shen september 11.
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with though it is -- with those introductions, let us start with steve and abraham. >> he is turning the timer on now.
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i would like to thank everybody for allowing me the opportunity to be here today to speak with you about this. i am perplexed by the title of the program. when and how well guantanamo close? i did not see an explanation of what guantanamo is. i think that is a fundamental question that has to proceed, not to the debate but to the discussion of why guantanamo has not closed. it is an understanding of how it opened, how it was selected, that we see the confusion that arises as to why, in the words of some prior to the start of this new administration, guantanamo was not closed and a five minute decision. as has been mentioned, since the administration's passage of its declaration, the executive order stating guantanamo would be closed in a year, many people have anxiously awaited is
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closure. many have been perplexed by the fact that has existed for more than eight years, not necessarily as a detention facility. following 9/11, within a month or so, discussions were had throughout the various military commands regarding where individuals would be transferred. there was no discussion of where they would be detained, but the folk -- the discussion focused on where these individuals could be said that would free those involved in their attention from the constraints that might be imposed by our judiciary. very simply speaking, the administration was looking for a place to send people beyond the reach of the federal courts. this is not a custodial functions. this is not a detention function. this was primarily an intelligence function. this raises the conflict and the tension that i think today faces the administration regarding
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guantanamo. the question is not why these people are being detained or for how long they should be detained. it is wide attention is being used as the excuse for continuing to keep guantanamo open or any other place that would be used for a similar function. guantanamo to date represents the most tangible aspects of a program that conflicted, an intelligence program that conflicted directly with the judicial process. what you are seeing in guantanamo and what you are seeing, as was reflected in the stating of these statistics, including the indefinite detention of 50 individuals, is the dichotomy between it intelligence collection process these and a judicial process. it brings squarely at odds the question of whether or not fundamental, personal, in a
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limbo -- inalienable human rights can be compatible with an intelligence program that must be designed to protect america, its citizens, and its interests. i am suggesting that the process by which one was preferred over the other, that is the process by which guantanamo was created by which its existence is being perpetuated, it is unacceptable. >> ok. >> well, i have to be rather circumspect in some regards regarding my comments, because i am a sitting federal judge. it is not appropriate for me to criticize the administration or the justice department indirectly. what i can do is talk about my
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own experience in trying a terrorism case. achmed rassan, the millennium bug bomb are, i transferred venue because -- the millennium of borrower, i transferred the venue to los angeles from seattle. the fbi discovered that the target was lax, and i had transferred a venue right to the place where we probably should not have tried the case. much of the discussion about whether these cases can be tried in article iii courts revolved around security concerns. i can shed some light on my own
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experience in trying that case. newsweek reported this week that people are talking about security expenses in the neighborhood of $1 billion it to try cases in new york, which i find rather startling, given the fact that there was virtually no expenditure of funds by the local police in los angeles regarding the rassan trial. the marshal's tell me their expenditures could be measured in that thousands of dollars as opposed to the millions or hundreds of millions. the only police department that -- the los angeles police department did virtually nothing to enhance security surrounding the court house in los angeles. and we had no problems regarding the trial. in fact, people are so concerned about housing terrorists in the
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united states, that they are unaware of the fact that there are currently hundreds of so- called terrorists that are being housed in federal prisons in the united states today. there has never been an incident -- a security-related incident, regarding any of those prisoners in the united states. people express concern about how these cases can be tried in federal court in the united states, and are unaware of the fact that there have been about 195 such trials in united states in the last seven or eight years. there has not been a single incident, a single security incident, regarding any of those trials in the united states. somebody asked me earlier today, wouldn't be logistic problems of
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trying a case in new york be almost insurmountable? my response is, i do not understand that concern. i do not know why we do not just try the case. that is what we did in los angeles. we should not be afraid of it. that is what we do in the federal courts. and why we cannot just get on with it, i do not understand. jeff? >> hello, everybody. i am honored to be here today and i am thankful to ccr, osi, and rbf. a very important day for all of us and for the nation and for the world. i lost my son, he was at rockefeller center -- went down there to help and did not come home. he was a cadet and a certified
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paramedic. knowing him, he would go to rescue his fellow citizens, but unfortunately, there were speculations and we were investigated and interrogated as maybe he was linked with the terrorism that day. -- because of the state, because i am a muslim. since then, he was mentioned for his heroism, going down there to help his fellow citizens and the nation he adopted. the citizens he went to help, they turned on him and they turned on me. that is my standing. i met the attorney general last year and also went down to guantanamo bay last year for the family during which never took place. i got a sobering experience from there. coming to the issue of
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detention, detention is illegal. it violates all international human flaws. it violates the united nations human rights, our constitution, the geneva convention, and all of this has been done under the u.s. a patriot act of 2001 which became law october 26, 2001. under the patriot act, the habeus corpus, the right to defend myself is suspected -- suspended. the law is not only for foreign citizens, it is for american citizens also. that is very important to understand. according to a supreme court judge, the question before the supreme court which has twice ruled that illegal, the question is, does the constitution permits executive officials to detain an american citizen in definitely in military custody
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in the u.s., told him incommunicado, and denied him access to counsel with no opportunity to question the factual basis for his detention before any impartial trial? that is what the patriot act is. how can i defend myself when, i do not know the charges against me and i do not have the right to defend myself? and every time the supreme court came back with the decision, the bush administration and the military commissions went along to circumvent the situation. they went along modifying the role of military commissions as needed. -- tghyhe rule of military commissions as needed. we were interrogated by congressman ackerman.
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we were led to believe by my congressmen that he may be detained by the ins because he was not born here. he may be detained by the ice, or he may be with attorney general ashcroft. he made us write a letter to him that if you are holding my son, please inform us. i wrote to president bush, also. ashcroft had testified, she was summoned by the senate in december 2001, because two indians -- one of them was sick and one was a hindu. they were released. he said that the federal are holding 240,000 males of muslim dissent between the ages of 17 and 35. >> can we hold of some of that?
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we will deal with a lot of these issues as we get into the back and forth. can we move in the -- move on to other people's opening statements? >> can i conclude? thank you. the torture memos, when they cannot, of thought crossed my mind. was salman tortured to death? they confirmed his death six months later. is that -- if that is the government i have, i cannot trust my government. then it is a very sad situation. we need to address this. we need to restore the rule of law and redeem the dignity and respect that we have lost as a nation. thank you. >> thank you, jeff. a year ago, we did not expect to be sitting here in january, 2010, giving this talk. the senate and said the new
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president could close guantanamo quickly and safely. that would just take a few month for federal prosecutors to figure out who could be charged in federal court and who could not. in the case of people from countries that routinely engage in human rights abuses, send them to a safe third country. and we urged the president to dispense with the idea of creating a new military commission systems to try people. the notion of detain people without any trial. this would have had the advantage of simplicity and working with pre-existing standards, with our legal traditions that would have allowed it to go quickly. we got a lot of push back of that. what about preventive detention? for people who are seized on the battlefield? our response to that was that the detainees were
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overwhelmingly not fedex field detainees. we know from the transcripts -- that over 95% were not seized on a battlefield. there were not a hard core of international terrorists that cheney wanted to betray. the people are by and large they're due to their nationality. there are 90 yemenis. there are 50 people from countries will participate in human rights abuses. we would like to send them home, but we cannot. that gives you a total of 196 people detained at guantanamo. the government paid bounties for anyone who was foreign in afghanistan or to pakistani officials who do the same -- more people were arrested in pakistan and afghanistan. more than half of the population that remains has been cleared by
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the task force as of this morning. the breakdown is -- 40 people will be prosecuted, 50 people will be detained indefinitely for food knows how long, 50 people who are from yemen and are clear. and about 50 people who are in this resettlement fox, a difficult group of people who are asylum-seekers. there is a tremendous amount of european and goodwill to resettle these folks when obama came into office. they told us they wanted to help obama cleanup bush's mississippi. the u.s. had to take part. -- to help clean up bushes' mess. they was some talk about bringing in the uighers. there was also the talk about
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closing the book on the bush and administration policies. now that the deadline has been that abandoned, they are taking on risk without contributing to the closure of guantanamo. with the task force, it was slow down at the outset because of confirmation problems. it was slow down because of a lot of the intransigence of from bush holdovers with the same secretary of defense. they started leaking reports that one in seven people had returned it to cost all activities when they were released, which is nonsense. you can count on the fingers of your hand people who have gotten in trouble since they have gone back. this all lead to an abundance of caution and that has led us to where we are today. what can we do now? the only thing that will change the situation is that the president gets out there in
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front of the media and says, we have people there who are innocent and we have health into their ninth year. that would be a game-changer. he has not done that yet. if he had done that with the uighers, there would be in a completely different situation. he could defend the work of the task force with respect to this large group of yemenis. -- even with the notion that the airplane palmer got trained in yemen. when the executive order came out, we were the only group to condemn it on the basis of the idea that the year was too long to sort this out. he is only centel about 46 people. even in bush's last year, he got close to that. he owns the military commission process. he failed to lead of the facts. failed to be decisive on the legal standards.
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he has early resistance from his entrenched bureaucracies. these other three major failings. there are a lot of interesting parallels between the executive order and other great civil- rights moments in american history. one of my friends draws the parallel between brown one and brown two. brown one was an announcement of principles directed at the communist bloc. and from two turnaround and said, as far as implementing this, we do not care when you do it. wrap things up on your own time frame. the rest of the world understands that game. ask dan friend who is out -- ask dan fried who is out looking to relocate detainees. there was a testimony to the senate that the first and second causes of u.s. combat deaths are
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respectively the symbols of guantanamo and abu ghraib. >> celeste? >> based on that experience as a federal prosecutor, i know firsthand how the enormously difficult and complicated it can be to prosecute a terrorism case federally. i would like to discuss these practical experiences and concerns with you briefly. as chief of the criminal division and chief of appeals, i was involved in several high- profile terrorism cases. i brought with me exhibit a,
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which is this read brief period is 600 pages long. it was the brief we filed in connection with the appeal of four people convicted of bombing the embassies in tanzania and in kenya in 1998. that case was tried before judge sand in 2000 and into 2001. and it was enormously complex. it led to this lengthy appeal. throughout the case, the issues that were raised were novel, difficult to deal with, and in some cases, somewhat risky. i also worked on eight -- another terrorism case on appeal that was the one -- that was the one involving wind storm. -- before lynn stewart.
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there are difficult issues raised regarding fourth, fifth and sixth amendment rights. issues about how the warrant requirement applies overseas and how moran the supplies overseas. what kind of warnings are required for -- miranda rights overseas. there are also complicated sepa issues. sometimes these questions are issue of person present. -- first impression. i will give you an example of a situation where one of the statements given by the defendants in that can yet bombing case, -- in the kenya
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bombing case, she gave a long that statement. -- he gave a long statement, and there was no attorney present, because in africa, we do not have defense attorneys present. only the prosecutor was there. judge sand suppressed that statement, which was a confession. it was a large part of the evidence against him. the statement was suppressed. the government moved for reconsideration and was able to reverse -- reverse that decision because there were able to explain that the modified or randall warning he gave was still sufficiently in adequate to protect his rights, whatever the contours' of those rights were in that context. it is difficult. the issues are complex. nonetheless, i do recognize that
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as a practical matter, the courts are probably the best things we have right now to try these cases and they have worked. a substantial majority of the cases in the past decade have worked. as the numerous commentators and researchers have observed, overall, the success rate is good. quite good. it is not easy. aside from the practical problems of trying a case of federal aid, there is a real concern about what to do when a federal trial cannot be the answer. there are situations where the case cannot be brought to federal court. when the military commission is the only alternative or even that is not an alternative. these are difficult questions. what to do with people who
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cannot be tried before a military commission. were those people still approach -- still pose a threat to the nation's security. we are not faced with a conventional war. we're not faced with conventional crimes that are conventionally brought in federal courts. i think it may be that some cases do not fit into the boxes we have. >> let's talk about the boxes. in terms of the people there, we have categories of people. you have 40 people who are going to be prosecuted in u.s. district court. that is not complicated. they will or will not be convicted. some people have been certified as an not a threat and awaiting return to yemen. then you have this group that was referred to in the newspaper
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today, which is too dangerous to release, not enough evidence to prosecute. 50 people. what do you do with these people? >> go ahead. >> i think we do not have the right, nor should we give to our self the opportunity to create a new box for people, we think should not be on the streets. to do as much is to presume all limitation, both respect to our constitution and the notion of individual rights. if an individual has not violated the laws for which there is recourse in the courts, then that individual should not be subjected to the harshest treatment that can be imposed upon him or her by this government. when the government does that, it does two things. first, it declares it can act without impunity.
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the other is that it declares indelibly the race to be a creation of the state. -- the rights to the expiration of the state. it is inappropriate to allow in the discussion of these individuals fates the notion that there can be an new category created just for them. i reject the notion that terrorism is somehow something special or different. it is a crime. it has at its heart a criminal act. there is evidence of it. it can be prosecuted. prosecutors will tell you, we have to make these decisions all the time. individuals in law enforcement tell you that even in bringing in a suspect before a court, decisions are made. intelligence professionals will tell you, those that have been involved for years in intelligence activities will tell you that throughout the
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course of their operations they will be called upon to make decisions that will judge whether or not, in the sense of the operations, whether they will continue as an intelligence operation or be used to develop something more, something that may lead to prosecution. there is no need, nor should there be room for this new box. >> let me ask the judge. what you think? i do not want you to preview of ruling, but as someone who is responsible for trying cases, criminal cases, what you think about this a box of feet too dangerous to release, not enough evidence -- a box of too dangerous to release, not enough evidence to prosecute? >> in the united states of america we are going to allow somebody to decide that someone is too dangerous to release? who is going to make that
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decision? is it going to be reviewed by anybody? constitutional is not just a long walk in aid of regularity. we cannot be true to our values in the united states and say that the executive branch can decide that somebody is too dangerous to be on the streets and they do not have a trial, a hearing. that is not what this country is about. it boggles my mind to think that we can see is people and lock them up -- seize people and lock them up for the duration of the war on terror, which would be for their natural lives, without a trial. that is not what the u.s. is about. that is my personal view.
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>> talat? >> my question is, number one, too dangerous -- who decides? who is the deciding entity? on what grounds? if there is not enough evidence, who are we to hold them? they are someone's children, someone's father, someone's brother. that is not what america is all about. we need to stand true to our values. there has to be transparency. who are revolting? who are we detaining? who are these people? what have they done? let us know. why are we hiding? if we are not doing anything wrong? >> i agree with all that. factually, is a null set of people belong in this box to cannot be charged or tried but
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are somehow dangerous. first of all, you could indict anyone who has a genuine it linked to terrorism on some sort of charge. it may not be the highest level charge, but you could do it. we have a material support statutes. we could indict this pen cap. anyone who attended a training camp, and you could prove that with evidence that does not come from a mass accuser at guantamo or torture. \ you can charge people with providing personnel. this is probably the allegation that exists against most of these folks. the enhanced interrogation techniques were directed at people were, without that evidence, we might not be able
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to charge them with the highest level we think they were involved in. but some form of material support, some lesser charge, akin to going after elba opponent for tax evasion will likely be there. -- akin to going after al capone for tax evasion. that allows for preventive detention under established law. we will not have that for these individuals. >> there are a lot of people in the world that are not fans of united states. if we tried to round up everybody that is deemed to be dangerous. there are not enough prisons in the world to hold everybody itht someone might deem it to be dangerous to the united states.
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that thought this country is at risk because of 30 or 40 people who are deemed dangerous by someone is hard for me to understand. >> they will not tell you the names and what they are accused of. >> celeste, your thoughts? >> well, you people do think you can indict a ham sandwich, of course. i think to say you can indict anyone is a bit simplistic. i mean, you cannot just indict anyone. you have to have the goods to back it up. you have to be able to convict the person. you must have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed an offense. it has to be worthwhile to bring that offense as well. i do not think that is really an
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answer. what i am hearing people say is that, are these people really too dangerous to release? they are questioning -- there is a question about the premise. there is also a question about what review process there it is. let's assume the administration has correctly decided that these people are too dangerous to release, ok, and let's assume there is a review process in place. then the question becomes, what you do with somebody and what are you going to say to the person who loses his or her family member or close friend as a result of something that one of these people that is too dangerous to release does in future? i know it is a small chance, because we are talking about 50 people. i am not saying these issues are not difficult, but i am trying to eliminate some of the
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variables. what we really have to ask ourselves is, what did we do when we know this person is hell bent on destroying us? what to do about that? -- what do we do about that? it depends upon the circumstances upon which this person was detained in the first place. this goes back to what steve has said. what we have is a situation that came up in an unanticipated way. if we had known in the beginning that this situation would play out as it has, i do not think we would have started at guantanamo. we might have looked at alternatives in the first place. maybe there would have been ways to handle the situation better in the countries in which the people were initially ceased. -- seized.
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i do not say the answer is we should skip them up and detain indefinitely, because they appear to have some danger. but what if your not-- you know that the person does present a real danger? >> everybody seems to agree we need to have trials and legal proceedings that evaluate whether people are dangerous, whether a military commission or u.s. district court. the set of people we are talking about are people ceased -- seized in warlike conditions it -- mostly in afghanistan. how to apply our standards, a chain of custody for evidence, how to apply our procedural rules to people seized in a military setting? >> i am sorry for not wanting to
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agree with much of your premise. this has been at marginally the fuel that has brought us to where we are today. most of these people are not the proper -- they are not taken off of the battlefield. let's assume for a moment they are. one of the chief criticisms that delayed efforts to dismantle guantanamo and to move prosecutions to the federal courts was that somebody will turn privates into witnesses. subpoenas will be issued across the battlefield. soldiers will be testifying in criminal trials. that is not the case. the argument is specious. when an individual is captured on the a battlefield, is a combatant in the armed conflict, from the moment he drops his weapon to the moment
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he is released -- very early on, the administration said, we will not treat these individuals as prisoners of war. they created a new category. the reason was to strip those individuals of rights and governed by treaty and other sources of international law. it was not to distinguish them in ways that are significant in terms of how our courts operate. specifically, they wanted to be able to do things they could not do with them in the ordinary settings in which pow's would be placed. you have this artificial distinction that was created. when you have an armed conflict, a battlefield, and individuals are captured, they are going to be treated as prisoners of war. these issues do not come up. these are not people as to form -- as to whom the pow applies.
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they were taken outside of that context and were removed even further from that when they were transferred. it could have been anywhere in the world that they were transferred. in the winter of 2001, the dialogue is about where somebody could be sent beyond the reach of the judiciary it. very importantly, i think that is the force that permeates this discussion. what happens when one branch of the government says, we alone will decide how an individual is treated? how his or her livelihood is dictated? whether his inalienable rights are something we unilaterally can decree curtailed? >> but we now have a series of supreme court rulings. and they now do get some rights. they have procedural rights to challenge their incarceration.
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how to use evidence -- how do you put forth a case, given how they were seized? or is it not possible? >> i think it is possible. from the first moment an individual is detained, there is a record of their detention. it may not be perfect, in many cases, evidence may be mishandled. you have evidence from which you can reconstruct the path they took from that point of origin, the relevant point of origin until that moment you make the decision. justice o'connor in june, 2004, made clear it is permissible for the military to conduct hearings. no one on the court was opposing the military conducting those hearings. very importantly, she said, it must be a meaningful process. it must be subject to review. it must be before a neutral decisionmaker.
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my concern is not only for the 44 receive the commissions, but the 52 have been deemed too dangerous. the process was not transparent by which they were deemed to have fit into this new box. essentially, on reasonable. -- unreviewable. justice jackson had an objection -- as the chief prosecutor at the nuremberg trials, someone who dealt with a far more serious contract -- context then we face today, no one will have respect for our driver and all -- a tribunal created merely to convict. with respect to everyone that was at guantanamo, their status was the product of a commission
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or tribunal or a branch or a committee or group of individuals by any other name whose purpose in being created was merely to convict. >> let's talk more about the issue of evidence and how you prove someone is dangerous and how you give them the opportunity to defend themselves, given that they were or rested -- arrested on a battlefield. >> the premise is flawed. if you look at the people in guantanamo, the number of people arrested is one, omar kotter. in those circumstances, for police here -- who believe there are exigent circumstances, you can ask questions when the guns are being pointed at each other. those are the answers to the
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miranda question. the plea-bargain process is how you extract information from detainee's and lawyers are intermediaries. case law does not apply to the circumstances. chain of custody, courts will be flexible on that. there are other questions. if the circumstances of arrest by third parties are illegal, will that get in the way? there is well established case law. for 100 years, courts have said the illegality of an arrest will not block prosecution. what if osama bin laden gets arrested on the battlefield somewhere? are you saying he has to be brought to the united states within 48 hours and be indicted? that is nonsense.
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all these questions that celeste mentioned, they are difficult questions but there are answers out there. courts will not have a problem of arriving at them. >> judge, what you make of these issues? you try many criminal cases. there are established rules. what about another set of rules for cases that come out of this context? >> i was with you up until the end. another set of rules consistent with our constitution. it is hard for me to conceive of what those rules would be. if people have problems with the way they gathered evidence. if they gathered evidence through harsh interrogation techniques, it may be that there may be some people who cannot be convicted because of the way we conducted ourselves. so be it. the world is not at a loss for
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dangerous people. the fact that we are unable to convict one or more of these folks is part of the price we pay for being the country we are. we either live up to our responsibilities as being a leader in human-rights and a commitment to our constitution or we should not. -- we should not profess to be what we say we are. [applause] i say that if there are problems with some of these people that are created by the way we gathered evidence, that is part of the price you pay for being committed to the way we are, to do process and a constitutional approach to convicting people. >> celeste, you mentioned pat
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fitzgerald's interrogations of al-alawi in africa. talk about the practical challenges of bringing a case in international context? . \ >> right from the outset, there are competing concerns when you are on site in a situation where a terrorist act has occurred. there is the desire to gather intelligence and try to prevent further attacks. and see what the underlying network is. and at the same time, you want to, if you are looking ahead to prosecute as well, you are trying to shore up, make sure the evidence is collected appropriately and that will be usable in court.
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those two interests do not coincide always. you might have to sacrifice some of the rights that would apply if you are going to prosecute somebody criminally. because you need to develop the information right away. in the context of this interrogation of al-alawi, he did agree to talk. fitzgerald was present, as were local officials in kenya. because of pat was present, if it is just conducted by local officials, then ran out warnings do not have to be given. -- then miranda warnings do not have to be given. the statement has to be voluntary. the fifth amendment does apply.
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to make a voluntary statement, the you have to give default number of warnings, which includes, you have a right to have a lawyer present and you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided to you free of cost. those are the council rights that are part of miranda. those two parts do not apply in nairobi, kenya, investigating a terrorist attack. he did not have the defense attorneys on scene. at first, judge sanders ruled that somehow he had been misled about whether you can have an attorney present or whether you had to come to the united states to assert that right. there was a thread in the opinion about having a kenyan lawyer present. that does not satisfy the right to counsel, necessarily, because are we talking about a criminal
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lawyer or a kenyan lawyer who does not know u.s. law? there are complicated questions about making the statement admissible in a federal trial in united states. it has to have been conducted properly at the outset. the right does apply. the statement is not admissible in court. the violation of the fifth amendment occurs when the statement is admitted in court. you have to look ahead. if your goal is to prosecute clement j. crowley, you need to be mindful of that from the outset -- if your goal is to prosecute criminally, you need to be mindful of that from the outset. ultimately, it was admitted. but there was a period of time when it was suppressed . >> let me ask about the matter of interrogation. i want to put aside the issue of torture, because i do think that what ever else you could say
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about the obama administration, torture and water boarding seems to be off the table. what has come up a great deal in recent weeks because of the underwear bomber is the issue of why we interrogate people >> contemporary intelligence information that we can act on quickly to stop further attacks or is it to gain evidence that we can use to prosecute this person? how should law enforcement or intelligence or any sort of government officials handled these interrogations' with those goals in mind? or is this a false choice between these two areas? talk, if you would, of the question of interrogations' in
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context and how to to deal with the competing goals. >> if it is that complex, and have the choice but to arrest, you may have to lower your sights on the prosecution. you did not need any thing that the suspect said, just the witnesses. there is a fundamental paradox which is this. when you are talking about somebody you rest of the streets, when you have a sense that somebody is part of a larger criminal conspiracy and you want to find out what the rest of the conspiracy is about, it says that you cannot arrest him right away because detention lets him know and everybody know that you are on to him. you treat him like the tip of
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the iceberg and through a huge number of law-enforcement resources at him. you follow him around. all of these things that ever street cop in america knows how to do because they investigate drug deal conspiracies and let him lead you to the rest of the icebergs. the flaw with this bush administration war on terror model is erecting the person and then having a news conference. it is the paradox that detention is not the primary tool for uncovering criminal conspiracies. when you leave the guy out there, he is an asset to you. when you bring him in, the best way to deal with them is to give him a lawyer. >> do you suggest that they should have given the sky a new pair of underwear and sent him back up there? >> that that you have to arrest. you also had 200 witnesses on the plane, including the people that tackled him. >> they did not connect the
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dots. he purchased the ticket one way in cash. his father reported him. >> that is before he got on the plan. i am talking about after words. they should have stopped him getting on the plan. >> everything is interrelated. >> what you are describing is interrogations. it disregards the very broad aspect of that category. >> this was pointed out. and there is no perception on their part that they are in any way captive. that might not know that they are getting information.
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another extreme not relating to criminal prosecution, you have a prisoner of war. person has no question as to their status but the status is covered by a very particular roles. if it does not mean he cannot be the subject of interrogation. it is committed in the aspects but there are also certain beneficial elements of what might have been possible that had been eliminated because of his status. he is no longer exposed to new sources of information so his value as an intelligence asset is rapidly diminishing. you have these individuals in the middle that are or may be involved in criminal conduct or terrorist activities who also may be sources of information. the sad fact is that we have to make choices and you hope that you have collateral sources that can be used to prosecute them but quite frankly, this is why
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we pay people. this is why we have decision makers. when i was involved in different organizations that had as elements of their function interrogating people and taking that information, a decision had to be made at some point in time. there was a case involving an espionage ring in west berlin. the question was what are you going to do with them? before anybody touched them, before anybody approached them, that question had been analyzed from every side. not from just an intelligence perspective or a criminal prosecutorial perspective but from an international diplomatic perspective. what are you going to do with somebody when you capture them? is your goal to disrupt or prosecute? as tough as that question may
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be, i am proud of the fact that our constitution does not the yield and that we have to answer it in the context of laws and declarations of laws rights that we cannot change on a moment's notice because of a particular uncomfortable circumstance. " further thought on interrogation? he put his finger on something that i was thinking about, when you make this decision, the intelligence as paramount and you have to conduct the interrogation in a way that might frustrate the prosecution, you cannot have it both ways. you cannot make that decision that the interrogation and the intelligence function is paramount and we are going to sacrifice our ability to prosecute and then say what we have done the interrogations, which cannot prosecute so we are going to block him away in
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definitely for the balance of the war on terror. you cannot do it both ways. >> i have been meaning to say this and i forgot. for those of you who are here and not watching, you know from your program that brad wiegmann from the justice department was supposed to be here but he unfortunately canceled at the last minute. it did occurred was to have somebody from the justice department. before we go to questions from the audience, i want to raise one more broad topic that has been alluded to. the question of where to send these people because this has arisen in certain wickes because of the underwear bomber and the context of yemen. what is the irresponsibility of the government to take steps to
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know that the place he is being sent is one where there will be some supervision rule of law and how do you persuade a country to take people? it seems to be one of the big challenges with guantanamo bay, there is nobody to send -- there is no where to send swome of these folks. >> in my opinion, send them back to the countries they belong to, where they came from. they are nation states. some of them were picked up on the battlefield. they came from other nations. send them back. i do not think there is any
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alternative. >> you are mostly talking about yemen with that question. they want them back. and to the extent that there are people in that group that are may have attended training camps and the past, typically people left there because of economic reasons. the saudi rehab program was oriented at satellite people down and giving them the economic circumstances to not do things like that for economic reasons. this was the real ball and chain intended to keep them in saudi arabia. there has been a discussion of this for a long time. eliminating the symbol of why people fight the u.s.. the things that have held it up as yemen are the most mundane concerns. >> any other thoughts about how
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you find a place to resettle these people? >> let's go back to the title of the program. when and how to close guantanamo. if you want to answer the question about how to resettle them, the first thing i would love for the administration to do is to declare that guantanamo be closed tomorrow. you have to put them tomorrow. at that point, somebody will be forced to make a decision as to where to put them. almost two years ago, i had the great privilege of speaking before the european parliament. before it went under the question of rendition, it went to the question of why certain countries have not done enough. everybody pointed to the lead our country of albania that had taken more per capita than anyone else. the point was that everybody was willing to wait for somebody else to do something or some other moment in time when
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something else would be done. what everybody concluded was that so long as the decision did not need to be made, it would not be done. until the administration very clearly says that guantanamo will be closed, something that could be stated in about two minutes, nobody is going to make the decision as to where they should go. on the other hand, the start closing that right now, that question will become largely irrelevant and very short order. i suspect a lot of takers will mysteriously appear. >> that is the bigger thing that was missing. the failure to bring the uighers
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into the u.s. it is difficult to go to european nations to ask them to clean up this mess. it comes at a significant cost for places like portugal to take syrian detainees and yet we will not do anything. >> there is great moral hazard to meet challenging her on that point. so long as nobody has to be ultimately responsible for the consequences of what the decision is not made, it is easy not to make a decision. it is time for us collectively to look very closely at the condition of our rights to see how those rights are being treated. it is time for us to stop shifting the idea of moral hazard, something that we do not need to deal with, a problem
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that does not have a consequence, because every day that guantanamo is open, and we cannot explain why it should be open, every day there individuals held indefinitely and we cannot explain the legal or moral justification, without accepting the consequence of that, i think we engage in a far more dangerous process that extends far beyond guantanamo. i think there will become a point when nobody in the world will find much credibility in a document that has been in the hallmark of our claim of constitutional rights and democracy for more than 200 years. >> let's talk about one more subject before we go to the audience. that is the plan to open a new facility in illinois.
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what are your thoughts about what, if any problems this will address? >> it just shifts the problem over. the reason we for in guantanamo was to avoid judicial oversight and the decisions over the past few years says you cannot do that. it just puts people with the oversight is confirmed but i did not think it changes things that much. >> i have always been puzzled at the ability of some to create an atmosphere of fear that if we
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bring these people within the borders of the u.s. it is going to create some sort of terrible problem that we should be afraid of. the fact of the matter is that there are hundreds of people who are currently in federal prison in the united states, within the borders of the u.s., that have been convicted of terrorism? acts and there has never been an incident of security problems involving any of those people. anybody who has ever visited a federal prison would realize that the problem is not preventing people from getting in, it is preventing people from getting out. the idea that federal prison is to win to be a target for a
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terrorist act or an attempt to spring somebody out of a federal prison is silly. >> i agree that the concerns about federal prisons overall are overblown in terms of their ability to handle the situation but i want to point out that there was an incident involving a terrorist at mcc in manhattan where one of the people charged with the terrorist bombings in kenya ended up stabbing a guard. >> i am sorry. i did not mean there was never an incident within the prison. i meant an incident of a terrorist attempt to spring somebody or a target prison
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because they are holding somebody. i am sure these people has misbehaved while in custody. >> in terms of a terrorist attack from outside, okay. there was evidence to suggest this was an attempt to escape. things happen in jails but by and large they are equipped to handle issues. >> i wanted to [inaudible] the government makes a proper decision that people aren't dangerous. did we trust our government for the past eight years to do the right thing? we are still where robert from day one -- we are still where we
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were from day one. laws are written. our constitution has been serving since the day of consumption. there is a procedure for each and every crime. terrorism did not just come up since 9/11. it was there before. it will remain debate. -- it will remainto be. courts have to make it difficult decision. that is why they're there. that is what the judges are supposed to do. >> let us go to questions. havetwo -- we have two people
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with microphones. please stand up and say your name, affiliation and had it. >> former journalist. the question that was just put, let's say we moved everybody to thompson without any obstacle from the politicians. we could hold them and handle that. what becomes of the recruiting symbol of guantanamo? would that fix any part of the problem that so many of us say that guantanamo has become a symbol and a recruiting tool for terrorists? >> one of the president's crack advisers it thinks it is worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars on perimeter security and buying this facility is
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simply for that reason. somehow the rest of the world is ignorant enough that moving the system on shore as some time -- somehow going to dispel the myth of holding people without trial. i think that is so ludicrous that i cannot imagine why somebody actually bought that within the administration. [inaudible] it is a system of detention without trial that is the problem. not the physical facility. >> i have to respectfully disagree. i think there's two aspects. when the best deal was dismantled, there was no illusion on anybody's part that it was still in prison. it was a symbol of a prison. it was a symbol of a monarchy that was so completely disconnected from its people that when the grain shortage caused a famine, the monarchy
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could not respond to it. there was no reason to tear down the pastille other than it was a good concession. and what you did was it the minute a symbol. as has been pointed out, there are plenty of people and the world that have reasons of their own for hating the u.s. most of those reasons cannot be expressed in any way other than by symbols. you eliminate guantanamo bay, you eliminate a symbol. what you then do at the same time is address the very real issue of these individuals' detention. once you move them up side of guantanamo, that is no longer with the excuse. you can no longer hide behind it. no longer will we be dealing with this as something that the military will take care of. no longer will the question of whether the federal courts will be involved become an aspect of
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the lake. you move them to the united states, provide a very clear reviewable set of criteria for judging what should be done with these individuals because those are the laws by which we allow this nation to operate and to move on from there. >> you'd think it is more than a symbol but it has value, closing at guantanamo and moving to illinois. >> i think it has value not only as an and and the dismantling of a symbol, and i think we should make it a very public display of the dismantling, it is not something we should do supplely. s -- ubtlely. it should be a spectacle. no matter what the fortress was used for, it was made clear that
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this was the end of an era. even 200 years later, they still celebrate the destruction of this. the whole point is that it was a landmark moment. in all of this discussion, we need a landmark moment. what we have had over the last year is no change. >> if i may add to that remark, we go abroad advocating democracy, liberty and justice. yet we contradict those very issues we advocate at home. that is the problem. >> my nephew was killed in the world trade center. i would like to agree
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wholeheartedly with mr. abraham. i was present at the president's meeting of 9/11 families last february. if the president made that point that you just made very strongly. the symbol must be done away with as far as i am concerned. the physical manifestation of guantanamo must be done away with. i am in favor of moving from to the mainland. i like to ask one more question. i have read that guantanamo will have to be kept of their and kept open for quite some time because of continuing litigation where it figures in as the scene of a crime or multiple crimes. i would like to hear comment on that. >> we tried cases all the time where important aspects of the
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crime occurred somewhere far distant from the courthouse and that can be dealt with. it presents problems but it can be dealt with by using a video tapes of the typical facilities come up verbal descriptions, that is something we deal with routinely. very seldom do we take a jury to be seen where something occurred. the trial is almost always conducted with verbal discredit -- descriptions. the physical distance of the scene where the event took place from the venue of the trial is not a problem. >> as a former ku government lawyer, the you think there is some sort of litigation-related
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reason to keep guantanamo open? >> i have not heard one. as the judge says, i did not think you need to preserve the building to show that crimes occurred there. >> if you have a bank robbery case and the bank is torn down to build another building on the site, you do not have to keep the bank. >> they have addressed this already. they have done these computer models and will likely to the same thing for another facility that they are going to shut down by wednesday. >> all the way in the back. >> i have two-part question.
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i am the very much in sympathy with stephen abraham's point about the symbolic power of closing guantanamo and doing it and a very public way. but my question is given the continuing revelations that are coming out that started out with a seton hall law school study and now with the article, is simply closing guantanamo is enough of a symbol as we are finding out more about suspicions about what actually happened there? it is closing guantanamo without an investigation enough? in terms of the last question, i am sympathetic to the symbolic
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power of closing guantanamo, in the scott horton article, it turns out there may have been a hidden part of guantanamo and doing a pharaoh study of the physical facility is not going to get us to that point. what impact would closing guantanamo have on our ability to determine whether there is indeed a secret facility within a secret facility? >> if i could just address some of that. i read the article which i think is very interesting. the fact that there is another camp beside the fact that everybody gets to see when we are given the tour, that has been known for quite some time. i believe it is generally referred to as camp 7.
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i do not think the fact that there is this other facility is particularly newsworthy. the allegation in that piece was that suicides were actually homicides and that is a debatable proposition and there will be continuing investigations i assume. anybody else? >> i do not think that we should disrupt or interrupt or avoid one step merely because it may be linked to another. this is the reason why guantanamo is still open eight years later. it is because it is also the reason why the administration having seized upon the fact that after the president was inaugurated, his revelation that
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the problems which -- the problems were much more difficult. what suddenly happens is that an aspect that could have easily been done becomes a small part of a much larger problem that have to be resolved entirely in a single moment. that is not true. i think that guantanamo could very easily be closed and dismantled. any questions of improper conduct, the question of when and how investigations should take place have nothing to do with the ease with which guantanamo can be closed. there have been called for commissions and prosecutions. each of these things is independent of closing guantanamo. one of the questions that was asked by members of congress shortly after the supreme court decided to hear the case and well before the court heard oral arguments, was how to be solved
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the problem of what occurred? not one member of congress set the first thing we do is stop doing the wrong thing. nobody talked about just stopping doing the things that are unlawful. do not add to them. everybody wanted to solve that by understanding completely out it had occurred. when somebody is hitting you in the arm, the first thing you do is get them to stop. then you have time to wonder why they're doing that. that you have time to worry about consequences. stop doing it. it is very simple. you close guantanamo, dismantle it and a public fashion, would ever needs to be preserved is preserved. apart from that, it will be for the american people to decide how it will deal either with the consequences of what happened, the cause of what happened, and
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how we reconcile what ever involvement we have. >> i test this question has been on the tip of my tongue and it is too bad that the fellow from the justice department could not be here. i think it is important to address the political context in which this is all taking place. we have a relative consensus it seems on this panel that guantanamo is a bad place and it should be closed and these people should be released. there is something close to the opposite consensus in congress. there is tremendous hostility to the idea of closing guantanamo and political pressure but i believe led to a vote in the u.s. senate that was 90-10.
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there may be a consensus here i will ask somebody who is involved in the political world, what are you doing to address the enormous political consensus that is a very much the opposite of the one here? >> the great difficulty is the factual notion of who these detainees really are. people are shocked when i tell them that the most rudimentary facts. 575 people have been sent home, most of them by the bush administration. there is this notion that there were many people are considered suspected terrorism -- terrorists. the president needs to use the bully pulpit and we need to announce that we have held people who shouldn't have never
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been there. congress' response to what they perceive the average voter perceptions of guantanamo to be. that is really the problem. all the focus on where ksm will be tried, it is a problem with the factual perception. they're going to bring people to thompson better and the indefinite detention box. they are going to leave these other people at guantanamo. the question needs to be asked, who are these people that we cannot try? people that are shooting americans on the battlefield but we cannot charged them with the provision about trying to kill federal officials? people who are supposedly involved in international
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terrorism but cannot stick them under conspiracy? it is astonishing to me. that is why there would not like to know who these people are and tell you what these people have done that makes them so dangerous. >> i am a retired law professor. i am not sure i am understanding with the factual situation is. is it true that the allegations is that they are too dangerous to return to their country of origin? it is not that they're going to be released in the u.s.? they could be taken back to their country of origin, could it not? what's yes. the allegation about these 50th that if they were to be released anywhere, they would go back to being terrorists and we cannot take that chance. >> that is pretty extraordinary. >> they go back to their home
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nation and go to prison over there. >> what about that? is that within our power to say we will debut the following people back if you agree to lock them up? >> that has already happened. we have sent a number of conditions back to italy who have longstanding indictments. it presumes that these people have actually done something. that is the reality of guantanamo. the factual reality has been hidden under layers of classification and all these other absurd rules that apply to us. >> if i may say, there is a case going off in the federal court system's. something along similar lines.
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she reappeared five years later in afghanistan. she was able to get a gun and shoot at them. those are the charges they have against her. things are happening in the federal courts. >> i am a student at columbia law. i am curious to know what you think about the idea that detainees are held indefinitely or let it go without ever hearing back from them and maybe they will be terrorists again. are there any other thoughts about some intermediate ground? monitoring or something we can do to let them out? ankle bracelets or something? >> with the 575, the u.s. has
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insisted that they be subject to monitoring and to periodically reported to police stations and restrictions on travel. the british detainees who were sent back have their passports pulled and by and large that happens. sometimes that is the holdup. this has been the norm but hardly anybody has been transferred without restrictions on where they are going. >> this is a question -- >> i.t. jet and why you moscow. -- i teach at nyu law school. i am not clear on what you are suggesting is the alternative to trying terrorists in court and the courts military commissions
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are one possibility. the administration is resorting to using the military commission co bomberle. of the -- with the bombers of the cole. that is the problem. what we are struggling with this there aretwo issues on the table. one is what to do with the people who are currently detained in guantanamo. they seem to% and almost unique set of circumstances. the history of this and what has happened, they are in this situation. we have these people that we are
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detaining and we did not know what to do with them. the separate question going forward is what do you do? to change your system in such a way that when you come across somebody who is an unlawful enemy combatant in the future, what did you do that person? that is the question about how you move forward and how to deal with the people at guantanamo. it could be one question to result that and the going forward, you decide differently how you are going to handle it. you did not take people into the indefinite detention. those are the alternatives. you begin with federal prosecution. if you cannot do that, you resort to military commission. if you cannot do that, you have a very difficult decision to make. >> i have a question about the
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9/11 conspirators being tried in new york. it is my impression that the question of guilt is not really in play. that seems like a five page brief. i am sure there are a lot more complex it is to that. what are those competition's expected to be and what do you expect this around the questions to be? >> it is hard to predict exactly how it is going to play out. i would be rather surprised to see a simple admission of guilt and let's move on to the penalty phase control it seems to me that will be more likely that
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the defendants would put the government through its paces and force it to present its proof as to why they are guilty. that was the pattern and the embassy bombing trial. despite confessions, the defendants contested their kilts and the government had to undergo a lengthy trial with classified document issues and other amendment issues, and each defendant had at least three attorneys fighting on his behalf. those attorneys were going full throttle and the government, i saw those people at the office night and day in the classified evidence rooms trying to prepare
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the case. i do not see how it is going to be any different here. it may be that we think the evidence is strong against the die -- against the gatt but i did not see it playing out that -- a densitagainst u thegy theo not see it play out that way. >> how do we know? how did you make the assumption that he is going to walk into court and do the same thing? he is totally unpredictable. >> my reaction to that is so what? we try cases all the time where people say it proved it. it is a lot of work. that is what those people are paid for. >> can i just raise one example
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of a complex issue? not something that would derail the trial but something that would tax the system considerably. i covered the oklahoma city bombing trial that were moved to denver. one of the things that the government now does for this terrorism cases is allows victims to attend. there is now a federal law that it is a victim's right to attend. you had 165 people killed in oklahoma city. not all of them or not many of them could make it to denver. the court set up a courtroom with a closed circuit leafeed we people could watch. think about that task alone for a trial where more than 3000 people were killed. >> again, i say so what?
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>> i am not saying it is impossible. it is complicated. >> the set up is already there. it is already there. >> it has been set up but it is not in operation. i am not saying it is impossible. i am just giving it as an example of the complexity of the task. the transmission has to be encrypted. it is not going to be easy. >> you can simplify things a great deal by taking the defendant out and shooting them. but we do not do that.
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>> we certainly do not. having seen, when i was an assistant u.s. attorney, a corrupt cab driver on japan nor decided to represent himself turned his trial into a four- month marathon but of these things take a long time. not a reason not to do it but to suggest that this is no problem and an ordinary trial, i did not know. >> you are on my turf now. i tried eight major -- eight major domestic terrorism trial involving the freemen in montana. it was hard.
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i was under a round-the-clock protection which is very intimidating and intrusive. but it is the things that we do. the more interesting question, i think, i would not presume to tell in new york judge what they should do with this, but as i said earlier, i transferred then you because of the publicity about a potential bomb at the millennium celebration of the space needle. the question of whether the judge will transfer of venue of these cases from the southern district to somewhere else is one that will be interesting to play out. one thing that somebody might consider is the possibility of transferring these cases to a remote court in a much more rural setting where every
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stranger in town will be immediately identified and the security problems would be minuscule compared to what they would be here. i have dear friends sitting on the court in yakima, but the thought is in drinking. >> defect ksm trying in the middle of kansas is interesting. >> i am back to the question of the tanning enemy combatants. the issue of moving forward. right now, it seems clear to me that bringing them hundred feet judicial umbrella and getting guantanamo closed is a very wise. but the issue is not resolved by a moved to illinois.
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is there a way for international law and the international court to be every source for our nation as we face this now and in the future? >> the united states is not part of the international criminal court system. i think that this sort of a nonstarter. >> as this thing plays out, as the federal courts have more of an opportunity to speak on these issues, our values will be brought to bear on this problem. it has taken a long time but it took a long time for lincoln's suspension of writ to get to the supreme court and they did what they ultimately should have
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done. they said the things that needed to be said. i am cautiously optimistic that this whole scenario unfolds and we will return to our values. the right things will be down. >> in that spirit, it is worth noting that the supreme court repeated skating repudiations of the bush administration's attempts to manage guantanamo. this was the first time in american history that the supreme court has rebuked an administration during a war. the courts are an important check and they have acted as one.
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>> i thought you might be interested in hearing from an actual lawyer for titania's. -- for detainees. my eight clients were repatriated. i thought i want the principle from the case. that was in 2004. the principal from the case has never been vindicated cents because the federal government has completely frustrated any effort to get those cases adjudicated in the federal court until they now make the decision that they are probing to try some for the southern district of new york. one of my office clients was
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transferred to a federal court in illinois and we worked out a plea bargain. this will probably happen in most of the cases that wind up in the federal court. what has happened in the meantime is originally, the united states took the position that the writ of habeas corpus was not available for detainees in guantanamo because cuba was sovereign in guantanamo.
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that was a ridiculous convention but they moved from that and said that it did not make any difference whether writ the of the u.s. runs because these people are prisoners of war and no court anywhere can add to indicate the status of prisoners of war. -- adjudicate the status of prisoners of war. prisoners of war may not be interrogated and the purpose of investing this category -- inventing this category was to permit forceful interrogation. the government is taking the position that they are prisoners of war and the courts cannot entertain and we can interrogate
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and we can disregard international law with respect to that interrogation. one thing that will be a step forward if the detainees are moved to illinois will be that that question will reach a federal court. i have a very little doubt about what the outcome will be. >> i think that may have to be the last word. i would like to thank you at the panelists. >> i just want to point out that john gibbons not only won that case but he was the judge and a
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zero for the third circuit. jeffrey toobin want to thank -- i want to thank jeffrey toobin and all the panelists and audience for being here today. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> every night this week on c- span-2, \ we have booked tv.
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for programming notes, the czech the former british communications and strategy director testifies on events leading up to the iraq war and about his book on the tony blair government. >> with your wildest imagination, you could not have made this story of. >> this weekend, on "the death of american virtue." he is interviewed by a former special counsel to president clinton. >> tomorrow marks one year since president obama signed the economic stimulus into law. he talked about that today.
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he also announced more than a dollar billion in federal loan guarantees for a nuclear power plant in georgia. nearly three decades after the last nuclear power plant was built in the u.s.. those are a couple of topics reporters asked at the white house briefing. it is about one hour. >> welcome back. >> the capture in pakistan, do you know at the u.s. is talking to him directly? >> i am not a program to get
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into this topic and not discuss any details. >> you talked about kill rates of terrorists, why would not talk about this? >> we are not going to do it today. >> the president talked about it. he said we killed more terrorists -- >> we are prosecuting the war against al qaeda in a way that has not been seen before. i am not going to get into details about this individual or others. >> how about generalities? >> could you explain why it would be important to not talk about it? >> this involves. sensitive intelligence.
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this involves the collection of intelligence and it is best to do that and not necessarily talk about it. >> the door and has been set to be open to negotiations but the rhetoric is getting very he did. the secretary of state and a brown is moving toward dictatorship. they said that any country that imposes a sanction will regret them. >> he has been making inflammatory statements going on many years. i will not simply take today's outrageous statements. what secretary clinton says about the irgc is


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