tv Washington Journal CSPAN July 21, 2010 7:00am-10:00am EDT
+ the headline, "new front on the racism battle." providing fire for those the call obama biased. we have more of the editorial from inside of "the washington post." for democrats, 202-737-0002. for republicans, 202-737-0001. the conversation online at twitter, twitter.com/c-spanwj. or you can send us an e-mail, email@example.com. courtesy of the newseum, "congress on the verge of extending unemployment benefits ." from overseas, a photograph of
the prime minister of great britain and president obama meeting in the oval office yesterday. the prime minister telling obama that he will release the files as the president and amends the facts. from "of the globe and mail" in canada, "the world gives hundred karzai more time, of the official handover time." in "the chicago tribune," "the ex-governor might skip the stand, suddenly zipped lips." you might have seen this video on cnn or the fox news channel, bell richardson writes that a black former ad department
officials said that she was forced to resign over her remarks. the incident took place 24 years ago. the front-page story in "the washington post," is "a new front on the racism battle." "a new front was opened tuesday in the ongoing war between the left and right on racism in politics. surely sherrod, a black woman appointed last july, forced to resign after a video service of her march 27 appearance at an naacp banquet. she described an episode in which while working at a nonprofit organization she did not help a white farmer as much as she could have, sending him to one of his own kind."
your reaction to this story. scott, republican line. caller: i am really perplexed by this. i have been a republican since i started voting in 1978. looking at this icy unrepentant, rampant racism on the part of my party. we seem to be following glenn beck and rush limbaugh in this case. i do not know the particular familiarities of the case, but it just seems to be something i find repugnant, as we are trying to stoke the fears of white racism because we have a black president and it is really, really repugnant and abhorrent, what we republicans are doing. host: they initially said that the person resolved -- involved should resign at the naacp, but
now that they have reviewed the full tape, smoking -- spoken to the speaker, "we believe that the organization that edited document did so with it the intention of deceiving millions of americans fear " vernon, tuscaloosa, alabama. -- americans." vernon, tuscaloosa, alabama. caller: every time that something like this happens, especially the talk shows in the mornings, they never, ever ever look for anything truthful. the first live that got everything started was the police in cambridge. when they found out they had lied about it, another word was not spoken about it. no. 2, this man from the tea party made up, made his own
tape that was a lie. everyone jumped to a conclusion. i know about black farmers who have lost their land. this woman was part of that. his -- her father was killed by the klan. she was saying that she was for giving them. she did not see this low white man as a part of the klan. someone should have the integrity to stand up to the fox news people and stop lying. host: "usa today," "usa -- usda employees says that she was forced out, saying that the remarks were part of a story of racial reconciliation, not racism. this morning be agriculture secretary says that he will reconsider that consideration to oust a black employee after
racially tinge remarks." jamie, anderson, indiana. good morning. caller: as far as my comment goes on this, the armada -- the obama administration got snookered. they should not have. we saw the continuous loop of what they ran on reverend right and he should not have because he understood the full context. they took less than one minute out of a 45 minute speech and ran with it because of the threat of it going on cable television. unfortunately he is going to turn of a large percentage of is voting base when presented with the fact of doing the right thing. a lot of people will not support him.
the story will evolve from being debated person to being a good- natured woman who realizes of the difference. host: a lengthy speech that is available online, we were able to find it from the sponsor of the event, the naacp in georgia. here is about one-and-a-half minutes of the remarks delivered in march, dominating the table discussion over the last 24 hours. >> he took a long time talking, but he was trying to show me. i knew what he was doing. but he was calling me for help. what he did not know, while he was taking all that time trying to show me that he was superior, i was deciding that would not give him the help. so many black people had lost
their farm land, now it was happening to a white person. i did not give him the full force of what i could do. i did enough [unintelligible] he needed to go back and report that i did try help him. we spoke to a white lawyer who had attended some of the training be provided. i said i would take him to one of them and that his own time would take care of him. that is when it was revealed to me that it is about force over compassion and not so much about
white -- is about white and black, but it opened my eyes. i took him to one of his own and i put him in his hands, saying i had done my job. there were times the amount we would have this in just -- injunction against the foreman of agriculture. -- department of agriculture. they could not foreclose on him. they did something to him that i had not seen death. -- not seen yet. host: this is a 45 minute speech, we are just listening to part of it. this story from "the washington post," "the firing was driven more by the news cycle and the fear of conservative wrath. the administration was not interested in hearing the truth. a video of the entire speech shows that she was trying to
make a very different point here yet an examination of her own prejudice taught her that there is no difference between us. the naacp said that they were snookered by the fox news channel." republican line, washington, d.c. caller: yes. host: you are a republican? caller: yes. i have watched "washington journal" a lot, and this topic really got to me. as far as the farmers -- farmers and stuff like that, as soon as the judgment was made they ran to obama. i am not an obama -- i did not vote for him. let me put it that way.
i was not with him. but it is like blacks are looking at him to be the savior. he does not allow us nothing. he is doing his job. maybe the naacp and the farmers committee is going at the wrong way. host: margaret, sacramento, up early in california. caller: good morning, c-span. the man that just called saying that black people are looking to obama as our savior, i am a black woman and i do not look to obama as my savior. when he got in i knew that this would probably be said about the news media and white people, but we already knew that obama was up against a lot of different things. the right has taken over christianity, but they cannot take away god. black people are praying people.
what these right-wingers are trying to do this country, believe me, we will be okay and this needs to stop. this guy is going around with eight videos, getting over it and realizing we are in this country together, going through rough times. we need to pray that we can save this country for -- from what it has gone through. host: "the appeal is to that stupid and gullible, this story should have the left to the right wing blogs and media." in "the new york post," he points out "liberals shame to the mainstream media out of pursuing candidate barack obama's history with the rev. jeremiah wright and other
independent leftist." kathleen, good morning. caller: i am getting sick and tired of the focus being wooed away from the culprits. the far right, fox news, i am watching scarborough this morning. they are talking about the panic mode that the white house is in by panicking a woman for not investigating the story, but neither the day. acorn was not enough? you do not know what was going on? these right wing lack jobs are going to do anything they can to bring this president down. i am so aggravated and disgusted with things that they have been saying and getting away with. the media needs to focus on who started this and why.
host: this piece from the website, the counterattack on the naacp which passed a resolution last week accusing the tea party movement of having racist elements. republican line, alabama, good morning, david. please go ahead. caller: my remark about the incident, i think that what people saw all would be a case of her not quite living up to her potential. i wanna say that racism should go away. i graduated in the late 1970's. i do not understand. the 1970's were not bad times. we did not have a lot of racial tension. there was some, but there was not a lot. it is an issue that should be
buried in this country. i am so surprised how long people want to beat on a dead horse. it should be about your character, not your color. host: cynthia, democratic line. the racism battle in america, your reaction? caller: i saw the entire story last night. the first thing came to my mind, the entire point that she was trying to make was that her heart change when she saw how before white people were being treated -- poor white people were being treated. it is about rich and poor, not black and white. thank you. host: the former speechwriter from george w. bush writes this,
"it is regrettable and perhaps inevitable that his with political slide to reopen racial controversies that were temporarily closed by his decisive presidential victory. liberals have a tendency to blame the revolt against obama's this the policy and economic failures on blatant racism. less -- last week it resumed with a cable-born vengeance, conservatives charging the naacp with rock and -- what racism -- raw racism. to summarize, the president of the naacp affirmed that the tea party movement was not racist and he urged tea party leaders to publicly condemn the racial elements. they are small but specific signs of sanity."
this is the conclusion, "conservatives of all people should understand that history does not die quickly. the tea party movement has a duty to assure african-americans that the tea party movement has a duty that to show that there the second coming of barry goldwater, not george wallace." steve, good morning. caller: if you listen to the tape, and i have, they are taking this too far. i could care less if the man in the white house is purple. what we need to do is come together as a people and get these for wrought individuals out of our offices. the way that it is going well, it will take us decades to get our country back together. thank you. host: kevin, kingston, new york. good morning.
caller: i agree with the man before me. we need to come together as americans here and start to look at the real problems of america. the people that say that racism does not exist anymore, i think that this is your answer. it does in america. these things need to be stopped. i do not try to blame the republican party, fox news network. their life goal is to bring down obama. we should come together as americans can help the president's come together. look at what is happening in america. we need to pull resources together online. most important of all, our spirit. host: this headline from "the washington post," father being provided for those that call obama by s. rodney is joining us from
austin, texas. good morning to you. caller: good morning to you. i want to start by asking a rhetorical question. what ever happened to good old- fashioned investigative reporting? of i know that these news channels, and as nbc, fox -- msnbc, fox, bought into this unsubstantiated video. the o'reilly's, hannity's, other people, they jumped right in there, you know, and fired this lady without even giving her any just cause. what is even more sad is that organizations like fox that pass themselves off as being fair and
balanced, is seized and not owned by fox? host: we are not owned by fox, you own us. the cable industry ownes us. you pay for us a little bit each month on your cable bill. foes -- caller: is c-span and office of fox in any way? host: in no way whatsoever. caller: people need to take a hard look at fox, i do not think they are very credible. host: the new development following the interview yesterday in which the agriculture secretary defended the decision, this morning now saying that the department will reconsider the decision to oust the employee over the racially tinged remarks after learning more about what she said. the news this morning from "the washington times," "senator
gramm explains taken vote." here is part of his remarks. caller: i believe that the last election had -- >> i believe that the last election had consequences. this president chose someone who is qualified, has the experience and knowledge to serve on this court, in the mainstream of liberal philosophy, understands the difference between being a liberal judge and a politician. at the end of the day, after the hearing, it was not a hard decision for me to make. i thought that she did a very good job and she will serve this nation honorably. it would not have been some i would have chosen. host: comments from lindsay ran
that he will support the nomination of elena -- lindsey graham that he will support the nomination of elena kagan. having served in iraq in the 101st airborne division, now a graduate student, his peace is in "the wall street journal." "elena kagan in the military, what really happened? she does not belong on the supreme court of bad judgments against the military in a time of war." republican line, jeffrey, georgia. you are on the air. this comment from the twitter of age, "the court should be ashamed -- the fourth stage should be ashamed."
michele, republican line. caller: i think that this is a larger indictment on the media. fox ran this story in a loop. msnbc take it up. everyone kept showing it over and over again. finally, cnn, to their credit, actually delved into the entire issue a little deeper so that we could flesh out the issue. this morning everyone is talking about the rush to judgment and what a bad job the white house did. i think that everyone has been duped by fox. when are we going to hold fox accountable as a legitimate news organization? i wish that people would wake up and pay attention to what they are hearing on fox because it is not true. much of what they say is propaganda. host: "now black people have to
protect their first black president. the naacp jumped the gun." fred, good morning. caller: i will stick up for fox news. i watch them every day. i do not believe any other station other than fox news. they showed the entire thing that she said from the get go. host: i should point out that the entire thing is 45 minutes. caller: but he did go back to show what she said. but it was not like the thing that he said that she is talking about now. he explains why she said what she said. i am going to stick up for glenn beck. the united states had better start investigating.
host: bellevue, the rest of. marvin, go ahead. caller: that caller before me is a perfect example of why america is where it is today. even faced with the facts they seem to have already made up their mind what they want to believe, so they do not change. by big comment was on a caller who said that he graduated in 1970 and that there were no racial issues in 1970. i graduated from a segregated high school in 1970 in south carolina. two years after i graduated, kids and parents were still fighting with each other. you could not go to school in peace because some whites did not want to go to school with blacks and some blacks did not
want to go to school with whites. everyone had their own little fight going on. that is what happened here in america today. instead of people coming together to figure out a common interest, we have people fighting each other while the country is going to hell in a handbasket. host: this came from our twitter page, "the white farmers were not pressured by obama and co."? the question continues online at our twitter page, journal@c- span.org. the front page of "the washington post," "security in america and the explosion of security personnel in america. that topic is coming up in the next hour. right now we want to check in with alex bolten from "of the
hithe hill." what is the latest on funding for the u.s. military? >caller: democrats are trying to pass a house approved senate appropriations bill that would fund operations in iraq and afghanistan and would add $22.8 billion in domestic discretionary spending, including $10 billion for an education jobs fund. house democrats added a bunch of money to the supplemental. the senate this week is going to try to pass the house bill but democratic leaders in the senate are not optimistic. they do not think that they will get the votes that they need, they do not think enough republicans will support the house bill, but they are going
to try and ways to prove to the speaker that they give it a shot. host: will they meet the deadline? caller: gates was on the hill last week, telling them that if congress does not pass this extra funding for the troops by the august recess, which is scheduled to begin august 6 in the senate, they would not be able to pay the troops. they would run out of money to pay the troops. it has to be done before congress leaves for the august recess. it is safe to say that it will happen. democrats in the senate are trying to wrap up this week so that they can spend the next few weeks as the energy reform legislation. the drama right now is whether they can hold a vote on the house supplemental bill, and if that fails pass a new bill that would strip out the extra house
funding, sending it back for approval. it will certainly be done by the august recess. there is no way that lawmakers will leave town unless the paychecks for the troops expire. -- and let the paychecks for the troops expire. host: this front page from "the hill," what is this all about? up caller: a lot of attention has been focused on the conservatives that might be coming next year, candidates like rand paul in kentucky, mark rubio in florida, and sharon angle challenging harry reid. what has been overlooked is that there could be an infusion of more moderate and centrist republicans.
mike castle seems to be on the path to victory in delaware, he has a long history of working with democrats in the house. mark kirk and in illinois has often voted with house democrats. in florida, the republican governor is running as an independent, he would be another moderate voice. the point is that what we have seen in the senate is the number of moderate writ republicans have dwindled. they used to have their own meeting on wednesday. the only moderates left are olympia snow, susan collins, scott brown of massachusetts. as a result there are not about people for democrats to negotiate with. even the democrats will lose
seats, they will probably have more negotiating powers. democrats to get the support of olympia snowe and susan collins in maine, it is tough for those lawmakers to cross party leaders. they may be more emboldened to negotiate a legislation like climate change or perhaps immigration reform. host: the tea party caucus is holding its first meeting today. alex, thank you for the update on 2010 politics and the senate supplemental bill. caller: thank you. host: we want to represent illinois rep jan schakowsky. there is one article this week co-written by dana priest, "top secret work totaling 854,000 u.s. citizens.
44% are government civilians, 34 serve -- 34% military personnel, 31% outside contractors." guest: i have been on the issue of overuse of private contractors, particularly private security forces who have the engaged in reckless behavior in iraq, where civilians were killed by contractors. they had been involved in sensitive issues like intelligent -- interrogation that of a brave -- at abu ghraib. we see these private employees doing the most sensitive missions and in many ways tarnishing the reputation of the united states of america, putting our troops in danger. as these series of articles pointed out, costing us a heck of a lot of money.
host: is this series good for national security? does it harmed or jeopardize what people will be able to read? guest: the one of most interest to me, the one about contractors, as i am a member of the intelligence committee, they begin a discussion in the congress about whether or not it is a good thing to outsource our security. is it be commander? or is it the corporation that really takes precedence? it asks the question, which the series really does, one quarter of a million private contractors, 800,000 people with top security clearances, does this really make us safer? we have certainly seen instances where we have not been able to
connect the dots. i cannot remember which general -- i think it was mcchrystal who said that if something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing. i do not think that that is right all the time. when you have got, as secretary gates said, this gusher of money that has flowed since 9/11, you have got these companies springing up everywhere providing services to the government, and we need to s, is this series of articles creating a discussion -- and we need to ask, if this series of articles is creating a discussion, are we really safer as a result? host: you can send us an e-mail,
join the conversation on twitter, and we will be taking your calls. one of the other aspects of this discussion, you know the restrictions as a government employee, if you are a private contractor restrictions go away. does that mean you get revolving doors of federal employees going to the private sector, coming back to the public sector, etc.? guest: what you find is that these private companies are actually skimming that people who have been trained at a good deal of taxpayer dollars in various aspects of the military or intelligence community. then these companies go and offer them twice as much money, maybe even more, to come and work for them. i have been focusing a lot of blackwater, which has changed
its name but it is as cynical as ever. there is an expression called being blackwatered, people being brought into the private contractor sector by being lured away with a lot more money. one of the things in this article that really got to me, one of the contractors goes to the cia cafeteria during working hours and recruits, right there. we have apparently the youngest force in the intelligence community that we have ever had because the private contractors have skimmed off, peeled off, the most experienced people in the government. bringing them into the private sector. host: are we safer today than before september 11, 2001? guest: that is what we want to have this debate. so far we have seen on a couple
of instances both the shooter in texas on the army base, and the under water bomber, -- underwear bomber, for lack of a better phrase, that was on that flight, where we did not connect the dots. there are too many people that are not talking to each other. host: mark, republican line, boston. good morning. caller: i agree that there needs to be more scrutiny on a lot of these moneys flowing into -- particularly like blackwater, etc. there are no controls over any of their operations. for example, after katrina there was blackwater people on the streets taking over blocks of
the streets and forcing -- we do not even know what we weren't forcing, but they were there and there is quite a bit of evidence out there about this. host: -- guest: they were actually shooting at people on a bridge, your right. but go-ahead. caller: there was quite a bit of footage of these troops, kind of scary. someone should know who is hiring these people. it seems like there are good parts of the government and bad parts of the government. both republicans and democrats need to get a handle on what is going on here, homeland security -- that term seems a bit something out of 1930's germany.
guest: we even have contractors overseeing contractor is in conflict zones in iraq and afghanistan. who is watching the contractors? there are estimates in the intelligence community that 29% of the personnel are private contractors and they'd make up 49% -- they take up 49% of the money for personnel. the intelligence community does its best in oversight, but general clapper -- who is being nominated now to be the director of national intelligence -- said that there is only one efficacy in the universe that has visibility on all special access programs, the most secret programs, and that is god. that is kind of scary.
no one has complete oversight over these projects, some of which involve private contractors. what is going on? is this running amok? host: obviously the senate has the authority to confirm or deny the nomination, but he will be the fourth national intelligence director in five years but right now he does not control the purse strings. is he inherently going into a position that makes him yet another bureaucrat as opposed to someone with real authority over the intelligence community? guest: i was hoping that when blair left and there was this vacancy in the national intelligence director seat, we needed to have that discussion. can anyone really coordinate the
16 agencies, the intelligence agencies? beyond that what we have seen is an explosion of personnel within the office of the director of the national intelligence. are we just creating another level of bureaucracy? again, i am not sure. i hope that the senate gets to that. have we really created a monster? or can we get a handle on what is going on? host: pittsburgh, pennsylvania, democratic line. caller: hello. guest: hi. caller: the only thing that i can say is that the media is awfully lopsided on the left side. there are too many stations on
the right side, the lies that come out of there are tremendous. host: are you talking about your earlier question, james? caller: yes. host: the issue of force is the usda employee that was fired yesterday. now saying this morning that they will reconsider if she should be fired. i am not sure if you saw the video. we will move on to sharyl, joining us from pennsylvania. republican line, good morning. caller: i was wondering how much homeland security and u.s. intelligence has been set up within homeland security as being targeted towards u.s. citizens. guest: i am not sure what the question is. how many people within the department?
caller: the intelligence they are gathering, how much of it is on u.s. citizens, basically compiling information on u.s. citizens. guest: within the department of homeland security there is certainly an intelligence unit. i could not really fully answer that question, even if i did know, because we are not allowed to talk about that. i would like to say that i share with you the concern about making sure that intelligence gathering on u.s. citizens is done as little as possible with as much transparency as possible. the national security agency that does movement on telephones and that kind of thing, compliance officers to make sure
before the fact that the u.s. constitution was not being a bridge in order to listen and spy on our own citizens inappropriately. i share your concern, thinking that all of these agencies before they do anything have to answer the question, is this really the goal? can we do this? listen in on american citizens? guest: -- host: in the gulf coast, right now it looks like the league has been capped. what do you think the area will look like one year from now? guest: i am so worried about the people there. when katrina ended, it was a disaster that lived on. this oil could be present for years and decades. people that lose their jobs over this, are we really losing it lifestyle?
we were down there for a hearing to talk to people in the fishing industry. the cleanup will still be going on, hopefully we will have marshalled all the resources to clean up the mess, compensate the victims, restore the coast environmentally. let me say, one of the things that we had found, i think that the congress, as much as bp, maybe not as much as bp, but they certainly share the blame. bp messed up was -- and was a repeat offender. in 1985 there were 65 wells, now
there are 600 it, and roughly the same number of inspectors. in other words we do that have enough inspectors. while bp has been a repeater offender, ofwhich we should have known about, the problem is we have to put something in place that will not allow this to happen. we are going to see the outcome of this spill for a long time. i am really afraid. host: we are talking jan schakowsky, representative from illinois. she serves in a number of capacities, including the oversight committee. michael, atlanta, democratic line, good morning. caller: good morning. i think that the congress lady is being reckless with the
facts, there are many heroic americans that happen to work bravely earning a living as contractors. if we know this, hillary clinton in the obama run state department has perpetually and continually renewed -- she mentioned blackwater -- they have renewed blackwater's military contracts numerous times to protect state department employees. there was a notorious incident where blackwater was calumniated badly in iraq. five of their guards were accused of murdering iraqis. there was an extraordinary investigation where they flew back a judge in a 90 page opinion, who throughout the entire case saying that the rights of the security guards were violated and there was a
scathing indictment on the government. blackwater security guards are providing a necessary and good service and i think the congress lady should back off. guest: i do not know what blackwater needs to do to be disqualified from bidding contracts with the government. kill someone? wait a minute, that already happened. not just in iraq. by the way, that case is being appealed by the justice department and it was not thrown out because of the innocence of those guards, it was because the case was put together properly. when you have protests in countries about a contractor, like we have in pakistan against blackwater, when a company's boyle's the refutation of the united states because people do not distinguish between these contractors -- all of them? absolutely not.
all of the employees of blackwater? absolutely not. but if we have to rely on a company or a subsidiary that is willing to engage in reckless behavior, surely we can find others. i would like to absolutely phase out the use of private security contractors. people wielding guns in a combat zone should be wearing the badge of the united states of america, they are within the chain of command. the law is very clear about whether or not they have violated the law. right now the law for contractors is completely vague and rgray. and it seems that they can get away with murder. i am sorry, i have a bill called stop outsourcing our security that would phase out the use of
these contractors. host: this twitter comment, " there are 2 million federal government employees. we do not need more, they need to be effectively used." guest: i do not disagree that we need to use federal employees more effectively than we have if we want to really protect our security. in fact, that is what i was saying. maybe the officer of the director of national intelligence has too many people right now and we have to look carefully at that. host: independent line, new york, joe. caller: i am so glad to hear you say that, congresswoman. earlier the host was talking about how they were running out of money to pay the military people over there. i say that we pay the military
and hold back the contractors, let them go without money. i was in vietnam. i know who live was answerable to. -- i knew who i was answerable to. who are these people answerable to? i would like to see them phased out. guest: you are right. is it the commander or the ceo i will tell you, it has caused morale problems with our troops. instances where our troops have trained contractors they're doing the job they were doing. there may be a place for them, but it has to be done judiciously. this series of articles reveals that they are -- is just out of
control, there are so many contractors. host: speaking of performance, how is president obama doing? guest: well, we know that this is the most productive session of congress with this administration than in recent history in terms of the work that has been done to protect the american people from -- on their health care to setting the economy straight, which was in the ditch when the president took over. today he is going to sign the wall street reform bill, stopping the recklessness of wall street's that caused the loss of 8 million jobs. i think that what we are seeing is a president and an administration, as well as a congress, that has accomplished
so many things for the american people that will have a lasting effect. host: the deficit reached an excess of 2200 pages, republicans are saying that what this congress has done is create more bureaucracy, a bigger debt, higher taxes down the road, and that is what they're running against. host: they are struggling to find -- guest: they are struggling to find things to complain about. john boehner has been talking about the repeal of wall street reform, repealing the health care bill. those families that have their kids extended on their health insurance, families whose children have a pre-existing condition that are now going to be able to get health care, reining in wall street or creating a consumer protection agency to make sure that
consumers are not ripped off on their credit card, is that what he wants to repeal? they do not want to talk about the fact that under this administration, 95% of americans got a tax cut. these of the lowest taxes paid in the last 50 years. i know it is hard to see because of high unemployment, but will tell you, this administration, check it out, has created more jobs in the first eight months, private sector jobs, than during the bush administration. host: going back to the earlier point about private contractors, we have this message, "it disturbs me that private contractors are paid more to do a job and soldiers who are often protecting employ."
guest: that is exactly right. they are side-by-side in these private contractors are getting paid twice as much. a resentment builds up. by the way, we want people to make a career out of the military. it is a noble career. we do not want them to get a certain number of years in and hope they can go to a private company. by the way, these private companies who are relying mostly on taxpayer dollars, we hear about them giving bonuses of things like mercedes-benz to their high performers. who is really paying for it if these are government contracts? taxpayers are covering these gifts and bonuses. i do not want to pay for someone to mercedes-benz because they got a fancy high-paying contract.
host: arkansas, good morning. caller: you are upset about the military people leaving the military and looking for private firms. are you upset about your fellow congressmen leaving and going to work for your lobbyist? guest: yes, yes. caller: you are describing these companies as running amok. i believe that you describe the government more than anything than the private industry. by the way, did you know that the percentage of crooks in the government is higher than the percentage of criminals in the private industry. i hate to even bring up illinois, but what you have been saying this morning is out of line. private industry makes the world go round. guest: i am not against the
private sector, i am talking about using the private sector, paying was secretary gates called a gusher of money, with very little oversight. i do not disagree with you about members of congress about this revolving door and going to be lobbyists. i think that there needs to be a longer waiting period before members of congress can come back to lobby the congress and higher salaries. i do not disagree. nor do i disagree that we have to make sure that we are using government personnel efficiently. when you have got over 800,000 people with top-secret clearances and one-quarter of a million of them, coming from private companies, it is redundant.
51 companies looking at the financial transactions dealing with terrorism. do we really need all those different companies? i do not think so. host: bill is joining us on the democratic line. kansas city, kansas. caller: in calling in with a history lesson. there was a five-star general and president from kansas, summing this situation up in the late 1950's, saying to be aware of the military-industrial complex. they brought us things like the cold war. which also brings us up to the current what is going on in iraq. and afghanistan with private contractors. you cannot have secure intelligence when you include private contractors.
guest: you certainly have to make sure that these individuals with top-secret clearances, that they have their oversight, accountability, transparency. that the rules of the game are absolutely clear. we have got to talk about the military-industrial complex. they describe these kinds of conventions for conferences, paid for by private companies with a wine and dine, black-tie get -- black-tie dinners with all sorts of goodies. these decisions are being made with taxpayer dollars. that relationship, again, is something that we need to look at. .
i have introduced, and they have been attached to the number of authorizations, more opportunity for congress to look at what his going on, in terms of these contractors. until we have that, i do not know that anyone can give them a great. host: thank you for being here, democrat from illinois. in our first hour, we begin with this story from "the washington post." the usda is providing fodder for those that called obama bias. the response has been a rather robust. you can respond to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/cspanwj.
coming up later in the show, brian bilbray will be here. dana priest will also be here to explain the genesis of that series. >> kenneth feinberg. the $20 billion fund financed by bp. he will testify under up the hill for the first time about how the compensation fund will be distributed. live coverage of the house judiciary committee at 10:00 eastern. hearings this week with ben bernanke. he will give his semi-annual monetary policy reports to congress and talk about efforts
to stabilize the economy. as the senate prepares to debate the energy bill next week, finding out what the debate is a belt with the c-span and video library -- what the bill it is about with the c-span video library. washington your way. >> to spend is available in more than 1 million homes, giving you a link to politics, history, all as a public service. host: we want to welcome back to "washington journal" california representative brian bilbray. thank you for being with us.
we want to turn our attention to immigration. you will be filing a brief in the court supporting the arizona law. what does this mean? guest: the lawsuit against the arizona is misplaced. it pointed out that the executive branch is now claiming that the infraction that the state of arizona had committed is they have taken away the right of the government not to enforce a law. frankly, there was a position taken politically to oppose this allaw. what they claim their concerns were, when they started, are totally different from what they presented in this piece of litigation. host: summarize the law, what does it state? guest: first of all, it gets rid
of a century states. you cannot ask anybody about their legal residency. if you find someone who you believe is a legally in the country, you cannot refer them to i.c.e. you cannot tell officers they cannot cooperate with federal immigration agents. that was the big issue that the people of. it is illegal in arizona now to stop in traffic to pick up a worker. in the due course of your job,
if you stop somebody for an offense, and then you realize that the person is probably not here legally, you have the responsibility to follow up on it. basically the plane the immigration -- applying the immigration law. bank robbery is a federal law. we do not attack police officers for showing up at a bank robbery you should respond to probable cause of the immigration law, just as you would with any other. host: you say that this movie in interesting test for the obama administration? guest: yes, it chose a contradiction of this litigation. one would use to someone -- would you sue someone who you
claim is superseding your jurisdiction when you have all of these sanctuaries cities violating immigration law? that shows that not only hypocrisy by collective enforcement, which is a major issue. host: there was a piece in the "washington post" yesterday about immigration in the 2010 presidential race. as a veteran of california politics, you know that pete wilson is there a concern this could hurt the republicans? guest: first of all, the politics of it is played up so much. the trouble is, when we are talking about this issue, what
are we going to leave for our grandchildren? everyone is trying to be too smart on this issue. it is good for politics and the country if we stand up for enroll all law. fairness is fairness. -- the rule of law. it is a basic concept that any one of our parents would have with our children. i think both parties should be faulted for the fact that they played politics with this issue. s toot find justification t avoid doing a common-sense thing. host: president bush put forth a
plan that would allow a path to citizenship. did you support that idea? guest: i was born and raised on the border. i was a county supervisor and saw what happened with amnesty. the president might have been in chicago. to another program that says those who are illegally in the country will be accommodated with a special program -- that would be the biggest mistake. it is one thing for ronald reagan to make that mistake. but now for obama or any other president to propose this, after our first experience -- the last time we legalized people here in the country, there have been so many people coming across that hundreds of people have died. we had 500 people died last year trying to come in the country.
i would like to ask mr. obama, will he be recovering the bodies as i have to do? will he be responsible? i just have to ask the president, how could he ask someone not to come here illegally if he announces he will have a program that will allow those who broke the law to participate. i support employer verification. let's stop paying people from being a part of the process. once somebody does happen to get in contact with law enforcement, yes, you need to deport them with any other illegal immigrants. that is what you do. but the first step is doing some employment and foresman locations. -- enforcement applicationlocat.
that is the real problem. the ones that are hiring this cheap labor. they are the ones that are responsible for these deaths along the border. you cannot continue to operate in an economy based on a burning in illegal immigrants, just because you are looking to make a quick buck. host: and our guest is the chair of the immigration caucus. jeff is with us on the democrat's line. caller: the want to say this morning, you are right on the money.
the rule all law has been in place for many administrations. it is not just obama. you had president bush tried to bring something about. president reagan tried to do the same thing. let me talk about something you just talked about. if you would look at arizona, all of those people wanted cheap labor, and they caught that. it all starts with cheap labor -- excuse me -- but it started with republicans, corporations overlooking the fact that they were bringing in people for cheap labor. if you want to stop illegal immigration and enforce the rule of law, this is what you do. any company that is found hiring illegals, put them in prison.
if these people know that they can get cheap sources of labor and a turnaround and received only a marginal penalty, then they will receive to do the same thing. the american taxpayers will suffer. these people have to be dealt with in a criminal manner. all of that other stuff they are talking about, charging the american people, if you do not have a place to work, believe me, people will turn around. guest: you are right, we need to focus on who is really profiting from illegal immigration. frankly, both sides have polyps. -- faults. arizona is now doing an
emergency thing by defending themselves. two years ago, they did the responsible thing. arizona required every employer to use e-verify. every member of congress uses the system. let me point out, though, that they were targeted by the same ground. frankly, if the rest of the country had done with the e-and verify process -- what are people holding up that process? even the obama administration is requiring contractors -- massachusetts has done the same thing. if we could do that, we could
draw a line between those who purposely hire illegals and those who might accidentally do it. heath shuler introduced a bill. over 230 members of congress supported it. nancy pelosi will be putting in on the floor tomorrow. there is a secret weapon here, too, that most people do not think about. higher the illegals and then deduct that amount from their parent returns. in the bill, it makes it illegal for them to deduct the expense of the head with the illegals. host: if you live in one of the southwest border state, we have a special phone line for you. dick, houston, texas.
republican line. caller: california is having a lindsay lohan moment right now. i just want to make a couple of comments and ask a question. security has been tighter. because of the oil spill in the gulf, they want to pass this because they need to get their drugs from mexico. can you comment on how much federal land is out there where you live? i think that is one of the reasons they are trying to get ready for what they wanted to. host: trying to do what? caller: they own a lot of federal land, so they will try to use this against arizona,
saying they cannot enforce these laws. i know these people work hard. i know a lot of people want to keep them, but how did california go from the fifth money-making economy in the world to 25. i am glad you won. guest: it would be a bizarre situation where the federal government said federal law could not be enforced on federal property but we have seen the a lot of misconstrued things here. there was a border patrol agent who spoke to a congressman in the 1990's about why we cannot use computer apology as a way to help people know -- technology as a way to help
people know what is happening on the border. i think you have heard a lot of people screaming about this issue. he quietly worked on the program. anything in government that is 90 percent -- 98% effective is extraordinary. this program does not ask the employer to ask are you a u.s. citizen or not? everybody says they want to stop profiling. why not embrace e-verify? those who are concerned about discrimination should be the ones that should be pushing for this. right now, under an alternative program, and employers need to look at someone and determine if they look like a u.s. citizen or not. i am surprised that the civil libertarians are not speaking up about this. e-verify it is the one way to
treat everyone equally except those who do not want a system to work. host: ann had this question -- guest: the first step is you stop people, paying them to stay. right now and the obama administration is not taking any illegals into custody. they are requiring employers to fire the employee. one of the things i love to bring up -- if you create a program that says if you are a legal, you can participate in this program -- and you cannot offer the same proposal to those wishing to immigrate, you cannot build a fence big enough to stop the next wave. so what are we going to do with
the 12 million, 20 million that we have now? are we going to make it a policy that every 10 years we will give amnesty just because we cannot stand up for the rule of law? if you come here illegally, do not expect to have any more rights than those who waited patiently. i am a parent of five children. the only thing worse than rewarding a child who broke the rules is to reward a child who broke rules in front of the other children. those people are around the world have been waiting patiently. they are basically being told -- we are crazy for doing this. we do not want that signal being sent to run the world. believe me, i spent a lot of time in latin america. they know exactly what our
president is doing. every time president obama or president bush talked about amnesty, they were basically being told, come now because you will be first in line. host: to a comment more than a question -- chris from new mexico. good morning. caller: good morning. this lot is counterproductive. i agree we need to prevent employers from hiring these people. the republicans will not let something like this past because the republican party is run by people who run businesses to exploit these workers -- who exploit these workers.
we end up with a border that looks like the dmz. a totally underground economy of workers that are afraid to engage 1 foresman or emergency, medical facilities, and i just think it is counterproductive. host: what part of the state you live in? about 20 miles from the border. guest: all i have to say it is, if you do not think medical facilities are not being used by illegals, come to california.
in los angeles, 75% of medicaid births are to those people who are illegal. the problem is, they are expecting they will be rewarded. we need to stop sending that signal. and it is not just to the people here. it is people watching every day. every year, it is equal to a jet crashing on the border every day. how can we ignore that? it is not sustainable, as we say in the environmental community. these employers are pressing in on to the rest of the community,
and that is the dirty secret that is not being talked about. host: next phone call. newport, rhode island. caller: of our state, rhode island, has e-verify but only for government projects. that needs to be across-the- board. it is a good program, it works. what we have right now is a case of reverse discrimination. we get background checks when we apply for jobs that they get a free reign? it is wrong for americans. guest: not just wrong, but it is dangerous for everybody. one way to avoid this year legal problem is to make them legal. that is one of the most bizarre concepts i have heard. how will you not do this again
and again? anybody will say you have to maintain the rule of law. it is not easy to do sometimes. i tell you something, my mother was an immigrant from australia. every immigrant takes offense that people try to mix of legal and illegal immigration. that is an insult to everyone who plays by the rules. but to sit there and act as if there is no difference between those who have played by the rules and those who have participated in the process, compared to those who just came across? let me stop and talk about something that we have not talked about enough. those of us that want to stop illegal immigration need to stop about stopping the employers, but also the push in our
backyard. we spend so much money or read about asia, africa, europe, we ignore our own backyard, central america, latin america. our backyard will have a lot more to do with our grandchildren's future than will the other side of the globe. i wish the state department would spend more time there. we spend less than 2% of our foreign aid package in our backyard. host: mary says -- guest: and then you immediately have the argument as you did before. underclasspermienant down the line.
if you want to come here and stay here, go home and come through the process. play by the rules. the fact is, this concept of once i am here, i do not have to leave, play by the rules, it is almost a kid's game. i have the right of possession because i am here. 40% of those here illegally did not come here illegally. they were allowed in and the overstay. our response to them is we would allow them to stay permanently while we have people who are being required to leave every expired.se thereir visa we want people coming and going in our country. i truly believe we can have a guest worker program in this
country, but not one that hide itself as an amnesty program. people need to be able to come here and work on jobs that we have chosen, as an american people, that are surplus. when you have 20 million illegals in the country, do not tell me that there are jobs there that american people would not love to fill. host: next phone call. arizona. independent line. caller: i agree with you. my company is called bilingual services, llc. i used to be a job counselor, but now i sell insurance. but when i say i am bilingual, they think it is a dirty word. just because i speak spanish,
i'm still rather conservative. i will go independent on this comment so that i do not take any sides. i have helped a lot of people get jobs, i still do, but in arizona i have watched help it has become such a political debate. it seems like we're getting punished for trying to do something. after the janet napolitano was our governor, it looks like she flipped on us and is not really helping. i do not think the president likes these old, white guys over here either. i wonder if you could comment.
guest: arizona is the victim and now they are being attacked. arizona is fighting to defend its neighborhood. if the government had been doing its job, if the republicans and democrats had been doing the right thing and done e-verify -- why is that such a bad thing? what is wrong with checking your social security number? there have been reports of people coming home, income shrinking because people are not able to work illegally in arizona. i have to apologize to you. i was one of those sandy against that demanded that we build the security fence -- san diegans
that demanded that we build a security fence. the american people do not trust republicans or democrats because they think that we are finding excuses not to do the right thing. here is a good example. the social security card, which has been in existence since 1937, how come it has done been upgraded? the federal government, which requires those social security cards to be used for interest purposes, should be upgrading them. anyone who understands the issue knows that congress in washington has not earned the trust that we need on this issue. we need to be able to crack down on employers. do the right thing before we start promising anybody another
reward package, like this proposes. host: ann has been very persistent on the twitter page. you touched on the employer aspect -- guest: i will tell you what the gop has done. they have avoided problems in the past. now they will be forced to say, when we find people in a legally here in the country, we will do what we have always done. we take them into custody, take them to an i.c.e. facility and deport them through a process. i do not understand why we would say that we are not going to do that, as a country, when that is the policy.
the other issue -- host: what if they have children in the country? guest: we have children who are deported every day that have children. my father was stationed overseas. my mother had to leave the country for a while. i laughed as well, even though i was a citizen. it was not that bad in australia, but we eventually came back. when somebody is not legally present, they are deported, that is always the case. we do not exempt enforcement of the law because someone is a parent. i do not know if we are ready to start creating special exemptions for parents over those who may not have children. host: troy and houston, texas.
caller: thank you for standing up for what is right. c-span, the fact that you are willing to allow both sides of the topic to be discussed is wonderful. i just wanted to say, since the government is supposed to be for the people and of the people, why can we filed suit against the president for his for less lawsuit against us, using our tax money to fight something that we the people are for? the vast majority of people are for fighting the illegal immigration. some of the people coming across our not just hispanic but also the islamic countries. guest: we actually had a terrorist caught in tijuana,
near where my children and lives. so this issue is coming down. i was in panama. panamanian officials say that they see many of simoleons coming in -- somalians coming in. the biggest thing i need to get across to people is you will never be able to stop people from crossing as long as you do two things. as long as you allow employers to hire them. and you talk about rewarding them with a permanent residency if they are here illegally. you have to understand, just talking about rewarding illegal immigration is enticing people to risk their lives. are you willing to take responsibility for those deaths? you are not willing to say, to
define that america will not bend the rule of law. if you want to come here, you have to play by the rules. work, contribute. that is the kind of program we should be able to work with. but we cannot do that until we shut down the illegal employers. you have somebody coming into pick up, dust but they ended up hanging drywall, construction. there are a lot of americans who want that job. we stick our nose into a lot of issues that the constitution does not say it is our jurisdiction, but this is our jurisdiction. and for the federal government to attack arizona now for
something we have been ignoring is not only inappropriate, but immoral. host: brian bilbray represents the san diego area. of course, we are talking about immigration. this comment on twitter -- guest: i hate to say in but i might be one of those deporting. i really love lead america. it is sad -- over christmas break, i'd take my kids over to el salvador as opposed to baja. our lack of enforcement on our side of the border is a major problem. you see thousands of police officers being killed in mexico but we do not have our national guard at the border.
mexico has had their army at the border for 15 years. at least they recognize how important this is. how many more people have to die and be killed before we make up and understand that this is something that the government needs to address? host: thank you for being here. the series is called "top-secret america" written by dana priest. she will be joining us in a couple of minutes to take your call about this three-part series. it is available online. the front page of the washington post. >> president obama is putting into law financial regulation bill, the debate, the bill has become an issue. take a look at the ohio governor's race. >> my job was shipped to china.
when i heard my congressmen voted to send those jobs overseas, i could not believe it. kasich n congressman casik started to work for goldman sachs. >> of ohio has lost 400,000 jobs under ted strickland. i did not run lehman brothers. i was one of 700 managing directors. i worked in a two-man office in columbus. i have a history of cutting taxes, creating jobs. i want to bring jobs back to ohio. >> and joining us is john from
"usa today." in ohio, specifically, how has it turned out? >> thank you for having me. the words how "how wall stree" e become pretty bad. most americans favor financial regulation, and if you add the words banks, that number goes up even higher. ohio is a good example. the incumbent democrat ted strickland has been passed, and
of the gate. there was an ad going after his republican challenger on the issue, dealing with is a lehman brothers issue. as you saw, the ad wars have continued with a response, trying to explain what his role was. >> what about money given to kasich? has he had to explain that? >> most of the money, in my research, is going to congress because of this wall street legislation that just went through. there are a few firms here and there that are giving to the senate, but i think we will see more of this, especially as we
see industry is shifting to state races. right now, the bulk of the money were directed at washington, not individual states. >> another example of where financial regulation is being stirred up. in california, men and women -- meg whitman has had to respond opponent linking her to wall street. >> that is right. there was an ad questioning her role on the board of goldman sachs. there have also been some questions about early stock offerings that whitman was given
access to. it has definitely become a nasty issue. there are a number of other races. in florida, the democrat running for governor, he ran banka of america for awhile. in many of these cases, these candidates were not serving directly on wall street. in may have had direct involvement in some of -- they may have had direct involvement in some of the problems that precipitated the collapse, but anyone with a bank on their resume is in trouble. >> thank you. for more information about campaign 2010, go to our website, c-span.org. host: the increase will be
joining us. a three-part series in "the washington post" called top- secret america. the confirmation hearing for the new director of the national intelligence director. this is from the intelligence committee yesterday. >> it is well known the world of counterterrorism and homeland security is a sprawling enterprise, yet, yesterday, "the washington post" made a job dropping assertion, and i would like to get your comment on it. it is an extraordinary assertion of fact. "no one knows how much money it costs, how many people in employees, how many programs exist within and, more exactly how many agencies do exactly the
same work." they made this as an assertion of fact. do you agree with that? >> this statement implies this is completely out of control. i believe it is under control. in the end, the common denominator for all of this is the money that is appropriated, whether for intelligence or other purposes. the money is appropriated with strings attached. there is an allocation on a program-by-program basis. the intelligence can do many things, but printing more money is not one thing that we can do. that does serve as a means of control over the allegedly profligate intelligence activities.
host: clips from the nomination of james clapper. dana priest is a co-author of that story. thank you for being with us. your reaction to that exchange? guest: i can refute the fact that they do not know how much money they are spending. there is this contractor called an idiq. these are for the largest contracts, billions of dollars, and they give it to a contractor to figure out how they need to use it. over a given amount of time, they do not know how much of that money has been spent. they do not know how much it will cost. and nthey know the cap at the ef
the year, but they do not know how much will be spent. it is not unusual to try to defend the system, but printing money is the bar to making sure you know what is going on, and that seems pretty low. host: your point, 70% of the budget is spent on private contractors. they are refuting that. they say 70% is spent on contracts, not contractors, including major acquisitions like rent, food service, facilities management. guest: the director of national intelligence put this fact sheet out even before they sell our story. the list of the about10 myths that have been corrected, but none of them are in our story.
i think they have come up with them by themselves and have put them out. host: what is located in fort meade, maryland? guest: there is really this alternative geography. to get there, you need to look at this map that we have put together. in order to tell you how big it is, we tried to count the number of organizations that operate at the top secret level, the number of contractors that operate at a top-secret level. we do not go that specific, but then he looked around the country -- we looked around the country for the high concentrations around the country. this is where the concentration is the most tense. the reason is because the national security agency is
there, the largest intelligence agency in the country. the concentration there is based on the needs of the nsa, so you have hundreds of contractors that have gathered around the national security agency to serve the agency. so between the agency, other secret government organizations in the area, contractors that have come to help the agency do what it does, the largest concentration in the country. it is an interesting way to look at the country. we have sort of called this the top-secret genome project. we did not know this was going
to happen, but we found this concentrated area around fort meade. host: 854,000 that have top security clearance. how did you get to that? guest: that is one number that the government does not have. one shocking thing to me was how little the government knows about the system over all. in this regard, we took what we knew about the different agencies, and what we calculated was each of their individual top secret employees. then we took those calculations to some of our best sources who knew parks of it, they looked at our methodology and they said
you have this correct. the government has contractor split up into categories. nobody looks along the whole thing. that is what we did, looking at the post-9/11 world. we asked people in government to look at our methodology. several high-ranking officials who know a lot about number crunching, the nature of the employers, how many employees work at the agency. we had been asked informally by people in government if they could use those figures. host: how much is redundancy and how much is competition, something that many would argue was not there before september 11? guest: i hope it is competition because that is healthy. you come up with one set of facts, we debate it, and we determine who it is right on.
but the kind of redundancy that we looked at, we do not believe it is that kind. we looked at this from a more general level. how many government entities are working on x? trying to catch the flow of money to and from terrorist organizations. there are not thousands of terrorist organizations out there. there are a finite number that people pretty much know about. we found 41 different units looking at terror financing. we put that together and show that to some of the bigger players in that universe, and a number of them said, i did not know that they were also new in this -- doing the best. --doing this.
-- doing this. if you listen to his response today, he acknowledges that that is an area that needs direction. if you are going to have overlapping agencies doing this, should they know that another agency is doing this? should they the court made it? on our website, -- they be coordinated? on our website, you can see the data and see how many agencies are doing this, where they are. that begins to give you a sense of what we mean by redundancy. host: we have a link on our website as well to the story on o.
next phone call. caller: it is about time somebody dug into this contractor nonsense. it started with president bush. he did not want to do a draft when he started the war. let's do what we have to do without having a draft. i guarantee, if we had a draft, the work would have been short and sweet he thought he would go into iraq and go in there, start pumping oil, and would be a hero it is a shame that these contractors are making all this money. people who are dying for this country are not getting what they should be. guest: i think your facts are correct, that president bush and his advisers, and even democrats, did not want a draft. and they underestimated the
length of the war. once it became clear that this was going to last longer, they needed bodies to do the job. they pretty much said we do not want more federal employees doing this, so we will have contractors. congress said, okay, we do not want federal employees doing in either. so they started them to spend billions of dollars a year extra. and instead of hiring federal employees, they hired contractors. they heard them so quickly -- this will sound silly -- they did not even signed in. they did not keep a list of all the contractors they were hiring. you had to many departments hiring so many contractors at the same time, this is one of the thing that we found shocking. they do not know how many are in their employment. the second part of the series
comes from robert gates, making a concession, but he could not get a head count on the number of contractors working in his office, the civilian leadership of the defense department. we have a list. in a couple of days, we are going to be putting it on our blog site, not only to continue the conversation, but to put more information out. how many companies are involved total? guest: about 1900 total. why did we do come secret? -- top secret? we started wanting to do classified because we thought that was the most important. when we started looking at the
top secret levels, the numbers were so big, but we could not track it. we thought, we should go there, where we know there are fewer. still, at that level, you had 2000 contractors working on top- secret work. host: next phone call. republican line. caller: my question is we have so many people that are doing so many things and they are hired by a government that is paid to do a job, how come the government does not do the job, how come we do not do it directly? guest: 9 is a fair question -- and that is a fair question. right after 9/11, everybody was worried there would be another attack soon.
they said we have to do better, we have to do a lot more. but we do not have the people that are experienced to do it. we have a slow process to hire people, so let's get the private sector to help us. nobody questions that at all for awhile. they thought it was going to be in temper refects and they did not really see that in was quick to become a more permanent solution, maybe they did not care. it is only now that people are saying, let's revisit this. and this is a politically unpopular thing to do, but raising the ceiling on the number of government employees that you are going to hire. neither the republicans or democrats wanted to appear that they were growing the size of government because that is always a campaign slogan to be used against a candidate. so instead, they grew the
private sector. now you will see people make the argument and castigate the administration for doing this. congress went along with this 100%. i guess we will have to see whether or not they really mean they want to roll this back. host: next phone call. . . . caller: there were comments i heard earlier that there may be as the was a congressman in the entire congress who are really aware of what is going on, and maybe their allegiance is not to us as the taxpayers and citizens anymore. it kind of appears to me that, you know, if you follow the flow of money for campaign contributions, small districts in this country that have just a
few hundred people in them, congressmen are receiving millions of dollars in campaign contributions and about 3/4 of that money comes from the very people that are involved in all of this hiring. there is a correlation between that -- just the last point i want to make -- looking at the magnitude of all of these employees and all of these different contractors, it rivals the domestic auto industry, at least in terms of ford, chrysler, and general motors. that is a scary thing. finally, the amount of information that did not use to be classified in our government that is now classified. it appears to me -- i wish you could comment on this, please -- it appears to me that things that were never considered classified, open to all congress people and therefore all americans, are now so secretive, and that really scares me. i just really wanted to see what
you thought about that, please. guest: you made a couple of points. let me go to the first one about classification. if you listen to the hearing yesterday, listened to it c-span radio of that, you will see that general clapper and generally the administration and its and agrees with you that there has been too much classification of information. the question is, how do you change that? it is easier to classify them to declassify, because then you cover yourself, and that has been the dynamic for the last 10 years at least, and certainly after 9/11. in order to get government to really classify things, there needs to be continued pressure for them to do that -- in order to get government to really declassify things, there needs to be continued pressure for them to do that. it is sort of the nature of politics that if you are on a certain committee, you get
contributions from the people who you oversee, whether that is the auto industry or the banks or this world, the intelligence contractors. you can see who the contributors are for every member of congress, so you can go yourself to look on the web to find out the members of the intelligence committee, and you can see who they get contributions from. but this is the difference in this sector versus any other, which is that you cannot actually see what the corporations are lobbying on, because if they are lobbying on classified programs, they are prohibited from telling you in their filings which programs. that is, again, the nature of secrecy, which makes it much more difficult to probe into this area. that is why the oversight of congress is so important, and it needs to be robust, because we can only do so much and you can
only see so much, and it is very limited. the eight people you were talking about -- that is not a number that is that while the. i really think that on the intelligence committees in the house and senate, there has been just a handful of members of the staff who really dig into these issues. i have always been amazed that programs that you probably have never heard of, the national reconnaissance office, which spends tens of billions of dollars to create satellites that can snoop on other countries -- there are just a handful of members to know about the organization, what budget for it -- what budgetary doors they can look into. host: you have outlined in great detail not only how the intelligence community works, but contractors involved, and some may argue too much information in the post-9/11
world. your response. guest: we have to weigh the amount of information to put out their versus the security concerns and what the public has the right to know. we had months and months of conversations internally about that. we talked to the government for months and months trying to get their opinion on it to get them to be helpful and specific as they could in the end, we did not put out nearly as much as we know, and we decided only to let our zoom function on the map on the website to go to the city state level. there are 10 -- i am making this up -- and government organizations doing top-secret work in chicago, but you will not know what agencies those are specifically or what street they are on as they are the headquarters of, for instance, the cia. that is the same with companies. it is only the headquarters of the companies where we actually
tell you where they are. we don't tell you where the sub- headquarters of the offices are. we just tell you what states and cities they are in. host: is there one factor, one nugget that surprised you the most doing this research for two years? guest: what surprised me the most is how little the government knows about this. it is not comforting to go around as a reporter and not find people who can give you the overview. when that started happening, i thought, i'm just not finding the right people, but after two years, i just don't think the government knows -- they don't know how much it costs, they don't know how many people are involved, and they don't know how many programs are under this rubric. that was the most shocking thing to me. host: the piece is called "top secret america," 4 "the washington post."
claremont, california, a republican line. caller: hi, steve. i'm originally from erie, pennsylvania but i don't remember -- i don't know if you remember that night were you and brian lamb came in with those mercer's gross spread was that night to remember. -- mercer's girls. was that night to remember. let's get serious now. dana, what is wrong with all these clearances? the more clearances with contractors, that is competition. that is small business dying for work. under bush we had safety. under obama, we have had four terrorist attacks, be tried, in new york, -- detroit, new york, killings and the oklahoma, the muslim at major. what is the purpose of your piece? is it to denigrate the military men and classified clearances?
be sensible. there is a need to know. stress that word. there are lots of clearances, but only certain people have at the need to know. steve and i and brian remember that night, which is all fictitious, but the way, and it is probably just like you and your slanted anchor -- not anchor, co-writer, unknown leftist r -- a note leftist. what you try to do with america? guest: if you read the article, he will see that -- you will see that we're not trying to denigrate anybody will try to perform the basic function of the media, -- we are trying to perform the basic function of the media, which is to hold people accountable. we're not trying to say that clearances are bad. we are saying, look at the number of people who have
clearances at the top-secret double as an indicator of how large this work force has become. look at all the government agencies that do this sort of work and agencies that do the same sort of work, and start to ask questions about whether or not that is the best way to spend money and the best way to focus, even more than the money, really the focus in the community. you can look back on what we found out about the attempted christmas day bomber, and what you'll find is that even the head of the -- even the director of national intelligence said that the lines of responsibility had often blurred. what we found is that part of the reason for that is that the whole system has become so big that the many parts of it are not really sure who is in charge of x. should we be there ones that run -- the ones that run on every tip on counterterrorism?
the national counter terrorism center, employing 1200 people now, as big as several wal-mart stores -- there will job is to do this, but they did not do it on that day. in fact, there is a passenger -- it was a passenger who alerted and tackled the would-be bomber. everybody in that system said come in the end, we have a problem. they did not say it has gotten so big. it is that nobody knew exactly who was responsible for looking at all the tips and learning -- running each one to ground. if you go back and actually look at the article, you will see that we are not mean to denigrate anybody. in fact, the reason a journalists actually take on accountability of government is, in their heart of hearts, we want to make it better. at least that is the way i feel. host: dana priest is a graduate of the university of
california-santa cruz. she won the pulitzer prize for her story, "the other walter reed." the caller brought up the issue of bill arkin. "politico" or about him as well. -- wrote about him as well. "is one of the first times the -- it is the first time that one of the paper's bloggers has had a byline on a big front-page story." guest: he is not a blogger. he has been a military analyst 4304 decades but i will put out there, because someone else will. he does not have a typical journalist background. he has done research for groups like greenpeace and human rights watch. what a lot of them are bringing
up is that it goes deeper than that. he was an analyst for the u.s. air force for years and years. he has been one of the contractors we are talking about. he dropped out when he decided to do this. theectured and taught at advanced or college for the air force. -- advanced war college for the air force. what he is great at, and the reason why we brought him on board, is that he is a phenomenal researcher. he has this database and it took him more than two years. he had been collecting this for more than that time t. he and i knew each other for a long time and i used him as a sounding board. as my time got free up and his interest grew in it, we said,
should we finally try to tackle this? when we look at our different skill sets, it seemed complementary enough that it might work. i could ever put together a database that has -- i think he said like 30,000 data points to it. what i can do is talk to sources that i have known and acquired over the many years and washington, and he has some of those, too, and together we can come up with not only and empirical data base, but also the context of the database. that is how we are working together. people have questions about his background because he is not a typical -- he does not have the typical journalist background. we put on the web is by no -- we put on the web his bio to make it clear we're not trying to hide anything.
he has fact checkers, he has me. i grill him over and over again about the methodology in the database come out wanting to make sure it would be bulletproof, as we say, to make sure that every point in the database has two public documents sources 28. we don't show you, but that was our -- has two public document sources did it to we don't show you, but that was our standard. hopefully, people will see his bio and see that yes, he is not a usual journalist, but we are confident of his abilities and contributions to this. host: shelton, pennsylvania, democrats' line. caller: thank you, steve, and thank you, dana, a very, very much for all of your hard work and investigative reporting on this very i opening topic. -- very eye-opening topic, as
well as the walter reed issue and so many of the pieces that you have written. here is my biggest concern regarding this article, though. well, let me promise my comment -- let me preface my comment by saying that the internet has made this -- i would say it has been 50% beneficial for the u.s. and 50% detrimental. now, my only problem with this article is this, and i will approach the map, concentrate on the map from two different standpoints -- by pinpoint all the headquarters c-span.org - -y pinpointing all of headquarters
regarding intelligence, you have given people in it for the countries -- in foreign countries a clue as to where it might be safe for them to possibly conduct illegal activities, if they were to come to this country. for example, i noticed in the northern plains, it is very sparsely populated with headquarters, ok? there are not too many up there. host: we will get a response. thanks for the call. guest: those are good questions. let's say it in starker terms, providing a road map to terrorists, targeting list. we have long considered this question. the only specificity we give you are the headquarters of those companies, those dots, and
in the northern plains, not the headquarters, we put in precise -- put an inprecise got there. you would be underestimating the enemy if they did not -- if they did not already know a lot about these agencies. there are signs on the road that say where they are. you can go on the internet and google them. a part of the issue was what as the internet and to the flow of information? -- what has the internet and to the flow of information? it has made very international. -- it has made it to very international. that is part of what went into our thinking, and the thinking of what he cannot go underneath those dots -- most of the dots you cannot go underneath and say, what is it? yesterday i got at least 3 e-
mails from people saying, this is so silly, i clicked on the dock to see what it was and i cannot get the information. you do have to balance it. host: the national security agency, navy, air force, army -- that is in it yesterday's estimate of this three-part series. naomi is joining us from florida. caller: the gentleman who called for me it took my thunder. i have been listening to this and listening about dana end of this -- and this arkin guy, how they are starving to death out here. i know which is as about -- how they are scaring me to death out here. i know what they said about how the enemy already knows, but why
make it easier -- listen to me one minute. it is all right to see who is overlapping who, but why are you putting maps out there? why are you targeting areas where top secrets are? guest: ok, well, i hate to repeat myself, but the map is a general map, except for the headquarters. we not giving enough information to know where all of these are. secondly, i think that if we just generally said this has grown so big, you would say, well, ok, what does that mean, and not have a real sense of what we mean. the reason why people are responding to this, even senior government officials, is because these are specific, not general, and you cannot get away from specifics. what are we putting specifics out there and doing it at this level of debt? it is because the issue is serious.
we believe the obvious and we are sure that you do, too, that the intelligence community should be keeping us safer, and if you cannot tell for sure whether that is true anymore, it is an effort to make it better, not worse. host: let me read just a part of a piece in today's "new york times." it points out that james clapper, a retired general, "will be the fourth person in five years to hold the post, a job that most intelligence experts believe lacks any real authority to wrestle with 16 different intelligence agencies and effectively combat waste and abuse." guest: that is right. it is on top of the whole heap, a person who will be accountable for the next attempt or worse. and yet congress and the
administration did not give the position the authority to do that. it is an open secret, and members of congress criticized the position, but they created it. they want to have their cake and eat, too. they say, you or the guy, the one we put in charge -- you are the guy, at the one we put in charge, but we did not give you any authority to be in charge. it does not look like they are going to pe. we are relying on personal relationships to do the work, which does go a long way in washington. when you have the other dni, mike mcconnell, who has been in the intelligence world for so long, who knows bob gates, they know each other, they knew michael hayden, director of the cia, it was a good working relationship between three men
who worked together for decades. that is why they were able to come together on some issues and do something about them. as secretary gates said to me in an interview, that is an ad hoc way of doing things. it works when you have the right people in charge. it is not the way congress portrays but they did. host: a picture of secretary gates from yesterday. where was this picture and why was this photograph included? guest: it happens to be a photograph taken for another story, a story about individuals and their long workdays and especially at night. i think he is going out of the pentagon. i have to double check that. host: it looks like a residential neighborhood. guest: whenever we take pictures, we store them in our own database. it is a more personal picture, gives them -- he looks
reflective. he is reflected in the stories, too. he and the cia director but had on-the-record interviews with me, pushed that hard on the general theme -- that we had -- he and the cia director both had on-the-record interviews with me, and neither one of them pushed that hard on the general theme that we had. host: democrats' line, good morning. caller: ms. priest, what i first decided to call in, i was going to be a bit negative towards you as a veteran of the air force and the 1970's -- as a veteran of the air force in the 1970's, i had top-secret clearance based on my job in the military. i feel like the nature of america -- this country is such a powerful nation, and for that many top secret clearances to be
awarded to people seems to be understandable, because we have such a diverse military and intelligence service that it is just basically necessary for this country to have. guest: again, the reason why we tried to figure out how many people had top-secret clearances is because the number is so large that we thought we cannot get our arms around it. but it is also a demonstration of how large this has become. there are things we tend not get into and cannot get much information on, because so much of it is classified, and we had to find symbols come out the ways to show the size. that was one of them. the other what i particularly like is the buildings that we found it one of the ways we could show you how big it has grown is to look at all the office buildings within the washington area that were constructed or under
construction since 9/11, and we found 33 office complexes -- that is not even buildings, that is complexes, multi-building complexes. i think the figure week on it is so -- the figure we counted was 17 million square feet, something like three pentagons. three pentagons worth of office space just for intelligence services. these are services that live somewhere else, and a smaller buildings, and are scattered out, and now they are building three pentagons worth of intelligence buildings but th. that to us is the visualization of the size of this system. host: who benefits the most to
keep these wars going? guest: i think that is way too cynical. i have never met anybody in the contractor community or the government who says to just keep this war going because we can make a lot of money out of it there might be people like that, but i don't think that is how it works. host: frank is joining us, independent line. caller: i don't know why we got so many. the american people are strong if the government would give us a chance. we would not be all secret services. i feel like they are spying on us rather than the enemy. they tell the american people, here is 18 pilots that escaped.
give it to the news people and let them look for it. we don't need thousands of people out there. we have the money to give someone else. -- give somewhere else. guest: well, i guess as a journalist, i would agree with you, but the more information you give the american people, the better it is, because people debate whether -- once you get beyond whether giving the information is good or not, the issues get debated and that is why the country is the strongest and the world, because we can debate even sensitive things hopefully reasonably. so i would agree. host: where to you think this story goes from here? what is next, for the story and for you personally? guest: one of the things i would like to do is that we are
creating a blog -- i hate to call it that, because i do not even read blogs -- but we are treating an on-line discussion, hopefully at a level that is simple and deep. people go on and discuss the issues. but also because we can do more troublesome online. -- we can do more journalism on line. it is not just videos and opinion, but we can turn it into new facts and discoveries, which is what we do as journalists. i think that what is in a couple of days -- that launches in a couple of days at washingtonpost.com/topsecretamer ica. we want people to give us information that we can potentially create new stories from. we can work as journalists to
the extent that we can without endangering or compromising our own sources. we see it as a real opportunity. that is why we put some much of this online. it is supposed to be a story that is a richer online than it is and the paper. -- than it is in the paper. that is why we spent much time creating the database. you can find the level of depth in the facts that you cannot find in the stories. it is not only complementary, but hopefully deeper on line. host: you are always agree with your time. thank you for joining us. guest: i love at c-span. thanks for having me. host: "washington journal" continues in a moment, but first, a news update in the c- span radio studios. >> an update on the fired u.s.
the official shirley sherrod. she says she is not sure she will return to the usda if tom vilsack offers her job back. she says that her remarks about the white farmer years ago broadcast in part on a conservative website were taken out of context. the white house official speaking on the condition of anonymity says that the case should be reviewed with the new evidence. the president goes to the ronald reagan building this morning to sign the financial relations bill into law. hear his remarks at 9:30 a.m. eastern time on c-span radio. later, more on economic issues when the chairman of the federal reserve port testified on capitol hill. in prepared remarks, ben bernanke says that the fed is ready to take steps to bolster the economy if conditions worsen. finally, the government accountability office says there is no way to judge the
effectiveness of the billion dollar program aimed at helping mexico and central america fight drug traffickers. the gao, the investigative arm of congress, says the three years after launching the program, the state department does not know if it is making a difference. those are some the latest headlines on c-span radio. >> ken feinberg is the head of the gulf spill independent claims fund. he will testify on capitol hill today about how the compensation will be distributed. we will have coverage of the house judiciary committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span3. fed chairman ben bernanke will give his semi-annual monetary report to congress to live coverage of the senate banking committee at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3.
as the senate prepares to debate the energy bill next week, find out what the debate is about with c-span's video library. look up a bill with our new bill search feature and watched congressional hearings and previous debate on the house and senate floor. it is all on-line and free. the c-span video library, washington your way. >> c-span is now available in over 100 million homes, bringing you a direct link to public affairs, politics, history, and nonfiction books, all of the public service created by america's cable companies. >> "washington journal" continues. host: we want to welcome catherine larkin, a reporter for bloomberg news. the topic is the approval process by the food and drug administration. between 19 to 26 new drugs approved per year. how does that compare with other countries?
guest: actually, it depends on the other countries you look at it for the u.s., it is the first market for companies because it is the world's largest pharmaceutical market. we will see the drugs before they see them in other countries. host: how does the fda test and then approve these drugs? guest: the companies will submit an application, if it is a chemical made for apologies, and it is generally a 10-month -- review -- if it is a chemical made for allergies, and it is generally a 10-month review process. it can be six months for drug the get priority review, diseases where there are not other treatments, generally. in the 10-month process, the fda looks at the data and goes to advisory panels, outside doctors and scientists who advise the agency to help them make recommendations about whether
the product should be approved. host: and other four drugs are receiving tentative approval, which means what? guest: generic drugs, which is acceptable to the fda. there is not testing in people for generic drugs. there is just laboratory testing. they have to indicate that the chemical makeup of the product is the same. we are still waiting for litigation from the court to make sure that the generic drugs can go on the market legally. labeling revisions -- 27 so far this year. explain. guest: we have seen that become increasingly the focus since the
merck arthritis drug was withdrawn in 2004. safety is something that if he looks at the four drugs are approved. -- something that the fda looked at before drugs are approved. they now have the authority to require labeling and post market studies. we see a lot of drugs that are approved and last few years and even the past decade were new safety issues are emerging. host: glaxosmithkline is the maker of avandia, which is and the news, a possible recall under which circumstances? guest: 33 doctors and scientists advised the fda, and 2/3 did not advise our recall. -- did not advise a recall. no deadline is set for the decision, but they have told us they expect a decision as soon
as possible. host: if you are taking a new drug, what can a patient to if they have side effects that are out of the ordinary? guest: absolutely talk to your doctor. doctors are required by the fda to report patient complaints or adverse effects. there are places on land where patients and consumers can look it were different reports have been -- there are places online or patience and consumers can look at where different reports have been made on different drugs. the and the explanations as to what side effects you should look for and what questions you want to ask your doctor if you are having effects that are not normal. if a drug is recalled, absolutely -- you look at avandia, and there are thousands of lawsuits and the product has not been recalled.
medical litigation is a huge field, but once a product is recalled indefinitely, the company is looking to settle as soon as possible. guest: louisiana for catherine larkin of bloomberg news, good morning. caller: hello. ms. larkin? guest: hi. caller: i do not know if this fits in or not, but legalizing marijuana, can you talk about that some? guest: there have been grass- roots pushes for that. there is nothing that the fda has done in recent years to show that they are moving towards that. i imagine it would have to be handled the state level before national regulators. host: nation on the republican line from catonsville, maryland. caller: i was wondering, how you look into the historical basis of the regulation and the birth
of the fda in this area? guest: the historical revelation in what sense? host: the broader issue of the fda and dealing with any type of a drug, approving the drug, what criteria do they take to reject certain prescriptions? guest: it has always been a risk-benefit balance for the fda and we have seen the pendulum swing back and forth over the years. right now safety is a huge focus. because there are opportunities to require post market studies and a way for the fda to feel ill but sit for about drugs -- to feel a little bit safer about drug that might have a safety risk, we are seeing a bit more leeway in recent years. but overall, the emphasis on safety is certainly very high. host: let me ask you about the testing process. if you agree to take prescription drug while pharmaceutical company wants to
examine the side effects, can you go back and filed a lawsuit if you have serious illnesses or publications? gues -- or complications? guest: it depends on the seriousness of the study. usually there are things involved in how the product is marketed and things like that. after approval, it becomes the subject of litigation. host: susan joining us from florida to read good morning. caller: for a long time i took sleeping pill, and they took it off the market and it took off the market in france. it is still on the market here. it causes severe memory loss. then i read about how they did their clinical trial in a maximum-security men's prison. of course they are not going to report -- the prisoners getting the real drug would probably not report the side effects.
it is causing a great deal of -- i just cannot sleep and i have severe insomnia and when treated with that, it works, and it took me four years to get off the medication, because of being away for five or six days until i just collapsed. why have they not taken certain drugs like that of the market -- off the market in this country? usually we are the last country to put something on like that. other countries took off. guest: i am very sorry to hear that. that drug has been linked to a lot of safety issues. there are other, more modern sleeping pills that people take it certainly there are therapeutic alternatives. that is something that the fda considers when they talk about taking a product off the market. with avandia, for instance, there are other drugs that
diabetes, including one that works in the same way that avandia does. we have seen things on the market with serious safety risks for people with it very specific diseases, for product to work and work well, sometimes safety risks are acceptable. host: the fda out lines on its website testing and approving -- the company's test the drug on its own, and then the center for drug evaluation and research the violence the new drugs and proposes the labeling -- evaluates the new drugs and opposes the labeling. guest: i mean, as far as drugs from canada, that has certainly been an issue, a very hot issue
in washington. the fda does not trust any evaluation of safety and effectiveness that is not their own. that is why you have differences of opinion of drugs that are approved in the u.s. and canada and drugs that remain on the market after safety risks to merge. i am not sure i can say whether i'd buy billy tauzin's liner not, but it is certainly something the people in washington are aware of. guest: i think that would raise a lot of questions about whether consumers would understand the difference between a drug that has the fba seal of approval and a drug that does not. even with the fda gaining authority last year to regulate tobacco for the first time, there was a lot of concern among people at the agency that they would be endorsing a product
that causes the detriment to public health. i think the same is true when you start looking at drugs that are not approved by the fda. that seal of approval is so important to the agency and so invaluable to doctors. they go to the fda when they have concerns that sent may be out of the ordinary. -- that something may be out of the ordinary. host: silver springs, maryland, good morning. caller: thank you for the interesting information. can you tell us where things stand on the regulation of tobacco products? guest: absolutely. tobacco regulation was passed in june of last year. the fda already regulates $2 trillion worth of products in the u.s. they are gearing up a new tobacco safety center, getting an advisory panel. right now the issues they are looking at is a regulation of
menthol, whether menthol cigarettes should be allowed in the u.s. that is something we will hopefully see a decision on in the next year. it will take the agency while to get public comment on that issue, take it to an advisory panel. host: roy is on the telephone for catherine larkin, writes for bloomberg news. caller: yes. the medical community must take an oath that begins with "first do no harm," and using a sequential logic, drugs should not cause harm, and if they do, they should not be approved. guest: absolutely, but you have to think about it in a vest- benefit way. no drug is 100% safe. there will be side effects for everything, even over-the- counter medicines you pick up at
cvs every day, tylenol, motrin, things you are familiar with there are 6sit safety risks even in products you are familiar with. host: john is next in indiana, democrats' line. caller: we know how much pressure that big pharma -- the power they have on government. sometimes they approve drugs without human trials. it is because of the pressure of big pharma. you don't do human trials on every single drug? guest: let me talk about generic drugs. they are under special rules for the fda. it does not cost a lot to b uy a generic drug. the way that drugs are approved are through lab studies, where half to show that they are
equivalent chemically to the existing product. the brand-name drug you are familiar with has gone to safety and effectiveness testing in people. large clinical trials usually prove that the drug works. it is on the market for a certain amount of time and the patent expires and and the generics come, on and off for 80% less than what you had before --. they come on and they offer a 80% less than what you had before. host: clyde from michigan, independent line. caller: good morning. i was wondering if you could elaborate a bit on the fba's times the -- fba's attempts to protect us from all the injuries -- go after it -- fda's attempts to gprotect us from
almonds and cherries. guest: we have seen a lot of focus on the nutritional labeling, and we will see more of that if the new administration gets its priorities lined up and starts working through, in this case, the center for food safety, and nutrition as far as labeling goes. the fda does not want consumers to be misled by labeling on any product. but as far as we have seen, the makers of cheerios, certain kinds of fruit juices -- certain claims on for juices -- fruit juices -- this has been going on for many years. they want to make sure the consumers have accurate labeling on products. host: outside of the obvious, putting it out warnings on its potential effects of any
product, what is involved in the labeling of prescription drugs or food products? guest: when a company submits an application for a prescription drug, it proposes the labeling and that is worked out with the fda, sometimes just crossing t's and dotting i's. once a product is on the market, the fda has the authority to order a labeling changes if studies or a side effect reports indicate new problems they did not already know about. with food, it is a little bit different. companies don't have to submit labeling to the fda right away, but they look at how foods are marketed, and if they see anything that does not fit with the regulation, it will go to the company and asked them to
supply proof of the nutritional claims, prove that dietary fiber has the benefit of heart risks -- on a heart risks. companies have to be looking for these things, and often consumers do, too. consumers call in and say they have questions about whether a product like cheerios really has proved that it does what it says it does. host: does the fda have approval on things you can buy on the internet or a drugstore? guest: and little bit. dietary supplements are certainly something were the fda would like more authority to add the don't have authority as far as recalls and the labeling and -- at test they don't have authority as far as we calls and labeling and testing. host: what about power drinks like red bull? guest: as long as they stay in
that category, they are not under the same rules that some food and drugs are. we have seen many warning letters to small companies that make products that you think of as just a red bull knocked off, but the fda will take offense if they indicate it has medicinal properties. host: our conversation with catherine larkin, who has spent the last four years on the health be, following the fda and the approval process, and she writes for bloomberg news. michigan, democrats' line. go ahead. we will try one more time. we will go to jim next in washington, republican line. caller: hi, catherine. guest: hi, how are you? caller: pretty good. i have one strange question.
eight tax us in the last six months like $3 a pack on cigarettes. alcohol, which kills more people in a day than cigarettes do in nothing isyear -- ever done with that. how come? guest: that is outside my expertise. alcohol is not regulated by the fda. but they will have new rules for cigarettes soon got so you will see changes that make the discrepancies even greater. host: next caller. caller: i have a couple of commons, and then a question. -- a couple of comments, and then the question. i want to bring to the attention of people in general that there is a huge amount of people addicted to prescription drugs.
in my situation, i am the mother of an adult that was diagnosed with a mental condition, and then had a small accident, and first was very, very small amounts -- was prescribed very, very small amounts of addictive narcotics for pain, and then over the last 15 years it has increased and increased, and is now not only with a mental condition and addicted to prescription drugs, and the nation is flooded with illegal drugs and now being flooded with people being addicted to illegal drugs -- host: i will stop you on that
point. thanks for the call from california. guest: prescription drugs is on the fda's radar, especially painkillers. there will be a meeting this week to look at potential changes to labeling for painkillers. they all looking for ways the -- they are looking for ways to educate consumers about the risks. there are several drugs that are under review at the agency, or being put out by companies that would be designed to be abuse- resistant, painkillers that cannot be chewed or dissolve in a liquid are broken apart with hampshire -- or broken apart with a hammer. these are being considered as potential alternatives to oxycontin and morphine and things we know now have a very obvious risks, especially when they are is used. it is that unless something the
agency is looking at. -- it is definitely something the agency is looking at. host: which federal agency it overlooks the fda? guest: hhs. host: next call. caller: this the fda get involved in procedures like acupuncture, because it has never been proved to be effective? if not, who does that? second, i see a lot programs on tv -- i see a lot of programs on tv or books being sold about alzheimer's and things like that, and how are they able to sell that on tv? the third question i have is what is the difference of opinion of unbiased experts, not people like me who have no clue, but unbiased experts on how sick or less that you should be?
host: acupuncture? guest: not something the fda regulates three certainly something they are aware of, but not something they have control over. host: advertising? guest: as far as advertising goes, the mission is to prevent products that are drugs or have drug-like properties without approval, tests that prove that the drug does what it says it does. there are programs were consumers are invited to report these things to them, and marketed drug, approved drugs that may be sold or advertised beyond the scope of what they are not to be good for. host: his third one was the oversight process, who is being involved in approving or rejecting these drugs.
guest: the decisions are made by the drug reviewer is within the division and there are separate sections for biologics evaluation research. these advisory panels can play a big role as well. they are one-time consultants to the agency, and they might sit on one of these panels for four years. they're not supposed to have conflicts of interest. they're supposed to be people who within the last 12 months have not dealt with the company's products were reviewed or work for competitors. that might not have been true with avandia. that is something that the agency needs to consider. if their opinions are meant to be objective, it should be taken objectively, and any element of potential bias will affect how people view the agency.
host: alabama, good morning. caller: good morning. guest: good morning. caller: i listened last week to the hearings on the avandia. they were televised, and i was surprised that all people -- 12 people voted to say it is so dangerous is to be taken off the market, three voted to not say anything about the damages or disclosures. guest: the fda has not actually made a decision to leave that on the market yet. there is never an immediate turnaround where the next day we see a change in fda policy. week its -- they could still recall it even though 2/3 of the panel said not to recall the drug.
we are seeing increasingly that companies will post a name and the fda will protected because the -- companies will propose a name and efta will reject it because it is too close to something else. it will affect the way the databases are kept. the companies are ultimately responsible for the names. host: texas, republican line. caller: good morning. the fda is supposed to be checking on the safety of our drugs. can you tell me why so many of them end up in class action lawsuits? guest: that may say more about the legal system in the united states and the fda. no drug is perfectly safe for all people. there has to be a risk benefit -- risk-benefit analysis for all patients, and a drug may have been missing benefits for a
small group of patients -- may have an amazing benefits for a small group of patients. host: another look at the first- of-a-kind drugs approved by the fda -- 25 in 2008, 26 and 2009, 19 in 2007. maryland, good morning. caller: good morning. my question has to do with what comes under this young lady's expertise is -- fruits, such as apples and pears, where in the past you would have to watch them and eat them. peelntly i have to them because i have a reaction where my lip small sub. swells up. and