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tv   Q A  CSPAN  November 30, 2014 11:00pm-12:01am EST

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business books tell you how to compete more effectively. i say maybe you should not compete at all. israel to one company that is such a breakthrough that you have no competition at all -- a zero to one company that is such a break that you have no competition at all.
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>> this week on "q&a," our guest is new york times reporter, pulitzer prize winner, and author james risen, out with his newest book, "pay any price: greed, power, and endless war," which exposes some of our hidden costs on the war on terror since 9/11, both around the world and here at home. james risen is an investigative reporter with the "new york times." he has been pursued by the bush and obama administrations as part of a six-year-old leak investiation related to his previous book,"state of war." the government's case against him is still pending. he has stated he will go to jail rather than cooperate. >> jim risen, author of "pay any price: greed, power and endless war." who was damien corsetti? >> damien corsetti was an army interrogator, an enlisted man, sent to afghanistan to be an interrogator at the collection point which was the name for the detention center that the u.s.
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was running at the air force base and later he was an interrogator at abu ghraib for the army in iraq. and i have -- i tell a story in my book about how he came back from iraq and afghanistan after being involved in harsh interrogations with ptsd based on having conducted a lot of interrogations. and it is a story that i think is very important because it shows and he said this to me, virtually everyone he knew from his unit involved in interrogations came home with ptsd from conducting harsh interrogations. that is one of the stories i think nobody wants to hear which is torture in the american torture program, we now call it torture. they came home tortured by what they had done. the people who had to go into the cells to conduct what the bush administration and cia and army and military all created,
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this infrastructure for enhanced interrogation, the people who had to lay their hands and do it physically themselves. i came home deeply warped and flawed by the experience. >> where is he now? >> he is living in savannah, georgia. he only has 100% disability from the army because of his ptsd. and he is trying to recover and rebuild his life after and he still suffers very strongly from ptsd. >> how long was he assigned to abu ghraib? >> the very beginning of the u.s. involvement for a few months. he came from belgram. he was involved in interrogations or a year. in his experience, he found that there was virtually no rules when he first got involved in the interrogations, the army and
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military was creating a new system of interrogations with very little oversight and very little rules. they got to balgram and followed another unit that was the first their and do what these guys are doing. they watched the other unit conduct very harsh interrogations and the only message he got from any of the officers was do not judge them for what they are doing. he took that to mean we should be doing the same thing. in his opinion, the idea that the harsh interrogation and enhanced interrogation program that supposedly was so well controlled by the cia and illegal opinions by the justice
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-- by legal opinions by the justice department and supposedly was not supposed to sift through the rest of the u.s. detention system and combat zones actually did seep into the entire system. it was like a poison that drifted down. and once it became clear in his mind that we are not going to be treating the taliban or some of these other people as prisoners of war, but rather enemy combatants. they did not and deserve all of the protocols given to prisoners of war. that amended the rules and they could follow these more abusive practices. >> a little bit from a movie. let's watch it. [video clip]
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>> puts people in a crazy situation and they will do crazy things. we were also told they are nothing but dogs. >> interrogators was saying straight him and chain them to a bed and do what ever you can. >> young soldiers with little training and they were not told what the new rules were. >> you start looking at these people as less than human and you start doing things you would never dream of. that is where it got scary. >> there's always a few bad apples. >> >> few badre only a apples? >> the story of damien tells and others, the system of no rules or oversight that would have kept it as isolated as the wish
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administration wanted it to be. the message got sent throughout the system either through subtle ways that this is what the government wanted you to do. when no one came back to try and stop them from doing it and no oversight from officers, then they kept doing it even more. that is where -- he has to say is so powerful. i tried to pick up damien's story after "taxi on the dark side," after he came home. he looks completely different now. he lost all of the weight. and i picked it up when he comes back to savannah. he is trying to rebuild his life and he now has posttraumatic stress syndrome. >> you said he divorced? >> he was admittedly abusive to his wife and his wife left him. took his son and he had -- last time i talk to him he had a girlfriend with a new daughter.
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he has tried to develop better relationships with his ex-wife and so he is trying to rebuild his life. >> how did he fit in with this book? >> what i tried to show in this book is that people will really have been punished and suffered in the war on terror are the low-level people. the top people, through different means throughout the whole war have benefited and have enriched themselves and gotten status and power. the only people who have been punished who disenfranchised in different ways have been the people at the bottom. >> let me read back to your paragraph under the chapter the war on normalcy. what is the rest of that story?
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>> a small town in vermont which is right on the border of quebec. this little town of derbyline is adjacent, the canadian border runs through the middle or right along the border of the town with quebec. it is basically one town separated by an international border. about 100 years ago, some wealthy locals built a library that straddles the border as a sign of the fellowship between americans and canadians. you can go to this library in derbyline and there is a line to
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-- that goes through the middle and one side is canada and one side is america and they did it on purpose to show it is an undefended border where we are all friends on the canadian/american border. derbyline was a town wide open. if you grew up in derbyline in the 20th century, you would walk over to canada and there were no border and you would wave at the customs agents and you would go over there to shop. the canadians would've come here. after 9/11, the department of homeland security suddenly came in and started building walls all through derbyline. they demanded that all the streets and be close between derbyline and stanstead. they put up a new border patrol agents, you had to show a passport to get across.
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most of the people in derbyline did not have passport and never needed them before. and the local town, the village officials eventually had to negotiate with the department of homeland security about what are we going to do here to let us have a normal life here in this post-9/11 war and they finally got an agreement that the one road that goals by the library which they open and not blocked off because it was a symbol of fellowship. and so, a great character, a guy named buzz roy, he helped negotiate this deal. he was on the village council. one night he went to his favorite pizza place to get pizza.
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he was walking back and got on this one road that they had negotiated to have open. he got stopped. in 2009 and 2010, the department of homeland security had flooded derbyline with extra agents to secure the canadian border called operation stone garden. he got stopped and was demanded to show his id and they said you cannot walk on the street. he said, yes, i can. that is part of the negotiation deal. the guy said, we are closing it. and so, he walked home and started eating his pizza. he got really mad. he said they cannot just close it, we had a deal. he got angrier and angrier. he ate half of his pizza. it was in february. he had enough. this whole war on terror in a whole new creation of the homeland security and operation stone garden. he went back to the border and
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back to the street near the library. he started walking back and forth. he was grinding his teeth, walking across the border, back and forth, waiting for someone to stop him. at finally, five border patrol guards came and grabbed him and took him away to a detention center down the interstate highway until some guard who was from the area stopped him and brought him home. that led to what i called the battle of derbyline between the local people and department of homeland security. they turned buzz into a local hero. he became a martyr of derbyline
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and they would have protests on the street against homeland security. they created songs. he was famous all over vermont. finally the department of homeland security backed off area they got rid of the local leadership and got people to apologize to the town. buzz roy was the local hero. but they still are trying to keep the roadblock. it was just the perfect american story about how small town america reacts to something like the department of homeland security. >> i read the quote where you talked about the counterterrorism experts in lucrative government contracts and all of that. you single out a guy named steve emerson. why? >> he is kind of the godfather of counterterrorism experts in america. he began that she was a journalist for a while and then he kind of moved into being more the researcher and consultant on terrorism and prior to 9/11, he became really outspoken about the threat of islam jihadists.
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he was proven right by 9/11. he became a consultant to a lot of organizations and a lot of people work for him in the 1990's have moved on to a lot of other organizations. the problem is that the critics of emerson today saying he has never kind of -- he has become too inflexible of his views of the threat posed by muslims overseas. you have a whole generation of people who have started with emerson who kind of shared that
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same view among the pundit class and independent, outside terrorism researchers, who are not flexible enough in their thinking of muslims and the real threat posed to the united states. >> what is your opinion of the people on television and give your views about terrorism and what impact it has on the way we govern this? >> there are two, media and the government, are taken to hype the threat constantly. there's like no punishment for being too, go too far towards fear mongering. that is the real problem. you can do to the ratings on television. by talking endlessly about the fear or threat or possibility of a terrorist attack. i remember lindsay graham had it is our rages quote on television about how, they will come over and kill us all.
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terrorism is a threat but not an existential threat to the united states. the whole point is it is used by groups that do not have equivalent military force to the country they are trying to terrorize. we have to put it into context and remember these are small groups that can be dealt with. we do not have to transform our whole society in order to do it. >> stuart bowen was an inspector general for iraq. let's look at his previous appearance. [video clip]
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>> it is not well accounted for. the department of defense has certain rules it adopted and should follow and account for and it accounted through his own
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mechanism for the most part it is not lost. nearly 2 billion they in $100 bills was stolen after it was flown to baghdad. except for the $2.6 billion that were not able to account for and we will follow up and find out what happened to it. that's a larger issue. and because of the continuous changing plans and a significant amount of u.s. money has been wasted. >> that was in 2010. how much you estimate has been lost? >> stuart bowen was the only u.s. official who really tried to investigate what happened to all of the money the united states sent to iraq. there are different estimates. over $11 billion of the roughly $20 billion in iraq he money
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that in the united states sent to iraq was unaccounted for. what bowen's investigators found was nearly $2 billion in cash in $100 bills was stolen after it was flown from the air force base to baghdad apparently by powerful iraqis and was being hidden in a bunker in lebanon. where the people who had stolen it after it had been airlifted by the u.s. air force to baghdad. they were hiding give for safekeeping for future use. >> do we know who those people are? >> not sure but they were working with the powerful lebanese to be able to hold it in lebanon the way they were. >> how is it possible to move $2 billion and $100 bills from iraq to lebanon and not have someone not even an american official know about? >> that is the question -- did they know about it? it would take some infrastructure to do that. some logistics and we do not know how they did it. who did it or not. it is one of the questions that apart from bowen, no one in the u.s. government or iraq government seems to be interested in getting to the bottom of. stuart, i detailed how he went to the fbi and cia and other agencies and no one was interested in helping him find the money. >> do have any idea why? >> not really. part of the problem was it was iraqi government money.
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it was the development fund for iraq, which was created after the u.s. invasion to hold large amounts of iraqi oil revenues that they were given from oil sales after the invasion. it builds up very quickly. since it was not u.s. taxpayer's money, the cpa was able to have it airlifted over by the bush administration with very few strings attached. it is not u.s. taxpayer money so why should we care? i have a scene in the book where bowen meets prime minister malaki and he makes it known he knows about the money. he is asking bowen, what do you know about it. according very angry
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to bowen about how the united states handled the cash. >> you talk about money being flown over there, was it $20 billion? how was it physically flown there and what time? currency taken out of the currency facility of the federal reserve bank in new york and trucked from new jersey to the air force base in washington and then flown on c-17's to iraq. baghdad international airport. convoys met the planes and i described the guy who ran the convoys, who is a fascinating character, who learned to maneuver through war-torn baghdad without losing the money. and he would -- they would convoy the money to the iraqi central bank. >> american dollars?
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>> all u.s. $100. on pallet's. >> to be used for? >> the ideal was supposedly to help the iraqi government pay its bills and give a big jolt to the economy. essentially a cash infusion into the baghdad. there was virtually no oversight because it was iraqi money, u.s. government officials kind of did not really seem to be too curious about what happened. >> from your investigation >> , how much money have we not accounted for, american money used for american purposes over there? >> i cannot remember the exact number. i think something like $64 billion in taxpayer money went for reconstruction in iraq over the duration of the war. it is very difficult to see how
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much of that actually did much good in iraq. many of the projects, bowen's office and you look at reports they did, one after another of the failed reconstruction projects they tried to do. many of them were done without -- you know, the u.s. would build or develop some project with very little input from the iraqis in themselves and do so as we would build it, the iraqis would've and in it. >> who are the blues brothers? [laughter] >> the blue brothers. >> they are the founders and owners of the company that built the predator and drones that have been the signature weapons of the war on terror. the predator as you know became the weapon of choice of the united states in afghanistan and
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yemen, and elsewhere in pakistan and now the drone is the reaper which is larger and more powerful. >> why did you write about them? >> i wanted to write about people -- i was thinking about eric prince, the founder of blackwater, who made a noisy presence in washington about the war on terror. he was a guy who became an iconic figure and symbol of someone who had made money from the war on terror and i thought, there's a lot more people, much quieter than no one knows about, that have not flamed out as spectacularly as eric and blackwater did. who quietly have gone about their business and made a lot of money from the war on terror. i tried to talk about some of
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the corporate people, the quieter people, with had a less profile than the iconic figures. >> where did the blue brothers live? >> california. they are originally from colorado. their company, general atomic's, is in california. it started out, the company kind of was an orphan corporation, went from one owner to another. finally in the 1990's, it began to develop drone technology and the drones, they first had an impact in the balkans in the 1990's as surveillance platforms. it was not until right after 9/11 when this experimental use
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of weaponized drones was approved for use in afghanistan that drone technology and trend took off. the blue brothers became the godfathers of drones. >> have they done well? >> yes, their company -- i forgot the exact numbers. the numbers may be off because i do not have them in front of me. the defense contract of about $100 million at the time of 2001 and now 10 years later, like over $1 billion. >> i want to switch subjects for a moment. you are in the middle of a controversy, it is complicated but you have been at the new york times for how long now? >> 16 years.
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>> how long has the government and threatening to put you in prison? >> well, they first sent me a nasty message in 2007. then they subpoenaed me in 2008. >> for what reason? >> my last book they came out in 2006. i have a chapter about a botched cia operation and they -- the bush administration launched an investigation. and then, i was subpoenaed as part of that. the obama administration renewed the subpoenas and continued the investigation and they subpoenaed me several times. at first the trial judge quashed the subpoenas, but the obama
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administration appealed and the appeals court sided with them. >> your name came up in the white house briefing. the press secretary was giving a briefing and let's watch some of it. [video clip] >> the administration also has a long track record over the many months of complaining of leaks involving national security. we have seen threats to reporters like james risen, who could potentially be thrown in jail. phone records gone through. we are going back to the israel story, why are you sloshing off the idea of you do not care who leaked the story? >> you have gone after reporters to find out who leaked information and when it comes to insulting the prime minister, you do not seem to care. >> i do not think is an accurate description of the administration. in certainly, it is not an
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accurate reflection of our view of the prime minister. in fact, they put in place measures to ensure that journalist and this country are able to do their job and the attorney general has made a pretty clear statement about what we agree is a commonsense principle which is -- we have made really clear, the attorney general, what is a commonsense principle that journalists should not face jail time for doing their job. and -- so -- the point is -- my view, maybe my own personal view, my view about the most effective way to deal is to make sure all of you and your readers and viewers understand precisely what the administration's policy is of israel and prime minister netanyahu. >> what do you think about what he said about the attorney general saying a journalist
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should not face jail for doing a job? is that a position you are in? >> i do not know what he is talking about. all i know is that my case is ongoing and the trial starts in january. i do not know what the government has in mind. >> do expect anything to be done to you between now and january? >> i do not know. i am waiting to see. >> you said you would go to jail. why? them -- i think -- government, and they took a position in the appeals court in which they laid out, despite what they say, these talking points from the white house. their official legal position was, we do not believe that a reporter -- a reporter privilege exists in a criminal trial. what that means is, they do not
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believe that reporters have any right to maintain the confidentiality of any sources and that is the official legal position of the justice department right now. and so, that has turned this case into a fundamental showdown over free press and america. we cannot have investigative reporting in america without confidential sourcing a you cannot have a democracy without an aggressive investigation reporting and press. >> one of your former colleagues, judy miller, went to prison for 4 months. have you talked to her about her experience? >> i visited her in jail. she went through a lot.
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it was very tough. i have no interest in going to jail if i do not have to. >> how has it impacted your life? >> at first, it bothered me for the first couple of years but now i've gotten used to it. my best answer is to write another book and to keep working. "pay any price" is my answer to the government. you cannot stop me. i will keep working. you cannot shut me up. >> what is your relation with the "new york times?" >> i still work there. >> you publish the first book because they would not publish some of the information. >> i was planning it anyway but i added material that -- i added story when the government got them not to run it. but before the book came out, i told them it will be in the book. >> what was their reaction when the book came out? >> they put it in the paper before the book came out. so by that time it had resolved , itself. >> material and a new book they were not put in the paper. >> no. [laughter] >> let me show you a fellow by
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the name of bill binney, who is in your book. some video we have. he is being interviewed. we do not know who he is, but the video speaks for itself will stop [video clip] >> i guess the first question is, what snowden have latched has turn out to be true? >> i know it is true. i did not take documentation with me. snowden realized from what happened to us and some others and john, he saw the whistleblowers. -- what was happening to whistleblowers. he felt if he was going to say anything after leaving, he would have to have documentation so he would not have -- you would not be question. it will be the documentation of the government's programs.
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he took the first, the best evidence with him with that documentation. >> who is bill binney? >> he was a topic nsa official, who ran their stock works at the time of 9/11. he was in charge of experimental office to work on new experiments with how to deal with the internet and things like that. and so, he was a real geek. he was in nsa d. he was an nsa geek. he had developed along with some of these other people, he developed this program before 9/11 that he thought could help the nsa deal more effectively with the growth of the internet and digital information. he felt that before 9/11 and in the 1990's he had a running
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argument with a lot of people at the nsa over the fact that nsa back in the 1990's was focused on radio technology, radio communications of big government and big militaries like the russians. they were eavesdropping on traditional military and governmental targets around the world on traditional closed networks of communication. he felt the nsa had failed to grasp the importance of the open architecture of the internet that you knew the internet was providing a wide open means of communication and -- that they were not taking seriously because it was not classified. the nsa had a bias toward targeting the secure communications of foreign governments and militaries. in his opinion, ignoring the the new technology and new trend. he developed some technology
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that would help harness the nsa -- for the nsa the ability to monitor communications in new ways. at the time, he was kind of dismissed. but then, after 9/11, and the shock that in the nsa went through, he realized they had taken that technology they had ignored and were now using it in ways he never intended it to be used. they were going to turn it on the american people. and so, he very quickly after he learned that the nsa was taking this technology they had more before and instead of using it in the way he thought it should be used, they were turning in on the american people. he told a woman named diane
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rourke what was going on. that to the nsa had started a domestic spying operation. she was a house intelligent committee's staffer in charge of oversight of the nsa. after bill binney told her, she went on a painful odyssey to get it stopped. >> i want to ask you more about her, but i want everybody to see what she looks like. here's a video clip. it is not too long ago. let's watch. [video clip] >> the fbi hopes to have 52 million photos back in 2015. and massively through electronics. and that means e-mails,, text, videoconference passports, visas -- large amounts of sexual pornography.
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[indiscernible] there is no need. [indiscernible] there's no content. no content that is off-limits. their motto is collect it all. what they told me before i left was we are going to own the web and they do. >> where did she work again? >> she is an interesting character. she starred in the white house and was a staffer in the reagan white house. she is a republican. she went to the house intelligence committee and became a career staff person on the house intelligence committee. in the late 1990's, she was assigned to oversight of the nsa. by the time of 9/11, she had been conducted oversight for
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several years. >> how did she and bill meet? >> in the 1990's when she started doing oversight of the nsa and she was look for people inside of the agency who would give her an honest take on what was happening. she was able to meet binney during briefings create -- briefings. he and others began to tell her about problems the nsa was having trying to adjust to the internet a new digital revolution that the country was going through. she began to ask questions even before 9/11 about the way in which the nsa was dealing with the internet and i think that nsa director began to realize that binney was giving her information.
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as binney described in this confrontation with haden, about a year before 9/11 where binney got called to the carpet for talking to diane rourke today -- he realized that effectively ended his career. he retired shortly after 9/11. >> what happened to rourke? >> after binney came to her house and heard from another person at the nsa about the domestic spying program and how they turned it -- with the program he had developed for domestic spying, she went to her house and he did not want to talk about on the phone. he told her about the domestic spying program and the creation. she was shocked. she thought it had to be -- initially she thought it had to be a rogue operation. that it could not have been approved by anybody because it was so illegal.
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bosses,ely went to her the staff director of the house intelligence committee and minority staff member to say, i want to tell the chairman and ranking member about this domestic spying program. >> who was the chairman? who ended up in the head of the cia? >> the message she got back, she did not get to see the right away. the message she got back was stop asking about this. they do not talk about it anymore. she realized they already knew about it. she started going all over washington to very powerful people she knew both of from the intelligence community and the white house and even the judiciary to try to warn them about it. every place she went, she realized this powerful people
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already know about it and they are keeping their mouths shut. >> she is no longer in the government? >> she stayed in government for and finally she got to see goss and told him, you have to start asking questions about this. you have to realize it will leak. goss began to ask more questions of haden about it. she retired shortly after but haden told goss that he wanted to meet with diane rourke even though she retired. >> haden is no longer the head as said he does not think he should go to prison. >> an interesting comment by him. i am not sure what to make of it at this point. >> i want to show you president obama in 2005 when he was a u.s. senator talking about the patriot act which has direct motion with what we have been
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talking about. this is about 30 seconds and get your reaction to this. [video clip] >> if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document from the library books you read, the phone calls you have made, the e-mail you have sent, this legislation gives people no right to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. no judge will hear your plea. no jury will hear your case. this is just plain wrong. >> yeah. that is a very different view than what he has to day. one of the central points in my book is that he has made the war on terror will permanent. he has extended the bush counterterrorism programs, including surveillance. he has -- one of the biggest legacies of his presidency is going to be that he made the war on terror a bipartisan
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enterprise and made it permanent. whereas bush and cheney have been reacting in kind of an ad hoc way after 9/11. obama has made it permanent. >> here he is as president. [video clip] >> what i did not do is stop these programs wholesale. not only because i thought they made us more secure, but also because nothing in that initial review and nothing i've learned since indicated that our intelligence community has sought to violate the law are cavalier the liberties of their fellow citizens. to the contrary, in an extraordinarily difficult job, one in which actions are second-guessed, successes under reported and failure can be catastrophic, the men and women of the intelligence community,
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including the nsa, consistently follows protocols to protect the privacy of ordinary people. >> it sounds exactly like george bush. >> what happened? why should we think that bush and obama are right? >> we can have -- and the whole point of a democracy is to question our government. what i think happens is the executive power wants you to once you take on the mantle of power and it is seductive. everybody tells you what you want to hear and every body is doing every thing they can to help you accumulate greater power. and so, why should you question the people giving you greater power? why should you question the people getting every e-mail and phone call? you are now the recipient of all of that power so watch you
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question it? >> is there any way for us to know what the nsa doing? >> and that's the problem, there's no oversight. -- very little oversight. congress conducts oversight supposedly and there are civil liberties boards that do it. there's no real transparency for the american people. one of the things that is interesting to me, the contrast between what happened with senator ron wyden and edward snowden. ron wyden was a member of the senate intelligence committee for several years before edward snowden started leaking. he took to the floor the senate as said, there's something shocking going on that if the
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american people knew about it, that would be totally shocked, but i cannot tell you about it because it is classified. he is a sitting senator who believed something was deeply wrong but he was afraid to talk about it publicly. after edward snowden began to leak, ron wyden in public and say that is what i was talking about. the checks and balances in my mind are questionable. >> back to your book where you talk about contractors. who is mike esemos? >> he was a fascinating character. the guy, maybe the most intriguing figure of the whole post-9/11 world. i'm still not entirely sure what to make of him today. >> where does he live? >> i am not sure. >> have you talked about -- have you talked to him? >> not recently since the book
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came out. he was hired by a law firm, motley rice. charleston, south carolina. >> who is motley? >> a lawyer in charleston, who had won one of the biggest legal settlements in the united states. he was one of the lead lawyers in the tobacco industry settlement with all of the states in which the tobacco industry had to pay like $240 billion to a lot of different states. he got, he and his partners, got large fees from that, billions of dollars. the movie "the insider" was based partly on his life. the tobacco settlement, after a huge victory, wondering what he should do next. 9/11 happened and he began to get calls from some of the
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families of victims of 9/11. he decided to eventually to represent them in a class action lawsuit against saudi arabia. $1 trillion lawsuit which would be the biggest lawsuit in history. he was going to sue the saudis and entities and individuals for financing al qaeda and terrorism and 9/11. after he did this, he realized he needed to hire investigators to help him. he went through other investigators and finally, one of them that he hired was mike esemos, who was a west point graduate and had kind of a mysterious background of
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involvement with the u.s. government. and esemos, along with other investigators, again going around the world looking for information. it was not entirely clear in hindsight who he was getting information for. whether for motley rice or for the u.s. government as part of an intelligence operation. he would say to me and other people that he had been sent to motley rice by paul wolfowitz in the defense department or by other people in the government and others. there was a time when he showed up in baghdad with forces, who then kicked him out out of baghdad. it is a very strange story, but in the end, he ended up working for motley rice. he also arranged to lure a drug
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lord back to the united states. this was on behalf of the drug administration. lord wasfghani drug brought to new york and arrested and prosecuted and the confusion over who he was really working for and whether the operation he was doing for motley rice was really a government front for an intelligence operation or what was really going on is a mystery that still goes on today. i thought it was such a fascinating story because to me what it captured, kind of the nature of the war on terror about how difficult it is to tell what is real and what is not real. that to me, i come away from the
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whole debate of terrorism, do we really know what we are fighting and why we are fighting, who we are fighting and what we are really doing? that idea of what is real and what is concocted, i tried to capture in that story. i still wonder to this day about some of the things we have done and i do not think -- when the problems is nobody in the government wants to go back and look. >> jim risen born in cincinnati and went to brown university, 1977 and northwestern medill school to get your journalism degree and went to work for what paper? >> first job was in ft. wayne, indiana. i went to the miami herald. then detroit free press. then los angeles times and new
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york times. >> what is the difference for you when you have a story that runs in the new york times compared to the other papers? >> the impact is huge, that is the difference. the level of -- people all around the world notice stories. and it just has an enormous echo chamber that you get from writing for the "new york times." >> what kind of grade would you give the new york times during this period? when you were under the threat of going to prison? i mean, towards you. >> going back to what happened with the nsa story? >> how do they view you? are you a pain in the neck? >> they are very nice to me
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recently. we had the whole experience with the nsa story in 2004 and 2005. since then, they have been very supportive and i really appreciate it. >> if you go to prison, would you get paid? >> i do not know. i hope so. >> what is your sense of what will happen to you? >> i do not know, i really do not know. it is in limbo. >> it's a trial of jeffrey sterling in january? >> yes. >> he is who? >> i cannot get into the details. i will not talk about. >> for what reason? >> i just can't. i cannot discuss the details of the case. >> one last little area before we close it down. you opened in the prologue two sentences. >> to me, that was a metaphor
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for this issue of what is real and what is not in the war on terror. paul whitfield, that was april 9, 2009, barack obama had just started his presidency. april 9 was the sixth anniversary of the fall of baghdad, the sixth anniversary of the day of which u.s. troops pulled down the statue of saddam hussein in the square. it kind of marked as the day that saddam lost the war. six years later, as you may remember the war in iraq was going badly or had been going badly for several years, the search was underway -- surge was underway.
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but, for the american people, the war was something they wanted to forget about. there was a lot of bitterness about what had happened in iraq. there was a small group of pro war supporters, who gathered in section 60 and they had a small ceremony to celebrate iraq liberation day. it was probably the only place in the united states where there was anybody celebrating the sixth anniversary of the fall of the statue. and paul wolfowitz came and i was there and there was a woman, who was a socialite, who is the sponsor of this event. a number of people gave speeches including, the iraqi ambassador to washington. i walked -- after the ceremony
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was over, i walked through the arlington cemetery with wolfowitz and he seemed upbeat. we had exchanged small talk. i found it was a very emblematic of one administration handing off the war of terror to another. but then a strange thing happened. two years later, a woman was murdered in georgetown and her husband was arrested and her husband was a man who went around washington dressed as any iraqi general. he claimed to be an iraqi army general. in fact, the police found a kinko's receipt showing he had fabricated the letter from the prime minister appointed him as a general. i thought this was a perfect little -- what did we really
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know about the war and what don't we know? >> where's the husband today? >> he is in prison and he was convicted of first-degree murder earlier this year. >> james risen, our guest. the book is called "pay any price: greed, power and endless war." thank you very much. >> thank you for having me. ♪ >> for free transcripts or to give us your comments, visit us at "q&a" programs are also available as c-span podcasts. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, hich is responsible for its >> comments we received from our viewers. >> i must say "washington jourm"
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first thing in the morning, absolutely wonderful. appreciate you guys letting guys like myself call in and talk to people who are learning our country and our world. >> you do a good job. laying it on the table for not using see and information and america has a chance to evaluate to check everything out. and i appreciate you all. >> i enjoy crmp span 1, and and i watch it all day lopping. and i like to see what


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