tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC September 2, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
the full force of nato is really on their doorstep that's scheduled for tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern. a.m. eastern. now time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." thanks for being with us tonight. good evening. >> rachel, you drove me crazy with that watch story. i'm up here in boston doing the show tonight and i don't have a monitor that can show me what you're doing or what you're showing with all those watch pictures. >> i will text you the pictures. >> it's the serious listeners in their cars listening, i speak for them. >> here it comes, everybody. >> thanks, rachel. we have breaking news from the
white house tonight that the president is ordering 350 more u.s. military personnel to iraq, and a man who knew both of the american journalists who have been executed by the islamic state will join us tonight. >> a horror that appears with no ending. >> the tragic breaking news. >> the execution of another american. >> nearly two weeks after the execution of james foley. >> isis revealed a video. >> reportedly shows the beheading of american journalist steven sotloff. >> his mother begged for this not to happen. >> we want to see him home safe and sound. >> these are despicable murderers. >> it's an assault on our country's pride. >> we are sickened by this brutal act. >> why are they intentionally provoking the u.s.? >> they're trying to shape u.s. foreign policy. >> i don't think we should build up isis to say they're ten feet tall. >> isis represents a new,
complex threat. >> we've got an allergy to syria and iraq. >> this is not a military problem. >> their ideology needs to be defeated. >> that's never going to happen at the end of an american gun. a new video that reportedly shows the beheading of american journalist steven sotloff if syria was posted online today by the islamic state, which calls the video "a second message to the u.s. " the group says it executed sotloff as a response to u.s. air strikes against the islamic state in iraq. the posting of the video online comes one day after a u.s. military air strike in iraq destroyed or damaged 16 islamic state armed vehicles near the mosul dam. the united states has launched 124 air strikes in iraq against
the islamic state since early august. it's the second video in the last two weeks to show the beheading of an american journalist. the first victim was james foley. the islamic state showed a british citizen. the white house press secretary said this today. >> the united states, as you know, has dedicated significant time and significant resources to try to rescue mr. sotloff. >> last week, you'll recall steven sotloff's mother released this video. >> as a mother, i ask your justice to be merciful and not punish my son for matters he has no control over. i ask you to spare his life and to use the example set by the prophet mohammed who protected people of the book.
i want what every mother wants, to see my children's children. i plead with you to grant me this. >> today a sotloff family spokesman says, the family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. tonight, president obama authorized defense department request for an additional 350 military personnel in iraq, bringing the total number of military personnel to approximately 820. and florida senator bill nelson said today he will introduce legislation giving president obama explicit authority to order air strikes against the islamic state within syria when congress returns from recess next week. joining me now is david rode, a reporter for reuters who was held prisoner himself by the taliban. also joining me, evan coleman, a msnbc terrorist analyst, and matthew van dyke, who became a fighter for libyan rebels.
he knew james foley and steven sotloff. matthew van dyke, first to you. what do you remember most about steven sotloff, what would you like to say about him tonight? >> there's a lot of journalists that cover conflicts. they parachute in from one conflict to another, but steven had a real love for the entire region. he learned arabic, he made the contacts, the friendships, had a real understanding of the people and a real dedication of reporting in that part of the world. this is the last person this should have happened to. >> did you ever talk about the possibility of this kind of thing happening? >> yes, we had dinner just a few weeks before he went to syria. we often talked about security, we even talked about the james foley case. >> david, having been in captivity with the taliban for months on end as you were, when a situation like this happens,
our thoughts first of all go to what it was like to be in that captivity for all that time before you even get to this horrible end. >> yeah, it's horrific he survived through this period, and this is a public murder. it's inexcusable. these are civilian journalists. you know, i do think this tactic maybe helps the islamic state in the short term for their sort of perverse recruitment, but this is disgusting. people in the region and americans, as well, i'm just so sorry we're here again tonight talking about this killing. >> evan coleman, talk about the point that david just made, how does this work for the islamic state? >> well, look, the purpose here is to intimidate the american public and u.s. government. the islamic state wants to
provoke a conflict with the united states. it wants to provoke a military confrontation. unfortunately the problem is if we continue to turn the other cheek, this group will continue to carry out these provocations and steadily inch up. the problem is, it may get to a point where we can no longer ignore this. we've seen this before with al qaeda in iraq, the precursor organization for isis. they continue to do this, they continue to behead people and carried out suicide attacks in jordan. if we don't respond, they're just going to keep at it until we have no choice but to respond. >> matthew van dyke, what is your understanding of the islamic state's ambitions and what they tactically expect to gain from this sort of thing? >> their ambitions were largely regional until the united states
started air strikes. what they hope to gain is a change in u.s. policy. it's not going to happen. perhaps it will help recruitment, but i don't think they'll recruit anyone but psychopaths with these videos. it does them more damage than it does them good. those people in the muslim world are repulsed by what they've seen. >> david, they have been recruiting in europe, and that has europe quite worried, it has the united kingdom quite worried. we saw the united kingdom announcing today new ways of dealing with this, including possibly suspending passports of british citizens who are abroad who they suspect to be involved in this kind of thing. what other measures do you think it is possible for the united states to possibly entertain at this point? >> there can be this tracking, there can be suspending of passports. but it's very hard for the american government to track these cases.
the americans that have died in syria often went to third countries and other parts of europe or the world. then made their way to turkey and went over the border. so it's very hard to track it. you know, it's a moment for the administration, the president is off on his trip and there's talk about putin and a need for a strategy? an islamic state. there needs to be a statement, is this a threat to the united states in the long-term or is it not? americans clearly want no part getting involved in iraq, but there seems to be an inconsistent statement from the administration about how serious this problem is. >> let's listen to what the white house said about the deployment of the additional 350 military personnel to iraq. >> absolutely there's a strategy for our approach to the middle east. i can only speak from a military perspective and from the pentagon.
but we have been consistently going after the terrorist threats in that part of the world. inside iraq, the mission is very clear. we are there to support iraqi and kurdish forces as they take the fight to isil. it's not just something that we just started doing. we've been going after terrorist networks in that part of the world for more than a decade, with very good success. >> okay, that obviously was not the white house spokesman. the white house spokesman said today that the request for the 350 additional personnel was to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in baghdad. evan coleman, is that going to be enough to protect our diplomatic personnel? >> look, even if it is, the problem is the hostages that isis took weren't u.s. diplomats, they were u.s. journalists.
and there are targets for these folks to grab all over the place. the solution is not trying to build a fortress around our diplomats or journalists, the solution is to go after the people that are murdering them. if we're not dealing with the problem of isis in syria, this is not going to stop. there's going to be no end to this. simply fighting isis on the iraqi side of the border makes no sense, because the only people that respect that border are us. isis has openly declared it has no intention of respecting that border. so look, i agree with what david was saying. i don't think the u.s. public is excited about getting back involved in iraq, but i'm not sure it's a war we necessarily have any choice about. if these folks are threatening us and killing american journalists and diplomats and threatening others, what choice do we have? >> i think we always have a choice when it comes to war.
david, as a journalist, do you think that the killing of american journalists who voluntarily put themselves in these situations is a reason to provoke the united states into full-scale military action? >> no, i don't think americans are different from any civilian and i don't think there's any special reason when a journalist is killed. but it's back to this core question about what are we doing in the middle east? are we pulling out? does it matter if iraq dissolves? if this group was in jordan and saudi arabia, how would we respond to that? if they go into jordan, they're closer to israel. it's this broad strategy, what are we doing? maybe we shouldn't be involved in the middle east. but we don't seem to be having the broader debate. again, the president isn't giving us a vision about the middle east matters or the middle east doesn't matter. >> well, matthew van dyke, when journalists over there that you talk to talk about going into
areas like this and you have conversations about something like this could happen to them, what is their expectation of a possible aftermath to something like this? >> nobody ever really thinks it's going to be them, but for sure, everyone working in syria takes a lot more precaution than they did a year or two ago. a lot have stopped going. if isis' intent is to intimidate the press, they've certainly succeeded. >> thank you all very much for joining me tonight. coming up, president obama authorized an attack yesterday in somalia. what does that tell us about the president's strategic use of military assets? and how easy is it for someone to hack your phone, get your photos, get what you've been using? people now are very much afraid of what's going on with the
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weekend. at this hour, president obama is aboard air force one headed to estonia, where he'll meet with leaders from estonia, lithuania and latvia, three nato countries that border russia. the president is there to reassure them that nato is committed to defending them if they face attack. like ukraine, estonia has a large russian population. president obama will also travel to a nato meeting in the united kingdom, where the military alliance will consider a rapid response force for nato members that border russia. vladamir putin's government is now attacking the european official who says that putin told him "if i wanted to, i could take kiev in two weeks."
the russian government didn't deny that putin said that. but claims it was out of context and they may release the transcript of the phone call. coming up next, what war hawks don't quite get about president obama's foreign policy. ups is a global company, but most of our employees live in the same communities that we serve. people here know that our operations have an impact locally. we're using more natural gas vehicles than ever before. the trucks are reliable, that's good for business. but they also reduce emissions, and that's good for everyone. it makes me feel very good about the future of our company. ♪
they claimed responsibility for the september 2013 mall massacre in nairobi which resulted in the deaths of over 60 people. u.s. officials told nbc news that three suspected members of al shabab were killed but it's not confirmed whether the leader was among them. >> if he was killed, this is a very significant blow to their network and to their organization, and we believe to their ability to continue to conduct terrorist attacks. >> the news of those air strikes in somalia came five days after president obama said this about syria. >> we don't have a strategy. i think what i've seen in some of the news reports suggests that folks are getting a little further ahead of where we
currently are. and i think that's not just my assessment but the assessment of our military, as well. >> joining me now, d.j. dion and david corn. we are in the great strategy controversy in washington because the president said what you just saw there. he was talking about how do we handle the islamic state in syria, which is a much more complicated question than how to go after them in iraq, which the president has already been doing. and i think it actually has exposed something i've felt for a very long time. no president has an overall strategy about how to deal with all threats in any given region or the world. the truth of the matter is, they make it up as they go along. >> let's have a grand strategy to deal with isis and ukraine and libya and mix it all up. you're right, there is -- even when you have a grand strategy,
that popular term among foreign policy types, you still have messy situations. i think we can stipulate that the president shouldn't say we don't have a strategy, just because it's going to be distorted and his enemies will use it against him. "the washington post" suggested there is a strategy that just hasn't come together yet. what president obama wants to do is to pull together a lot of sunni allies with saudi arabia joining in, qatar, jordan. we don't want to look like we're going to war against the shia. we want sunnis to unite with us against isis. he's also been trying to get a government in iraq that's inclusive so the sunnis in iraq
will ally in this battle against the islamic state. so there is an approach here, and he decided he wasn't going to announce his strategy until it actually all came together, which wasn't a bad idea since he should have never used those words. >> david corn, the reason why we're talking about somalia is that it shows one of the things the president has made clear, which is he wants to use military force when it's practical, when he knows or feels it will do more good than harm, where the repercussions are controllable, where the situation is controllable. >> he is a deliberative and pragmatic interventionist. he doesn't have a grand -- there was once a grand strategy. in 2003, the bush administration had a grand strategy of remaking the entire middle east, that they would start with iraq and everything would fall into place there.
actually the opposite has happened and it's triggered what we have today. so the president likes to look at things in a very deliberative manner. we saw this with libya. libya is the perfect case when it comes to understanding how the president approaches foreign policy. he took weeks. he went to the pentagon for several sets of options. his aides advocated aggressive action, some less aggressive action and he went to the pentagon saying i don't like these plans you're giving me. give me something even more robust before he put together a multilateral approach that included some minimal but some regional actors, as well. which is what he would like to do as e.j. just mentioned here in iraq. and so it's going to take time. isis is not a problem you can solve with a couple of air strikes in a couple of weeks. this will take months, if not years and it's going to have to
have the regional powers and others be part of the solution. otherwise, we won't be able to do it alone, no matter how much john mccain wishes that were so. >> e.j., the problem here is the use of the word strategy and many people in washington not understanding what it actually is. it's not just an idea of something to do today, it is something that follows through what happens when every other reaction that is going to occur in reaction to what you've done happens and then you have a plan for that. we're now living in the aftermath of the complete lack of a george w. bush long-term strategy for what it meant for the united states of america to invade, occupy, take over iraq. >> right. and i think the problem in iraq is that the administration then made so many optimistic assumptions, that we could get by with fewer troops, we would be welcomed as liberators.
there were no plans to send enough troops to pacify the country. there were no plans about what to do with the baathists. then we got rid of the iraqi army which created a lot of new enemies for us. so you don't want to go into a situation like this on the fly like that. a lot of people who thought, let's blow up the middle east because it's so messed up that it went get worse. well, it can get worse and it kind of has gotten worse. when you look at -- people talk about the great threat being iran. well, the iraq war had the effect of strengthening iran. so if you're going to sort of aim before you shoot, that does seem like a good idea to me. >> go ahead, david. >> there was really little strategic sense of what would happen after that intervention, that invasion. it was just sort of like roll the dice and see what happens.
the debate in washington and elsewhere over the use of the president's use of the word strategy is worrisome, because it shows that we can't have an adult conversation about the issue itself. fib who heard what the president said and looked at the sentence before and the sentence afterwards realized that basically what he was saying is we don't have a plan yet on what to do, we're working on it. i've asked the pentagon for options. but by jumping on this and trying to make political hay out of it, the folks two claim to be patriots, claim that they care about our national security are making it harder to develop anything involving or resembling a policy consensus. if i were the president, words that i try not to say too often, i would tell boehner and mcconnell and say okay, let's talk about this, what should we do?
and then they can talk to the cameras afterwards and make this a communal effort, even though republicans on capitol hill, most of them, many of them, are still looking at this as a way to score points rather than come to any clear understanding of what we should do. >> lawrence, i want to say something about president corn's comment just now. he makes a really important point about the adult conversation. a lot of this still seems to be relitigating, refighting the decision on the iraq war. a lot of people who fundamentally disagreed with the president, even though the country agreed with him on this, in pulling out the troops in iraq and in being against the war in the first place. a lot of this is cover for rearguing that war. i don't think most people want to reargue that war. they want to solve a discrete problem, which is isis. >> and they're trying to also promote that the president is weak and he dithers.
just because he's spending some time, maybe a couple of weeks, trying to figure out how to get the best handle on a problem that is as naughty as they come foreign policy. there are several layers of civil war going on between sunni and shia, between sunni and sunni, between iran and saudi arabia, and they sort of interject the united states on its own is something that should happen cautiously at best, if it happens. and why people don't sort of applaud the deliberation here is kind of sad. >> well, dither apparently is the republican word for "think," which is something they are very uncomfortable watching presidents do that publicly. >> that seems to be the case. >> i haven't heard lindsey graham able to explain how
bombing in syria wouldn't help assad. >> you have to have a target, and that's one of the things that the pentagon is trying to come up with, how to bomb and have a way that is a positive impact towards the policy you want. not just like john mccain said on that youtube video, "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb iran." >> thank you very much both very much for joining me tonight. >> good to be with you, lawrence. coming up, the hacking and the sharing of celebrity's private photos online, and what it says about the security of your information in the cloud. and for the third time, another plane forced to land after an argument over a reclining seat. [ girl ] my mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon.
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>> joining me now is someone who might have spoken with one of the people involved. tech editor for buzz feed charlie warzel. so charlie, who did you talk to who may be the subject of this investigation? >> yesterday morning, i spoke with brian hamad, who is a 27-year-old who lives in georgia. he was a person that the internet around early monday morning, late sunday night, after these leaks started looking towards, he told me that he claimed he had never been in possession of the photos but some people on some online
message boards sort of back traced and saw his computer address inside one of the screen shots of some of the leaked photos. and so it's like all these things, it's very unclear, but right now he seems to be sort of the internet sleuth's prime suspect. >> and here's the -- here's the statement that he gave. he said, i am just an idiot. which is something we can all agree on, whether he's guilty or not guilty in this case. i am just an idiot that tried to pull one over on fortune and stupidly left this identifying information. i have no idea how the hell how someone could hack into all of those accounts. charlie, what should people be fearing about the security of their devices as a result of this story? >> this isn't the first time
obviously that this has happened to celebrities. but also with apple and with i-cloud. while apple put out that statement and pretty much denied that it was a large, wide breach, this has happened before. a wired reporter, it happened to him in 2012. the real issue is that i-cloud, there are still ways for hackers to sort of get in with brute force, which means, you know, using multiple guesses. and until yesterday morning, apple had a security flaw that would allow you to enter as many passwords as possible, it doesn't time out like if you're trying to enter a password like when you're trying to get into your computer. so there's some issues with the extent of the security on this device that has all your information. >> now, it's pretty much settled
now that everyone under 40 has, you know, kind of sensitive photographs of themselves or on their devices. and so can we just, as a culture, just completely remove the embarrassment for this and treat them like baby pictures or high school graduation pictures and recognize sure, these are everywhere and it's nothing for everybody to be worried about. >> you certainly can, but -- >> it feels like we're about 100 years away from that particular level of enlightenment. >> i think we are. and sort of the wow factor of celebrities, that's going to be an issue. and i don't think we're evolved enough on that front quite yet, although it does seem to be something that we're getting better with as a culture. these photographs have been taken down. they're not easy for an average
person to find now, a lot of these celebrity photographs. so as a culture, the media has done a decent job delinking and learning from spreading these things. >> what has happened with the particular photographs from the weekend that everybody has been buzzing about, has the internet defended against the dissemination of these things? >> it depends on what community. you have some communities on some of these message boards like 4chan who celebrate these sort of leaks. this is something that they are actively going after more. they're really excited about this. but a lot of news sites, i think a lot of people really sort of understood this is something that, a, could happen to a normal person. it's happened to normal people before. we're starting to see that their private lives are just like ours.
i think that the media has done a good job this round of sort of getting rid of the links to some of these seedier places and making sure that these photos don't necessarily show up without having to do a lot of digging on some of the less savory places of the internet. >> charlie, you're the tech adviser to some celebrities. would you say just don't use the i-cloud as step one? >> i don't necessarily think it's that. i think you have to -- you just have to be very present and know what you have. i mean, you have to take -- really this goes back to having really good user names and passwords. it's like the very simple thing. and also making sure that you don't put other public information, if your backup security question is, you know, the school that your -- your first high school, then you shouldn't enter that information on facebook and have it easily available. then i can call up apple and say
i'm you. and they will give me access to your account. that is a way that some of these people, it's called social engineering. it's the way they're cracking into this. so you have to be mindful. i don't think it means don't use the technology, but i think it means this stuff has very real-world consequences and there are people out there. so you've got to really work hard at it. >> i went to three high schools, so i'm feeling safer now. charlie warzel, thank you very much for joining me. coming up, rewriting a diagnosis that has nearly always been fatal until now. and later, another fight over what you actually have the right to recline your seat on an airplane. another diverted airliner.
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this ebola outbreak to an end. >> that was dr. kent brantley rewriting the ebola diagnosis no something nonfatal. today, president obama made this public announcement. >> ebola is not spread through the air like the flu. you cannot get it through casual contact like sitting next to someone on a bus. you cannot get it from another person until they show the symptoms of the disease, like fever. when burying someone who has died from this terrible disease, it's important to not directly touch their body. you can respect your traditions and honor your loved ones without risking the lives of the living. stop thing disease won't be easy. but we know how to do it. >> dr. kent brantley experienced that firsthand. he told his story exclusively to nbc's matt lauer. >> july 23rd, you wake up, take me through the day. >> i woke up that morning, and
really i fell a little off, a little warm, a little under the weather. i took my temperature and it was 100.0 i think. >> and your family was thousands of miles away and you knew they couldn't come back. >> i was so thankful that amber and the kids were not there. that would have been an overwhelming mental burden if i had woken up sick laying next to my wife with one of my children snuggled up next to me. >> fortunately, his wife amber and two children had left liberia three days earlier to attend a wedding in texas. >> then when he did call to tell me he had ebola -- i don't know if i can describe that. i was -- i knew it was coming. i had seen him treat these
>> they had no way to breathe for me if i had quit breathing. >> you can see more of matt lauer's exclusive interview tomorrow on "today." coming up, when you make your plane reservations now, apparently you have to factor in how much time it's going to take when your plane is diverted to land at another airport because someone reclined their seat. that's next. well, did you know pinocchio was a bad motivational speaker? i look around this room and i see nothing but untapped potential. you have potential. you have...oh boy. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
tonight, european officials are proposing new sanctions against russia in response to reports that more russian troops are in eastern ukraine. the new proposals would ban more russian firms from borrowing money from eu banks, and they would expand the bands on russian technology that can also be used for military purposes. up next, another case of recline rage. this time on delta airlines.
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>> this woman sitting next to me knitting actually tried reclining her seat back. the woman behind her started screaming and swearing. a flight attendant came over and that exacerbated what was going on and she demanded the flight land. >> delta airlines released this statement -- >> according to the police report, the passenger who was removed was 32-year-old amy fine, she was the one who screamed at the other passenger who reclined her seat. joining me now is amy farley, news editor of travel and leisure, who edited an upcoming report on air travel for the magazine's november issue. amy, this is getting really out of control here. we've got this epidemic going on now where, when your plane takes
off, it might land where the ticket says it's supposed to land, but if somebody reclines a seat, you never know where it's going to land. >> i think where we have our case of a lot of passengers that need some anger management classes. it's extraordinary. people are really reaching a boiling point with the indignities of flying in economy and taking it out on one another. that's what's happened in the last week or so. >> the legal situation is interesting. it's kind of tricky trying to deal with charges here, anything other than federal. because when that plane lands in jacksonville, florida, if there was some kind of disorderly conduct crime committed flying over georgia, they don't have any jurisdiction to make any local arrest. and so it seems to me until the airlines figure out how to bring criminal charges for this, or at
minimum, until they start suing the passengers who make this happen. >> i mean, i wouldn't be surprised if airlines are weighing their legal options because it is expensive to divert a flight. some estimates are up to $200,000 if you have to take a plane off course. obviously the passengers are the ones causing these problems and the airlines are going to do everything in their power to hold them responsible. >> the airlines have specific money damages that they set. i can't understand why they are not very publicly bringing very expensive litigation against the people who force their planes down like this. >> we may be seeing that coming up. but i will say that airlines are -- i won't say that they're reaping what they sow, but they have changed the experience in the back of the plane and it is frustrating to sit in economy class, because you have less space than you used to.
>> but everybody knows that getting on the plane. so now we're just -- once on the plane, we are all left to the decency of human beings about how they then behave on the plane. >> that's absolutely true. i am in the recline camp. i think -- we've seen in the last week people divide down the lines of do you recline or not. i have longer legs, but you have to pay attention to what's going on around you. if you have somebody with long legs sitting behind you or if they're eating or trying to work, you should be mindful of that. with that said, there's not much room. you can't flip your laptop up to get work done if something brings their seat back. >> amy, thank you very much for joining me tonight. chris hayes is up next.
another american beheaded. this is "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with a horror that appears to have no ending. the islamic state has beheaded another american, steven sotloff. this is not a bit of news to absorb, move on and forget. it is a sadistic assault on our country's pride, barack obama, the american people, on the country we love. cutting off the head of one of us is a taunt, a humiliation. it debases us this the eyes of syrians, iraqi, our countrymen. the american intelligence community is working to confirm the latest video that shows him