tv MSNBC News Live MSNBC December 28, 2009 3:00pm-4:00pm EST
i spoke again this morning with attorney general eric holder, the secretary of homeland security, janet napolitano, and my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, john brennan. i asked them to keep continue monitoring the situation, to keep the american people and members of congress informed. here's what we know so far. on christmas day, northwest airlines flight 253 was en route from amsterdam, netherlands, to detroit. as the plane made its final approach to detroit metropolitan airport, a passenger allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device on his body, setting off a fire. thanks to the quick and heroic actions of passengers and crew, the suspect was immediately subdued, the fire was put out, and the plane landed safely. the suspect is now in custody and has been charged with attempting to destroy an aircraft. and a full investigation has
been launched into this attempted act of terrorism, and we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable. this was a serious reminder of the dangers that we face, and the nature of those who threaten our homeland. had the suspect succeeded in bringing down that plane, it could have killed nearly 300 passengers and crew, innocent civilians preparing to celebrate the holidays with their family and friends. the american people should be assured that we are doing everything in our power to keep you and your family safe and secure during this busy holiday season. since i was first notified of this incident, i've ordered the following actions to be taken to protect the american people and to secure air travel. first, i directed that we take immediate steps to ensure the safety of the traveling public. we made sure that all flights still in the air were secure and could land safely. we immediately enhanced
screening and security procedures for all flights, domestic and international. we added federal air marshals to flights entering and leaving the united states, and we're working closely in this country, federal, state, and local law enforcement, with our international partners. second, i've ordered two important reviews, because it's absolutely critical that we learn from this incident and take the necessary measures to prevent future acts of terrorism. the first review involves our watch list system, which our government has had in place for many years to identify known and suspected terrorists, so that we can prevent their entry into the united states. apparently, the suspect in the christmas incident was in this system, but not on a watch list such as the so-called no-fly list. so i have ordered a thorough review, not only of how information related to the subject was handled, but of the overall watch list skystem and how it can be strengthened. the second review will examine
all screening policies, technologies, and procedures related to air travel. we need to determine just how the suspect was able to bring dangerous explosives aboard an aircraft and what additional steps we can take to thwart future attacks. third, i've directed my national security team to keep up the pressure on those who would attack our country. we do not yet have all the answers about this latest attempt, but those who would slaughter innocent men, women, and children must know that the united states will do more than simply strengthen our defenses. we will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle, and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from afghanistan or pakistan, yemen, or somalia, or anywhere, where they are plotting attacks against the u.s. homeland. finally, the american people should remain vigilant, but also be confident. those plotting against us seek
not only to undermine our security, but also the open society and the values that we cherish as americans. this incident, like several that have proceeded it, demonstrates that an alert and courageous citizenry are far more resilient than an isolated extremist. as a nation, we will do everything in our power to protect our country. as americans, we will never give in to fear or to vision. we will be guided by our hopes, our unity, and our deeply held values. that's who we are, as americans. that's what our brave men and women in uniform are standing up for as they spend the holidays in harm's way. and we will continue to do everything that we can to keep america safe in the new year and beyond. before i leave, let me also briefly address the events that have taken place over the last few days in the islamic republic of iran. the united states joins in the international community with strongly condemning the violent
and unjust suppression of innocent iranian citizens, which has apparently resulted in the tensions, injuries, and even deaths. for months, the riranion people have sought nothing more than to exercise their universal rights. each time they have done so, they have been met with the iron fist of brutality, even on solemn occasions and holy days. and each time that has happened, america has watched with conviction on part of the iranian people. what's taking place within iran is not about the united states or any other country, it's about the iranian people and their aspirations for justice and a better life for themselves. and the decision of iran's leader to govern through fear and tuyranny will not succeed i making those aspirations go away. as i said in oslo, it's telling when the government's fear the aspirations of their own people.
along with all free nations, the united states stands with those who seek their universal rights. we call upon the iranian government to abide by the international obligations that it has to respect the rights of its own people. we call for the immediate release of all who have been unjustly detained within iran. we will continue to bear witness to the extraordinary events that are taking place there. and i'm confident that history will be on the side of those who seek justice. thank you very much, everybody. and happy new year. >> president barack obama, not taking any questions. stepping away from his vacation three days after that terrorist threat on board that flight from amsterdam to detroit. telling the american people that everything is being done to keep them safe in the air. let's talk about it more with white house correspondent, steve toma. he is the chief political correspondent for mcclatchy newspapers. and nbc terror analyst, evan kohlmann. let me start with you, steve, because there wasn't a whole lot new here, but what would be your
headline? >> the headline is that the president spoke. there's a lot of pressure on him in the first 24, 36 hours after this, chris, to come forward with a statement. the fact that he stayed in seclusion, on vacation, the white house wanted to send the message that that isn't that big a concern for the traveling public, things are in control, but he's getting a lot of political pressure that they weren't doing enough. this was his effort to put a political stamp on it, i'm concerned, i'm involved, and we're trying to answer all these questions. >> there has been already, as you know, and have been following, so many criticisms, largely from republicans, but a few democrats expressing their concern as well. what's going to greet him when he comes back from his vacation and congress comes back from their recess? >> well, certainly, their going to face a lot of questions about how a suspected terrorist got on a plane with a bomb. they keep coming out and saying, well, we had him on this list, but the list isn't the final list, the real watch list. they'll have to answer the
questions why seven, eight years after they've been working on this in the federal government, they haven't got this right yet. janet napolitano, the homeland security department secretary went on tv yesterday morning, and her first interview was a little awkward when she kept trying to stress the good things that did work. today she came out and said, let's be honest, the system didn't work. >> evan kohlmann, what's the first thing that needs to be done? >> i think there's one word for it. it's called intelligence. it doesn't involve searching little old ladies that are in wheelchairs. it doesn't involve having mothers' infants' milk, it involves intelligence. we can't stop every border, we can't go through airport check and expect we'll find the bomb every single time. the solution to this is to identify would-be terrorists before they ever board an airliner. because if we're stopping them on board an airliner or in an airport or crossing a u.s. border, that's too late.
that's ex post facto. we need to know about these folks in advance and the best information that we're getting about these folks in advance is coming from the families, is coming from the fathers, the mothers, the cousins who come forward and say, we have concerns. we think our son or brother is a potential terrorist. to ignore that kind of intelligence, we cannot do. there is no way we can reconcile that with an effective counterterrorism policy. >> the president did say one other thing, evan, which is, we will not rest until we find all who are involved. so both visibly, what those of us in the public will see and what we won't see, what's going to happen to do that? >> it's going to be exceptionally difficult. i mean, the folks that were behind this, the people who were most likely his associates were all based in yemen. they're based in a region in yemen that is out of control, it's beyond the control of the yemeni government. they can't even tell us who was killed in the two air strikes that happened in the last two weeks. nobody really knows. so in terms of accessing these folks or bringing them to
justice, i don't know how we're going to go about doing that. we've already tried air strikes. that doesn't seem to work. we tried having the yemeni government go in there and launch ground strikes, that didn't work. what's next? i don't know. >> that's one of the questions joe lieberman is raising, for example, steve, and the whole question of whether or not the american public has the stomach for how much expansion there will be in this war on terror. where's that going to go, do you think? >> well, politically, it's a fine line to walk. i mean, will the american people put up with the kind of restrictions that are already being talked about? not being able to have anything in your lap on an airline in the final hour of a flight. not being able to use the restrooms for the final hour of the flight. >> and they're already backing off on that one. >> we tried that in washington, d.c. at reagan national for the first year or so after 9/11 and a lot of people didn't like it and eventually they rolled that back, didn't think it was quite necessary. there's always a fine line between civil liberties and
freedom and convenience and how much security people will put up. i think the emphasis here will be on stopping this guy, as evan said, before they get to the airplane. using this information in this case, there were so many warning signs, so he doesn't get the visa into the united states and never gets to the airport. >> thanks to both of you, steve and evan, and evan, i think we'll be talking to you again quite a few times in the coming days. thanks so much. coming up at 3:30, the new faa screening procedures. we'll go live to miami international airport, check out these new measures on the ground and see how they're affecting travelers right now. also still to come, a string of suspicious fires. at least nine different blazes on the same night within half a mile of each other in massachusetts. is there an arsonist on the loose? police in iran attempt to crack down after deadly anti-government protests erupt during a religious festival. we'll have the latest from tehran. and the exclusive interview. hear from the new jersey father who finally won custody of his son from brazil five years after he began his fight.
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welcome back to msnbc. time for a quick check of today's headlines. people in the midwest bracing for bitterly cold temperatures this week after holiday storms dumped snow all across the region. snow drifts up to 15 feet high still cover parts of iowa. the system is now moving into new england, where up to 8 inches are expected today. colorado prosecutors say they won't decide until february whether to file charges against charlie sheen following his arrest in an alleged domestic violence case. sheen was arrested on christmas day in aspen. tmz reports that sheen's wife
called 911 and said sheen was threatening her with a knife, but she's since recanted most of her story. arkansas police are offering a $3,000 reward for information in the murder of a salvation army major on christmas eve. philip wise was shot and killed outside a community center as his children looked on. police are looking for two men who witnesses saw running away from the scene. officials have now launched a criminal investigation into a string of fires in western massachusetts. those fires, five in buildings, four others in cars, all started within an hour of each other early sunday in the town of north hampton. two people died. today, massachusetts governor deval patrick announced he's stepping in. >> this community is deeply shaken by these series of fires, suspicious fires. and i want the public to know that every resource at the local level, at the state level, and at the atf that is available is being applied.
>> about 160 firefighters from 14 communities fought those blazes. ginning us, reporter elisa rodriguez of our affiliate wwlp. what can you tell us about the investigation? >> the governor is stepping in and he's forming a task force, offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects at this point. as you said, there are nine confirmed fires, five in houses, four in cars, one leaving two people dead. investigators are saying at this point, they're just searching for clues and they want anybody to come forward. >> elisa, thank you very much. we appreciate it. there's also been a tragic fire in mississippi that's claimed the lives of nine people, including six children. that fire swept through an apartment building in starkville before dawn this morning. everyone was killed in the same apartment, the children ranging in age from 4 months to 6 years.
that complex is not far from mississippi state university. joining us now on the phone is roger man, fire chief for starkville, mississippi. chief, i know you've got your hands full there. any clue yet how this fire started? >> no, chris, not at this time. we've narrowed the area of origin down to the living room. >> the living room, but no indication yet of any kind of accelerant or how it might have started, if it was electrical, did they have a space heater in there? >> we have no evidence that leads us towards foul play and it's still under investigation. we're still gathering all the evidence to come up with a possible cause. >> i can only imagine what this has done, both to the folks who work on the firefighting force with you and also the people of starkville. reaction just must be horrified. >> well, it is.
and it's a very close-knit community and we've lost nine of our citizens today, so it's a very tragic day for the history of starkville. >> well, our sympathies go out to everyone there, and particularly to the families and good luck to you as you continue your investigation, chief man. thanks for being with us. >> thank you. and still ahead, turning two bills into one. how will democratic leaders from the house and senate reconcile their very different versions on health care reform? plus -- ♪ joe wilson yelled, you lie ♪ a blue dog bankrupt >> our favorite year in review. the folks at jibjab look back at the year that was. you're watching the big picture here on msnbc.
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pro-reform activists. over the weekend, ten protesters were killed after police opened fire on demonstrators. one of those killed with us opposition leader mir hosein mousavi's nephew. in pakistan, 25 people are dead and dozens others were hurt when a suicide bomber targeted a shiite muslim procession. the attack sparked more violence has outraged shiites fired shots into the air and threw stones at police who had been guarding the march. in new zealand, 125 whales have died after getting stranded on the beach. volunteers and rescue workers managed to coax 43 whales back into the water, monitoring them as they swam out to sea. conservation officials say one of the whales may have been sick or their sonar may have led the group into shallow harbor. still ahead on msnbc, safety in the sky. airline passengers are dealing with all these new security changes, some long lines. we'll take you live to miami international airport and find out how folks there are coping. plus, will these new
so you can feel better. i'm matt nesto with your cnbc market wrap. right now the dow is off just about seven points, slipped negative. the s&p and nasdaq also have fall, down on the day. the nasdaq down not quite one point. oil prices hit a five-week high today. wintry weather triggered a sharp drop in oil supplies. oil was up 72 cents to settle at $79 a barrel. also, the threat of terrorism pushing prices higher and middle east unrest. audi says it plans to spend $10.5 million through 2012 on plant upgrades and new product and technology research. the german automaker says the investment will help it increase a number of models it currently has from 34 to 42 by the year
2015. and a gift for retailers as we wrap the holiday shopping season. people are spending just a little bit more more than people thought. sales were just about 3.5% from last year's disastrous season, despite tight credit and high unemployment. that's it for cnbc, first in business worldwide. now back to msnbc. on "the big picture" right now, breaking news involving that botched explosion on northwest airlines flight 253 on christmas day. just moments ago on msnbc, you saw president obama saying u.s. officials are doing everything in their power to ensure americans are safe in the wake of that attack. also moments ago, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula claimed responsibility for that attempted bombing. joining us now by phone is democratic congressman bennie thompson, chairman of the house homeland security committee. thanks very much for being with us, congressman. and i know both you and the senate homeland security chairman, joe lieberman, have said you want to hold hearings. what are the key questions you
want answered? >> well, thank you very much, chris, for having me on. some of the questions speak to whether or not what occurred on christmas day was a matter of technology, was it a matter of human error? but we need to get to the bottom of it. the other situation is whether or not we as a government have made a maximum effort to keep the flying public safe. and we -- so we will review all of it in our hearings. there is nothing that will be sacred. we need to put every issue on the table and look at it to make sure we get it right. >> let's talk, if we can, congressman, about one of the most obvious things that people have been talking about. and that is that there were all these little signs, ranging from the fact that his father had notified u.s. embassy officials about his concerns to the fact that he bought this cash ticket, that he didn't have any checked
baggage. and especially the fact, people say, that the uk had denied him an entry visa. the united states, on the other hand, instead of revoking his visa, said that they would review it if he ever replied for a visa. so common sense, would that tell you that there were big, big problems with this? >> oh, no question about it. in some instances, the right-hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. we can pass legislation all we want to, requiring agencies to talk to each other, but at the end of the day, those agencies compromised of people have to do it. so we will have to find out now why these missteps are still occurring and fix them. >> peter king of new york has been highly critical. he said the obama administration underestimated the threat from islamic terrorists. what would you say to that? >> well, i don't -- i think
peter's a little bit over the edge on that. i don't think president obama has taken the threat of terrorism lightly. he has done exactly what we needed to do. he's moving forward on it. his speech today was exactly on the mark. and so we have to move forward. i'm convinced that president obama has been strong on these issues. every issue that's been put before us as a congress, since the president's been there, he's dealt with it. >> congressman bennie thompson, chairman of the house homeland security committee, thanks so much for taking the time to talk with us. >> thank you for having me, chris. and some sweeping new security rules you've been hearing about in effect at airports after that man tried to blow up that flight just before landing in detroit on christmas day, those rules causing delays, creating long lines for passengers waiting to board flights. these are some pictures from o'hare in chicago today.
that surely doesn't look like fun. among the new rules, tighter pre-flight screening by tsa agents at u.s. airports, including more pat downs. but airline officials say some new in-flight security rules have already been eased after that two-day clampdown. nbc news has learned that at a captain's discretion, passengers can have blankets and other items on their laps in the last hour of flight. they can also move about the cabin during that final hour. restrictions have also been lifted on in-flight entertainment systems with those maps, showing a plane's location. nbc's kerry sanders is at the miami international airport, and i know this has got to be confusing for people who are flying, because it's hard for us, even from our offices, to get straight information. how are things going there, kerry? >> reporter: well, it's moving along, but the information, as ever changing, or perhaps it's just evolving. i spoke to a pilot here who said that he actually believes it should be at the discretion of the pilot. he thought it was silly to have
a hard and fast rule that people had to remain the their seats for the final hour of an international flight coming to the united states because he knows, you know, parents have kids on the lap that need to go to the bathroom. people often need to reach up overhead to get something and they were being told they couldn't reach up overhead. so he believes moving this direction is good and points out a lot of things people have said. those new hard and fast rules that are now evolving, it didn't seem to address the exact situation that took place here. some are using the term, knee-jerk reaction. and this is why -- as you know, the nigerian suspect here, the 23-year-old, bought the ticket with cash. he had no checked baggage. his father had called the embassy to say that he was suspect and concerned that his son might try to do some sort of jihadist activity. and then, of course, there was the mere fact that his name was on one of those lists. and then, all of that did not
prevent him from buying a ticket, leaving nigeria, going to amsterdam, changing planes, and then going on through. let's look at that route. he went through security at nigeria. by most american standards, it's not considered to be very much of a security. in fact, people who have gone through that say you walk through the magnetometer and it doesn't go off unless maybe you're carrying a can non with you. it never goes off. then he gets to amsterdam where he goes through what's called a second security. that security is not provided by the dutch government, though, rather it's subcontracted. and according to the experts in this country who before tsa began were pointing at that subcontracting problem, they said, take a look at what subcontracting does. this is what wayne black had to say. >> the airlines say they work on a budget, these are the same
people that charge you $5 for a pillow and $6 for that little lunch snack. so budget-driven security will always fail. >> reporter: budget-driven security. of course, there are a lot of revisions now that are being taken place in amsterdam. and nationwide, if you're traveling, chris, go early, take a deep breath, bring a book. it's going to take some time, but the system is already beginning to work out these new kinks because it's been handed to the discretion of the pilots. >> yeah, kerry, thanks so much. appreciate that update. >> more now on aviation security and the system for tracking potential terrorists. the obama administration is taking hits for not having a better system in place and we heard from the president just a few minutes ago, he's ordering a review of that system. joining me now on the phone, former faa chief of staff, michael goldfarb. good to talk to you. what's the first thing you think this investigation needs to look at?
>> first of all, it's a good thing they removed the restrictions, whether they were knee-jerk or not, they certainly didn't enhance aviation security. in effect, there are two critical points here. obviously, the intelligence from nigeria, from the embassy, from the british was missed. that we have a very sophisticated computer system that yields a ton of data, but not a lot of useful information. so i think the president is going to have to do a thorough review of how good those computer systems are in realtime to identify potential terrorists. the second point is that airports are about one of the best. i heard kerry sanders say in nigeria, the screening may not have been good, but they have two things. they have the body scan, which is controversial in this country, about the full body scan, and they have the slob. had he gone through either of those two procedures, he would not have been boarded on that flight. so one thing that is useful is the added pat downs at the airport and the physical checks. those are always useful. but until we have a full
deployment of some of that technology, we're going to be trying to just, you know, go as we can here on this. >> and frankly, wasn't the point that he was trying to hide this bomb-making material in a place where he wouldn't be patted down, so you can increase the number of pat downs, but that doesn't help in a case like this one. what's your take on these full body scans? you understand the privacy concerns? >> well, it will be interesting to see where the president comes down on this, if he wants to kind of thread the needle between civil liberties and privacy and airport security. and it's a very tough call. these technologies have not gone quickly in the u.s. for good reason because privacy groups have complained about them. they've also had some faulty resolutions, where you would go through and it would see things that weren't, in fact, a threat. so they're not fully ready for prime-time. the tsa plans to buy 768, but that's not until 2014. and we have more than 768 critical points of airport entry in this country.
so it's a half solution, it's a good one, but yet again, i think a thorough review of aviation security, just to add to the new administration's long list of things they have to do would lead to a rethinking of how we're going to provide for this country. >> when we look at those lists and the names that are on them, where they should be, and how they get or don't get cross referenced with other information that would cause red flags, you've worked inside the system, so you have a sense of this. if they really could focus on where the problems were, how quickly could this be fixed? >> there's no answers to that. there's the non-technological answer, which is that there's a certain number of people at u.s. embassies and foreign governments across the country that could form a task force that manually look at those lists, understand who is flying, and come to a more rapid resolution. the computer fix is still many years away. but there's another point here, which is the vigilance.
when you have so many people on the first watch list, and then you have a second list, you tend to lose your sense of individual lance. during pan am 103, almost two decades ago, the faa received briefings of problems that led to the lockerbie disaster. so i think this refocuses people's attention on these problems. soy imagine they'll move in two directions. one, a more manual labor-intensive one to try to shore up the problem. and then, two, look for a more elegant computer solution longer term. >> michael goldfarb, good talking to you. thank you. >> you're welcome. in the wake of that terror scare aboard the northwest flight, airline stocks went sliding today. shares of northwest's parent, delta air, down more than 5%. american, united, continental, and us airway stock also fell today. coming up in the next hour on "the big picture," is yemen the next front on the war on terror? umar farouk abdulmutallab reportedly told investigators
that al qaeda operatives in yemen gave him those explosives and showed him how to detonate them. we'll talk to nbc news foreign correspondent, richard engel. but up next, reforming health care. democrats say they'll come back to work early to help merge the two bills. but will the gop undo much of the work done in 2010? later on, iran cracks down after the deadliest day of anti-government protests in months. a live report from tehran is ahead. sometimes the little things in fe fe like our biggest enemies. [dripping] [shower running] they can be damaged... they can be stolen. happily, there's the american express charge card. if something you recently bought with the card breaks, it can be repaired... replaced... with the card breaks, or your account can be credited. you'll even get membership rewards points
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house democrats give up the public option? which is in their version, but not the senate version. >> we're not going to rubber stamp the senate bill. before the house was to give up the public option, we would want to be persuaded that there are other mechanisms in whatever bill comes out that would keep down premiums. we've got to make sure that the final product is affordable. >> the public option should do three things, create more choice for insurers, create more competition for insurance companies, and to contain costs. so if we can come up with a process by which these three things can be done, then i'm all for it. whether or not we label it a public option or not is of no consequence. >> joining us now to make their case, john anotto, and chris stalwart, political editor with the conservative washington examiner. john, let me start with you, is the public option dead? >> not at all.
we're still fighting this fight. to say that it's dead is way premature, because we still have to go to conference. and the house has to make a choice. are they actually a legislative body, do they have a say in this process, or is congress just joe lieberman? right now it's too premature. liberals are still fighting and progressives are still fighting. can i say one quick thing about mayor bloomberg, he was speaking gibberish on "meet the press." this is a problem. this is a man who spent $100 million to be elected mayor. he spent $170 per person, and he doesn't even know what he's talking about. and this goes to the state of the republican party and the conservative movement. they are not engaged and they have nothing useful to say. >> what do you think, chris, about what mayor bloomberg had to say? >> i think it reflects a general frustration with the way we make law in this country now. not just that the process is difficult or that there's horse trading, but more importantly, that people don't have confidence that the results that are coming out are understood by anybody involved.
and i think that when republicans wave around stacks of legislation and they're talking about the size of these bills, what they're really trying to talk about is the complexity and the unintended consequences of legislation like this. so from somebody like bloomberg, you're hearing sort of the financial world perspective on something that's big, has a lot of moving parts, and is really complicated. >> let's talk about some of the political consequences, because we know that we will have them. on "meet the press," former house speaker, newt gingrich, said that republicans will run on a campaign of vowing to repeal health care reform. i want to play for you a little clip of what he said. >> i suspect every republican running in '10 and again in '12 will run on an absolute pledge to repeal this bill. most of the bill does not go into effect until '13 or '14, except on the tax increase side. and therefore, i think there won't be any great constituency for it. and i think it will be a major campaign theme. >> let's stick with 2010, chris. what are the implications for
the campaign? >> democrats believe they can turn this into a positive. over the course of the next ten months, they can convince americans this is good legislation, and more importantly, turn a negative for them into a negative for the republicans. the republicans don't have ideas or answers. the problem is, the legislation remains hugely unpopular. it's unpopular with liberals who don't like the lack of a public option in the senate plan and probably the eventually product. and it's unpopular with motors and conservatives, because they're afraid it's going to raise their costs. so this is going to be a very big gamut. >> i only have time for one more question, but i want to get john in here. mitch mcconnell said he thinks this is going to haunt the democrats. what do you think, john? >> let's face it, the republicans are the party of no. is it shocking that they say they're going to try to repeal it? as far as we know, they've been against the new deal. they want to destroy social security. just think, if they had privatized social security during this whole global
financial collapse, millions and millions of but that doesn't an question of whether this could be problematic for them in 2010 and even looking ahead to 2012. >> i don't think so in the end. when health care is passed, the house will push to make this bill better. once it gets into effect, what they do need to do is make something a little more tangible for americans so that they see some progress in their health care. it is a problem that it is delayed but in the end once a bill is passed, then it will help the democrats. >> thank you. just ahead we'll hear from our tehran bureau chief on the latest violence and protests in iran. you're watching the big picture on msnbc.
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a little while ago, talking about the deadly protests and crackdown in iran. protests continued for a second day today as security forces reportedly used tear gas on demonstrators once again. they also have arrested at least seven prominent beingactivists. on sunday at least eight people were killed in tehran in those clashes during the antigovernment marches there. among those killed, mousavi's nephew who was reportedly shot in the back as police tried to break up the crowd. his body has now reportedly disappeared from a hospital. nbc's tehran bureau chief ali arouzi joins us on the phone from iran. what's the latest you can tell us from there? >> reporter: good afternoon, chris. that's right. mousavi's family says that the nephew's body has gone missing from the hospital but the official government line here is that his body is in police custody pending an official
inquiry into his death. the opposition here is claiming the government's taken the body to prevent his family from holding a funeral which could be a new rallying cry for further protests. >> what do you think is going to be the reaction, if any, there in iran to president obama's comments earlier today? >> reporter: probably it is going to be a negative reaction to his comments. the iranian government's going to accuse him of meddling in iranian affairs, of being insincere of trying to mend fences with iran and saying that this goes to show that we can't have a relationship with them, that they're always trying to meddle in our affairs, despite the president saying this has nothing to do with america. the reaction in iran is going to be negative to the president's comments. >> tell me about the mood there in tehran. would you compare it if you could to some of the things you've seen in the past?
>> reporter: absolutely. i mean this is without a doubt been the most serious protest since the june election. one thing the people don't seem to realize, that they think the protest has died down but they haven't died down. they've always been simmering for the last six, seven months now and every time there is an occasion for public holiday or commemoration, they'll hijack that event to protest. it is nothing new that these protests happen. it was surprising that so many people were killed on such an important religious festival yesterday. >> ali, we always appreciate your reporting especially under the circumstances. so take care of yourself and we'll talk to you soon. >> reporter: thank you. coming up in the next hour here on msnbc, president obama today promising he will not rest until everyone involved in that attempted terror attack is brought to justice. we'll have the latest on the investigation. plus be, a new focus on yemen. where the would-be bomber traveled in the months before the attack. is yemen the next battleground
in the fight against al qaeda? we'll talk about it with nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel. you're watching the big picture on msnbc. e morning. to a cough. to a full body ache... at night. new tylenol cold rapid release gels day and night work fast too. they release medicine fast to relieve painful coughs, congestion and sore throats. so you can rest, day and night. feel better, tylenol cold. [ male announcer ] crunch, wheat thins. ♪ that's what'gonna happen here. why? ♪ because you're tasty with toasty whole grain. that's why. crunch ] wheat thins. ♪ toasted. whole grain.
we will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable. >> full review. how did a man whose name is in a terror database get on a u.s.-bound plane carrying explosives, and why did he even have a visa? the president says a sweeping investigation of airport security is coming, but so is the scrutiny. >> i think this administration has downplayed it. they need to recognize it. >> both sides better look out. guess who's holding up the nomination for the head of the agency that runs airport security? a republican senator. and could all this lead to another front in the war on terror? >> iraq was yesterday's war. afghanistan is today's war. if we don't act preemptively, yemen will be tomorrow's war. an if you thought the christmas weather was bad, wait
until new year's. get ready for winter wallop two. and which congressman apparently told an accused billion dollar swindler, "i love you and i believe in you." it's something we just thought you should know. good afternoon. i'm chris jansing. david schuster and tamron hall have the day off. we're going to begin with developing news in "the big picture." just a short time ago we heard from president obama making his first statements on that christmas day terror plot. he says he will not rest until everyone involved has been found. >> those who would slaughter innocent men, women and children must know that the united states will do more than simply strengthen our defenses. we will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from afghanistan or pakistan, yemen or somalia or anywhere. >> the president said security's