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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  May 4, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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before he was implicated in planning and directing terrorist attacks, himself. before his own al qaeda plots bin laden was thought to have been the money man behind high profile attacks like the tower bombings in saudi arabia in 1996 or the first world trade center bombing in 1993. he was international terrorism's money guy. here's how nbc news first reported on osama bin laden back in 1997. watch this. >> this guerrilla warrior operates like the ceo of a fortune 500 company. funding and supporting violence against the west and its allies. call it terror inc. private jets, swiss bank accounts. he gives orders via the internet. as good a capitalist as he is a terrorist. >> he was not a terrorist per se. he's the guy in the background pulling the strings. >> that was nbc news 1997. the first reason osama bin laden became the world's terrorist kingpin was money.
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the second reason he became the world's terrorist kingpin also money, but in a different way. osama bin laden's father who was a construction mogul in saudi arabia he died when bin laden was about 10 years old. he left behind a hefty, but undisclosed fortune. that gave osama bin laden not only a lot of his own money to do what he wanted be, but it also gave him access to the mega rich saudi elite. he grew up playing with saudi princes and sheiks. he had his own stable of horses by the time he was 15 years old. that became the key not only to his direct financial power, but to his mystique. to what made him inspirational in the extremist world. to the myth of him. bin laden used to brag when the russians invaded afghanistan, the saudi government wanted to send a prince. the saudi government wanted to send somebody from the royal family. when they couldn't get an actual saudi royal to go to afghanistan to be an inspirational figure supporting the muslim fighters against the communists there,
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they picked the next best thing. they picked osama bin laden who was essentially saudi royalty even if he wasn't actually from the royal family. those were the roots of his inspirational power as a terrorist figurehead. this rich guy. this almost unimaginably rich guy with unimaginably rich friends could be doing anything. could be doing anything with all his money and influence. but he went and lived among the humble mujahadin fighters in afghanistan fighting against the communists. he funded that insurgency. he raised funds for that insurgency among his rich friends. he maybe even fought a little bit, himself, although nobody really knows. the insurgency ultimately wins. the soviets go home. the soviet union collapses shortly thereafter. this us a tan tashsly biased, humbled by choice rich kid gets to be the folk hero. when we think about osama bin laden, we think about mayhem. and war and perverted pseudotheology. when bin laden talked about what he was doing and why, he was
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always talking about money. even at times you really would not expect him to be so money focused, he talked about money. money is always how he explained what he was doing and what he and al qaeda were trying to accomplish. one month after the september 11th attacks, in october 2001, osama bin laden gave an interview to al jazeera. in that interview he explained the effect of the 9/11 attacks as follows, quote, the losses on wall street amounted to 16% and they said that this was a record loss that had never happened since the market opened more than 230 years ago. such a huge collapse had never happened before. the capital in circulation in this market amounts to $4 trillion. if we multiply 16% by $4 trillion to find out the losses that their shares suffered we find that it is $640 billion. this is what they lost in one hour. the daily gross national income in the united states is $20 billion. on the first week after the attacks, they did not work at all because of the psychological shock. even to this very day some
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people do not go to work because of the enormous shock. he goes on and on and on about money. bin laden in this interview a month after 9/11. he goes into great detail about layoffs in the airline industry. layoffs in the hotel industry. name checking specific hotel chains. ultimately he adds it all up and says by his sketchy terrorist math that he thought that his great victory of the 9/11 attacks was that they cost the united states more than $1 trillion. that's what he saw the victory as. that's how he was talking in the first month after the 9/11 attacks. after that, even though bin laden loomed very large in everything that americans were thinking about, he didn't actually release many other video recordings. there was that one right after 9/11. a month afterwards. a number of audio messages that he put out over the next few years. it wasn't until 2004 right before the george w. bush/john kerry presidential election that bin laden dramatically released another long videotaped
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statement. again what did he talk about in that statement? he talked about money. reflecting again on the 9/11 attacks. bin laden said quote, al qaeda spent $500,000 on the event while america on the incident and its aftermath lost according to the lowest estimates more than $500 billion. at this point it is more than 3 years after 9/11, and he is still tallying up and bragging about the financial cost of the attack on the united states. the financial cost is what's in the front of his mind. when americans think about the 9/11 attacks do we think, those sure were expensive? that is not really the way that we tallied up the cost. but that is the way that he tallied it up. that is the way he consistently explained al qaeda's overall strategy. something that looked to us insane neanderthal bloodthirsty nilism. from his perspective it was economic. and it was economically rational.
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bin laden saying in 2004 quote, we are continuing this policy in bleeding america to the point of bankruptcy. as for the economic deficit, it has reached astronomical numbers estimated to total more than $1 trillion. the real loser is you, the american people and their economy. according to bin laden the goal of al qaeda was to bleed america to the point of bankruptcy. that was his grand strategy. our good friend ezra kline at "the washington post" wrote about this today saying quote, for bin laden success was to be measured in body counts. it was to be measured in deficits, in borrowing costs, in investments we weren't able to make in our country's continued economic strength. a month ago, a month before osama bin laden was killed the congressional research service published a report which seemed to me to be the most conservative possible accounting for the cost of iraq, afghanistan and other global war on terror operations since 9/11. by their very conservative estimate just things like veterans health care and the
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wars, themselves, directly cost about $1.3 trillion since 9/11. and $1.4 trillion if the president's budget for next year is approved. i say that's conservative because nobel prize winning economist wrote a book about just the iraq war that was titled "the three trillion dollar war." again, just for iraq not even talking about afghanistan. and not even talking about everything else we have spent so much on as a country because 9/11 happened. because of what al qaeda did. money that we would not have necessarily spent otherwise. last year "the washington post" published a remarkable information called "top secret america" chronicling how much money we have poured into defense and intelligence and security over the last decade. i've gone back to this series again and again since they first published it. quote, the pentagon's defense intelligence agency has gone from 7,500 employees in 2002 to 16,500 today. the budget of the national
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security agency which conducts electronic eavesdropping doubled. 35 fbi joint terrorism task forces, 35 became 106. on the grounds of the former st. elizabeth mental hospital in anacostia, a homeland department building will rise from the crumbling brick wards. the largest government complex built since the pentagon. 24 government organizations were created by the end of 2001. in 2002, 37 more were created to coordinate the new focus on counterterrorism. that was followed the next year by 36 new organizations. and 26 after that and 31 more. and 32 more. and 20 or more each in 2007, 2008 and 2009. when 9/11 happened at the u.s. national debt was this -- the day that osama bin laden was finally killed nearly ten years later this was the debt. reflecting hugely of course the great recession caused by the
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financial sector self-emulating. consider the historically massive u.s. defense budget doubled since 2001. the u.s. intelligence budget who knows? we didn't have the department of homeland security budget when 9/11 happened. now we do. it got $42 billion last year. the investment in innovation and energy and human capital and sacrifice that america has put into security over the past ten years is really mind bending. it really reflects a massive national effort. and maybe there's waste and fraud and abuse. and maybe a lot of that money has gone down a rat hole or spider hole. even if you do not -- even if you do not take that tack on it, even if it hasn't -- say you're being totally uncritical about the character of that spending. if you're just trying to be honest about how much of it there has been, what is the effect of that type of massive reorganization of american priorities? what is the effect of that on
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the strength of our country? on the economic strength of our country? in 1999 before 9/11 this was median household income in america. here's what happened in the years since 9/11. median household income has dropped by 5%. as that average income has sunk over the past decade, the basic cost of living has gone off the charts. here's what happened to health care costs, for example, over the last decade. the average annual premiums for a family in 2000 just over $6,000. in 2010 that figure rose to more than $13,000. how about something like home heating oil, basics. february 2000, a gallon was $1.35 of home heating oil. now that will be $3.88 a gallon, please. as incomes in this country have stayed flat and as the basic, basic costs of living have gone up, making the median american family materially more poor, we've also seen things like our education results decline. in 2000 the u.s. ranked 14th in science and 18th in math. by 2009 the u.s. was down to
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17th in science and 25th in math. the results of all of this? lower wages, higher living costs, poorer education, results is the middle class in this country disintegrating? income unequalty is worse now than it has been in decades. the u.s. leading the way in economic unequalty in the whole developed world. as a measure of america's strength, the modern impossibility of the middle class is not something to feel romantic or wistful, or, again, ideological about, not at a time like this. it is worth thinking about whether or not america has a strong, resilient economy. rich people being really rich, that alone does not give you a strong economy or strong nation. that's feudalism with cable. one of the great granular legacies of the last ten years of american priorities is four of the five wealthiest counties in the country are now in the washington, d.c., beltway. the forbes list says fairfax county virginia is home to company with strong connections
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to intelligence agencies like the cia and national counterterrorism center. all that spending does buy you something. buys you something here at home in addition to buying you something abroad. osama bin laden's stated goal for the 9/11 attacks was to cause us to spend ourselves into oblivion. his goal was to do something cheap and radical and traumatizing that would cause us to react in a way that bankrupted us. so that what they couldn't take down by force or by ideological competition, we would take down ourselves by panic. osama bin laden, i'm happy to say is now dead. and now we have a choice to make about whether the next decade of spending and policy and priority will be one that makes us stronger, whether it will be one that gets us back to competing on our own terms for our own goals. joining us now, eugene robinson. msnbc political analyst and pulitzer prize winning columnist for "washington post." thank you for being here. >> it's good to be here, rachel. >> is there a political opportunity post-bin laden, to
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shift priorities, to shift our security priority to include economic security and economic strength? >> there should be that opening. and maybe there will be, rachel. it's, you know, it will take a while i think to absorb the death of bin laden and to kind of figure out what page we have turned. i was at the -- in front of the white house the other night on sunday night after the announcement had been made. everybody talked about turning a page, but not about to what. and so let's see. that's one thing that i think this ought to represent, an opportunity to redirect some of the resources to where they're desperately needed. >> did the way though -- the way that we have spent money on security particularly on defense contracting and intelligence contracting in the past decade have we over ten years created a
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class of powerful people and powerful rich companies who have benefited so much from the way we spent money after 9/11 that they'll now be this great interest group that's able to stop any shift away from the spending priorities? >> oh, you bet. you bet we have. you talked about that expansion. you noted that four of the five richest counties are right here in the washington area. you're going to have not just those companies but elected representatives from around here, a lobbying -- i think, probably fiercely, that spending not be drastically cut because that would have a huge impact locally and, of course, those companies are not just local. they have branches and operations in other parts of the country as well. so, yes, there is a new interest talk or a larger interest group. you know, dwight eisenhower talked about the military industrial complex. i think this is a variation of
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that only bigger. >> gene, what do you think is going to happen to the debate about the afghanistan war after bin laden's death? obviously we're due for another round of debate about the war anyway. not only because it's getting dislocated from the traditional left/right axis. we're having more and more republicans coming out and saying it's time for the war to be wound down. also july is supposed to be when the extra surge troops that president obama sent are supposed to start coming home. do you think the debate about the war is going to be any different now in the wake of bin laden's death? >> i think this definitely changes the debate. i think there will be people who say mission accomplished. we went there to -- remember, the reason we went there was al qaeda. we drove them out. we decimated the organization. now we have killed osama bin laden. it's time at the very least to reduce our presence there, to reduce our footprint and to find a way out.
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i think this gives ammunition and probably considerable popular support to those who want a real retrenchment of the u.s. position in afghanistan and not just a token withdrawal. >> eugene robinson, msnbc political analyst. gene, it is always great to see you. thanks my friend. >> great to be here, rachel. >> one piece of information, the one thing on which almost everyone now agrees is that osama bin laden is dead. beyond that there are the incredible, compelling, thrilling narratives of what happened in the siege that killed him. how that all happened. the stories all feature tenacious spy work, daring decision making and superhuman courage. that said, the stories are all different. the stories all say that different things happened. different people did stuff. different numbers of people did stuff. they did stuff in different orders and it had different effects. an attempt to clarify what is already a totally incoherent landscape of news coming up.
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helicopter, a chinook that was sent to the scene for emergency support. while we're on the subject of emergency support. what was the emergency? good question. it must have been that one of those helicopters came crashing down and rolled on to its side for reasons the government has yet to explain. by which of course, i mean that one of those four or two helicopters had a mechanical failure and tumbled into a courtyard. its tail clipping a 12-foot wall. to say one of those four, or was it two helicopters actually just stalled and would not take off? once raid was under way, one man held an unidentified woman living there as a shield while firing at the americans. both were killed. by which i mean an armed osama bin laden took cover behind a woman who was his wife. which is to say osama bin laden was not armed at all and his wife was not killed. rather a different woman in a different part of the compound was killed in crossfire. this is what an evolving story looks like.
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the basic facts you're getting about the raid on the compound where osama bin laden was living and where he died, those basic facts have been wholly dependent over the last few days on where and when you are getting your information. spoiler alert, it does not look any prettier when you dress it up and put it on the television machine. evolving news stories evolve and they do it in a super messy looking way sometimes. at 1:30 monday morning pakistani time, two blackhawk helicopters -- >> from two helicopters -- >> two blackhawks brought this team in. >> the raid began with four u.s. military helicopters. >> you see the two helicopters coming in. >> four helicopters, two blackhawks and two chinooks. >> half past midnight three u.s. helicopters flying low under pakistani radar zeroed in on the compound. >> the compound where bin laden was found surrounded by seven-foot walls. walls as high as 18 feet topped with barbed wire. >> walls at least 12 feet high topped with razor wire. >> it had 12 to 18-foot walls
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lined with barb >> right up to one of those ed wire. 18-foot walls which surrounded the compound. >> carried about 25 s.e.a.l.s to the compound with a second team as backup. >> two dozen commandos arriving overhead. >> approximately 24 navy s.e.a.l.s repelled into bin laden's heavily guarded compound. >> incredible new details about how 40 members of navy s.e.a.l.s team six took bin laden's compound. >> as dozens of u.s. commandos set up a perimeter, two teams of assault forces, delta force and navy s.e.a.l.s, stormed the compound. >> osama bin laden had a code name geronimo. >> nbc news has learned exclusively the code words used during the operation, a u.s. official says bin laden was called jackpot. okay. and the term to indicate a successful kill or capture for bin laden was geronimo. >> we've i.d.'d geronimo. geronimo was the code name for the mission to get osama bin laden.
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>> this is a story with a moral so to speak. an object lesson. maybe is a better way to put it. that object lesson is this, the exact details of an evolving story are not the place to stake out your big sweeping ideological argument. there's nothing wrong with understood those facts dimply differently at different times. there's nothing wrong in that reporting. if you are thinking about trying to use one of the many emerging details fluid details from the osama bin laden story to advance whatever your particular prepackaged political point might be about torture or interrogation or intelligence gathering or the presidency of george w. bush or the presidency of barack obama or global warming or light rail or whatever, caution. think twice. think three times. whether it is the fog of war or sloppiness or we're just going to have to be patient about this, it is clear that we do not yet have the definitive account of what happened in pakistan. of the events that led to osama bin laden's death.
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and if you try to use what you think is a really great detail from the reporting on that operation to advance a political point, it could turn out tomorrow that that detail is not true. or someone just as authoritative as the person who reported it today will be out with new reporting in the opposition direction tomorrow. you with your political posturing tied with that, you'll look foolish if you have a conscience about looking foolish about these kinds of things. there are a lot of questions that we just do not have the answers to yet. one of them is where the information came from that led to the courier that led u.s. intelligence sources to that compound in pakistan where they killed osama bin laden. "the new york times" reports today that al qaeda leaders in u.s. custody. khalid shaikh mohammed claimed they'd never heard of the courier. the associated press reporting khalid shaikh mohammed confirmed knowing the courier but denied he had anything to do with al qaeda. "the washington post" reporting
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that other detainees pointed cia interrogators to a courier. clearly we do not have the definitive account of whether the information came from that led to osama bin laden. but we will get to the bottom of what we do know next with a very important source. with malcolm nance the chief of training at the navy's survival evasion, resistance and escape school. he testified in front of congress about how u.s. interrogators ended up water boarding and why. please stay tuned for that.
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can you confirm that it was as a result of water boarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after bin laden? >> you know, brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information. and that was true here. we had a multibillion source, a multiable series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. clearly some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees. we also had information from other sources as well. from intelligence, from imagery, from other sources that we had assets on the ground. it was a combination of all of that that ultimately we were able to put together that led us to that compound. so, it's a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got. >> cia director leon panetta saying today that there were multiple sources of intelligence that ultimately beat the path to
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osama bin laden. at this point and maybe forever after, it is hard to know exactly where the key information came from that led to him. that has not stopped people of competing idealogical stripes from using this week's enormous news to support their own arguments that their way was the way public enemy number one was brought to justice. people saying torture worked. or torture didn't work at all. while i am sympathetic to those arguments and have them all the time, how could anybody really know the connection of those arguments to the facts at this point? malcolm nance is a former master instructor and chief of training at the navy survival evasion resistance and escape school. mr. nance testified in front of congress that waterboarding is torture. he's experienced it, himself. he's a consultant on counterterrorism and terrorism intelligence for the u.s. government. he's author of "an end to al qaeda." malcolm, it's nice to see you again. thanks for coming on the show. >> always a pleasure. >> let me start by asking you
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how you felt when you heard? >> well, when i finally stopped screaming because, you know, i witnessed the pentagon attack. i was right across the river from it and watched the airplane fly right into the building. it's very personal for me. it's also spent ten years taking up the time of thousands and thousands of u.s. service members and their families and my family's had to suffer over this, too. but we're very relieved that this one component of al qaeda that we finally put the nail in the coffin of al qaeda. and now the infrastructure's going to come tumbling down and we can see what else we can do. >> you think the infrastructure of al qaeda that bin laden was so important as the linchpin or is that based on the fact that we got intelligence from where we killed him? >> both of those things. first off, osama bin laden is the ideological glue to what al qaeda believes. al qaeda was not just the man, it was the entire infrastructure that he had built about this philosophy of taking over the muslim world and then the world and creating this clash of
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civilizations where islam will defeat democracy. not only was he overtaken by events recently in the middle east with democracy throughout the muslim world, which had nothing to do with al qaeda. not one word of his philosophy was used in that. he's dead. now his followers, the hangers-on, the people under him, his lieutenants, they have to justify their very existence in an islamic world that proou proved that islamic democracy does not need violence, doesn't need anything that he was offering at this point. with that u.s. intelligence found a treasure-trove of everything that he practically owned. whatever communications methodology he was using in there, whether human intelligence, face to face communications or whether he was keeping a diary or notes or just had something in his role of decks. we have it now. an the al qaeda organization has no clue as to what we have. >> in terms of, i mean, there will never be anything as big for us, probably, as killing bin laden.
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but we are all sort of on the edge of our seats to see the way that u.s. forces are going to be able to exploit any intelligence that they got there. and as that moves forward, we're left trying to figure out what they exploited to get as far as they did. what do you make about the debate about whether or not enhanced interrogation techniques were key to getting this information that led to bin ladin? >> that's ridiculous. okay. first off, this intelligence the fresh. this occurred eight months ago, almost nine months ago. what this really is, what you've seen, what the united states citizens and the world have seen now, you have seen pure analytical intelligence processes come together and what director panetta was trying to say was multidimensional intelligence was fused together. we put boxes around people. we got hints about who was important. who was not important. we got little bits of data whether it came from an interrogation that was soft or
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probably an interrogation that was relatively fresh. and we had these names and we sifted through every name in the al qaeda association book and with that we started processing each one and started putting surveillance on them. whether that came from the pakistanis, themselves, with people in their special branch following them around, 40, 50 guys following them from here to here to there, or whether it came from signals, intelligence, whether it came from geospatial intelligence where we analyzed the terrain. or whether we actually had eyes on that person following them 24/7 using a satellite or a drone. a lot of resources came together in this operation and once we put that box around these people, they had to move and they had to move to where they were operating from. in the mountains, moving down into a town, and then moving to this compound. once they started going in and out of this compound, each one of those nodes, each one of those residences, each one of these little places they visited, systems came down on
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them and we analyzed them. and the imagery analysts, as you've probably heard, noticed there were very different characteristics of this residence inside near the pakistan military academy that were similar to type of compound he had had in afghanistan. i'd been to his house in jalalabad after the tora bora operation. very similar compound. five, six residences within inside it. very high walls, very austere conditions. but it was beautifully placed to be someplace that was close to a facility that no one would suspect. but khalid sheik mohammed put his safe house next to the military center. others the same thing. it was an operational profile. once we determined who was coming into this little box, you could put surveillance assets on it and around it. even if they had gone outside the box, you can look and see who's there and when they're doing operations out of there. it's really, really pure, raw intelligence power that went in here and great shout-out needs
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to go out to all the service members, the u.s., central intelligence agency, defense intelligence agency and all the military service intelligence elements. >> someone involved in the training of the folks. a shout-out back to you. malcolm nance former chief of training at the navy sears school. expert in counterterrorism and terrorism. i've been wanting to talk to you about this since i learned about it. thanks for coming in. it's great to see you. >> my pleasure. >> we'll be right back. whew! i need a break from programming all these car insurance discounts, online. i'm dishing out discounts all day. doesn't the esurance website do most of, your work? "bew!," safe-driver discount. "bew," homeowner discount, "zing," multi-car discount.
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for the last decade, the world's paid urgent attention to the video missives from osama bin laden. the non-jihadist world will not miss anything about bin laden's productions. we will almost definitely see the same kind of thing from whoever it is that will take his place. who will be the new world's leading homicidal nihilist? the leading candidate appears to be this guy. al zawahiri. you may be familiar with his production work since he has peppered the internet with his own jihadist messages over the last ten years. now the news about this week's big news in terrorism. that guy you just saw that al zawahiri appears to be a bad
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choice for promotion at al qaeda. we have some important and not entirely discouraging facts about the man who is probably the new osama bin laden. you will want to hear this.
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last night as americans learned that the united states had carried out an operation that resulted in the capture and death of osama bin laden --
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[ applause ] >> i think we experienced the same sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. we were reminded again that there is a pride in what this nation stands for. and what we can achieve that runs far deeper than party, far deeper than politics. and so tonight it is my fervent hope that we can harness some of that unity and some of that pride to confront the many challenges that we still face. >> president obama speaking to a bipartisan congressional gathering last night getting a big bipartisan standing ovation and calling for unity for an effort even in congress to supersede our divisions to work together. he talks about that all the
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time. even in the middle of intense political fighting he insists on his trademark let's all come together message. to an extent that admittedly has made liberals like me a little crazy. in times like this one, the president here announcing the death of osama bin laden at american hands, president obama's talk about unity does reflect a real palpable feeling in a lot of the country as well as the emotional power of this event of how much it means to all of us that osama bin laden is finally gone. is this a powerful enough moment for us as a country that it could start to bridge another gap that we've got that isn't about politics? on 9/11 there was a nation mourning and a nation in shock, but there was a subset of us as a country who were families and loved ones of the individuals who were killed that day. since 9/11 our nation has been at war for the whole decade, but it has been a tiny proportion of us who have fought those wars and whose families and loved ones have seen their families and loved ones fight those wars.
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in this emotional moment that we're having about osama bin laden's death and 9/11 ten years on, is there a way for the nation as a whole to close the gap? to do right by the small number of americans who have borne a disproportionate share of the burden in these past ten years? joining us is alice. mark bingham was one of the first passengers on flight 93 who fought back against the hijackers which is believed to force the plane into a field in pennsylvania instead of the likely target in washington, d.c. alice hoagland, thank you so much for joining us tonight. >> thank you, rachel. it's a real pleasure to hear you articulate the issues so well. >> thank you. can i just start by just asking how you felt and what you've been thinking about since you learned that bin laden had been killed? >> well, it started out with a cautious hope.
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and it turned to real optimism and i was very gratified to hear the bipartisan members of congress cheer and applaud because to tell you the truth i am very glad that osama bin laden is dead and not in the world anymore. i think the world is well rid of him. i am so grateful to our past presidents bill clinton and george w. bush who began this ardent effort to capture osama bin laden. i am thrilled to death that president obama has been able to accomplish that. i am so grateful to him. i am very grateful to leon panetta who had the courage to gather the intelligence and be willing to take a bullet for this operation if it failed. but was fortunately spared that because his navy s.e.a.l.s, those courageous men were able to execute a mission so well, such a good surgical strike. >> did you know that it would be important to you for bin laden, captured or killed, before it finally happened? is it something that you thought about before it happened? >> rachel, you hit on it.
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i did not allow myself to think about it. i realized that the capture or death of osama bin laden had been downplayed probably in the fear that it wouldn't happen. now that it has happened i have to admit that i'm very relieved. i'm very relieved. it seems like such good counterpoint to the brutal and unfocused and miserable mass murder that osama bin laden inflicted upon americans. to have him surgically removed, excised by american bullets, i was -- it seems very just and good. and president obama is right, we have every reason to be -- to take the moral high ground on this and to be glad that we can now look to this death as a way to -- to renew our life and our goodness and our search for reconciliation with our muslim brothers. >> 9/11 has changed our history
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so much as a country. do you think that there are ways that we could do better by the people who were most directly affected? veterans and military families who have fought since 9/11 but also 9/11 family members like you. are there things we could be doing that we're not doing? >> well, my heart goes out to the members of the military who have fought and died and fought and come home maimed and handicapped. i know that the veterans administration, department of veterans affairs is beefing up its work to help those who are now home with us and recuperating. there is really no just compensation for family members who have lost loved ones and there certainly is no real way of confiscating for giving your life for your country. i am satisfied with what our gone has done and i think they have shouldered responsibility, financial responsibility in the form of the victims compensation fund that they probably should
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not have shouldered. i think that other groups, the airlines that were involved, should take responsibility for the deficiencies in aviation security that they have perpetrated. so i am -- i am satisfied with the behavior and actions of the united states government. at the same time, i'm very sensitive to the loss that many of us have suffered. >> alice hoagland, mother of united flight 93 hero mark bing ham. thanks for talking to us. i'm sure it's an emotional time at this time in particular. i appreciate it. >> you're welcome, rachel. coming up next on this show, the good news, doctor, you're being promoted. your new job is osama bin laden's old job. if you think everyone hated him, wait until you find out what everyone thinks of you, doctor. the new guy in charge of al qaeda and how hosed he is already in taking that job. that's next.
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you can argue that osama bin laden was the most hated man in america. he's the name we know on the fbi most wanted list. he's the one whose death sparked dancing in the streets on sunday. he's the one who inspired this onion headline, violent death of human being, terrific news for one. you can argue as hated as he was in this country, he was equally irrelevant in the arab world. his vision of using terrorism to form an ultra orthodoxed islamic state considered a relic by the young people agitating to oust their current crop of dictators and replace them with democracy. bin laden hated democracy. to the few who made up osama bin laden's following in the world, he was a charismatic and powerful leader. al qaeda functioned almost as a cult of personality for him with his manufactured personal myth, oodles of family money, twisted pseudoreligiousity at his center. he was a good talker when he was talking about himself which he always was. he also tried hard to portray himself as the modern day heir
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to the profit mohammed, dressing like him, welcoming the comparison. that's what was so awesome about that book supposedly by bin laden's ex-wife which said bin laden spoked a lot of pot and lusted obsessively after whitney houston. i bet money that book was made up. don't you think it drove him nuts that was out there? osama bin laden is not the death of al qaeda as an organization. they're still here. the good news about al qaeda, the man likely to succeed bin laden as their leader, whatever bin laden had, this guy does not have it. >> number two zawahiri is not charismatic. he was not involved in the fight earlier on in afghanistan. so, and i think he has a lot of detractors within the organization. you're going to see them start eating themselves from within more and more. >> white house terrorism adviser john brennan. mr. not so charismatic zawahiri is a doctor, he's the guy on the -- sitting next to bin laden
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here, always trying to prove himself, see how close we are? zawahiri has been osama bin laden's second in command in al qaeda since at least 1998. by a bunch of different accounts he's not a very likable or inspiring terrorist. even if you are a hair on fire extremist, yourself. for one thing, zawahiri is from egypt and in al qaeda, apparently that's not good. an fbi special agent wrote in a "new york times" op-ped, though al qaeda recruits come from many country, within the organization apparently it's sort of everybody who's not egyptian against everyone who is egyptian. quote, even soccer games pit egyptians against persian gulf arabs. al qaeda soccer. they can't do shirts versus skins, modesty. so it's everyone in shirts versus all the egyptian guys in shirts. why is being an egyptian a strike against you in al qaeda? i do not know. apparently it is. with an egyptian guy as the apparent next al qaeda boss,
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that sounds like cause for disunity in al qaeda which is great news for the rest of the world. also in a foest post-9/11 world of a fragmented al qaeda, the work of trying to consolidate power the way bin laden did, there's never been another leader. it will fall to not so mr. charismatic. already being on the run. even from on the run, mr. not so charismatic has been able to put out statements in the past few years, they have mostly served to annoy other radicals or unsuccessfully hitch al qaeda's wagon to other unrelated movements that don't want anything to do with him. "the new york times" reporting today mr. not so charismatic issued five recordings this year in which he tried to hitch the pro-democracy arab spring to 9/11 with zero success which is probably why he tried five times to do it. quote, mr. zawahri apologized in his message. the result of him being the home office nag everybody hates. brookings institute reporting
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today zawahri is most known in al qaeda for berating other groups like muslim brotherhood because they stray from the true path he follows. those groups never liked him anyway. mr. zawahri is widely believed to have ratted out the muslim brotherhood 30 years ago when he was in prison in egypt. a rat. we are all waiting to see what the u.s. will do with bin laden's hard drive. with the intel they collected from the house where they killed bin laden. maybe they'll be able to roll up al qaeda central. if he survives long enough to take over the reigns of al qaeda central from dead bin laden, he'll never be another bin laden. in the week of good things that it sometimes feels awkward to call good, that would be a good thing.