tv Headline News RT October 29, 2013 4:00pm-4:31pm EDT
coming up on our t.v. as u.s. relations with other countries sour over the n.s.a. scandal congress holds a public hearing to look into the spying issue and possible reborn the foreign intelligence surveillance act a breakdown on those efforts. and the collateral damage of us from strikes overseas congress hears from a pakistani family on the drone attack that killed their family matriarch more on that hearing coming up. and headed to jail a former u.s. congressman will be spending three years in the slammer and was convicted of multiple crimes including wire fraud and conspiracy more on the crooked congressman later in the show. it's tuesday october twenty ninth four pm in washington d.c.
i'm lynn neary david and you're watching our t.v. we begin today with the continued fall out between the united states and the european union over allegations that the u.s. has been spying on its closest allies german officials have confirmed that the e.u. is now mulling over sanctions on the u.s. government these sanctions would impede the u.s. government's access to a law enforcement tool mainly used to track the flow of money associated with terrorism but it seems the international leaks that incited this action are far from over journalist glenn greenwald now says there are many more ahead. we're going. through that and all these arguments there were never three. were there are arguments for which is most countries in the world. and it will be seen in brazil germany france and. the states is going to repeat itself continuously for the next several weeks or months and almost every
country around the world here in washington the tone took a very serious turn as senator dianne feinstein a vocal and as a supporter called out the agency she said with respect to n.s.a. collection of intelligence on leaders of u.s. allies let me state unequivocally i am totally opposed i do not believe the united states should be collecting phone calls or e-mails of friendly presidents prime ministers meanwhile on capitol hill the house intelligence committee is holding a hearing to discuss the role of pfizer in the surveillance of american citizens. or the foreign intelligence surveillance act is the piece of legislation that sets guidelines for the n.s.a.'s bulk collection of foreign intelligence information this is the committee's second open hearing since former government contractor edward snowden leaked detailed information about how the programs operate back in june in a statement a house panel spokesperson said the hearing was in place to quote assess
a number of proposals to improve transparency and strengthen privacy protections to further build the confidence of the american public and our nation's spies of programs so to talk about this hearing and the latest on the n.s.a. i'm joined now by artie's sam sachs who is now at the capitol sam now the hearing was supposed to consider a number of proposals can you talk about what those proposals entails. sure just to recap a little bit of what you said there the phase of court is this court that we're told is giving oversight to the n.s.a. it's where the n.s.a. goes to get a lot of its orders to conduct surveillance all over the world unfortunately nobody really knows what goes on in the files a court because a lot of their decisions and briefings are completely secret they're classified and there is no adversarial nature to the court it's only really a government lawyer going to judges saying hey we need this information and the judges hand over that information so today they this this hearing today was focused on what sort of changes can be made to this court into the way the n.s.a.
goes about collecting this data and a good number of number of suggestions that were brought up was declassification declassification review process so that pfizer court opinions can be declassified eventually so people can know what the legal rationale is behind certain types of surveillance programs also providing members of congress with more information from the pfizer court to these n.s.a. programs how they work who's affected by them. a special privacy advocate to argue in front of the court on behalf of civil liberties and privacy protections so that so that there's more of an adversarial nature of the court it's not just that the government appealing to two judges there and also and this is kind of that the big deal reform that some members of congress want is changing section two fifteen of the patriot act which underpins the n.s.a. is kind of bulk matted metadata collection program members of congress where we're trying to see if the n.s.a. could go along with
a program more like subpoena to subpoenaing telecom communication companies for information on their users rather than just bulk collecting all the data. the government just ball collecting all the data itself yes a chief general keith alexander and d.n.i. director clapper kind of push back against. seems likely just last sam sachs but we will come back to him begin get that up and working again and just today r.t. sat down with ecuadorian president rafael correa during his visit to moscow korea isn't russia not to talk about the n.s.a. but rather to boost the friendly relations that already exists between the two countries the relationship between ecuador and russia gain new momentum this year as the two countries align their support behind former u.s. government contractor edward snowden r t s alexey you're a chef he has more from the president korea. is now in moscow the very same city
where edward snowden they whistleblower now resides on the his political asylum the breaking revelations of who infuriated the leader of ecuador back this summer and he's still pretty much angry especially in the light of the latest revelations on high profile politicians in europe being wiretapped by the n.s.a. . but at least they said it was necessary for fighting against terrorism i don't know if i'm going to merkel is a terrorist i think it's clear the use of various programs for economic reasons for helping the transnational companies can you imagine what could happen if the program was carried out by been cuba russia it could or argentina they would have cooties dictators and criminals and we could be judged in the international court. even the fact that. the economy of ecuador largely depends on the united states it's not by no means an obstacle for mr korea to come with open criticism of washington's actions i remember when i covered the huge international scandal
involving the visit to moscow of another latin american leader the president believe you ever more or less want to use a plane was denied airspace in europe and had to spend twelve hours at vienna's airport so back then i quoted a very explosive words from the ecuadorian foreign ministry which said that if something like this happens to us president then it would have been a good reason to declare war so of course the economic and military cooperation will be on the table at the talks between putin and korea but there's no chance that the fate of mr snowden will escape their attention in this conversation. that was artie's alexy reporting from moscow. and the u.s. lawmakers heard testimony from survivors of an allegedly u.s. drone strike today three pakistani citizens appear before congress this morning to describe an attack that killed their sixty seven year old mother and grandmother in pakistan last year the family which was invited to washington by representative representative alan grayson came to share their heartfelt stories with lawmakers
and held high hopes of getting answers from congress artie's guy in a chuck in spoke with the man family and brings us this report. this was the first time actual victims of u.s. drone strikes were in congress and there were maybe only four members of congress who came to this briefing apart from the congressman who initiated this meeting congressman alan grayson it's no secret the u.s. congress generally approves of drone strikes so it's very difficult to expect the sudden change of heart even though hard was what these drone victims were appealing to on october twenty fourth of last year a u.s. drone strike left this pakistani family devastated the nine year old girl and her thirteen year old brother nearly a scaped death that day their sixty seven year old grandmother was killed while picking vegetables in the garden last month on the. drones don't fly when the skies are gray. the sky brightens and if you return. you know
this family has never been abroad before out of their home in north waziristan in pakistan and the father said he looked at the life around here in d.c. and i met them at a lively d.c. restaurant after a screening of a documentary on drones where they were invited and the father said he wished his children too would be able to walk the streets not afraid of being bombed at any moment the family of course came to washington hoping to get answers to why they have to live in fear every day i had the chance to talk to a little girl very briefly a day before this meeting in congress here's what she told me why do you think you . i don't know that's one of the reasons why we came here you know i had no idea why my grandmother would want to turn him and was outside with my grandmother everything became dark i was scared so i started to run again and i noticed my hand was bleeding so i tried to clean my hand kept coming
out but i was very scared so i just kept running and independent reports say u.s. drone strikes killed one hundred seventy four children those are astonishing numbers if you put human. basis to them and the purpose of this briefing in congress was to put a human face to drone strikes there's a shortage has that in congress but progeny of this family will fall on deaf ears but there is hope that the public will take notice in washington i'm going to check out. and a federal judge has now sentenced former representative rick renzi to three years behind bars a former g.o.p. congressman served in arizona's first district for five years between two thousand and three and two thousand and eight at the time of his indictment renzi held a coveted seat on the house intelligence committee however that year he decided not to seek reelection fast forward to june of two thousand and thirteen when representative renzi was convicted on seventeen of thirty two corruption counts he was found guilty on two sets of charges the first embezzle meant in which the
representative was found to be funneling client friends funds from his insurance brokerage into his election campaign and the second a charge of conspiracy in which he and a business partner named james sandlin together orchestrated and legal lance walk of u.s. government property in response to the sentencing acting assistant attorney general my feely ramana of the justice department's criminal division said mr renzi abuse the power and the corresponding trust that comes with being a member of congress by putting his own financial interests over the interests of the citizens while here to break down this case and what implications of may have i'm joined by melanie sloan director of citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington melanie thank you so much for joining me so first of all just break down what really happened here talk about specifically the land swap between rock renzi and his business associate sure this was the bigger part of the case the one that really implicated in the public trust mr renzi used his position in congress to
insist that the resolution trust coppermine purchased land from representative from mr sandlin in order. for mr stanley and to pay back a debt that he owed to representative renzi and the resolution trust company didn't wasn't really that interested in this land they were initially interested in making a land swap for some other land but then renzi kept pushing this land and then he wanted it to be valued at a much higher price than it was worth and eventually somebody from the resolution trust company went to federal prosecutors and told them about what was going on in this case representative renzi then fought this case tooth and nail for really seven years it went all the way up to the ninth circuit court of appeals they tried to go to the supreme court the supreme court turned down the case and it has been winding its way through the courts and frankly it's just it's not very satisfying to see him get only three years in jail for such a flagrant abuse of power and i want to get to that will ultimately how did he get caught before we did he further because that's one thing i haven't been able to
understand sure he got caught because people went to the justice department people told the justice department what was going on that they thought that there were problems with what representative renzi was doing that they felt pressured to engage in this land swap so people from the resolution trust company went to it went to justice and of course going off of what you were just talking about you know prosecutors asked for twelve years course the defense said he doesn't need to serve any time in jail so what do you think about this three year sentence i mean give us some perspective is that is that enough now i think three years is a pretty light sentence given the fairly agreed just facts in this case in two other cases in which members of congress have gone to jail in recent years one involving duke cunningham a representative from california and another involving william jefferson from louisiana both of those members who were involved in illegal activity that also involve money coming into their personal pockets they received ten and eight years respectively so representative renzi getting nearly three years is a very low sentence i think the judge may have taken into account there were some
problems in the prosecution's case there were questions about whether the f.b.i. had engaged in some improper activity but one thing i will say is that the judge david said that. mr sandlin who engage in these activities were good men who did bad things and i will say that i think it's pretty rare for a judge to to give the defendants who've been fighting such tooth and nail and refusing to take responsibility for their criminal behavior so much the benefit of doubt is interesting i'm going to ask you do you think the fact that this took place in arizona of all places had anything to do with the historically republican state we're dealing with a republican congressman do you think that having to do with it or you know i think that the judge seemed to be. affected by the fact that this was a former congressman who was well had once been well respected in the state. congressman's family push that he was a family man with lots of kids a man of faith but rarely will you see other criminal defendants getting the same kind of benefit of the doubt when they have done something so blatantly illegal i
mean most people if they're caught red handed like renzi is and he never took responsibility again usually these lighter sentences are handed down when somebody accept responsibility for their action when they plead guilty and they say yeah you know i did something wrong and here was the bad circumstance of here's why i did this bad thing but representative renzi is still fighting and he's still saying they're going to appeal again to the ninth circuit court of appeals so they're not done yet and you mentioned the role of the f.b.i. in all of this and perhaps that's why he had such a light sentence can you talk about the misconduct to what extent did it go to well so some of the problems were about the great amount of confusion that exists when a member of congress is prosecuted there is a portion of the constitution called the speech or debate clause and this is very complicated but basically it says that members of congress can't be questioned about things in the legislative sphere and when the f.b.i. was doing its investigation of representative renzi they were listening to some of his phone calls and they were overhearing material that they weren't supposed to listen to and the judge was very troubled by that and much of that was thrown out
of court and in fact that is the issue that first went up to the ninth circuit questions about the extent of the speech or debate clause defense. absolutely and you know it's interesting i just want you to expound a little bit more on that like what's the rationale behind you know. behind same sort of a yeah i mean just i i just can't believe that this was actually used to try the speech or debate clause was actually comes in and original part of the constitution it was an important part of making sure that our members of congress were independent from the executive branch of the executive branch couldn't just come in and say arrest members of congress and that they could be forced to do the executive branch's bidding so it had some had some good reasons for its an act meant but in recent years it's been expanded a great deal we saw an expansion of the use of the clause actually in the case of the prosecution of william jefferson that we saw before the prosecution of representative renzi and some people may remember that representative jefferson his
congressional office was searched by the f.b.i. and this brought to a big court case as well and and this is played into the case involving representative renzi so i think we're not through with seeing the use of the speech or debate clause used by members of congress to basically hide their misconduct and of course no other nobody else can get away with that this is something that's particular to members of congress and sometimes house and ledges state legislators absolutely and in the case of former majority leader tom delay obviously he repealed and he was acquitted. you see one his case reference he is now saying that he's going to appeal do you think it's at all possible that he might actually escape this i think it is very unlikely the case against representative delay was very different than the case involving a representative renzi the main difference and i am no fan of representative delay but representative renzi was taking money into his personal pocket and representative delay was not involved in that kind of activity he was funneling money into campaigns and into the republican party into the republican party so i
think it is a very different matter and we're also talking difference in federal law and texas state law will definitely have to keep our eyes peeled for what happens next with this case but melanie sloan. thank you so much for coming on director of citizens for responsibility and ethics in washington and sione and now we are going to return to the capitol hill with our team and facts so sound i'm going to jump to my next question what's the likelihood that we are actually going to see some kind of change coming out of this hearing. will just that just a recap or a lot of those changes include installing a special privacy advocate on the fai's a court declassifying a lot of eyes a court opinions and also changing section two fifteen of the bulk metadata collection program under the patriot act a kind of underpins a lot of these n.s.a. surveillance programs the chances of any of these reforms passing well they might not be that bad actually a lot of these individual physical reforms are included in broader n.s.a.
reform bills and when it comes to passage of these bills it's good to point out that they have bipartisan support republicans and democrats support a lot of these and it's a reform bills and this was something that congresswoman jan schakowsky spoke to at the hearing today i think we have a clip there. the two individuals who wrote one republican one democrat who yes one republican one democrat who wrote the usa patriot act shortly after nine eleven have now introduced the usa freedom act that essentially would repeal many of the aspects and change them of the. of the patriot act. so what congresswoman schakowsky is referring to is the this usa freedom act or introduced by republican jim sensenbrenner who wrote the patriot act it limits section to fifteen metadata collection it also installs the special privacy
advocate on the pfizer court it's got reports support from republicans and democrats in the house and it has support a companion bill is expected to be introduced in the senate by a democrat senator patrick leahy so there is movement coming forward it might be in the form of an individual bill that gets passed or might get tacked on to the national defense authorization act which has to be worked out by the end of the year so the chances that something might happen are good it's just a matter whether it's really meaningful reform or more kind of watered down reform . and sam of course the latest son to say leaks have centered on u.s. government spying of world leaders did members of congress or an intelligence official seek to this issue at all. the chairman of the committee mike rogers gave a lot of deference to the n.s.a. here he made the argument that friends spying each other that allies have been spying on the united states and currently spy on the united states including the european union including france. and he asked d.n.i.
director of national intelligence james clapper what he thought about all this and clapper basically said that trying to figure out and i want to get their words here the intentions of the planes and intentions of world leaders figuring that out is a basic tenet of surveillance so that outrage we saw from senate chairwoman intelligence chairwoman dianne feinstein yesterday over the news that we're spying on world leaders the outrage that she had didn't exist today in this hearing mike rogers the chairman there was again it gave a lot of deference the n.s.a. here and said look they're spying on us were spying on them that's just the way this is what i want of surveillance very interesting well it seems like right now there are questions over. when and how much the white house knew about this surveillance what about the congressional intelligence committees and charge of oversight here doesn't seem like they were aware. well there are a lot of questions there to chairman rogers seem to expect to suggest that the the
house intelligence committee knew about this program that was spying on world leaders because they received this this thing called the national intelligence priority framework which kind of lays out what the priorities of the intelligence community are and you can glean from that report certain programs but he seemed to be the only one who held that position congressman jansha koski said that this committee did not know about it and then congressman congressman adam schiff actually challenged d.n.i. clapper and said you know why were we informed of this of this program to spy on world leaders which led to this confrontation between the chairman of the intelligence committee mike rogers and congressman adam schiff over whether or not the committee actually knew this program was going on take a look. given the likelihood that the intelligence committee at least the house intelligence committee was aware of information that may be of value and any foreign leadership and intention plan wouldn't it but and logically the administration have access to that same information. well as indicated earlier in
my description of the i.p.s. they may not have information specifically related to a specific selector or any specific collection target what they would see though would be the output of this and it's in its total total to mention. that that wasn't the clip there that wasn't the clip there but basically that was the wrong place but basically. the chairman mike rogers said that it was disingenuous for members of the committee to say that they didn't have this information to which congressman adam schiff responded hey it's disingenuous for the chairman to claim that they had information that they didn't have. well we'll definitely keep following the n.s.a. story thank you so much political commentator pater sam facts on capitol hill. and of the controversy over obama's new health care law now it's not about the troubled website rather it has to do with what president obama has been telling
americans about how this will affect their health insurance take a look. if you like your doctor you will be able to keep your doctor period if you like your health care plan or you will be able to keep your health care plan. period. no matter what you've heard if you like your doctor or health care plan you can keep it if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor if you like your private health insurance plan you can keep your point nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage of the doctor you have nothing in our plan requires you to change what you hear all approach would preserve the right of americans who have insurance to keep their doctor in their place. but even though the president gave a convincing argument for why people didn't have to worry about changing their plans we're now learning that couldn't be farther from the truth according to an
n.b.c. investigation fifty to seventy five percent of the fourteen million customers can expect to get notifications at their health insurance has been canceled this all because their existing policies may not meet the standards mandated by the new health care law now the law originally stated that policies in a fact as of march of two thousand and ten would be grandfathered which means consumers could keep them regardless of whether they met the new standards however the department of health and human services then narrowed that provision down to say that any policy that had significantly changed according to state law would no longer have grandfathered status and according to this investigation the obama administration was not exactly in the dark about this and fact they've known this to be the case for at least three years obamacare regulations from july of two thousand and ten specifically say that because of normal turnover rates forty to sixty seven percent of customers insurance policies would lose their grandfather
status meaning customers on those plans would have to switch the why. house does not dispute that many individual holders will have to change their plans but in a statement a spokesperson said quote in the vast majority of cases those same insurers will automatically shift their and roll rowley's to a plan that provides new consumer protections and for nearly half of the individual market and rowley's discounts for premium tax credits so like it or not the message has changed but the white house says it's for the better. and on capitol hill today the mother of trayvon martin called on lawmakers to work with state and local officials to re-evaluate the purpose of the controversial stand your ground law stand your ground is the piece of legislation that took front and center this past summer when george zimmerman was put on trial in the death of trayvon sabrina fulton spoke at the senate judiciary subcommittee hearing that took a look at how this law is being practiced in thirty different states in addition
a bolt in the panel also heard from lou cmyk bath the mother of another slain african-american teenager named jordan davis the man who killed davis is currently trying to use the stand your ground law in his defense in florida last month r t spoke with the davis family attorney john phillips and he talked in depth about how this law is being used and abused in your grown since two thousand and five when it was implemented and spread like a cancer throughout the country has taken the role of the jury to judge the facts and look at both sides and look at evidence and try to figure it out and so no we don't need to do that let's just find legal gun owners in a legal place and let's look at them in what their situation is and let's let's examine their brains and try to determine whether they thought they were in fear for their life if they were that's all they have to prove not that the situations warranted killing but that they believe that they were warranted to kill in their
testimony the two mothers did not call the restrict gun ownership but rather said that they had hoped to see the laws clarified and applied logically and that does it for now i'm mary david stay tuned boom bust does next. i would rather ask questions to people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf and that's why you can find my show larry king now right here on our t.v. question more. play
no there i marinate and this is boom bust here the stories we're tracking for you today. bad for business not only has the n.s.a. spying scandal ticked off most of the western world it could end up putting u.s. commerce in the economic gutter as well r.t. commentator sam sachs joins me live from the hill and we'll tell you why snooping may cost the u.s. big bucks in the form of big business and where there's smoke there's a burger that's right no fire here we're talking about cigarettes see how smokeless foods are banning the major players from the doco industry and if you're just in your name for a vacation might we suggest crowdfunding your next leisure getaway that's into.