tv PBS News Hour PBS April 16, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: afghan president karzai blamed intelligence failures by nato and his own nation for the weekend's coordinated 18-hour assault by insurgents on four cities. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the deadly violence from patrick quinn of the associated press in kabul. >> brown: then, two takes on internet security: we look at google's street view project, as the f.c.c. accuses the tech giant of collecting personal data without permission and failing to cooperate with its investigation. >> suarez: and from southern california, tom bearden reports on a government-funded laboratory working on ways to prevent and defeat cyber attacks.
>> usa scientists are trying to bring the power of science to cyber security. >> brown: plus, margaret warner examines the scandal that sent 11 of president obama's secret service detail home from the latin american summit in colombia after allegedly soliciting prostitutes. >> suarez: and as the pulitzer prizes for arts and journalism were announced, we talk with kristen graham, part of the "philadelphia inquirer" team that won the public service award for reporting on violence in the city's schools. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects
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thank you. >> brown: the guns fell silent today in the capital city of afghanistan as a major assault by militants came to an end. with that, questions-- and some recriminations-- began. the assault in kabul finally ended early today after 18 hours. afghan forces and coalition helicopters overpowered the remaining insurgents. >> fortunately they were defeated quickly. the situation is under the control of kabul's police now. there is no problem. >> reporter: on sunday the attackers had taken over a building under construction and another site. from there they rained gun fire, grenades and rockets across a part of the city that houses foreign embassies, the presidential palace and the parliament. but afghan lawmakers praised the way their troops fought
back. >> i am proud of both my great brothers and their response of the security back to the enemy of the country. of course it takes very long which is we were worried about it. at the beginning we succeed. we got back our dignity. >> brown: in all, the kabul fighting left 36 insurgents, eight policemen and three civilians dead. it was the worst attack on afghan capital since last september when the u.s. embassy and nato headquarters became targets. in washington today, u.s. defense secretary leon panetta said these new attacks had achieved nothing. >> there were no tactical gains here. these are isolated. attacks that are done for symbolic purposes. and they have not regained any territory. the afghan army and police did a great job of reacting to these attacks. they quickly restored order. they quickly restored security. in those areas.
and it gave us an indication that they really are improving in terms of their capability to provide security. >> brown: like afghan officials, panetta blamed the haqqani network for sunday's attacks on kabul and several eastern cities. the group has some 10,000 fighters and is based on the afghan-pakistan border with ties to both the taliban and al qaeda. today afghan president hamid karzai calld for an investigation into how the militants had again infiltrated afghan cities. he blamed what he called, quote, an intelligence failure for us and especially nato. but a pentagon spokesman said it's an unfair standard to expect precise intelligence about every planned attack. and secretary panetta suggested u.s. officials knew something was coming, if not precisely what or when. >> we had received a great deal of intelligence indicating that the haqqanis were planning these kinds of
attacks. and obviously we were always concerned about the attacks that take place. they reflect that the taliban is resilient, that they remain determined. >> brown: in the end the attacks highlighted the security challenges. one month before a nato summit on plans for u.s. and nato forces to withdraw from afghanistan into 2014. >> brown: earlier this evening, past midnight in kabul, i spoke with patrick quinn, bureau chief for the associated press. patrick quinn, welcome. so what's the situation there now? have things quieted down or is the city still on edge? >> well, good morning from kabul. things have quiet down. they've managed to kill the last insurgents who were holed up in a couple of buildings in downtown. the city, of course, is still on edge. u.s. forces here, diplomats, non-governmental organizations, are all in a state of lockdown.
the population is a bit jittery. this attack didn't accomplish much but it did scare the afghan population here in the capital. >> brown: in terms of who did it, who carried this out, we heard secretary panetta refer to the haqqani network. but also today i saw a taliban spokesman saying that his group had rehearsed this, planned this for several months. what is known? >> well, let's not confuse the two. the taliban and the haqqanis are one in the same thing. the haqqani network sometimes works autonomously. but they do swear allegiance to mull a omar. the haqqanis have never claimed responsibility for an attack. the taliban always claims responsibility for those attacks. the two work together. they're separate but they work together. >> brown: the haqqanis, of course, have often been tied to pakistan. to pakistan's intelligence forces. is there any talk about a link
now? >> well, look, the haqqani network operates and is based in the pakistani tribal areas which are located on afghanistan's eastern borders. these tribal areas are often lawless. they are in pakistan. the united states has often asked the pakistani government and the pakistani army to intervene, to stop the activity of the haqqani network. and also the infiltration of taliban fighters and haqqani operatives into afghanistan from pakistan. so far that has not been successful. u.s.-pakistani relations are not very good right now. they haven't been good since the cross-border incident which resulted in about two dozen pakistani deaths. things are being patched up slowly. we've had some headway. i don't know how this is going to affect our relationship. it might impact it. it might not. >> brown: president karzai pointed to intelligence failures for his own government and for nato.
what did he mean? what's the thinking there about whether or how much was known about something coming? >> well, you know, it's pretty obvious. the taliban had been saying for months that they're going to have a spring offensive. nato, the united states, has been saying for months that they're expecting a spring offensive from the taliban. today the taliban said that this is a first step. this is the opening shot in their spring campaign. i'm not sure exactly why karzai, president karzai is saying this is some kind of an intelligence failure. the taliban have been saying for quite a while that we're going to have a spring offensive. just as the united states and the nato allies and other coalition forces here have said they're going to have their own spring and summer campaign against the insurgency and the taliban. >> brown: as to the attack itself, how were the insurgents able, first, to get into the city and to get into that couple of strongholds and then, second, to hold on for so long? >> well, i mean, it's not that
difficult to slip into kabul. none of them had heavy weaponry. we're talking about suicide vests which are easily concealed. we're talking about rocket- propelled grenades. we're talking about small arms, ak-47s. kabul falls under the responsibility of the afghan national security forces. it is not under the responsibility of nato or the united states. they managed to infiltrate. they got into these locations. did they do anything? they didn't do much. no one was killed at any of those locations. they didn't manage to breach any of those locations. however, it did take 18 hours for afghan security forces to stop them. it goes to show that a very committed insurgent with a plan is very difficult to stop. >> brown: then, of course, we have afghan and american officials though praising the afghan security forces. this, of course, is is a... remains a very sensitive issue. but today they were saying
those forces performed well? >> well, of course, they're praising the afghan national security forces. we sent... spent billions and billions of dollars training these forces to gradually take over security from nato and the international community, not only in kabul but the rest of the country. so was it afghan national security forces that acted well and acted quickly? yes. they acted well and they acted quickly. but there's a bit of taliban ineptitude here because they managed to kill in three attacks around the country 35 of their people with minimal results. >> brown: what of those other attacks around the country because we've just been focusing on kabul? what can you tell us about the other targets? >> well, the other targets were provincial capitals in the east. areas where the taliban and the insurgency are active at this point. that entire eastern frontier
with pakistan is highly active. winter has gone. the spring is here. the fighting season has started. these are people who are coming over from pakistan. these are people who have done nothing in the winter. they're infiltrating. they're active in the east. the next big campaign for the united states, the nato forces, is going to be in the east. the south is going to be involved in the consolidation process. so it's not surprising that all the attacks happened in the east. kabul is in the east. >> brown: patrick quinn in kabul, thanks so much. >> thank you and good night. >> suarez: still to come on the newshour, collecting personal and private data; preventing cyber attacks; investigating misconduct by secret service agents; and the pulitzer prizes for arts and journalism. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: an advance team of six u.n. observers arrived in syria overnight to monitor a
cease-fire that appeared to be collapsing. activists reported the syrian army was shelling several districts in homs. amateur video showed explosions, thick clouds of smoke, and buildings in flames. reports from homs and elsewhere told of 14 killed today. in istanbul, turkey, an opposition spokesman with the syrian arab tribes council doubted the u.n. mission will stop the killing. >> i think it's too little too late. we are passing the one year with the united nations. if there is a political will, it should have been done a long ago. six observers won't solve that. the problems in syria. >> sreenivasan: observers arrive back in january, a separate monitoring mission conducted by the arab league failed to end the conflict. the man accused in last july's attacks in norway pleaded not guilty today in oslo. anders behring breivik insisted he was justified in killing 77 people. we have a report narrated by carl dinnen of independent television news.
>> reporter: anders behring breivik, demented fascist or killer. breivik smiled as he entered court this morning and then offered the waiting media some kind of salute. mad or bad, these five judges must decide. even though breivik's first words were to deny their legitimacy. >> i do not... you've gotten your mandate from political parties who support multi-culturism. (screaming) >> reporter: but there's no denying the horror breivik sowed across norway last summer. he admits shooting terrified young activists on the island of utoya. he admits the huge bomb in oslo, the long and appalling indictment included the names of all of his 77 victims.
>> born 20th of february 1977. born 29th of june 1981. born 5th of november 1996. >> reporter: it took an hour and a quarter just to read out the charges. breivik's answer. >> i acknowledge the acts but i do not plead guilty. i claim that i was doing it in self defense. >> reporter: then an extraordinary moment. as his own propaganda video was played, the killer cried. for the survivors breivik's trial and courtroom and ticks are a necessary evil. >> the last time i saw him in person, i saw him shoot and kill my friends. it's tough. but it's also important to get through this. >> reporter: tomorrow breivik has said he wants to spend half an hour addressing the court, explaining his extreme
and violent views on multi-culturalism and the west. >> sreenivasan: the trial is expected to last ten weeks. authorities in the midwest today credited warnings for preventing mass deaths in a weekend tornado blitz. the national weather service issued an alert more than 24 hours in advance for only the second time ever. in all, six people were killed, all of them in woodward, a small town in northwestern oklahoma. a tornado struck there early sunday after lightning apparently knocked out warning sirens. it was one of at least 120 twisters that damaged hundreds of homes in four states across the nation's midsection. a scandal over wasteful spending at the general services administration has widened into a bribery and kickbacks investigation. the agency's inspector general confirmed it today at a house hearing. the scandal grew out of a lavish las vegas conference in 2010 that cost more than $800,000. when the news broke last month, martha johnson resigned as
g.s.a. administrator, after two years on the job. today, she condemned the freewheeling spending. >> the western region's conference and economic training event in the late 1990s had evolved into a raucous, extravagant, arrogant self- congratulatory event that ultimately belittled federal workers. i personally apologize to the american people. as the head of the agency, i am responsible. i deeply regret this. i will mourn for the rest of my life the loss of my appointment. >> sreenivasan: the man who organized the las vegas conference refused to testify. jeffrey neely is currently on leave from the g.s.a. and could face criminal charges. the president of dartmouth college, jim yong kim, was elected today as president of the world bank. the bank's executive board tapped kim to serve a five-year term over candidates pushed by developing nations. president obama nominated kim last month. he's a doctor who pioneered in treating aids and tuberculosis in the developing world. previous world bank leaders were generally political or economic figures.
retail sales were up nearly a full point in march, as u.s. consumers stepped up their spending. on wall street, the news helped blue chip stocks post a gain for the day. the dow jones industrial average added more than 71 points to close at 12,921. the nasdaq fell nearly 23 points to close at 2988. the tech index was pulled lower by apple, which has dropped for five trading days in a row. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to ray. >> suarez: and to two stories about internet privacy. first, the latest on a government investigation of google's collection of personal data that started with taking pictures-- and ended up gathering a lot more. google's street view, launched in 2007, was part of the company's ambitious plan to photograph and map the entire world right down to street level. but it turned out that street view vehicles were collecting more than just visual images. their antennas also picked up personal information from local wi-fi networks including internet usage history and
pass words. in may 2010, google publicly acknowledged it had done so but insisted that any such data collection was accidental. the federal communications commission began investigating. on friday, it fined the company $25,000, the maximum penalty available, for obstructing the investigation. in its report, the fcc said, "although a world leader in digital search capability, google took the position that searching its employees' email would be a time-consuming and burdensome task." the fcc found google did indeed collect personal data, but it cleared the company of charges that it had acted illegally. the search engine giant challenged the finding that it failed to cooperate. instead, it issued a statement that said, "we provided all the materials the regulators felt they needed." european regulators have also investigated the company for similar reasons. last year the french government fined google about $140,000.
>> you're now exploring a neighborhood in our full screen mode. >> suarez: in the meantime those who would rather not see their homes on street view do have an alternative. the company provides users the option of graying out images to meet privacy concerns. the f.c.c. report generated plenty of questions over the past 48 hours about what google did. we ask some of those now with two people watching this case. jeffrey rosen, a professor of law at the george washington university and legal affairs editor for the new republic. and david bennahum, the chief executive of punch media, a news and entertainment network for ipads. you've been part of this world, watching this world closely for a very long time. can you set out to photograph houses and streets and inadvertently collect data from wireless networks? >> i think you can in the sense that if you go out with a research project in mind that may initially seem harmless and you start
collecting information to study it, to analyze it, perhaps without the intent to do harm, then, of course, you start collecting it at which point in the court of public opinion does it become questionable that that was good behavior or not? i think part of the problem right now is we live in an environment where it's incredibly easy to collect this sort of information. and the rules about it are actually fairly gray. it puts companies in a particular predicament where they may have good faith reasons to want to analyze information, study information, but the rules of the road are sufficiently unclear that it turns out they've committed a grave error. i think in the case of google it's very much the seeming cover-up around this that is as much of the problem as anything else. that lack of clarity as to their motives and the lack of transparency is as much of a problem as the act of collecting itself. i think it's muddyed the water here a little bit where it's not merely a question of like what were they doing factually of wanting to collect this data but why can't they be
honest and transparent about it? clearly there had to be a reason. it wouldn't probably wasn't a nefarious reason. so what was the reason? can't we find out why? >> suarez: professor, is david right? are the rules of the rold unclear here? >> they are unclear but perhaps not so unclear as all that. after all, a federal district judge in california found unequivocally that google street view did violate federal wire tapping laws. that decision is on appeal to the ninth circuit court of appeals. do you make your data access toibl the general public when i send something from my home to my wife and it's not encrypted? i don't think it's intuitively obvious. i doesn't make sense that i'm making it accessible to the general public. it's not like a car pulling up outside my house and just using my wi-fi. i think there's a strong case that this is illegal under existing law. if it's not, it should be. the fact that the fcc chose not to investigate should not seen as a clean bill of health for google. every other regulateor has
found unequivocal violations. >> suarez: consumers didn't consent to give this information to google, did they? >> no, of course they didn't consent. i think the point is well taken that the letter of the law may be that this is a violation of privacy and so forth. the problem, of course, is we live in a world today where the software we purchase, the hardware we purchase isn't particularly regulated to ensure our privacy is protected. it's all too easy to snoop essentially. what do you do in an environment that that's tempting or that inviting? there's self regulation but there needs to be better regulation of the actual infrastructure that we consume and use. when i buy a wireless router, to install in my house, what are the rules around the way that thing is configured? should it be configured a certain way by the manufacturer? there are no rules about that. it's obvious that a person who doesn't have a lot of technical sophistication may not realize their home network is unsecure.
there's a lot to be done here. there's an increasing gap between what the regulations are trying to do and what the technology can do. i think that creates a massive gray area. it's simply too easy to collect this kind of information and therefore so tempting. >> suarez: professor, google was fined $25,000. in the context of a huge corporation, that seems like little more than a rounding error. is that a serious fine? >> a slap on the wrist within the scope of the fcc's options it was on the higher side. but the numbers may be about to get much bigger. europe has just proposed a new data privacy regulation including a new right, the right to be forgotten, that would allow me to demand the deletion of any data held by google. if google doesn't accede to the request it's libel for up to 2% of its $30 billion annual income. now we're talking about serious money. that might get google's attention. >> suarez: the europeans have been tougher than the americans. >> they have. google takes it much more seriously. the european investigations
found these were serious violations, emails of people having affairs talking about their sexual orientation, web browsing, very, very invasive. unlike europe, we have adopted the position that if i surrender data to google for one purpose, i abandon all expectation of privacy for it in all purposes. this is called the third-party doctrine. the supreme court justice sotomayor in a case involving g.p.s. tracking said that doctrine has to be considered. that's true. unless it's reconsidered we're vulnerable regardless of what happens. if google can get my location by looking at my android smart phone. it doesn't have to spy outside my house. more broadly america is going to have to ask itself howell it can protect privacy and take it as seriously as the europeans are are or we're about to see a massive clash between the european and american notions of free speech. >> suarez: what would you want to. >> know? why would they want to collect this foreinformation and
what's valuable about it? >> it's a lot of conjecture as to what their motive was. one can look at the map that they're creating, the geographic map. by detecting wi-fi networks along the street, they're beginning to create meta data another layer of data around the geographic information which is essentially the valt of wireless internet across communities in america. that could be very interesting in terms of understanding the density of networks in a particular region. beyond that, if they're detecting network identification of each of these wireless networks they could potentially cross reference it with some of their logging on the search engine side. th searches people are doing on the web. then begin to get another layer of data that really who these people are, where they live. that could help them optimize more efficiently sort of cross check that they are predictive analysis as to you are actually here is accurate. they can cross check it with something they collected with real data on the street. those might have been the motivations to do it. pure r&d. the way they handled it, of course, a tremendous problem.
>> suarez: jeffrey rosen, this story appears not to be over with this report and this fine. >> certainly not. the justice department will decide whether to investigate. the ninth circuit and perhaps eventually the supreme court will decide. basically this fundamental question, do the wire tapping laws as current lae written allow for the seizure of unencrypted data is one of the most important internet privacy questions of the age. if for some reason the courts disagree with the lower court and say it's not protected congress may well get into the act. it's considering revising wire tapping laws. the bottom line is it doesn't make sense that this data is not proceed teched. if this is not private, what is, essentially. >> suarez: the law is still playing catch-up? >> there's a strong case, i don't want to understate the strong possibility that google did violate existing laws. the fcc might not have had the votes to bring an enforcement action right now. that doesn't mean the justice department won't. the federal appellate courts won't continue to find that this was illegal as well as a
cover-up. >> suarez: professor rosen, david bennahum, thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you, ray. >> suarez: do you have images you don't want others to see on google street view? hari offers step-by-step instructions online for removing them. >> brown: and to our second look at privacy online, and a story about protecting computers from cyber attacks. newshour correspondent tom bearden reports. >> reporter: social security numbers, names, addresses, birth dates. >> 900,000 people had their names, addresses, and social security numbers stolen when the utah health department's server was hacked. this kind of thing happens more often that most people realize: web sites taken down, high-tech secrets stolen, intellectual property rights violated, and individuals swindled. but douglas maughan says there's much more at stake than just crime. he heads the department of homeland security's cybersecurity division. >> the infrastructure needed to be protected are the
critical infrastructures not just the internet but the finance sector, electric sector, oil and gas. all of the major critical infrastructures are running systems that are commodity and subject to attack. >> reporter: those sectors are increasingly vulnerable because they're not connected to outside systems. people can directly access their bank accounts, for example. clifford newman is the director of the university of southern california's center for computer system security. >> we inter-connect more and more. it means that an adversary that is able to compromise one part of the system, a part that we might not have thought of as being critical, is able to have impact on other parts of the system. >> reporter: even a prank like changing a highway sign reveals vulnerability. computer scientists. >> there are several reports of how people have actually infiltrated these networks and by changing these signs
created incidences on these highways. >> reporter: all these scientists work at deter lab a 500-computer government-funded testing facility where students, researchers and security companies can try out hardware and software to prevent and defeat cyber attacks. >> i'm working on the annual plan. i need to make sure we get that updated. >> reporter: deputy director says there's plenty of work to do. >> despite, you know, millions and millions of dollars of government investment in cyber security and industry investment in cyber security, we are still as a nation wholly vulnerable. no question about it. >> reporter: if we're so vulnerable are you surprised we haven't suffered more serious attacks on infrastructure. >> all of us in my community, we talk about cyber pearl harbor. it's not if. it's when. >> reporter: and deter network research director says it's not just hackers and would-be terrorists.
>> the other half of the problem and in fact the much more common thing is just some untoward event. you know, when you think about the major power grid failures that we occasionally have. you know, the blackouts. things like that. >> reporter: how does deter-lab help? >> here by having a fixed facility that you run your experiments in, you can run multiple what-if scenarios, collect your data, repeat those and share your results with the rest of the research community. >> reporter: i'm reminded of a guy who built a race car and take to it the track and see if it works. >> exactly. right. >> reporter: she says it's a very special racetrack. >> the racetrack that can create all sorts of conditions that the car would face and also has a lot of true tags to understand what happens when that car faces them. >> reporter: deter lab was started in 2003 with money from the national science foundation which is a also funder of the newshour, and the department of homeland security. one of deter-lab's most
powerful features is the ability to provide accurate simulations of very large computer networks. >> when we want to run our tests we need a secure, safe environment to run those tests on. we can't run if it's going to break the internet. if what we're trying to do is test something which brings the internet or breaks network security in an enter prize we give you an environment to be able to do that in a safe way. >> reporter: deter lab runs sim layings of cyber attacks like one called a distributed denial of service. attackers secretly plant software on personal and corporate machines and then use those computers to send an avalanche of messages to a website. the servers under attack are overwhelmed and the site shuts down. >> we're studying the various components of the experiment north these two showed us how they simulate and defeat such an attack. >> the attack represents itself as the infections happen as explosions. that lets the researcher know
qualitatively that the worm is spreading. you see a representation of the attack as it focuses across the network. >> reporter: the simulation goes on to show how the software being tested reroutes the traffic to other parts of the network and takes the pressure off the targeted site. deter lab also allows companies to sim out... simulate their own internal or enterprise networks and see how various attack scenarios play out. >> our goal is to sort of add security by design, to enable you to design your networks in a way so that you can actually... rather than add security as an afterthought, you can actually design security into your system right from the start. >> today's lecture, lecture 4. >> it has also revolutionized how cyber security is taught. this assistant professor said he used to teach these classes in rooms full of equipment that had to be shared devearely limiting student access. they also couldn't do
experiments that pose any danger to the equipment. >> by transitioning this class into using deter, we now can do several different kinds of experiments and destroy whatever is happening in that network. and yet you can just swap out the image. >> reporter: now students can log in to deter-lab from practically anywhere to run and monitor their experiments remotely. this ucla student runs a lot of experiments that way. i would think it's a feeling of power to have 500 machines under your control. >> sometimes it is. but i can't get those machines to do anything that one might call evil. i mean it's nice to, for example, when you're doing a denial service defense attacks, i mean, defense measurements you can get cyber machines to attack one of the machines. but i can't get them to attack anything outside the test bed which is a good thing from, you know, a legal standpoint. but it's kind of fun to be able to go, that guy, i don't
like him. let me send my minions after him. that's what i'm trying to fix, not cause. >> reporter: at deter-lab, they want to encourage more and even younger students to use the facility. they also see their mission as educating uwe tills and others who they think are the most at risk. do you get push-back from companies who say this isn't worth my time? >> sure. a lot of this is an unfunded mandate. they may not have security... security is not necessarily a primary concern for them. in critical infrastructure they're worried about things like the availability of service. it's an education problem to try to help them understand the nature of the threat and the c.i.t. kalt of what would happen if they were compromised and try to get them to provide those services and those capables in their infrastructure. >> reporter: the people who run deter-lab hope the lesson is learned before a future cyber attack causes massive disruption. >> brown: tom has more on this story in a blog post you can
find on our website, newshour dot pbs dot org. >> suarez: next, allegations of misconduct by the agents sent ahead of president obama on his trip to colombia for the summit of the americas last week. margaret warner has the story. >> warner: the secret service sent 11 of its agents home after allegations of misconduct involving prostitutes at their cartagena hotel. in an announcement saturday, the agency said, "the nature of the allegations, coupled with a zero tolerance policy on personal misconduct, resulted in the secret service taking the decisive action to relieve these individuals of their assignment, return them to their place of duty, and replace them with additional secret service personnel." all 11 were placed on leave. the secret service noted none were assigned to the presidential protective division. military personnel staying in
the same hotel also are being investigated, according to the pentagon. president obama asked for a "rigorous" investigation in comments to reporters sunday. >> if it turns out that some of the allegations that have been made in the press are confirmed, then, of course, i'll be angry. because my attitude with respect to the secret service personnel is no different than what i expect out of my delegation that's sitting here. we're representing the people of the united states. and when we travel to another country, i expect us to observe the highest standards because we're not just representing ourselves. >> warner: for more, we turn to laura meckler, a reporter with the "wall street journal" who traveled with the president to colombia. and ralph basham, director of the secret service from 2003 to 2006. he's now with command consulting group, a security consulting firm. we will... welcome to you
both. laura, first of all, tell us what happened here. what got these agents in this trouble? >> evidently agents were staying at this hotel which has a policy that if you bring a guest to your room you need to leave that guest's identification at the front desk. they have to be out by 7:00 a.m. 7:00 a.m. rolled around. >> warner: this is wednesday night into thursday. >> wednesday night last week. two days before president obama was due to arrive for the summit of the americas. at 7:00 a.m. rolled around and there was still an i.d.at the front desk. the hotel manager knocked on the door. a secret service agent was staying in that room. he wouldn't answer the door. the hotel manager called the local police who came. they opened the door then. then a little bit of a dispute ensued when this woman who was there, he asked her to leave. she said she wanted to be paid first. he said i don't owe you any money. she said yes you do. he paid her. she left. that was the end of it except for the fact that there's a rule the colombian police have is whenever an incident involving a foreign national takes place and they get involved in they file a report with the embassy.
that's what happened. they filed a report with the american embassy. and then the u.s. officials saw this was a secret service agent involved. that got the investigation rolling. >> warner: mr. basham, we know we don't know the facts here yet. what are the rules of conduct for secret service agents on the road when they're on a presidential advance trip like this? >> actually the rules of conduct for the secret service, whether they're on the red or not, are pretty much the same anywhere. recognizing that the position that they hold reflects on the organization, on the administration, and on the white house itself. >> warner: are there proceed hib igs against drinking, against bringing men or women to your room? >> certainly. there are prohibitions on bringing someone to your room for the purposes of illicit conduct. but in terms of drinking, well, at the end of a very tough, stressful day it's not uncommon for them to go and relax with others in the
traveling party. no, there's no... but there are restrictions on how much they drink. and how they conduct themselves when they drink. >> warner: let's turn to the security aspect of this, that is the president's security. that is of course what really concerns everyone. first of all, laura, explain if you can briefly the agency made a big point of noting that these men were not part of the presidential protective division. they were special agents and uniformed officers. decode that for us. >> that means that they aren't the people who are directly with the people. they aren't the people directly surrounding him to make sure he stays safe. there's lots of agents who go ahead and secure different areas where he may be in. make sure the general environment is safe and secure. these guys were not directly on the president's detail. that doesn't mean though that they aren't in a position that could hurt the president because they might have information that people want. they put themselves a lot of experts say in a position to potentially be blackmailed or
extorted for this information because now somebody might have some dirt on them essentially. >> warner: mr. basham, if you were looking at this situation, if this were the situation, what would concern you as the potential security risk? >> the same thing that concerned the director. director sullivan and his team. that these... this incident had been reported. and recognizing... these agents recognizing that they were going to probably be disciplined for this. that would be distracted... could be distracted because they're worried or concerned. but the fact that... the fact that the director pulled them out of their quickly was... that obviously was a concern of his. >> warner: someone today also raised the point that the agents, all the agents get that really detailed schedule of the president's movements, much more detailed than the press even gets. like 8:22 the president will
move from position-a to position-b. is that the case? >> not every agent gets that detailed. the advance team and the advance team leader would have that information. >> warner: that's what i mean. >> i don't know that the agents, you know, who allegedly did this had access to that information. probably not. >> warner: let's go to the question of culture because this is what congressman darrell ice a who is chairman of the government oversight committee raised. he really that the investigation was fine as far as it went. but there needed to be a deeper probe really into what this said about the culture at the agency. he said at one point i have so many agents involved things like this don't happen once if they didn't happen before. what are you hearing from people you're talking to in the agency and the white house about this larger question? >> that is a question. there's sort of a... it's kind of an open secret among many who have been in and around the secret service that there's a culture especially on foreign travel that some of
the normal rules and mores don't apply. there's a phrase that gets bandied about, not just among the secret service but indeed in the secret service which is called "wheels off, rings off." once the airplane wheels go up, your wedding rings can come off. we all know what that would aapply. that's not to say that every secret service agent would be engaged in activity like this or even most would. but that phrase and that attitude is not uncommon. >> warner: if you were still the director, would you be worried about that? i mean the fact that... it's one thing if there are one or two people. but there are 11 people. does that imply to you as darrell issa said that in a situation like that, it suggests that this is maybe not routine but not unique. >> i spent a total of 34 years in the secret service. i did a lot of travel. there were occasions when after a particularly difficult trip agents and staff would get together, relax after the
protectee had left the area. but this idea that wheels up and rings off is just not... it's not true. i mean it may be something someone can speculate about. but unless you've been there and been a part of this, it's hard to.... >> warner: and what about pf... what about before the president even arrived? >> that's even more uncommon quite frankly because they're focused on the mission. they're focused on the arrival of the president. they had very, very specific duties that they have to perform. and be engaged in. they know they've got to get up every morning and be ready to go to work and to take on this incredibly challenging mission. that's what is unique about this story. it doesn't happen. and if the congressman has information that would lead him to believe that there have
been other incidents of this type, then i suggest he come forward and give to it the proper authorities and have it investigated. >> warner: if i misquoted him i'm sorry. he didn't say that. he's just saying human nature suggests that there might have been others. laura, what can you tell us about the investigation? how many different investigations are there? how deep is it going to go? >> we know of at least three different at least places where this is being looked into. of course the secret service itself has promised a thorough and complete investigation. that's the main place. you have two congressional committee chairmen who have each said they're going to look into this. darrell issa whom you mentioned and also representative peter king, chairman king of the homeland security committee which has oversight over the secret service. both of them have only said they're going to have staff look into this. they're going to do ground work investigation. neither one has promised hearings. i think we have to really see how serious is this? is this just in the immediate wake of the news, them saying yeah we're going to look into it or is there something
deeper? i think that's unanswered at this point. i think they're going to try to get at how widespread is this and do we need more attention? >> warner: thank you both very much. laura meckler and ralph basham, thanks. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: finally tonight, the 2011 pulitzer prizes were announced this afternoon. among the winners in the arts: for music, kevin puts and his work "silent night, opera in two acts." for history: manning marable, for his book, "malcolm x: a life of reinvention." marable died in april of last year. and for biography: john lewis gaddis, for his book, "george f. kennan: an american life." very unusually, there was no winner in the fiction category. among the journalism awards: david wood of the huffington post won for national reporting. he chronicled the struggles of wounded war veterans when they return home. and the public service award went to a team at the "philadelphia inquirer" that investigated pervasive violence
in the city's schools. we're joined by one of the members of that team of reporters kristen graham. kristen, first, congratulations. >> thank you very much. >> brown: set the scene for us a little bit. how did you and your colleagues first get on to this story? >> we decided to do the story after an incident at a philadelphia high school in december of 2009 when a group of asian immigrant students were severely beaten. it was a racially motivated beating. the school district response was very luke warm at first. advocates throughout the city were saying how could this happen? we decided we were going to devote resources into looking into a pervasive culture of violence in the philadelphia school district. >> brown: tell us a little bit about that means? what kind of violences are we talking about? the ages of the students. what were you seeing? >> in some cases students even as young as elementary school
even kinder gartners were committing violent acts. in high school, one particularly disturbing case there was a group of students who went from room to room looking for their victim. this happened in plain sight. teachers, prince principals all allowed it to happen. we found widespread underreporting throughout the system. >> brown:. >> brown: that i gather was an important piece of this. the unreported element of it. why was that going on? i mean was this about keeping the numbers down or what did you find? >> in many cases it was about keeping the numbers down. there's really a disdisincentive. when we did the series it was up to school officials to report their own violence. obviously it didn't reflect well on them. if they showed violence. so we found that many officials were just not reporting incidents. the district simply never found out about it. no one was ever punisheded. so it was really quite an issue in many schools.
>> brown: that includes the teachers not reporting anything? >> it was the responsibility of the administrator to report the violence. now since the series that's changed. it's up to school police to report. >> brown: then the question became, i'm sure for your readers, whether authorities a all levels were doing enough to stop the violence. >> absolutely. absolutely. we heard from many readers and, you know, certainly most poignantly from victims of violence that they felt enough was not being done. there's a new administration in the school district of philadelphia. they've taken a more serious approach to school violence. they've come out with some different regulations. they say they're taking it more seriously than their predecessors. >> brown: i noted the pulitzer citation said your team's reporting brought reform and improved safety for students and teachers.
tell us a little bit about how that happens. you do a series. it sparks debate and controversy in the city. and what happens? what happened in your case? >> well, in our case, shortly after a few months after the series came out, there was a new administration in philadelphia. so the new school reform commission or the governing body of the school district of philadelphia came in and put in some reforms. the district had put in reforms after the series came out as well so it really kind of in parts didn't happen immediately but it's happened incrementally. we hear anecdotally that things are improving. >> brown: how much goes into a series like this? in terms of resources? in terms of your time. give us a little sense of the process of the reporting. >> well, we were five reporters who were on the series for more than a year which is a huge investment of time. and some of us were on it for the entire time.
i covered the philadelphia school district it's my beat. for a long time i would do my daily stories and work on the series, you know, kind of in my spare time but it really was a huge commitment on the paper's part and we're particularly proud that it was a staff award because we really feel like the whole staff made this happen. >> brown: i can't help but note, of course, that it happens at a time when your paper, of course, lots of papers are going through economic hard times. your paper has had several... many rounds of lay-offs. the parent company was recently sold. that's the kind of larger context for your work. >> absolutely. it was a great day in the news room. you know, we really felt like it focused the spotlight on the fact that not just my colleagues and i who worked on the series but everyone at the inquirer is doing really good work and, you know, we really feel like public service journalism is, you know, what we're in business to do.
you know, it was a great day. >> brown: is there a follow-up report going on to this or other stories in the school? >> absolutely, absolutely. as i said i cover the school district and have been writing about cheating in the philadelphia school district and also certainly following violence as well. so it's something that we've got our eye on very closely. >> brown: kristen graham of the philadelphia inquirer, part of the team that won the pulitzer prize this year for public service. thanks so much and again congratulations. >> thank you so much. >> brown: among other winners are several with whom the newshour has talked in the past year. they include matt apuzzo of the associated press. also, sarah ganim for her reporting on the penn state scandal. "new york times" correspondent jeffrey gettleman, who covers africa. and poet tracy smith, who won for her book, "life on mars."
we've collected those interviews online. you can find a link on our home page. >> suarez: again, the other major developments of the day. afghan president karzai blamed intelligence failures by nato and his own nation, for sunday's coordinated 18-hour assault by insurgents on four cities. u.n. observers began arriving in syria, but government forces renewed the shelling of several key cities, leaving the fate of a cease-fire in doubt. and republicans in the u.s. senate blocked a democratic bid this evening to take up the so- called "buffett rule." it calls for a minimum 30% tax on those making at least $1 million a year. online, we're gathering the voices of ordinary americans about health care reform. hari sreenivasan has a preview. >> sreenivasan: as the supreme court weighs its verdict on the
health reform law, we kick off a series profiling what ordinary americans think of it. read our first installment and share your own story on our health page. and with federal income taxes due tomorrow, we have a compilation of tips, calculators, and political rhetoric for this election-year tax day. find that on paul solman's making sense page. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. ray? >> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll have another in our american graduate series, the story of a las vegas school district luring dropouts back to school to earn a diploma in a tough economy. i'm ray suarez. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: at&t. bnsf railway. >> citi. supporting progress for 200 years. >> the william and flora hewlett
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