Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  April 11, 2015 1:00am-3:01am EDT

1:00 am
. recently fox radio wanted to interview me about a piece that they were preparing about the fact that vice president biden collects rent from the secret service and. >> host: you report this. >> guest: actually i did not. because i do not think it was an issue. and the reporter, a very good reporter, very excited about the story, and i said no i think that that is a perfectly legitimate action by the secret service. and why should he be penalized and so he said okay, i would like to put you on anyway. sure enough we are running
1:01 am
through this weekend. so that is where i try to be honest about these individuals and i believe we are on the right and that is what i am going to do it. >> hello, i just wanted to bring attention to the difference between the cia and the fbi and i was wondering [inaudible] and then i saw the advocacy and i learned my lesson that you cannot trust them. so then i got in to this with hb1 visas to work. i contracted an individual and he met with me and he said that he would bring in the head
1:02 am
engineer of a nuclear submarine and he said i can get you a bunch of engineers like this. but he said you have to get the visas. and i said okay. this is very helpful. i contacted the va office in michigan at the time, [inaudible] i had been talking about this and i had seen this in the next guy got out and i said oh, that is a tia man. i went inside and i was right. the first thing that they said was we don't need him any information, we have only one. but we would like to do industrial counterespionage and then send them back. and i said no i'm not going to
1:03 am
do that. because i know how the russians treat people as bias. so the first time i was denied a visa by the state department. that engineer was going to be an absolute gold mine for the cia. >> host: that kind of ties into a couple of your early books. >> guest: in my book "escape from the cia" i talk about the individual that affected in these defectors are inherently not able to be trusted and therefore they treated him like that and sure enough because of that and also because of someone
1:04 am
he believed was his mistress, he decided to defect to the soviet union and sure enough even though they knew this not because it would otherwise show that they were stupid for trusting them. but it's certainly an example of how the cia can be really screwed up and i eventually did an interview in moscow and this is at the end of the cold war, it was a little bit teary the kgb talked about this of course relying on everything and they said it was an interesting episode. >> host: one individual says ipod for i apply for a job, i was successful through several steps through the polygraph after which they rejected me. it left me with with an
1:05 am
impression that i consider to be pseudoscientific and i now work in law enforcement. elsewhere in the federal government. do you have an opinion of the over reliance polygraph exams? >> guest: i believe that photographs are very useful versatile as a deterrent you may not engage in improper behavior if you know you're going to be polygraph. and secondly in many cases when confronted with the fact that someone has failed a polygraph individuals will confess and that has led to many people going to jail or people being rejected by these agencies. obviously it's not perfect. the kgb has interesting ways for instructing people, for example one individual became the more he was instructed on how to evade and so it's not always
1:06 am
infallible. but going back to the robert hanssen case, the fbi agent who was a spy for russia and probably the most damaging one in u.s. history talking about the secrets of the fbi he revealed that the because he was free, the fbi director refused to approve a proposal that all of them be polygraph. so it is in fact part of this and he would have been caught. and so for seven more years we are able to compromise, millions of whom were killed. and so it's something that i do believe in. >> host: what is the
1:07 am
relationship between the cia fbi and congress? >> they have been very smart about congress. admiral mueller would spend a lot of time with them behind the scenes. he was very open and honest and the result is that they have gotten a tremendous increase, which they should have and the secret service also is pretty good at that. they will show you the facilities at national conventions, give them special access to members of congress and unfortunately that has not resulted in more money because he could service has not asked for more money which is really outrageous. and, you know it's been back and forth. he would lie to congress he he would lie to the public and they were not very happy with supportive with him although
1:08 am
newt gingrich did understand. >> host: we have another caller from san mateo california. >> caller: thank you, i appreciate you allowing me to participate. mr. kessler. hello? >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: yes, my question in regards to bush in the white house he had given carte blanche to the white house to the log cabin republicans, who are picking up young under age boys bring them to the white house to be time that that happened. i'm wondering if you could shed light on that.
1:09 am
>> host: where you sourcing this from? >> guest: this is material that i read that never reached the papers of these kinds of things do not. usually it is anti-democratic and so i was curious whether or not he could respond to this question. >> guest: in most cases what i will call a conspiracy theory, you can say that, you know could this be going on and so many people are involved with the assassination, don't you think that by now we would have some defectors who would want to make a million dollars on the real story and that's what we need to know about some of these conspiracy theories, the same with whether the cia was involved as well.
1:10 am
do you think that hundreds of cia people would keep it wet or dozens to this day? the case of this claim i think that is one way to approach it and totally not true. and i reject the implied bigotry that there's something wrong with them. >> host: have you heard that story before? >> guest: i have never heard that story before. especially with the internet i do not understand why people can't be more skeptical. for example the claim about obama being born in kenya. aside from a birth certificate which is an issue, the fact is that newspaper articles appear at the time and the hawaiian
1:11 am
newspapers announcing his book so as my wife pointed out and i will point this out unless his parents when he was born in canada decided that he was going to be president and therefore put this announcement in hawaiian newspapers, the whole thing is a can of worms and also untrue. again, something that should be obvious to people but apparently is not. >> host: how many presidents have you interviewed reign. >> guest: only george bush. presidents are not going to say very much. i love to get what i think is the real story. that is why coming and asking questions of the press secretary trying to corner him with tricky questions, woodward and bernstein would never have had watergate developed unless they
1:12 am
have been coming to the white house from the fact is that the nationals after "the washington post" about the whole thing was baloney they are trying to undercut from this they were coming to police headquarters covering local stories, this is a big thrill for them and a major reason why the post was able to reveal the stories because we are courageous. >> host: where do you think the health of investigative reporting is today? >> guest: there are exceptions "the washington post" has been doing a very good job, they have been doing very good stories on the secret service and on the other hand you have this impetus
1:13 am
putting a story on the internet without any checking or investigation. so it is such a mixed bag. >> host: martha from irvine, california, you are on with author ron kessler. >> caller: james calmly put forth a strategy of innovation and analyst. so he noted the strategy and my question is how reasonable is this one agencies are known not collaborate with each other. >> guest: there is an effort that you have to work with there's an effort underway to give him more status, he established training for animals which had never been done before. progressively both of them have been pushing for more
1:14 am
collaboration between analysts and there is a pecking order at the top of the herd and there is still work to be done there. >> host: this is ronald kessler's twitter handle. can people contact you via these two vehicles? >> guest: yes, definitely on the website, that is the best way. i'm not a big twitter affection otto. i should learn it. >> host: coming up next we have philip and marino valley. >> caller: hello yes. my statement in question is i talk about the administration that is one of the biggest scandals in the united states today. i'm a veteran and a former employee from the hospital in
1:15 am
loma linda. and as a veteran i still receive treatment. but the employees tell me that people are dying to do not have to die. they are saving money at the expense of those who have a lot of problems and they make them comfortable. this is the biggest scandal in the united states today. a lot of people don't realize that even in not not to germany, hitler culminated this and this is happening now and i go to loma linda twice a week and there is an attitude of indifference would make an
1:16 am
impact. and unless you have this it is really the worst thing in the united states today. >> guest: i agree. this brings up the question as to how scandals like this can occur and it always a mystery. how can people be so callous? how can they cover up to actually delay treatment that results in death and it's the same thing with the secret service and the culture described. how can they cut corners or relax when the president of the united states has a life that is at stake. yet it continues and that is the biggest challenge when it comes to someone who is in charge of an agency like that where you don't have a profit motive and you are going to do well if you don't have a profit motive.
1:17 am
and that is why you need someone who is from outside the agency who will understand this and of course buy the same time they refuse to actually acknowledge what the color as. because of alcohol because of stress, that's not the problem we have one or two other incidents, but the truth is that most agents have no time to engage in that sort of thing and that includes mr. clancy who refuses with knowledge what the real problems are. >> host: i agree with not publishing secret tech geeks one individual says one of the stories with using cell phones
1:18 am
and etc. yet you talked about so much information about planting bugs in the description of their size and etc. why did you do the same thing remapped. >> guest: in the case of bugging devices there is nothing that anyone can do. i want to understand that the fbi can in fact love them and the fbi was so sly about how they do it that no matter what they do in the book they will be wiretapped. in the case of the secret service and the laxness that i reveal, the degraded service could change that overnight. they could stop being lax and stop the corner cutting. and if you do you will be fired. and so this says that things will not be in jeopardy. that is why i feel perfectly
1:19 am
safe dealing with this corner cutting because something is making me change. >> host: one individual on facebook says i am interested on expenditures of former presidents and vice presidents. mr. kessler makes an important point that fails to report the story. >> guest: the total expenditures are probably in millions of dollars but i think that if you have a president like jimmy carter or george bush or laura bush, taken hostage by isis we don't want that. when you compare the budget of the secret service, which is $1.9 billion as projected per year a which cost about that much. it is just ridiculous.
1:20 am
we need to prevent another assassination. that really nullifies democracy. i was in college when jfk was assassinated and i cried for days. it was such a blow to everybody. and so when it comes to money it should not be a factor. the secret service would not even spend money to have detectors to detect gunshots at the white house, that is something that the police in washington have talked about. they will not spend money to use the latest detecting intrusion or what is available from the national laboratories. anyway you look at the secret service, it is in shambles. >> host: as a result of the reagan incident, the secret
1:21 am
service began using magnetometers screened crowds at events. >> guest: before this the secret service used magnetometers and the real reason that reagan was shot was they overruled even though they didn't have the authority to overrule, the secret service and that is why the secret service covered us, they tried saying that the fbi covered up what really happened and it was actually reagan's own staff that caused that shooting. >> host: here is a quote from a current agent. this could be on the leading edge when it comes to weapons. and they are just not.
1:22 am
>> guest: they are not up-to-date on the latest weapons, even the police have no certain weapons this is all part of corner cutting. the director said take a look at the soldiers in iraq, they had to leap on the floor, so if we agents working tremendous hours, that is not so bad. can you imagine comparing a secret service agent that can make five times more money in the private actor with a young soldier in iraq? to showing you the lack of management cycle that you see in the secret service today. >> host: the secret service, from the again your book.
1:23 am
the secret service found richard nixon to be the strangest protect the. >> guest: one hunter watching nixon watch tv and in his home in california and he was feeding dog biscuits to his dog and then he took one of the biscuits and looked at it and ate it. that was normal behavior. he really doesn't have a clue about how to do the normal things. that was just one story out of many about nixon. >> host: the next call comes from stephen in decatur, illinois. >> caller: oh, thank you for letting me speak. such a good writer thank you for being part of looking into what our government does and the individuals that have power. i think that the greatest like his comments say the government
1:24 am
and the truth depends on who's got it and how they want to use it, partisan politics and it is putting aside the needs of the nation, you just talked about mr. nixon and he was a pretty effective president in so many ways except he did not trust the media, he wanted to control it and he got involved with something that didn't make any difference in his election and that got him into a lot of things trying to cover it up. [inaudible] i got from this bar district place that some saw that whether it was anything immediate and a
1:25 am
lot of people died on the assumption that they had weapons that even i knew were questionable at the least. i heard a guy talking about politics. the mustard politics, foreign affairs, the american people were ready to kick somebody's butt and a rock was there to get their butts kicked and a lot of people say that it still has not been close to. >> host: let's get a common comment here from our guest. >> guest: i think that when that sort of thing goes back it goes back to character. if we don't look at character when we choose a president, then we are in for trouble and that is a good tempo.
1:26 am
people often ask me if i ever fear for my life. but no although we do get certain things that are nasty with swear words come apart of this covered up culture if you expose the truth, there is going to be a retaliatory attitude and when i was interviewing the individual arrested with [inaudible] and i interviewed carl and his wife with my wife, pam and her one point carl started asking my wife about some part. and he knew that kim covered art for "the washington post." she didn't want to talk about
1:27 am
it. and i could tell that carl was getting suspicious. this was during the cold war and i laid out exactly where her stories appear in "the washington post" so that he could look them up. later as we were parting at the airport, he admitted that he thought that pam was an fbi agent and i was her [inaudible] but that was his conclusion about this whole episode. >> host: what you discussed at length in one of your books is [inaudible name] >> guest: obviously i think he did a great job even though i think he was lying is almost any intelligence official went in this world but he knew how to rally the troops which is important and there were
1:28 am
successes under his tenure. >> host: use not your typical cia director. >> guest: he was a very real person. >> host: what you think about the cia? >> guest: i don't think people think a lot of it it's just another layer of bureaucracy, and that could've been done by the cia director with perhaps additional legislation. so i just, in fact i quote
1:29 am
being in charge of counterterrorism does this mean that we have these boring meetings, that we waste time it doesn't top the cause whatsoever >> host: joyce, please go ahead with your western or your comment. >> caller: hello, i'm wondering if you're familiar with the case and sarah the senator from florida who is on the 9/11 commission and never passed on it. the case in sarasota was one that was saudi arabian family in a gated community 6 miles from the airport where the men who ran into them [inaudible]
1:30 am
these people were one of the people that went into this gated community they took the lessons of these people and one of the people whose licenses they got along to mohamed atta. >> guest: that is not true. he is not connected with the royal family. even though bin laden and others were from saudi arabia saudi arabia actually expelled him took away the assets, didn't want anything to do with them, so i think that in this case of saudi arabia they are our friend
1:31 am
>> host: senator graham has called for the full disclosure of the 9/11 report, hasn't he? >> guest: i have seen him be critical of a lot of things [inaudible] and a lot of the material has been disclosed. but yes, there has been an issue and i believe that that is just having to do with 9/11. but the commission did a very good job and working out what the problems were and something worth reading. >> host: stories over the last several years about the size of national security as well as what is being kept secret from the american public. >> guest: there was a series of articles in "the washington
1:32 am
post". yes, the expenditures are higher, what do you expect after 9/11 yes there are many employees and agencies, but was there any abuse did they fail given the fact that we have not had this since 9/11? no, those stories never said that. the dishonesty that you see in the press so many times today, you know i just don't understand how these people live with themselves writing dishonors stories. not to mention the fact that a paper like the post today is going to be more successful. people are going to recognize you can actually trust "the washington post" and we should look at this as opposed to some
1:33 am
other examples, are they going downhill because they are so one-sided and ideological. >> host: the next call comes from robert. please go ahead, you are on with ron kessler. >> caller: thank you very much. thank you to c-span because it's a very enjoyable to get random topics delivered. and thank you, mr. kessler. i was in college during the nixon administration and very unaware. i was struck when he said that he was perhaps the first attack on the constitution. i would like to comment on that and then come back when i hear obama being called the worst attack on the constitution that we have ever had. >> guest: my reference to the constitution is that he had fired the special prosecutor
1:34 am
over him and he instructed the cia to lie about money in order to cover up what nixon did in one out. so all of these activities not to mention an actual break-in all of these things made it very clear to me than i now is either at the center of it that nixon's next step could be to disband the constitution. it was a very close call and as for obama i do not think that it is not clear that his executive order is illegal, on the one hand he is doing a good job of killing overseas with jones but on the other hand it troubles me
1:35 am
and what could be more obvious then yes, the vast majority are peaceful many are friends, i have several friends that are admirable people. on the other hand knowing that they are within that religion and claims to be muslim and that they are like serial killers. i don't see what is the problem with it in this way, i think that everyone can understand that it does not lead to bigotry, to the contrary, it makes it clear that we should respect things post back about 20 minute left for this month's "in depth." please be sure to try the lines
1:36 am
or social media. we will try to get to you. >> caller: hello, i am a democrat and i have questions about hillary in regard to it authorization for a question about hillary in regards to her e-mail that came from c-span watching. i'm concerned with the whitewater issue and also i met her at the democratic convention in may she gave a great speech, was very welcoming when we met, i helped somebody with a wheelchair get to talk to her and she was very interested in the paper that i wrote when i moved to new york city i was her constituent and did not expect her to remember me. but i did have an appointment with her aid and the office did not let me in to see her she
1:37 am
happened to be there and she walked right by me and i tried to get up and talk to her and it just seemed very close, the constituents in the middle class and i'm concerned about how somebody in the lower class would be treated and concerned about her transparency as a president, and in turn i saw how it shows the judicial watch asking many legal questions and in a separate story not on c-span a reporter asked questions about how the secret service could keep a server safe. can you give me more examples as to how the secret service could
1:38 am
keep such a server safe and also -- >> host: thank you, we are going to leave it there. >> host: in regards to servers, of course we are talking about some coming in they might prevent that but that is not the issue, the issue is in the case of her keeping her government e-mails on her server, that there could be cyberattacks. in that case that something that the secret service would not be involved in whatsoever. how she treats people hillary had actually instructed secret service agents when she was in the white house of a were not post to be seen by her, they were when she was coming down actually to go behind curtains because that is sick behavior.
1:39 am
and you can just imagine how someone with that kind of a personality might get in the white house and as opposed to how someone appeared on tv whether that person acted well in a debate, those are things that are totally relevant to the real issues in the real issues are that track records. fbi agents are taught when they go for initial training in virginia that past behavior is the best predictor and that is pretty obvious most of the time but somehow we ignore all of the
1:40 am
signpost. >> host: capitol police officer greg lacoste will never forget turning the doorknob to one of lyndon b. johnson seven capital hideaways. he was making his rounds. checking to make sure that officers were locked. he was having sects with carol tyler. he said tweet you jumped up, took off running because i knew that man i just can't tell you he's learning to kill me he told them to hide in those
1:41 am
walkers were little. and then i could hardly breathe and i thought it would break. and i said where is that officer, and johnson applied tweet who came in here i will kill him and eventually johnson tired and he executed him from the locker. >> guest: i revealed that he was having sex and one time his wife caught him and he blew up at the secret service and said you should have warned me and ordered him to install a system so that they would want him in the area and that shows the arrogance and hypocrisy and just
1:42 am
someone that, you know, when you think about it how could this person ever be president and how could this be in charge of the vietnam war that led to 50000 or 75,000 deaths what kind of judgment does that show. again these are things that people are in denial about, that they put blinders on and they don't look at the real picture. that is one of the messages of my book. >> host: neil is in long beach california. >> caller: hello, i am proud of you and c-span. it's hard to find a fair person. and even then this was a lot of
1:43 am
truth before it happened. >> i mentioned this before but the one commission based on the fbi investigation has done in early job and that is the pinnacle of assassins, showing that they are unstable with this and just think of. >> host: fred in waterville maine. >> i have art he talked about three copies of ron's book and
1:44 am
congress really doesn't represent a cross-section of america. when i talk in washington among groups and the groups think the same way that we all do and one is gerrymandering and we can't get that solved so we can get the right districts and states question and comment is about this. it is political cronyism and a sense of non-transparency.
1:45 am
one says that nothing gets done and i'm proud of that because we have bad legislation put in. my suggestion is have humorously that very seriously wearing a jacket similar to nascar, a succoth if you want and they must have patches on themselves equal proportionate to the number of dollars that it donated that the nra donates half the money, i want to be able to look at a senator and have them show me that jacket and comments about gerrymandering and allowing big money into this portable system
1:46 am
and given that the supreme court money is free speech and it should not be limited that we should have a term limit which would bring in new candidates who would not be as the holden and i think that that would help a lot and that would require members of congress against their own interest and i'm not sure that is going to happen. but the fact is that elections do have consequences and republicans come in democrats come in, changes are made and in the end i think that it is possible to have a fairly effective government. >> host: here is chapter he called follow the money. let's take this next call from marianne in san diego,
1:47 am
california. >> caller: hello i think i have a suggestion for a book. i would like to see a book written on the first i remember when i was a child. the reason for them and a special comment on the latest comment to you. >> we did have a very shortsighted policy in those days where we could probably overthrow government, for example, and then look at what we got. and it was foolhardy and the ca was part of that and that is a good example of the problems
1:48 am
that existed in those days within the cia. it was just ridiculous where everyone in "the new york times" new with this invasion was being planned and yet the cia went ahead with that and hundreds of people lost their lives. so was just an outrageous thing. in many ways the country has gotten better since those days, they have gotten more accountable, certainly and has become more focused the improvement in oversight has made a big difference in terms of civil rights we have seen big improvements and at the boston herald that the other reporters would refer to them and that is how bad things were in those
1:49 am
days and now they have often been in acceptance to college because we do want to be a part of that. >> host: of all of your 20 bucks, do you have a favorite? >> guest: one is a palm beach book and i had a wonderful time with my wife pam. this remarkable stories of wealth and what can happen when you have too much of it in the recent book i think it encompasses so many of the important messages that i feel that people need to know about, not to mention exposing this vastness and many of those stories. my wife pam she did the
1:50 am
archival research for that and there are so many myths about him and for example he was described in the press as this very religious guy that went to church every day and he never went to church. and the other stories like that. >> host: her first book. what about that. >> guest: it deals with how deceptive the insurance industry is. and it is regulated by the fcc and i can never get away from some of these deceptive practices and for example they will tell you that they will get
1:51 am
a universal return plus a death benefit and it was just outrageous and i think that that would be a big improvement. >> caller: the person that that person was talking about
1:52 am
would've been john o'neill who worked in the fbi do you refer to him in any of your books? that's one question, my second question is the woman that just called not too long ago about sarasota florida. there was a nurse in sarasota that was on to the fact that the suppliers were staying in venice florida [inaudible]
1:53 am
>> guest: mr. o'neill was respected he was in charge of counterterrorism for the fbi. he had a higher position with the world trade center and he was tragically killed and he did not have any premonition about the attack and he certainly was aware of the danger and the threat. peter: >> host: the books by ron kessler include "escape from the cia: how the cia won and lost the most important kgb spy ever to defect to the u.s.", "inside the cia: revealing the secrets of the world's most powerful spy agency", "inside the white house: the hidden lives of the modern presidents and the secrets of the world's most powerful institution", "the sins of the father: joseph p. kennedy and the dynasty he founded", and
1:54 am
the cia one includes the most important kgb spy to defect to the united states. and we also had "inside the white house: the hidden lives of the modern presidents and the secrets of the world's most powerful institution" and "the sins of the father: joseph p. kennedy and the dynasty he founded" about joseph kennedy that came out in 1990 ickes the season that we have talked about "the bureau: the secret history of the fbi; a matter of character: inside the white house of george w. bush" came out in 2002 "the cia at war", and "a matter of character", "laura bush" "inside the desperate race to stop the next attack" and the last book "in the president's secret service:
1:55 am
behind the scenes with agents in the line of fire and the presidents they protect" of 2009, and finally his most recent, "secret service agents". >> caller: great program, the one question for mr. kessler would be given the thoughts on the president. [inaudible] and who had the best presidents from truman forward, the best mutual respect going both ways.
1:56 am
>> guest: george w. bush was very involved with the cia. very appreciative of what they did. and another reason is inside the cia, today that is the one book as i understand that that they recommend to applicants and new employees at the cia even though the book came out years ago.
1:57 am
and they would not put up with that, they would start prosecuting the cia officers and another time he goes on to how it really works and that is why i think it is important for new employees to learn from these lessons, to know what was wrong about this era without a lot of misinterpretation to understand very clearly why hoover was not someone to be admired. because he did abuse american rights even though he also did a lot of good things. and i have hope as i have written these books within the
1:58 am
management and the employee workforce and i believe that that has happened. >> caller: i would like to ask mr. kessler why is it that the call to death consistent with the autopsy protocol, i'm curious to know if that is not a cover-up. ..
1:59 am
thanks for your time. >> guest: thank you. enjoyed it.
2:00 am
2:01 am
>> host: walter isaacson, what is the link between ben
2:02 am
franklin, steve jobs, henry kissinger and ada. >> guest: they're all creative minds and that interested me throughout my career. a lot of people write about sports heroes or literary figures, but to me it's people who can combine different discipline like the arts and sciences, the way ben franklin did, the way ada lovelace did and albert einstein. we talk about innovations so often, it's almost drained of its meaning, and i've always liked to write about real people who are in a situation whether it be averill hairman after world war ii and you have a create a new world ordinary like nato and the world bank and the marshall plan 0 steve jobs who says we're now in a digital revolution, we have to make it personal. these are people who -- to use steve jobs' words, were able to think different, think out of the box. i want to try to explore the creative mind and how it works.
2:03 am
>> host: one of them themes -- themes in your book seems to be a connect to spirituality. >> guest: everybody believed they were part of something larger than themselves. i remember sitting with steve jobs and i asked him why did you do what you do? and he said, life is like a river. you get to pick things out of the river, really cool things people have done, they put before you in the river, great devices or great ideas, but after a while you realize it's not how much you get to take out of the river it's what you put back into the river, what you leave behind so that your spirit is still manifest after you have been gone and whether it's albert einstein or benjamin franklin or anybody else, they did have a connection to something super natural, something somewhat larger than themselves. >> host: from 2011 your book on
2:04 am
steve jobs, opening sentence. in the early summer of 204 i got a phone call from steve jobs. >> guest: uh-huh. >> host: why did he call you? >> guest: i had written a biography of benjamin franklin, and he asked me to do him next. i thought, ben franklin albert einstein, then you? then i realize he had been sick and fighting cancer, and we don't always look at creative minds in business and entrepreneurship, and to me to be able to get very close to and try to peel back the layers from the greatest business and technology innovator of our day and generation, was going to be something truly special. i'd known him since around 1984 when he came to "time magazine toy toy to show off the original macintosh, and we had remained moderately good friends, especially when i was editing"
2:05 am
time" and he used me to market. i liked stop jones and his passion. when i got his call i thought is was special. >> host: i asked jobs why he wanted me to be the one to write his biography. i think you're good at getting people to talk he says. >> guest: he was -- he was somebody 0 who understood the power of listening and i learn that from him a little bit too. because when i started working with him, i'd ask a whole lot of questions, and sometimes i'd have all sorts of premising then i realize it if i just let him go just say ipod and he would go on for on hour or two i do really listen and try to pick up the rhythms of the way his mind worked. so i'm not necessarily the best academic historian, and may not
2:06 am
even been the best reporter when it comes to writing books but i'm pretty good at just getting people to be willing to talk to me and i hope that's because i try to listen. and i'm lucky. having been at "time magazine" or cnn, if call up and ask to speak to larry page i'm more likely to be able to get through. so i should go visit gordon moore, moore's law, and hi laws and spend time with wozniak because i have been blessed too having access to these people. so that's what i try bring to the party. there will be people who take the steve jobs book of the innovators book, and do a better analysis what does this mean hough does this lead to
2:07 am
leadership lessons. for me, what i do is i can call people up, sit down listen, try to get the quotes right and put it there as if it's a first draft for other people who might be able to analyze things from the book. >> host: is this book an authorized biography, steve jobs. >> guest: not in the technical sense of the term. when steve and i talked he kept saying, i don't want to read the book first. because he said to me, one of the things that made steve jobs what he was, he was brutally honest. he said i've always tried to be brutally honest and i want you to be brutally honest, and it will be hard. he said, i'm not going to ask to read the book before it comes out. i'm not going to have any say over whether you use an anecdote or not. he said i'll read it six months after it comes out. that's why summer of 2011, after he stepped down from apple we -- as ceo of apple, we
2:08 am
discussed, when should the book come out? he said let's make it -- i think you should make the last scene when i step down as ceo of apple. and so i did and the book went to the printers and i was hoping, hoping he would be alive when the book came out. in fact he told me, the last time we talked -- every turned the book in in -- he said i prom mitted you i wouldn't read it when it came out but i'll read it in six months. and this was in late august, and that made me feel good. i thought okay he'll beat the cancer one more time and live another half year or maybe two years, but then, of course we were not so lucky. >> host: he has no idea. >> guest: i did sit with him and read parts of the book to him especially the last chapter, the last chapter is where i take a lot of things he told me and i bring it together and let him have the last word for four or five pages in the book, where from different interviews i
2:09 am
took his thoughts, his broad thoughts about why he did what he did what was the meaning of life for him. so i put those together and put them together from two or three separate formal interviews i had had, and i wanted to read it outloud to him just to make sure he was comfortable with it. i also -- there's some things in the book where he is personal or tough on people or anecdotes i'm not sure you or i would want in books, and i made sure he know about each one of those. especially ones where i thought he might want to -- like where he doesn't give somebody stock options or is mean to somebody or whatever. i wanted to let him explain his side of it. so anything in the book that i felt might be a little tough, that he wouldn't like i made sure he knew about it before hand because that was the way steve jobs was. he didn't try to sugar coat
2:10 am
things. i'm not as brave as courageous as steve was but i learned from him. so the last few interviews with him, i'd go over things in the book i thought he would not like. >> host: and if grew to the index and under steve jobs, you find mood swings of. offensive behavior of, and there's five lines of pages where offensive behavior of is in there, and a couple other things prankster, primal scream therapy. >> guest: well, that was something that i was -- as i said felt very fortunate that he let me get very up close to talk about things like his primal scream therapy, or talk about examples where he was really tough on people and he encouraged me to be honest about it and we would talk about those things. so in some ways i felt by the end of the process i knew more
2:11 am
about him than i knew about myself. he was a very self-reflective individual. he understood himself extraordinarily well, and he was very willing to talk about it, and fortunately for me repeatedly he encouraged me just put it all in. every now and then i'd say -- there were a few thinks i left out, just thought, unnecessarily painful to some other people, and didn't really give you much of an insight on steve and side go over with my wife and say that story should be left out. that will actually hurt this person and won't help the reader that much. but every time i'd ask him, heed say, put it in whether it's about his previous girlfriend, whether it was about the daughter he had before he got married. all of these things, i said -- he said, told you put those things in. >> host: was he smart you write? no not exceptionally. instead he was -- >> guest: i compare him and
2:12 am
contrast him to an absolutely wonderful smart guy of course bill gates, and bill gates had -- more of what you call conventional mental processing power. i marvel and watch bill gates take large amounts of information, sometimes two screens on his desk screens would have four windows on them and he'd be processing the information, and just be absolutely brilliant. steve was not brilliant in that way. he did not have that analytical processing power. he had an intuitive genius. he could have a feel for things. a feel for what people would like. a feel for beauty. a feel for what would work. and so to me, that's what i meant by genius. like in albert einstein, which is albert einstein was not the best physicist in europe in 1905. in fact he was a third class
2:13 am
patent examiner in the swiss patent office because he couldn't get his ph.d. they kept rejecting his thesis. cooperate get a job at a university. so you wouldn't say oh, he is by conventional standards the greatest physicist mind of 1905. but he was the greatest genius. he was able to make imaginative and intuitive leaps. i would never put -- nor has steve jobs every put steve in the same quan tim orbit as albert einstein, but there was a similarity, which is that the genius of steve jobs came from making intuitive leaps. imaginative leaps. questioning received wisdom and that's what ben franklin did that what steve jobs did, that what albert einstein did question the received wisdom of a newton, righting at the
2:14 am
beginning, that time marches along, second by second irrespective of how we observe it. you get this patent clerk, albert einstein. how do we test that, take two clocks and synchronize them? likewise with steve jobs, he peep didn't know we needed a thousand songs in our pocket. we had walkmen, mp3 players a big part of our life but steve was able to have a feel for beauty and a feel for customer experience that to me made him the greatest intuitive genius of the digital age and that's what i meant by that sentence. >> host: walter isaacson, there is one aspect of steve jobs had a role in with this book and that was the cover. we have a couple of different covers and the original we'll show on the air and then show you the paperback cover as well. what was his concern about the
2:15 am
cover? >> guest: well, when i first did a cover, was with simon & schuster and it was an apple and steve in it. just the test cover they were doing. and once he got mad, he got very mad. i was on the way to seem him, landed at the san francisco airport, took out my iphone there was a thing you least want to see, which is seven missed phone calls from steve jobs. i said uh-oh, something -- i actually was worried. i thought maybe something happened. so i hit return phone call. answered instantly and he starts this reaming me out yelling at me saying, you have no taste. i thought -- i had no idea what he was talking about. i kept saying -- kept trying to interject, tell me what you're upset about he said that cover. and i didn't even know what he was talking about. apparently the cover that simon & schuster put it in online catalogues. he said that was ugly. i'm not going to cooperate with you anymore because you're going to put an ugly cover on the
2:16 am
book. i said i hadn't thought about the cover yet. the book is not finish. he said unless you agree to let me have some input in the cover i'm not going to cooperate anymore. that was the easiest decision to make. within a half second i said, great, help me -- help suggest a better cover. he said, black and white, make it simple. we went through a lot of photographs. i loved the albert watson photograph that ended up on the cover -- >> host: the old steve jobs. >> guest: the older steve jobs the one with his -- probably have it on the screen now -- and that is albert watson, one of the great favreers. at "time magazine" i worked with albert watson, he did that for "fortune" magazine but there were four or five pictures he what considering. i hoped we could agree on the albert watson picture, and we
2:17 am
did. then he just wasn't that hell vet tick -- helvetica type. no curly cues or doodads on it. he said i like heltica. steve loves font. that's why in the macintosh it's a bitmap display with fontses. that's why we have beautiful computers. to steve it made a difference. benjamin franklin liked it. he brought franklin bold and stuff, those type of fontses, they -- do a lot of them were based on helvetica. the only thing that i pushed back on is he wanted my name in dark type and his name in light gray thinking that it was my book and my name should -- i said no, no this isn't -- has nothing to do with me.
2:18 am
this book is all about you. you cooperated. every word in there is something built on something you said and so i wanted steve jobs to be the darker type and me to be more recesssive and that's how i turned out. but there was maybe eight or nine conversations, and with his own artistic directors and great people at apple, design directors, making sure that the cover that looks so, so simple pretty simple looking cover, took a lot of work. sometimes simplicity is the ultimate sophistication and sometimes simplicity is difficult, because as steve jobs said -- and is a his great design directors often said, simplicity isn't about just making things easy or taking things out. you have to understand the depth of something. you have to truly dig deep and go hard. it's hard work to create simplicity. so leave out something. and that is what steve jobs was
2:19 am
able to do on the ipod on the iphone, the ipad the original macintosh, and he pushed to make sure it was done on the cover. that was his genius. >> why the younger steve jobs on the paperback. >> guest: by the time the -- the hardback had been out for a year. the albert watson photograph was iconic apple computer used it on their posters. it was used in the memorial services. it had just become the standard iconic photograph. i think there were people, both at apple and simon & schuster who said don't keep building on that one. try something -- i also saw the picture -- i think it was done for "rolling stone" in the early 1980s, in which steve is in the exact same pose. you have it there. on the paperback and i thought, well this will just be something fresh and new. steve always used the phrase,
2:20 am
think different, and i think whether it was albert watson or apple or simon & schuster everybody felt it wouldn't be thinking different if we used that, and i think apple felt rightly, took that the iconic and classic image was something they owned and i wanted to make sure that with the paperback -- i think they asked, too that we tried to think different. >> host: what was the importance of lorraine powell. >> guest: somebody who was important to steve. he -- somebody who deeply steve jobs, and i think he would say to me that -- his life wouldn't have been the same having not met her, and had she not helped make him who he was.
2:21 am
so -- by the way the whole family. unlike a lot of powerful people he wasn't out on the circuit every day. he wasn't having dinner every night with famous people. he was having dinner at the long table in the kitchen of his house, with his three kids that he and maureen had, wonderful kids and he would talk, deep serious conversation. no playing on the iphone or ipad during dinner. so as a family man, steve was sometimes rough around the edges, whether it was at home or the office or work or whatever but the one thing you discover is that even though he was rough around the edges, at work he developed a team of people who were deeply loyal to him, and more than just loyal, they loved him. and likewise at home. he has around him a family who
2:22 am
deeply is not only loyal to him but deeply loves him. and so when people say steve jobs was a rough character at times, he had an abrasive personality at times. he could be mean to people sometimes. i think yes. but i hope you look at what happened is that he is able to have deep love and deep loyalty at home and at the office therefore put it into a context. some people who are mean and nasty and everybody hates them. so steve had something else. it wasn't just like he was sometimes hard to deal with. he really connected to people. he inspired them. he made them love him. and that is the essence of steve jobs. every now and then i'll read articles about bosses who try to be like steve jobs and try to be tough, or people who try to be like steve jobs and be brutally honest. i think yes but don't try it
2:23 am
because steve could pull it off because deep inside he knew how to connect with people. he knew how to make them feel inspired. he really cared deeply about other people. otherwise he wouldn't have known how to make such products that connected emotionally to us and so when you talk about his home life, just as you talk about his office life, there were people around him his wife his kids who truly felt a deep, deep passionate appreciation and love for him and so it was more complex than some people make it out. i wish i had conveyed that better in the book. some people read the book and say he was kind of mean. i say wait wait, wait. i tried over and over again to say in the book yes he was tough on people, but whether it was the original macintosh team or his family, people would give up anything in the world just to make sure i would have the opportunity to work with him to be with him.
2:24 am
to be around him. >> host: in the introduction to your book "the inmotivators" you write, as an electronic geek who loved kits and ham raid wyoming you give your ham radio address -- >> guest: john thomas peter. july yet tang go papa. i'm old enough to have gotten my first geek experiences soldering circuits for a ham radio and getting to play with a ham radio. >> host: i can remember when vacuum tubes gave way to transition temperatures. you say historians are wary about calling periods of great change revolutions would because the look at progress as revolutionary. >> guest: we're in a revolution like the industrial revolution, where in the industrial revolution you have the steam engine that connects with mechanical processes like looms and weaving machines or
2:25 am
whatever. and suddenly we move into an industrial age where machines and people are having to worth -- work together to do products. we have that here with the microchip, the computer the internet, all working together. so the three inventions each of which would have been important, but the combination of package switch digital network with microprocessors and microchips, with sort of the computer revolution we have, leads to a whole new way of doing not only information but of conducting business conducting your social life. it's definitely a revolution, and i think there's the person who -- i quote somebody, steve chapin a great historian at harvard, who wrote a book boot the scientific revolution, he begins by saying there's no such thing as scientific revolution and this is a book about it, and
2:26 am
then he says it's because of the thoughts of the people at the time that they knew they were going through a revolution, so that's why i introduce the book -- as a kid you look at a vacuum tube and figure out how it works on a circuit and get to test it. and you say okay it's an amplifier and an on/off switch. how does a suspect -- how does a circuit do logic with a step by step on/off switch. and you get a feel -- i worry today that people -- my daughters' generation they don't quite have a feel about how the on/off switches and logical circuits and logic gates and algebra come together to say we can have a mon that can -- a machine that can do these tasks. >> host: in fact you say that math is spiritual. you quote somebody saying math is spiritual.
2:27 am
>> guest: that comes from ada lovelace. she is the beginning of "the inmotivators." she is lord byron's daughter the great romantic poet so she has a poetic streak in her but her mother was a mat ma particulars and as you imagine, knowing something about lord byron, his wife was not particularly fond of lord byron by the time ada was growing up. he was too much of a romantic and poet and had ada mainly tutored in mathematics, at if that was some antidote, and what ada does is create poetical science, the combination of poultry with science of art with technology. this is the essence of everybody i have written about. ben franklin does it. albert einstein does it. it's been sort of what has driven progress leonardo da
2:28 am
vinci combines the two disciplines in his work. so to me, that notion that there's a connection between math and natural beauty is something important for us to have a feel for, just like ada did. a lot of people were not -- saying i don't love math. they get upset we don't do enough arts education or humanities education, in schools, and agree. we need the arts and humanities. that makes us who we are. but i also feel people love the arts and humanity should try to have a feel for the beauty of math as well, just as you love shakespeare, people would be appalled if somebody didn't know the difference between hamlet and macbeth and then brag they didn't know the difference between a transition store or resist juror or a gene and
2:29 am
chromosome and what she knew was that math mate ticks was just -- mathematics was the good lord's brush stroke of something beautiful in the universe and that math was like her father's poetry. people say math is hard. i say take a line of lord byron's poetry. she walks in beauty like the night. that's pretty tough line. but if you're ada lovelace, lord byron's daughter you can visualize, walks in beauty like the night. just like ada could visualize the beauty of an equation or algorithm. she writes algorithms to show what a computer can do the new 1830s. so she realizes there's beauty in a mathematical phrase and she can visualize that just like she can visualize she walks in beauty like the night. that's what i meant by saying there's a beauty in both the arts the humanities on the one side and technology and science
2:30 am
on the other side. >> host: you have a timeline in your book which kicks off with ada lovelace inventor of e-mail in here the -- >> guest: google -- >> host: et cetera, et cetera. what is it she contributed? >> guest: the main thing she does when she sees the beauty of the connection of arts to science, is that she comes up with a concept of a general purpose computer. for example, show travels through end land as -- england as a young woman and sees the mechanical looms and they use punch cards so the looms would weave beautiful patterns and her father was a luddite, meaning his only speech was -- they thought they put people out of work, but ada look at those looms and said, with those punch cards it makes beautiful
2:31 am
patterns receive she had a friend named charles back about trying to design a numbers crunching machine, and she realized that with punch cards, the analytical engine, which was the machine, as ada wrote and published and it was unusual for a woman in the 1830s to publish in scientific journals -- she about with the purpose cards these machines can do anything, not just numbers. do anything that can be noted in symbols. words, music art, design. in other words, a general purpose computer. >> host: you quote her as saying, the bounds of arithmetic were outstepped the moment the idea of applying cards at occurred. the analytical engine does not occupy common ground with mere calculating machines. it holds a position wholly its own in enabling a mechanism to combine together general symbols and discussions of unlimited variety and extent and a uniting
2:32 am
link is established between the operations of matter and the abstract thought process. >> guest: that is just a beautiful way of saying some day we'll have computers. >> host: how many people did you to talk to, how many inventors and innovators? i lives them all. i assume it was something like 100 if you want to count -- i was gathering -- in 1992 or 93:00 i became the head of digital media for "time magazine," and time warner, and so you would run into people like jim clark and mark andreson and andy groves, the man of the year at "time." and people like thatful throughout the 90s i was always wanting to do a history of this digital revolution, because each day in generation has a great revolution or something, whether it's the american revolution -- we know about gorbachev and ben franklin or the french revolution or the industrial revolution or the
2:33 am
scientific revolution, here i had this feeling we're living through this revolution and i had a chance to meet these people. so -- i did a cover store on bill gates talking about the revolution steve jobs. then when i would focused on this book for the past six or seven years off and on while i was finishing the steve jobs book i'd see gordon moore or mark andreson or talk to him or -- absolutely truly wonderful guy who actually with bob kahn writes the internet protocol. how to take the packages and make an internet out of it? and so i got a chance to be up close with these people and to me as i said earlier in the show, what i hoped to bring to the party is doing a little bit of reporting, being able to find these people and have them talk
2:34 am
to me because there are lot of people who will be able to do better analysis than i do, but i'm going to get vince to tell me how exactly why the original pcpip protest protocols were written the way they were. >> host: talking to the people you did for "innovators" if you were talk together auto industry it would be like talking to henry ford and the document brothers. >> guest: sure. obviously the early people early on in the internet, are no longer on -- on the computers, no longer with us robert noyce one person i wish i could have talked to. he is a coinventor of the microchip. in other words working with bill shockley originally, who created as part of a team the
2:35 am
tran -- transistor. using silicon and making it a little more impure adding something, you can make it semi conducting qualities change, in other words, you i can mate it an on-off switch you can replace the horrible vacuum tubes with a transistor and then what bob noyce does with a group of people figure out how to etch a lot of transistors under one chip of silicon. that's all microchip is. when you -- really cool ways to put a whole lot of transcystors on one chip of silicon. so that's what bob noyce does. he does something even know. he creates a company called intel, but it's a new type of company that has no great hierarchy. it's not driven from an organization chart with a top-down. they all sit in a big old open space, and bob noyce draws an
2:36 am
art chart and says here's you at the center and the chart is you connecting to everybody else here. so that whole new way of doing business in the digital age. he was a mentor for steve jobs your honor but he was very nice. so nice, he could never say no to people, which is why he had to form a partnership with andy grove who helped run intel because andy grove now hugh to get chips out the door by telling people no, or you can't do that. he would ride hurt on the rest of the team. so from bob noyce you get the genius of creating the microchip you get the brilliance of creating a new type of corporate structure, and you also get the concept of how to form the right team. bob noyce, gordon moore, andy grove. like putting together a baseball team. who is the pitcher, the catcher, the utility infielder and so to
2:37 am
me, all those things cam from bob noyce. eye got interview gordon moore, he all know moore's law about the exponential rise of the processing power of a microprocessor, and i talked to gordon moore a lot about what was it like to work with bob noyce. i certainly got to know andy grove, who is still with us and was the man of the year at "time." i got to surround and figure out about these people itch wish i'd been able to interview ada lovelace and certainly even in allen touring. i wanted to make him famous because amongst people who know computers he is very famous. people who don't aren't sure who he is but just as my book was coming out, benedict culpber beach played him and i thought, okay the ground -- cumberbatch will make him famous. that movie is very true to life
2:38 am
but like any good movie or great movie it takes some literary license. there are things in the movie that didn't happen. most notely -- a russian soviet spy is not actually working in hut eight with allen touring. that's a little bit of a literary license. but what is true about the movie and that is so important, is some key facts, one of which is that he was an outsider, a loner. he was gay long distance runner. he was not very good at dealing with other people. but he discovers working at leslie park, trying to break the german code trying to build a computer based honeys reading of ada lovelace. he has a logical computing machine, all based on the general purpose computer notions of ada. that if he is going to break the german code he is going to need to work together with others and work as a team. so partway through his time
2:39 am
joan clark, one of the women programmers in the movie brilliant job in the movie, says to him, as do the others, hey, we're with you. you have to work collaboratively, and he does. key lesson of the movie. many other lessons of the movie. the imitation game -- the name of the movie is based on a paper that allen touring wrote after the war about artificial intelligence. can machines think? and he believed perhaps -- just knowing his own personal life -- that humans and machines were both preprogrammed and maybe you never be able to tell them apart. "the imitation game" was a computer could imitate a human you wouldn't know the difference and, therefore yeah machines are thinking. actually there's nothing that successful at reaching -- anything like artificial intelligence but we have been successful at putting machines and humans working in symbiosis,
2:40 am
in partnership, like ada lovelace talked about. when he writes the paper about the imitation game he calls it aid da lovelace's objection, this notion that machines will never be creative or think on their own. that's an interesting tension, and even very tragically, as you know he is preprogrammed -- reprogrammed -- when he is arrested because of his homosexual act they try to give him chemical hormone treatments to stop him as if he is a machine, as if you can reprogram him. he takes it in stride for a while and then takes an apple, dips it in cyanide and bites into it. tragic but also makes you realize, okay the imitation game is now over. allen touring was a human. a machine wouldn't have done that. and so-so much depth that you can get from the movie and
2:41 am
andrew hodges has written a great book called "the enigma." great biography of allen touring. i have halter on allen touring in any book and my book "the innope saidors" ended with something called, aid da forever, which is how ada's concept of the symbiosis between humans and machines, hough that related to allen touring's quest for artificial intelligence. but to get back to your question the great about touring war conveyed in the movie, but like any movie you can say, oh, you know that didn't really happen with the soviet spy. >> host: good afternoon, and welcome to booktv on c-span2. 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors every weekend. and this is our "in depth show" where an author talks bit his work and this month is a walter
2:42 am
isaacson mr. is a sackson is the author of these books of first book in 1986" the wise men." six friends and the world they made. evan thomas co-author in 1992 kissinger, biography, came out. ben franklin and american life in 2003. einstein his life and universe in 20007. steve jobs, 2011 and finally, the innovators came out last year. mr. isaacson is also the ceo of the as -- as spend institute former held of cnn and former chairman of the broadcasting board of governors. mr. isaacson will be with us for the next three hours. so we'll put the numbers on the screen if you want to dial in and participate in the conversation. 202-748-8200. in the east and central time zone 748-8201 for those in the
2:43 am
mountain and pacific time zonement. yaw constant get through on the phone lanes try social media. @book tv is our twitter handle. you can join the conversation on facebook facebook.com/booktv. you'll see right at the top of the page there, some video of mr. isaacson that we shared earlier this week. but youingcan also make a comment, and finally you can send an e-mail to booktv@c-span.org and we'll take your calls and social media comments in a mint. i want to get through a couple more of your books before we get to calls. this is the ben franklin and american life book, and you write that the most interesting thing that franklin invented and continually re-invented was himself. >> guest: i love ben franklin and there's a great story about ben franklin in the -- that he tells where he is a young tradesman and arrived in philadelphia, and he is trying
2:44 am
to be a good physics person and he forms a club of people for the working class and shopkeepers, and they make a list of all the values you should have. industry honest frugality and he marks how well he has done and me masters all of them and shows them to the people in the club, and one says, franklin you forgot a virtue, and franklin says what is that? and his friend says humility. and franklin said i was never good at the virtue of humility. i never mastered it. but i was very good at the pretense of humanity. he could fake it very well. then he said i learned that the preens to of humility was just as useful as the arrested of humility because it made you try to find common ground that was the essence of the middle class -- we, the middling people of democracy that they were trying to forge. so to me, franklin not only
2:45 am
doing that self-improvement, his goal, and then writing bit and it doing an auto biography in which he writes so we'll all know the way he was. that to me is why he was constantly inventing, re-inventing and then polishing his invention of himself for history. >> host: how well known was he? i mean who can you compare him to today? >> guest: he was probably one of the best known people in the world by the time -- >> host: in the world. >> guest: in the western world. by the time he books our envoy to france after he has done everything from the electricity experiments, lightning rod being part of the continental congress edited the declaration of independence. when he goes to france because of his write examination because of his electricity experiments, they carry him by sedan chair to the steps of the academy in
2:46 am
paris to meet voltar. and you talk about franklin re-vein ending himself, he wears a coonskin cap and an old back woods coat because the people in france who had been reading russo, looked this notion of the natural philosopher from out in the woods. ben franklin never lived in the wilderness even though the french think the american colonies are wilderness. he lived no boston, philadelphia, and london, but he takes the cap and coat so he can be the natural philosopher coming from this wilderness of a country, of land called america, to meet with the french, and he knows how to play it to the hilt. the french love him. they make little coins of him and -- and even in america, john adams, who was partly a friend
2:47 am
and partly a rival -- a respect is also rivalry they had. but john adams lamented that the history of the american revolution will be that ben franklin's motives, stake in the ground and lightning happened and that he was going to get too much -- ben franklin would get too much credit for. but i'm partial. i think ben franklin deserves a lot of credit for inventing what we are as a country. >> host: when it comes to the founding fathers, with whom was he close. >> guest: very close with thomas jefferson. jefferson is much younger. jefferson is a protege, succeeds him as ambassador to paris. what they particularly shared -- this is something we talk about on the show -- is a belief that an educated person should love science, should love the arts love music, should understand
2:48 am
botany and electricity and plants and everything else, and that was the enlightenment that period in which after sir isaac newton and others the laws of science and the laws of statecraft and the laws of how you lived your life came together and i think the two great icons of the enlightenment in america are ben franklin and his protege, thomas jefferson. one big difference though, jefferson writes the first draft of the declaration, but there's a committee to help him out. maybe the last time congress created a good committee. it has ben franklin and john adams and thomas jefferson on it. jefferson writes we hold these truths to be sacred. franklin says self-evident. this notion of science, that there's certain logical ways that our rights come from
2:49 am
raggality rid and reason not a religion, you see john odd dams says endowed by the createar so her to balancing the role of divine providence with the role of rationality and reason in creating our nation and this to me is sort of -- you can just see the minds of benjamin franklin and thomas jefferson working. >> host: ben franklin's epithet he wrote himself the body of b. franklin, printer, like the cover of an old book its contents worn out and skipped of its lettering and gilding lies here food for worms. but the work shall not be lost or will, as he believed, appear once more in a new, more elegant edition, revised and corrected by the author. >> guest: first of all he always considered himself a printer. i loved that about ben franklin. great scientist, great statesman, leader of both the continental congress and the
2:50 am
constitutional convention. he still finds himself when he goes to a lodge or something b. franklin printer. secondly, he sort of had an amused outlook about life and even the afterlife. the very last -- one of very last letters he does as he is doing do you believe in the divinity of jesus christ or god, the afterlife but he never took -- he didn't agonize. he just had a generalized feel about the beauty of lord's creation whatever. so he writes back and says, you know i've never quite figured that out but i'll find out soon enough. meaning he was about to die. so i guess there's no need to start worrying about it now. >> host: albert einstein. the year, 1905. >> guest: miracle year. >> host: why was that such a big
2:51 am
year. >> guest: that's when he is a patent examiner, hasn't been able to get his ph.d but is questioning wisdom like the wisdom that time marches on no matter how we observe it, and synchronizing clocks. swiss people care that it strikes 7:00 at the exact same instance in zurich, and so if synchronize clocks you have a send a signal between the clocks, the signal travels at the speed of exploit you have this patent examiner saying what i -- if i caught up with a signal wouldn't the lite wave seem stationary? would it be different from me? and really fast to the other clock? so he comes up with this mental leap that time is relative,
2:52 am
depending on your state of motion. light is always constant but time is relative depending on your state of motion. that's special relativity. he does that exact same spring another paper that talks about how -- that basically fundamentals of quantum theory that life is both a wave and a particle. there's particles of light but also a wave and it's the whole concept that becomes quantum theory. you have two great scientific theories out of the pillars that bring us into the 20th 20th century, that take us from newton's mechanics into a new world, that relativity and quantum theory and both happen in the spring of 1095 while he is sitting on a stool doing thought experiments as a patent examiner and that is why it's called the miracle year for
2:53 am
einstein. >> host: that do those things mean to us today? >> guest: every single great advance, almost, 0 of the 20th 20th century has the fingerprint of albert einstein on it. space travel. splitting of the atom. gps. television, even the microchip and microprocessor. when they're making the transistor you need no know how to fix a piece of silicon and dope it so it becomes a semi conductor, you also need somebody like john bardin a great theorist, read einstein, perfectly dedicated to understanding this quantum mechanics that arises from einstein's 1905 paper that wins the nobel prize, and people like shockley, bill shockley, working with him. theyen envision the dance of electrons on the surface of a semi conducting material based
2:54 am
on the quantum mechanics that comes out of einstein's paper. whether it's the transcystor -- transistor or the chip of the gps in your phone or the splitting of the atom, which by the way is not only a scientific advance but a huge geopolitical and strategic issue, which is how we use the atom bomb which is something ionston got involved in. it's hard to think of something that makes our life what is it today that doesn't have a couple of the fingerprints of albert einstein on it. >> host: he spend his time at princeton but his papers are at cal state. >> guest: no cal tech actually the physical papers are at hebrew university, most of them. there are a set of could be. >> host: in jerusalem. >> guest: yes in jerusalem. even when he is dying, at his death bed, he has nine pages of equations. he is still trying to unify relativity theory with quantum
2:55 am
theory because they don't reconcile. trying to -- >> host: we'll slow that formula. >> guest: and he just -- one last line of equations sort of dribbles off at the end. i went to hebrew university because i like to interview gordon moore or an andy grove when i get the chance. i love seeing the physical documents. i went to cal tech to go through all of his papers. wonderful people at cal tech. diana, people who run the project. but even though there was a copy there i felt i ought to pay a visit to the shrine and see the papers at hebrew university. so i went there. so that's where the papers are, and by the way something really cool that all viewers should do right now? starting about two months ago cal tech princeton, and hebrew university, all agreed to take the papers and put them online. now, several people who visit
2:56 am
hebrew university or cal tech but it's so cool because now we can crowd source understanding einstein. not only are all of this papers juvenile but the english translations so you can read the hundreds and hundreds of letters. in 1905 if you're trying to figure out what role did his wife, this controversy -- what role did his wife and marriage play in the mathematics of special relativity go read the papers. go online. also see the letters he wrote to his friend who is helping him in the patent office. so this excitement these days that we can get the papers online i really salute the i'm stein papers project for doing that. >> host: towards the end of the book you write, for some people miracles serve as evidence of god's existence. for einstein it was the absence of miracles that reflected divine providence. >> guest: yes. i'm stein believed there was a spirit manifest in the laws of
2:57 am
the universe. in my einstein book i have a whole chapter on einstein and god because he wrote about it a lot. answers a lot of questions about it. but he did not believe -- he believed in a spirit manifest in the laws of the universe in the face of which we must be humbled. he said that's my sense of a divine being. somebody who created things according to rules. he said the amazing thing is the universe doesn't need -- didn't necessarily have to have these elegant, beautiful rules like eequals mc squared, but it does and so understanding those rules helps you have a seasons who god is. but he did not believe in a personal god. he did not believe in god that if you prayed really really long and hard would intervene and break the laws of the universe 0 so the new england patriots would win the super bowl if you prayed hard enough or whatever you were playing for. and he -- you were praying for and he said -- that quote, which is that for some people miracle
2:58 am
show god existedle for me it's the elegance of the will yous of the universe and the fact that they always hold that to me is a miracle. that to me is spiritual. so that's kind of interesting to move to that level of thinking, yes, it is in that spirit of immutable laws laws of deep beauty complexity the equation for general relativity is pretty complex but it's still there. and it always holds. and in some ways, that is evidence of a divine existence rather than praying for a miracle and having a miracle happen. >> host: we have three minutes to cover the cold war and henry kissinger before we go to calls, henry kissinger in 19 2. for a while after the book came out he didn't speak. why is that? >> guest: well, like the steve jobs book and -- i think if he
2:59 am
re-read his nobel peace prize citation he would say, doesn't do me justice. but he is a very funny guy. actually was at a dinner last night, he was there, and i saw him -- >> host: you consider him a friend. >> guest: i would consider him something i respect somebody i find has a deep, great sense of world order and how the world works. and i think anybody who has a biography written about them will think, at first could have been more favorable, and kissinger -- i don't think he had a fingertip feel at that thyme when he was nixon's national security advicer and then secretary of state with ford, for the value and idealism that has to be an underpinning for foreign policy in the democratic system. and so great realist who understood balance of power and my fundamental criticism is we have to have a moral and even
3:00 am
idealistic foreign policy and they have to be woven together. when i was at a tough time we invited everybody on the cover back and i thought, i wonder if dr. kissinger will come back because he was annoyed at parts of the book. i got to phone call saying well walter even at 30 years the war had to end at some point, so i will dom your dinner. he has a good sense of humor and you don't always have to agree with especially the certain things that the nixon foreign policy did when it came to cambodia and dealing with the bombing of north vietnam and a lot of things one could second guess, but if you read him you feel a deep understanding for statescraft and the creation of world order and speaking of the cold war, he was able to do a brilliant out of the box th

26 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on