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tv   Washington Journal  CSPAN  April 27, 2015 8:30am-10:01am EDT

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o build a coalition. it is a deep-seated feeling and our culture right now. host: reid wilson's piece on this in "the washington post." "obama's fight for trade powers face altered political landscape your cod." we appreciate all of your work and we will see you again. up next, daniel ellsberg joins us. he is the author of "secrets." he will talk about the role of government whistleblowers. later, in our annual your money segment, elana schor will be here to talk about federal inspections of oil and gas pipelines. we will be right back. ♪
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>> here are a few of the book festivals that we will be covering this spring on c-span2 book tv. in may, we will be at gaithersburg book festival with tom davis and martin frost and david axelrod. we will close out may at book expo america in new york city with the publishing industry showcases your upcoming books. then on the first week of june we are alive from the chicago tribune for his robe lit fest including our three-hour live in death program with lawrence wright. that is the spring on c-span2 book tv. >> at the international consumer electronics show in las vegas earlier this year, we spoke with
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university of california san francisco cardiologist dr. michael blanche about developments in medical technology and the future of medicine. >> you have to bring together these two very different organizations and to different dna is in cultures to really get to that space where we need to be. as an academic health center we're not going to invest the centers and build huge databases. that is what they are going to do. they don't know anything about clinical process or about doing clinical trials or discovering what really works. so we are working on these novel partnerships and marrying the two and trying to get the space. >> that is tonight on "the communicators" on c-span2. announcer: "washington journal" continues. host: for a discussion of federal whistleblowers, we turn now to a man with a unique and personal perspective on the subject, daniel ellsberg. before we talk about this administration and how whistleblowers have been treated by this administration, for
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those who aren't as for volume of the history of it, can explain what the pentagon papers are and your role? guest: my role is no longer unique. i was the first person prosecuted for leaking classified information to the american public. in 1971, i gave 7000 pages of top-secret information -- actually first to the senate in 1969. or thousand of those pages that i gave to the senate -- 4000 of those pages that he gave to the senate were given to the "new york times." i then gave it to "the washington post." is the first time that presses were told to stop the presses for national security group i gave them to 19 them all. the supreme court ruled that the injections were invalid and that the papers could continue printing to the public.
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but i was indicted and eventually lead facing 12 felony counts and years of prison. it was good to be a later trial on actually distributing them. it would have involved "the new york times" as well. my codefendant help me copy the papers and for the next two years, we were under indictment and facing when 15 years in my case. eventually all charges were dropped when it came not in the courtroom -- out in the courtroom when president nixon conducted a number of criminal operations against me. operations that were then criminal are now legalized since 9/11. they went into the psychoanalyst office to blackmail me into silence. the pentagon papers ended a study of u.s. decision-making in vietnam from 1945 to 1968.
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47 documents. that ended in 1968, so it did not indicate president nixon. he feared that i had information on measures he was taking in the war and what he claimed was ending the war which included nuclear threats secret from the american public. but they were well known to the targets of vietnam and their allies in china. he was afraid that i would expose those threats which he had not yet carried out. and likely would have had heavy opposition. he tried to stop me. eventually he got 12 cia assets from miami to washington in to assault me the steps of the capitol there. actually, their words were to incapacitate daniel ellsberg totally. i asked what does that mean? kill me? the words were to incapacitate you totally. he said that these guys never used the word kill.
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they were cia assets. they were talking about neutralizing and terminated with extreme prejudice and so forth with these facts came out in the court, my charges were dropped. more importantly nixon was eventually faced with prosecution or impeachment first. he had to resign and that made the war" nine months after he resigned, the war ended. host: with all that experience in all your years on this topic, is it easier or harder to be a whistleblower with? the federal government today? guest: it is easier to be prosecuted. i was not the first to leak information. it happens every day and it still does to some degree. most of it is favorable to the administration or an agency that serves its purpose is to occasionally serving an investigative journalist purpose. but no one had been prosecuted because having had a revolution and the first amendment, we
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don't have an official secrets act of its kind that britain does. noah has been prosecuted. the experiment in my case was to use yes you must act, which was intended to get spies and been used against spies and still is and design for that purpose, they used it to give information to the american public. only two people after me and my charges were dropped were tried in the that. until president obama. you asked how is it different now? president obama -- who i supported it to elections by the way -- president obama has indicted three times as many people for leaking as all previous presidents put together. the latest was general put trays. -- general even for trays. host: here's the prosecution for you lacking -- leaking classified information. under george w. bush, once franklin.
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the rest of those on this list were prosecuted under the obama administration. names that viewers know very well including bradley-shelti manning and edward snowden as well. guest: i would to get a copy of the visual. i'm giving a press conference. as we adhere, i could use that chart if you don't mind. host: i will let you take it with you if you talk about why you are in town today. guest: it usually is mentioned frequently now. i think i was the first to make the point because they were sensitive to it that he was prosecuting more people. at first, it was three or four or five. he has prosecuted three times as many people as all previous presidents. it is not easy to explain why. all presidents hit whistleblowers that help investigative journalist. why he has decided to use the espionage act which is totally unjust against leakers and we can go into that reason.
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there should never be a case. no whistleblower is trying to inform the public. no whistleblower should be tried in the asp act. -- espionage act. it is not designed for people who in their hearts and efforts are trying to inform the american public so they can better exercise their rights. host: if someone is thinking about becoming a whistleblower and see something wrong in the festival government -- federal government, what question should they ask themselves before they leak? guest: to start with, when they are looking at secrets which i did for dozens of years with clearance is higher than top-secret, i wish i asked myself earlier much derided -- that i did -- do i have a right to keep the sacecret?
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the burden of proof is for the president to decide what should be no not be known. anyone who has been in the government should know that the president often conceals material that the public should know. it is wrongly withheld because there are misjudgments and deceptions and reckless wars. when people see that, which they often did consciously, i wish they would ask themselves, do i have a right to keep the secret? should i to fulfill my promise? poor is my oath to the constitution to support and defend the constitution overriding in this particular case? i did not ask myself that until late in the game. edward snowden and chelsea manning did that and i think it was a great choice. host: what is your advice? you tried to go to congress. guest: i gave it to the senate and i wasted a unique platform.
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i wasted almost a year and a half. they were afraid -- not that they would get prosecuted. but they would lose access to classified information and his job of ruling on foreign military aid to go to the more friendly right wing senate armed services committee and stood a foreign relations. he did not do what you promised me to do. in the end, i had to go to the newspapers. i wish i'd done that a year earlier. i would say right now -- do it if there is a lot of material. as often it should be, how often should a large amount come out like the pentagon papers? once every four years, which is the current standard. i would think not. somewhere in the world, every month, some expose like that. it doesn't happen. i waited 40 years for come to the leak like chelsea manning. chelsea made the mistake of
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admitting it to someone who is a government informant at that point. she is in prison and serving 35 years at this point. totally unfair. edward snowden did it right under the current circumstances. he had complained the colleagues about this. had he gone to the inspector general of the nsa or the dod as center -- senator kerry and former secretary of state clinton should've done, he would've suffered the same fate as kirk leavy who went to the ig and later went to congress and in both cases did nothing but an. their bosses and lose their jobs and be fingered for possible leakers later. they were suspected of leaking when someone else did what they should've done in the first place and that was to go to the newspapers. i would say that right now that
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snowden made the right choice and made it by going to the press. from the moment he did that, he would be in isolation like chelsea manning. never talking to a reporter. chelsea manning was arrested about five years ago and has never been interviewed by reporter to explain why she did what she did and what it was about. the idea that kerry and clinton both said that you should make your case in court and in public. neither of those is valid. they are talking tohrough their head. host: daniels burgers here to talk to the national press club. he is the author of "secrets are kept he will be." he will be taking your questions. we will start on the line for democrats. joe is waiting in fort
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washington, maryland. caller: thank you so much for taking my call. i would just like to speak i would like to speak on the fact that espionage is always been a serious crime. host: could you turn up the volume? concerned about espionage being a serious crime in our country -- joe, go ahead. caller: i appreciate and thank you for your services and all that you do. you said that you represent. edward snowden should not be up there with whistleblowers. he should be up there with espionage a benedict arnold. host: is there concern that edward snowden is a traitor? guest: i'm certain that edward snowden is no more a traitor or spy than i am and i am not. i think accusations of that sort
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aren't really plausible. people can suspect what they want. i have met snowden and i've talked to him and i followed his case thoroughly think he may have made mistakes and done something he shouldn't have done. it is not come out in public. so far, he is an extremely patriotic whom chelsea manning was really willing to go into exile and face possible assassination as i did by the white house and 1973. i regard him as a very courageous and patriotic american. on the question of the question of espionage, of course it is serious. i do not condone espionage. secret information giving to an enemy in times of war -- i don't criticize any use of the espionage act in such a case. no prosecutor has really suspected any of these leak cases as being in that category and a more -- any more than
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general petraeus. but he would not be charged fairly either. i have to tell you why. the espionage act is designed for people who give secrets to foreign powers in interest of the foreign power that aren't united states. it doesn't allow for any argument in court as to your motive in doing that. it is assumed that the motive can't really justify what you did and i don't agree with that. someone facing the charges -- i can roll that off because i was the first person charge for leaking for non-espionage case. it allows for no argument in court by me or anyone else as to why i did what i did it with the possible damage was that i was risking and the actual damage was and what my motives were and what was wrist by keeping it secret -- risked by
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keeping it secret. i'm not saying that to apologize . i'm just saying that the espionage act is absolutely unjust as an application to someone who is clearly a leaker or a whistleblower. congress has the ability to change that by changing the law for allowing what is called a public and just defense -- interest defense or nessus is the -- this is the defense so that any people charged would be at least be able to present their case to a jury as to their motives and why they did what they did. in the absence of that, it is really a use of that act that is unconstitutional. host: a question from our
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twitter page is rick who writes in, so what is the current president's motivation to silence so many whistleblowers? your thoughts on the obama administration. guest: i've asked that hundreds of times. it is mysterious. i don't know of anyone who expected who expected president obama. no one really foresaw this particular process. i really don't know. one hypothesis is that he depends very much on mr. brennan who is a very hard-line cia person who advised him to use the act in this way. another is that came out recently that i saw is that he was angry about one particular leak. indeed, all presidents are angry about all leaks that make them look bad and are embarrassing. they want leaks every day that make them look good.
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it looks bad, so they are angry. they asked that the justice department of how many people referred to the justice department for possible prosecution and the answer was 150. , newer actually indicted -- how many were actually indicted? zero. that is rather striking, of course. any other president could've said the same. the reason for the zero is that we don't have an official secrets act. congress passed one once and president clinton -- this was in november of 2000. clinton vetoed it on constitutional grounds. we don't have one and that is why there are no indictments. however as in my case, the language of the espionage act is there to use unconstitutionally against it. apparently the justice department was saying to start using in a way that has not been done the before. that is a way of giving it the best benefit of the doubt. that is the least incriminating.
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i don't know what else to say. he is angry at people. of course, all presidents were. he does have more surveillance of metadata to show as in the case of jeffrey sterling to show what the context word even if they don't testify. how they talk to him when they talk. actually, george w. bush have the same though, but he didn't use it. i'm left with something of a puzzle. host: you mentioned jeffrey sterling who is awaiting charges about efforts to sabotage the iranian nuclear program. on that list, the title of that list is obama and hot pursuit of leakers. talking about this government workers who have been charged for allegedly leaking classified information. waiting to chat with you in cortland ohio, on the line for democrats. guest: is interesting to note that in the jeffrey sterling case that all the facts leaked to george w. bush's term. he was investigated but not
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indicted under george w. bush. he was indicted under obama and has not been employed for five years because somebody under charge of the espionage act has trouble getting a job. host: good morning, sir. caller: i'm concerned we are going to far the other way. there are methods and sources being released that are endangering our security apparatus and people that workforce. i'm a lackey for the cia but they are doing valuable work. you don't know enough to know what the threats are. you or i either. you have no idea. these dumps that were made by manning and more recently -- you don't know what they did in terms of harm to us. guest: it is true that i don't know all the facts in the case. perhaps the government has not chosen to bring out to convince me that something has been done
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here. in the case of chelsea manning and edward snowden, and both cases, the charge was made with some plausibility. there's blood on their hands. people will die as a result of this. in fact, high officials said of chelsea manning that people have died almost certainly as a result of this. that was five years ago. i would have not been astonished if they had come out with some evidence of that and that would change the nature of the discussion very much. over the five years, not one instance of harm. even in chelsea manning's trial or closed hearings, no possible evidence was placed in front of a judge. there was no blood. as a half if you're case of edwards noted, again, terrible disasters wilker, and yet, three years have gone by -- two years have gone by, and no actual evidence. in one case, i think it was
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general carter who said 58 terror incidents have been prevented by the mass warrantless surveillance that snowden was exposing. 58. when senator wyden pressed, what are the specifics? what were the 58 cases? eventually the nsa came back and said it was not 58 prevented by the surveillance. it was one. what was the one? a thousand dollars were sent by taxi worker in the u.s. to a group in the middle east possibly associated with terrorism. that was the one case. in short uni both have the expertise to follow this and see what the government comes up with in their claims.
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there's no question at all of the claims works from the elevated angstrom expanded with very little base and saying how well the surveillance is necessary to fix those. on the other hand, you'll never hear from the official of judgment. how many lives are lost by keeping the secrets? i went to vietnam and lied into it like so many other americans. i was billion. that's a civilian. i walked in combat using my former marine experience it. the people who are risking their lives and lost their lives were dragged into it. same with the people in iraq in 2003. all those lives like 15,000 in vietnam and several thousand in iraq could have been saved had
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someone like edward snowden or chelsea manning, who knew those lives were hurting, had blown the whistle beforehand and risk their careers and risk the lives imprisoned and told us what was really happening. the risk of not telling the truth certainly has to be balanced against the risks of telling the truth that the president does not want told already. it appears to be fairly embarrassing or criminal aiding to an experienced person who has access to it. i feel we would be better off with far more edward snowden's and chelsea manning's. host: you talk about those risking their lives. richard rogers writes in on her twitter page, why would anyone risk their lives obtaining intelligence if someone like snowden can put it on the front page of "the new york times?" guest: for a patriotic reason.
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if he believes that intelligence would help the united states improve security. i would hope that his experience and a handful past leakers -- how would it keep him from getting intelligence? i put more confidence in the patriotism encourage of those people who serve our country as intelligence agents. and cia people and nsa people. the problem is that when snowden was while aware -- well aware at nsa and having earlier enlisted in the special forces for iraq when he erroneously believed that that was the security of the united states. he broke both legs and training and that why he couldn't stay in special forces and work for the cia and nsa. what he found was that all his colleagues were all saying is
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that what we are doing is terrible. this mass surveillance of all americans and most people in the world serves no real purpose. it is not necessary. it is not right. the targeted surveillance that we should be doing -- you can get a warrant for as long requires and the constitution requires. to do it without a warrant is unconstitutional and shouldn't be happening. so what should they do about it? they had kids and careers ahead of them. snowden was like manning and some may say let me and one of those rare people given the responsibility who says this is wrong and should not be happening. somebody should put this out. we were the unusual ones who said that if no one else is going to do it, it will have to be me. host: let us hear from peter online for independents.
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caller: i would like to thank mr. ellsberg and disagree with the college -- caller who didn't. to someone who are risk their career and go to jail, here is mr. ellsberg today still standing by his principal's. what is going on is that we have lost our constitution. we had people in prison with no speedy trial for years. that is pretty much all i've got to say. guest: thank you very much. obviously, i agree that the motives of these people deserve to be argued in court and recognized and they deserve a fair trial. the espionage act cannot give them a fair trial. keep in mind that i'm not saying that people with good motives right knee or manning or anyone else -- his motives of giving
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information to a mistress were a more favorable biography are not once he wanted to argue in front of a jury. he still have the right to do it. other people like jeffrey sterling who had very good motives and manning and others -- that doesn't mean that they should automatically get out. the jury can decide that the motives are not good enough. i don't believe you. nevertheless coming in --, you should not have done what you did. if the jury has the chance to hear. in my case, i was not a lowered -- allowed to answer. host: host: this is attorney general eric holder defending the administration's use of the espionage act. when you have people who are disclosing the identities of people who work in our
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intelligence agencies, that's the kind of case that we have to ring. this is a question for members of the press. we have asked ourselves about national surveillance. we have the ability to do certain things, should we? members of the press have to ask that same question. because of a leak or information that you have, you have the opportunity to expose that to the public. should you? it is for you to decide, it's not for the government to decide. i will use an extreme example perhaps unfair. in world war ii, if a reporter and out about the manhattan project, should that have been disclosed grade i know it's an extreme example. i think there's a question that members of the press should ask
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about whether or not the disclosure of the information has a negative impact on the national security of the nation. we have tried to be appropriately sensitive in bringing those cases that warranted prosecution grade --. we have turned away cases that were presented to us. guest: i have to agree. i do agree with everything he just said. it's ironic that he should the raising this in the week that general trias has been given two years probation and no jail time having consciously given a person who is not cleared to see it. he just described the most information that we have paid the identities of covert agents.
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it's almost the highest of high grade he did it give it to her. we really don't know what she did with that. how many copies did she make? where did she store them? petraeus himself lied to the fbi. he was found to have it in an unlocked drawer in his house. where did she keep her copies of that information? we don't know and he doesn't know. i don't think he should go to prison for that. the irony of saying this is very serious, of course. i would not have given that information. the public does not need to know that. other badly that should not occur?
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of course. should they be tried under the espionage act? frankly, no one would have a good reason for giving covert identities. he had denounced days before he lied to the f ei himself -- fbi himself. he said he knew the man had in a covert nation -- agent. he had not intended to do that. he is in jail for 30 months. the person was involved in the torture program. it was a criminal activity that he believed should have been known. these are judgments for the jury to look at. what holder's example shows, if you are a high level general
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still being consulted by the white house, you can even give tons of stuff including covert material like secret war plans higher than i did. you can be charged with a misdemeanor and be charged with two years probation. if i had put up the pentagon papers, the history of our illegal war in vietnam like iraq , i have no doubt at all i would be facing 115 years and probably get it. host: we've got about 15 and it's left with daniel ellsberg. dylan is in south dakota. good morning. caller: i am a vietnam veteran.
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i appreciate everything you have done. you are a good american. we have a lot of whistleblowers in the v.a. that are getting discriminated against. i can't even understand the president. it's a ridiculous. what if there were snowblowers in vietnam when they dropped all the agent orange and 10 years later we find out that we've got cancer. guest: the lack of whistleblowers is still to me at 84 startling and shocking. i can't understand it. when you do speak out, you risk punishments of various kinds without prosecution. only a tiny number of whistleblowers are indicted.
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a much larger number lose their access, their jobs, possibly their marriages with the loss of income. the sanctions apart from prosecution keep most mouths shut, even when people know that others are being harmed by their not speaking out. it's surprising to me that there is not more than a handful or a few dozen who do. there is a very recent article in "the washington spectator" about nerve gas demolition in the gulf war. it has unmistakably resulted in an enormous number of cancers and other problems ever since that have been blown away. you were not affected.
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it was enough to harm you, but too much time has elapsed. i urge you to look at that. i think it deserves a pulitzer prize. depends on an investigative journalist seeking outsources from 20 years ago and giving information that is highly classified because it was important to the iraqis? it would confront the v.a. to take responsibility and start treating these people and that expense is enough to keep that secret. without investigative journalist, we don't have a democracy. without sources, you don't have investigative journalism. we need more people willing to risk their jobs, their clearance , they're good relations with their employers. that's a lot to ask but not too much to ask patriotic americans who understand that the lives of
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other people are endangered by their silence. host: will, good morning. caller: i am grateful to get to speak with you i consider you a great american. you are a great human being. i was 17 in 1969. i did serve after vietnam in the all volunteer army. my question has to do with the espionage act and why has this not been brought to the supreme court? guest: the answer is only once the only one convicted by a jury trial.
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this was under reagan. he did appeal his case but the supreme court did not hear it did the supreme court has never because most of the cases have been settled by plea bargains because prosecutors threaten very high sentence. each count is worth 10 years i faced one of them as conspiracy. i faced 115 years altogether. it's totally unfair. the british official secrets act has a maximum sentence per count of 24 months. that is far fairer if you want to have a democracy.
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there should not be an official secrets act and all. interestingly, the first american before me who is tried for giving secrets to americans was nathan hale, he was familiar to me. young people don't know the name. he was george washington's spy during the revolutionary war who famously said to the british just before they hanged him, i regret that i have but one life to give her my country. i think we see manning and snowden light nathan help could chelsea manning said i am ready to give this information about war crimes and torture, i want to get it out even if it means jail for life.
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when i read that, i thought i have read -- waited 40 years to hear that. i have a very strong sense of identification with her. edward snowden has 10 spoken to reporters to talk about the background of what he has given to them. he said, some things are worth dying for. and that's true. i agree with that and i hope other people will be inspired by the area -- there it --. host: this comes from bloomberg news. it is time for one or two more calls. we have a couple of minutes
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left. steve, good morning. caller: good morning. it's a privilege to speak to you this morning. as i sat and listened to you you have made me broader in the aspect that when a whistleblower has something he feels the country does need to know, there should be a just court where he can present the case. i was not aware that was not available. on the same token, i must tell you that when i hear you say that you put snowden on the same level as nathan hale as a patriot, i take pause with that. in my opinion snowden betrayed his country. he heard a lot of people.
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he gave us a bad reputation with a lot of countries. even though obama goes after more whistleblowers than most presidents have done, you would have to admit that the obama administration has been the least respected administration in the history of the country. to put that in place and say of course he's going to have to go after more people about the level of disrespect that they show his administration. guest: thank you what you said about me. i do identify with what i know so far about snowden very strongly. you have every right to have concluded from what you've heard about snowden from the
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government and elsewhere what you do. he is a disreputable person who is harmed the country. the reason you have been able to form judgment on that is because we do have a good deal of information because he has chosen exile not in russia. he was stuck there when the president took away his passport. this was not the place he would have chosen. given that he is there, he has been able to give a good deal of information. in contrast to chelsea manning she has not been able to give her case to the american people. i am open to hearing from the government specifics. you haven't heard any. they have been greatly challenged by some senators to
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give specifics and the government has given zero specifics as to what harm has been actually done it. we await that. i have a personal opinion having talked to snowden in moscow. i know his motive was to help this country and not to harm it. if he inadvertently did so, we await evidence of that. so far i do regard him without any question as a patriot certainly as much as any i know, including nathan hale. host: we will let you get your speech later this morning. daniel ellsberg is the author. you can follow him on twitter.
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we appreciate your time this morning. guest: thank you for the opportunity. host: up next, we will talk about oil and gas pipeline safety in the united states with legos elana schor. we'll be right back. >> remarkable partnerships iconic women. >> she did save the portrait of washington that was one of the things that in geared her to the nation.
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>> we will never know where she was wearing or what she looked like. >> she takes over a radio station. how do you do that? >> she exerted enormous influence. she would move amount to make sure her husband was protected. >> "first leaders" is a book. it is based on original interviews from the series. learn about their lives ambitions, families, and partnerships with their spouses. presidential historians on the lives of 35 iconic women. they survived the scrutiny of the white house, sometimes it great personal cost. it is now available as a hardcover or an e-book.
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>> washington journal continues. host: we take a look at how your money is working. we are joined by elana schor to talk about pipelines and the hazardous material safety administration. what kind of lines are we talking about? how many miles of these are there? guest: it's both oil and natural gas. they regulate emissions from airplanes. we look at pipelines. there are 2.6 million miles of pipeline in america. some of them go completely on regulated.
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we wanted to take a look at how good are these records. what we found was troubling. host: the story with those findings, pipelines blow up and people die after accidents. it has become the can't do agency. we have one of the authors with us today. just to be clear on this, these are land at pipelines could we are not talking about drilling sites offshore which have gotten a lot more attention in recent years. guest: we are talking about the pipelines it go from drilling sites to transmission lines. think about them like veins and arteries in the body. they all carry the same blood.
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they can oversee these tiny pipelines that run to riggs to the big pipelines that run back to our houses. it's this whole unseen world to the public does not know is right under our noses area --. host: this agency is charged with overseeing these pipelines. are they funded enough? guest: not all of that goes to the pipeline safety program. there are grants for things like awareness of the duration damage. we are talking about the pipeline safety budget, it is smaller than that. it comes out to one inspector for every 5800 isles of pipeline. what it comes down to is the company's get most of the power to write their own plans for inspecting their own lines. unless they ask or an exemption
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inspections might come every eight years. it's great if you're a well performing company. host: along with the funding issue, there is a culture of can't. can you talk about the evolution of the the and where the culture came from austin mark --? guest: they are a little bit of a redheaded stepchild. trains carry people and cargo. they are on the sideline and very small. it was only created out of a pre-existing agency after eight horrific accident in 1999 that killed three people. congress was up in mind that this pipeline could of gone without inspection for so long. they were using pre-existing tools from an agency.
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what we found is congress gave a new name to a lot of the same self-regulatory practices that depend on the company's. that performers are often overlooked until something explodes. host: elana schor is with us for the next 45 minutes. our phone lines are open for your questions and comments. here are some numbers from your story in politico. there were 369 injuries. what are some of the more high-profile problems? guest: people may remember san
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bruno, california. eight people died when a natural acid pipeline ruptured. natural gas explosions can be particularly devastating. they affect drinking water. you very rarely see on oil's will in the middle of the suburb. more than 60 people were injured and 38 homes were destroyed. it became very important because they had delegated authority to the public utility commission. they signed agreements with the state and said you're going to regulate the national -- natural gas pipelines. they had some pretty serious issues. they will audit san bruno.
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it ultimately fell to the state to reform it. some people think there is a lot of work to be done. that happens a lot. they don't have the manpower to look at every state that might be falling down a job. host: you say it's part of the process by which the rules are made that contributes to the problem. if you can explain that regulatory development side of this. guest: they have advisory committees. this is a common feature of regulatory agencies. they want all sides in the debate. that is common. what's less common is the structure that has five industry spots and the government spots have not been filled. it's lopsided in terms of industry voices. there are just not that many
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public advocacy groups. there is really only one called the pipeline safety trust. it was founded by that washington state explosion. the deck is stacked in terms of industry. they write their own standards. there is never a vote against them. certain regulations have just languishing for years. congress told them to act. not all of it gets done. we wanted to find out why. host: we are talking about oil and gas pipeline safety. paul is in new york on the line for democrats. caller: hi.
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there has been an approval of the gas storage facility in seneca, on seneca lake. it was approved by people in charge of the pipeline that crosses state borders. what do you think about that? guest: he brings up something important. the energy regulatory commission they regulate pipelines and storage facilities. but that creates a lot of confusion. people don't know who to talk to to register their concerns. government bureaucracy can be impenetrable. he should be concerned. there are going to be pipelines
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that come out of this facility. a lot of recently the public doesn't have a voice is they often don't know who to talk to about what. gas storage facilities are generally safe. they are. there are some gray areas with the pipelines leading out from this. the one who knows the most is always the industry player pushing for these. host: an individual on twitter has questions about what comes out of the pipelines and the cleanup process. is there a difference between tar sands versus crude oil? can you talk about what happens if the process fails westmark --? guest: there was a michigan's bill in 2010. it was a fairly small river. there was not a lot of churn.
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the oil did think because it can become more dense than water. that is something officials were not prepared for. here is another layer of government bureaucracy that the public trips up over. the epa regulates the cleanup. the epa is investigating the cleanup. in michigan, people were confused. the epa was cleaning it up. it's a lot of gray area. host: nancy is calling in from kansas. good morning. caller: my question is i hear a lot of statistics about the things that go wrong, but i never hear the comparison of how many miles these things are
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carried before something does go wrong. i feel reporting has to include all ask x of a story in instead of just the agenda. host: i would encourage you to check out the story. more than 2.6 million miles of types going through this country. state in federal inspectors, there are 400 87 of them. if there are other statistics you can speak to her concerns. guest: nancy raises a point pipelines arkham thirdly safer than rail and arch. the premise of our story wasn't to make that comparison but to make sure that they are doing the job of keeping the system safe.
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pipelines have a better record. what we found is the number of incidents and injuries has not been significantly going down. when you have a regulator whose budget has increased, we want to know why the record have it -- hasn't shifted. what speaks to is not enough manpower to find the guys who are messing up. host: do people go to jail? guest: there are fines. there was an issue in arkansas with the epa and doj pursued a more serious case against exxon that ended in a $5 million settlement. there are two separate pockets. there is a civil penalty
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process. the public never get to see when these companies are negotiating over penalties. that has advocates concerned about transparency. host: what is the biggest penalty they have been able to get and how big is the company they were able to get that penalty from a? guest: the biggest was that michigan will which the pipeline operator paid without challenging it, which they do try to contest the fine often that was $2.7 million. their net profit more than 70 times the size. is the penalty enough to install fear in these companies and prevent future incidents. host: robert is up next on the line for democrats. caller: i would like to talk
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about the pipeline they're running through the center of the united states. a couple of things they do not talk about is how important that aquifer is. we're going to have water problems coming up here pretty quick over the next few years. why do they have to run a across the aquifer? we also talk about eminent domain. on either side of that pipeline, they can do whatever they want in terms of mineral and water rights. this is a very dangerous situation. the government running that pipeline. host: two questions there, one on eminent domain.
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the color is concerned with the aquifer? guest: that's another reason why we pursued the piece. when we talk about keystone, we talk about climate change and the omissions. playing second fiddle is the safety of it. the aquifer is six states long. many people are concerned about the drinking water. there are areas of keystone that has to the aquifer where the water table is extremely high. that is driving a lot of concern. the farmers know that if it leaks in that area -- they fear for their livelihoods. if that were to happen, the impact would be very minimal
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even in a worst-case scenario. it's not minimal to you if it happens in your community. it's a healthy and legitimate debate to have. host: we are talking about highflying safety. if you have any questions or comments in this segment, the phone lines are open. elana schor from politico is our guest. and he is up next in charlotte, north carolina. caller: i've got to go with the republicans on this. they need to get rid of federal
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inspections. the corporations know what's best. let them have all the free reign they need. we don't need the federal government involved in any of this. they just strangle our freedom. host: are you saying that the free market will take place if a pipeline leaks? is it the hard when you're making? i think she stepped away from the phone. guest: the concept of self regulation got to be a dirty word. a lot of republicans believe in smaller government and believe it doesn't matter.
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the companies would still be decent in their records. host: does this spark a partisan debate on capitol hill? are they paying enough attention to a smaller agency? guest: the tradition is they are reauthorized in a partisan fashion. host: the example you get into is tim griffin in arkansas about the mayflower spill. guest: that was the spill that they just settled.
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he is a protege of karl rove. he got into them when they refused to refuse -- release some reports. something exxon wanted to keep behind closed doors while it did its own inspection and investigation. they agreed with the company and tim griffin, a conservative, said my constituents deserve to see this right now. he replaced it on his own website. caller: when they do have in oils will -- oil spill, what percent of the cleanup do the taxpayers end up ain't? guest: that's a great question. there is an oil spill liability
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trust fund. it is set aside so taxpayers don't have to pay for the cleanup. there is a tax on oils. a portion of the fines and penalties go to the fund as well. the goal is taxpayers should not have to foot the bill when companies mess up. the fund is consistently strained in years like 2010 when there were so many incidents. there is a lot of concern on capitol hill that the crude producers are not always pain in. there is a ruling that says this oil may not be treated like real oil. how to fix this and make sure the fund is solvent has not been settled. host: let's go to nebraska.
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tom, good morning. caller: i'm curious, talking about the oil going over the aquifer. i live in nebraska. i have a pipeline that they fixed 2500 feet of it. that is hauling crude oil from canada and it is a two to three foot type line. it actually goes under the south platte river. it has 10 in there since 1953. host: what is your question about it? caller: i don't have any problems and it's been there since 1953. guest: age is an issue with gas.
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tom is talking about an important pipeline. supporters of keystone say we've already got this 60-year-old pipeline. let's not eat so concerned about keystone. a good operator that inspects that doesn't have to worry. the keystone one pipeline had a dozen small leaks in its first couple years of operation. they shut down proactively for a little bit. environmentalists say how can we trust them to patrol this. this furthers the debate about who should be in charge. the question we often get is does it matter what's moving to the pipeline?
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host: are oilsands more corrosive than other kinds of oil or gas? guest: there is a study about that. they were using a very limited data pool, but they found that no it's not the case. this is what's happening all over the country right now. we are producing so much oil and pushing so much through older pipelines. host: jerry is waiting on the line for democrats. caller: how much of a driver in the except once of pipelines is the fact that revenue is derived to individuals and jurisdictions
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by the pipelines presence? host: how much is it generating for the towns that the pipeline is in it? i think we lost the caller. guest: you see oftentimes an operator wants to build a new project and is concerned about not in my back yard syndrome. they point out how much tax can be generated by these construction projects. that is pretty standard industry practice. our previous color and nebraska said, it is common and generates goodwill. people get nervous when they hear oil is running through their yard. host: brian is waiting on the line for independence.
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caller: i just wanted to ask how many lines of pipeline are running ross that aquifer. a new wood would be less likely to leak than the old ones. why the big deal? guest: great question. there are quite a lot of pipelines across that aquifer. a lot of them do not carry this specific kind of oil. the pipeline that runs where the water table is 14 feet. it carries a lighter oil. the keystone one that runs heavy canadian field. that is where the water is a lot deeper. a big reason we are arguing over xl is where it would run. the water table in nebraska can
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be three or four feet. that's why you see a lot of conservative armors who don't want this near their land. there is a lot of pipeline. host: this is our weekly your money segment. dana has a comment on twitter. we have the line for republicans. good morning. caller: i want to let you know that i have the epa and a bunch of guys are starting to clear up my property.
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it's been here since the 20's. i am the inspector of my oil lines. when they leak i call and they have been here. they have come out. i am a foreign life. i know when something comes out of the ground that a right. it will sink and mud will cover it up and grass will grow. i'm old enough to know that. the guys that are out here, i don't know if they are doing it right or wrong.
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they are doing a fantastic job. the epa has come out and helped tremendously. they are coming back. we live in the boondocks as a lot of people would call it could --. host: whereabouts in kentucky are you? caller: it's in hancock county. which part? it's in southern hancock county. host: how much does the industry rely on people like mary to be watchful? guest: she is a great object lesson in what they found in 2012. the public catches more leaks than these technological
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computer systems. that's because of people like mary who watch over their land. that's a good thing. could we be be forcing to do better? caller: my question is i need help. i live in crawfordsville, indiana. i have gone before the council trying to get help because of the overpopulation below me. we have lost 50 foot of the hill due to the changing of the creek. i have the gas, water, and sewage running down the middle of my road which is in danger of falling into sugarcreek.
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we are down to eight to 10 feet before this road collapses area --. they are just going to let it collapse. they will let team a clean it up. i want help. i have a home on the inside of the road. i was told they were going to fix that and had some company looking into it. that was a lie. they are letting this hilly road -- hill erode. host: thanks for sharing your story. can somebody like mary go to themselves or the epa? guest: i don't know if there is a pipeline involved.
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it could be an epa related chemical or storage issue. the public often doesn't know who to call when things go wrong. host: susan is in florida on the line for independents. caller: she said you should just let the corporations regulate them selves and keep government regulation out. it's surprising that if you just think rationally, that doesn't make any sense in a community where all of our water and air is connected. they are just there to make money. you need regulation or we are all -- the accidents are going to happen and the x lotions --
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explosions are going to happen. it doesn't make sense to leave industry to regulate itself. when i hear republicans talking about how we have to get rid of regulation, i wish people would stop saying that sounds good and really think about what that means to our air in our water and the rates of cancer and cancer in children and autism and neurological disorders and the things that are on the rise. it doesn't make sense. we should be very careful that agencies like this are fully funded and able to do their jobs properly. they need to make a balance with the public health and the environment. to leave this up to is this is ridiculous. host: this is an argument happens a lot of different issues. guest: we wanted to present an
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unvarnished look and leave it to readers to say i agree or not. we wanted to give as much information as we can. her point about companies being is one thing. they need the money and the authority to enforce its own rules. host: this is an article on politico. we've had about five or 10 or minutes left as we talk about pipelines and hazardous materials safety. guest: that's a great question. it costs the money anytime they sensibly to look at the lines. they don't have to pay the agency for that.
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the inspectors, every five years. companies conduct their own investigations. they are using risk management. this is less prescript. it's more write a plan and tell us how you think you want to do it. that is what the critics call self regulation. the industry calls it necessary. people conceive of it like our car inspections. they wind up getting hired by the industry. that contributes to the sense of where the regulator has this brain drain it to the industry. there are better jobs when it comes to benefit.
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host: justin is in california. caller: good morning. i wanted to ask a quick question. i saw a bunch of the graphs that you showed. if you come across anything regarding maintenance of aboveground type lines -- headlines? would it or of those be easier to regulate? you think that wear and tear would be easier to see on one that is above ground. guest: he makes a good point it certain pipelines are much easier to inspect when they are above ground. we found that regulating near rivers deals with erosion. when we have extreme weather
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events these pipelines are only inspect every few years. the rules can be shaking in terms of how much stuff is covered. a lot of erosion and storms that can break pipelines, there are serious roles and happen your water area host: one of the charts is on dead and injured people going back to 2002. more than 8000 incidents. 2004 and 2010 had the most fatalities and injuries. can you talk about 2010? the michigan incident? guest: that was a bad year. that was the year that we know from the ep oil spill. they can be hard to focus on one crisis at a time.
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bp took up a lot of political energy trying to figure out how they were going to offshore drilling. these two pipeline incidents did not get attention and considering the huge damage that they called. it's a good question. it is happen so recently that we haven't had a chance to dig into what happened. often, the data will take several months. what we found it is interesting is the penalty cases were so much lower. the money they were collecting is cut by more than half. host: let's go to death in indiana. caller: good morning. i just want to say that i think it's naive to think that companies that big are going to regulate them selves.
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i think small oil spill's, they will hop on immediately to make it cheaper for them. i'm sure it's cheaper for them to fix something like that. when it's a big thing like new orleans, look at what happened with that. the people are still in court because the company has taken it to court for so long. these poor people don't have the money to fight it. i just think psychologically how can you think that companies that dig are going to regulate themselves? i have learned a lot regarding putting in the keystone pipeline. that lady was talking about kentucky and the people that talked about other pipelines
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going or that area. if you take oil by train, it's a lot more unsafe then doing it or a pipeline. host: are there statistics about how much safer pipelines are? guest: they are considerably safer. what we need to remember about oil by rail, it's gone from any thousand barrels a day to one million barrels a day on average carried. it's carried two very different regions. pipelines are expense. rail is easier. we want to compare them like apples to apples. rail is on the rise in areas where hype lines are not reasonable.
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we went to think separate look at pipelines that go through dense urban areas and ask how good of a job are we doing at keeping them safe. host: let's go to john in wisconsin on the line for independents. caller: are there any water pipelines going from traditionally flood areas like the mississippi delta area to the areas that need water out west? host: water pipelines are not what you focused on. guest: no i guess is the answer. he raises something interesting with respect to oil and gas pipelines. there are rumors in nebraska that keystone xl will be converted to a water pipeline. water is very scarce.
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droughts are going on in california. what the caller notes, they need to make sure the country is getting enough water. host: let's see if we can fit in been elsewhere. he is on the line for democrats. caller: good morning. the big push that bp has on to salvage their image does not hold true to what happened. they had plans sitting in front of them to stem the oil flow and they did not.
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the very next day they utilized the plans in order to stop the oil flow after they announced they were going to have to wait until the intercept well was in place in the late fall. a couple of months of unnecessary subjection of that oil flow. host: he is talking at the oils will in the gulf area. guest: talking about, the call to shake up after bp are very relevant here. in place for four years, she was a major official at -- as an offshore


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