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tv   60 Minutes  Me-TV  November 8, 2015 6:30pm-7:30pm CST

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season. phil: the broncos have won some unbelievable games at the end. today they let it get away. jim: there's robert mathis. only mathis, vinatieri and mcafee are still on the roster from the last time peyton manning was a colt. broncos fall for the first time. now only carolina, cincinnati, and new england are unbeaten. peyton comes back to indy for the second time as a bron coe and he lost by six -- as a bronco and he lost by six as he did back in 2013. actually, it's a three-point final with the vinatieri field goal not counting.
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victory for the colts. what a game it was. all these wild turn of events. the punt return. the third quarter blitz by the broncos. and then the reversal by indianapolis. phil: exciting game, hard fought a lot of people played well. but again the colts, they've got -- they got it done when it downed. jim: 27-24 your final. indianapolis tonight on cbs begins with "60 minutes." you've been watching the nfl on cbs, home of super bowl 50. it's the final countdown! the final countdown! if you're the band europe, you love a final countdown. it's what you do. if you want to save fifteen percent or more on car insurance, you switch to geico.
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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> pelley: aaron alexis was psychotic when he hunted employees at a u.s. naval office in 2013. he was armed with a shotgun and a clearance to handle military
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secrets. >> he was able to exploit his position of trust and gain access to a building where he murdered his colleagues, 12 of his colleagues; others wounded. >> pelley: how could someone like aaron alexis be granted a u.s. government security clearance? that's our story tonight. >> stahl: security is tight at the large hadron collider. you need a retina scan to get inside. >> thank you. you have been identified. >> ...power, cooling... >> stahl: the entire complex is buried deep underground. >> this is the detector right here. >> stahl: it's believed to be the largest and most complex machine mankind has ever created. the things it's searching for sound like they're straight out of science fiction. oh, no. really? >> i'm past patiently waitin' i'm passionately smashin' every expectation
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creation... >> rose: the show has already reached the loftiest heights. >> rose: in its first three months at the richard rogers theatre, "hamilton" has chalked up $57 million in advanced ticket sales. those lucky enough to get in never know who might be seated next to them. the president of the united states. >> at our sixth preview. it put my dreams to shame. ( laughs ) >> kroft: i'm steve kroft. >> stahl: i'm lesley stahl. >> safer: i'm morley safer. >> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. >> rose: i'm charlie rose. >> pelley: i'm scott pelley.
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minutes." >> pelley: the fugitive edward snowden, convicted spy chelsea manning, and mass murderer aaron alexis all had one thing in common-- u.s. government security clearances, which they turned into weapons. clearances to handle classified information are granted after an investigation into the applicant's background. but you are about to see internal reports and interviews that reveal clearances granted after critical facts were overlooked. some believe that snowden and manning were right to expose what they saw as government abuses, like the n.s.a.'s domestic surveillance program, but few believe that all of america's secrets should be at risk to spies, criminals, or the mentally ill.
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short cuts in a system that has placed american security into dangerous hands. aaron alexis was profoundly psychotic when he hunted employees in a u.s. navy office in 2013. he was armed with a shotgun and a clearance to handle military secrets. >> paul stockton: he was able to exploit his position of trust and gain access to a building, where he murdered his colleagues, 12 of his colleagues; others wounded. >> pelley: paul stockton is a former assistant secretary of defense who led an investigation into the massacre. what was it about his security clearance that jumped out at you right from the start? >> stockton: aaron alexis never should have been granted a security clearance. >> pelley: this is a draft the public has never seen of a separate federal investigation into the alexis case. in his security clearance application, alexis said he lived in seattle but worked in manhattan.
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no one asked about that. alexis told the investigator that a felony arrest on his record was for letting air out of someone's tires. he didn't mention that he let the air out with a .45 caliber glock handgun. that detail was in a seattle police report that also said alexis had a "black-out fueled by anger." but there's no record any investigator pursued that police report. >> stockton: that kind of violent behavior, that problem of impulse control, that should be a prime signal that this person is not-- repeat, is not-- appropriate to have the trust associated with a security clearance. >> pelley: aaron alexis's background investigation, like most, was done by a private company under contract with the federal office of personnel management, known as the o.p.m. o.p.m. sends the results of its investigations to the various federal agencies, and those agencies decide whether to grant
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demand is enormous. more than four million americans have security clearances, and o.p.m. conducts 600,000 security clearance investigations a year. that comes to about 2,000 a day. >> stockton: after 9/11, the number of people that gained security clearances grew rapidly, in fact tripled since 9/11 and today. >> pelley: was o.p.m. prepared for that? >> stockton: there was an enormous backlog of security clearance investigations, and congress decided that getting rid of that backlog and increasing the pace with which investigations could be conducted was very, very important. it was a top priority. >> brenda persons: we literally had stacks of files sitting on floors because we had no more places to put them. >> pelley: brenda persons, kathy treese, and linda dei were three of the people at the department of defense who granted or denied clearances based on the investigations of the office of personnel management. they were called adjudicators,
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and they have recently retired. >> linda dei: i consider o.p.m. to be the j.v. of background investigations. >> pelley: not the varsity team? >> dei: not the varsity team. >> pelley: they told us that o.p.m.'s investigations often had major omissions. some even skipped the required interview with the person applying for the clearance. the office of personnel management says, "look, if there's a problem with the file, send it back. we'll work on it again." >> persons: we'd be sending the majority of them back. >> kathy treese: nobody would ever get a clearance. >> pelley: the files were that defective? >> treese: yeah, they were that defective. >> pelley: another defective file involved army private bradley manning. did you have any reason to doubt manning's loyalty to the united states? >> jhirleah showman: yes. >> pelley: in 2009, jhirleah showman was manning's supervisor in an intelligence unit headed to iraq. >> showman: i pointed to the patch of our american flag that was on my shoulder. i said, "what does this flag
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mean to you?" he said, "it means absolutely nothing to me. i hold no allegiance to this country and the people in it." >> pelley: how does he get a top secret security clearance? >> showman: that is a good question. >> pelley: manning's security clearance investigation failed to check a complaint that his step-mother made with oklahoma city police. if they had, they might have heard her 9-1-1 call. >> my husband's 18-year-old son is out of control and just threatened me with a knife. >> pelley: if investigators had checked his enlistment papers, they might have seen that he wrote that he joined the military to "sort out the turmoil and mess in my life." before manning's top secret clearance was granted, he stabbed a soldier with a pencil and was ordered into counseling for fits of rage. >> showman: i went directly to my superior. >> pelley: and told them what? >> showman: i said that he cannot be trusted with a security clearance. we can't deploy him and he's most likely a spy. >> pelley: jhirleah showman told
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couldn't afford to lose a man with a valuable top secret clearance. in iraq, she says that she confronted manning after he repeatedly violated the rules, including sneaking a camera and recordable cds into this high- security intelligence vault. >> showman: and he screamed, "no," at the top of his lungs, and came and punched me right in the face, and body slammed me at the same time. so i put him in a hold and i asked him if this is what he wants. and he said he's just tired of everybody watching his activities. >> pelley: this guy has done multiple things, at this point, that a soldier could be court- marshaled for. >> showman: yes. >> pelley: he's a train wreck. >> showman: yes. >> pelley: and his security clearance never gets pulled. >> showman: correct. >> pelley: over eight months, manning used the cds to record hundreds of thousands of secrets in that vault and delivered them
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>> showman: i was sick but it didn't surprise me, because i knew it all along. >> pelley: manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison, where she is now known as chelsea manning, a transgender woman. in 2009, linda dei's office at the pentagon relied on o.p.m. investigations of soldiers like manning to decide whether to grant security clearances. but dei began to suspect problems with the fbi name check, a search the fbi does of its criminal database at the request of o.p.m. dei saw cases where clearances were granted before the results from the fbi were complete. >> dei: i was alerted to a potential problem when, all of a sudden, an investigation that o.p.m. had closed over a year before now included classified information from the fbi name check.
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that piece of information, that fbi report, in making an adjudication? >> dei: i thought it was probably the most important lead in an investigation. i mean, considering that an adjudicator is to try to determine whether subject is loyal to the united states, the kinds of crimes that the fbi investigates-- sabotage, espionage, terrorism-- that's what that lead told us. >> pelley: linda dei wasn't the only one who was suspicious. the federal investigator looking into aaron alexis's case wrote in his report that the fbi name checks appeared "curious." so, as a test, he decided to examine, at random, top secret security clearance investigations for translators who were working in iraq and afghanistan. he wrote, "we reviewed the investigative files of ten." the o.p.m.'s reports showed that
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file when, in fact, there were fbi records on "seven of the ten." are there people today who have clearances and should not have them? >> john hamre: yes. there are... we have spies in our midst. i'm convinced of it. >> pelley: john hamre is a former deputy secretary of defense who chairs the defense policy board that advises the pentagon. >> hamre: our system is very obsolete, in my view. >> pelley: obsolete, hamre says, because the foundation of each investigation is a questionnaire, called a standard form 86, which the applicant fills out himself. aaron alexis got away with lying on the form about his gun related arrest. and manning lied about his mental health. also, regulations don't allow investigators to search the applicant's social media because of privacy concerns. >> hamre: it's amazing what people will say on their facebook account that they don't
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say on a security clearance. >> pelley: edward snowden, the national security agency contractor who pulled off the biggest theft of u.s. secrets ever, had a background investigation no better than manning's or aaron alexis's. >> hamre: and when we have failures, they'r'rcatastrophic. the failure with snowden was catastrophic. so our big elaborate, expensive system didn't prevent something that was truly important. >> pelley: we've obtained this internal memo that has not been public before. it's a warning to the head of the office of personnel management from the man who investigates the agency, o.p.m.'s inspector general, patrick mcfarland. it was written in 2013. mcfarland writes that snowden's background investigation was "deficient in a number of areas", and "o.p.m. itself did not identify that the report had glaring deficiencies." mcfarland concludes, "there may
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we've learned that snowden's behavior raised concerns when he worked at the cia. and when he left the agency, the cia put a red flag in his file in case snowden applied for another job. he did, a civilian job for the n.s.a. where he stole the secrets. snowden had found a simple way to beat o.p.m.'s review of his security clearance. in the section about his job history, he said that his previous job was classified and he didn't give any more details. o.p.m. did not verify his previous employment as a result of that. >> hamre: obviously, after the fact, it's a great... it was a great mistake. >> pelley: what would you say is the greatest insider threat that we face as a result of the way these security clearances are done? >> hamre: snowden was an example of it. he moved into an enormously sensitive position.
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and once we give them a credential, they're in the compound. we don't pay attention to where they are after that. we don't organize our clearance process around the sensitivity of jobs; we organize them around people's background. and i think that's a big failing. >> pelley: we know very little about the other "glaring deficiencies" in snowden's background investigation. because the u.s. intends to prosecute if he ever leaves russia, snowden's files are secret, available only to those with a u.s. government security clearance. the office of personnel management declined an interview, but ia statement, they wrote, "we are working aggressively to incorporate new data sources and to transform investigation methods," and we are "reviewing key aspects of the security clearance process." in another development, this past summer, o.p.m.'s computers were hacked in what is believed to have been a chinese operation.
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information on 21 million americans was stolen. the head of o.p.m. resigned in july. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by: >> glor: good evening. with unlimit falling and inflation rising, it now makes sense to raise interest rates. china's exports dropped in october for the fourth straight month. and the final round of the world series of poker is under way in las vegas.
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>> stahl: the large hadron collider is one of the wonders of the modern world. it's believed to be the largest and most complex machine mankind has ever created. buried hundreds of feet beneath switzerland and france, the collider smashes subatomic particles together with enormous energy. by studying the collisions, scientists have already made a major discovery, the higgs boson. some call it "the god particle". they're now hoping to learn a lot more, because after two years of repairs and upgrades,
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the collider has begun smashing particles at nearly double the power. the things it's searching for now sound like they're straight out of science fiction. security is tight at the large hadron collider. you need a retina scan to get inside. >> thank you. you have been identified. >> stahl: the entire complex is buried deep underground. >> greg rakness: you can see power, cooling... >> stahl: and this is the heart of it. is this where the collision takes place? >> rakness: the protons come down this pipe, down this orange pipe. >> stahl: american physicist greg rakness showed us one of the four detectors where subatomic particles called protons ram into each other at nearly the speed of light to simulate conditions that are believed to have existed when the universe began. is there a boom? is there noise?
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>> rakness: there's no noise, but there's a flash of light and the particles fly off. and you're taking a look into the... basically, a microscopic view of the big bang. >> stahl: this is what the inside of the detector looks like. it's stuffed with magnets, electronics, and sensors. creating a miniature version of the big bang isn't easy. before the particles get here, they travel through a long tunnel that rakness took us down into during a maintenance break. for 17 miles? >> rakness: 17 miles. >> stahl: in a big loop, a big circle? >> rakness: in a big loop, that's right. >> stahl: the loop runs beneath the countryside of switzerland and france, not far from geneva. the tunnel is so vast, workers zip around on bicycles. the particles zip through these pipes, guided by super-cooled magnets. when the protons are going through the tunnel, it's very
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how cold does it actually get? >> rakness: it's somewhere on the order of negative-450 degrees fahrenheit. >> stahl: is that colder than outer space? >> rakness: that's colder than outer space. >> stahl: oh, it is. now, i hear that when the collision takes place, that the temperatures spike. they go way high. how high do they go? >> rakness: they can be up to the order of ten thousand times hotter than the center of the sun. >> stahl: no! >> rakness: yeah. >> stahl: so it goes from the coldest ever to the hottest ever. >> rakness: yeah. in ( snaps fingers ) >> stahl: like that? >> rakness: yeah. >> stahl: the data is analyzed by thousands of computers here and around the world. this is what an image of the collisions looks like, with particles flying off in every direction. >> rakness: every time there's a small dot here... >> stahl: yeah? >> rakness: ...that's two protons colliding. >> stahl: by carefully analyzing the data from the collisions, scientists were able to find the holy grail of modern physics, a particle known as the higgs boson, or just "the higgs".
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the higgs gives all the other particles mass. without it, molecules would not exist; trees, rocks, mountains would not exist. we would not exist. >> rakness: there are collisions 40 million times per second. >> stahl: oh, my gosh. the higgs may have been found here, in the collider in switzerland, but it was conceived in scotland by a person almost as hard to find as the particle itself. peter higgs doesn't have much use for computers, email, or cell phones, and doesn't own a tv. in 1964, he was a junior professor at the university of edinburgh when he came up with his theory. he was 35 at the time, and not taken seriously. >> peter higgs: not many people took much notice of this kind of theory at the time. they were doing other things, which was why it was left to a few people, a few eccentrics to do it. >> stahl: did you use any machines or any special
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>> higgs: a pencil and paper. >> stahl: a pencil and paper? that's all you used? >> higgs: well, that's all you need for... for writing equations. >> stahl: higgs' simple and elegant equation gained credence over the years, but there was no machine powerful enough to put it to the test, until the large hadron collider was built by the european organization for nuclear research, known as cern. finally, the collider really did prove that you were right, and in 2012, i believe, you were there at cern. >> higgs: i was there. i was more or less summoned. i was told in a message, "tell peter if he doesn't come to cern on july the fourth, he will probably regret it." ( laughter ) >> stahl: he went to cern, along with hundreds of other physicists who assembled to hear whether the collider had proved higgs' theory. >> rakness: it was like the olympics of particle physics. when they showed the... the
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the picture that made it clear that there was a bump which could be the higgs boson, there was a gasp in the audience where everyone went, "ah." and it's true, because it was absolutely clear that had to be something that we hadn't seen before. >> i think we have it. ( laughter ) do you agree? ( applause ) >> stahl: in the audience, the one-time eccentric teared up. this guaranteed peter higgs a place in history. ( applause ) >> fabiola gianotti: it was... it was... it's hard to tell in words. >> stahl: in january, italian physicist fabiola gianotti will become cern's first female director-general. she will oversee the souped-up $8 billion collider that 10,000 scientists around the world work on as they search for new breakthroughs that could revolutionize society in ways that are hard to imagine.
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and i read this in science fiction-- that there's a whole dimension, a dimension that we don't even know about? >> gianotti: absolutely. there are theories... theories in particle physics that predicts the existence of additional dimensions. string theories, for instance, they require seven additional dimensions so, as experimentalists, we should with our high-tech instruments like the large hadron collider, just listen to nature and to what nature wants to tell us. >> stahl: one of their biggest goals is shining a light on dark matter and dark energy, which are among the great remaining mysteries of modern science and reminders of how little we know about the universe. >> gianotti: when we look at the universe, what we see by eye or with our telescopes is only 5% of the universe. the rest, 95%, is dark. "dark" meaning, first of all, not visible to our instrument.
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second, dark also indicates our ignorance. we don't know what's the composition of this part of the universe. >> stahl: if we don't know what dark matter is, how do we even know there is such a thing? >> gianotti: we have some indirect, but very strong experimental evidence of it. for instance, when we look at the gravitational movement of galaxies. these movements, they're observed, cannot be explained with the amount of matter that we see. >> stahl: so, if there's gravity, there must be mass? >> gianotti: exactly. and the mass that we see is not able to explain the movement of the galaxies as we observe it. >> stahl: is dark matter here? right here, beside... all around us? all this stuff we really can't see? >> gianotti: yeah. dark matter is everywhere-- in this room, everywhere. >> stahl: scientists are looking for signs of dark matter inside the collider. but they've also placed detectors deep in mineshafts and in space.
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a short walk from the collider, nobel laureate sam ting and a team of scientists receive data from a $2 billion detector they have placed on the international space station. >> sam ting: the detector is seen here... >> stahl: so we have now a detector that's sitting on our space station to see if you can "see" dark matter? is that what you're hoping to do? >> ting: to see, to detect the trace of dark matter collisions. >> stahl: astronauts help keep an eye on the experiment. this is real time? >> ting: real time, real time. >> stahl: half a century after he first proposed his theory, peter higgs received the 2013 nobel prize in physics, along with belgian physicist francois englert. the many scientists who worked on the collider made this day possible... ( applause ) among them, steve nahn, laura jeanty and steve goldfarb, three american physicists who have
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years. >> steve goldfarb: it mattered, it mattered. >> stahl: goldfarb told us that he was amazed at how many people went online to watch the meeting at which the discovery was announced. >> goldfarb: you know, one billion people by the end of that week had seen video from that web cast. so a significant portion of our planet was interested enough to watch something which was a very technical seminar. >> stahl: why do you think it's ignited so much public interest? >> laura jeanty: i think, ultimately, what we're doing has a lot of philosophical motivations. we're interested in understanding how things work, and i think everybody connects to that idea. and everybody is interested when science pushes the boundary of our understanding. >> stahl: we're now into season two with a much more powerful collider. what are you going to look for now? >> goldfarb: we have big questions, really big questions. >> stahl: for instance, can they find something smaller than the
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quark, one of the smallest particles discovered thus far? >> goldfarb: is the quark it? we've thought many, many times... >> stahl: you mean, is there something even smaller than a quark? >> goldfb: it's very fundamental. >> stahl: at the moment, we think not, but who knows? >> goldfarb: but we still... we look all the time for that. >> jeanty: we looked for black holes and we didn't see them. >> stahl: are you saying there are no black holes? >> jeanty: so we were looking for micro black holes that would've been, for example, evidence that there are extra dimensions, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like we produced that at these energies. >> stahl: but does that mean there are no extra dimensions or that you just didn't find any? >> jeanty: we just didn't find them. they still could be here. >> stahl: if you find a whole different dimension, will it allow us to change time? >> jeanty: i think this is a difficult question because scientists don't like to say that something is impossible... >> steve nahn: yeah. >> jeanty: ...even if we think it's extremely unlikely. >> nahn: that's right. ( laughter ) you know, if you had asked somebody in 1900, "do you think we could take a device out of our pocket and push a button or two and talk to your spouse halfway across the world?"
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>> stahl: it's crazy. >> nahn: they would... they would say the same thing. but we can do it today, right? so who's to say, 100 years from now, what we can or cannot do? >> this cbs sports update is brought to you by ford. i'm james brown with scores from the nfl today. carolina remains unbeaten and runs its regular season winning streak to 12. blair walsh's game-winning field goal gives the vikes their best start since '09. the patriots roll to 8-0, while buff row runs over miami for 266 yards and three scores. andrew luck tosses two touchdowns and hands denver its first loss. for more sports news and information, go to and for a limited time, we're letting everyone in on this deal. that doesn't happen every day! and you can see the low price at there it is... and that's the low price you'll pay. it's that easy. you don't have to negotiate... it's hassle-free.
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on average, women need to work an extra two hours each day,
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join the fight for equal pay. join the fight for sara and women everywhere. i'm hillary clinton, and i approve this message. >> rose: imagine the pitch-- a broadway musical about the life and times of founding father alexander hamilton and his contemporaries. they are played by a young, multi-racial cast, dancing, singing and rapping to hip-hop and popular music.
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this unlikely combination is called "hamilton," and it is being hailed as a theatrical "game-changer." "hamilton" is the brainchild of a 35-year-old playwright named lin-manuel miranda. he also composed the music and plays the title character. miranda worked six years on the project. his biggest challenge was fitting the immense story of one of the most brilliant and misunderstood men in american history into a single evening of musical theater. >> lin-manuel miranda: the thing about hamilton is he spoke in paragraphs, so the opening sentence of our show is this crazy run-on sentence. "how does a bastard orphan, son of a whore and a scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten spot in the caribbean by providence, impoverished in squalor, comma, grow up to be a hero and a scholar?" that's the question we're going to answer for the next two hours and 45 minutes. i'm past patiently waitin' i'm passionately smashin' every expectation
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every action's an act of creation... >> rose: in "hamilton," the answers come fast. >> miranda: first time i'm thinking past tomorrow! and i'm not throwing away my shot! >> rose: "my shot" is the show's anthem. the "young, scrappy and hungry" immigrant arrives in new york just before the american revolution. >> rise up! rise up, take a shot take a shot, not throwing away my shot! >> miranda: it took me a year to write "my shot." >> rose: it took you a year. >> miranda: yeah. because every couplet needed to be the best couplet i ever wrote. that's how... that's how seriously i was taking it. >> rose: hamilton demands lots from you. >> miranda: he's calling on my best. sir, entrust me with a command. >> rose: hamilton was front and center at nearly every major event in early american history. >> man, the man is non-stop!
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>> rose: he never became president, but had a bigger impact than many who did. >> let me tell you what i wished i'd known. >> rose: his mentor was george washington, played by chris jackson, who plucked hamilton out of the ranks and relied on him for 20 years. >> daveed diggs: so what did i miss? what did i miss? >> rose: rapper daveed diggs plays thomas jefferson. he is hamilton's primary political opponent. >> miranda: the bullets out your gun. the bullets out your gun. >> rose: the show reflects miranda's broad musical taste, but hip hop and rap define it. your music is rap. >> miranda: yes. and i also believe that form is uniquely suited to tell hamilton's story. because it has more words per measure than any other musical genre. it has rhythm and it has density. and if hamilton had anything in his writings, it was this density. >> renee-elise goldsberry: i'm a girl in a world in which my only job is to marry rich
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my father has no sons, so i'm the one who has to social climb for one, so i'm the oldest and the wittiest and the gossip in new york city is insidious... >> rose: miranda wrote this for hamilton's sister-in-law, angelica schyuler, played by renee-elise goldsberry. in "hamilton," women get equal time. >> just you wait. >> rose: the idea to cast black and latino actors to play the founders was deliberate. miranda wanted to connect america then with america now. >> you can never back down and never learn to take your time! ooh! >> rose: "hamilton" blossomed during an extended run at new york's public theater. and it was greeted with fireworks over the hudson when it opened on broadway. >> miranda: i come up here in the opening number. >> rose: the show has already
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reached the loftiest heights. in its first three months at the richard rodgers theater, "hamilton" has chalked up $57 million in advanced ticket sales. and those lucky enough to get a seat never know who might be next to them. the president of the united states. >> miranda: at our sixth preview. >> rose: the vice president of the united states. >> miranda: yes. it's put my dreams to shame, yeah. it's... it's super, super humbling, and when you list those boldface names that have come to see the show, i see those as an opportunity to see the show with fresh eyes while i'm doing it. >> rose: oh, yeah. >> miranda: when dick cheney's sitting in the audience, i think what is he thinking when he hears the lyric, "history has its eyes on you," you know? when the president is here, what is he thinking as he sees george washington say, "i have to step down so the country can move on." >> rose: hamilton was a complicated figure-- war hero, famous philanderer, political
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politician, and the nation's first treasury secretary. >> ron chernow: he creates the first fiscal system, first monetary system, first customs service, first central bank, on and on and on. >> rose: ron chernow wrote the biography that inspired the musical and is the show's historical advisor. >> chernow: lin-manuel miranda, i think, was smart enough to know that the best way to dramatize a story was to stick as close to the facts as possible. here's the story of a penniless, orphaned, immigrant kid who comes out of nowhere and his achievements were absolutely monumental. >> rose: you say he came out of nowhere. >> chernow: he was born on the island of nevis. he spent his adolescence on st. croix. when he came to north america, he didn't know a soul. >> miranda: we're still playing dominoes on the street. >> rose: it is a story miranda can relate to. his father moved from puerto rico when he was 18. they settled in inwood on the northern tip of manhattan.
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prominent political consultant. his wife luz is a psychologist. >> luis miranda: luz and i, we have always known that this kid was destined for greatness. >> rose: he's looking down. >> luis miranda: my only concern was always, "is his greatness going to come with money, so he can survive forever?" >> rose: when did you see the musical talent? >> luis miranda: always. >> luz towns-miranda: from the time he was tiny... >> luis miranda: always. ( laughter ) >> luz towns-miranda: ...he loved to sing. he was always creating, and he loved words and songs. >> rose: like hamilton, young lin-manuel was something of a prodigy. he gained admission into a school for gifted children. >> miranda: you know, i went to a school where everyone was smarter than me. and i'm not blowing smoke. i... i was surrounded by genius... genius kids. what's interesting about growing up in a culture like that is you go, "all right, i got to figure out what my thing is. because i'm not smarter than these kids.
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i'm not funnier than half of them, so i better figure out what it is i want to do and work really hard at that." and because, intellectually, i'm treading water to... to be here. >> rose: so why do you think i'm sitting here talking to you and not sitting here talking to one of your classmates? >> miranda: because i picked a lane and i started running ahead of everybody else. ( laughs ) so i... that's the honest answer. it was like, i was like, "all right-- this." >> rose: "this" was theater. he was in practically every school play. >> miranda: this is upstairs. this is really where we grew up. >> rose: the family didn't have a lot of money to see broadway shows. but they did collect cast albums, and miranda consumed them. "camelot," "follow me," "the lusty month of may." >> miranda: "lusty month of may." all of the wordplay. "if you may take me to the fair." "you'll thrash and bash him?" "i'll smash and mash him?" you'll, you know, "he will be trouble." "he will be rubble." ( laughter ) >> rose: if ever i would leave you. >> miranda: it would not be in springtime
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bewitched by you so... >> rose: how can you have so many songs in your head?! >> miranda: because i had a lot of time on my hands. >> rose: so many songs in your head. >> miranda: um, yeah, well these were... >> rose: do you have room for anything else in your head? >> miranda: i mean, i don't know my social security number. >> rose: he graduated from wesleyan university in 2002 with a degree in theater arts. that's where he began working on a show about his old neighborhood. >> miranda: lottery ticket, just part of the routine everybody's got a job, everybody's got a dream... >> rose: it turned into miranda's first broadway show. "in the heights" won the 2008 tony for best musical. two months later, he picked up ron chernow's book during a vacation. >> miranda: this is what i knew from high school. i knew hamilton died in a duel with the vice president. i knew he was on the $10 bill. but really, i just was browsing the biography section. it could have been truman. >> rose: and as you read it, what happened? >> miranda: i was thunderstruck. i got to the part where, you know, a hurricane destroys st. croix, where hamilton is living. and he writes a poem about the
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carnage, and this poem gets him off the island. >> rose: you saw a rap artist in him. >> miranda: yes. i drew a direct line between hamilton's writing his way out of his circumstances and the rappers i'd grown up adoring. >> miranda: i'm thrilled the white house called me... >> rose: nine months after reading the book, he was invited to the white house to perform a song from "in the heights." he decided to take a risk. >> miranda: i'm actually working on a hip-hop album. it's a concept album about the life of someone who i think embodies hip hop, treasury secretary alexander hamilton. ( laughter ) you laugh?! but it's true! >> rose: so when you did it, and you look at the video now. >> miranda: i see a terrified young puerto rican man. >> rose: do you, really? >> miranda: terrified. because there's the leader of the free world... newly-elected leader of the free world, his entire family. there's biden. >> miranda: the ten dollar founding father without a father... >> rose: but as he began the story, the room was mesmerized. >> miranda: moved in with a cousin the cousin committed suicide
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left him with nothing but ruined pride something new inside a voice saying "alex you gotta fend for yourself" he started retreatin' and readin' every treatise on the shelf there would have been nothin' left to do for someone less astute he woulda been dead or destitute without a cent or restitution, started workin', clerkin' for his late mother's landlord tradin' sugarcane and all the things he can't afford... that video's a microcosm of my entire hamilton experience. i say, "hip hop, alexander hamilton," and everyone laughs. and then, by the end, they're not laughing. because they're in it. because they've been sucked into the story, just like i got sucked into the story. >> rose: miranda's gift is making that story come alive. >> miranda: are you ready for a cabinet meeting, huh? >> rose: witness hamilton's battle with jefferson over how to pay off the revolutionary war debt. >> in virginia, we plant seeds in the ground. we create. you just want to move our money around. this financial plan is an outrageous demand and it's too many damn pages for
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any man to understand. >> miranda: thomas, that was a real nice declaration. welcome to the present we're running a real nation would you like to join us, or stay mellow, doing whatever the hell it is you do in monticello. a civics lesson from a slaver, hey, neighbor. your debts are paid because you don't pay for labor. "we plant seeds in the south. we create!" keep ranting. we know who's really doing the planting! >> miranda: i think the secret sauce of this show is that, i can't believe this story is true. it's such an improbable and amazing story, and i learned about it while i was writing it. and i think that enthusiasm is baked into the recipe. >> leslie odom, jr.: hamilton doesn't hesitate he exhibits no restraint and he takes and he takes and he takes... >> rose: aaron burr is another key ingredient, the show's narrator. he is hamilton's cautious alter ego. >> odom: if there's a reason he seems to thrive so few survive then, goddamit, i'm willing to
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i'm willing to wait for it! >> rose: played by leslie odom, jr., burr's jealousy builds throughout the show until their fateful meeting on the dueling ground. >> chernow: the bullet hit him actually on the right side just above the hip. it lodged in the spine. >> rose: by the time they faced off in weehawkin, new jersey, burr was a lame duck vice president, and hamilton, just shy of his 50th birthday, was practicing law. how could that happen? >> chernow: think of duels, charlie, as a violent form of conflict resolution. burr was feeling very, very frustrated. it seemed like at every turn, alexander hamilton was there, you know, blocking his path. >> miranda: he writes in a letter before the duel. he said, "there was no way this could have been avoided. we have been circling each other for a while. it was always going to come to this." >> rose: this was going to happen. >> miranda: this was going to happen. they're fundamentally different men. and they run in concentric circles until they meet. >> tommy kail: and everything around them is moving.
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>> rose: miranda and his director, tommy kail, staged the intensifying rivalry between the two men. ah! >> miranda: yeah, it's pretty cool, right? >> rose: really cool. the turntable was essential. >> miranda: i imagine death so much it feels more like a memory... >> rose: many historians, including chernow, believe hamilton deliberately fired into the air, throwing away his shot. >> miranda: wait! >> rose: it is a fatal miscalculation. >> miranda: i hear wailing in the streets somebody tells me you better hide... here's the thing about hamilton. i think hamilton was ready to die from the time he was 14 years old. i think what he has is what i have, which is that thing of, "tomorrow's not promised. i got to get as much done as i can." ( applause ) >> rose: people are saying it's transformative. >> miranda: it certainly changes
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but i think it's because, when great people cross our path-- and i'm talking about hamilton here-- it forces us to reckon with what we're doing with our lives, you know? at my e, hamilton was treasury secretary and creating our financial system from scratch. >> rose: and building a country? >> miranda: yeah. i wrote two plays. >> miranda: i'm not throwing away my shot... >> the making of the "hamilton" cast album.
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