tv PBS News Hour PBS July 8, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: investigators tried to determine today why the jet that crashed at san francisco's airport saturday was flying too low and too slowly. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the accident, which killed two chinese teenagers and sent more than 180 people to the hospital from the head of the national transportation safety board, deborah hersman. >> ifill: and hari sreenivasan updates another transportation disaster; the oil tanker train that exploded in canada killing at least 13 with dozens still missing and a town incinerated. >> woodruff: we return to egypt, where the death toll topped 50 when the military opened fire on backers of the deposed president.
>> ifill: ray suarez explores the options to combat suspected chinese cyber-espionage that targets u.s. industries and trade secrets. >> chinese cyber hacking has been going on for a long time. what's new is that were finally fed up and want to do something about it. >> woodruff: and jeffrey brown talks with author colum mccann about weaving together three real-life atlantic crossings over three centuries in his latest work of fiction. >> what was it like to construct that, as a novelist, did you know how all these connections were going to happen? >> honestly? >> honestly. >> i had no clue whatsoever, it drove me nuts. ( laugh ) >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: there remained more questions than answers today about the weekend crash of a south korean jetliner in san francisco. investigators searched for a cause as emergency officials wondered aloud how nearly everyone on board survived. "newshour" correspondent spencer michels begins our coverage. >> reporter: planes at san francisco international airport taxied past the burned out shell of the boeing 777 today. it was a haunting reminder of the chaotic scene that unfolded saturday.
federal investigators say it's already clear that asiana airlines flight 214 was flying significantly below the necessary landing speed and was flying too low. cockpit and flight data recorders show someone called for increasing speed, just seven seconds before the crash. then, a stall warning sounded, and the crew tried to abort landing, but it was too late. the head of the national transportation safety board deborah hersman: >> when we interview those four crew members, we're going to get a lot more details about their activities, about their work, about their training. we're going to be looking to correlate all that info with what we're finding on the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorders. >> reporter: investigators are focusing partly on the pilot, who had logged just 43 hours on the boeing 777. it was lee gang-guk's first time landing a 777 at san francisco's airport, though he had landed
other craft there many times, an airline spokesman said. he did have nearly 10,000 flight hours on other aircraft. but whatever caused the crash, remarkably, 305 of the 307 passengers and crew members survived. >> when i stand up i saw the tail, where the kitchen located, is all missing. there was a big hole there, and i can see through the hole to the runway, the ground, and there was a lot of dust in the cabin. >> reporter: some of the survivors quickly tweeted accounts of their harrowing escape, even as the rescue operation was still under way. today, lieutenant crissy emmons of the san francisco fire department described what she saw inside the plane as it caught on fire. >> by the time we removed the final victim, the conditions were that the fire was banking down on us-- we had heavy black
smoke. i feel very lucky and blessed we were able to get those people out in that time. >> reporter: two 16-year-old girls from china were the only fatalities and one of them may have escaped the plane, only to be hit by a rescue vehicle rushing to the scene. but assistant deputy fire chief dale carnes says it's too soon to tell for sure. >> it's a very dynamic environment, dealing with an active fire and trying to rescue in the realm of 300 victims. so, this time, because we have not clearly defined and established those facts, we cannot answer your questions. >> reporter: as the plane came to rest, passengers scrambled to get out, despite emergency chutes that deployed inside the cabin. 62 of them ended up here at san francisco general hospital, while another 55 went to stanford. geoffrey manley is head of neurosurgery at san francisco general, which has discharged
most of its patients, but still has six in critical condition, and two with serious spinal cord injuries that could lead to paralysis. >> the ligaments were simply ripped as they went forward and back in the seat with associated bone fractures as well. it is possible that these folks will never walk again. it is also possible that with some of this rapid surgery and aggressive management in the intensive care unit that they will have a chance to possibly regain some function. >> reporter: manley said many injuries were not apparent at first. >> many of these patients looked much better than they imaged, so that we had people who were the walking wounded. where when we were able to get the c.t. scans and so on we were able to see there was gross instability of their cervical spines, thorasic spines, and lumbar spines as a result of this injury. >> reporter: meanwhile, some of the crash survivors returned to south korea today. and, the government in seoul ordered inspections of the engines and landing equipment for all boeing 777 jetliners
owned by asiana airlines and south korea's national carrier, korean air. >> woodruff: for more on the accident and questions about the speed of the plane's landing, we turn to the chair of the national transportation safety board, deborah hersman. she's joining us from san francisco. welcome to the newshour. we heard you say today or confirm that the plane was coming in at a much slower speed than it should have been. what are the possible explanations for that? >> well, you know, we are looking at everything. certainly we want to look and see if there are easy explanations for this. but many times what we find is it's a little bit more complex than that. there's not usually a single cause of an accident but multiple contributing factors. so we're going to be looking at the crew, their experience, their familiarity with the aircraft. how they were monitoring aircraft speed. this is not the first time that we've seen a crash upon landing.
and not the first time we've seen an airplane get slow and end up in a bad situation. so, we want to understand the humans. we also want to understand the aircraft, the performance of the aircraft. how the automation worked, what type of flying they were doing. were they all hand flying the airplane? were they relying on automation or were they doing a mixture of those two things? how all of that works can be simple. but it can also be complicated. we want to make sure we have all of the facts straight before we reach any conclusions. >> woodruff: does it raise concerns that the pilot at the controls had only 43 hours' experience flying this particular passenger jet? and that this is his first landing at san francisco on this aircraft? >> well, we know that airliners and air crews operate all around the world.
they come into airports that they may not be familiar with. that's why we have standard procedures approach chart clearances, expectations how they're going to communicate with air traffic control. they had the charts for san francisco. we have been in the cockpit afterwards. we know that they were using those. we have more than one pilot in these commercial operations for a reason. and clearly when you have a pilot on initial operating experience or going through some training, you want to pair them with an experienced pilot who can help them if there are any problems. there is more than one person in the cockpit for a reason. we expect them to work together. to use good crew resource management and to focus on flying the aircraft first, navigating, communicating. they have a lot of responsibility up there. we want to make sure that we learn from this investigation. >> woodruff: and finally, this accident happened at the end of a ten-hour flight from seoul.
how much concern is there in the aviation industry in general about fatigue on the part of the flight crew? >> you know, that's a fantastic question. safety board listed fatigue for decades. it's been on our most wanted list of transportation safety improvements many times. this is a transpacific flight. more than 10 hours. we've got actually two crews on this flight. one is a relief crew. because as you lookate at flight and duty time and you look at fatigue it is a concern. and so we want to talk to all four of those pilots, understand what was going on and it is interesting that flight and duty rule changes have taken place here in the united states for the first time in many, many decades. we saw that there were changes made to the law after the last commercial aviation accident in february of 2009. and those changes have resulted
in more conservative flight and duty time for pilots so that they get more rest and that there are limitations on what they can do. >> woodruff: deborah hersman the chairman of the national transportation safety board we thank you. >> thank you. woodruff: joining us now is aviation safety expert peter goelz, a former managing director of the n.t.s.b. from 1959 to 2000. peter goelz, what are your principal concerns as you look at what happened in this crash. >> well, i think chairman hersman knows what she's talking about. this is going to be looked at for years to come as kind of a classic crew resource issue. how could you have two well trained crew members allowing their approach speed to bleed off to such a low level that the aircraft's stall warning goes off? it is really quite inexplicable.
>> woodruff: literally inexplicable. are you saying there's no explanation for why that would have happened? >> well, you have two trained people. there's three things you need to do. you need to watch your speed. you need to watch your altitude. watch your attitude. this was not just a slight degradation of speed. this was down to 100 knots. 34 knots below their approach speed. it really is... if the flying pilot was not monitoring it, the nonflying pilot should have been. >> woodruff: and when you say that the... and we heard deborah hersman speak about they're going to be looking at how the pilots interacted with each other. are you saying that it could have been communication between the pilots? i mean, i'm trying to understand what could have happened here. >> well, they'll look at, you know, you have at least 30 minutes of the voice recorder. and the n.t.s.b. will listen to
that to see how the crew approaches the landing. did they lookate at the approach maps? did they discuss the various notices that were there which was a notice that said the glide slope was out. did they discuss what they would do if they were going to have to do a go-around? these are standard procedures that the flight crews have to do. were they paying attention to their jobs? that's what the voice recorder will tell us. >> peter goelz, you told us earlier this afternoon that one of the concerns in the industry has to do with pilots being so accustomed to having very advanced avionics electronics on these planes that they don't get the kind of experience they need to deal in an emergency situation. can you expand on that. >> yeah, it's an issue really that the fliet safety foundation, one of the premiere safety organizations in the world has been starting to point out that because we have such
fabulous avionics and flight control systems in our planes today, the pilots are not being asked or not required to really get the flying hands-on-flying experience that they used to. and the accident a few years ago of the air france a330 over the south atlantic really showed that the flight crew -- again, very experienced -- could not diagnose, could not overcome the confusion in the cockpit to actually fly the plane. and i think there is a concern that pilots may be losing their piloting edge with the great advances in flight avionics. >> woodruff: just finally, we know there were serious injuries. we heard from the surgeon that some of these passengers may not walk again. we know there were two deaths. but why do you believe there weren't more casualties in this
crash? >> well, that's a great question, judy. and the answer is government regulations. the f.a.a. instituted regulations mandating stronger seats, mandating that the interior of aircraft be more fire retardant and that they not emit toxic gases when ignited. these are steps that have saved lives. it's nice to see it. it was a horrendous event but 20 years ago the death toll would have been much greater. >> woodruff: peter goelz, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> ifill: coming up, we examine the weekend's other transportation disaster; the fiery train crash in canada; also, egypt's deadly clashes; china's cyber spying and novelist colum mccann. but first, with the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: another fatal air crash was under investigation today in alaska. an air taxi went down sunday at
a small airport, killing all ten people on board. the plane apparently was taking off, about 75 miles southwest of anchorage, when it crashed and exploded into flames. there was no immediate word on the cause. the man who leaked details of u.s. government surveillance has been heard from again. a british newspaper today posted comments that edward snowden made before washington began efforts to capture and prosecute him. the statements are from the interview snowden gave in hong kong last month, to london's "guardian" newspaper. in it, he insists he was motivated only by his concern that surveillance has gone too far. >> i don't want to live in a world where everything that i say, everything i do, everyone i talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. and that's not something i'm willing to support. >> sreenivasan: the national security agency says it monitors
only communications linked to foreign targets. snowden claims it is far more extensive, and he accuses u.s. officials of misleading the public. >> we're compounding the excesses of prior governments and making it worse and more invasive. no one is standing to stop it. >> sreenivasan: he also predicts the reaction to his disclosures. >> i think they are going to say i've committed grave crimes. you know, i've violated the espionage act. they are going to say, you know, i've aided our enemies in making them aware of these systems, but that argument can be made against anybody who reveals information that points out mass surveillance systems because fundamentally they apply equally to ourselves as our enemies. >> sreenivasan: since then, snowden has indeed been charged with espionage, and is now a fugitive, holed up in a transit area at a moscow airport. venezuela, bolivia and nicaragua have offered him asylum. the defense opened its case today for army private
bradley manning, who admits giving thousands of classified documents to wikileaks. his court-martial is now in its sixth week at fort meade, maryland. defense lawyers began by showing a 39-minute cockpit video from a u.s. helicopter attack that killed 11 men in iraq, including two journalists. the governor of texas republican rick perry has announced he will not seek re-election next year. perry has been in office nearly 13 years, the most in texas history. he made a failed attempt last year to win the republican presidential nomination. and today, in san antonio, he left the door open for another try. >> i'll also pray and reflect and work to determine my own future path. i make this announcement with a deep sense of humility and appreciation for the time and the trust the people of this state has given me.
>> sreenivasan: perry has championed conservative causes, including gun rights and opposition to abortion. he tried last month to have the state legislature adopt strict new limits on abortion. a democratic filibuster defeated the effort, but perry called a new special session to try again. on wall street today, the dow jones industrial average gained nearly 89 points to close at 15,224. the nasdaq rose five points to close near 3,485. britain celebrated today as tennis star andy murray basked in the glory of his wimbledon victory. the 26-year old scotsman is the first british winner of the men's singles title in 77 years. on sunday, he beat the number one tennis player in the world, novak djokovic, in straight sets to capture the crown. today, murray visited 10 downing street to meet with david cameron, the prime minister. he and the scottish first minister witnessed the historic win yesterday. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to gwen. we return again to egypt, where the country saw its deadliest day of violence since the ouster
of president mohamed morsi last week. more than 50 people were killed in one incident in cairo. the shooting began just before dawn. thousands of muslim brotherhood supporters were camped outside an army barracks where former president mohammed morsi has reportedly been held since the military ousted him last week. it was a peaceful sit-in until this morning, and then gunfire erupted as people awoke for morning prayers. >> ( translated ): i woke up after the prayer and i heard shots, then the firing started from the presidential guard side. >> ifill: a wounded soldier said protesters fired the first shots. >> we were there to ensure the safety of the people. when we were there, they started firing at us and throwing molotov cocktails and bricks. >> ifill: whoever shot first, the dead, the dying and the wounded were carried from the chaos and doctors at a makeshift
field hospital were quickly overrun with casualties. >> ( translated ): there are direct shots with live ammunition in the chest, head, in the neck, abdomen, diaphragm, all are killing shots. >> ifill: there were conflicting versions of how the carnage unfolded. a military spokesman said terrorists attempted to attack the barracks. he showed video of a few protesters with what appear to be handguns. >> ( translated ): the scene stopped being a peaceful demonstration this morning at 4:00 a.m., a group of armed men attacked the area surrounding the republican guards building and the armed forces and police personnel responsible for guarding the area using live fire and bullets. >> ifill: but gehad el haddad, a spokesman for the muslim brotherhood, insisted it was a cold-blooded assault by those in uniform. >> this was a premeditated attack by both the military and the police force. the protesters there were peaceful.
they were praying, they had their heads bow to the ground, they had their backs towards the military and the military fired on them and the police force fired on them, erratically >> ifill: there were also reports of an attack on police in port said. the nation's top cleric, who runs al-azhar-- an ancient center of islamic learning in cairo-- declared the country risked civil war. and the muslim brotherhood's political arm, the freedom and justice party, called openly for an uprising against the military. in washington, white house spokesman jay carney denounced the call to arms and appealed instead for restraint. he was asked repeatedly whether the u.s. will label the removal of morsi a coup. that would force a halt in american aid to egypt's military, some $1.5 billion a year. >> i think it would not be in the best interest of the united states to immediately change our assistance programs to egypt. >> ifill: back in cairo, egypt's caretaker president ordered an investigation into today's killings.
that call was echoed by nobel peace laureate mohamed el- baradei, who appeared set over the weekend to be offered the prime minister's job. but egypt's second-largest islamist faction, the hardline al nour party, objected. al nour had backed the army's plan for elections, but after today's violence in cairo, it suspended its support. as dusk gathered late today, tens of thousands of muslim brotherhood and morsi supporters again flocked to the site of the killings, in protest. a short time ago, egypt's interim leader adly mansour issued a decree stating that new parliamentary elections will be held no later than february 2014, after ammendments to the country's suspended constitution are approved in a referendum. he also said that a presidential election will be held once the new parliament convenes. for more, i'm joined by steven cook, a senior fellow for middle eastern studies at the council on foreign relations and author of "the struggle for egypt: from nasser to tahrir square."
and mervat hatem, a professor of political science at howard university. stephen cook, what does this mean, this call for elections in 2014. >> well, this is an effort to put a political process together out of this very, very difficult uncertain and unstable situation. the good news in it is that they are going to approach a transition in the right way. they're going to start with a constitution and then have elections for the parliament and then have elections for the president. previously in the transition from mubarak to morsi they had elections pour the parliament and then they tried to write a constitution. then they tried to elect a president. this created all kinds of uncertainty and instability for which egyptians are now paying. >> ifill: do you think that this means that this will allow egypt to avoid a civil war? >> you mean this new road map. ifill: this new plan, this road map. >> the fact that it does promise all these changes in a very short period of time should be
reassuring i think for those who wanted the military to commit itself and the government, to commit itself to firm dates. therefore, in that respect i think it does reassure people that this is more than open ended, a process that allows the military to do the kinds of thing that transpired today and which obviously have a dangerous element because i mean once you have high casualty rate and if these continue, then they assume a logic of their own. this is a cycle of retribution as well as recrimination. it's very difficult to stop in a very polarized society. >> ifill: let's talk about the violence today. it felt like we turned a corner somehow and both sides are blaming the other, of course, for it. but what did you see? >> well, it's very, very hard to determine what happened. both the military and the muslim brotherhood have their own stories about what happened.
clearly the brotherhood has been using implicitly... language implicitly about violence and martyrdom. the military has been under pressure and believes that it does have the support of the vast majority of egyptian people who of course welcome them back to the political arena which has given them some room for maneuver to use force. but of course the killing of 51 people and the injuring of 435 people is shocking to virtually everyone. i think that there is a chance that the brotherhood will not be mollified by this new road map, this constitutional decree. and there will be... they will be seeking revenge. >> ifill: speaking of the political solution or lack of solution, this weekend we saw this weird back-and-forth about mohammed el baradei whether he would become prime minister or not. is that he important development or is that a side show. >> i think it was a important
development development largely because the al nour party was part of basically this coalition between the military as well as the liberal opponents that sort of depotsed the president. morsi. and to try and placate that particular group, they went along with their rejection of mohammed el baradei. he is the head of the liberal opposition that participated in the massive organization and therefore would never be acceptable to the al nour party. it is representing right now the islamists in the absence of the muslim brotherhood which obviously boycotted this whole process because it's a process that depotsed a democratically elected president so it was very important to try and placate the al nour party by doing this. >> ifill: the united states has been tiptoeing through this. we saw today that john mccain,
the senator from arizona, said we should cut off u.s. aid to egypt. we saw the white house saying we think that might cause more problems than it solves. what is the u.s.'s role here and how much of it could backfire? >> well, much of egypt thinks that the united states either supports the muslim brotherhood or supports the military. in fact, the united states has been essentially surfing the new cycle. the muslim brotherhood was elected. the united states had been criticized for supporting an authoritarian regime for the previous 30 years and accommodated itself to the muslim brotherhood and sought to work with that government. now that morsi has been depots depotsed, washington has to make a choice about what it's going to do. and thus far it hasn't made one. the obama administration is trying to split the difference. >> ifill: is there a good choice to be made. >> there isn't a good choice. i think the administration has made a mistake over time by not focusing on first principles about democracy, equal
application of the law, tolerance, accountability. and had they done that, they would be in a much better position than they are. >> ifill: what it sounds like they're doing today, they're talking about governance, democratic governance rather than an individual. >> but of course when they had the opportunity while morsi was undertaking authoritarian moves him sem, they were quite silent. >> ifill: who blinks first in this, mervat hatem? >> good question. i don't know. i mean, i think if we're to save this transition from deteriorating into a civil war, then everybody needs to consciously agree to talk to each other and to sort of not head where this seems to be heading which is an escalating cycle of violence. the muslim brotherhood has its back to the wall. therefore, they are not going... they don't see what it is that
they could possibly lose after this has happened. therefore, it is incumbent on the others, the liberal opponents, to try and reach out to them to make sure that this transition works because what happened today is serious, a serious threat to its possibility. >> ifill: a step toward or away from democracy, what you've seen happen today not only the violence. >> away. definitely. because the army has done this one time before since 2011. remember, they were empowered from february 2011 until 2012. they did the same. they actually engaged in the same practices against the liberal opposition at the time. they engaged in sort of checks, they sort of like publicly humiliated and attacked the demonstrators. they also arrested people. they sort of also provided
evidence that they... it seems like deja-vu. >> ifill: all over again. mervat hatem from howard university and stephen cook from the council of foreign relations, thank you both so much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: next, to the growing problem of cyber security. for the first time ever, it's on the agenda at a bi-annual meeting of u.s. and china leaders this week in washington. those talks come amid suspicion that china is stealing intellectual property by hacking into computer networks of u.s. companies. ray suarez has the story. >> hello, fios noc, can i help you? >> reporter: at verizon's facilities around the united states, network engineers are monitoring internet traffic. they're watching for online crimes. at places like this network operation center, they're getting better at tracking the kind of activity that signals
cyber-crime, but the crooks are getting better, too. >> there is always this whack a mole type of effect where every time we get a good counter measure type capability, a defensive capability, to really counter a specific type of threat, and it pops up somewhere else. >> reporter: bryan sartin is director of investigative response at verizon business. >> on any given day, we often times are the battle ground on which cyber attacks take place. we sit between the victims and sources of cyber attacks. >> reporter: on any given day more than 60% of the worlds internet traffic runs on verizon's global network. according to this year's annual report on cyber-crime verizon found 96% of the world's cyber- espionage, stealing trade secrets and intellectual property came from one country: china. security specialists say china is using theft as a national development strategy, pilfering software for wind turbines, fiber optic cable technology, blueprints for weapons systems like the joint strike fighter.
james mulvenon keeps a close eye on the chinese military and cyber warfare. >> the chinese realized about ten years that they had a very shallow economic modernization. they received our components, were assembling and re-exporting it. they realized they wanted to do innovation, but state innovation is quite difficult to do. they realized the only way to jump start the indigenous innovation they wanted was to be able to steal the technology. >> reporter: mulvenon says china moved from stealing u.s. military and government secrets to industrial espionage around five years ago. >> in roughly 2007 to 2008, however, precisely around the same time this new indigenous innovation change push came from beijing, we began seeing them go after companies at the heart of the united states innovation economy. now, it's both the traditional classified computer intrusion activity as well as this new focus on commercial espionage. >> reporter: companies targeted
by hackers and thieves generally won't talk about it publicly, they're loathe to let shareholders and competitors know they've had business plans, designs, and data stolen. but one veteran cyber security investigator was able to look one that had scores of important documents stolen over the course of a decade. against a defunct company, but one veteran cyber security >> well, when we found out that we had a problem with infiltration of data, that's the stealing of data of our big document server. when we investigated we found the access was coming from our network that the attack was through remote access. >> reporter: brian shields worked for nortel, the canadian telecommunications giant that once employed nearly 100,000 people. he said scores of documents were stolen before nortel know the chinese had penetrated their systems. and that nortel failed to beef up cyber security. >> it was a definite red flag we were tracing the origination log in activity, and saw the downloads when they were occurring, were coming from a place in shanghai, china. >> reporter: nortel filed for
bankruptcy in 2009. i asked brian shields if he thought all the cyber stealing from nortel contributed to the downfall of the company. >> absolutely! they kept stealing, and stealing, and stealing. >> reporter: one company, huawei, the largest telecommunications company in china, is suspected of acquiring nortel's stolen documents and, mulvenon says, making good use of them. >> there's a well-documented record of them stealing core technology from cisco and nortel and as the number of global telecommunications equipment manufactures grows smaller and smaller, i think that huawei has benefited from taking core r&d from other people. >> reporter: huawei denies this. in an email to the "newshour," they wrote:
>> reporter: the chinese government also denies it engages in cyber stealing from american companies and says they are victims of cyber attacks too. the chinese embassy in washington declined our request to interview the ambassador. but a government spokesman in beijing pointed to the revelations from former n.s.a. contractor edward snowden: that the u.s. had tapped chinese telecommunications lines. chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman hua chunying: >> ( translated ): china hopes a certain country can stop irresponsible attacks and accusations against china, start with themselves and take practical action to strengthen mutual trust and cooperation, and jointly safeguard peace and security of the cyber space. >> reporter: the snowden affairs makes it harder to complain to the chinese about cyber industrial espionage, says dmitri alperovitch, a co-founder of crowdstrike, a cyber security firm. >> i think it makes it more
difficult, because we are certainly losing our high ground, the moral high ground in this case, the chinese can say are you doing the same thing to us. of course what we are doing is very different. we are not hacking in to chinese companies and then turning it over to american companies. we are not engaged in economic espionage. the chinese don't make that distinction. >> reporter: one major source of chinese cyber espionage that has gotten a lot of attention recently is a military unit called 61398. it's located in a non descript building in shanghai. mulvenon says the frequency and severity of attacks are reaching new highs, and that the u.s. government and american industries have had enough and are mobilizing. >> chinese cyber hacking has been going on for a long time. what's new is that were finally fed up and want to do something about it. >> reporter: republican congressman mike rogers, the chairman of the house intelligence committee has proposed legislation that would deny issuing visas to chinese citizens involved in cyber theft, and to freeze their
assets, too. >> this is all about making sure that those actors that we can identify, and believe me we can identify them. they understand that they understand that there is a cost for their cyber espionage. >> reporter: democratic senator carl levin and three senate co- sponsors want to take the profit out of cyber-crime. they've introduced legislation that block products that used stolen intellectual property from entering the u.s. market. >> you got to hit people in their wallet. if you want to finally act against cyber theft of your intellectual property, if you really want to stop it you got to have some remedy that bites >> reporter: some cyber security experts demand a more direct approach. hackers stealing your intellectual property over the internet? use the internet to go steal it back! right now, that's against the law. dmitri alperovitch: >> what we want is for private companies and individuals that are victims of this activity to have authorities that they enjoy in the physical space of defense
of property, today if somebody steals your data and takes it to another machine, the bad guys machine, and you have full proof, you have logs that that activity has taken place, you are not authorized to go into that machine and to take your data back. >> reporter: banks bundle money with exploding dye packs, making it easier for police to identify robbers. after the russians invaded and unleashed a cyber attack against georgia in 2008 the georgian government counter attacked with the equivalent of a cyber dye pack. >> they knew an adversary was on a particular machine, and they placed a document that was titled, georgia nato negotiations, a word document on that machine, it was immediately taken by the bad guy. and when they opened it up on their machine, it beaconed back to the georgians, they activated the web cam, they took his picture and they published that information for everyone to see. >> reporter: alperovitch says this type of cyber counter espionage is an effective way for american companies to find who is stealing their material.
effective maybe, but currently illegal. verizon's bryan sartin says he's focused on building better cyber defenses. >> if you see a flurry of activity from a particular place, a particular hostile actor. can you fight back, or do you just have to get better at taking a punch? >> well, is it possible to fight back? yes, absolutely. but there are so many complexities that get involved, you are talking about legalities, crossing borders and facets like that. and that is unfortunately a very mucky area. so we are entirely focused on defense. and as you put it taking a punch. >> reporter: both the united states and china have a lot on the line, plenty of mutual interests, and reasons to avoid escalating cyber-war, or trade war. the two countries continue their meetings this week. >> woodruff: online, one of the cyber security experts in ray's story-- dimitri alperovitch-- explains how to recognize hackers trying to access your personal data.
>> ifill: now to this weekend's deadly train accident in canada, which claimed the lives of 13 people. more than 35 remain missing. d urn agn to hari for that story. >> sreenivasan: disaster struck the dark early saturday: french canadians looked on in the first, frantic moments. and then, at least five oil tanker cars exploded, and a fireball burst into the night sky. orange flames engulfed the core of lac-megantic, a quebec town of some 6,000 people, about 150 miles east of montreal, and near the maine border. railway officials said the parked train had gotten loose and hurtled downhill nearly seven miles before jumping the tracks. >> you could see the train, but it was going so fast you couldn't even see between the cars and there i saw a car lift up.
>> ( translated ): there were there was a ruckus, it leaped, there were big balls of fire above the cafe. we jumped over the railing, we crossed the street and just in the time it took to cross the street, the et with fire, it was a river of fire. >> sreenivasan: the ra fvy bck o in human terms-- as the extent of this becomes increasingly obvious. >> sreenivasan: by today, search teams were still being hampered by the need to keep two more derailed tank cars from exploding. it was the fourth train accident involving oil shipments this year in canada, and it raised new questions about the safety of transporting oil by railroad. all of this, as the obama administration weighs approval of the keystone x.l. pipeline to move crude from canada to u.s. refineries on the gulf coast. for the latest on the accident, we're joined by sophie tremblay, a producer for the canadian broadcasting company. she was at the scene over the weekend and joins me now from montreal. sophie, my first question is, there was just a press conference a little while ago.
are investigators any closer to determining the cause? >> the cause, no. they are... they did... the transport safety board of canada did recover the black box. they are going to be holding a press conference tomorrow morning, but at this point there are still competing theories, hypotheses about what happened. >> and what about some of the numbers of the missing? we heard reports that they might not be identified ever. >> that is the truth. some people are comparing it to 9/11 where some of the bodies were just, you know, vaporized and they won't be able to recover some of them. at this point they found eat more bodies today. that brings the total count to 13. they say right now they have 50 on their missing list. that means 37 victims possibly still to be found or not found.
>> sreenivasan: this is a small community. what happens when up to 50 people in one community are directly impacted? what about the ripple effects of all those people you met over the weekend. >> well, if you do the math, you know, 60 people would be one percent of the 6,000 people population. that is just completely devastating to them. everyone knows someone who is missing, and the town is just completely devastated right now by this loss. it would have a big impact for them. >> sreenivasan: what about the structures, the physical infrastructure. a number of buildings were decimated in this right, right? >> yes, 30 buildings. lac-megantic is a beautiful, beautiful part of quebec. it's this small town on this beautiful pristine lake. the scenery is just stunning, spectacular. very quiet. it's an historical town built around these train tracks. people are just... they're
devastated by the loss of these historical buildings, their library. their commerce, their businesses that they spent all of their lives in that downtown portion. so that is a big loss for them. most people right now are most worried about their friends and family who are still missing. and they haven't been able to see the devastation yet exactly of that red zone. so that loss is still... >> sreenivasan: let's talk slightly in a bigger picture. you know, we're having conversations around the country about transporting fuel across the keystone pipeline of the united states. you have pipelines. you have rail transports of oil and fuel across canada. has this restarted that type of a conversation across the country there? >> oh, yeah. this is definitely ignited this debate. even right here in montreal we're starting to have groups, decouncillors, you know, asking
these questions about the railroads that run right through our city because canadian cities... a lot of them have been built around these railroad tracks so people are very concerned about that. also on just the renewable energy, too. some people are saying we can't have these trains. we can't have these pipelines going right next to where people are living because as we see disaster has struck and people here are very concerned about that. >> sreenivasan: sophie tremblay producer at the canadian broadcasting company, thanks so much for joining us. >> woodruff: finally tonight, a tale of real people who traveled between america and ireland, their stories bound together in a new novel. jeffrey brown has our book conversation. >> brown: frederick douglass traveling through ireland in 1845 to stir up support for his abolitionist cause.
the first non- stop flight across the atlantic in 1919, senator george mitchell in 1998 trying to forge a peace treaty in northern ireland. actual people and events at the heart of a fictional story in the new novel transatlantic. author column mccann has himself crossed that ocean, born in ireland, leaving in new york, his previous novel let the great world spin won the national book award. welcome. >> a pleasure to be here. brown: transatlantic. this is about connections between time, between ireland where you were born and america where you now live. is that part of it? is that how it was conceived? >> it was conceived originally because i was fascinated by the story of frederick douglass landing in ireland in 1845. a 27-year-old abolitionist who was still a slave at the time. and then finding a country where the people were poorer than the people he had left behind. >> brown: he comes as the famine beginning.
>> exactly. and an extraordinary collision of history and time and circumstance. and it was such a fantastic story but i wanted to bring it up to date and bring it all the way up to the present day where senator mitchell negotiate our peace process. >> brown: explain this though. i mean, you get into this through a real character and you're fascinated by the real story. and then you start thinking about about other real characters but you're also thinking as a novelist? >> i'm of the opinion that the real is imagined and the imagined is quite real s is... >> brown: say that again. the real is imagined. >> the real isaged. in the sense that we shape our stories. anything that even happens on the news gets shaped in a certain way. and gets a texture. and that the imagined can be real in the sense that a novel like ulysses and leopold bloom walked the streets of dublin in 1904 in my mind he is as
powerful a character as my great grandfather who actually did walk the streets of dublin in 1904 at the same time too. when we take fiction and nonfiction, i don't see such a huge gulf between them. they're all really about stories and story telling. >> brown: so because sometimes we talk about fiction being a way of telling us more than history can. i'm not sure if you're saying that or you're saying that they both tell a different sort of story. >> what i'm interested in is how the small anonymous moments, they can enter into the large narrative of the bigger, more public moments. you get somebody like frederick douglass going to ireland in 1845. but he carries bar bells with him or he sees a maid on the stairs and he gets a whiff of tobacco from her. and so in the small details that we create a texture and a sort of an unlegislated history, if you will. >> brown: i was thinking you
have frederick douglass and then you have the two pilots in 1919. but then george mitchell, someone we've all followed. i've actually been able to interview him. as i was starting to read, i thought a fictional version of george mitchell. in that case you got to talk to him and actually ferret out a little bit of his story. >> a most incredible politician that i know of from our times for certain. you know, he went across to ireland in the 1990ings and spent two years associating our peace process. but when i first started writing about him i wanted to imagine him first. and then later talk to him and spend a few days with him and put a sort of reality on the imaginary map. yes, even with senator mitchell, i have him, for instance, he was 64 years old and he had a five month old baby. on the first page he changes a baby's diaper. you know, the thing... >> brown: the little detail. it doesn't make the history
books. >> exactly. so they make him real or i hope to make him real so that we can feel the dilemmas that go on for some time. >> brown: because what happens then... and i'm not giving much away here. you follow him for the next few days. >> that's right. brown: as he gets to the climactic moment of those peace talks. >> right. brown: and we hear his voice, his thoughts. >> right. brown: clearly ones you've made up. >> yes. brown: do you know whether he felt like you captured it right. >> his wife was very kind to me and she told me he did not wear brown brogues but black shoes. >> brown: that was the one detail you got wrong. >> there was a number of details that helped me out with. what i was most interested in was getting the truth of the man behind, you know, behind the public idea of him. and hopefully i did. he said that he was very happy with this. i was happy to hear that. >> brown: so you have the first part of the book introduces
these well known figures. the second part of the book is a kind of flip side of the story of several generations of women who have been part of those stories, right? but anonymously. >> yes. now that is all your own creation i assume. >> absolutely. what did that allow you to do, to play them against these historical figures. >> women as we know get the shortened in history. it's been largely written and dictated by men or men believe that we own it and women have really been in those quieter moments at the edge of history. but really they're the ones who are turning the cogs and the wheels and allowing things like the peace process to happen. so for me, i took these imaginary characters and put them in the narrative of the larger characters. so i have a maid from ireland, you know. she is inspired by douglas. i have a reporter from canada,
and she sees the first brown. then you begin to notice that all of these stories, they're connected. this is the big fabric that we live inside. >> brown: what was it like to construct though as a novelist? did you know how all these connections... >> i had no clue whatsoever. you know, what you want to do is create the appearance. >> brown: i appreciate your saying honestly before you answer the question. >> because, you know, it was tough. i never, you know, it's sort of a process of exploring. you set out. your boat goes out. you think you're going to crash. often you do ship wreck but every now and then you find a little island. and then you go exploring. that's what it felt like for me. >> brown: and in new novel is transatlantic. thank you so much. >> it's such a pleasure, thank you. >> woodruff: column mccann reads an excerpt from transatlantic on our website.
watch that video at >> ifill: again, the major developments of the day: investigators tried to determine why the jet that crashed at san francisco's airport on saturday was flying too low and too slowly. the death toll grew to 13 in saturday's deadly train wreck and fire in a small town in canada. and in egypt, at least 54 people died as soldiers and police battled islamist protesters. >> woodruff: online, the real reason behind smoking bans on beaches. hari sreenivasan explains. >> sreenivasan: who and what are public smoking bans meant to protect? a new article in "health affairs" suggests that there is little evidence behind the traditional argument for these bans. read more about the findings on our health page. and in our weekly social security column, collecting your late spouse's benfits. that's on making sense. plus, tell us what you think of our science coverage. take our survey on the homepage. all that and more is on our website newshour.pbs.org. gwen? >> ifill: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. on tuesday, we'll update the settlement claims following the 2010 gulf oil spill.
i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online and again here tomorrow evening. thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and the william and flora hewlett foundation, working to solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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reporting from washington, i am laura trevelyan. violence escalates in egypt. more than 50 killed by security forces amidst warnings the country could be headed for civil war. searching for answers after a deadly plane crash. investigators piece together aw a flight incident -- how landing san francisco went so terribly wrong. a new list ranking the world from top companies is out. we will tell you what it reveals.