tv PBS News Hour PBS December 17, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> today, the united states of america is changing its relationship with the people of cuba. >> woodruff: a historic shift. the u.s. and cuba will restore diplomatic relations, after more than 50 years of hostility and isolation. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. gwen ifill is away. also ahead, sony pictures cancels the release of their satiric comedy about the assassination of north korea's leader after threats of violence and terrorism if it made it to theaters. >> all the other studios in hollywood are frightened that they could be next. they're trying to beef up their security and be more careful about the information they share
in e-mails and in documents on their computers. >> woodruff: plus, police departments across the nation make body cameras part of the uniform, but as more officers record their rounds, will justice be better served? >> we know that even if you see it on camera, there can still be biases. you only have one camera angle or the one you have only shows part of the action. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪ moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
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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: president obama calls it the most significant change in u.s. policy toward cuba in more than half a century. in a stunning move today, he laid out plans for a diplomatic rapprochement with havana. >> we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests, and instead we will begin to normalize relations between our two countries. >> woodruff: the president appeared in the cabinet room of the white house to make his momentous announcement. by executive action, he is re- establishing diplomatic ties with cuba. he also means to open an embassy in havana. expand economic ties with the communist island. and ease the ban on travel for
family, government business and educational purposes. >> i do not expect the changes i'm announcing today to bring about a transformation of cuban society overnight, but i am convinced that through policy of engagement, we can more effectively stand up for our values, and help the cuban people help themselves as they move into the 21st century. >> woodruff: mr. obama finalized the deal after speaking at length with cuban president raul castro yesterday. it was the first significant discussion between presidents of the u.s. and cuba, since 1961. today, in his own televised address, castro welcomed the thaw, while cautioning there is much still to be resolved. >> ( translated ): in recognizing that we have profound differences in the areas of national sovereignty, democracy, human rights and
foreign policy, i reaffirm our willingness to discuss all of these matters. >> woodruff: the renewal of relations followed a year of secret talks between u.s. and cuban officials in canada and at the vatican. the first concrete step was a prisoner swap that took place this morning. the u.s. released three cuban agents convicted in 2001 of spying on military installations. cuba freed an unnamed american agent, and alan gross, a civilian contractor jailed since 2009 for setting up internet access that bypassed cuban censors. gross was flown, with his wife, to joint base andrews in maryland, and spoke to reporters in washington. >> to all those who tried to visit me, but were unable to, thank you for trying. i'm at your service as i try to get new teeth and i hope they will be strong and sharp enough to make a difference. two wrongs never made a right.
>> woodruff: all of this marks a break with decades of hostility between the u.s. and cuba. it began in 1959, when fidel castro and his brother raul, led a revolution that overthrew the u.s.-backed dictator fulgencio batista. castro nationalized u.s. owned companies and allied his communist regime with the soviet union. president dwight eisenhower responded by cutting all ties with cuba in 1961, and imposing the embargo. a few months later, came the bay of pigs, the failed c.i.a. attempt to overthrow castro. and then, the cuban missile crisis, in october 1962, when the discovery of nuclear missiles in cuba almost plunged the u.s. and the soviet union into nuclear war. and in 1980, in the mariel boatlift, castro freed thousands of prisoners, and put them on boats to florida. looking back today, president obama said the policy of
isolating cuba has not worked, and he singled out the longstanding u.s. economic embargo. >> though this policy has been rooted in best of intentions, no other nation joins us in imposing these sanctions. and it has had little effect beyond providing the cuban government with rationale for restrictions on its people. >> woodruff: lifting the embargo is subject to action by congress, and the white house said it hopes lawmakers will agree to go along. most democrats praised the president's moves, but most republicans decried it, including florida senator marco rubio whose parents fled castro's rule. he spoke to abc news. >> what i'm interested in is freedom and democracy. the cubans haven't agreed to any of that. there wont be elections in cuba, there wont be political parties, there wont be freedom of the press, freedom to organize, none of these things are happening and they wont happen just because people can buy coca cola. >> warner: and prospective g.o.p. presidential candidate jeb bush, a former governor of
florida, said he, too, opposes the move to normalize relations with cuba. we'll talk to supporters and opponents of the president's new policy, after the news summary. hours before the cuba news broke, the head of the u.s. agency for international development announced he's stepping down. rajiv shah oversaw the agency's involvement in secret programs in cuba, creating a twitter-like service, and infiltrating the island's hip-hop community. shah gave no reason for his departure. dozens of pakistani families buried their dead today, as the death toll rose in tuesday's taliban attack on a school. funerals were held in the northwestern city of peshawar. nearly all of those killed were students at the school. we have a report from jonathan rugman of independent television news. >> reporter: she was a much-loved head teacher buried today by her grieving husband and son.
tahrira causey was just one of 148 killed yesterday in an atrocity which has shocked pakistan into three days of national mourning. and the army is vowing revenge for every drop of spilled blood. "i'm proud of my mother. she had the chance to get out, but she stayed at her post. she didn't leave the children alone. she gave her life for them." >> reporter: inside her school, the roll call of honor still stands amid walls pockmarkepockmarked with bulletd hatred. a bloodied exercise book, an abandoned shoe. students trapped in their seats by gunmen who shot at close range. and the pakistan emerging from this massacre seems determined to be tougher. the prime minister said he was reintrucing the death penalty. sitting alongside him at this
political summit, his rival, who has postponed protests intended to force the prime minister from office. the heads of the army and intelligence flew to afghanistan, demanding cooperation. the army claimed yesterday's attack was planned from afghan soil. pakistan's most wanted. though even if this taliban commander is found and handed over, pakistanis protesting all over the country today are demanding action first and foremost at home. >> woodruff: the taliban says the attack was retaliation for >> woodruff: the taliban says the attack was retaliation for an ongoing offensive by the pakistani military. in eastern syria, more than 230 bodies have been found in a mass grave in eastern syria, near the border with iraq. a syrian human rights group says the victims appear to be from a tribe that fought against the islamic state group. the militants now control most of the province where the mass grave is located. it was found when other members
of the tribe were allowed to return home. in yemen, shiite rebels who already control key parts of the country have made another big move. they closed a strategic red sea port today. the rebels seized the site back in october, a month after sweeping through the capital city, sanaa. australian prime minister tony abbott today promised a thorough investigation into monday's siege in sydney that left two hostages and the gunman dead. abbott confirmed that the shooter, man haron monis, had been dropped from a government watch list, for reasons that are not clear. >> we particularly need to know how someone with such a long record of violence, such a long record of mental instability, was out on bail after his involvement in a particularly horrific crime. and we do need to know why he seems to have fallen off our security agencies' watch list back in 2009.
>> woodruff: monis was convicted and sentenced last year to community service for sending abusive letters to the families of australian soldiers killed in afghanistan. the u.s. justice department today announced its largest criminal case ever, involving contaminated medicine. 14 suspects were charged in a 2012 outbreak of meningitis that killed 64 people. it was traced to tainted injections from a now-defunct pharmaceutical company in massachusetts. in boston, u.s. attorney carmen ortiz said the medicine was made in filthy conditions. they knew that the drugs that eventually killed 64 people and injured hundreds more could not be and should not have been injected into patients, and yet they continued to make and sell those drugs, labeled them as injectable, which meant that they were sterile, and dispensed them throughout the country. >> woodruff: the charges range from corruption and racketeering to second-degree murder.
a south carolina judge has thrown out the conviction of a black teenager who was executed in 1944. 14-year-old george stinney was charged with killing two young white girls. an all-white jury convicted him after a one-day trial, and he died in the state's electric chair just three months later. the judge ruled today that stinney was the victim of a great injustice. the federal reserve signaled today it's getting closer to raising interest rates. at the same time, the central bank said it will be patient in deciding just when to act. fed chair janet yellen said policymakers will be guided by the strength of economic data and the level of inflation. >> a number of committee participants have indicated that in their view conditions could be appropriate by middle of next year, but there is no preset time and there are a range of views as to when the appropriate
conditions will likely fall in place, so that's something we will be watching closely as year unfolds. >> woodruff: on wall street, stocks shot higher on the news that the fed has no immediate plans to raise rates. the dow jones industrial average gained 288 points to close near 17,357. the nasdaq rose 96 points to close at 4,644. and the s&p 500 added 40, to finish just under 2,013. the gains were also fueled by a small increase in the price of oil. russia's finance ministry resorted to selling some of its foreign exchange reserves today, in another bid to shore up the ruble. the currency had lost 15% of its value just this week, but the ministry's move triggered a moderate rally today. the state of new york will soon ban the gas-drilling technique known as fracking. that announcement today followed a long-awaited state review that cited unresolved health risks.
fracking involves injecting chemically treated water at high pressure, deep into shale deposits. new york has banned shale gas development since 2008. now the environmental commissioner plans to make the ban permanent. and the 2014 mid-term elections are now, finally, over. republican martha mcsally was declared the winner today of a u.s. house seat in arizona. she edged out democratic incumbent ron barber in a recount, by 167 votes. republicans will have 247 house seats in the new congress, the most since herbert hoover was president. still to come on the newshour, debating opening the door to cuba. sony pictures cancels the release of "the interview" after
threats. congress fails to extend government-backed insurance for damages caused by acts of terror. will body cameras make law enforcement use less force? and exiting lawmakers bid farewell to capitol hill. >> woodruff: we return to the historic shift in u.s. cuban relations in two parts. first, we look at if it's a good idea to re-establish diplomatic relations with the island nation? we begin with a member of the democratic house leadership, representative chris van hollen of maryland, who traveled today from cuba with alan gross. gross lives in his district. congressman van hollen, welcome back to the newshour. first of all, tell us why is it in the interest of the united states to have diplomatic relations with the communist neighbor? >> well, it's in the interest of the united states to create conditions that create more
freedom and opportunity for the cuban people. and what's very clear is that our policy of the last 54 years, which was designed to isolate and punish cuba, has been a total failure by its own measure. we have not helped open up the island. we have not created more democracy. in fact, it has sustained the castro brothers for these 54 years. they have survived eight u.s. presidents. so when a policy is clearly failing, try something else. and engaging the cuban people with greater travel, greater communication, with greater trade will help create the conditions and create pressure, i believe, ultimately, on the regime. so it's time to try a strategy that works for the cuban people. this is not in any way a reward for the regime. in fact, the regime has been empowered by the failed policy of the last 54 years. >> woodruff: well, house speaker john boehner is saying
this is appeasing, in his words, a brutal dictator. senator marco rubio of florida and others are saying this should never have even been thought about as long as the people of cuba are not free. >> yeah, but here's the question, judy. so i think the burden is on the critics to say how another five years, another 10 years of the current policy changes that condition. because what those critics are describing is the condition that exists under the old policy, the policy before today. so if that's not working, if that's actually empowering the regime to stay where they are, engagement is the alternative because what the engagement will do is allow more interaction between the american people and the cuban people, more trade, more marketplace exchanges, more communications equipment into cuba. so by creating the conditions for more openness, you will
create, over time, more opportunities for an open cuba. >> woodruff: but where is the guarantee that the cuban leadership is going to open up, is going to create these freedoms that they haven't granted for the last 50-plus years? >> there's no absolute guarantee, but this is not something that is for the regime. this is no gift to the regime. in fact, the people who should be most scared about the president's policies are the people who want to limit freedom in cuba because what we know is that the current policy has been the one that has denied freedom to the cuban people, and this is an alternative that will help open things up. so people are trying to create this false premise that somehow this does a favor to the castro brothers. it does not do any favors ping over time, you're going to find the cuban regime is the the one that is put most at risk by this greater exchange of ideas and goods. that has been the case in many other countries around the
world, and i think it will be the case in cuba. so no one's expecting in the next 24 hours or the next year for the regime somehow to change. but what will change is the interaction between the american people and cuba, between cuba and the outside world, and that will help create the conditions for change. clearly, the current policy has been a miserable failure on its own terms. and you've just mentioned it. the critics keep saying, look at cuba, what a terrible place it is. that is partly the consequence of our failed 54-year policy. >> woodruff: >> woodruff: now for a different perspective, we turn to former ambassador roger noriega who served as assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere during the george w. bush administration. he's now a visiting fellow at the american enterprise institute and has his own consulting firm. ambassador noriega, welcome to the program. you just heard congressman van hollen. you know president obama today called the current policy a
failure. why isn't this the right move now? >> well, the president's taken an extraordinarily dangerous bet. he has made unilateral concessions to the castro dictatorship, a dictatorship that's drawing its last breaths, by normalizing political relationships, diplomatic relationships, he confers a legitimacy on that regime that it doesn't deserve. if he's wrong in that bet-- and i note he didn't even ask for any changes from the cuban dictatorship-- if he's wrong on that bet, the people that will pay for it are the 11 million cubeans. alan gross was one hostage. there are 11 million hostages left behind. and it's extraordinarily important that the president understands that he can't just make a speech and walk away from this. he thoans now, and he needs to take vigorous steps to engage the latin american and caribbean countries, in particular, to press the regime to respect the
fundamental freedoms of the cuban people are that denied them systematically by the regime in havana. >> woodruff: what about the argument though, that we just heard, that opening up u.s.-cuba relations with trade, with travel, with communications is going to put pressure on the castro regimes to change. >> this is not the new obama policy. this is the old canadian policy. they tried it starting 15 years another and it was a miserable failure. the reason that you haven't seen meaningful change in cuba is because you have an implacable regime that understands that opening up in the slightest way, they will eventually lose power in a catastrophic way for them. so they will not open up. and, unfortunately, the president is betting on some sort of good will from that self-same implacable regime. it's really an unwise policy to resuscitate the people on the island who are the single
biggest obstacle to political and economic change. >> woodruff: but if the current condition-- we just heard congressman van hollen say this-- if the current policy isn't working, why will another four years, five years, 50 years make a difference of this policy? >> i understand that argument. the issue for us today is not whether we are going to break relationships with havana. it's whether-- how you go about reestablishing those things. and the policy of the united states is predicated on the principle that we will normalize relations as a regime there demonstrates its will to change in a meaningful way. and we tiewz as lernlg to make sure those political and economic changes are profound, deep, and irreversible. >> woodruff: what about, just finely, the united states has diplomatic relations with other nation where's people are not free-- comien avietnam-- why not with cuba? >> well, because at this point, as i said, we have pledicated
our policy on expecting a transitional government there to make meaningful change. the castro regime will not do so. and we've tried new things. we've tried to reach out to the cuban people. we sent a man like alan gross to reach out to the cuban people, to give them access to the internet, something as simple as that, and he went to jail for two years. by the same regime that we're betting is somehow now going to change its stripes. and, unfortunately, the cuban people will pay the price for this unwise move. >> woodruff: ambassador roger noriega, we thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: today's momentous developments toward cuba have their biggest impact immediately within the cuban american community, which is divided itself over the best way forward.
ana carbonell, a cuban-american political strategist and activist. cuban-born american who is the maria de los angeles torres, a cuban-born american who is the director of the inter-university program for latino research and a professor at the university of illinois, chicago. we welcome both of you. to maria de los angeles torres first, what do you think this change is going to mean for the american people, especially for the cuban-american community? this country? >> well, i think that there is, first of all, i think that this is a step in the right direction. i think that it will mean that there is a glimmer of hope that a transnition cuba can be peaceful. i think for many cuban americans we're really in twiewn what isinisgoing on in cuba. it is a very precarious situation. it is economically precarious and politically precarious, and because of the world economic situation, it is worse. that does not necessarily translate into peaceful
transitions. what it translates into is a potential for repression. i think that this policy recognizes is that it is a situation that can be very dangerous, and so for my perspective, i think many cuban americans understand that and see that there is a need to make some kind of move that at least provides a glimmer of hope. >> woodruff: ana carbonell, a glimmer of hope here? >> what the cuban american community understands and more importantly the cubans on the island the president today equated the cuban people with the regime, and that's most unfortunate because it's a profound divorce from a history of bipartisan support with the cuban people's aspirations to be free. and it's critical that at this moment in cuba's history, when we see countless prodemocracy leaders on the island risking their lives daily for freedom and democracy, for the u.s. government, especially for the white house, to stand with the cuban people. and today, by the president's
actions, unilateral concessions with that regime, he basically told the international community that the united states is willing to recognize the legitimacy of a regime that has opred the cuban people for 50 years. that is profoundly sad because a critical moment in cuba's democracy, undermines the efforts of those fighting for change on the island. >> woodruff: i want to ask both of you about what this means for families, cuban american family, families divided over what's happened between the u.s. and cuba. maria torres, how do you see that from your own perspective? >> i think that people are tired of the family divisions. people travel. they vote with their feet. they actually travel. they send money to their relatives. i think that this policy says it's important to engage family to family. so i think that it does recognize that despite the rhetoric of many of the elected
officials, what is happening on the ground here is people are helping their families. they are building small businesses. those small businesses will be part of the support, if you will, for transnition cuba. by the way, most dissidents in cuba want this to happen because they understand that as long as the united states is-- can be used as the excuse for the cuban government to stay in power, that is-- that can be very dangerous, and so they actually support the lifting of an embargo. they support diplomatic relations because it puts the ball in their court. >> that is-- that is completely not correct, and i couldn't disagree with you more. i could rattle off a list of countless prodemocracy leaders in on the island, who have told this administration have, told congress now is not the time because we need to remind the international community that cuba is not a democracy. and no one here is arguing as to divisions of cuban families. cubans in exile and cubans on the island are united.
the only division in cuba is the castro regime that uses oppression and violence and harassment to maintain control. and that's what's at stake here. >> woodruff: let me -- >> the castro brothers are not going to be a permanent fixture in cuba's reality, and u.s. policy reminds the world that cuba needs to transition towards democracy, and today the president's measures undermines that effort. >> woodruff: i do want to try to get to this family question with each of you, if i could. if i could just ask each one of you, starting with you maria torres, in your own family's case, what has this meant to yourure family, the division that's been taking place over the last more than 50 years. >> well, i'm a productave policy from this end, by the way, that brought children over and divided families. i was also a product from the other end of a government that didn't allow us to reunite with our families. we've had families spread out through both sides of the florida straits and we still have families, and it has been at times very difficult to help
them. it has gotten easier in the last few years. their lives are better. it has not made them proregime. it has made them more pro-u.s., and it has been able-- it has allowed for fam these actually come together. the animosity that used to exist before the carter administration is an animosity that's gone. it's gone. i mean, people realize that they need to work together. >> woodruff: ana carbonell, what about in your case, in your own family? how is it dealt with, the division? did your-- tell me about your parents and your grandparents. >> my parents came in the 1960s. my father was part of the bay of pigs. i've had political prisoners in my family. i've seen the repression on the island. today, i maintain contact with those vacating peacefully for pro-democracy. what's sad about this is the effort to try to propagate this misnomer about divisions among cubans. the reality is that there is a
total conscious, and no measure of american tourism or investment on the part of american businesses is-- will encourage or convince the cuban people that the regime is bad. the cuban people are the victimes of that regime. they've seen firsthand. they don't need anyone tell them because they've lived it through the 55 years of this totalitarian system. what's at stake here is what do we want for the future of cuba? do we want a china model that perpetuates the slavery of the cuban people or do we want to leverage u.s. foreign policy, leverage the strength of american solidarity, to insist that the future of cuba deserves to be in a multiparty system where the cuban people on the island are free to have the right to self-determination. why do they not deserve that? >> woodruff: well, it man a newly announced policy, but it clearly has not slowed down the debate at all. we want to thank both of you for talking to us, ana carbonell, de los angeles torres, thank you. >> thank you. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: now, not showing at a theater near you: that's the latest fallout from one of the biggest and most public corporate hackings in history. just a short time ago, sony pictures announced it's canceling the christmas day release of a movie that's been at the center of all of this, and the subject of security worries. jeffrey brown has the story. >> woodruff: since 9/11, american businesses have been >> brown: it began as a comedy, a hollywood comedy called "the interview," the one with a rather twisted premise. >> you want us to kill the leader of north korea? >> yes. >> what! >> brown: now, the film starring seth rogan and james franco, has spark aid much darker tale of cyber crime, artistic license, film industry intrigue, dweo politics and even threats of terrorism. sony pictures, the studio that made the film, has been the target of a large-scale hack of
its computer data. with a group calling itself the guardians of peace claiming responsibility for near-daily leaks of internal documents, e-mails, and other information. one question-- who done it? from the outside suspicion suspe fallen on north korea, which early on made clear its anger that a film that portrays a plot to assassinate its leader kim jong un, calling it "an act of war." earlier this month, north korean state-run tv said the studio got what it deserved. >> ( translated ): this hack attack towards the u.s. film producer sony pictures is clearly the righteous act of our sympathizers and supporters who cameed for following our appeal. thus the misfortune that sewn pictures experienced only be seen as a just punishment for its evil doings and unjustified actions. >> reporter: former u.s. envoy to north korea, told us the
totalitarian regime has the means and determination to carry this out. >> i've been to their university, seen some of their computer labs. they've got the equipment and they clearly have the focus and attention of doing this. the north koreans are capable of holding on to a grudge and playing it out. in this particular case, there's no sneaking gun, so they can continue to do what they want. >> brown: still, uncertainty remains. there's also been conjecture about disgruntled employees past or present. in the meantime, the flood of leaked corporate documents has continued. "wall street journal" reporter ben fritz: >> these e-mails are an amazing insight into how a major film studio works because you just have someone's pure inbox, with tens of thousands of messages. it's damaging in all sorts of ways from the embarrassing all the way up to the actually proprietary information that now their competitors have on the way they do business. >> brown: among the sensitive material released, private
correspondences among sony executives, including discussions on whether and how to alter the film's content. inside information on salaries, some showing wide disparities in the pay of men and women. scripts and even high-quality copies of moviesiet to be released, and old-fashioned gossip, replete with disparaging remarks about stars such as angelina jolie and racially tinged comments about president obama's taste in movies. all in all, says ben fritz, it's badly shaken the company and the industry as a whole. >> for sony pictures it's been damaging. all the other studios in hollywood are frightened they could be next. they're trying to be more careful about the information they share in e-mails and documents on their computers. >> brown: yesterday, the company got hit with a lawsuit from two former employees for not protecting social security numbers, salary details and
other personal records. sony has fought back in one way, hiring high-profile lawyer, david boyce, who in a letter on sunday, warned news organizations not to publish details from the leaked files in that they connecticut tain private information. adam sorkin also criticized the media writing, "every news outlet that did the bidding of the guardians of peace is morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable." but the last 48 hours have taken on a new urgency, and even a darker threat for movie theaters this holiday season as the guardians of peace issued a new message saying people who plan to see the movie "seek fun in terror," and "should be doomed to a bitter fate." the message also included a reference soseptember 11. the department of homeland security said it had not yet
seen credible intelligence of an active plot but is investigating the threat. last night, los angeles police chief charlie beck had this to say: >> well, we take those threats very seriously and we will take extra precautions during the holidays at theaters. we're very aware of the controversy surrounding sony studios, so we'll take that into account. >> brown:- goers in los angeles had mixed responses. >> i don't even know why they made it. like, it just seems like a bunch of comediennes trying to be creative. and i definitely won't go see it, though. now that they say there's some sort of danger involved, i'm definitely not seeing it. >> the way homeland security is set up, it's virtually impossible. no i'm not scared. why would i be scared? >> brown: but today, events spiraled ever further, and late this afternoon, sony announced it was cancelling the release of the film which had been scheduled for christmas day. that came after the nation's largest theater chains had said
they would not play the movies pending results of law enforcement investigations. as late as monday, seth rogan, who also codirected the of "the interview," was defending his film like this on abc's "good morning america. >> we just wanted to make a really funny, entertaining movie, and the movie itself is very silly and it wasn't meant to be controversial in any way. it was really just meant to be entertaining. >> brown: a silly movie, perhaps, but one that has brought an unprecedented firestorm to hollywood and beyond. i'm jeffrey brown for the pbs newshour. late-breaking news, thes you u.s. government is confirming that north korea is behind the hacking at sony. >> woodruff: since 9/11, american businesses have been able to buy insurance policies covering a terrorist attack through a public/private partnership known as the
terrorism risk insurance act. but, for the first time, congress left this week without funding it, because of objections by one senator. it could have an affect on businesses coast to coast, as they wonder what happens in case of the worst. joining us now is leigh ann pusey, president and c.e.o. of the american insurance association. and we welcome you to the program. >> thanks for having me. >> woodruff: so why is this terrorism risk insurance so important? why do businesses need it? >> well, terrorism is a very unique risk for insurance. it's very hard to conceive of the kinds of losses that can be associated with the terrorist attack. they're well beyond the capacity of the insurance market right now to provide that. so what we learned after 9/11 was that insurance had been basically a natural part of coverage but after 9/11, the market retreated because all of a sudden, it realized that this was a huge potential risk and it took a partnership to really entice the private market back
into providing this coverage which is, in essence, an economic security matched up with the government's national security efforts because it really helps us have an orderly recover after an innocent. >> woodruff: what would trigger insurance like this? what would have to happen for the u.s. government to have to come in and, frankly, back up what the insurance companies are saying? >> well, right now, the program anticipateaise fairly substantial participation by the private market. you would have to see an event probably the side of 9/11 before the government would have to be tabbed to backstob insurers. shers are sitting on 20% deductibles of their premiums. that translates to some companies for as much as $1 billion, $2 billion of losses they would pay before they tapped the backstop. even after meeting the keductible, they would pay 15, 20%. there's a lot of skin in the game by the industry. it's gloan over the years since 9/11.
it would have to be a catastrophic-level event for the government to have to step in. >> woodruff: let me read you one comment, senator tom coburn, the senator from oklahoma, the one responsible for holding this up this week said. he said, "this program has made the insurance industry $40 billion in the last 12 years." he said american taxpayers take all the risk except for 35% and the insurance industry takes the money. >> well, what the insurance industry is doing is stepping in and providing for an orderly economic recovery that otherwise the taxpayer would be on the hook for the first dollar of it. have we charged a premium for that risk? sure. that's a market force i would think senator courn and others in pro-market voices would like to see happen. more we get comfortable about the risk and learn of it we will take on more of it. it will never be a risk that can be totally borne by the private market. >> woodruff: why not? >> national security terrorism
is a national security issue. it's the responsibility of the federal government who has the data, the know, the know-how-- you just ran a piece about them confirming what they may or may not know about the threats related to sony. well, they have that knowledge. nobody insuring sony has that knowledge. they have that knowledge. we don't want that knowledge, by the way, but what it means is insurers are limited in how much they can underwrite this and how much exposure they can take on. this current program provides $100 billion. there's not $100 billion of private market capacity. if you want to provide economic stability and growth then you need a partnership. >> woodruff: what does it mean, leigh ann pusey, that this insurance not extended? it doesn't exist, right? >> it means after december 31, there is no backstop, and insurance companies and c.e.o.s-- i spoke to one as i was driving over here this evening-- are employing their contingency events. they're having to put their contingency plans into place. they're going to look at their
exposures. and i believe over the coming weeks we are going to see more and more market reaction to this. what that might mean is capacity will shrink over time, and the price of this might go up in certain markets. this isn't just about tall buildings in new york. it's about properties and businesses all around the country. >> woodruff: you're saying they won't get built? >> some projects could be delayed. loans require backstop by insurance coverage and protection o this. think about the small business dry cleaner in the shadow of the trophy property in new york. they're going to have a hard time finding capacity just by sheer virtue of where they're located. >> woodruff: leigh ann pusey, from the american enterprise institute, thank you. >> thank you. >> woodruff: in the aftermath of the police shooting in ferguson, missouri, and the chokehold death of a man in new york city, civil rights groups and even the president have called for an increase in the use of body cameras by police departments.
hari sreenivasan takes us to one town where they recently began using them. >> if it's green and i'm ready to go out on a shift, i pick it up, i flick it so it's like that. once it turns green it will be ready for me to start recording. >> sreenivasan: for the last five months, police officer danielle torres has been wearing a small body camera when she's out policing the streets of evesham, new jersey, a commuter town just 20 miles southeast of philadelphia. >> the body camera sees everything from me out, almost as if its my eyes. whereas the in-car cameras only see a stationary view of what's in my patrol car. >> sreenivasan: her department is one of dozens across the country that have adopted this surveillance equipment. and chief christopher chew, who himself wears one, says his officers have all embraced the new policing tool. >> they see the benefits, not only short term but long term, because it's there to protect
them, not only from frivolous lawsuits but also it's capturing what they're doing, because they're doing great work. now they have the ability to go to court and show they were doing the right thing. our officers want everything recorded to protect them. >> sreenivasan: the equipment is expensive, cameras can cost up to $1,000 a piece with data storage costs far exceeding that. earlier this month president obama asked that $75 million be spent to purchase such cameras for departments all across the country. >> i'm going to be proposing some new community policing initiatives that will significantly expand funding and training for local law enforcement, including up to 50,000 additional body worn cameras for law enforcement agencies. >> sreenivasan: the move comes in the wake of the shooting death of michael brown by a police officer in ferguson, missouri, last august. an incident that was not captured on video. >> as soon as that event happened, the immediate reaction was where's the video?
how come they don't have video? >> sreenivasan: david harris is a professor at the university of pittsburgh law school. he predicts body cameras will soon be widely used by departments everywhere. >> police need to take this on on their own terms. to have their own ways of looking at this. the public will be served because there will be greater accountability, there can be a much better, more nuanced record. and the police have begun to realize, just as they did years ago with dash cams, that their interests will be served as well. >> sreenivasan: still even harris concedes that body cameras don't necessarily mean police will be held more accountable. earlier this month, a new york city grand jury decided not to indict an officer in the chokehold death of eric garner, in spite of the fact the incident was videotaped by bystanders. >> we know that even if you see it on camera, there can still be
biases. you only have one camera angle or the one you have only shows part of the action. or you have situations in which there has been editing. >> sreenivasan: jay stanley, a policy analyst with the american civil liberties union, agrees the jury is still out on the effectiveness of these cameras. his organization has given qualified support of their use if strict, consistent privacy policies are adopted. >> there needs to be very good policies to insure that video footage that police take, and a large percentage of calls are domestic violence, where they are entering people's homes, seeing people at the worst moments of their lives. is not going to end up on youtube or get passed around police officers for laughs. so there needs to be very tight controls over the video data that is collected, who has access to it, how long it is retained and what it is used for.
>> sreenivasan: and stanley says, officers cannot be allowed to alter the footage. >> the crucial thing is that police officers not be able to edit on the fly by turning the cameras off and on at will. or if they get involved in a dubious incident, finding a way to make the footage disappear, all of which we've seen happen around the country. >> sreenivasan: although body cam rules vary widely from city to city, the evesham police department says it has taken precautions against those abuses. the cameras are recording all the time, although footage is only saved starting 30 seconds prior to an officer hitting the button. that footage is then automatically uploaded to the cloud at the end of every shift. and a digital record is kept of anyone who tries to access it. >> after a shift, you take it off, put it in one of these ports and it will download the video on the cloud. >> sreenivasan: you can't edit the video? delete the video? >> no. not at all.
>> sreenivasan: advocates of the cameras say widespread use could lead to better behavior by everyone involved. they point to several studies, the rialto, california police department found there was a 59% reduction in the use of force by officers and an 88% reduction in complaints after body cameras were used. and in a controlled study in mesa, arizona where only half the force was given cameras, there were three times more complaints lodged against officers without cameras than officers who wore them. how do you expect body cameras to change how an officer behaves? >> the officer now knows that everything they do when they have contact with a citizen is now audio and video recorded. it puts them on a new level. we now have the ability as an organization to go back with checks and balances to make sure they're following proper protocols. >> sreenivasan: will it change behavior of citizens?
>> i would think so. >> sreenivasan: if authorized by congress, the federal money for new body cameras would nearly double the number of cameras that are currently in use. >> woodruff: at 11:25 p.m. last night the gavel hit the podium in the u.s. senate, ending the 113th congress, the least productive in terms of bills passed in the modern era. tonight we look at the many longtime members of congress who have just left office. in their own words. politics editor lisa desjardins brings us what we can learn when politicians say farewell. >> reporter: the building is seen by many a symbol of dysfunction. but in the past month, those leaving it behind have made final arguments for its strength. >> mr. president, it is with great honor and gratitude... >> it has been a true honor. >> to represent ten million
georgians who are the most wonderful people god ever put on this earth. >> now, the leaving becomes hard, and wrenching, and emotional. that's because i love the united states senate. >> i love the intensity of the work and the gravity of the issues. i love fighting for west virginia here. >> reporter: many, most in fact, defended the institution. >> i have been asked many times if i am leaving the senate out of frustration with gridlock. the answer is: no. >> the senate's not broken, oh maybe a few dents, banged up a little bit. >> reporter: but a few went out railing against one thing, money's influence. >> the cruelty of perpetual campaigns destroys our ability to fulfill our oath of office. >> days after the 2014 election
you could walk into the call center for either party and find members dialing for dollars for 2016. tonight, there will be fundraisers across d.c. where members discuss policy not with constituents but with organizations that contribute to their campaigns. mr. president, we have lost our way. >> the republicans have a great opportunity in 2015 and 2016. they convinced the voters they are the party that can govern. now it's time for them to turn off the rhetoric and turn on the governing. >> reporter: not just farewells, but think of these words as perhaps the most unfiltered look at each lawmaker's top priorities. >> there has never been a time when america has been closer to
energy independence and what that means to this country is beyond description. >> it is imperative that the issue of the debt of this country be addressed, just last week the debt exceeded $18 trillion. hard votes will have to be taken, but that's why we get elected to the us senate. >> this growing gulf between a fortunate few and a struggling many is a threat to the dream that has animated this nation since its founding. >> remember the great sacrifice that our troops and their families and loved ones are making around the world. >> your whole goal is to protect the united states of america, its constitution and its liberties. it is not to provide benefits for your state. that is where we differ. that is where my conflict with my colleagues has come. >> reporter: one bipartisan theme: gratitude. >> i'm not the least bit sad and i'm not the least bit afraid
because it's just been a remarkable opportunity to serve with all of you, and i thank you very much. >> i wish that i could thank each one of you. >> first and foremost, of course, god. my family. >> the wonderful staff i have. >> my mentor, my big brother, sandy. >> senator ted stevens who was as grumpy as could be but really did take me under his wing. >> may god bless you, and may god bless these united states of america. >> i yield the floor. >> i yield the floor. >> i yield the floor. >> for the last time, i yield the floor.
>> reporter: lisa desjardins, pbs newshour. on the newshour online right now, you may not have noticed but homer, marge and the rest of the simpson family turn 25 today. we marked the occasion with a quiz featuring the most memorable quotes from our favorite episodes. and it's day ten of our "12 days of newshour." all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. on thursday, with russia's economy in crisis, president putin takes questions from the press. i'm judy woodruff. join us on-line and again here tomorrow evening, for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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