tv PBS News Hour Weekend PBS May 13, 2017 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by wnet >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, may 13: the search to replace former f.b.i. director james comey begins; cyberattack-- investigating one of the largest ransomware hacks on record; and in our signature segment, how a small african nation came to host so many international military bases. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg.
corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thanks for joining us. the justice department has begun interviewing 11 candidates the white house is considering to lead the federal bureau of investigation. today, president trump said he could make a "fast decision." even next week is "possible." he created the vacancy this week by firing director james comey. after doing so, he cited both the f.b.i.'s ongoing investigation of russian meddling into the presidential election and possible collusion by trump campaign associates as well as comey's controversial statements about the closed investigation into hillary
clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. acting f.b.i. director andrew mccabe was one of four candidates interviewed today to be the next f.b.i. director, a job with a ten-year term. mccabe told congress this week that, contrary to white house assertions, comey was well respected by f.b.i. agents until the end. another candidate is said to be three-term u.s. senator john cornyn, a former texas supreme court judge and attorney general, now the assistant republican leader in the senate. so are alice fisher, formerly head of the justice department criminal division in the bush administration; and michael garcia, a new york state court of appeals judge, former federal prosecutor and former head of immigration and customs enforcement. in an interview to be broadcast tonight on fox news channel, the president denies published reports that at a january dinner, he had asked comey for his "loyalty." >> but i don't think it would be a bad question to ask. i think loyalty to the country, loyalty to the united states is
important, you know. i mean, it depends how you define "loyalty," number one. number two, i don't know how it got there because i didn't ask that question. >> sreenivasan: mr. trump made no mention of the f.b.i. during his first commencement speech as president today in lynchburg, virginia. he addressed the graduates of the nation's largest christian university, liberty college, run by jerry falwell, jr. falwell was a crucial early evangelical supporter of trump's presidential candidacy. the president told the students they don't need lectures from washington on how to lead their lives. >> because, in america, we don't worship government; we worship god. ( cheers and applause ) it's why we proudly proclaim we are one nation under god when he say the pledge of allegiance. >> sreenivasan: finance ministers and central bank governors from the so-called group of seven industrial nations have finished a two-day meeting in bari, italy. while there, u.s. treasury secretary steve mnuchin told the
g-7 that cutting the corporate tax rate is a top u.s. priority. the final communique said officials are "working to strengthen the contribution of trade to our economies." mnuchin said the u.s. is looking for "balanced" deals. >> we do not want to be protectionist, but we reserve our rights to be protectionist to the extent that we believe that trade is not free and fair. >> sreenivasan: president trump is scheduled to attend a g-7 summit in sicily, italy, in two weeks. the state department said today the u.s. would consider talks with north korea only if the north "ceases all its illegal activities and aggressive behavior in the region." the written statement came in response to a top north korean diplomat, who said her country would be willing to resume negotiations with the u.s. over its nuclear and missile programs. but she did not specify what the right conditions would be. she suggested the north might also be open to talks with south korea's new president, moon jae- in, elected this week while pledging a moderate approach
with the north. the u.s. and north korea have not held talks in eight years. the world health organization has declared a new outbreak of the deadly ebola virus in the democratic republic of congo. health officials said today one man is confirmed dead from the virus and ten other cases are suspected. w.h.o. doctors have reached the outbreak zone in a remote province near its border with central african republic. the ebola outbreak in west africa that peaked three years ago killed more than 11,000 people. >> sreenivasan: british officials say 97% of hospitals effectively shut down by a massive cyber attack yesterday are back to normal. the ransomware disrupted health, transportation and telephone systems across europe. american companies, including federal express, said they were hit, too. the hackers may have exploited a
vulnerability in microsoft windows software on older computers, a vulnerability the u.s. national security agency once identified and turned into a cyber weapon. microsoft is offering to make fixes for free. the cyber attack occurred the day after president trump signed an executive order to review and upgrade cyber protections of government agencies and infrastructure like energy grids. this will build on efforts started by the obama administration. joining me now from washington is one of the architects of those defenses: john carlin, the former assistant attorney general for national security, now with morrison and foerster. thanks for joining us. when you started to see these headlines yesterday, what did you think? >> maybe on a bigger scale, but it's more of the same. ransomware attacks have been up by over 300% according to f.b.i. reporting since 2016 alone. i tell you, day in, day out, both when i was in government and now in the private sector, i talked to companies who have been hit by ran systemware.
>> this more code was something we had a couple of months' warning on. there was patch out there. there was news articles about how this code got out into the wild. but it could be a lot worse. >> it could be worse in a couple different ways. number one, the good and the bad side is, hey, this was something that was already known. i think a lot of time, a lot of energy, a lot of sprint is spent talking about the highest level actors, nation state actors, but the fact is most of what we're seeing today, taken advantage of by criminal groups, it's not the highest level hack. it's exploits like this where the patch was released in march 2017 but a couple things happened. one, it gets on to people's systems through what's called phishing or spearfishing. they send you an e-mail and an unwitting user inside the company clicks on the attachment. that's how the malware gets in. a lot of companies are not patching or updating their systems in ways that could stop
known vulnerabilities, like this one. and number three, assuming that the worst can happen, we need the move both private companies and in government toward thinking about resilience. what happens if the worst happened, have i backed up my information in a way i can get back to doing business. >> i also want to pivot to the executive order that the trump administration just signed. your thoughts on it given that you've helped craft some of the cyber defense policy that exists today. >> i thought the executive order is a good step in the right direction. there are a lot of reports ordered through it, and one thing i do worry about given the scope and scale of the threat we currently face, as was made quite vividly clear of this massive 100 country ransomware attack, and where we're not doing enough fast enough, in that report is a call for a study to increase our deterrents. i think vital to the solution to this problem is going to be deterrents, figuring out a way to make bad guys be their
terrorists, nation states or crooks, worried about taking action in this space in a way they simply aren't right now. >> one concern has been how fast government can practice what it preaches. you guess were very good at giving clear guidelines for the private sector, but when you think of the number of computer systems spread out throughout government and how quickly they're able to implement some of this, then it... i don't know how long that's going to take. >> i think that's right. it is a concern. i think one thing that was good about the approach in this executive order was the idea of making the cabinet secretaries responsible for figuring out what the risks are and ranking them on their own systems, and then making the white house responsible, looking across government to figure out, hey, what is the type of attack, what's the type of material that causes the highest risk, so we can devote our resources to it. that's the same approach we're now just seeing private companies ploy on their own systems, both the government and
the private sector need the move faster in that regard, given what the threats are, and start thinking of this lake a risk mitigation exercise. >> sreenivasan: all right, john carlin, the former assistant attorney general for national security. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> sreenivasan: what makes comedian w. kamau bell laugh? find out at www.pbs.org/newshour. >> sreenivasan: djibouti is a tiny country of 850,000 people near the horn of africa and the gateway to the suez canal, one of the world's busiest shipping routes. its strategic location has also made djibouti a prized spot for military bases. there are bases from its former colonial ruler, france, as well as the united states and now china. in tonight's signature segment, special correspondent martin seemungal reports on how djibouti came to roll out a
welcome mat to the world. >> reporter: djibouti is one of the hottest, driest, places on earth. vast areas are semi-arid desert. there are no natural resources. the official unemployment rate is 50%. life for many is difficult. but djibouti does have one very valuable asset: its location, where the red sea meets the gulf of aden-- a crossroads to the suez canal, the persian gulf, the indian ocean and the east african coast-- strategic for countries from all over the world that have military outposts here. entering djibouti's oldest port, you get the first glimpse of the country's main industry. that enormous ship and a dockside full of containers has been the blueprint for its economy since gaining independence from france in 1977. this port was built by the french decades ago. it has served djibouti well, establishing this tiny nation as
a player in the shipping world. but it simply isn't big enough to meet the ever growing demand and djibouti's ambitions. ilyas dawaleh is the country's finance minister. >> in our vision, from the east coast of africa, djibouti must and should remain the largest and the most sophisticated service center in terms of international shipping. >> reporter: djibouti's second port opened nine years ago and now handles nearly two million tons of container cargo a year. seeing this makes it easy to understand why shipping accounts for 80% of the economy. but an even bigger, newly constructed port is getting ready to open. it's considered one of the most advanced ports in the world. those cranes represent the latest container lifting technology. china paid for the multimillion- dollar project through state-
owned companies. djibouti's finance minister says china is more willing than western countries to take financial risks here. >> very, very, very important. and we can even consider it really a game changer partner. >> reporter: djibouti's dream is to become for east africa what singapore is in southeast asia, a shipping and financial powerhouse. >> when that vision started in 2000, a lot of people, they were kind of laughing. >> reporter: abdirahman ahmed is an entrepreneur with a focus on renewable energy. he's studied and worked abroad, but he's come home. >> 15 or 17 years later, then more and more people are now believing in it. and they are saying, yes, it is feasible, and it is possible. >> reporter: djibouti's location puts it at the center of a multinational fight against pirates based in neighboring somalia and in the war on terrorism.
since 9/11, the united states has continually expanded its troop presence to fight islamic extremists in the region. the u.s. combined joint task force for the horn of africa is the main american unit stationed at a former french colonial military installation. camp lemonnier is the only u.s. military base on the entire continent of africa, and it is a critical foothold in a particularly unstable part of africa. it is home to anywhere between 2,000 and 3,000 american military personnel. the number of u.s. troops deployed here has tripled in the past 15 years as the base expanded to more than 600 acres. the pentagon is now spending $140 million a year in djibouti. navy captain james black is the base commander. >> i describe it as a landlocked aircraft carrier or a landlocked amphib.
we are self-contained, do our own water, our own electricity, feed our own people. >> reporter: for security reasons, americans are not allowed to leave the base. the tour of duty here is anywhere from nine months to a year. and it's hot all year, averaging 105 degrees in summer. some of the amenities help: a gym; subway is here; there's a small movie theater and a u.s. post office. camp lemonnier has become a pentagon hub for sending special operations forces to conflict zones like somalia, libya and yemen, and to operate drone missions. showcasing its importance, u.s. defense secretary jim mattis visited last month and met with djibouti's president, ismail omar guelleh, who's now serving his fourth five-year term and first welcomed the americans in 2002. his decision to allow the u.s. military base here was
controversial. this is a predominantly muslim nation in a predominantly muslim region. the week after the mattis visit, a ceremony at camp lemonnier illustrated just how many other nations have a military presence in djibouti. france, italy and japan have bases here. in all, djibouti collects about $150 million a year in rent. now, add china to the list. to protect its economic interests in the region, china is building its first overseas military base here, on track to be completed this year. that's a chinese navy frigate in djibouti's harbor. the chinese base will be just seven miles north of where the americans are. djibouti's foreign minister admits that proximity startled some people. >> some friends came to tell us, you know, there might be conflicting interests between china and the united states and other countries. but we responded quickly, saying
that our motivation is mainly to assist and help friendly countries to protect their interests. >> reporter: china will pay djibouti $100 million annually to use the property. from the air, you can see a jetty, helicopter pad, at least 20 large buildings on a 90-acre plot. there are rumors on the street and in diplomatic circles that eventually as many as 10,000 chinese soldiers will be deployed here. >> i always say that's fake news. our agreement is very clear. few hundreds, jetty, and so on. i mean, there is no such big naval force presence in djibouti. >> reporter: however large it becomes, the chinese military presence does not appear to be a concern to the american commander at camp lemonnier. >> the few times that i have personally interacted with the chinese, they've been extremely professional.
my personnel are extremely professional. and we're all here in a small space trying to advance our nation's and our worlds interests together. and so, we're looking for opportunities to cooperate. >> reporter: despite all those bases and the booming shipping industry, many people living in impoverished areas like balaba, outside the capital, see very few benefits themselves. shemis mohammed, who shares a shack with her seven grandchildren, says she and her daughter cannot find work. "there is development going on," she says, "but if you don't know someone in a position to help, you cannot get a job." the government estimates it will take at least another 20 years to see any significant change. in that original port with the big container ship and the chinese frigate, djibouti envisions a vibrant waterfront with hotels and a convention center, a magnet for tourism. it wants more cruise ships than
warships. >> sreenivasan: the talk of president trump's firing f.b.i. director jim comey drowned out all other political conversation this week. some trump supporters said the president was keeping his promise to shake up washington. some trump critics said he was interfering with a serious investigation about him and not telling the truth for his decision. joining me now to discuss the ramifications is newshour weekend special correspondent jeff greenfield, who's in santa barbara, california. this gave some of his political allies pause this week. >> it did. i think what it means is that exactly the issue that trump wanted to get behind them, the possibility of some kind of collusion between some of his associates and the russian, is going to intense -- intensify.
interesting, you had the republicans on the intelligence committee, richard burr, working in tandem, both saying we have to get to the bottom of. this i did notice a story that i think we should pay more attention to than we have, an arm of the treasury, i want to get this right, it is the financial crimes enforcement network, is working with the senate intelligence committee to give them information about what that committee knows about financial transactions. i don't know if there is any smoke much less fire, but if there is stuff back there that's going to show some kind of financial hanky-panky between trump associates and the russians, that's the end of the treasury that's best equipped to find out. so i think whatever trump wanted to do in firing comey, he may have had the reverse effect. >> who is going to be a replacement? we've said that the interview process has begun, but once that replacement is there, what kind of credibility challenges do they face? >> this is another area where
trump has set a landmine and stepped on it himself. the fact that he asserted that the russia story was very much on his mind when he fired comey and he's already said publicly he doesn't see anything wrong with trying to exact a pledge of loyalty from the f.b.i. director, is going to mean that the confirmation process for whoever that new f.b.i. director is is going to be very intense. along those lines, i want to point one thing out: the senate judiciary committee is where the confirmation process begins. there are more republicans than democrats on it because they run the senate, but there are three republicans on the committee, ben sass and jeff flake and lindsey graham who are among the most non-fans of president trump in the republican party, and my sense is the vetting process is going to be very, very interesting to watch once that nominee, whoever he or she is, gets before that committee. >> woodruff: how does all this play with the business of trump supporters? >> well, you know what, here we go again.
we have seen throughout the campaign and in the first four months that whatever happens in washington or the editorial pages of the newspaper, trump's base is happy with what's he's doing. the great majority of republicans think he was right the fire comey. this is the broader story. we're so polarized, we're like warring tribes, that whoever is the head of my team, i'm going to defend come hell or high water. the other part about that is that the reporting in the media is going to have very little effect on that base. we've learned from a recent pew poll that if you ask people, do you think the media should act as watchdogs, a year ago republicans and democrats were exactly the same, three-quarters said yes. now more than 90% of democrats say yes and less than 50% of republicans say yes. so this polarization will help
donald trump with his base. >> sreenivasan: jeff greenefield, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> this >> this is pbs newshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: pennsylvania's attorney general is trying to arrange for an amtrak engineer who drove a train involved in a fatal crash to surrender and be arraigned on criminal charges. eight train passengers died and 180 were injured in the crash in philadelphia two years ago. a national transportation board investigation found engineer brandon bostian had been driving 106 miles an hour on a 50 mile- an-hour curve. yesterday, bostian was charged with manslaughter, reckless endangerment and risking or causing a catastrophe. separately, amtrak has agreed to pay $265 million to settle claims from the accident. officials in southern turkey say a tour bus crash has killed at least 24 people and injured ten more. the bus flipped over on a twisting mountain road and fell off a 50-foot high cliff onto a lower section of the road and struck another vehicle. the bus was carrying people from
izmir to a mother's day event in the seaside resort of marmaris. all the passengers were turkish and most of the accident victims were women and children. a portuguese brother and sister are the newest and among the youngest saints of the catholic church. 500,000 people attended mass at the fatima shrine in portugal today as pope francis canonized francisco and jacinta marto. 100 years ago, the children said a vision of the virgin mary first appeared to them as they tended their sheep. the recovery of a brazilian boy from a severe head injury in 2013 after the boy's parents had prayed to the two shepherds was deemed the miracle needed for them to be declared saints. francisco and jacinta were only ten and nine when they died in a flu epidemic. on the plane ride back to italy, pope francis says he will not try to convince president trump to soften his policies on immigration or the environment when they meet at the vatican later this month.
>> sreenivasan: on pbs newshour weekend sunday, conservative republicans calling for action on climate change. >> the original guy who worried about the environment was a republican, teddy roosevelt. all the things that actually did something were done by republicans. >> sreenivasan: that's it for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsored by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org >> pbs newshour weekend is made
possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. judy and josh weston. the cheryl and philip milstein family. the john and helen glessner family trust-- supporting trustworthy journalism that informs and inspires. sue and edgar wachenheim, iii. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
man: when i lived in california, it was me by myself. i was missing a feeling of connectedness. different man: that's what's attracted them to this project. it's another way to express who they are culturally in a different way. man: coming here and then painting about our culture, it's more of a sense of "i don't want to let these people down."