tv PBS News Hour PBS June 10, 2011 5:30pm-6:30pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> brown: security forces widened the violent crackdown against reform protestors in syria, shelling a town in the north and killing dozens throughout the country. good evening. i'm jeffrey brown. >> warner: and i'm margaret warner. on the newshour tonight, we have the latest on the escalation in syria as thousands of refugees try to escape government assaults by crossing into neighboring turkey. >> brown: then, we look at defense secretary robert gates' warning that nato faces irrelevancy unless european allies shoulder more of the military burden. >> future u.s. political leaders
may not consider the return on america's investment in nato worth the cost. >> warner: plus, we have a special report on dissent in iran in the aftermath of the disputed presidential election two years ago. >> brown: mark shields and david brooks analyze the week's news. >> warner: and ray suarez examines why a federal espionage case against a former national security agency official fell apart. >> brown: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> oil companies have changed my country. >> oil companies can make a difference. >> we have the chance to build the economy. >> create jobs, keep people healthy and improve schools. >> ... and our communities. >> in angola, chevron helps train engineers, teachers and farmers; launch child's programs. it's not just good business. >> i'm hopeful about my country's future. >> it's my country's future.
and theilliam and flo 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. >> brown: a new wave of bloodshed swept over syria today. government troops assaulted a northern city and opened fire on huge crowds of protesters elsewhere. at least 32 people were killed, while thousands more ran for their lives. the rapidly-filling refugee camps tell the tale-- an exodus of more than 4,000 syrians into turkey in the last 48 hours. they've fled the forces of president bashar al-assad, who
launched a violent crackdown today on a rebellious northwestern city, jisr al- shaghour. it's been the scene of violent resistance and possible military mutinyhis week. some of those leaving the area, and some staying behind, told of indiscriminate gun and tank fire, and quite literally scorched earth, with troops burning fields and destroying livestock. >> ( translated ): bashar assad is killing his own people in order to stay in power. he is being cruel. >> ( translated ): may god tear bashar assad into pieces. we would be starving if turkey did not help. >> brown: turkey's former justice minister visited the camps today, and said his nation would continue its open border policy. >> ( translated ): we are doing every humanitarian thing that is necessary for the people who have sought asylum in here and had to come here out of despair. we hope the need for crossing the border from the syrian side will become unnecessary. >> brown: the turkish prime
minister, recep tayyip erdogan, used stronger words, calling the syrian crackdown "savagery". he said turkey could no longer support assad. >> ( translated ): his secret service is heading towards a massacre. it will trigger the u.n. security council, and it is already preparing a case against the regime. >> brown: and the assault by syrian forces on civilians extended countrywide today, as troops fired on demonstrators after friday prayers. there were large protests-- in daraa, where the uprising began; in idlib, in latakia, in homs, and, notably, thousands marching in the capital, damascus. witnesses reported syrian helicopter gunships opened fire on crowds in one town. in washington, state department spokesman mk toner said that kind of brutal response is dooming the assad regime. >> it's really assad who's been shedding his legitimacy through
his actions. he has refused to reform, refused to even make any gestures toward reform other than empty rhetoric. he's got to, again, either allow for the transition, help the transition take place, or get out of the way. >> brown: meanwhile, a move to denounce syria at the united nations remained in doubt due to russian objections. >> warner: still to come on the newshour: tough talk about nato; victims of the iranian regime; shields and brooks; and leaking classified information. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: wall street had a friday to forget, amid worries about the economic recovery. the dow jones industrial average fell 172 points to close below 12,000 for the first time since march. the nasdaq fell 41 points to close at 2,643. for the week, the dow lost more than 1.5%; the nasdaq fell 3%.
firefighters in eastern arizona hurried today to make the most of improved conditions in their battle against a mammoth wildfire. weary fire crews finally were able to gain ground on the so- called "wallow" fire as winds died down. until yesterday, up to 60 mile- an-hour gusts had pushed the blaze across 640 square miles in less than two weeks. but fire officials were warned winds could pick again and spread the flames into new mexico. >> we are not complacent at all, because we recognize that saturday and sunday and into monday, we could have those red flag conditions again. and again, we just have to be really on our game today. >> holman: helicopters and tanker planes continued to drop fire retardant, while on the ground, some 3,000 firefighters were at work to staunch the flames, or burn brush to rob the big blaze of its fuel. the fire remained active near the town of greer after destroying 22 homes there.
and residents continued to flee from other threatened areas. >> well, you should see what we already took out. we took out a ton of memories. >> holman: thus far, nearly 10,000 people have been forced from their homes by the fire. the hunt for the source of the e. coli outbreak in germany finally is over. health officials announced today that tainted bean sprouts from a german organic farm were the source. to date, the outbreak has killed at least 31 people and sickened nearly 3,100. an estimated 100,000 protesters demonstrated in yemen's capital today. it was the largest rally since president ali abdullah saleh left for medical treatment in saudi arabia last weekend. opposition tribesmen marched through sanaa's main square, carrying the bodies of 41 of their fighters allegedly killed by government forces. elsewhere, saleh's supporters held their own rally outside the presidential palace. afghan president hamid karzai
has begun a visit to neighboring pakistan. he was welcomed today at an airbase in rawalpindi. karzai wants pakistani leaders to encourage taliban rticipation in peace talks. also today, cia director leon panetta met in pakistan with the army and intelligence chiefs. they focused on easing tensions over the u.s. raid that killed osama bin laden. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to margaret. >> warner: a three-month-long military effort in libya is highlighting tensions in the nato alliance. nato continued its bombing campaign in libya today, with the u.s. in a support role after initially taking out libyan air defenses. but in brussels, the soon-to-retire defense secretary robert gates issued a blunt rebuke to many of america's european allies. >> while every alliance member voted for the libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate
in the strike mission. >> warner: the strike force is led by britain and france, with norway, denmark, belgium and canada joining in. but other major nato members, like germany, poland, the netherlands, turkey and spain, are not flying air strikes. >> frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they cannot. the military capabilities simply aren't there. the mightiest military alliance in history is only 11 weeks into an operation against a poorly armed regime in a sparsely populated country, yet many allies are beginning to run short of munitions, requiring the u.s., once more, to make up the difference. >> warner: gates also pointed to afghanistan. >> despite more than two million troops in uniform, not counting the u.s. military, to has struggled, at times desperately, to sustain a deployment of 25,000 to 40,000 troops. >> warner: this uneven division
of labor can't be sustained, he warned, with the u.s. facing its own economic strain and defense budget cuts. >> if you told the american taxpayers, as i just did, that they are bearing 75% of the financial burden of the alliance, this is going to raise eyebrows. future u.s. political leaders, those for whom the cold war was not the formative experience that it was for me, may not consider the return on america's investment in nato worth the cost. what i've sketched out is the real possibility for a dim, if not dismal future for the trans- atlantic alliance. >> warner: the europeans must spend more and spend it more strategically, he said, or risk sliding into "collective military irrelevance." for more, we go to richard burt, an assistant secretary of state and ambassador to west germany in the reagan administration. he's now with mclarty associates, a consulting firm. and retired army lieutenant general david barno commanded
coalition forces in afghanistan in 2003 and 2004. he's now at the center for a new american security, a think tank. welcome to you both. general, that was quite a broadside, that secretary gates leveled against the europeans, essentially saying they're not keeping up their end of the bargain in nato. is he right? >> i would have to agree with him, and it's great to see him in his last policy speech, probably in this administration, making that point about this vital alliance with the united states. i hope the europeans pay attention. he said similar things a year ago. there was really no reaction right here at the washington national defense. the real question is what will it take to get nato to change its ways. >> warner: how did you see it? >> i thought the speech was, in fact, a little bit strange because i saw a pretty familiar harangue directed against the europeans, and i say familiar. this isn't new. we've been complaining about lack of european defense spending really going back to
the 1960s. >> warner: certainly since the end of the cold war. >> that's right and threatening to pull our forces out of europe if they didn't spend more. but that was the same week, margaret, that president obama welcomed angela merkel to the white house as your lead piece here pointed out, the germans are not supporting the operation in libya. their defense spending is less than two% of their gross domestic product, which bob gates said is an important criterion. and she was given the medal of freedom and a state dinner. what i think this reflects is a broader recognition that beyond merely military power, we have much more invested in our overall relationship with the europeans. >> warner: so you're saying this was what, he shouldn't have said it? >> not that he shouldn't have said it. but i think the way he said it, i think ignored the fact-- first of all, the europeans as you're seeing a debate in the united
states, are very much focused on austerity and lack of economic growth, high unemployment. and it's hard-- i think we-- if we're going to pound the europeans to spend more, we should at least believe that they have that capability and the will to do more. and i doubt they do at this point. >> warner: is it a lack of will or is it a lack of money, general? >> i think they're related. i think your pines economically in several companies-- germany, for example, is doing as well or better than the united states is. right now i think one of the memgs secretary gates was sending to europe is the strategic context of the united states has changed, and it's changed no only because of the 2008 great recession, but it's changed because of the debt load and the deficit the united states is running right now, unprecedented levels. in fact by the end of this decade, most analysts say we're going to be paying as much in interest on our national debt as we pay today for our entire defense budget.
that's new territory for the united states. >> warner: let me ask you, this isn't a new complaint on the part of the u.s. but has the libya mission, because for once the u.s. has said it would not take the lead, has it exposed this gap more dramatically? i think it has. libya is not 3,000 miles away from europe. it's part of europe's backyard. and the refugees from libya could well wash ashore in spain and italy and france--. >> warner: they are. >> exactly. so these are vital interests, i would suggest, to the europeans. and if nato can't act effectively and muster the resources we have to question that. >> warner: it is the u.k. and france that most wanted to do this and pretty much persuaded the obama administration. you think it's all right that the europeans clearly couldn't do it by themselves? >> well, first of all, i think bob gates today conspicuously left out france and britain in his critique of spending. >> warner: of course. >> but more importantly, this--
this-- this became a nato mission after the fact. you're absolutely right. britain and france grabbed, put the bit in their teeth. they grabbed hold of this mission. they got the united states to back it, and only later, in a very kind of clumsy way became a nato mission. this was never a nato mission at the outset, and i think many members of nato believe that-- that-- as did bob gates, apparently, if you read the reporting-- that military force was not necessary in this contingency. and on the question of immigration, you get a good argument on both sides of the atlantic if we are successful in getting rid of qaddafi and his regime. is that going to make immigration better or worse? i mean, is using military power going to be a solution to the issues we face not only in libya but in the greater middle east? we're not talking about using military power in syria. we're not talking about using it in yemen. so i think we have to think a
little more broadly here about what our strategic interests are and what nato can and can't do. >> warner: let me go back to something else you're very familiar with which secretary gates raised, afghanistan. there, nato voted to make this a nato mission, even though, of course, it was the u.s. instigation. >> i was there from 2003 to 2005 and nato had a much smaller role during that era. even then they had great difficulty mustering what we would consider very small military resources. i watched the nato secretary-general spend six months taking a tin cup around europe to try to generate six helicopters to be stationed at the kabul international airport and fail in doing that and having the helicopters be missing for a month at a time. it sent signals early on that nato's military ability had decayed significantly. >> warner: you were ambassador to germany. i mean, in germany, they're doing well economically.
at the beginning of this decade, i think they were doing well. is it a question of political will, what political leaders want to spend their money on? >> margaret, you've got to begin by recognizing that nato was created and sustained in a very different strategic era. there were over 500,000 soviet forces deployed in eastern europe arrayed against nato. and nato's forces were designed to deter and defend against an attack in europe. now when the cold war came to an end, for many europeans, that existential threat came to an end. and when we think about afghanistan, we americans think about afghanistan as the place where we were attacked by al qaeda. and so it had very special relevance in terms of their americans thinking about its security. noose not the case in europe. in the special case of germany.
the germans don't believe, given their special history, that military force is necessarily awe solution to every problem. and i'm amad, just to tell you the truth, that there are 45,000 european troops fighting in afghanistan, and some of those are germans. the idea of german forces being deployed outside of europe 20 years ago would have been politically unthinkable. >> warner: so very briefly, the other major pount he made that the u.s. political conscious-- consensus for defending europe, for supporting nato, could disappear in coming decade or two? >> i think he's right. i think there's a new generation of military officers in particular who don't see the value of nato. my generation served in yurng remembered cold war, remember the soviet threat as the ambassador pointed out. the the new generation, what they're seeing is very troubling. the nato local is the international security assistance force. americans in afghanistan often call that "i saw americans
fight." so they're walking away from their experience with the germans and with other european militaris-- not in all cases but in many cases-- questioning the vaufl these military rces and qustioning the future of this alliance. >> warner: all right, thank you. >> brown: next, a rare look at dissent in iran, including the abuse of female prisoners during and following the 2009 "green revolution." that was when thousands took to the streets of tehran and other cities to protest a disputed presidential election before facing a violent crackdown by the government. our story is told through interviews recorded in secret with iranian women. the correspondent's voice, and the faces and voices of some of the women have been altered to protect their identities. this report is a co-production with the center for investigative reporting. a caution-- some of the images and stories are disturbing.
>> reporter: it's been two years since the bloody days that followed iran's disputed presidential election. i was there in the streets, along with hundreds of thousands of people. during the uprising, known as the "green movement," i witnessed horrific acts of suffering, including the death of neda aghasultan. it was captured on video and posted on the internet for the world to see. but i felt compelled to share some of the untold stories from that chaotic time. >> ( translated ): when neda died, all of iran and the rest of the world knew. but when they were raping and torturing me, and putting out cigarettes on my body, nobody knew. >> reporter: on a cold day this past winter, i met a 22-year-old
woman i call "layla" in a cafe. she was like any other vibrant, talkative girl, but i could see a deep sadness in her eyes. a month after the disputed election, layla and several other women were randomly rounded up in the street by police who accused them of being part of the green movement. >> ( translated ): when they arrested us and threw us in a van and beat us with clubs, they kept hitting us and they verbally abused us. they took us somewhere; i didn't know where it was. the windows of the van were tinted. >> reporter: she said she was taken to a secret prison. >> ( translated ): when the guard was shaving my hair, he was purposely shaving in a way that would cut my skin very painfully. and he left a little patch of hair in front just to bother me. i was not sitting in a chair-- as he was cutting my hair, he
was holding me from behind and rubbing himself against me. >> reporter: next, she was blindfolded and gagged. then, with her hands tied behind her back, she was dragged into an interrogation room. after being questioned for only a short time, layla says her interrogator became physical with her. >> ( translated ): i was scared to death. the first thing he did was lick my face with his tongue. then, he started touching my bra and all over my body. i was crying, "please, please, don't! i am innocent. i'm a virgin." he said, "no, you are not a virgin anymore." then, he raped me. after he raped me, he urinated on me, on my whole body.
>> reporter: layla said her torture didn't end there. >> ( translated ): then, i heard the sound of the whip in the air, and then felt it on my body. then he untied my hands and he started caressing my arm like a lover. i felt something burning me just for a second. i screamed and he slapped me. he put out his cigarette on my left hand. he put out another cigarette on my knee. i was still lost in the first and second pain when i felt another cigarette on my chest, another cigarette on back of my feet-- another, another and another. a pack of 20 cigarettes put out on my body. >> reporter: layla showed me the scars from the cigarette burns, but was too afraid to let them be filmed. as the protests continued in the
streets of tehran, layla continued to be brutalized in the secret prison for nearly two months. >> i don't know how many times a day i was raped. itwasn't just one person; the werdifferenteople. the whole time i was there, i was telling myself, "be strong, be calm. the end of this is death, and death will only take a moment." death was like a desire for me. i wanted to die. >> reporter: layla was released on several hundred thousand dollars bail, a price so high, her parents had to sell the family business. she was never formally charged with a crime, and the secret police continue to monitor her. layla was one of several women who talked with me over the past year, even though all of us can face retribution from the regime for speaking out.
according to the international campaign for human rights in iran, "rape was routinely practiced as a matter of policy to intimidate young ordinary people from ever coming out to protest again." iranian tv released this footage of a detention center after the speaker of iran's parliament admitted that almost 100 cases of rape were filed, but the government later dismissed the charges. in the mountains north of tehran this past winter, i met up with a young woman i call samira. she asked to meet me here because it's one of the few places young people can go and not be spied on. samira is a rap singer and uses her music to give voice to those who cannot speak out. >> ( translated ): what i could do was write about it, what i had seen, and be the voice for the people who are dead or
imprisoned. >> reporter: i first met her in the early days of the protests of 2009. she was an activist in the green movement, and had just seen a young man gunned down in the street next to her. >> ( translated ): i went to the street to demonstrate. we held back the basiji militia for two hours just by throwing stones. a man standing next to me with a mask on his face, i'd given him some stones just a few minutes before. he fell down, and blood exploded out of the middle of his forehead. i was shocked. then, somebody shouted that it was a direct shot. >> reporter: what samira saw was not unusual-- countless numbers of protesters were shot by the basiji militia. i met parvin fahimi, the mother oone of those victims. she's the only woman i interviewed who wanted to be identified.
>> ( translated ): i can't understand it really, why my child who went out for a civil protest, which was his right to ask, "what happened to my vote?" and he get a bullet as his answer. >> reporter: fahimi's son sohrab has become one of the famous martyrs of the green movement. >> ( translated ): the regime actually wanted to kill our children. it makes me sad that they don't realize these could be their own children. >> reporter: she says that even though the street protests have quieted down, the green movement is still very much alive. >> ( translated ): this is an angry silence. and they should not think, if the people are quiet, it means everything is finished. no, the tornado is coming after calm and peace. >> reporter: layla, the woman who was tortured and raped, agrees. >> ( translated ): i am totally green. if i don't wear green clothing, it's because i don't want to go
back there. but in my heart, in my brain, i am green, even in my blood. if i wasn't green, i would not have come in front of the camera to tell my story. >> reporter: samira, the rapper, says too many people have suffered too much to return to the way things were. ♪ she sings: "captive and prisoners behind the dark walls we know our destiny to freedom we, the cage birds, sing the song of flight together, solid as a row of cypress dedicated to the soil of iran, tomorrow's green sunrise belongs to us. ♪ >> warner: as we said, that report was a co-production of the center for investigative reporting.
>> brown: and now to the analysis of shields and brooks-- syndicated columnist mark shields and "new york times" columnist david brooks. welcome. first we'll take a deep breath after that powerful piece. david, i want to start, go back to secretariegacy on nato. were you surprised? who was he speaking to? what's he saying? >> he's making a profound point. first of all i think he's the best secretary of defense maybe in the country's history so he's probably worth listening, to a rare combination of personal mod see and forceful policy views. he mentioned he was a child of the cold war and that the nato alliance has been a beacon of western values for all of our lifetimes and that's very much in doubt going into the future. the fact, as he says, he can't sustain troops in libya-- not troops in libya but an action in libya, that is a relatively
minor action. the fact that western european defense budgets and maybe western european values don't support, kant support military action. fundamentally, undermundz what has been the core of global stability since world war ii. that's sort of a profound thing to put at risk. >> mark, in terms of context, i was struck when he said, if you had to go to the american taxpayers, if dollars were part of this as well asower-- and i really think david's respect for the secretary, which is real and in many respects justified, the reality is that there is diminishing popular public support in the congress and in the country for the united states policies. i mean you can say it's economically originate. susan collins this week asked the question, "tell me how this ends?" and nobody can tell.
there is no definition of victory. there is no prospect of victory. and i think in part, his exorritation, the draw-down, which is coming from the united states, is to try and keep nato from even making theirs more dramatic cutback in the afghan--. >> brown: do you sense this debate over the draw-down is-- i mean, something happened this week. it got stronger this week, didn't it? >> the call for the drawdown? >> brown: yes. >> the politics have changed a little. i think if you look at the polling, people are suspicious of it. the country's hurting economically. why are we spending money over there? but i think gate's argument, he said there has been progress in afghanistan. if we can sustain fighting in at this pace and make this progress at this pace for another fighting season and maybe a little longer, thin the taliban will be weaker and have an incentive to negotiate. that's his strategy, and i think it's a plausible strategy.
he's to be trusted, maybe more than anybody else. i would pay a lot of attention to what he said. and i think the president will have political running room to do that because while people are suspicious of afghanistan, they're not on the streets about it, and i think they will defer to expert opinion, which gates represents. >> brown: what do you think of that? what is happening in the administration? >> if part of this is to keep the taliban it's only hope is for a negotiated settlement. there's not going to be a "va" day celebrated, a victory in afghanistan or a victory over the taliban celebrated in the american history books. and i think-- i think the administration is in very tough negotiations right now as far as the deficit reduction and the debt. and that-- this has to come into that, into play. we're talking about large sums of money beyond the troops and the number that we've committed there. so i think it's-- i think it's
got a political traction to it right now. there are fewer and fewer republicans who are blindly committed to the united states engagement around the world. it's not-- it's a respectable republican position now in the congress to question, even to criticize and to oppose, united states extension of our mission in afghanistan. >> brown: all right, now, speak of political traction, let me use that to make a segue to traditional american politics-- newt gingrich. his entire senior staff leaving him. what do you make of that. >> i said on the program i wouldn't trust him to run a 7-eleven. he has zero management skills. he has zero sense of constancy. he has what is poisonous in any campaign-- an active spouse bossing around the campaign staff. this is all a recipe for a meltdown, and the meltdown came. i don't think too many people took him seriously as an actual candidate. and he seemed to think he was running on the strength of world
historical ideas, whereas staff seemed to think he was running a presidential campaign. and so they had a difference of vision, and hay thought he was out to win votes. he thought he was out to dpan a place in aristotle's pampion. so there was a clash there, but i don't think-- i don't think too many people really thought he was really running a real campaign. and i don't know why it was news to people who were work for him. >> brown: have you ever seen anything like this? >> this is my 12th presidential campaign, and i've seen candidates lay off staff in the middle of a campaign. i have never seen 16 staff fire a presidential candidate. which is what this was. and i agree with david. newt-- newt took a different approach. newt refused to accept what every other presidential candidate knows, and that is in order to be nominated in a contested year, you have to win, ideally, both iowa and new hampshire, but at least one of the two. the voters of iowa and new hampshire, call them what they
are-- i happen to have great respect for them-- but they want to see candidates. they want to take the measure of candidates personally. they want to-- a sense of their personality, to hear their answers, to hear their questions answered, to be asked for their vote. and newt gingrich treated this like he was promoting a book or on a movie tour. he was going to do talk shows. he would come in and do talk shows and maybe do an op-ed page piece. and david's absolutely right. i mean, he just had no idea what a campaign-- he couldn't run a two-car funeral. >> brown: do you think he's still a viable candidate, if he ever was? >> he is dead man walking right now. >> brown: dead man walking. >> right. he will be at the debate on monday in new hampshire and he'll probably say something provocative, but there louis less and less attention paid to him. >> somehow, we have to police the people who are not really running for office. they're running just to promote their books or movies or documentaries or to raise money.
they're not real candidates. they take advantage of the fact that there are lots of media paying attention and they're pseudocandidates and they're famous for being famous and they're not real. we have to start policing this. it's too easy for an author to say i'm running for president, buy my book. >> brown: they had close ties to rick perry in texas. do you read much into that? >> i was talking to a republican today who i have great respect for and he said he thought rick perry was one of the few people who could put together the cornerstone pieces of the cultural and social conservatives. that is the national rifle association, the right to life movement, and the tea party. and as richard fisher of the dallas federal reserve bank this week said today in the "wall street journal", 37% of the jobs created in the united states since the recovery began, the
vaunted recovery of 2009, have been created in the state of texas. so he's got a story to tell. and, you're right, david carney and rob johnson, were closely identified-- who were in the gingrich campaign who quit yesterday, were closely identified with rick perry. dan carney had been his principal consultant. >> brown: do you read anything into this? >> i do. i still hear he's not running but i don't think he's made determination. he's from texas. and there's a sense another governor from texas wouldn't fly right now. he is not the greatest campaigner. i guess among the candidates i keep hearing more about rudy giuliani this week that he's likely to get in. >> brown: do you take that seriously? >> i take it a little more seriously. he will have to step up his game if he is going to compete. he was not a good candidate last time. to run for president you have to be willing to eat dirt and crawl on the ground. >> it is a tough job! >> gingrich wasn't willing to do that.
>> brown: eat dirt and crawl on the ground. >> it's physically demanding. it's psychologically demanding. it's emotionally demanding. it really is. the an dote about the rural new hampshire voter who asked about john mccain, i've only met him three times. there really is an expectation that you're going to go there and you're going to ask people in their living rooms and you're going to listen to them. it is tough. rudy refused to engage in 2008. he never had a town meeting. people talked about john mccain getting rid of his staff in 2008. john mccain won new hampshire in 2000 when he had 114 town meetings where he stood there and answered every question available to him. that's the kind of commitment that's required that newt, obviously, was not able-- wasn't willing toake and rudy just showed himself incapable of at all in 2008. >> brown: all right, last couple of minutes and we will end on a political story of another nature, anthony weiner. you took the high road, i notice in your column today.
you brought in novelists to talk about writings of politicians who do good or behave, i guess. do you draw any lessons from one of this? >>. >> brown: the brooksian high road. >> my problem with weiner is the emotionally stunted things he did, the late night on twitter, but it was just him before all this. some people come to washington because they care about governance, they want popass legislation. he came to washington to get on tv and he was not a force in the legislature. in fact, he was a negative. he undermined legislative efforts so he tried to get on tv and he tried to do it in an extremely partisan, predictable way. my problems with weiner started long before he ever start sending out tweets. and now that he's done it, i think his effectiveness as a public spokesman for anything is severely undermined. i would advice him to take a look at what he wants to achieve in life and maybe if he's going
to stay in congress, maybe try to pass some legislation, work on an issue or two. >> brown: lessons? >> the first lesson is that shame is dead, officially dead in american public life. >> brown: shame? >> shame. how any facing the shame that he today bears and could think about staying and remaining, he's lied to his constituents. he's lied to the press, which is fine-- everybody lies to the press-- he's lied to the country. he's lied to his colleagues. he's a man who started with no friends in the congress. he never had time to make friends. and contrast that when charlie rangel face aid rough patch a year ago. people on both sides of the aisle came to charlie rangel's defense and said, "let me tell you about the charlie rangel we know." i haven't heard bye-bye talk about the anthony weiner capable of countless kindnesses and acts of loyalty. narcissism-- we've seen narcissism in both these cases, in gingrich and weiner. remember chris lee, the
republican congressman from upstate new york who resigned after it was revealed he had a bare-chested photo and a romantic overture--. >> brown: another social media. >> he looks like nathan hale up there compared to anthony weiner who wants to hang on. un, he's a distraction to his party. david is absolutely right. but during this whole time, the democrats had their one piece of good news since last november-- cathy hocle won chris lee's seat on medicare and the voucher system, paul ryan. and she's got no credit. nobody has seen her because of anthony weiner. >> brown: all right, we have to leave it there. nathan hale, anthony-- thank you both very much. >> warner: we'll be back shortly with a look at the plea deal in a case about leaking classified national security information. but first, this is pledge week on pbs. this break allows your public
>> warner: finally tonight, what had been billed as a major national security leaks case ends up as a plea bargain. ray suarez has that story. >> suarez: a former top official with the national security agency pleaded guilty today to unauthorized use of a government computer, a misdemeanor. thas drake had been charged with ten felony counts related to leaking of classifies information. the government alleged he was a source for a series of "baltimore sun" stories in 2006 and 2007 looking at the nsa. to walk us through the plea and what it means for the obama administration's efforts to crack down on leaks, we're joined by josh gerstein, who has been reporting the story for politico and was in the courtroom today. aye thomas drake was charged, josh, with some very serious crimes, onethat threatened very severe penalties. what did the government say he had leaked and what information
was he accused of having taken out of the n.s.a.? >> well, he had access to a lot of very sensitive information at the n.s.a. a a senior manager there and he was believe by the government to have leaked information to a reporter at the "baltimore sun" about a dispute going on in the agency over two different types of essentially surveillance systems, one home grown in the agency and another much larger, more expensive one that contracters were looking to sell the agency. he thought they should stick with the cheaper dm-house version and others thought they should go in a different direction. the government claims he disclosed information about that dispute to the reporter. >> suarez: in the end he pleaded guilty to unauthorized access to a government computer system. you called it a humiliating turning of events for the government.
why? >> the trial was supposed to open on monday. there had been a lot of pretrial action going back and forth for the last year. there were 10 felony counts going into this that could have led to drake spending literal dozens of years in prison, perhaps the rest of his natural life, and then at the last minute, you have this misdemeanor plea offered to him that will probably result in him getting little or no jail time. the government clearly didn't want to go forward with the case. they say they were concerned because of the judge's rulings that classify information would spill out into the public domain at this trial. i'm not sure that that can explain the entirety of that discrepancy between dozens of years and the potential of no jail time for a mere misdemeanor. >> suarez: well they could have anticipated that when they laid these charms on, couldn't they? >> sure. i understand from former prosecutors that they do game these things out what, classified information will come out at trial or what a judge may order to be released, and it's also worth noting that the law says the justice department had
the right to appeal those rulings by the judge immediately before the trial and get a ruling if they thought they were erroneous. they decided not to do that and instead gray to this misdemeanor plea. >> suarez: when it comes to prosecuting leak cases, when it comes to internally policing these kinds of matters, has there been a change in approach from the obama administration to the obama administration. >> there are certainly a lot of these brugzs going on right now. by many accounts there are five ongoing or taken place since obama administration came into office. it's hard to know in what we call the espionage act leaks prosecution, whether the obama administration should really be thought to be responsible for them in a strict sense, in that a lot of the matters are left over from the bush administration from the post-9/11 concern about classified information, about the threat of terrorism, and so forth. so it's not clear whether this is entirely an initiative on the
part of the obama administration or if obama officials are basically acquiescing in cases that got start under the previous administration. >> suarez: drake was charged under the espionage act, the same act that auld red james and other famous spies have been charged under. but was he really more of a whistleblower than a spy? >> well, certainly he and his allies contend he was really a whistleblow blower. he was trying to alert first folks inside the government, in congress, and in the inspector general offices in the government to what he considered mismanagement or waste at the n.s.a. there was no evidence he was trying to hurt the united states or he was angry with the country or anything along those lines. a lot of folks claim using the espionage act which can carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison for this sort of a violation for each count, was essentially overkill. are other senior officials who have mishandled classified information intentionally have basically gotten a slap on the wrist. >> suarez: the case is now in the hands of the judge.
when will thomas drake and the u.s. government learn his fate? >> well, the middle of next month in july, there is a sentencing set. he could theoretically get up to a year in prison, but prosecutors have agreed essentially not to seek a prison sentence. so most folks think it's likely the result will be him being essentially released on probation. >> suarez: josh gerstein of politico, thanks for joining us. >> sure, ray. >> >> brown: again, the major developments of the day: syrian security forces shelled a northern town and fired on protesters elsewhere, killing more than 30. and the u.s. stock market sank under the weight of economic worries. the dow jones industrial average lost more than 170 points. and to kwame holman for what's on the newshour online. kwame. >> holman: political editor david chalian has more with shields and brooks on our politics page. and the conversation continues on dissent in iran. we look at how iranian women are using rap music to make their voices heard, and you can find more materials from the center
for investigative reporting. plus, as a national playwriting conference convenes in virginia, jeff talks to two writers about the real life drama of their work. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. margaret. >> warner: and that's the newshour for tonight. on monday, we'll talk with former supreme court justice john paul stevens about his time on the high court. i'm margaret warner. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. "washington week" can be seen later this evening on most pbs stations. we'll see you online, and again here monday evening. have a nice weekend. thank you and good night. 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.
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