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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  June 13, 2011 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the faltering economy takes center stage as republican presidential hopefuls get set for their first debate in new hampshire. good evening. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, we take a look at this curtain-raiser to the 2012 presidential race, even as president obama heads to north carolina to tout his administration's record on job creation. >> ifill: then ray suarez has the latest on the killing of the al qaeda mastermind behind the u.s. embassy bombings in kenya and tanzania. >> brown: margaret warner explores the strained u.s.- pakistan relationship with npr's steve inskeep, just back from a
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reporting trip. this is a discussion in pakistan. are we really an independent country or just doing what the united states tells does to do. >> ifill: we look at the pentagon papers, 40 years after the secret study on the escalation of the vietnam war was leaked to the "new york times." >> brown: and former supreme court justice john paul stevens talks about his years on the bench and the shifting dynamics of the court. >> everything has changed over the years. my own view is that there's been a change on the court every time a new member has been appointed. >> ifill: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. jor nding for e pbs newshour s be proded y: >> 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
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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 by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. 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. >> ifill: the state of the nation's economy has become the main battleground for the 2012 campaign. that was the president's focus today as he traveled to north carolina.
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and it is likely to occupy center stage tonight as well, as republicans take to the stage for their first new hampshire debate. judy woodruff has our report. >> woodruff: president obama pledged to make good on his promise to grow the economy today at an energy-efficient lighting plant in north carolina. >> we stabilized the economy. we prevented a financial meltdown,. an economy that was shrinking is now growing. we've added more than 2 million private sector jobs over the last 15 months alone. but-- (applause) but i'm still not satisfied. i will not be satisfied until everyone who wants a good job, they're offered some security, has a good job that offers security. keep up the great work. >> woodruff: the president came to push training for jobs in new industries like clean energy.
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mr. o bam-- obama toured the plant with ge chairman jeff imellt. before that group met on job creation. >> jobs are important for the economy and the confidence of the country. >> woodruff: in traveling to north carolina, the state with the 10th highest unemployment rate in the country, and the site of his slimmest margin of victory in the 2008 presidential race, the president tried to brighten a gloomy economic picture as the 2012 contest gains steam. with the national unemployment rate up in may to 9.1%, the economy has become topic a in the campaign. today former massachusetts governor mitt romney, the presumptive republican front-runner released a new web video. a twist on the president's recent characterization of current economic difficulties as bumps on the road to recovery. >> i am an american, not a
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bump in the road. >> i'm an american, not a bump in the road. >> woodruff: yesterday republican contenders took aim at the president on sunday's political talk shows. former pennsylvania senator rick santorum faulted mr. obama's record on manufacturing. >> i come from pennsylvania. we still make things there. and manufacturing economy is really important. and i think what we've had is we've not had a policies that's focused on trying to create those kinds of jobs. >> woodruff: while one republican who hasn't formally declared, john huntsman, the president's former ambassador to china, called his ex-boss a failure on the economic front. >> certainly over the course of two years, there's been insufficient movement. and now people kind of back away and they say let's look at and assess the last two years and make a judgement about that. so i found in politics you've got about two to two and a half years after you've been elected to get something done. and to move out in a
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positive direction on something as important as the economy. and here we are. >> woodruff: but even as the gop field united against the president, they also took aim at each other. former minnesota governor tim pawlety connected the health care law romney pushed in massachusetts with the president's health care overhaul. >> you don't have to take my word for it. you can take president obama's word for it. president obama said that he designed obamacare after romneycare. and basically made it o bom ney care. we now have essentially the same features. the president's own words is that he patterned in large measure obamacare after what happened in massachusetts. >> woodruff: for his part, mr. obama travels to florida this evening for a democratic national committee fund-raiser. while his republican opponents face off tonight in person at a debate in new hampshire. site of the first in the nation primary for more on the politics of the
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2012 campaign we turn to newshour political editor david chalian. he joins us from manchester, new hampshire, where he'll be covering tonight's republican presidential debate for us. david, good to see you back in new hampshire. what are we expecting tonight? >> well, as you said, judy, this is not the first debate of the primary season. it's actually the second debate. there was an earlier one in south carolina but this is the first one with most of the major players. you have the front-running candidate, mitt romney, showing up this time. tim pawlenty, newt gingrich, michelle bach mann, the last two have not debated before, neither has romney. are you seeing a new crowd on the face and since most of the players are finally in this race, in this unsettled field that we have been talking about, this debate is getting a ton more attention. also because as you pointed out, some of those economic numbers, these candidates are sort of ready to pounce on the president. >> woodruff: so is their main job, dvid to go after the president or to begin to differentiate themselves from one another? >> i think you will see much more of the former, not so
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much of the latter. i do think that they see this as an opportunity to really go after the president where they think he is weakest. and that is on the economy. now some of these candidates are not that well-known. so for someone like a tim pawlenty t is an opportunity to introduce himself to the sort of narrow audience of republican primary voters that are going to watch this debate, activists that are really tuning in right now. you saw over the weekend he tried to differentiate himself a little bit on health care from mitt romney. but i don't think you're going to see fireworks explode on the stage. that would surprise me, judy f we saw that. i think this is going to be much more about training their sort of fire at the president because they're in a competition to show republican-based voters who can be toughest to take on the president. the goal here for republican voters is to get a nominee that can actually beat barack obama in november 2012. >> it is also at this point about raising money, isn't it? >> well, that is a reality
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for all these candidates. and the depressed economy is not hurting. i have talked to a lot of campaign advisors up here today. across-the-board everyone is trying to lower expectations on how much they're going to be able to raise this quarter. but they all say they're having a tough time. and that's another reason why, you know, somebody like michelle bach mann or herman kane or somebody really wants to come up with a barb against the president that gets all the attention played on cable news and linked out on the internet everywhere. because it is an opportunity to then take that moment and sell it to donners. say hey, look, i can really take it to barack obama. why don't you donate to my campaign. so that is part of what tonight is about as well. >> woodruff: let me ask you about newt gingrich, david. this is his first debate, first national television appearance, really, since his campaign imploded just about a week ago. his major staff, his senior staff just walked out on him. what are we looking for from newt gingrich? >> this is a huge opportunity for newt gingrich, obviously his campaign is in shambles.
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it is practically nonexistent after all those staffers and advisors walked out last week. but this is the kind of moment that newt gingrich always told us his campaign would be about. he wanted to have an impact in the debate. he wanted to influence the policy positions of the candidates and help shape the policy positions of the party. so he needs a moment that shows that he is the idea's man he sells himself as inside the party. if he can have that kind of a moment, can start to rebuild a little bit, live off the land, if you will, as a candidate. since he doesn't have much infrastructure around him he just needs to start building some sense of relevance. because if he doesn't have sort of a big moment that shows that he's going to have an impact on this race. will start drifting towards irrelevancy real fast. >> woodruff: meanwhile president obama also on the road today as we showed a minute ago, in north carolina, talking about the economy. not a coincidence. >> not a coincidence at all. barack obama's basically doing three key things today. he's out in a key battleground state that he
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wants to win again in 2012, talk approximating about the economy, making sure voters see he's working on the issue of most concern to them. remember we just saw a poll last week, judy, 66% of the country thinks it's on the wrong track. 59% disapprove with the way he handles the economy. but then he's going to florida tonight to fund raise because he needs to build up a huge warchest to make sure that he's not a vulnerable incumbent just on the economy. he wants all the resources to be able to defend attacks. and he sent his former press secretary robert gibbs up to new hampshire to start pushing back on all the republican attacks that are coming their way tonight. >> woodruff: if we didn't know better we would think it was farther along in the election cycle. >> the campaign season is officially here, judy, have no doubt. >> woodruff: david chalian reporting from manchester, new hampshire. we will be talking to you tomorrow night. you will be back here about how this debate went. >> looking forward to it. >> woodruff: thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, a top al qaeda operative dead; strains in the u.s.-pakistan alliance; the
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pentagon papers, 40 years on; and justice john paul stevens. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: continuing government crackdown on protesters in syria forced more people to flee across the border into turkey today. on sunday, the military reined in protesters in a northern border town using elite ground forces, helicopters, and tanks. we have a report from john ray of independent television news, who is on the border between syria and turkey. >> reporter: an uprising crushed, a victory celebrated on the syrian tv tonight. and in the town, the regime claims it's uncovered atrocities committed by rebels. but as the army advanced, a population has scattered and terrorized survivors tell a different story. >> they have attacked us. they chased us, she cried. i don't know where my aunt and uncles are. in clinics on the turkish
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side of the border they tend the injured. not even the innocent have been spared the violence. the firsthand accounts now emerging with these refugees, let alone the injuries they've sustained, add up to the most compelling evidence yet of the brutality of the syrian regime's crackdown. many more witnesses are still on the syrian side of the border. our way to their camp blocked by turkish troops. but we found a path over the hills around the check points. there are perhaps 2,000 of them. water and food in short supply. too scared to go home. >> this mantles me his four brothers have disappeared. he thinks they're dead. we hear time and again that the army attacks with tanks and helicopters and machine guns. many will not cross into turkey until they can find
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family lost in the turmoil. today we met ahmed an ibrahim both trying it to find missing wives and children. they've come to turkey. >> we have nothing in the camps, they say. we hope that by speaking, the world will help us. turkey is building yet another refugee camp ready forthousands more to spill over the border. >> the refugee influx came as turkey held >> sreenivasan: the refugee influx came as turkey held national elections and voted to keep the ruling party of prime minister recep tayyip erdogan in power. his justice and development party won 50% of the vote, short of the two-thirds majority needed for constitutional change. last night, thousands of his supporters gathered outside party headquarters waving flags and cheering the victory. kurdish candidates also made big gains, doubling their seats in parliament. libyan rebels made advances, but also sustained losses in heavy fighting with government forces today. over the weekend, rebel fighters claimed to make significant progress moving in on tripoli from both the east and west.
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they said they controlled parts of the coastal oil center of zawiya, but a government spokesman said the city was secure. shelling outside misrata was intense today, with rockets and mortar shells slamming into rebel lines every seven minutes. vance farther west in brega, doctors said at least 23 rebels were killed in a government ambush. in afghanistan, two nato troops were killed in insurgent attacks over the weekend. both attacks happened in the south on sunday, but nato officials did not release the soldiers' nationalities. 26 nato troops have been killed in afghanistan this month. fire officials in arizona reported today wildfires raging in the east of the state are now 10% contained. the blaze covers more than 700 square miles, and has destroyed 30 homes and cabins since igniting in late may. but along the new mexico state line, fire crews reported they are making good progress. the 7,000 residents of two towns, eagar and springerville, were allowed to go home after officials lifted evacuation orders yesterday.
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the missouri river breached two levees in northwest missouri today, sending torrents of water across farmland in both missouri and neighboring iowa. an army corp of engineers official said one breach was 50 feet wide, and happened in a matter of minutes. the missouri and mississippi rivers have reached record levels and levee breaches and planned pressure releases have forced hundreds from their homes this year. on wall street today, stocks ended the day mixed, and the dow jones industrial average stayed below 12,000. the dow gained a point to close just under 11,953. the nasdaq fell four points to close at 2639. and oil tumbled to its lowest price in nearly a month, dropping nearly 2% in new york trading to close just over $97 a barrel. basketball's dallas mavericks celebrated their victory over the miami heat today. they clinched the n.b.a. championship last night in miami in game six, with a score of 105-95. the team flew back to dallas today and was greeted at the airport by crowds of cheering fans.
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it is the first time the mavericks franchise has won the championship. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: another top al qaeda operative killed in a hail of gunfire, this time in somalia. ray suarez reports. and a warning: some of the images in this story are graphic. . >> arez: it w parely a navigational error that lead to the death of one of the fbi's most wanted terrorist. fazu abdullah mohammed also known as harun fazul was in this suv when they got lost and accidentally came upon a security check point in mogadishu. a gun fight ensued and both men in the suv were killed. dna tests later confirmed one was fazul mohammed who had a $5 million fbi bounty on his head. mohammed spent 13 years on the agency's most wanted list for orchestrating the 1998 u.s. embassy bombings in kenya and tanzania that
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killed 224 people, including 12 americans. he was also one of the founders of al shabbate, the al qaeda affiliate in somalia and his death is considered a significant blow to its operations in east africa. >> a person that was causing death and destruction to the people in somalia and the world. >> suarez: fazul mohammed is e third major al qaeda leader to be killed in the last six weeks. elias kashmiri who was implicated in the 2008 mum buy attacks was believed to have died during a june 3rd drone attack. this followed the killing of osama bin laden by navy seals during a raid in abbottabad pakistan a month earlier. for more we turn to we turn to juan zarate. he is now a senior advisor with the center for strategic and international studies. and juan-carlos, with some regularity over the last
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decade the al qaeda number two in a specific country would be killed or the al qaeda number three overall would be killed. how big a deal is the killing of this man. >> reporter: this is important in the context of al qaeda leadership in east after ka. haroun fazur as he was referred to was the senner leader for al qaeda in east africa. the link to the domestic militant group in somalia, the key link to the global movement, ties historically back to the founding of al qaeda, responsible for the 1998 embassy bombings attacks in 2002, mum wasa attack. this was really a key operatal strategic figure for al qaeda. so his loss is a major loss for al qaeda's connections in east africa. doesn't end the threat, certainly, from what we know in east africa or from al qaeda at large. but it is certainly a major blow to the movement. >> suarez: what is al shabob. >> a local militant group that has aligned itself with al qaeda it really emerged
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in earnest after the ethiopian invasion in somalia in 2006. gathering enthusiasm, supporters to fight the ethiopians. but in many ways they are extremist, islamist militants. they are currently fighting the transitional federal government. they have ties directly with al qaeda and they have started to train werners. we have seen this, for example w americans who have traveled to somalia. and so these are dangerous bunch. they've kill a number of somali officials including the interior minister last week. and so this is a dangerous part of the jihadi universe in east africa. >> suarez: so though the killing was accidental, the current government in mogadishu and its army would have wanted to kill this man. >> absolutely. this man was wanted not just by the united states but by the somalies, by the kenyans, by the tanz kneeans. this is somebody responsible for the deaths of hundreds of africans and continued to perpetuate attacks in the region. so this is somebody who was wanted in the region and i think the somalies and kenyans celebrated when they
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found out who they had got everyone. >> suarez: those embassy attacks for many americans would have been the first time, perhaps along with the attack on the cole they would have heard the term al qaeda. what is al shabob and its al qaeda connecon been up to since those embassy bombings in 1998? >> you have fazul and up until a couple of years ago his counterpart salih nabhan in east africa organizing, continuously training and plotting in east africa and the region. we have the 2002 attacks on the hotel, at tempted bringing down of the israeli aircraft with surface-to-air missiles which didn't succeed, fortunately. we also had the recent attacks in uganda on the world cup crowd. people who were celebrating and watching the world cup. fazul is expected to have been behind that. and so there have been not only international attacks but also attacks there in somalia that the al shabob movement has been behind.
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and h action r-- haroun fazul was not only the link to al qaeda proper but also a master trainer, strategist and manipulater. and he was great at evading capture until he was caught just recently. >> suarez: when a group like al shabob losses a leader of this stature, what happens. there is not an official formula for succession. what happens inside the group? >> well, unfortunately, the movement has other leaders who are positioned internally within somalia. i think the loss of haroun fazul represents more to the global movement a catastrophe in terms of their presence in east africa. the local group will continue to fight. they are continuing to fight the transitional federal government. they are continuing to commit suicide operations. there was just an attack on a check point. and so the group itself will continue. and there's leadership there. the real question is does it formart of this global universe of al qaeda affiliates and lily pads as
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i call them. and without somebody like fazul with long-standing ties to al qaeda core and leadership, those ties are weakened and it becomes more difficult for that group to serve as a global platform. and so the al shabob will continue, unfortunately, and it will be a threat. but i think without fazul it becomes less of a global player. >> suarez: also dead recently as he mentioned earlier, one of the plotters behind the mumbai attacks in 2008. what do we know about the death of ilyas cash mishi. >> the death of ilyas kashmiri has perhaps gone under the radar screen. incredibly important killing in terms of the war on terror. this was a figure who was a high level al qaeda op rattive operate approximating in pakistan. was the key senior link between al qaeda and some of the kashmiri militant groups. he ran a group called kuji which was involved in the militant activity, was behind the mumbai attacks and certain other attacks. he was a key strategist and
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operational leader. and so losing him in the wake of the loss of osama bin laden is a major blow to the groups in western pakistan that are starting to align with each other. >> suarez: not so much for the soldiers but if you are, for want of a better term, middle management in these groups, through this crescent that runs from east africa into central asia, do you think twice about taking on a senior leadership role? is it hot for these guys now. >> i'm not quite clear sure about the motivation. i think these guys are motivated regardless for the cause. but i think certainly they are laying low. they understand that there is quite a bit of counterterrorism pressure now in the wake of the bin laden killing. and so there is no doubt key leadership going to ground both in western pakistan and around the world. you have seen, for example, attempts by the u.s. to go after folk like anwar alaki the american cleric part of the al qaeda group in yemen. so what you are seeing now is a real global push by the
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united states and our allies to go after key al qaeda leaders. in the words of john brennan, the assistant to president obama, break the back of al qaeda's leadership. >> suarez: juan-carlos zarate, thanks for joining us. >> thank you, ray. >> ifill: now, to pakistan. several new bombings shook the peace there again today, including the first suicide bomb attack in the capital, islamabad. at least one person died and three others were wounded. there were also attacks in the tribal areas, killing three soldiers, and in quetta. no group has claimed responsibility, but the pakistani taliban have vowed to avenge osama bin laden's killing. margaret warner gets an eyewitness account of the fraying situation on the ground. >> since the u.s. raid that killed osama bin laden in pakistan last month, deeper strains have developed between supposed allies. united states and pakistan.
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npr morning edition host steve inskeep just returned from a two-week trip there he's reported often from pakistan and is the author of a fourth coming-- forthcoming book, instant city, life-and-death in karachi. welcome back to the program. >> glad to be here. >> warner: now you went there to assess pakistan after osama bin laden was found there and killed there. what did you find? >> i wanted to go because this was the end of the story for americans. this almost ten-year search for this man and trying to avenge, if that's the word, the crimes of 9/11. but we felt that it might be the beginning for pakistan, as a deeply troubled country. and we quickly found that it was true. and we quickly entered, i don't want to say an alternate reality but a place where people are perceiving the world very differently. one the first things we did was go out on the street and ask people about the death of bin laden. and we found a lot of people who didn't believe that he was dead. or if he was dead, he certainly wasn't killed, they said, the way the americans said. that seems to be the case
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with almost half of pakistanies. and i think that's symbolic, that kind of conspiratorial thinking is symbolic of the moment that people are in. they are deeply insecure. they're deeply uncertain about the world and what the future holds. >> warner: now did you find that the bin laden-- finding bin laden in pakistan, did it prompt soul-searching or were they defensive about it? >> i think both of those phrases would apply. people in the military are profoundly defensive. people in the intelligence agency, the isi are defensive it was a great embarrassment. we should have found him, as a security official was telling me. they acknowledged that much. at the same time, they were offended by the fact that the united states did not inform pakistan what they were doing. it was a showing of profound distrust. on the street, there is a variety of reactions. and among the politicians, a variety of actions. one of the most interesting to me was a willingness to criticize and question the power of pakistan's army which plays a huge role in national life.
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takes up a huge part of the national budget. and a huge part of the national image. and people are beginning to ask in a sharper way than they have at some other times about whether that's right. >> warner: now you went up to a town right at the edge of the tribal region. what did you find there and elsewhere about how their fight, the one that-- cares about, against terrorists and militants in their midst is going? >> they are learning the same lessons that the united states learned in iraq and afghanistan. which is that no matter how large your army, no matter how smart your army, no matter how well armed they are, an insurgency is extraordinarily difficult to fight. the town that you refer to is a town in the center of a district or county, so to speak, where basically a paramilitary base was bombed, two bombs. one bomb, a number of people are killed. there's injured. people are curbing to the scene and another bomb goes off. and this is in an area that was cleared by the army a couple of years ago. and what's happening in area
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after area, all across these tribal zones and the nearby area as long the border withoff began stand is that troops move in, thousands of troops move in. they drive back the taliban or other associated groups. but the groups filter back in again and the troops can never leave. and even though they have 140,000 soldiers there, they are running out of soldiers to go everywhere that they need to go. >> warner: let's go back to the public and when you talked about the suspicion and the conspiracy theories. what is the state, i mean you went to a college where i think you said some of the students were on u.s. scholarships. and yet you found a lot of suspicion and resentment. tell us about that and what is at the root of it? >> it is the discussion in pakistan, are we really an independent country? are we just doing what the united states tells us to do. and yes on this college where there were usaid partially funded scholarships, they got money from elsewhere to round out the scholarships where there is a new building, a science building paid for in part by the usaid. where students are
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appreciative of that aid, they are still wondering about what is the bargain fortheir country. there's a lot more money being spent on the military. and people are wondering, what is it that the country is being asked to do in response, in return for this aid. and is it worth it. because they also see new stories about american drone strikes killing people. now the pakistani military has indicated they actually think these drone strikes are pretty effective. i think the government is being more than a little hypocritical about this in their criticism. but there is a lot of angst on the street and anger on the street and concern about civilians being killed. >> warner: and as you said in a couple of your pieces arc lot of suspicion about u.s. motives here. >> yes. and when you begin laying out the theories, they they make perfect sense to a lot of pakistanies and make no sense to americans. people, there actually a newspaper article while i was there written by a serving member of the military under his own name stating that the united states was behind a recent
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militant attack on a naval base in calf ashi that it was some kind of plot to bring down pakistan. and that the long-term goal was to destabilize this country to the point where it would be acceptable to grab pakistan's nuclear weapons. it sounds crazy to americans. but it does not sound crazy to a lot of pakistanies. and even people who would acknowledge that okay, that's not a real theory, there's no evidence of that. they are still concerned about america's motives in a broader way. why is the united states being involved in the way that it is in this country. >> warner: and then going even deeper into this alternate reality that you found, one of our supposed allies in this region, you got some incredible comments from thoughtful people about the national psyche right now. i mean words like despair, anxiety, depression. what was that all about? >> that is a conversation that's been going on for a long time in pakistan. and as zaide one of the people you may be referring to, a writer, journalist and
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development pex pert in pakistan was saying, this is a profoundly difficult time t is an insurgency that has gone on for years. thins have been blowing up around that country for years. and it is extremely ditch for people and they're not getting answers. you don't necessarily know who commits a murder in that country. you don't really know, necessarily who commits a bombing. you don't trust your government. you don't get answers from ur government. you don't know who to turn to and so you make up stuff. and that's part of the problem he says. >> so bottom line you've been reporting from there since 2002 off and on. >> uh-huh. >> does it feel to you like a countries that's really losing confidence in its own future? >> i think that there's always a degree of that in pakistan. this i can country had a strange beginning at the time when british india was made independent. and it was divide mood two countries. the country in some ways has never quite gotten over that beginning. there is always a struggle over national identity what are we doing here what is our purpose. there's been an effort to fill that gap with religion which has lead to all kinds of other political problemses as you know very well, margaret.
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but at the same time there is an incredible resilience to people. i've done a lot of reporting in the city of karachi which has been incredibly violent for many years before americans were really ever paying attention there. an incredible number of bombings, of killings, of other kinds of violence. religious violence and many other kinds of violence and yet every day people get up again. millions of people get up again and go to work and on some level the city functions. and so even though we're talking about a deeply troubled country at a deeply troubled time i'm often inspired by the people that i meet there. >> warner: steve inskeep from npr, thank you so much. >> glad to do it >> brown: next, the impact of the pentagon papers, then and now. . june 19671. vietnam dragged into its 6th year of major combat. ten of thousands of americans were already dead and still thousands more protesting on the home front
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asked why. but to the world's surprise, the pentagon itself had already secretly posed that question and others years earlier. and on june 13th, 1971, parts of its answers from a multivolume history of the war began to appear in the "new york times". it was a seismic event. the publication of a covert version of the war that ran countertoo much of the optimistic talk that had permeated officials's statements for years. the pentagon papers as they came to be known were leaked to the times by daniel ellsbury, a former defense department analyst. president nixon and his administration went to the courts which ordered the times to cease publication. >> let me explain very carefully the principles of confidentiality either exists or it doesn't exist. >> brown: "the washington post" picked up publication. the paper's late publisher catherine graham described her difficult decision to
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publish them on the news did hour in. >> but the editor said we have to maintain the momentum. the issue here was the government's ability to restrain the print newspaper. and they felt so strongly about it, that i came down on the side of the editors. >> brown: but a 6-3 decision in the supreme court soon said the government had no right to stop the publication and landmark first amendment decision. 40 years later, that ruling comes into play in classified leaks such as the recent effort spearhead by the controversial anti-secrecy group wikileaks. and today 40 years to the day after the world got its first glimpse of parts of the pentagon papers, the national archives released them in their entirety completely unsensored for the first time-- uncensored for the first time. though there is little expectation that much new information will be sifted from the trove n this era of instant document dumps, one of the first of its kind still-- kind still
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resonates. for more on this we turn and for more on this, we turn to sanford ungar, author of "the papers and the papers: an account of the legal and political battle over the pentagon papers." a longtime journalist and editor, he's now the president of goucher college. and presidential historian michael beschloss. michael, take us back to that moment in 1971. how would you describe the immediate impact of the papers, particularly on the politics of the vietnam war? >> well, people had-- many people who were critics of the war had a lot of their worse suspicions confirmed. that the johnson administration had been very secretive and had not told the truth about key ep sides and also learned about other things like the kennedy's administration's involvement in the coup that lead to the at sass nation of president - -- -- the a-- assassination. with you before 1917 there was a feeling that government documentses that were leaked or stolen or published against the will of the government, that was something the soviet foreign agents did. that was something the
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rosenbergs did, the pumpkin papers is one reason why the alger hits archive, one reason this was called the pentagon papers so there was that connection. but this was the first time that this was really seen as an episode of patriotism. and ever since 1971 we had begun to believe the idea of the crusader who finds government secrets that should not be secret, give them to the public. shortly after this with watergate we saw what bad secrets government kos really keep. >> you looked into this the decision to publish by the times was a hard one. >> it was a very carefully considered decision, three months locking people up in hotel rooms in new york, review them. they wanted to be responsible. tried to establish that the information was not going to harm the u.s. national security. it seems almost quaint now to think that people would spend so much time making that decision. and then of course when the first, when a stay was granted to prevent continued
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publication, that's when elseburg took the papers to then 40-year-old-- to the "washington post". and eventually 19 newspapers over the whole period of time. >> brown: and did it have an immediate impact in the culture, in the politics of the time? >> well, i think the key thing, jeff, was that this moment came in the midst of this intense hatred between the nixon administration and the media. there were investigations of reporters sources that were being taken before grand juries. spiro agnew, remember him, was giving speeches against the press. you know, his illiterative references to the limousine liberals, the mattering nabo b's of negativism and so on. and in a sense the pentagon papers fell into the laps of the nixon white house it didn't hurt the nixon administration. >> it wasn't really about them. >> it wasn't about them. henry kissinger national
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security advisor was negotiating for the opening to china. and he said if we don't do something about this, of course he happened with intense personal dislike for dan elseburg and other people involved -- >> those things were never involved in history reports. >> of course. he said if we don't do something about this, the chinese will never trust us. so reluctantly almost with bliners on the nixon administration went into court, made claims about the danger and national security, the solicitor general at the time griswold later said that he didn't believe the claim that he himself was advancing the courts on behalf of the nixon administration. it was essentially a political prosecution. >> brown: and you referred to watergate earlier there was a tie with the creation of the plumbers, right. >> absolutely. the plumbers, the squads of the nixon administration organized to go after leaks like this. and it is almost poetic, almost exactly a year after the pentagon papers were published, was the watergate break-in, june of 1972.
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richard nixon has the famous meeting with hr haldeman which is he using government secrecy to cloak a crime. he is telling haldeman tell the cia and the fbi to stay the hell out of this. this was national security. exactly what people feared would happen and exactly the argument that they made for opening these secrets. the whole reason the plumbers were created was that, this is a very arcane piece of this, but the white house didn't trust j. edgar hoover whos was then director of the fbi to pursue this aggressively because hoover was a friend of dan elsburg father-in-law who was a toy manufacturer. he used to give toys to hoover to give to his employees for their children at christmastime. now turns out dan elsburg and his father-in-law didn't have a particularly loss relationship. >> so they decided they needed another group to plug the leaks and they created the plumbers. >> brown: now bring us forward here, 40 years
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later. do you consider the impact, one certainly, you started to talk b the relationship between the government, which is seeking to-- citing the demands of national security and the press. >> well, the irony was "the new york times" first did this because in 1961 exactly a decade earlier, john kennedy went to the publisher of "the new york times" who had told him that we've got this information that you are planning an attack on castro's cuba, the bay of pigs. do you want us to publish or not. kennedy said please don't. the times said okay, we won't. later on kennedy said i wished you had published it because it would have stop head this fiasco from happening that is how much things have changed. nowadays i would say that for a publisher who is boss of editors and reporters who come across information like this the burden is much more on the government to show why something like this will cost lives or directly jeopardize american national security. and often times if the government makes that argument, they do not win.
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in the old days they almost always did. >> brown: and yet the struggle does go on. even on friday we had a segment about the obama administration -- >> actually the obama administration despite its commitment to openness in government and less classification, has brought more prosecution under the es meanage act law passed in 1917, has always been attacked for its imprecision, the obama administration has brought more prosecutions under espionage for leaks than any other post world war ii administration. which is ironic. there is vast overclassification to this day. there are still documents from world war i dealing with secret inning, german secret inks that are classified that are in the national archives and haven't been let out. it's crazy. >> brown: i was thinking just today it's kind of ironic the pentagon papers themsves were technically secret until today even though the vast majority of it was well-known.
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>> that's correct. >> and that's oftentimes true of classified documents and one reason why there should be more openness rather than closing these things up. >> in fact there is something new called the national declassification center at the national archives and they've been looking for some big projects to make a splash. came across the pentagon papers never having been declassified, decided they would work on this and go through the diplomatic volumes which elsburg never released and then only certificate enpip tusesly found the 40th anniversary was coming and they would get them out. >> is there any chance that we learn something new as it comes out. >> not much-- at 47 volumes, we will read them overnight and come back. >> brown: okay, for tomorrow. >> they were picked over pretty heavily by a lot of members of congress and others. >> i think there are no smoking guns you no. historians, some historians will find some nuances here that they didn't see before. but even 40 years ago, a lot of these documents were old. there were things from the
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truman administration, eisenhower administration. there's not much dramatic that is left. but it's nice to know that 40 years later, documents that have been readily available for all these years are now officially unclassified. >> brown: all right. sandy ungar, michael beschloss, thanks very much. >> pleasure. >> thank you. >> ifill: finally tonight, it's been nearly a year since supreme court justice john paul stevens stepped down from the bench as its third-longest serving justice. appointed by republican president gerald ford in 1975, stevens retired with a reputation as the leader of the court's liberal wing, and is now working on a book about his time in the company of five successive chief justices. i sat down with justice stevens after he was honored today at the law library of congress. >> ifill: justice stevens, thank you tore joining us. >> nice to be here. thank you. >> ifill: when you were
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appointed by president ford you were considered to be the republican nominee that by the time you retired you were considered to be the court's unlikely liberal. were you really that unlikely? or were you really that liberal? >> well, i never have been a fan of trying to use labels like that to describe the justices. because very often the justice will be liberal on one issue and conservative on another. and it is true that i was in dissent a lot in the last several years, i was in dissent quite a bit from the beginning too. >> ifill: you just became a professional dissenter in your time on the court. >> well, i actually started out doing a lot of dissenting. so i'm not sure-- i'm not sure how to answer that question. >> ifill: did you change? did the court change? or did society change in your 35 years there? >> well, i suppose everything's changed over the years. my own view is that there's
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been a change on the court every time a new member has been appointed. justice white used to comment on the fact that whenever a new justice comes on board, it's a different dynamic in the court, there's a different process of appaching cases and deciding them. and so that the court definitely has changed over many appointments that have occurred during the years that there have been that many changes. and some of them, of course, i consider for the better. some not for the better. but the court has changed. >> ifill: are there any caseses that have been decided since you left the court that you thought to yourself i wish hi been able to weigh in on that? i'm thinking in particular of the case that upheld the kansas church which picketed at military funerals. i know that was-- you were quoted as saying that was something you were not a fan of. is that something you wish you could have weighed in on? >> well, i thought justice alito did a fine job of
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explaining why the decision was, i think, incorrect. i think if didn't actually recognize the difference between restrictions on what a person can say and the way in which it can be said and the places in which it can be said. and in the cases involving libel, for example, the court has found constutionally protected speech by public figures, that would not be protected by a private person. and it seemed to me in that particular case, that was a private-- it was a private speech. and the audience was a private family, the funeral, they broadcast the peach generally but i thought that because the speech was really not this kind of public speech that was protected in a defamatory context, i didn't think it should be protected. when it was a tort aimed at harming, what the jury found,
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was aimed at harming a particular family that were just attending their own funeral. it seems to me it was quite wrong to treat that as though it were a speech in a public arena. >> ifill: and justice a little-- a lito was the lone dissenter. >> i would have joaned-- joined him definitely. >> ifill: one of the things you were most famous for was your stand on the death penalty. after years of seeming to uphold or at least sitting on the bench while it was upheld, you changed your mind about that, why? >> well, i really don't think it's correct to say i changed my mind about it. i think what happened over the years since 1976 is that the courts capital punishment jurisprudence changed dramatically in several respects. i think that the court's tolerance of procedural, questionable procedures has actually undermined the basis for upholding the death penalty that potter stewart and lewis powell and i relied on in our controlling opinions back in
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1976. >> ifill: the court is now seen as famously divided. but the division seems to be less partisan than it seems it to be those who believe in original intent and those who believe of the law as a living organism. which is where you come down. >> well, you know, even that division is not as clear-cut as you might say. because everybody agrees that it's appropriate to do everything we can to understand the original intent behind both statutes and constitutional provisions. but the motion that that can provide the answer in all cases is what is incorrect. it sheds light on all cases. but it is just one of the tools you have to use in trying to answer the question. of course, one of the ironies is that those who think that original answers all the questions, also is somewhat inconsistently don't want to look at legislative intent which is designed to find out what the dress in the legislature
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intend. so there is some intention there. but i think it's wrong to use that as the solution to all constitutional questions. >> so many people look at the 5-4 decisions of the court and say it's just partisanship pure and simple. i know that you never used to go to state of the union addresses. you didn't think that was necessarily the appropriate role for a justice? >> when earl warren was chief president johnson gave an address in which he supported the civil rights act. i don't know, the '64 act or '67. but in any event the court rose and slapped vigorously to indicate approval of what was going on. and there was an editorial in one of the papers the next day saying well, the united states supreme court just approved the constitutionality of the civil rights act. and so the members of the court decided after that that they should not indicate their views in response to anything the president might say because it might be misinterpreted. and that lead to the
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practice of the justices sitting mute, silent while everybody else is cheering and responding to speeches. and you feel kind of silly. you have to be careful about not revealing your response. so a number of times i thought it not the most desirable way to spend my time. >> ifill: you're writing a book about your experiences, either as a clerk, an advocate or as a colleague on the bench. why are you writing that book? what do you feel the need to say? >> well, if might say there are two or three reasons. one that i the number of functions during the last year in which people have asked me questions. and one question i got over and over again was you served with three chief justices. comment on their differences. and i thought well, if they're interested in three, maybe i can give them an answer for all five that i knew. and so i got the idea as a
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result of those sessions is. and i have to confess that my work on the court, i enjoyed writing opinions. i find that it's worked, i just get enthusiastic about it. and so i enjoy writing. now so it gave me an opportunity to do some writing about those five chief justices. both my own personal regulation-- recollections about them and gives me an opportunity to make some comments about some of their jurisprudence. and some of it i agree with. and some of i disagree with. >> ifill: bus bush re gore play a part. >> very minor. are you talking about the book. >> ifill: uh-huh. >> very minor. i said i wrote in the opinion, i tried not to repeat in the book things i have written in opinions. but rather to try to have just more recollections about different things i worked on. >> ifill: i think a lot of
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people would be curious about your recollections of that period. >> i hope so. >> ifill: okay. one final question, i know you have been off you're famous for playing tennis all the time. and for being a very active justice and retired justice. are you still playing tennis? how is the game going? >> my tennis game is not what it used to be. but i have to confess that i'm grateful to a very good friend with whom i played for years that the fact that i don't run as well as i used to and i have a bum knee now has instituted a new procedure that we follow without ever discussing it all. he hits the ball to me. he doesn't make me run for it i can make him run as much as possible. but as part of it, in order to prolong the game he takes-- he does not take advantage of the fact that i can't move the way i like to. >> ifill: it's a pretty good deal. >> yeah. >> ifill: justice stevens, thank you so much. >> thank you.
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>> brown: again, the major developments of the day. president obama touted his new jobs plan in north carolina, just hours before republican presidential hopefuls met to debate in new hampshire. the ongoing government crackdown on protesters in syria forced more people to flee across the border into turkey. and firefighters in arizona made some progress battling a 700- square-mile blaze. it's now 10% contained. and to hari sreenivasan, for what's on the newshour online. hari? >> sreenivasan: find links to resources for browsing the newly declassified pentagon papers. and the conversation continues on tonight's republican candidate debate. judy woodruff gives her take on the stakes in new hampshire in this week's political checklist. plus, horse racing's triple crown concluded this weekend with the belmont stakes. and we've posted the third in our video series, where we profile "washington post" columnist and horse speed expert andrew beyer. all that and more is on our web
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site, gwen? >> ifill: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at a united nations report on civilian casualties in afghanistan. i'm gwen ifill. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> chevron. and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting scice, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you.
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