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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  June 18, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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terrorist threats across the globe, to include helping prevent the terrorist -- potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11. >> the officials made public details on four terrorist plots, two of them for the first time. plots that had had apparently been foiled using intelligence gathered by the nsa. >> known extremist in yemen. this individual was in contact with an individual in the united states named khalid uizani. he and other individuals who we identified through a fisa that the fbi applied for were able to detect a nascent plotting to bomb the new york stock exchange. uiz had hani had been providing information to this plot. the fbi disrupted and arrested these individuals. >> citing specific evidence of thwarted terrorist's tax seems to be the administration's main defense in making the case for
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surveillance of both foreign and domestic targets. last night during an interview with charlie rose, president obama took a page from the same playbook discussing a 2009 plot to bomb the new york city subway system. >> you've got a guy like najibullah zazi who was driving cross-country trying to blow up a new york subway system. now we might have caught him some other way. we might have disrupted it because a new york cop saw he was suspicious. maybe he turned out to be incompetent and the bomb didn't go off. but at the margins, we are increasing our chances of preventing a catastrophe like that. >> but for some, the choice between security and civil liberties is a false one. indeed, for the man behind the leaks, edward snowden, the basic question of whether and how we should be fighting the war on terror has yet to even be addressed. in an online chat yesterday, snowden said as much, "bathtub
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falls and police officers kill more americans than terrorism, yet we've been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it." joining me today, nbc news political analyst, former governor of pennsylvania, ed rendell. editor and publisher of "the nation" and contributor to the "washington post," katrina vandenhuevel, and the contributing editor at "new york" magazine, benjamin wallace wells. james noted in his online chat at "the guardian," raising the question sort of hanging around the periphery of this discussion, but are we correct in the way that we are fighting the war on controversy? never mind the efficacy of it but should we be having a larger discussion of whether there is a cost benefit analysis that should be done? >> of course we should be having a larger debate. i think part of the problem with snowden is that a lot of the media -- not all -- so fixated on the personality of snowden that we're losing sight of the need to look at the revelations
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and to look at the debate we need to have about excesses of what has been committed in the name of fighting this "war on terror." president obama, again this kind of gap between words and deeds. he has said we must stop talking about the war on terror, but yet you saw with alexander, you saw with clapper, and it is shocking to me that clapper's resignation hasn't been on the president's desk in the last few days -- the assemblage of the national security state there to kind of impose a veil of secrecy. if we're going to have that debate -- i'm sure my panelists disagree with how far we go -- we need more transparency. so much of the debate has been tlouded in secrecy. you'll hear from good representatives like senators mark udall and ron widen and others that we can't have a debate if so much is shrouded in secrecy and it is owed to the american people a measure of transparency in this fight against terrorism to know what's being done in their name by
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their government by their representatives. >> governor rendell, part of the attempt at lifting the veil, it seems to me, is having these intelligence folks, the president of the united states, come out and say these are the terrorist plots that were foiled by our surveillance network. and i wonder what you make of that as a line of argument. do you think that's enough for the american people to say, okay, now we know that there was a plot on the new york stock exchange, there is an ongoing plot about someone who was providing financial support to overseas terrorist plots in somalia in conjunction with the zazi plot and headily plot. >> general alexander said there were 50i instances where information helped deflect a plot. we were talk being in the green room, we don't know whether there was other information and whether this was the only way. the president made that point a little bit himself. but alex, this is always a balance. i think the american people -- you can see it in the early polling -- they would opt out on the side of security.
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because as of right now. because they don't know the extent of the abridgement of our privacy, the abridgement of our rights. i'm not sure we know the extent. as bob said to me in the green room, this is a slippery slope. if you allow this without a good robust public debate and without oversight, where do you go? the fisa court just doesn't cut it. i'm a lawyer and i would have loved to, when i was d.a., to have a courtroom where only i appear. where a defendant never appeared. i'd never have lost a case! in fact, the government only lost 1 out of 1,300? >> the fisa court has rejected 11 of more than 33,900 government -- great batting average. bob, to the conversation you had in the green room with the governor, there's the fisa court. there are a couple of things that the president outlined he will do. in the interview with charlie rose, he said he'll declassify more of the nsa program. he'll have a privacy and civil
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liberties board filled with som. the question is whether he will declassify the fisa court. npr was reporting that the white house is considering it. would that help in your mind? >> yeah, i think it would help, definitely if he declassified those opinions. first thing, if you can start declassifying a lot of this stuff, why was it classified in the first place? it is supposed to be top-secret because some terrible harm would occur if this knowledge was generally available, and yet they're now going through the process of declassifying for political purposes or whatever their reasons might be. >> though they might say it is okay to declassify it after the fact. we wouldn't want to declassify it when the plot was -- >> had this not been erupted, they would not be declassifying stuff even after the fact. another point i'd make, if this fellow snowden had so much access, then how secret is this
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stuff really? how could that person have access to so much critical top-secret material? if he did, it means all kinds of other people did as well. some of those folks who have access, their motives would be far less than pure. if you want to start talking about espionage or terrorism or things that would really be harmful to the united states, if this stuff is so critical, then just give access to all and sundry is crazy. >> that's part of this whole debate and discussion around national security, is the aspects of it that we i don't think have firmly grasped until now, which is the outsourcing of it to contractors. like thousands and thousands of contractors. i think it is 34% of this work is outsourced to contractors and the revolving door at the top. intelligence officials frequently go back and forth between working for private intelligence gathering operations, like booz allen,
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then go back into government. if you're talking about oversight, make sure that the ts are crossed and is are dotted is harder to do if you go back and forth between two worlds. >> before 36 years ago you can count the amount of americans who know keith alexander on one hands. he turns out not only to be a powerful figure in intelligence, but also a guy at the nub of all of these moral kind of questions that we're asking about the relationship between the state and the individual. one thing that i think is also worth putting up in this conversation is just americans don't have a very good idea right now of what the terrorist threat -- the terrorist threat actually looks like. so president obama gave a much laud and very comprehensive and great speech at the national defense university a couple of months ago where he talked about the shifting nature of the terrorist threat. he said we're now back to a place where formal international
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structural al qaeda has been dismantled a little bit and really we have these sort of small local networks that are kind of self-starting and self-radicalizing. we saw that in the boston bombing. so if we're thinking about these trolls for metadata, if you had a situation where you had a very structured centralized al qaeda and you could connect individual citizens back to it, maybe that's a little bit different ethical judgment that you make about whether that's okay than if you're looking for radicalization, which is a much harder thing to detect and a much harder thing to prove. >> i was going to say -- >> let me jump in here. what he's touching on i think is the fact that we have erred on the side of magnitude. we have decided that the threat is broad and unseen and our tactics for addressing the threat are broad and largely unseen. what is amazing to me is that keith alexander, in a senate testimony last week, was questioned by pat lay i had and he's talking about sort of
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isolating a, b and c, plots a, b and c that we have foiled through nsa surveillance. he says" authorities compliment each other in helping us identify different terrorist actions and disrupting them. so what are you asking me to state is unequivocally that a or b contributed solely to that. the reality is they work together." he can't even really tell us concretely that one thing stopped another. >> i think that the national security/private contracting apparatus has grown to such a huge, vast size that no one person has an understanding of the information flowing, the different points. what benjamin mentioned about outsourcing i think is critical. it isn't the case that this is so new. our national security correspondent wrote a book called "blackwater" which was a prominent force not only in iraq but new orleans. 70% of the intelligence budget in the world today goes to private contractors. how does one oversee a booz allen hamilton which makes $56 billion a year off of its
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contracts with the government. >> nearly 100%. >> it speaks to bob herbert's point. you could have corporate espionage, you could have selling of secrets. i think that we need to have a serious debate in this country about what size national security apparatus we need and why is it that this is a global war without end, without boundaries. it is interesting that president obama is in ireland. ireland lived -- the uk and ireland lived with terrorism for years. they found a way through political negotiation, intelligence and tough policing. not endless war. and by the way, the danger is in war, what happens in war? you lose the very principles that you claim to uphold in that battle against forces. >> i want to bring up this dick cheney comparison. people are going to say suddenly obama has become dick cheney. he didn't compare himself to george w. bush who in fact was
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the president but dick cheney, the guy who arguably was the. puppet master of the bush presidency. "the atlantic" has an interesting analysis. i would love your thoughts on this. "for all their substantial differences, dick cheney and barack obama share one leadership trait -- they trust their own judgment so thoroughly and value it so highly that they recklessly undermine all institutional and prudential restraints on their ability to exercise it whenever they see fit. indeed, like kobe bryant at end of a playoff game, they both harbor a barely suppressed supremely arrogant belief that behaving in this way is their responsibility, or even their burden." >> well, it's part right and part not right. i think there is no question that anybody who's been in the president's presence, president obama, cleerm undarly understan he thinks he is the smartest person in the room and he probably is. that's true. dick cheney probably wasn't the
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smartest person in the room but he wasn't. i think there are more checks and balances. i think the president, president obama, does consult with people who he believes are in a position of knowledge more so than dick cheney did. i think dick cheney just thought it's my way or the highway, period. i think the president does consult. bob again were talking about it. can you imagine if this current incident had happened in the bush-cheney era. what would progressives have done? >> i don't know that all progressives aren't soft pedals. >> a lot of progressives are soft pedals. i do think there would be just tons of outrage on the left if bush, cheney or any republican were pursuing the same policies that obama is pursuing in the war against terror. >> ben. >> one thing that -- one possibility i think we have to keep in mind is that, you know, terrorism does look different
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from the inside. it's possible that -- i mean we're talking about obama and cheney, two people who have almost impossible to anything they have in common, except that they have actually had access to the most classified high-level look at what is actually happening with threats to the united states, to its citizens, to businesses here and abroad, actually look like. that's the point of commonality. that's also the point of kind of strangeness for obama. i think we have to leave open the possibility, though it is maybe a little bit too charitable to obama, that he has been converted by stuff that he has seen that's real. >> i think that's a great point. when i was governor, one of the things that the state police detected was a group of people going towards one of our five nuclear reactors with the idea that they were going to try to blow up the reactor, which would have made three-mile island seem like a picnic. so you do get a sense when you're on the inside of the scope of a tragedy that you
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don't necessarily get. >> which can sometimes be itself distorting. >> absolutely. >> i want to push back against it a little bit, because in our form of government, if the president or other insiders see things that make them believe that they have to act in ways that are antithetical to our values or our laws or to our constitution, then the way to play that out is to have a discussion about it and change the law or change -- or amend the constitution and that sort of thing. you shouldn't have that kind of power concentrated in one person who are just a handful -- >> we have to take a break. when we come back, republicans cannot stop, will not stop talking about rape. and this time they've enlisted congresswoman marsha blackburn to conduct the conversation. we will discuss today's house vote on a 20-week abortion bill when planned parenthood's cecile
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a break from repealing obama care and moving on to even more divisive and incendiary exercises. including voting on new pieces of legislation that stand absolutely no chance of becoming law. in just a few hours, the house is expected to bring to the floor a bill that would ban most abortions at 20 weeks. something that would be unconstitutional if signed into law. normally debate on the bill would be managed by the bill's sponsor, but in this case, the bill's sponsor is arizona republican trent franks, the man who grabbed headlines last week
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for theorizing about the rarity of pregnancy resulting in rape. rather than putting the gop's rape front man in charge of the debate about women's reproductive rights, republicans have opted for congresswoman marsha blackburn, popular mascot for the gop lady issues, a woman who voted against the lilly ledbetter act, the paycheck fairness act and the violence against women act. putting a woman at center stage on a woman's issue was not the only republican bid at sanity or at least semi-sanity. following franks' comments last weekle house also quietly added exceptions to their bill for rape and incest. this is important to note that this exception only applies if the victim reports the crime before getting an abortion. in the end, the house may pass the bill but it has zero chance of becoming law. as proof, yesterday the white house issued a veto threat. this bill is a direct challenge to roe v. wade and shows contempt for women's health and rights, the roles doctors play
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in their patient's health care decisions and the constitution. and yet, it is full steam ahead for the gop. this morning blackburn took to the airwaves to defend the bill's integrity. >> representative franks has apologized for his comments and the bill has been amended which does allow the exceptions for rape and incest and the life of the mother and that was the appropriate step to take. what we are seeking to do is fight the kermit gosnells and to end this practice of late-term abortion. >> given the utter futility of the effort, last week speaker boehner was asked why exactly the house was taking up this piece of legislation. >> listen. jobs continues to be our number one concern. while we continue to be focused on this, there are other important issues that we have to deal with. and after the kermit gosnell
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case and the publicity that it received, i think the legislation's appropriate. >> just to recap -- the gop's number one priority is jobs. and its second priority is apparently abortion. yet, even these efforts are insufficient for some on the far right plank. according to red state's eric erickson, some georgia republicans are now with withdrawing their support for the bill because they believe it doesn't go far enough. in their opinion, this bill, which will never become law and is in fact unconstitutional, is unacceptable because it includes an exception for rape and incest. it just goes to show, as much as the gop may try to get away from the whole rape thing, it just keeps coming back. joining the panel now, the president of planned parenthood, cecile richards. always great to see you. i cannot believe the gop is still stuck on this and i can't believe they are still trying to defend this. how did we get here? why are we still here?
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>> it doesn't make any sense. this is obviously this bill is unconstitutional but it is just one of many that are being introduced across the country. but i think even we are seeing now more moderate republicans in the party saying why are we doing this. we saw charlie dent from pennsylvania, republican, saying this is simply -- the stupidity is staggering. that's right. folks are ready to move on to jobs and other issues that the american people are focused on. >> when they do this, these exercises in futility in both congressional level and state level, i think it does make moderates think, is there just some delegation where this red meat really feeds them and -- is that kind of -- is it intoxicating enough to a certain segment of the population that it will win people seats? it doesn't seem like this is part of the national moderate sane conversation and yet it keeps coming up. >> i can't make any political sense of it. i think you made the important point earlier.
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congresswoman blackburn has really become now the poster child for this particular bill has also been the -- has introduced the bill to defund planned parenthood again, to end women's ability to get coverage of birth control in their insurance plans. it is a much bigger agenda than simply this bill before the congress now. >> katrina, marsha blackburn's agenda is as far right and antiwoman really as any good member of the raucous house caucus. >> it is a very calculated, cynical and insidious things that the republicans have done. they are putting a woman's face on this but she is a woman who's voted against all efforts to build more security, more health care, more rights for women. i think what cecile is also speaking to, states have been laboratories of democracy over the years. right now so many states we see it -- mississippi, wisconsin, texas, north dakota, arkansas -- have become states of misogyny, of bigotry. these are states which need investment, which need economic help. a state like arkansas is going to take an unconstitutional
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measure and fight it through the courts? i mean wasting resources that could be invested in women's health? children's health? education? it's feeding red meat to a restive base which sees that they're losing on other fronts, on same-sex marriage, on demography. there is a very tough battle to be fought here but with planned parenthood, cecile -- no, and i think the majority -- don't forget, roe v. wade is supported by 70% of americans. >> governor, it bears mentioning that trent franks, as maligned as he was in certain corners of the media and the world and the nation, is fund-raising off of this. he has a fund-raising e-mail that says planned parenthood and the taxpayer funded abortion lobby is attacking me for one reason -- i'm 100% unapologetically pro life and i won't back down. >> they can raise money, but we saw in the last election that money doesn't always make a difference. the republicans say that we've
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got to refine our message. they don't. they have to refine their values. the problem for that is that the red meat for the base may control republican primaries but it doesn't control general elections. let's take charlie dent, for example. charlie dent is a good guy. he's a good congressman. he's a moderate. he's one of the last of the breed. well, we'll make the argument -- i guess we'll make the argument -- some people might make sure we make this argument -- in 2014 charlie dent is a good guy but he's voting for john boehner for speaker and john boehner is the one that controls this legislation. if nancy pelosi was speaker, none of this stuff would get to the floor. a light will go on in the voters' heads saying, that's right, i like charlie but i got to get rid of him. >> if we're talking grand strategy here, jeffrey toobin points out the supreme court may hear an abortion case in its next term. if there is a danger here it is not just to the republican party's chances of become being the same party, but also to roe
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v. wade. this is part of after bigger strategy of sort of peeling back the layers of the decision one by one by one. >> that's right. again, katrina mentioned it, the threats are not only in congress. the threats are at the state level. oh oh legislature is passing a budget that would essentially end access for women to care for family planning centers, particularly planned parenthood, that would prohibit rape crisis centers from advising women about their legal rights to an abortion. there are a whole string of things. we had kansas that actually passed a bill, signed by governor brownback that's going in to effect in two weeks which permits doctors to lie to women about the results of their am yo s amniocentesis if they think it will affect their decision. this election was clearly stated by the voters, we do not want to
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go backwards. it is incredible politicians are still pushing this kind of extreme agenda. >> but they'll pay for that. in pennsylvania, the republicans control the house because of suburban republican legislators. democrats will make that an issue in every election. your guy's okay but he's promoting this majority. >> governor, i agree with you. think they will pay the price in the election but in the meantime, a lot of women are going to suffer. >> and that's very real. i also want to talk, bob, about ideological consistency here. right? you have a party here that is on one hand does not want any background checks for gun owners, then is totally fine with broad surveillance of foreign and in some cases domestic telephone accounts. then you also have a party that says we want small government, prudent government, not government overreach, and then is mandating transvaginal ultra sounds at the state level. we looked -- there are more waiting periods to get an
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abortion in this country than a gun. only 11 states in d.c. require a waiting period for a gun. 26 states require women to wait to get an abortion. >> when i was in the service aeons ago, they had posters in our unit that said "know your enemy." i think if you look to the far right and are looking at issues like abortion and that sort of thing, you might make a mistake when you try to think too rationally about their behavior. it may not be good behavior for the republican party in the long run, blah, blah, blah. but the fact is that an awful lot of people believe in these issues that they are going, what i think of as off the edge on, and they are making progress as we've just said on a lot of fronts, on these issues. so i think that it is important for progressives, people on the left, democrats, whoever -- >> moderates. >> -- women, moderates -- right, moderate republicans. i think that it is important to push back vigorously to really fight and not give up the fight
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on all these issues and all -- on these issues and on all these fronts. because otherwise you wake up one morning and you say suddenly, oh, my god, how did that happen? >> i couldn't agree more. i just have to jump in. look, we saw michael steele, former rnc chair, saying the same thing, which is why are the republicans -- why is republican leadership focused on these issues? it makes no sense. when the american people are focused on jobs, they're worried about syria, worried about a lot of other issues. yet they seem to not be able to get off of it. >> you have john boehner saying our number one priority is jobs but also this. which is a piece of legislation that's never going to become law. before we let you go, cecile, what surprised me, we talk a lot about the craziness of the republican party and how it is a split party. but that at the state level, the governorships is where the rubber meets the road and you tend to have more moderate governors, governors like jan brewer who signed the medicaid expansion into law yesterday. then at the same time on women's issues, that sort of rule of
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thumb doesn't seem to apply. scott walker, who is not known as a particularly sane person, but is he set to sign into law three new antiabortion bills. plenty of governors otherwise seem like they are less inclined to be crazy than are putting -- that are putting this stuff into law. what's happening at the state level that allows for that. >> i think you see the same dynamic you see with congress. there is a faction of the party that is absolutely completely committed to ending roe, overturning women's access to birth control. i think they are doing things that are directly against their own self-interest but more importantly they're against the interests of the voters in their states. but it is discouraging to see particularly moderate states making very, very extreme law on women's health issues. >> may i just add, this is a women's issue insofar as as it pertains to a woman's reproductive system but it is
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certainly an issue for both sexes and one that both sexes should be engaged in. >> without a doubt! >> planned parenthood cecile richards, always great to see you. coming up, much like their resistance to recognizing a woman's right to choose, some republicans are also less than receptive when it comes to a woman's role in the military. we will discuss just ahead. ♪ i'm a hard, hard worker every day. ♪
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earlier this year the military made an historic change declaring it would end a 20-year prohibition of women in combat positions. the door was opened to 237,000 combat roles that were once unavailable to women simply because of their againer. but most units have still remained a boy's club, including the most elite divisions like the army rangers and navy s.e.a.l.s with the logistics to how to integrate them still being determined. military is now considering clearing the path to special forces positions and we'll discuss it today in an afternoon briefing at the pentagon. defense sources tell nbc news that no final decisions have been made, but a schedule has been mapped out that would allow women to start training for special forces as early as 2015. officials stress that the rigorous physical training for those positions would not be scaled back. as policies have evolved to give
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women the same opportunities as men in the military, there has been no shortage of skepticism. when the initial ban was lifted in january, oklahoma senator james inhoff, the top republican on the senate armed services committee, rang a warning bell writing in statement, "if necessary, we will be able to introduce legislation to stop any changes. we believe to be detrimental to our fighting forces and capabilities." joining us now, nbc news chief pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. jim, thanks so much for joining us. tell us what you're hearing in and around the pentagon relating to this. i mean is there a widely held belief that women in the upper echelons of the military could be detrimental to our fighting forces? >> it depend on the situation. in the army they call it situational awareness. depending on the situation, there are some combat roles where women in fact could be a problem. the special forces. you brought that up, for
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example. now the key word here is "may open training" for navy s.e.a.l.s for women to take part in training for navy s.e.a.l.s or army rangers. but each of the services has the opportunity to ask for an exception for the secretary of defense if it is determined that women can't do the job. so therein lies one of the problems. but i can tell you that for the most part, there are so many jobs within the combat -- combat related jobs which women can easily do. over the past 12 years they've proven in the wars in iraq an afghanistan when they are drawn in to combat, in those wars that really had blurred front lines, that they were up to the fight, up to the task. 150 u.s. service members, women, were killed in both the wars in iraq and afghanistan. but -- and in the air force, army and navy, you have women flying combat aircraft so they have proven themselves time and again.
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but many men cannot pass the rigorous test to get into the army rangers or the navy s.e.a.l.s, so it is no surprise thatle many women wouldn't be able to do it either. >> well, but, mick, i guess my question is, if they're not changing the standards by which one is accepted into the elite forces, and if women can in fact pass the physical tests and requirements, what's the argument to not opening up that process to them? >> the question is, are they able to pass the test. nobody's proven that yet. >> jim, you don't see serena williams could pass the s.e.a.l. test? serena williams could pass the s.e.a.l. test better than 08% of the men in the military. >> let's be serious. >> i am being serious! >> there's no question that there are individuals within the military, men and women, who can pass the rigorous tests. >> and why shouldn't they be allowed to serve? >> the problem is, if that number is very small, then you
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have to turn over that entire system and accommodate -- or turn over the accommodations for those individuals for a very small number and that's one of the things the army is struggling with. i can tell you, those decisions have not been made yet. it's easy to say we're going to lift the ban on women in combat. it is much harder to implement that, which is why today we're going to hear from the services as to how they intend to implement the opening the jobs to these combat related jobs to women over the next two to three years. you don't flip a switch and suddenly say, ladies, okay, go to combat. this is going to be a complicated system and situation whereby the military wants to make sure that they get it right. they don't want to put anybody in unnecessary danger, either men or women, by introducing them into the force too quickly. >> one of the questions here, i think at the root of this, the
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implementation is a big question and how you sort of change. culture in the military around a certain issue. this question of gender roles in the military makes a lot of people think about the most recent example which is military sexual assault. recommendation of taking something out of the chain of command has been met with fierce resistance. senator carl levin, a democrat, was the one to effectively dead senator gillibrand's proposal to take the prosecution of sexual assaults out of the chain of command, changing military culture is very difficult. >> that's certainly true but military culture also can convey its own biases and problems. one of the things that's interesting here is part of the momentum for this change is bureaucratic. it's general demty who came out and said, you know, there are problems that are caused in terms of relationship between soldiers by saying women can only have these jobs. it builds in a kind of condescension. the chief of staff the australian army has made very
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similar statements in response to a series of sexual assault cases there. so it is not as if we've had had four years of raging liberal pressure to make this change. there are problems with the status quo that figures within the bureaucracy are seen and the basic problem is, it is really hard to maintain either -- separate but equal institutions bureaucr bureaucratly. this is not just political momentum, it is also bureaucratic momentum. >> i remember being on set with bob a few months ago when this issue arose. ladies have already proven themselves in combat operations in iraq and afghanistan. but at different points in the military's history and our history the military has had to open the intergrags of the military. it was another moment where you saw the biases of the military and the country and gays, don't ask, don't tell. this institution has been able to evolve and i think you should allow women to have the same
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opportunities. let them take the test. would i prefer there are fewer in our military? that's a different discussion. >> and they volunteer! >> i know. but still -- >> the military has a stake in creating a mystique that there's like this group of super men who are doing all this wondrous stuff. when you show up in the military, the first thing you notice on the first day is, hey, this is a bunch of high school kids. who are they going to beat? the fact of the matter is women have already proved that they can do the job in combat. they've been in combat situations in iraq and in afghanistan. they're not talking about changing standards. i think that this is an issue that the argument is not worthy of what's going on here. >> to not malign the desire to serve, whatever age they are -- i think a lot of them are incredibly tough when they enter the military regardless -- >> but they're not super men. they're ordinary human beings and they're ordinary men and women.
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so you shouldn't make a distinction between the men are in a category that the women are not in. >> jim, one of the issues here independent of the sort of fairness question is that a lot of men who are promote have had to have seen combat. that's part of the resume that you need to have to get to the upper echelons of the military. senator gillibrand in particular has said by allowing women into the elite levels of the military, it opens more doors to them in terms of ascension in the ranks. >> that's exactly right. there's not a large group of blood thirsty women who are eager to grab up a car bomb and r and run into battle. the problem is that even men can be passed over for better jobs or promotions if the person they're competing with has had had a combat deployment. so if you don't get a combat deployment, it is not necessarily a mark against you but it can work against new that promotion scheme. and to follow up on this question about training, we went
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out to ft. leonard wood to the army sapper combat training course, one of the toughest combat training courses in the u.s. military and we watched two women over 28 days best some 18, 20 men and pass the course because they were prepared, they were ready, they had not only the physical but the mental stamina to do it. and their remarks -- they weren't out there trying to be trailblazers. their issue was, look, just give us a chance, give us the training and see if we can do it. >> jim miklaszewski, thanks, as always. >> you bet. coming up, he was educated at princeton university and harvard law, and currently serves as a u.s. senator. yet there is something about the phrase supreme court justice ted cruz that sends shivers down the spine. we'll discuss the highly credentialed and highly misguided texas senator's push for a voter i.d. amendment just ahead.
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while gop big wigs marco rubio, lindsey graham and john mccain try to move the ball down the field on immigration, other members of the very same party are doing everything to fumble. we will look into the ted cruz playbook next. i'm in my work van, having lunch, next minute i'm in the back of an ambulance having a heart attack. i was in shape, fit. i did not see it coming. i take bayer aspirin. [ male announcer ] so be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. see your doctor and get checked out.
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scotus versus cruz. yesterday hours after the supreme court struck down a rule requiring voters to show proof of citizenship, ted cruz announced he'd file an amendment to the immigration bill that will allow states to require i.d. before registering voters. two hours later cruz's amendment was filed. so far the bill has no
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co-sponsors. bob, no matter how hard the gop tries to be united on this, people keep getting in the way of it. >> it is funny watching cruz. he's doing a political dance that's so complicated he can't follow his own steps. the guy's in trouble and he's a good metaphor for the craziness that's going on in his party. >> he is a good metaphor. a governor, wacko bird? the jury is in. >> i think the answer is yes. princeton and harvard should be disgraced. but no, really. for us democrats, he's the gift that keeps on giving. every time the republicans stake out some moderate position, here comes ted cruz galloping along saying, no, we have to take the wacko side. >> thank you. that is all for now. i'll see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. change makes people nervous. but i see a world bursting with opportunity, with ideas, with ambition. i'm thinking about china,
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in recent years, these programs, together with other intelligence, have protected the u.s. and our allies from terrorist threats across the globe, to clue helping prevent the potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11. right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- damage control. nsa director, general keith alexander, claims the secret surveillance programs foiled terrorists and gave few specifics. under pressure from the left and the right, the president wants to disclose more. >> what i've asked the intelligence community to do is see how much of this we can declassify without further compromising the program. the putin problem. russian leader blocks the g-8 summit leaders from demanding that syria's assad step down. and just check out the body language when obama met putin. >> with respect to syria,

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