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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  June 24, 2013 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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cuba and then on to ecuador. the country where he has requested asylum. according to wikileaks founder julian assange, ecuador granted snowden a refugee document of passage. but reporters waiting for snowden on a flight this morning from moscow to havana were greeted by an empty sewed. snow seat. "the new york times" reports the chinese government made the final decision to allow snowed ton leave hong kong. the white house said in a statement that it was "disappointed that hong kong officials let snowden leave the country. this morning secretary of state john kerry, who has called snowed an traitor to his country, had some harsh words for snowden and the countries involved. >> i wonder if mr. snowden chose china and russia as assistance in his flight from justice because they're such powerful
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bastions of internet freedom. i wonder if he was in either of those conditions he raised the question of internet freedoms since that's what he champions. >> kerry is not the only lawmaker disturbed by snowden's international game of cat and mouse with the u.s. government. >> i want to get him caught and brought back for trial. >> i don't know how anybody can view this person as anything other than a criminal. >> they should use every legal avenue we have to bring him back to the united states. if he really believes he did something good, he should get on a plane, come back and face the consequences. >> he has broken the law. i am very worried about what else he has and what else he may put out there. i am worried about our national security. >> for some lawmakers though, the bigger culprit here is russia. >> what's infuriating here is prime minister putin of russia aiding and abetting snowden's escape. the bottom line is very simple -- allies are supposed to
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treat each other in decent ways and putin always seems almost eager to put a finger in the eye of the united states, whether it is syria, iran, and now, of course, with snowden. >> i do think for mr. snowden, if he cozies up to the russian government, it will be nothing but bad for his name in history. >> despite requests from the u.s. to hand snowden over, russian officials now say they have no legal authority to send him back to the u.s. ecuador has not yet given snowden asylum. until then, snowden remains at large in a kind of fugitive purgatory. joining me today, politico senior white house reporter glen tlush, the host msnbc's "all in with chris hayes," chris hayes. and bloomberg news white house correspondent margaret teleb. christian, i want to go right to you. essentially wikileaks, which is aiding edward snowden in his move, sort of, around the
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country, why has wickdy leaks chosen to essentially defy u.s. law to help mr. snoweden? >> let's make it clear first that in my mind mr. snowden is not a fugitive. he is an asylum seeker. he has a right in accordance with international law to seek an asylum and he should be protected in that process. and that's where wikileaks came in. we gave him assistance through our legal team that has for obvious reasons good expertise in extradition laws and international treaties and angles pertaining to that. secondly, we were acting as go-betweens between his legal team and mr. snowden and governments and officials when he was seeking asylum. >> there are extradition treaties, for instance between the united states and hong kong. right? there were legal sort of extradition treaties in place when he was in hong kong. how early in the process did wikileaks become involved? if they helped him leave hong kong and evade the treaties that allow hong kong to send him back
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here, that's still intervening in legal extradition to the u.s.? >> the authorities in hong kong have spoken out. it is not for me to speak out on their behalf. they saw a problem with the request of his arrest in hong kong and the process that was requested by the u.s. government. they had no problem with allowing him to leave. >> does wikileaks consider china, russia, cuba and ecuador to be freer governments than the united states government? >> i would not want to go into geopolitics here but we have a lot of problem with freedom in many countries, freedom of the press. and civil liberties. we do have that in this country and many other western countries as well. so i don't see where that comes into play -- or what is the question. >> it does. because wikileaks has really focused on the united states, on essentially attempting to con a contravene the security of the united states -- >> you are mistaking the elements of wikileaks. we have never chosen a target. we are passive recipients of
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information. the fact of the matter is the most explosive of the materials we sent out, the documents from the state departments and pertaining to the iraq and afghan war were -- we were recipient of the information. we didn't call for that. if you go back in history with, we did expose corruption in kenya. we did expose toxic waste dump in the ivory coast. we exposed the corrupt inside of icelandic banks and the banks in switzerland. corporate issues. actually that pertain to much more variety of countries than actually u.s. interests. for some reason it was not until we started publishing information pertaining to the wars in iraq and afghanistan and the inside of the diplomats in the state department that the world was -- became aware -- >> julian assange has been particularly contemptuous with the united states. would you not argue with that, would you? >> i would argue that -- what he
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has said and what has now been confirmed by edward snowden, if we get back to the real issue at hand here, which is actually what he had ward snowden has shown to the world -- >> you're talking about the real issue at hand here. ed snowden had had an awful lot of allies in this country. a lot of folks were calling him a hero. this odyssey that he's gone on over the last couple of days has really compromised that. people, including rand paul, extraordinarily, sort of speaking out against him. this is a libertarian person on the right side of our political spectrum that really offered some credibility to the claim that snowden had that he was doing this in the united states' national interest. do you think the "where is edward snowden game" really helps your larger interest in increasing disclosure and transparency? >> i think that we should focus on what he had ward snowden has given to the world, the information there and what it says about the -- this attack on civil liberties in this country with i believe -- and i've been told by experts in constitutional law -- it's
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totally contrary to the fourth amendment. >> i can say this? >> i do want to ask you if you're troubled by what he had ward snowden is apparently given to the chinese government that took the laptops that he had with american national security information on it. are you troubled by the fact that when he makes his stops in china and russia they are going to take that information from him because those countries are in fact less free and open than the united states. they're going to take that information from him. >> according to my information, there's been no contact between the chinese authorities and mr. snowden, nor -- >> but there's also no reason for him to care bun way or the other. if we were sitting here and someone had had blown the whistle on the icelandic government's surveillance state and they went to the government and they took them off on an icelandic laptop -- i don't care. >> you don't care -- >> of course. because you're an american citizen. the point is we are all viewing this from the standpoint understandably of like our loyalty to the country as americans citizens. from the standpoint of wikileaks, from the standpoint of some third party observing this, there is no reason they'd
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have that same purchase about loyal loyalty. wait a second. loyalty is a value, an important value. we have it as we watch an american citizen go across the world about what they've done to the country. right? but that's very different than some sort of objective third party evaluation of whether someone has done something right or wrong. let me say this. there is no contradiction inherently, logically or morally necessarily, between what he had ward snowden did for the reasons he claimed did he it and not wanting to spend the rest of his life in jail. now what i like it to be the case that edward snowden does go into a u.s. court as congressman mike rogers told him to and face the music? yes. because i think everything would be pure and cleaner. but i can't sit here and say he should do that. >> i want to get margaret in here at some point. the question of loyalty is not about wikileaks. again, they're not an american -- >> right. >> but edward snowden is an american citizen and the question of his loyalty, first
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being a contractor, not working for the nsa, not clearly having any loyalty to the nsa, then his loyalty to the united states, hopping to country after country that's less free than ours and handing over his documents. >> martin luther king did not write a letter from a hong kong hotel. he wrote a letter from a birmingham jail. whether you like it or not, whether you have faith in the arc of the moral universe in this country, we do have a history in the past 100 years of having nonviolent resistance, of people submitted themselves to the law and public opinion being changed through that process. we have a very long history of that. we saw john kerry speaking. this is a man who throuew his ribbons over the wall and expressed some level of solidarity with the vietnam war resisters. we also had the pentagon papers and we had the individual involved in the pentagon papers, dan elsberg, submitting himself to american justice. >> was it right for the government to prosecute elsberg
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under the espionage act? >> i'm not familiar with the -- i'm familiar -- >> but that's the question. >> -- of the case of the espionage act. i think it probably was at that point in time. >> chris, i think you were the only person who asked this -- shouldn't the government prosecute in some way -- >> yes. greenwald said of course. i think it is always important in this story to see what are the -- with where is the person who's approaching this story coming from? if you are the u.s. government of course are you going to prosecute edward snowden. >> if you're a u.s. citizen interested in transparency having him on trial is important. if you're having this be something more than the ed snowden saga -- >> let's let margaret in. >> i think that these are still sort of tertiary issues that the u.s. government is trying to figure out and they may already have figured out but they haven't told us what information does edward snowden have. and what else is going to come out and is it something they want to get in front of and now make public and disclose or is
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it something that they're going to just wait for the other shoe to drop? secondarily, it makes only partial difference in the court of public opinion how americans or the world feels about mr. snowden or wikileaks. right now the obama administration has got its own issue of public relations. is america firmly on their side, is enough of the world firmly on their side about the sort of surveillance that they're doing and the circumstances under which this information is sort of kept and used. and so on these two fronts, this chase around the world, it doesn't matter. look, ecuador doesn't care, russia doesn't care how the rest of the world feels about mr. snowden or how much leverage they have with obama. they've stake out their positions pretty clearly right now. this is a mess. >> the long and good history of the u.s. has changed dramatically of course in the ten years when it pertains to whistle blowers and journalism. i see this as -- if you join the dots, what's happened to whistle
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bloe blowers in recent years who have tried to blow the whistle on government spending and wrongdoing within the nsa? thomas drake. others. they all were threatened by prosecution on the basis of the espionage after 1970. it is a capital offense. >> no more charged with capital offenses. >> they were threatened on the basis of that law. so we have a war on whistle blowers. we now have more information in recent times on actually attack on journalism. ing of journalists' records and the attempt to brand journalist whose are working with whistle blowers as co-conspirators. so this is a war -- >> the seven prosecutions resulted in 50 months of jail time.
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i want to ask you you. you do have this connection between the freedom of the press foundation for which glen greenwald sits on the board as well as the report from the "guardian." they both sit on the board of the freedom of the press foundation that raise money for wikileaks. edward snowed conhave essentially gone to julian assange. why didn't he just give all those documents to wikileaks rather than give hthem to someoe who can curate and classify on their own? >> now you are you asking me to answer something on behalf of snowden whichvy a hard time to do. >> could it be that some of the information -- it is true that there is some national security compromising in the documents? some of it has been held back by "the washington post" and "guardian." >> that could be so. >> when are we going to know where snowden is? are you guys going to disclose when he's finally in havana or his final destination country? >> i can't disclose that information now. all i can say, is he in a safe place and he is fine and he he is with a colleague of mine in
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an undisclosed location and i can't talk his -- listen. this morning there was a call out basically from the administration that he would be renditioned -- >> isn't this part of the hyperbole that's the problem? there's been all of these threats from snowden he would be killed by the government, we know the charges could be a maximum of 30 years, ten years for each charge. some of the hyperbole is so over the top and so far over the top. that it undermines the entire case. >> i think it is absurd that you would want him actually in the country and on trial. from an outside point of view, i've been watching how bradley manning has been treated. three years without trial. >> he was part of the united states military. >> he was tortured in prison for ten months. he was under conditions that was deemed by the u.n. repertoire on torture as tantment to torture. you torture prisoners. that's the outside view. >> what would happen if a member
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of your national security services were to leak classified services? >> probably, yes. i think the focus should be on the big issue here, what he has revealed. we have not talked about that here. the narrative is -- yesterday and today has been on snowden, his youth, his girlfriend. it has not been on. >> hasn't he made himself the story by sort of globe trotting around the world to let's just say less free countries than the united states one after the other. >> we journalists choose a narrative. right? and it should be on the real issue here. it should be this dragnet surveillance. it should be about the fourth amendment and bill of rights. >> i also think it is important to distinguish. i had not heard anyone compare edward snowden to martin luther king until you brought up the fact that he fails that comparison. i'm here on national television to say, i agree, edward snoweden
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is no martin luther king. they're not even in the same ballpark. do i think we can distinguish between however edward snowden has conducted himself and what we now know about the what the government was doing. not just what the government was doing. there is what the government was doing and sources and methods. there is the legal rationale whether they could do it which was itself secret prior to edward snowden releasing it and that's troubling. what's happened in the wake, government, nsa, has come forward and said this is the way we had minimization procedures with, this is the way we protect the fourth amendment. the question is if they could do that after edward snowden, why couldn't they do it before? what are the legal justifications of the government for massive surveillance? if it is constitutional, i feel like i am an adult, informed decision and i can make it. >> that's going to be the last word. catch chris hayes every night and tonight at 8:00 eastern right here on msnbc.
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after the break, while the world plays cat and mouse with edward snowden, many significant and confusing national security questions remain unanswered. we'll try to separate fact from fiction when james bamford joins us next on "now." people join angie's list for all kinds of reasons. i go to angie's list to gauge whether or not the projects will be done in a timely fashion and within budget. angie's list members can tell you which provider is the best in town. you'll find reviews on everything from home repair to healthcare. now that we're expecting, i like the fact i can go onto angie's list and look for pediatricians. the service providers that i've found on angie's list actually have blown me away. find out why more than two million members count on angie's list. angie's list -- reviews you can trust. [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me.
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between the espionage charges, travel documents, media stakeouts and empty airline seats to cuba, it can be easy to forget what this transnational game of cat and mouse to find edward snoweden is really about. the government's massive electronic surveillance program.
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"the new york times" editorial board called the program a repudiation of constitutional principles. security personnel say this is the program security and the targets are outside the united states. last week nsa general keith alexander defended the program this way. >> my first responsibility to the american people is to defend this nation. to say we're willfully just collecting all sorts of data would give you the impression that we're just trying to canvass the whole world. the fact is what we are trying to do is get the information our nation needs, foreign intelligence, that primary mission in this case and the case that snowden has brought up is in defending this nation from a terrorist attack. i'm confident that we're following the laws that our country has and doing what we do. when you look at these laws and the way they've been passed and the oversight mechanisms that we have, i am confident that we are following our laws. >> joining the panel now, national journal editorial director ron fortier.
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also charge town university professor and msnbc analyst, michael eric dyson. and james bamford, author of "the ultra secret nsa, the shadow factory." james, to you first. i think that's lost, there was a piece in which it was in the "washington post" today -- "it is operation snowden that's managed to capture the imagination of the american people. it's operation snowden that's leading every news home page and cable broadcast in the world right now. operation snowden has become the nsa story. james, you've written a lot about the actual underlying story. do you think that we've lost the plot here a little bit in this chase around the world to find the leaker? >> well, sure. i mean we originally that was the whole idea -- >> james, before i let you go, answer that question. we're going to go to the white house. the white house briefing is taking place right now and white house spokesman jay carney is
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talking about our work with russia. again, as you know, we understand mr. snowden to be in russia and we are, of course, in discussions with russian authorities about that and as i just noted, we have a strong law enforcement cooperative relationship with the russians and that relationship has resulted in the past and us returning criminals to russia and we are expecting the russians to examine the options available to them to expel mr. snowden for his return to the united states. >> how frustrating is it to the president that first china lets him go, and now russia seems to be on the verge of letting him go? >> again, i wouldn't want to speculate about anything that has not happened yet. i would simply say that our frustration and disappointment with hong kong and china is reflected in the statement i just made. yes. >> how did the president react when he learned that snowden had left hong kong? start there.
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>> well, i would say that the president's been updated by his national security staff continually on developments, as you would expect. i don't have a characterization of his reaction to developments except to say that he is monitoring it closely and that the disappointment that we feel in the handling of this by hong kong authorities and the chinese is evident by what i just said. >> does he he want answers on why snowden's passport wasn't culled sooner and other steps that could have been taken? >> i think there's been -- let me say a couple of things about that. because the state department explained this yesterday. as a routine matter and consistent with u.s. regulations, persons with felony arrest warrants are subject to having their passport revoked. such a revocation does not affect citizenship status. persons wanted on felony charges such as mr. snowden should not be allowed to proceed in any further international travel other than is necessary to return them to the united states. now because of the privacy act,
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and anyone can note the irony there -- we cannot comment on mr. snowden's passport specifically. but i can say that the hong kong authorities were advised of the status of his travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited travel as appropriate. let me repeat -- jessica, let me repeat. i can say that the hong kong authorities were advised of the status of mr. snowden's travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited his travel as appropriate. i think i did reflect our concern and disappointment in the actions -- or failure to act by hong kong authorities as well as the fact that we do not buy the suggestion that china could not have taken action. >> you said the attorney generals reached out and the fbi. has the president made a call to president putin and if he has not, why not? >> again, i don't have presidential communications to read out to you except to say that there is no reason why,
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given international law, given the relationships that we have with countries in question, that this would require a communication from the president. again, i'm not reading out presidential communications. there are communications at all the appropriate levels and we note, as i just did, that we have a strong cooperative relationship with the russians on law enforcement matters and we expect the russians to examine the options available to them to expel mr. snowden for his return to the united states. >> -- he isn't returned? >> as i just said when it comes to our relations with hong kong and china, that we see this as a setback in terms of their efforts to build the chinese, their efforts to build mutual trust and our concerns i think are pretty clearly stated. >> does the administration feel mr. snowden's already revealed everything he has to reveal? he said that he has access to the full roster of everyone working at the nsa, the entire intelligence community,
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undercover assets around the world. do you believe he has access to that kind of information? >> there is a damage assessment that's being undertaken and i don't have specifics on the progress of that assessment for you you. the dni and nsa would have more for you on that. i would say that we are concerned about, in general, unauthorized leaks of classified information. we are concerned about the kinds of information that has been leaked. i think that's reflected in the action taken by the department of justice and we've said all along the disclosure of this kind of highly classified material is extremely damaging to our national security and gives our terrorist enemies a playbook for our activities designed to thwart them. so the implications of this kind of unauthorized release of information are pretty profound. >> a russian news agency has
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speculated that one reason for the delay in his departure may that be there's concern that the u.s. might try to force down the russian airliner carrying him to land on u.s. territory so that we can retrieve snowden. would we go after him with with force like that? >> we are communicating with the appropriate authorities in russia and elsewhere on this matter. i'm not going to respond to speculation in a russian newspaper. it's been a long time since i've done that. >> how far would we go to get him back? would we, for example, chase down an airliner from another country? >> i think we expect the russian authorities to examine all the options available to them to expel mr. snowden appropriately and i think i can leave it at that. >> you rule out any kind of use of force? >> i'm not going to engage in speculation about various options. i would simply say that we're
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working with authorities in a variety of countries on this matter. >> is there any information on what has happened to the four computers he's supposed to have been carrying? >> i don't have any information. i think that -- as i said, we remain concerned about the unauthorized leaks of classified information and the potential for leaks of more classified information. there is a damage assessment ongoing. i think it is safe to assume that information that he has both provided and may still have is already compromised and that the damage assessment would have to take that into account. >> right. but there are stories out there -- one story has the computers having been left behind at some point. another story has the chinese having had a chance to copy the information. i mean what do we know? >> again, i don't have specifics about that.
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maybe the department of justice does, but i can tell that you it is safe to assume in the damage assessment that's ongoing that any information that he might have that's unauthorized, that he has not already provided publicly, we would expect to be compromised. >> jay, you said the president was disappointed in china's handling of this. what about the u.s. handling of it? who is actually sort of leading the efforts? is it the white house? is it the justice department? who's sort of quarterbacking the u.s. response here? >> there is a variety of people involved in issues like this. obviously state department, diplomatic level, department of justice at a law enforcement level. white house as a coordinator of -- >> is there a point, given the complexity -- >> depends on what issue. the department of justice has obviously issued an indictment and has a lead in that matter. but there are other agencies involved in the effort to deal
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with the situation and that involves diplomacy as well as law enforcement. but again, i think to your question about the u.s. handle of it, i think i addressed the issue of the passport, again without having -- without being able to be specific about an individual's passport because of the privacy being a, i was able to say what i aid about the fact that hong kong authorities were advised of the status of mr. snowden's travel documents in plenty of time to have prohibited his travel, as appropriate. again -- and there was no indication in any of the informations between u.s. officials and hong kong officials prior to their request for information that proceeded the departure of mr. snowden that there were any problems. >> along the same lines in terms of the u.s. handling, there have been some suggestions from reports that interpol was not kashthed ear contacted early enough in this process to alert them that the
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u.s. wanted their help. >> again, you need to understand as i believe is the case, that on matters of interpol red notices, that in general a red notice is most valuable when the whereabouts of a fugitive are unknown. here we knew the funltive was in hong kong and directly sought his provisional arrest pending extradition while the charges were under seal. it is unfortunate that hong kong inappropriately failed to take action on our requests and permitted a fugitive to simply leave their country in an obvious attempt to escape justice. >> last thing on this. the administration was obviously embarrassed when you had a 29-year-old person, this contractor, just leak all these documents in the first place. is the administration embarrassed now that you can't track him down that he's -- this cat and mouse game that's going on for all the world to see? >> i think i've been clear about the actions we have taken and the -- our assessment of the failure of authorities in hong kong to act appropriately on a provisional arrest. we have known where he is and
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believe we know where he is now and there are ongoing conversations about that. beyond that we'll have to assess as time passes. >> jay, we're more than six hours removed from the supposed airplane he was supposedly going to be on on the way to havana. is him not on an airplane yet be taken as a sign that the u.s. negotiations between the russian government are making progress? they're ongoing? is that a positive sign as far as the u.s. government is concerned that mr. snowden has not gotten on any airplane? >> all i can say, chuck -- because this is obviously an ongoing situation, as you describe it, is that we have asked the russians to look at the options available to them to expel mr. snowden back to the united states. i can note, as i have, that we have worked cooperatively with the russians in the wake of the boston marathon bombings and have a fairly substantial
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history of law enforcement cooperation with russia as a backdrop to this discussion. but i wouldn't want to characterize communications at this point or speculate about outcomes. this is clearly fluid and we're monitoring -- >> so far they're cooperating? >> well, again, we -- it is our understanding that mr. snowden remains in russia. beyond that, i wouldn't want to speculate about next steps except that we have communicated to the russians our hope that they will look at all options available to them to expel mr. snowden back to the united states. >> does the u.s. government believe that if he is allowed to leave russia, then you probably -- the u.s. government is probably going to give up on getting him sghak. >> i wouldn't want to speculate about that. i don't think "give up" is really a way to characterize the
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situation. right now we believe we understand where he is and we're having appropriate conversations about that and i won't want to get ahead of that. >> quickly on immigration, one of the house democrats who's tried to be involved in the talks has said that it's not -- doesn't believe it is a blow to immigration reform if it doesn't -- if a version of it does not pass the house before the august recess. seems to be different from where the white house wants something to pass the house before the august recess. are you guys comfortable with the idea that if the house doesn't act by the august recess you can still get immigration reform? >> we want progress in both houses. we have seen substantial progress in the senate and consider the agreement that was reached on border security to be a very positive break-through in the bipartisan effort toward common sense immigration reform and comprehensive immigration
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reform in the senate. this process is continuing. we look forward to action by the senate and continue to work with the house as they take up the issue. but your question is a good one because it reflects that there are obstacles that remain before we get to where we want to be, which is to a place where we have bipartisan legislation passed by both houses of congress that meets the standards set by the president, those principles that he laid out, so that he can sign it into law. and this is always going to be -- was always going to be a heavy lift. we are encouraged by the progress we've seen, but we recognize that we're not there yet and a lot of work remains to be done. in the house certainly, in the senate as well. >> you anticipate a bill out of the house? >> that was white house press secretary jay carney addressing the investigation into edward snowden. james bamford, essentially
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making the point we are now officially talking about the hunt for edward snowden. back to the panel. ron, we have effectively become the hunt for snowden is the story now. >> when it story broke almost two weeks ago, the big question is is he a hero or traitor. i wrote a post saying i don't give a flip. i don't care if he is a hero or a traitor. the right question is are the. ing they are doing that we didn't know about legal and constitution, why didn't we know about it beforehand, why didn't the president let us know. why did they lie about it? for months why did the intelligence community lie about these very programs and why did clapper just before it was released lie before congress? why is it republicans who are now coming after the president so hard, why were they hypocritically for these programs or programs like this under bush and why are democrats, why are liberals who are now defending the president, why were they attacking president bush? why are we not focusing on how the bill of rights is being
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curved drastically since 9/11. >> you've written about these programs. the litany. things just said by ron, some born out, some not. newest story we saw in "the guardian" stated that these programs in order to target american citizens have to have a warrant, that incidental information about americans that's pick up as a result of foreign surveillance by the nsa in order to be kept has to go back to a court, and that if american numbers get swept up they have to be destroyed. now we are caught between what are the actual facts of these programs. can you clarify that at all for us, james? >> there's the theory of how things should work and there is the reality of how things work. just look at the watch list, for example. it is now up to i think 750,000 names. ted kennedy was on the watch list. it took him three months to get off. so these ideas of how this -- how perfect this system is is just nonsense. plus we're missing one whole
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block of information here and that's about five years ago there was another whistle-blower. his name was mark klein. he was an employee of at&t. what he discovered was a secret room run by nsa inside the at&t switch. that's a ten-story windowless building in san francisco where virtually all the communications to and from the northwest part of the united states transits. in that room is where the nsa had all this surveillance equipment to sift through all this information. we're only getting the tip of the iceberg here in terms of what potential the u.s. government is doing in terms of surveillance. again we wouldn't have learned any of this -- certainly we didn't learn it by a bill through congress. we learned it by edward snowden. so i think there is a lot more that may come out. i think there is a lot more that has to be analyzed of what's already come out. >> as you know, that's a secret
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court that issues warrants in secret and the court very, very rarely ever objects to it. >> it was created in secret by ted kennedy. fisa act in 1978. aren't we now blending together things we knew, what james b bamford just talked about, warrantless wiretapping, that was responded to by congress passing the fisa act? >> right. we're seeing competition between two virtues. on one hand we want security, to protect the borders of this nation. we are talking about immigration but it is a much deeper issue than the kind of patent xenophobia that we sometimes disguise. but here it is about real threats to real people on the every day level. on the other hand, i think that what we've got to see is that the president's commitment to transparency is being sorely tested. and the question is, it's bad for the administration because it makes them look as if they
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weren't really invested in trying to expose this, when i don't think we can draw that conclusion. but what it looks like in terms of the media and in terms of the pr spin is that they were behind the curve leading from behind again. >> i wish we had more time, but unfortunately, sorry, we have to go. i have to thank james bamford for being with us. >> my pleasure. coming up, the supreme court weighs in on affirmative action but leaves some critical decisions for another day. we'll discuss the high court's latest move and what's left just ahead. [ dog barks ] i want to treat more dogs. ♪ our business needs more cases. [ male announcer ] where do you want to take your business? i need help selling art. [ male announcer ] from broadband to web hosting to mobile apps, small business solutions from at&t have the security you need to get you there. call us. we can show you how at&t solutions can help you do what you do... even better. ♪
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. the supreme court ruled this morning on affirmative action, the first of serl high-profile cases justices are expected to decide this week. high court did not strike town affirmative action but, rather, sent it back to the lower court with a more narrow definition. the 7-1 decision means schools must prove no workable race-neutral alternatives would produce the educational benefits of diversity. joining us from the supreme
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court, tom goldstein. thanks for being here. kind of explain to us what happened. this was kind after punt. no. >> absolutely. the sound you hear, the supporters of affirmative action are finally exhaling. looked like the conservative majority in the supreme court was poised to really put a nail in the coffin of affirmative action in education admissions but they didn't do that. both courts, liberals an conservatives, came together for a much narrower decision. they said we've willing to accept diversity is an interest but look whether it is absolutely necessary in any individual case. so no major long-term ruling on the future of affirmative action today at the supreme court. >> is there some tea leaf you could read because they sent it back to look at it more narrowly. is this a court that wants to strike down affirmative action but really wants the lower court to take the lead in doing so? >> probably not. there was a majority here that could have easily done that today but it seems like the
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center or perhaps where justice kennedy wasn't comfortable going that far sew so he settled on a middle step. then the left and the right were willing to join him. everybody wins. liberals are really happy it wasn't eliminated outright. >> the one dissenting voice, justice ginsburg. >> but on the other side, justice thomas saying he would outlaw affirmative action. the rest of the justices coming together saying we won't go that far in either direction. >> clarence thomas! can't beat him. one more, tom. there are six cases left to decide. when the next decision day? >> we'll see you back here tomorrow. then probably at least one more day later in the week. >> all right. thank you very much to scotus blog's tom goldstein. profanity and knock-knock jokes. attorneys in the george zimmerman trial use some interesting language in their opening statements. we'll discuss the latest from
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the courtroom when legal analyst lisa bloom joins us next on "now." eltzer fruit chews. they work fast on heartburn and taste awesome. these are good. told ya! i'm feeling better already. [ male announcer ] new alka seltzer fruits chews. enjoy the relief! humans. even when we cross our "ts" and dot our "i's", we still run into problems. that's why liberty mutual insurance offers accident forgiveness with our auto policies. if you qualify, your rates won't go up due to your first accident. because making mistakes is only human, and so are we. we also offer new car replacement, so if you total your new car, we'll give you the money for a new one. call liberty mutual insurance at... and ask us all about our auto features, like guaranteed repairs, where if you get into an accident and use one of our certified repair shops, the repairs are guaranteed for life.
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a dramatic opening this morning to the second degree murder trial of george zimmerman. accused of fatally shooting 17-year-old trayvon martin. zimmerman has pleaded not guilty claiming self-defense. the prosecution gave its opening statement first with assistant state prosecutor john guy going right at zimmerman's motivation. >> [ bleep ] punks. these [ bleep ] punks. they always get away. those were the word in that grown man's mouth as he followed in the dark a 17-year-old boy who he didn't know. ladies and gentlemen, the truth about the murder of trayvon martin is going to come directly from his mouth. >> don west co-defense counsel
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for george zimmerman went second. initial part of his statement was objected to by the prosecution as it pertained to west's personal family. he then went on to tell this joke. >> knock-knock. who's there? george zimmerman. george zimmerman who? all right. good. you're on the jury. nothing? that's funny. after what you folks have been through the last two or three weeks? let's get on to, however, this serious business of why we're here. >> joining us now, msnbc legal analyst lisa bloom. lisa, thank you for being here. >> hi. >> that opening, huge contrast between the prosecution, which came in blazing, f-bombs from the start, very dramatic. the presentation was almost cinematic the way they kind of broke down what happened in those minutes between trayvon
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martin going to the sev7-eleven they be confronting george zimmerman. >> you don't want to tell a joke that falls flat, that you have to remind the jury -- no, it's funny. so that's not a good beginning. but i have to say, having watched 1 hour and 45 minutes of it, they're now on lunch break, he will continue after lunch, he's certainly improving. he's laying out his case bit by bit, minute by minute, second by second. the prosecution of course wants to get the jury enraged. the defense wants to calm everybody down and have them look at the evidence bit by bit. >> talk to me about the atmosphere. have you an all-female jury. >> yes. >> 5 of the 6 are non-minority. have you a case in which you've got two minorities essentially on trial, two men on jury, all women. does this dynamic play to the prosecution or the defense? >> the prosecution wanted to get rid of two of these jurors.
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that was denied. there is two women on this jury that the prosecution does not like. probably more significant than their gender and race is that fact. >> you had 1 of those 2, juror 37, who had called the protests riots. >> right. they were not riots. they were peaceable demonstrations. that's a significant difference. >> the other woman was someone who questioned why trayvon martin was out at night. >> it was 7:00 at night and he went to the seven7-eleven to ge himself skittles. let's talk about the high points for a moment. i think the prosecution did a very good job. you played the clip of the profanity. when you hear the actual profanity it is even more powerful as hearing it bleeped. that's out of george zimmerman's mouth on the line with the police non-emergency number. he'd never met trayvon. he's already insulting him saying he looks suspicious. george zimmerman's story is not consistent with the dna
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evidence. that's something the prosecution argued powerfully. zimmerman said trayvon put his hand over zimmerman's nose and mouth. zimmerman's nose was bleeding at that point? why was there no blood under trayvon's hands or under his fingernails or no blood under the cuffs. strong points for the prosecution. on the defense side though the defense is playing the calls, including the call where george zimmerman sounds very, very calm on the phone with the police officer. george zimmerman's injuries show that he was beaten up. that's what the defense says. zimmerman does have some injuries and that zimmerman fully cooperated with the police from the very beginning, did he not lawyer up. he submitted to every test, every interview that they asked of him. and that the police did not arrest him that night. police initially came to the same conclusion the defense comes to. >> were you surprised that don west pro act ofly said zimmerman was following trayvon martin? >> yes! good catch. good catch. that's something i think that's inconsistent with the statements george zimmerman made.
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>> had this is the first i heard of the body being found face down. do you think that's something? >> we had heard that. right, it is going to be very difficult because of course there were two men there, only one survived. we have zimmer plan's story. we don't know what trayvon martin's story would have been. zimmerman's story was he was on the bottom, trayvon martin was on top of him, that trayvon was reaching for the gun, threatened his life, he took the gun at shot him, trayvon fell face down, zimmerman got out from underneath. all of these details are going to be tremendously important. >> lisa bloom, great to have you analyzing this trial. thank you so much. and thank you to our panel, ron, glen, margaret and michael. that is all for now. i will see you back here tomorrow at noon eastern. until then, you can find us on facebook.com/nowwithalex. andrea mitchell reports is next. ♪ now you can give yourself a kick in the rear!
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right now on "andrea mitchell reports" -- decision today. the supreme court rules raising the bar for affirmative action in public college admissions. we'll have the latest from pete williams. catch me if you can. edward snoweden is on the run with the help of wikileaks. now julian assange is speaking out in a phone call with reporters. i asked him why snowden fled. >> mr. assange, can you tell us whether you believe that as a whistle-blower as you define him, that snowden could have opted to go to congress or to the inspector general? why did he go to hong kong in particular, and now presumably is still in moscow? >> it is clear that mr. snowden is a whistle-blower by all his actions. >> accountcan the united states
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him? >> he is in russia, yes. the obama administration is losing patience. john kerry tells nbc news. >> certainly to the oath that he took, to the promise he took to his fellow employees, to the place that he was employed at, to the duty that he took on, freely by his own choice, and there is no way but to make a judgment about the way in which he has done harm to america's national security interests. so i think you can use almost whatever term you want. i think those actions are despicable. opening statements. the prosecution and defense beginning their case in the trial of george zimmerman. deciding zimmerman's fate -- six jurors, all women. and high-wire

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