tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC October 5, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT
>> it started last night. reuters reporter is an excellent veteran investigative reporter. mark last night was first to report that robert mueller's special counsel investigation has taken over the fbi's work-related to the so-called dossier. the dossier about president trump and his connections to russia. that's the dossier produced during the election by former british intelligence operative named christopher steele working on a contract with the d.c. research firm called fusion gps. earlier this week, three russian guys associated with the giant putin linked russian bank called alpha bank, three russians sued fusion gps over the way they were described in the dossier. sort of criminal and political
allegations made against them in the document. the three russians are the same guys that previously sued buzz feed. buzz feed was the first media organization to publish the dossier in january. they sued buzz feed before and now this week suing fusion gps, the company that paid for the dossier and suing fusion for allegedly not taking sufficient care with that document in the first place which ultimately led to buzz feed publishing. so, you know, it's a high bar to prove libel in this country. and serious litigants don't purr sioux pursue libel lawsuits in this country all that often. in part, because you're opening yourself up to your liable lawsuit becoming a vehicle to investigate whether or not any of the charges made against you might have a kernel of truth to them. the way that libel is litigated
in this country, it can be a dangerous legal status if you have anything. it doesn't mean there is never a successful libel suit but they can be means of opening up controversial topics and putting a spotlight on people that want to sue that lawsuit may be an interesting source of information about the allegations in the trump dossier as time goes on. that lawsuit filed this week could end up being important down the road. stick a pin in that. regardless of that lawsuit, the dossier is obviously already radically. in part because it concludes tabloid about trump's behavior when he was just a businessman operating in more importantly it's controversial document does overall the overall point of the dossier is that it describes a well developed conspiracy between trump world and russian
intelligence agencies as intelligence agencies were taking all sorts of different actions to try to benefit election. the dossier overall regardless of any of its individual claims, the overall argument is that there was collusion. there was a conspiracy of cooperation between trump world and the russian leadership while the russian leadership was directing the campaign to have russia influence our election. and in terms of the specific claims of the dossier, some of them are contested by the people who are named in the dossier including by three russians over its publication. the dossier as a whole is routinely dismissed by the white house as a complete, judiciary trump campaign in russia. senator had enough of the dossier.
he engaged in a month's long crusade to try to portray the dossier itself as the russia scandal. he's tried to impugn anything that had anything to do with creating that dossier or anybody whose ever cited it or anybody whose ever used it as a basis of investigation. some of the most basic stuff hasn't been be prucha out by any subsequent reporting. there are parts of the dossier that really have been proven out, dossiers russian attack except the dossier was right about it months before. for example, before there was any public reporting behind russia being the entity and hacking and stealing of documents that describes hacking operations and those thefts.
the steel dossier had that before there was any public source reporting on it. before reporting from "the new york times" in a very belated admission from the trump organization proved that president trump in fact pursued a trump tower moscow project during the campaign months before that ever became publicly known, it was in the dossier. christopher steel in the dossier described trump exploring the real estate sector in russia including moscow. before anybody had any proof that russian government sources directly offered derogatory information about hillary clinton to the trump campaign before the "new york times" first to report about the meeting at trump tower were the top officials from the trump campaign showed up in person for a meeting because they have been promised russian government information that would make
hillary clinton look terrible. months before we learned about that trump tower meeting where they showed up to get the hillary clinton dirt, months before that, christopher steel conspiracy with the trump campaign. providing the trump campaign with derogatory information. so a lot of this he had done to rights. a lot of this that seemed nuts when we read this published in january since then has been reported out and proven. so the christopher steel dossier was produced by this british intelligence agent by the campaign. it was first published openly in january by buzz feed. it has been the subject of incredible scandal and efforts but parts of it is proving out. robert mueller's inquiry has taken over the work happening at the fbi to try to corroborate the dossier and follow up the claims. that was first. that was last night tonight, then tonight cnn was first to
report and nbc has confirmed it. cnn was first to report that bob muller's team has interviewed the former british intelligence officer that wrote the dossier. christopher steele. counsel and muller's investigators met with british spy whose dossier and alleged russian efforts to aid the trump administration. spawned months of investigations that have hobbled the trump administration. quote, the fbi and u.s. intelligence committee last year took the steele dossier more seriously than they at first acknowledged. and sounds look at this, quote, the intelligence the cia and steel's research seriously enough they kept it out in a report released in january on russian meddling in the election in order to not say divulge which parts of the
dossier they had corroborated and how. this is interesting. it is one thing to say they took it more seriously than people think. this is specific and interesting. right? you put this together with mark's report and what we got is robert mueller tracking down allegations made in the dossier. mueller's team meeting with krystopher steele and this report that the fbi and cia took care after internal debates, took care to not explicitly discuss the dossier. to not explicitly include mention of the dossier when they reported on russian meddling in the election and the reason they didn't include the dossier in those reports is specifically because they had corroborated some of the claims in the dossier and if they were going to put the claims and if they were going to mention the dossier in their reporting, they would ultimately have to explain how they corroborated it, how they figured out that what
christopher steele said in that dossier was correct. however, they did that, however they corroborated what they corroborated was too sensitive to tell, say, donald trump. so they didn't write it down. they briefed out going president obama and incoming president elect trump in person directly about the fact that this dossier existed. but even though the dossier apparently is part of how they came to understand the russian meddling in the election, when it came time to produce their report about the russians meddling in the election, they didn't include the dossier in that because any classified version of that report would have to include how they knew the dossier was true. quote, in the weeks before the u.s. intelligence community published a january report detailing russian meddling efforts in the 2016 election, top officials at the fbi, cia and director of national intelligence office discussed including parts in the official intelligence document.
intelligence had quote concerns about that. quote, if that report included the dossier allegations, the intelligence community would have to say which agency corroborated and how. that would compromise sources and methods including information shared by foreign intelligence services. so there is is this dossier saying that the trump campaign and the russians were in cahoots involved in a conspiracy of operation to help put trump put a foreign thumb on the scale to get trump in office. you got to brief trump on how you found out what parts of that were true? who might he tell once you told him? okay. so in the end, they didn't put what they had learned from the dossier in their unclassified or classified report to protect the methodology they used to prove
it. all right. they were trying to protect the fact the dossier had proven out when they checked it out, but parts of it at least proved out when they checked it out and so now bob muller is in charge of checking out anymore and according first to cnn and now confirmed by nbc, bob muller and investigators met as part of the social counsel investigation. so last night cnn tonight and nbc confirming and now we right here can add to the reporting on this subject, as well. yesterday afternoon, richard burr and mark warner, top on the intelligence committee gave what they described as an update on the investigation into the election and the question of whether or not there was trump campaign collusion.
the senator said they had been able to thoroughly check out the circumstances surrounding donald trump's big prorussia foreign policy speech at the may flower hotel last year. they said they have been able to thoroughly check out the circumstances the trump campaign insisted on changing checking out the christopher steel dossier. they have been able to follow but we hit a brick wall there. >> as it relates to the steel dossier, unfortunately the committee hit a wall. we have on several occasions made attempts to contact mr. steel to meet with mr. steel to include personally the vice chairman and myself as two individuals making that connection. those offers that have gone unaccepted.
the committee cannot really decide the credibility of the dossier without understanding things like who paid for it? who are your sources and subsources? we're investigating a very expansive russian network of interference in u.s. elections. and though we have been incredibly enlightened at our ability to rebuild backwards, the steel dossier up to a certain date getting past that point is somewhat impossible. and i say this because i don't think we're going to find the intelligence products that unlock that key to pre june of 2016. my hope is mr. steel will make a decision to meet with either mark and i or the committee or both so that we can hear his side of it versus for us to
depict in our findings what his intent or what his actions were. and i say that to you but i also say it to chris steel. >> so that's the chairman of the intelligence committee yesterday saying there is a brick wall here explaining to the press what is going on about them not being able to talk to christopher steel about this dossier but saying i'm saying this to you as the press, i'll saying it to you, too, christopher steele. it's interesting in connecticut text in terms of what is happening in washington with investigating the scandal. you have the republican of the judiciary committee trying to say that the dossier itself is a scandal and inherently dubious or fake somehow maybe is definitely implying and sometimes flat out alleging anybody associated with it is somehow in trouble and should have to answer for actions.
in the other senate committee investigating the scandal, the republican chairman there doesn't describe the dossier as a scandal but basically describing it as a mystery here. we'll never get to the bottom of this. the credibility of the dossier will never be established because we can't speak to the author. it's all unknown and will remain unknown. we'll never understand whether any of this is real because we can't investigate it. that claim falls short on two fronts. christopher steel is reportedly talking to the muller investigators. if there are questions to ask christopher steele about the dossier, he's talking to american investigators about it and special counsel's office. the other way the fell short is the way we report. christopher steele relates there is no brick wall that senate investigator haves run up against trying to investigate the dossier or speak with
christopher steele. associate of steele tells us in fact, very recently in late september christopher steele in london relaid to washington through this associate that mr. steel in fact would be happy to meet with senator richard burr and senator mark warner. apparently senators burr and warner had requested as they said in the briefing yesterday requested to meet with christopher steele the answer from christopher steele through this associate was yes, yes, i will meet with you. the next step as they understood it was a date. the associate who relayed this offer to me, christopher steel was surprised to hear senator burr say full avenues of communication had been cut off with christopher steele and a brick wall had been hit and there was no way to get him to answer these questions. so we reached out to the senate intelligence committee, to the chairman and vice president tonight and they did give us a statement in response to the
reporting from us. they gave us an interesting statement that doesn't refute what our source told us but let me read you what they said, quote, the committee made multiple requests to meet with mr. steel over the last nine months including out reach to his attorneys open to any credible offer to meet with mr. steel whether in washington or in london. and what we're hearing from the steele side of the equation is that mr. steele is happy to meet with senators burr and warner. picking a date. so there may be a continuing political interest in washington in trying to make the christopher steele dossier seem like a scandal or seem like an unplumbale depth that we'll never be able to understand and nobody will ever be able to investigate.
we'll never know if any of it is true. i get the political drive to come to one of those two conclusions or maybe both. but in reality, based mostly on open source reporting from the american media in reality, a, a bunch of the dossier has proven to be true. b, the fbi and cia have reportedly validated parts of it as true and have apparently used it as the basis of some of their ongoing investigation, c, the special counsel robert mueller is investigating the dossier including interviewing christopher steele about it. and d, senate investigators apparently can meet with christopher steele if they want to. even if the republican chairman of the intelligence committee yesterday said otherwise. so republicans are obviously under a lot of pressure to wrap this thing up. trump campaign manager steve bannon left the white house but from his new position as a person who gets interviewed about the white house, which is itself funny, steve bannon made clear the only problem related to russia and the presidential election is that republicans in washington haven't yet blocked
the investigation into what russia did. >> it's mitch mcconnell and paul ryan have allowed three -- there is three investigative committees on capitol hill. they have full subpoena power. they are going after president trump -- >> yeah. >> they are going after him every day. >> the problem with trying to stop these investigations into what happened with russia and the trump campaign is that we keep finding new stuff that makes the investigation seem warranted and worthwhile. right? some of that is coming within the investigative process but a lot of it is coming from the media where hard core investigative reporting and free press is turning up evidence to say these investigations should be turned off. the president's response to even this latest news from the senate intelligence committee is that the thing, the senate intelligence committee ought to be investigating is the news media in this country. that tells you a lot about the attitudes of this administration
towards anything it perceives as a threat but tells you absolutely nothing about hour understanding of the scandal will continue to progress. because the investigations are not stopping and the reach in the investigations are not stopping because reporters will not stop working on it and honestly, every freaking day there is something new. year, we split it equally. except for one of us. i write them a poem instead. and one for each of you too. woman: cool. that actually yours... that one. yeah. regardless, we're stuck with the bill. to many, words are the most valuable currency. last i checked, stores don't take words. man: some do. oh. (alert beeps) not everyone can be the poetic voice of a generation. i know, right? such a burden. settle up with your friends on october 17th with the bank of america mobile banking app.
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that is a little alarming. i feel alarmed from a national security perspective. i don't see a white house drama story. it's about john kelly recently retired four-star general until he ran southern command. on january 20th he was sworn in as the secretary of homeland security and served until july 28th of this year. july 28th he left homeland security to replace the fired white house chief of staff. politico.com reports tonight according to three u.s. government officials, chief of staff john kelly's personal cell phone was compromised, potentially as long ago as december. apparently the chief of staff had noticed his phone wasn't working properly so he did what you do when you work in an
organization, he called i.t. and asked them to fix his busted phone for him. handed over his phone. the tech support people were trying to figure out what was wrong with his phone and realized, oh, the phone that belongs to the white house chief of staff has been externally breached. according to politico reporting, kelly turned his phone in saying it wasn't working or updating software properly and he said it wasn't working properly for months and that's when they discovered it had been compromised. now, one security expert talking to politico describes the worst-case scenario. not just that somebody might have been able to access the data on his phone. they may conceivably have been able to turn on the phone's microphone or camera there by tagging along wherever it was john kelly held that phone and
given he was running the homeland security department and running the white house over that time period when his phone was compromised, this news does sort of send a chill down my spine in terms of american national security. the white house has known for awhile according to politico.com a one-page memo summarizing the incident circulating and apparently john kelly has a new phone, good. it's one thing to worry about the national security, you know, instincts of this administration, capacity for dealing with complex and dangerous situations. one thing to think about their national security decisions and their history of having even very senior national security personnel compromised by foreign governments and nevertheless operating the high level inside the white house but quite another thing to hear the compromise might be a technology compromise and it might have been going on until very recently and might have wormed its way into the inner echelons of the white house even this
white house wasn't aware of and couldn't control at the time. so there has been some reporting recently about white house staff being breached on the importance of security issues about their personal devices and personal e-mail but we can report tonight on some new guidance that has apparently gone out to secret secret service personnel involved in white house protection. the white house is not confirming anything about this memo to us tonight and neither is the secret service when we contacted the secret service for information about this, they redirected us to the white house but according to a document that we have reviewed, secret service personnel were notified last week that as of this week, as of monday, there is a quote new restrictive policy that is going into effect related to the west wing that will quote prohibit the use of all personal mobile devices, cell phones, tablets, smart watches, et cetera within the entire west wing. all personal devices will be secured and provided lock boxes or turned off completely prior
to entering the west wing. there will be a 30-day management period before this policy is enforced. the governance only applies to personal devices within the west wing. this is a document we've reviewed exclusively that says this policy is in effect as of this week monday at the white house. secret service personnel are notified about this change but they have also been told according to the same document that quote, beginning this friday october 6th, this policy will be in effect for west wing tours, as well. and it will include all pass holders and their guests. pass holders and their guests will be required to secure or completely turn off their personal devices prior to entering the west wing. now, this is the kind of policy that has long been in effect for skiffs, right, and for other secured meeting spaces in the white house and executive branch but as of this week according to this document we reviewed, everybody entering the west wing
for any reason, phones in a lock box or turned all the way off. again, that reporting is exclusive to us tonight. we've reviewed a documented that provides that document to the secret service but neither the secret service nor white house is confirming the contents of this apparent new policy. this news comes amid a new scandal concerning the president's daughter and her husband who both serve as senior advisors in the white house. late last month politico.com reported that jared kushner is using a private e-mail. the day after that report, the top democrat sent a letter saying he would preserve all data.
from "usa today" 24-48 hours of receiving and american chair, one and two days of being asked in writing to preserve those e-mail records of the government business conducted on a private e-mail server, within 24 to 48 hours later, jared and ivanka rerouted to computers run by the trump organization. so as you might imagine, congressman cummings has questions. he churned out four letters today. he has questions from a host of the server, go daddy, given the context here, go daddy. one for the president's real estate company, the trump organization. jared and ivanka got one and finally, congressman cummings was asking the fbi to open up a security review of jared kushner
and ivanka trump's e-mail dump onto the president's company servers after they had been told to retain those e-mails at the request of congress. joining me now is congressman elijah cummings. congressman cummings, nice to see you. thank you for your time tonight. >> it's good to be with you, rachel. >> there is political context here, which we shouldn't ignore, which is that the republican congress and the trump campaign made a huge stink last year during the presidential campaign about hillary clinton as secretary of state having used a private e-mail server and that context resonates in terms of the hypocrisy of double standard. with that -- >> no doubt about it. no doubt about it. >> with that understanding, what do you think is the appropriate level of concern to have about them using a private e-mail server in the context? >> we have a situation where, rachel, first of all, it's
against the law -- it's not against the law to use the private server but they have to transfer information within 20 days, government information and official information to government servers. obviously, they did not do that. what we're most concerned about is what you said in the beginning of this segment. we're concerned, rachel, about national security. we don't know what is in these documents, but the thing that really concerns us is that, you know, within 24 to 48 hours after mr. gouty, the chairman and i sent a preservation letters, which means don't destroy any documents, do not relocate them because they may very well be a part of an investigation and we may need these documents. they then suddenly, that is, ms. trump and her husband, mr. kushner transferred them to the trump organization and so we
don't have a clue as to, you know, what these documents say, why they did this, are they trying to avoid us having an opportunity to determine whether or not they are classified or not and, you know, what are they appearing to hide? so i'm very concerned and we all should be concerned because if you recall, rachel, when hillary clinton's information was told about her using a private e-mail, we spent probably millions of dollars and hundreds of man hours just dealing with that and now seems as if the republicans are saying well, boys and girls will be boys and girls and that's not good enough for the national security of united states. >> let me zero in on something you mentioned about the preservation requests, the preservation demand you made to -- >> yes. >> ms. trump and mr. kushner
about this. it specifically said they should not relocate these documents. it wasn't just don't destroy the e-mails but don't move them and that was explicit part of the request before they moved them? >> that's exactly right. it was very specific. these are standard letters. and, you know, the interesting thing, rachel, is they never even notified us they were rerouting these e-mails and a lot of people ask the question well, what about hillary clinton? keep in mind, when hillary clinton came out about hillary clinton we forgot the private e-mail server, she said release everything. just put it all out there and let's figure out from there. and it seems as if mr. kushner and ms. trump decided they want to go send -- reroute these to the trump organization and they had been saying they were not connected with the trump organizations, which controlled
by donald trump and the other brother. so there is something wrong with this picture. it sounds -- it smells very fishy and so we'll figure out where the smell is coming from and how bad things are, or good. >> congressman elijah cummings, thank you. >> good to be with you. we got a lot more to come. busy night. to those who know the good life comes from the moments you live, not the things you own.
administration is it hasn't passed anything. republican control of the white house, republican majority in the senate, huge republican majority in the house but there has not been a significant single piece of legislation passed through congress and signed by president trump since he took office. at all. the biggest things they have done since trump has been in office, at least through the legislative process, the biggest things they have done is to undue some of the things that were done by president obama and his administration. they haven't really done anything of their own accord but the first substantive rollback of something that happened during the obama administration was this. this is something they got from the congress and signed. house joint resolution 40. this is something that had the sole and explicit purpose of making it easier for mentally
ill people to buy firearms. now, to be clear, you saw the length of that, right? this isn't part of some big larger bill. this is not one line in some multi page piece of legislation. this is the whole bill specifically and only targets people who are adjudicated to be seriously mentally ill, so seriously mentally ill that they cannot say handle their own affairs when it comes to getting social security checks or something. it only targets people adjudicated to be mentally ill and the only thing it changes is makes it easier for them to buy guns. that's it. now at the time, congress passed that and president trump signed it, it seems strange that that was really the first big legislative thing republicans were going to do in the trump era. it seemed weird when they did that first. over time it's come to feel all the more amazing they did that first right out of the gate, given they have done nothing else since then in terms of legislation. but this week, that being
priority number one for this new administration taking overt active discrete measures to make it hard for seriously mental ill to get guns, this week it started to feel like something else. this week it started to feel like a different thing since las vegas. >> i can tell you it's a very sick man. he was a very demented person. >> he's a sick, demented man. >> he was a sick man, a demented man. a lot of problems and we're looking into him very, very seriously. we're dealing with a very, very sick individual. >> says the president whose most substantive and first legislative accomplishment is making it easier for the seriously mentally ill to buy guns. now today in the wake of the las vegas shootings, the focus is on this gizmo. a bump stock.
it makes a semiautomatic weapon fire as if it's fully automatic. you can buy them online for 100 to $200. the las vegas shooter has some of them on several of his weapons. it appears he may have used them when the video that makes it sound like he was firing an automatic weapon, even though we don't know an automatic weapon was found in his hotel suite. 58 people died. 500 injured. some critically. the bump stock is a gadget feels like lawmakers and the president might actually concede maybe should be off the market. if so, it's probably literally the very least they could do. but so far there is no indication republicans might consider revisiting the trajectory they started this administration on beginning with the first big legislative action they took when the president first took office. when i look
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whyou're not thinking clearly, so they called the fire department for us. i could hear crackling in the walls. my mind went totally blank. all i remember saying was, "my boyfriend's beating me" and she took it from there. and all of this occurred in four minutes or less. i am grateful we all made it out safely. people you don't know care about you. it's kind of one of those things where you can't even thank somebody. to protect what you love,
call 1-800-adt-cares whfight back fastts, with tums smoothies. it starts dissolving the instant it touches your tongue. and neutralizes stomach acid at the source. ♪ tum -tum -tum -tum smoothies! only from tums in august last year fbi agents wearing military style uniforms and armed with long guns raided this home in maryland. it belongs to this man, herold martin. he was working as a contractor at the nsa. they found thousands of nsa documents, as well as computers and electronic devices according to court documents, the agents recovered many terabytes of information. many ter bite -- terabytes of
classified information. the details weren't reported until october of last year when "the new york times" published its scoop about the raid. after edward snowden, that harold martin arrest was the second breach at the nsa. it's important unlike edward snowden, authorities don't believe that harold martin was sharing of that information he took from the nsa publicly or privately. what investigators think he is was recklessly taking nsa work home with him. when you work for the nsa, that sort of thing is a serious crime. but that was the last major nsa breach we knew about until this summer when an nsa contractor winner got arrested by fbi agents after she gave a reporter classified material about the russian attack on the election
last year. these things don't happen that often. you can keep track on one hand. snowden in exile in russia and herold martin hoarding stuff at home. reality winner allegedly leaking to reporter classified stuff about the russian election attack. well new today, ding, got a new one. report of another breach at the nsa. and this one potentially could be more serious than all of the others. and that story is next. it's your eyes. that's why there's ocuvite, from bausch + lomb. as you age your eyes can lose vital nutrients. ocuvite helps replenish those nutrients. ocuvite has lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3. nourish your eyes to help them be their healthy best. ocuvite eye vitamins. be good to your eyes.
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today "wall street journal" reported in 2015 russian hackers working for the russian government stole information about the national security agency penetrates foreign computer networks, computer code it uses for such spying and how it defends networks inside the united states. that would seem to be very valuable information for the russians to have from our nsa. the russians reportedly got access to the valuable, highly classified information after an unidentified nsa contractor took material home from work an put it on the home computer. that was his first mistake. second mistake, according to the journal, the hackers working for the russian government, quote, targeted the contractor after identifying the files they wanted through the contractor's use of a popular anti-virus
software made by russia -- based kaspersky labs. big company. millions of dollars of sales in the united states. but last month you might remember the government ordering anti-virus software off all u.s. government computers. due to alleged links of kaspersky and russian intelligence. you might remember there was a hearing in may, the director of national intelligence and the nsa chief all personally asked if they would use the software on their own computers. the answer -- down the line, from fbi, cia, dni, uniformly, the answer was, nyet, nyet, no way. no. kaspersky denied there's any reason to work and not an instrument aft russian government. in july, nbc's richard engel interviewed the ceo of the lab who it should be noted was trained by the kgb. but he claimed any cooperation with the kremlin was purely defensive in nature.
>> never been asked to cooperate in an offensive operation with russian intelligence? >> zero. we are cooperating with the russian agency responsible for the cyber crime investigations. not with their spying, not all their -- we get defensive part. not with offensive. zero contacts with offensive agencies in russian intelligence. >> well, today, he responded to the report about theirv. in an incredibly offensive russian intelligence operation targeting the nsa calling it a false accusation. whatever the role turns out to have been in this, this reporting marks the first known instance, at least the first reported instance of the products being used to conduct high-level espionage against the united states. the journal's reporters say today u.s. investigators determined that armed with the knowledge of kaspersky software
they honed in on the home computer and obtained a large amount of information. joining now is shane harris, reporter for "wall street journal," shane, great to have you with us. thank you very much for that. >> good to see you. thank you. >> this is -- this is the -- there's been a lot of concern and suspicion about kaspersky related to russian intelligence. this seems to be the first reported incident of a granular instance the products were used by russia to conduct espionage in the u.s. is that right? >> that's right. for years intelligence officials had this suspicion and these fears and what we are seeing now is essentially a case study of exactly how they worried that kaspersky could be used by hackers in russia to find ways into information systems in the united states and you alluded to the banning of software on the government computers and that statement came out with the ban did not refer to anything
specific but if you look at the hypothetical scenarios that are laid out in the statement accompanying that ban they're exactly parallel to what investigators believe happened here, that kaspersky was a scout to find files for the russian hackers they might be interested in and hone in on the particular contractor as you noted made the violation of taking classified material home with him from his office at the nsa. >> and, shane, can you tell us from your reporting if kaspersky software was able to identify first of all his computer that there was classified information on his computer, and then, further it could identify which files might be of interest to these spies? >> there's still some key things we don't know about precisely how it went about, the identification and we have
learned about the investigation is that kaspersky did the scan if you like and registered the files that were on the computer and it is important to note that anti-virus software does work this way. it makes a note of what's on the machine to make sure there's not something that's not supposed to be there, ie, a virus. anti-virus software. at some point a catalog if you like, this menu of what was on there, that's available to the hackers that then got on to the system, we think, and obtained the information from it. so, exactly the sequence of that is still something i think investigators themselves may be trying to understand but they have concluded if not for a kaspersky they don't believe the hackers would have been able to identify the files on this computer and then retrieve them. >> what you describe as the -- as what was plundered in this case sounds incredibly scary to somebody who's just a lay observer of these things. how the nsa penetrates foreign computer networks.
the computer code it uses. how it defends networks inside the united states from the same kind of attacks from outside. how serious was this breach? >> it was very serious and officials were extremely alarmed about this. this situation was so dire that it was actually given a secret code name so officials talk about it in a closed setting and we understand in that multiple officials aware of this because of the implications that it held oftware or contractors or employees might have it at home and the kind of school tools and the computer code the nsa uses to spy on other countries. i mean, if you like, analogize them to the tools for spying or the methods for spying. when this kind of thing gets into an adversary's hands, it tells them how to defend their networks to gain information from them and potentially to take the tools and use them
against other countries, maybe even against us. it's the kind of thing that you protect as a basic element of intelligence trade craft. >> yeah. the sort of thing you want only there's an enthusiastic, unified aware whole of government approach toward recognizing that threat, defending against it and honest with the american people of the seriousness of the intent behind this kind of attack and i will not ask you to comment on that because you don't deserve it. shane harris, national security reporter for "the wall street journal," thank you for helping us understand this scary, scary reporting. >> good to see you. >> you, too. thanks a lot. i will say this is -- this nsa breach i think it's hard for those of us who use computers and don't understand cyber security as a national security thing and hard to see the breaches in terms of how dangerous they are for national security but both the magnitude of what was stolen here and the means by which it was taken off this guy's computer are super serious and super scary. again, this happened in 2015. coming to light now because of the good reporting of "the wall street journal."
now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening. >> good evening. a big news night for christopher steele and the special prosecutor spoken to christopher tonight to add to that, richard burr said yesterday hate brick wall in terms of senate investigators to talk to him, that we were able to report tonight that at least from the steel side of the equation, he's willing to talk and so we may yet see him speaking with those investigators, as well. >> i read that you provoked a response from chairman burr and vice chairman senator warner tonight and i've read their written response. and i'm wondering if there's some gray area where it's sort of true that they haven't gotten the cooperation so far from christopher steel they were seeking. the way they put it is they have sought many i'ms over the months and open to any credible offer. >> yeah. >> they might regard what's been