tv NBC10 Issue NBC March 26, 2017 11:30am-11:55am EDT
russian threats, what's rusd why it matters if russians meddle in thewh's the risk if t pushes back or it doesn't? pipeline progress, work has the pipeline project. some say it will bring jobs and pr others fear it will foul our water and air. we will discuss both sides. >> announcer: nbc 10 at issue we begin with russia. its motive for meddling in the u.s.attey and why understanding the history between our countries can explain a lot.ing me from the n in new york city is clint watts.
clint is a senior fellow with foreign policy research institute. his focus is national security. he has served in the u.s. army and is a former fb i agent. let's talk about what we need to know about the history of u.s./russian relations to understand what's going on now. help us understand that. >> this really dates back 20 years. after the u.s. essentially won the cold war, we expanded our influence in europe under the clinton administration. we were involved in conflicts in the balkans and throughout the world. russia took a back seat. they were seen as being weak in the eyes of some in russia. if you look to the bush administration and later obama administration, you saw two times where presidents reached out and tried to build better relations with russia but were rebuffed. that's in large part because vladimir putin feels like nato and the european union are an aggressive actor against russia.
they have chosen to rise in recent years by using what's known as active measures or a method by which rather than fighting on the battlefield, they will use the force of politics to create change amongst all the countries that are part of the european union and nato. what they have done over the past two to three years is try to shape those elections through a combination of influence and hacking. hacking people's information, key political figures, public figures and then releasing that strategically to influence people's perceptions. the goal is to create dysfunction in these democracies, to ultimately bring about the dissolution of european union and the breakup of nato, which then law allows russia to achieve foreign policy positions. >> how do they know if they have achieved what they are looking for? >> they know they have achieved the end goal whenever the european union or nato starts to
dissolve or break up. we're seeing that. namely, the brexit vote last year where the united kingdom is trying to leave the european union. that would be an example of an election that they tried to help influence in one direction, the et exit vote, rather than the unity vote. they are supporting candidates, usually alternative right candidates, with very pro russian positions across the european union and the united states. that could be said of president trump today who hosts a variety of positions that are very pro russian and also the upcoming elections in france and germany candidates going for supporting pro russian positions and receiving online, overt influence support from russia and their propaganda efforts. >> when we heard in this -- the hearing this past week in washington the talk about russia and their interference in the u.s. election, one of the questions that was asked was whether they were able to --
whether they did interfere at all and change vote totals. the answer from the nsa director was no, that did not happen. from what you know about them, is that something they would even have the ability to do? >> i believe they might have the ability do it. but i don't think they have the intent to do that. we have to remember that actually going in, hacking into voting machines and changing the actual outcome of the vote would be seen in many cases to be an act of war. what they did much more successfully was create the perception of hacking, perception of hacking into voter rolls, for example, rather than changing votes. that creates doubt in our democratic institutions. that undermines the outcome of the election and those people that are ultimately victors in the elections, whether they are true representatives for our democratic institutions. that's really where the danger is for the american people is the erosion of trust between voters and those democratic institutions that represent them. >> how do we know what they're
doing? how are we able to say this is something coming from russia, this is something that's not? how are we parsing all of that out from what you have seen? >> they're not hiding it. if you watch the two primary russian state sponsored news outlets, they tell you exactly what their are, who they support, who they don't like. they are also articles that are published based on data dumps, whether leaks, a hacking operation last summer o the wikilea wikileaks, they use that disfor partial truth or completely false stories that try and influence a certain part of the. you can watch it or you can look it up for yourself on the internet manyunderstood is how much impact this influence operation has on the minds of americans. >> so how does the u.s.
country fight against things like that, especially something that as you said isn't hidden? >> one thing they could doquicy information. a lot of false stories haveeebu information landscape. those stories could be refuted simply by u.s. publicemen. the other thing they can do is create awareness essentially for information consumers, that's t news. ee se think of a way to create nutrition labels to information. if you can relay what they are reading, what the quality is over time, then americans can make a better decision about what information they want to consume. they can inform themselves about the outlets they are looking at as much as the information they're receiving. >> is it different -- from what you have seen, is the interaction with the u.s. and any attempts interference, is it different with us than any other countries?
>> no. it's a standard play book. the russian propaganda have followed a standard lineage across any of the campaigns. what they normally focus is one putting out very overt communications but empowering them with hacking. so the hacking isn't necessarily just to commit a crime. it's to gain information that compromises their opponents. and then releasing that information out into the news space such that social media accounts can propagate that to the target audience they want to reach. this is going on in europe in the same way that it occurred in the united states last year. >> what's the next thing that you are watching? >> right now, i think the two and germany. above all, i think germany is the election to watch. if the swings to a candidate pro russia, anti na russians win the second cold war without the united states even understanding that they are in it. see the collapse of our
nato alliance. we could see dissolution o this would strategically weaken american position around the world. we would essentiallyom second o potentially in the newnt watts policy research institute, thano us. next, what's different this time? find out why experts say e into policy is like nothing they have ever seen before. dear fellow , i know what it's like to worry about student loan debt. i graduated into it. it was keeping me from doing the things i love, like traveling to see my nephews. but i knew there had to be a way to manage it.
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was not just about the 2016 presidential election. >> right. this is an e. foreign governments in general would have a lot of interest in being involved in the u.s. elections and influencing the u.s. elections in various .at's why we have campaign finance laws that prevent foreign donors intoongoing issu. here is ae concern, whether it produces whato it again or that other countries may get involved, tond seeing much bigg innc process. >> this is something you have seen before. at this particular time different ent?or i >> i would say i was surprised when a lot of these allegations came. trying to notify american people and europeans that this wastr europ
trying to show how russia was recruiting certain politeins po perspective. i was trying to undermine the undermine -- i was -- i was shocked it here a certain way in did?h this is a brazen attack o the reason it did that was because its back was up agains . sanctions are hurting russia. i feel they are conscious of that. they were willing to do anything it takes to get rid of the sanctions. i believe that they thought there was a kind of quid pro quo where they they help their candidate to win the election, they would get actioof the sanctions or elimination.on appear to have been about. >> the other thing that may different this year is just how
our whole sm like social media. how did that change things? how did that affect thin? everybody looking at the election or involved in any way in the election saw that. i had friends telling me, i just got some fake news down the wire. i asky it turned out not to be true. a lot of people were ingesting fake news. they were seeing fake news. sometimes they knew, sometimes th it was popping up all over. trolls which are something -- people in the foreign p. every time i. now it was in the en twitter pes would pop up and how terrible you were or how great something was. it was crazy. i think that's one of the reasons the american people wan because they are worried about what direction this is future. >> from a difference how the u.s. i think so.
drip, drip, drip, d i feel like what's happening in the united states is we are -- our tradition of congressional investveigation is very powerfu. people in the comednity have put this issue out. we're discussing it. we're debating it. a very serious investigation of this by the fbi and by congressional authoritie i believe at the end of the day, we will find out in this country what exactly happened. that will be a huge deterrent for russia. probably what russia wanted was to have a better image in the united states and have the sanctions regime lifted. neither of those things are probably going to happen at this point. >> you know, you explained why it's important for russia in terms of the sanctions. what about for your average voter in the u.s. who says, all right, you know, maybe they can try to do this, but why does it matter? >> i think it matters because in
essence what's being discussed here -- i think people haven't really been quite clean about it -- is in essence what we're talking about is whether a foreign power has taken over or had a huge influence on one political campaign and potentially on the government of the united states to turn the united states' foreign policy in the direction of what a foreign power wants, not what the united states wants. what this foreign poll ywer wanf our foreign policy is to destroy nato, to destroy the european union, the institutions that the united states built at the end of the second world war that have kept peace in europe for 70 years. this is a very substantial issue. this is an issue about do we have to fight some war potentially to undo the damage that's been created by a foreign power? do we have members of the campaign or members of the government who have been pushing russia's foreign policy interests rather than the united states' foreign policy
interests? >> how does this differ from the way you have seen them operate before? what is different about -- what is different about it this time? >> i think this was much more aggressive and much more targeted towards a much bigger power. it's been pretty easy. russia felt success in pushing around some smaller nations around its periphery such as moldova. but it has never really had such a big success of targeting a big country like the united states. >> does it consider this a success in is. >> i think it's a bit mixed. i think they were successful in terms of the supporting the campaign they wanted. i think they are disappointed at this point about the results, because they have seen a big anti-russia reaction. every time somebody criticizes russia on tv, that's a negative impact for them. i think they may sort of feel that they sort of won the battle, lost the war in the end here. >> thanks for joining us. >> thank you. next on nbc 10 at issue, work has started on the mariner
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>> announcer: this is nbc 10 at issue. top the mariner east pipeline. construction has begun on thein will run through chester and delaware counties. the pipeline will run 300tarrg n the town of ending in markus hook. it's being built by sunoco logistics. o economic growth in pennsylvania. thousands of good middle class pipeline's construction. many more through the pipeline's end use benefits. the delaware county chamber of
commerce e-mailed this. receive unprecedented regulatory review since may of use of local trad that the most trained professionals are hired to safely and rpo with me now is alex bonstein, the senior litigation lawyer with the clean air counsel. we invited a representative from sunoco logistics to join us. they declined. the chamber of comm that this project will be one of the the state has seen in generations. how do you weigh concern? >> the problem here is that we're talking about a dangerous of this project mariner ree pipelines. natural gas ldfromne end of thee other. the way they're being built taking a 100 foot swath of land
more or less, sometimsomemes le path across 300 miles. there are great environmental concerns from this. erns what we're talking about here is liquids that are highly fl explosive. a leaks, it could cause devastation,opuled areas such as suburban philadelphia. >> water is your expertise. specifically, what are the water concerns? >> in this case, what is hpen when a company such as perts to bui like this project is supposed to be around sensitive environmental features. it's supposed to comply with laws that and the environment, that protect the integrity and
quality of our water. those regulations weren't complied with here. instead, what happened was despite a lot of review by the department of environmental protection, in the end the problems with the weren't fixed. instead, the project sply green lighted. >> i want to stop this before things gotten under way now. what's your best case do now? >> there's a l built yet. it's still in the initial phase. we are going ahead with our appeal. we expect there are a lot of l be able to see that in fact, th were issued. the department of environmental protony were issued. actually called them deficient. but they issued the permits anyway. in addition, besides the department of eir approval, the
still zoning laws that should be there's property laws that could be comply -- that need to be what we're concerned about is in fact sunoco is breaking it munderstanding is that as things get going, local asd to anything they see might bedo ty? how would they know where not complying? are they getting trained? >> that's a good question. thine is that oper -- i'm sorry, is building its pipelines through people's private property that don't want the pipelines there. sunoco has threatened to take people to court to take their land using eminent domain in order to build this project. in fact, they have followed through on that threat by taking many people's properties. now even beyond that, even beyond taking property that they want to build it, they're
trespassing on people's land that they don't have any rights for. those trespasses are something people can tell. sunoco does not have a right it to be here on my property. maybe there, not here. that's something that people should be keeping their eyes out for and reporting if they see it. >> ongoing controversy. we will keep our eyes on. thanks for joining us. >> thank you. sunoco logistics did send a statement. we have been operating safely in and around our home office in the delaware valley for more than 85 years.ractices and protocols have been documented by an independenteat safety experto me and exceed federal safety regulations. that expert found that ted addi processes in excess of minimum federal pipeline safetyure the safety of this proposal across the township.
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