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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  December 14, 2014 3:30pm-4:01pm EST

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♪[ music ] from washington, the "the mclaughlin group." the american original for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. >> issue one, the senator versus the cia! >> it shows that the cia's actions a decade ago are a stain on our value and on our history. the release of this 500-page summary cannot remove that stain. but it can and does say to our people and the world that america is big enough to admit when it's wrong and confident enough to learn from its mistakes. >> senate intelligence committee chairman, dianne
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feinstein, and committee democrats on tuesday released the long-awaited report on the central intelligence agency, the cia's, detention and interrogation program. senator dianne feinstein outlined the reports for major conclusions. first, the cia's enhanced interrogation techniques, which includes waterboarding, were not effective in collecting intelligence. second, the cia misled policy makers and the public on the cia intelligent program. third, cia managers failed to supervise the program appropriately. and fourth, the program was far more brutal than the cia presented. >> question, what does senator dianne feinstein hope to accomplish by making this report public? >> she hoped to damage the bush administration. but i'll tell you what she did.
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what she's got here is a pretty vicious attack. it's a vindictive prosecutor's document. she didn't talk to cia people. she didn't talk to the alleged people that did these grizzly things. she talked about things we've known about ten years. she said it was a decade ago. she's dredged this all up. she's damaged our relations with foreign intelligence agencies exposed. she's damaged the reputation of the united states. and for what? we've heard these things! we've heard about waterboarding. we knew all these things! she's got a few grizzly details. john, this is just like after vietnam. the church committee came out and said, look at all these horrible things these american soldiers did whom they cheered into vietnam themselves when kennedy and johnson were in the white house. >> i'm on john mccain on this one that delivered a powerful speech on the senate floor and for someone who underwent torture himself. he's the most articulate
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person, the only one with first- hand experience with this. >> what did he say? >> he said, basically, a, torture doesn't work. what went on was worst than anyone believed. and the american people deserved to know what was done in their name. i think that's appropriate. the stain on this country is not that we're admitting that this went on. but the fact that it went on. and now this basic live gives the government sealed approval that this country will not committee economize its values again -- come pro economize its values again -- compromise its values again. >> on thursday, cia director john brennan explained and defended the use of eit's. eit stands for enhanced interrogation techniques. here he is. >> the cause and effect relationship between the application of those eit's and
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the ultimate provision of information is a known and unnoble. but for someone to say that -- unknowable. is. but for someone to say they didn't get it after eit's, i think it lacks intelligence at all. >> do you think the director of the cia's defense was persuasive? >> highly persuasive. if you look at what we know about opened material and the eit's provided in certain areas, for example, in identifying the importance of the career for the bin laden network. if you look at the operational picture the eit provided,
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again, shiri -- abu al-rahim al- nashiri and how they operated in the very beginning which we did not know and actually driving against plots who was were major, yes, there's intelligence provided. the report, in my opinion, is a joke. and i use that word -- i know it's a serious issue. but for recents that pat mentioned, not interviewing police as witnesses. >> mort, do you have thoughts on this? >> yes, yes. what astonishes me is this assumption we live in this innocent world where this kind of response, in terms of gaining intelligence, is just off the moral table, should we say. i think as a country when we're up against some of the most vicious kind of people, we've got to do some things like this. it's not pleasant. it's not, you know, gentleman's game, you know. but we're not playing on those
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rules, and nor are the people on the other side. so we got to do something we wouldn't like to do but are necessary. >> we are -- >> excuse me. it's necessary for the defense of the country and the people for this country. >> as the lone voice on the other side, i would point out that the united states of america has signatories to a lot of international agreements and rules. we're hardly in a position to just ignore those rules when it's inconvenient. secondly, the senate staffers went over 6 million documents. they didn't talk to the cia agents directly. they had transcripts when those agents were interviewed. and they went through every one of the cases and they found -- excuse me -- they found no basis for a piece of intelligence that came as a result of -- >> well. >> -- excuse me! excuse me, pat. i want to finish my point. he makes the point that it led to the cur your to obama. that information -- currior to
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obama. it came from several places and the person who was waterboarded before he was waterboarded! [talking at the same time] >> hold on. hold on. hold on, pat. >> i'll let pat jump in. there's some intelligence. that's true. but the eit did provide intelligence. >> what's that? >> enhanced intelligence techniques. >> all right. let's call it. think that waterboarding is torture, but sleep depravation, all that, that's not pleasant stuff. easy for me to say that. but when you're dealing with al qaeda informants trained to go through torture, you have to do it. >> they have cherrypicked this. this is good. this one is good. they have no context. you are got to realize, john, this is not a war where you're fighting the british army or anything. these 9/11 people design their programs to kill innocent
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people in great masses, whether it's 9/11, london, subway, madrid. >> attack a school today -- >> and secondly -- >> what the report put together for the senator from california was done by her -- her employee -- >> it's the prosecutors -- >> and they were knave. let's put it that way. -- naive. >> let's put that way. >> they're naive! they're naive and -- >> you have no right to judge! you have no right to judge! >> he comes in with a position generated by her staff -- >> it's like a prosecutor that walks in for his trial -- >> loses and that's the story -- >> you say, dianne feinstein who was under surveillance. under surveillance because
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brennan and the cia hacked into the senate computers! -- >> i wonder if you're naive when you -- >> you were watching too much "24" and "homeland." >> you're naive when you think these worked! >> but they don't work! that's one of the major findings. >> excuse me! let me move this forward. why president obama won't prosecutor. listen. >> quote, obama's problem is if he can prosecutor authors for authorizing torture, then the next republican president can prosecutor obama and their sub ordinance for the action of the obama administration. say the drone strike that killed olaki and three other american citizens. cruz shows it as one of the 76 illegal actions by the obama administration. you don't have to believe every one of cruz's charges to see that obama and his subordinates
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were spent years under investigation if he leaves office if a republican president saw such an action politically expedient. end quote. >> question. does anyone believe that the justice department investigation into the cia interrogations could have produced evidence to support prosecutions but that eric holder held off for fear of future incrime nations? tom rogan? >> -- incriminations. >> tom rogan? >> i think it's because he knows that the cia offices made the decision in the best interest of the country at the time. you have to remember the president now receives the intelligence briefing at that level. it's noticeable he's been quiet because he knows that the kay -- it's as dianne feinstein -- cia cia -- it's not -- that the cia.
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>> he admitted he campaigned on being opposed to torture, as did john mccain and has been since the beginning. it was one of his acts of congress to end this program. >> if he didn't do it, he would tear this country apart, and the it would come back to bite him badly because the american people would say, here, guys, given this assignment at the beginning of a horrible war. we expect more attacks, and now we're prosecutorring them? >> it would be -- prosecute them? >> it would be difficult. you'd have to find the tentacles of the cia to find the person crafting the policy. it's not going to happen. and presidents generally don't go after political deeds of their predecessors. and gerald ford is a major example of that in pardoning richard nixon. >> remember the afterdays of 9/11? >> i think so. >> horrible days. >> yes, they were.
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>> and we wanted to know -- we wanted to make sure this never happened again. and that was the commitment and the -- what -- the -- the -- >> undertaking. >> the full understanding of course of the cia. >> without question. >> do you think they took liberties they shouldn't have taken? >> no, i don't think they did. there may have been an occasional situation -- >> or should we thank them for taking those liberty and they were justified being taken? >> under criminal law in america, you have to have an intention to break the law to do a bad thing. these people were working on behalf of the nation and the united states. so i don't think they're prable. >> but they exceeded -- comparable. >> but they exceeded the legality of the eit's presented to them. and the author of the company man who was the lawyer at the cia during this period has called these eit's sadistic -- >> well, some guys were punished! but mort is right.
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you have to go to motive if you're talking about crimes and things like -- >> right, right. >> they're not satanics. they're trying to keep people from blowing up more! >> don't forget the "the mclaughlin group" has its own website. you can watch it on the web, anywhere in the universe, even blackholes at >> could anything be more interesting? >> or more exciting! >> what is blow back? >> it's a covert operation that at a future point produces political ramifications. >> is that what's been going on here? >> an question of blow back? exactly. issue two, pomp or circumstance? >> quite the event of everything else -- [talking at the same time] >> actually -- [ laughter ] >> president obama knows how to
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please the american press. give them a royal. this week, prince william and his wife, cathryn visited the united states. alongside meetings were those like obama and hilary clinton. they held a number of charity- raising events. behind the smiles, however, there are emerging signs that the special relationship may be strained. take defense cooperations. due to spending cuts over the past few years, today, the uk government is barely meeting its 2% of gross domestic product, gdp, spending commitment at a nato member. in contrast, the united states spends nearly 4% of its gdp on defense. and get this. some including london's prestigious royal united services institute, are predicting that uk defense spending may actually fall below 2% next year causing
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worry in washington the uk is already stealing back purchases of advanced f-35 fighter jets for its two new carriers. speaking to the bbc last month, a retired senior, an officer warned that they may have to surrender war-fighting capabilities. >> at one end, have you the really hard, cutting edge, bruceling with war-fighting capability fighter who has the fast jets on there able to prosecute in the most dangerous circumstances, difficult war fair. at the other end -- warfare. at the other end, you have those who can carry troops around helicopters and relief operations. so there's a great spectrum of capability you can exploit with a carrier. i think the decisions as a nation to make is can we use these carriers at the high end! >> where does this leave america?
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is britain abandoning us where a special relationship without pomp and policy and circumstance? >> no, i don't think they are. but there's no doubt that the broughtish economy is much weaker that's -- british economy is much weaker than it has been. they have to cut back. that's not something they want to do. but they can't afford it. they have had a weak economy for a long time. you just have to reflect those kinds of basic facts in all policies, including defense policies. it's true of a lot of the european countries in general. >> the friction of european countries over there not paying what we think is their fair share has been there for generations. i would rather speak about why the royals were in their country, promoting their cause of the trafficking of wild animals, poaching elephants. i find that much more interesting than trying to find ray problem with the uk on -- a problem with the uk on defense. [ chuckle ] >> you want to talk about
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elephant? >> i think that's great. but i will say this. the brits are the best friends we have. it's sad to say morally and economically, they are receding power. they have this movement to break away. the iek has to go against the eku. they have to border along storm, invasion of iraq. so i think it's sad, john. but quite frankly, the united states and the west as well as the brits are gradually receding as the major force in the world. >> and i want you to think of the impact of putin's behavior on the uk's assessment of its defense spending. nato officials -- this is the beginning of an answer -- have called for a 3% of gdp, defense budget, for all member's states. that's a hike. a number of states close to russia, such as sweden, are
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continue plaiting greater increases. >> nobody in the nato, except the united states have 3%. turks have about 2%. nato made a mistake, in my opinion, when they moved the nay those in the baltic states and maldova, romania, bulgaria. you're in russia's front yard. and i think that's the main problem we've had with putin. it's right in their front yard. >> ah, i still would rather talk about the elephants. >> if you think about the united states, we are carrying the weight of international security. the big problem with the european union is because they've had mote that have failed, unemployment in europe and spain. people in the economy have proved that. the pressure to reduce the spending is relentless. and it'll continue. but if the problem is, if you have an alliance, there's mutual responsible.
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yes, the uk is letting the united states down. if they're talking about that floating humanitarian platforms, that's a problem because it speaks to power generations deficits. >> are they weakening? >> it's improving at the moment, growing. but at the level of state spending, it's crowding out -- precious defense spending. it's easy to get the united states to pay the weight of that. >> but from euro, it's receding. it's a very difficult time to hike the spending -- >> the u.s. economy -- the u.s. economy is the coloss sus on the world stage -- colossus on the world stage right now. you may not want to acknowledge it. but they have a huge -- [talking at the same time] >> i think the point is taken. we're not fighting with you on that. >> thank you. >> greece is pretty much ready to -- i think they're on the verge of default. they have three quick elections to this new president. they fail, and the government goes down.
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they have this left wing for reason -- >> europe cannot -- they won't reform their social welfare systems, so this is the problem. >> from greece to ireland, greece is tired of ours offer thety programs. it's a difficult -- osterity programs. it's a difficult thing to hike spending. >> those folks have had enough of this for three years. and one day, they're going to say goodbye. >> the ux is coming back! -- the uk is coming back! [talking at the same time] [ laughter ] >> right. issue three, trillion- dollar christmas present. >> when look at the agreements that had to be struck on funding levels, riders and other provisions, there's a lot of on this -- there's a lot on this bill. they did a marvelous job. eit wish they had done it last week. but it wasn't. here we are.
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i'm proud of the work they've done. i look forward to passing with bipartisan majorities in the coming days. >> midnight thursday was the deadline to avoid a government shutdown. but before the clock ran out, they passioned a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill, overting a shutdown -- like 2013. -- a shutdown like 2013. they need it for ebola response, cia scrutiny, and funding undocumented children crossing the border. more controversial, however, it relaxes regulations in the dog- frank banking law and increasing the cap on donations politically. it allows pension plans to make cuts to existing retiree benefits. advocacy groups demanded a
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stuffer stance against the bill. >> question, two months ago, the nation was mired in political gridlock. suddenly, we have a budget breakthrough. what changed, pat buchanan? >> i think that first the democrats realized they need something through now and this is the best deal they're going to get. the new year, they have a shorttermed cr, they'll get hammered. i think people are angry with the bill. i think banner and obama, i think the base of both parties have sold it. i think elizabeth warren is right. they have the sellout for those calls and the derivatives and gotten dog frank. and they did nothing about the animosity. so these core people are really enraged. >> when will the democrats realize it next year? >> they'll lose the senate -- >> will they leverage? >> right. >> they'll lose the senate!
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>> yeah, the white house was we liz beth warren on the sub -- elizabeth warren on the substance of the objections. to not allow big banks remove another provision that cramps their style. but the white house made the cuts calculation that if if the democrats forced a government shutdown over this, they'd get blamed. and next year, it'll be worse. but we're seeing is the elizabeth warren wing of the party asserting itself. and there's a lot of energy around that. >> uh-huh. >> and i think it really does predict next year's politics. and hilary clinton who's still the punitive nominee on that side, will have to figure out how to come up with an economic policy that takes into account the anger of elizabeth warren and the alliance she's immediate made with the tea party. they're both sceptical of wall street and the federal reserve.
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she isn't intimidated by the federal reserve. have a great political fight coming up ahead next year. >> elizabeth warren was an assistance to the president for a short while. now she is 65 years of age. she was born in oklahoma city. and she's senior senator. she's senior senator right now from massachusetts, senior senator. >> well, only by minutes. [ chuckle ] >> he's not -- i don't think she is going to run for president. i don't think she wants to run for president. but the draft elizabeth warren movement is well underway. >> uh-huh. >> and that's where the energy is in the party. >> she helped herself with this, john. she helped herself with this. >> that's right. >> a lot of republicans were cheering her on! >> including patsy canon, i think. >> that's an issue here. [ laughter ] >> my opinion is that this is good that this is passed. it shows the government can work. there's an absence of people. i think the polling data will
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show that people are happy something is done. both bases are upset. at this moment in time, that's good. they are leading and trying to buck the trend. i know pat would disagree with me. with the dog frank rule, it's populous to hit the big banks. but at the same time, the regulations in dog frank have been a big problem. but for someone like me with low assets, the banking fees they pushed on, that is a problem that's hurt people at the bottom of the ladder. so for some who think it's some miracle that's saved the nation -- >> it's about one provision! not the entire act! [talking at the same time] [ laughter ] >> if the democratic party gets identified by the elizabeth warren, they'll never see national pre-eminence or dominance. she represents a very small, very intense part of the democratic party, similarly in the country. but the demonstrateyas have to
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get somebody -- democrats have to get somebody much closer to the central to get representation. >> she is represented by a lot of people she believes is screwed by the economic policy in this country. >> economic power are growing in both parties. >> uh-huh. >> it's just like europe. we're a mirror of a lot of places in europe. >> this month, greece will be on the brink of basically collapsing. but the key is that venezuela defaults. >> the senate committee report on torture will be turned into a book and will make the best seller list just like the original 9/11 commission report. the american people are not afraid of the truth. and they deserve to know it. >> tom? >> in the coming months, coming weeks, in fact, you're going to see a lot more reporting on the role that iran has cultivated in iran displacing the iraqi government and empowering iraqi militias. >> mark? >> this year, virtually every european country, with one
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exception, will show a growth rate under 3%. and therefore, the conditions of europe will continue to deteriorate. >> all right. predict consume i spending this holiday season, christmas, will be the strongest in 6 years and fueled by lower gasoline prices at the pump with a cost of a filch up down of 25 -- of a phillip down of $25. people will have money to spend this year, and merchants will reap the awards. bye, bye! ♪ [ music ]
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this week on "moyers & company" -- >> we in america have a higher opinion of ourselves than maybe we deserve. we've always believed that we're democrats. we're fundamentally egalitarian. but i see that egalitarian impulse disappearing. i see it either being numbed or actually snuffed out. >> announcer: funding is provided by -- anne gumowitz, encouraging the renewal of democracy. carnegie corporation of new york, supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security at the ford foundation, working with visionaries on the front lines of social change worldwide. the herb alpert foundaon


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