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tv   Washington Week With Gwen Ifill  PBS  January 9, 2015 8:00pm-8:31pm EST

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gwen: terrorism and its consequences abroad. politics and its consequences at home. tonight on "washington week. >> here in europe we believe in freedom of expression, of press and of thought and we cannot be silenced with these cowardly attacks. gwen: a deadly and bloody attack on a satirical newspaper. hostages taken at a kosher deli. and a renewed debate about homegrown terrorism. this time in france. and the world is watching. >> i want the people of france to know that the united states stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow. gwen: in an instant, fears of islamic extremism are once again front and center, as are . in washed, a republican-led congress returns to work the>>
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the battle of ideas never ends, and frankly never should. as speaker, i'll ask and frankly expect that we disagree without being disagreeable. gwen: but there's a lot to disagree about from, the keystone pipeline to health care to taxes and trade. >> listening to president obama, you could almost get whiplash. >> there will be some pitched battles, but i'm also confident that there are enormous areas of potential agreement that would deliver for the american people. gwen: we look ahead tonight with pete williams, justice correspondent for nbc news nancy youssef, senior national security correspondent for the daily beast, michael crowley, senior foreign affairs correspondent for politico, and susan davis, chief congressional correspondent for "u.s.a. today. announcer: award-winning reporting and analysis covering history as it happens.
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live from our nation's capitol this is "washington week" with gwen ifill. corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> from a world of darkness we became a nation of life. a nation powered by electricity, powered by ibew. ibew powering north america. >> how much money do you have in your pocket right now? >> $40. >> $21. >> could something that small make an impact on something as big as your retirement? >> i don't think so. >> if you start putting that much toward your retirement and
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let it grow over timing 20, 30 years, that retirement challenge might not seem so big after all. >> additional corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by boeing. additional funding is provided by newman's own foundation, donating all profits from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common good. and by the annenberg foundition the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington, moderator gwen ifill. gwen: good evening. we have been here before recoiling with shock, bracing for backlash. this time, ground zero is paris, where 10 journalists three police officers, four
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hostages, and three attackers have been killed during 72 hours of mayhem. french president francois hollande addressed the nation tonight. >> france has not finished with this threat, so i want to call on you for vigilance unity and mobilization. gwen: the attacks in paris have reverberated around the world, raising and reraising old questions here in washington. pete, nancy, and michael have been covering every angle of the story this week. what do we know tonight pete? >> well, for all intents and purposes it's over much the two responsible for the wednesday attack on the newspaper kide died nood a shootout with politics. an associate of theirs took hostages ate jewish market. he was killed, some of the hostages as well. but his wife remains at large and authorities would like to find her for two reasons the one, they are afraid she might commit some sort of attack, and two, because she might have valuable intelligence they are
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eager to gement the al qaeda group in yemen made a statement late today that this was all their idea. there is no way to know whether it was all their idea or not or it was a statement put out by the fact but there do confidently seem to be connections between this attack and the organization in yemen 79 gwen: one of the brothers claimed to travel to yemen and cross paths with one of the brothers. based on that follow -- knowledge and knowledge of his movements, how he was able to 3450eud -- hide in plain sight? both brorblingt brothers were an radar the >> great question. they've been involved for 10 years. cherif, the younger brother had been arrested for trying get two others out of problem. the older one spent months in yemen training on weapons.
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they have publicly proclaimed for a long time that they're interested in carrying out jihadist attacks in. france their approach is somewhat different than the u.s. one. when cherif was charged and p convicted, he was sentenced to three years, only served 18 months. the challenge is how do law enforcement groups divide their resources when there are thousands and thousands claiming to be jihadist. these guys had laid low for three years. gwen: michael, how do you prioritize risk? how does the u.s. in watching this -- tonight there is a warning for americans traveling abroad, a caution i guess how do you prioritize risk in terms of who to watch and how? >> i think we're still trying to figure that out. we have the same problem that the french have, which is we just don't have the resources. it's a bigger country and we have more people to keep an eye
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on and we have a similar example in the case of tsarnaev, the boston marathon bomber was on the radar of law enforcement and interviewed by the f.b.i. and they said basically we're a little worried about him but wee -- he's not somebody we have to monitor all the time, we have a lot of other people to worry about. i did a story for politico this week that looked at some of the administration's efforts to counter violent extremists domesticically. one thing is to try to encourage people in any community in which there might be extremism, the muslim community in particular the one we're worried about at the moment, come forward if you see someone behaving oddly or more confrontationly but i talked to a former f.b.i. guy who said you're going to have tons of false leads and reports, every time somebody stu losing their temper or makes a phone call.
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it's just really hard. gwen: -- gwen: and ask how do you decide who to follow and who not to follow? how do you decide who's suspicion and not in a case like this? >> it's the hardest thing. in boston you had this sketchy lead from the russians who never fleshed it out, thought they might go rat -- radical if they went to russia. here you have a person who the french had known had gone council memberen. another whose brother had been arrested twice once for trying to go to iraq and then for going there and this prison breakout scheme. they said we did watch them. we had other priorities, they seemed to clean up their act and we decided to go elsewhere. for every person you are doing surveillance on and you don't want them to know, it takes at
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least a dozen people. it's manpower-intensive. so it's a combination of things, it's judgment and it's not perfect. this is the big question the french are going have to answer the every person in law enforcement tonight is saying there but for the grace of god go us all. >> do we have any sense of how france or the international community is going to respond to these attacks? one thing that comes to mind is the ongoing air attacks in syria guinness isil. >> the -- against isil. >> the chal is how do you respond when they're local residents in one's own community. conversely if one reacts too much it draws them further into jihadism. do you cut off internet access? do you have a public relations campaign? the other balance is not to
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ostracize or create an environment where muslims overall feel not welcome. it's a reassessing of how the intelligence is handled. and who say priority and not. one of the biggest takeaways is when people lay low for several years people assume they've walked away from apology hadism, and sometimes they do but the paris attacks show sometimes they may be plotting. >> i have to think the tide will shift back to people who want to err on the side of con stricting civil liberties. we've had this big debate about the n.s.a. and the people, the civil liberties left are going to have a hart -- hard time making their case in a climate like this where people are virginia frayed. i think the calls to get more involved in syria and iraq will probably grow even though the
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threat here is tied to yemen, which is separate from isis and a group that split from al qaeda. i think there is going to be a general sense of fear and anxiety. gwen: i think for a lot of americans who have been paying attention at all there has been all this talk about the islamic state for the past month if not year. now al qaeda is back front and center. turns out they never went away? >> they never went away. al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, the one we're talking about now is, their goal is to create a caliphate in the middle east. one way is recruiting through this inspire magazine, listing specific attacks and how to create bombs and whatnot. the focus was so much on isis because of the islamic state because there is truly a war
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there and i battle for a state and al qaeda hadn't reached that level yet but it's been brewing for years. remember from 2011, the older of the two brothers went to yemen, it was the height of the u.s. campaign against al qaeda. this is something that's popped up and died down for the last decade. gwen: the united states -- and they released a statement tonight saying they were taking responsibility. >> the yemen one has been very aggressive about trying to attack the west the they were responsible for the abortive underwear bomb plot that came into droirkts inspired the attack on the army post in texas, and they're, you know, what a difference five or 10 years make. number one there are just so many more people to keep an eye on. people are pouring into france. algerian radicals, people coming back from syria.
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it's become a black hole sucking people in from all over the world. secondly, this much more aggressive propaganda effort. you see it with isis and with the al qaedaed -- magazine they put out. >> and you don't need a subscription to this magazine. it's not hard to find. you can download it and anyone can go online and get a p.d.f. in their lap nop 30 seconds. the ube i can witt -- ubiquity of this. >> that feeds the home-grown terrorism which is what we're more aware of now than we have been. >> right. although i must say this does not seem to be that sort of thing. as you fantasy -- point out these are two people have been at it for more than a decade, in a cell in paris, who tried
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to do a whole bunch of things much the third person, involved in taking the hostages at the market, was involved as well the >> it's interesting, the timeline. three years, in the u.s. we figure a group must be dead. it appears that three years they had started plotting this attack on the paris newspaper offices. so one of the challenges it time lines. what westerners think of as a long time and what members of these groups think of as a long time. oftentimes these are plotted out years in advance. for americans and westerners that seems like annie ternity but they're on eye -- a different timeline than the west. gwen: from the point of view of the white house, american citizens, the national security apparatus, are there lessons to be learned? could it happen here? could something like this easily happen here? >> of course. this is an attack with rifles. of course it could happen.
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gwen: what are we doing to protect ourselves against something like this happening here? you wrote about this a little, michael -- what is the strategy the u.s. has in mind this administration has in mind to try to head that off? >> yeah. so shortly after president obama came into office we had several close calls attempted domestic terror plofments there was one that would have exploded an s.u.v. in times square. i think a lot of people kind of forget about that. a big bomb going off in times square on a saturday evening in mcmahon the white house officials said we got to get our armss around what we're doing to combat domestic radicalizeation, try to stop this and they realized the programs were a mess, disjointed and the white house chief of staff put out a strategy basically directed principally at u.s. attorneys, department of justice
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department of homeland security to try to have better ties with local communities. they were very careful not to single out that this was muslim communities but i think that was foremost in their mind. really people all across the spectrum now say it's not really working out. think didn't put money about it. the bureaucracy had stalled. very familiar story -- the conservatives think it's too politically -- politically correct, the civil libertarnse don't like it the muslims don't like it. it's a hard problem. gwen: is there resistance on capitol hill to this approach, let's make sure we don't get backlash from the muslim community because we need them to be informants, basically, or lets get everybody on board about how one handles it in is there a debate on capitol hill about that? >> almost none. i think that there is some debate among civil libertarnse
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when it comes to surveillance and what we have to do to identify lone wolf operatives. but even in the n. -- nypd police department and what they were doing in the city, surveillance programs, it leaves a bad taste in certain lawmakers' mouths but on the whole they have not cut funding for the programs or done any significant legislation to rein them in. if anything there is a tacit level of approval for the -- from the community for them to do what needs to be done. gwen: how do you measure success, progress, comfort level in a situation -- situation like this? how does the leader of the free world come and tell people here that we're different than what happened in francis france? >> you can never do enough. it's a combination of surveillance community relations, and also making people who come here to the united states feel welcome and not estranged.
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the problem is propaganda coming in siing if you are sitting there in your living room and you're not involved in jihad then you're not very good at what you are doing and you need to get more active and this see some, say something campaign which we hear relentlessly. very few of these things really burst out of nowhere especially this one which required planning and coordination. >> it's a vicious cycle the to try to stop these plots before they get to our shores we're blowing people up with drones and using special forces but we're killing innocent people along the way and engendering hatred pictures of children that are killed, sometimes fabricated but it creates the idea that there is an mer war on islam. that has belowback. how do you stop that cycle? >> but there is an american war on al qaeda. does this suggest that al qaeda
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resurging, is stronger? how do we gauge where we are in that fight? >> here's the problem. the wars on al qaeda are wars ever of attrition. who decides when the group has been eliminated? it's almost impossible. in iraq and afghanistan, the u.s. did not leave when there was an absolute decision that the wars were over. they left essentially on an brear date when they decide they had -- an arbitrary date when they dieded they had done enough. gwen: thank you. guys. that was a very smart conversation after a very troubling week. so, all right. when congress came back to town this week, its leaders declared they were ready to act. so today, for the 10th time, the house passed a bill demanding that the president approve the keystone xl pipeline. and the president's spokesman said he would veto it. >> we continue to be blocked by this administration.
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there's already a veto threat out there, but i don't think that threat should deter us from our initiative, both as a committee, as a senate, and really as a congress. gwen: also on the docket health care, immigration, and trade. why did the republicans start with keystone, sue? >> well, i think they wanted to start with something they knew they could pass. republicans particularly in recent years have been bedeviled by their own party in being able to advance an agenda. when republicans took over tuesday, they took control of congress both john bain nert house and mitch mcconnell in the senate said they want to prove they're a center right governing imaginor. keystone has a fill ib buster-proofer marge nin the senate. 30 democrats which counts as bipartisanship in the house. they thought that was setting a tone we're going to take bill
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parcells -- bipartisan bills and get them to congress. the president of course quickly said he would veto that. gwen: and a court in nebraska backed them up on this? >> the supreme of court of nebraska there had been a pending case, and the white house reiterated the veto throat -- threat. republicans said -- obviously there is politics involved because last november when democrats were trying pass the pipeline to help mary landrieu in louisiana, the white house was quiet about the veto threat. now that republicans are in control they're question -- very quick to say they're going block it. the first bite of the apple on what will be a very well exercised veto plan. >> they wanted to hold up the plan with homeland security. has the thing with paris
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changed that calculation? >> it has entered into the debate. next week they're going to start moving forward on the homeland security bill and republicans are going to try to put some constraints on some pourings of it. they're probably not going to be successful. and do republicans really want to be engaged in a fight over homeland security spending at a time when we have revived the issues of global threats and the rise of al qaeda? they would do it under c.r. keeping it running if they can't change the policy. that's in the weeds and remember -- regular people would look at it and say they're holding up homeland security funding. >> we've talked a lot about the veto. and setting a 20e7b89 it seems like this is already a combative tone. fair assessment? >> i think so. it's been combative for years.
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just a new chapter. the white house has been very eager to engage in this. the president since the election has shown no signs of slowing down what he wants his agenda to be the even this week, the idea of the funding for free two years of community college. i think he's very eager to show where the two pairts disagree. one area where they might find common ground is trade agreement, trade assistance, a pending trade pact with asian countries. presidents love trade pacts regardless of what pairt -- teart -- party they're in. but the tone, we knew that wasn't going to last the it lasted maybe 24 hours. >> and about the 201 campaign, by my count there are three senators going to be running for president. how much of this is going to
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become just a stage for them and how much about what happens on capitol hill demrill >> great question. two of the three have shown they liked it using the senate floor as a platform for building messages. gwen: and the house side still has a little lingering complaint from the tea party side. >> right. gwen: thanks, everyone. before we go tonight, we want to take a moment to note the passion of edward brooke iii, the first african american elected to the senate since reconstruction. a champion for fair housing and a believer in the value of bipartisanship, brooke was a liberal republican who served the commonwealth of massachusetts as its senator for two terms, beginning in 1966. he was 95 years old. we've got to go for now, but we plan to keep talking, online. you can join us there on our "washington week" webcast extra, beginning tonight at among other things, we'll talk about the start to the boston
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marathon bombing trial. keep up with developments with me and judy woodruff at the pbs newshour, and we'll see you here next week on "washington week. good night. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> corporate funding for "washington week" is provided by -- >> we're committed to strong. we're committed to sure. we're committed to secure and
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>> it made me want to make it my mission to go around the world explained this beautiful art form. >> i spoke at the opening of the 2014 show. there were so many lines of connection between that show and 1821, for my book ends area not only was there a group of strike to express themselves, they did it in a city that was inspiratio


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