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tv   Matter of Fact With Soledad O Brien  ABC  September 11, 2016 11:30pm-12:00am CDT

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>> today on "matter of fact," fearing another 9/11 attack. >> this is a serious step to undermine our democracy. >> how safe do you feel? plus, an nfl star standing up for his beliefs. >> god placed me here and because of that i'm going to stand with pride. >> and, how these muslim women >> i have to thank donald trump. >> but first -- soledad: i'm soledad o'brien. welcome to season two of "matter of fact." we begin our program with one big question -- 15 years after the worst terror attack on american soil, are we safer? a new terror group sprung from the ashes of the wars in iraq
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attacks in paris, brussels, even orlando. is this the new normal? a recent poll shows 89% of americans believe terrorism is at least somewhat likely to be a part of life in the future. so what's being done today, and, tomorrow, to ease those concerns? joining us is congressman michael mccaul. he is chairman of the house committee on homeland security. nice to have you with us. rep. mccaul: thanks for having me. soledad:ou it's hard to believe it's been that long. it feels like yesterday to me. rep. mccaul: it does to me as well, and people ask me are we safer today than we were before? we are in the highest threat environment since 9/11 but the threat level has changed dramatically pre-9/11. soledad: so you think we are less safe? rep. mccaul: i think the numbers are going up in terms of investigations, terror plots. we stopped a lot of bad things, the good news. the bad news is we are still
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numbers are increasing in terms of suspects and numbers of arrests within the united states. soledad: what have we learned from 9/11? rep. mccaul: it would be very difficult to pull off a 9/11-style hijacking event today. and what al qaeda was traditionally looking for were spectacular events, big events. i think right now you are looking at isis, which is more do what you can wherever you can. with two directives -- come to syria and join the fight or l the kill where you are is what most concerns us about the homeland, the ability to radicalize on the internet, rise up out of your basement and kill people. soledad: you have called for bringing the fight to isis. what exactly would that mean? boots on the ground? rep. mccaul: that's a big debate. i think it has to be a u.s.-led coalition forces with the arab league of nations fighting as well. it's their backyard and their religion. but we have to do that, but also, soledad, we have to have a political solution to syria, a
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importantly, a counternarrative to the ideology that is defeating us today in this war against islamist terror. we have to call it what it is, radical islamist terror. but we also have to deal with it with a military strategy that will achieve that goal. and right now we're just kind of playing whack-a-mole. we are not winning this conflict. and in addition to that, the political diplomatic counternarrative to the ideology. at the end of the day this is a war of ideology. internet. soledad: but don't we already have a coalition that includes australia -- you can name them as easily -- belgium, denmark, uk. who am i leaving out? jordan is in there. rep. mccaul: but they are not stepping up to the plate. only recently have we seen limited success in the region. as long as they are there and they can operate freely as a governed territory they can conduct these external operations. i think the military piece is
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well, but drone strikes can't kill an ideology as well. soledad: 15 years after 9/11, how concerned you are about cyberterrorism, which is not something i felt like we were talking about all the time 15 years ago. rep. mccaul: when you look at cybersecurity -- russia, china -- remember, china stole 20 security clearances, iran tries to shut down our financial sector. power grids being brought down, the russian allegations trying to interfere in our elections. this is a serious step to undermine our democracy. this is where cyber should b soledad: so let me ask you a question about the commander in chief forum, in which relationship with russia was discussed with donald trump. and he has often -- i think "brag" is a fairly accurate word when he talks about his relationship with putin, and certainly cozy, they are friendly. does that concern you with all that we know about the russian''
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cybercrimes, the way he describes his relationship with the russian leader? rep. mccaul: i have advised him on national security issues. this is one area where i would caution him, russia is not our friend, mr. putin is not our friend. he had been very aggressive not only on the ground expanding his territory but also in cyber offensive attacks. once kgb, always kgb. can we reach out to him? sure, but through strength. peace through strength. soledad: thank you for joining us. -- is a terrorist. >> how this muslim-american mom is challenging the political stereotypes. plus, they rushed to ground zero on 9/11. often overlooked for their courage at ground zero. we remember the women in the ranks of first responders. and next, race in america. he's an nfl player tackling tough topics. >> i want to be someone to spur those conversations. >> what he's saying about taking
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soledad: baltimore ravens tight end ben watson would struggle if he had to stand, or kneel, on a football field this year. he's out with a torn achilles tendon. it's ended his season but hasn't stopped him from weighing in on the national dialogue generated by san francisco 49ers quarterback colin kaepernick. kaepernick has been holding his own silent protest against the treatment of african americans by refusing to stand during the national ant it was watson who weighed in with an impassioned posting on his facebook page, all part of his blog that he has been writing for about four years, where he tackles thorny issues of parenting, inequality, the racial divide. he talks about why he would opt to stand. ben watson joins us this morning from his home, where he is recovering. thanks for talking with us.
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soledad, how are you doing? soledad: we appreciate you letting us to come into your home and sit down to do this interview. you have been writing this blog for a while. i like it a lot and i like it because you tackle some big issues in a nuanced approach and i have to imagine there is a lot of people would say, listen, you play football, go play football. why are you talking about this stuff? this is third rail of conversations, frankly, talking about race. ben: yeah, i do get some of that. i always say i'm an athlete and that's my profession just like outside of that, i'm a father, i'm a son, i'm a citizen of this country, i pay taxes, i vote, i'm a christian. i have so many other things just like everyone else does and we all have a vested interest in our lives and in this country and i'm no different. i've used the opportunity to get my thoughts on paper and sometimes people love it, sometimes they don't. but i think that's the great thing is when people are open to having these kinds of conversations. i want to be someone to spur those conversations so we can
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soledad: i think your blog is just terrific. your latest post, you talk about colin kaepernick, and i'm going to read a small piece of what you wrote, but i would like everybody to go check out what you wrote as well. you write, "i stand, because of this mixed bag of evil and good is my home. and because it's my home, my standing is a pledge to continue the fight against all injustice and preserve the greatest attributes of the country, including colin kaepernick's right to kneel. such displays against the status my hope, though, is that these actions bring more attention to the problem than to the protester." you go on and on, and i think it's a very thoughtful column. do you think that in fact what has been happening has brought more attention to the problem and not to the protester? ben: there have always been protests that push the envelope forward and kind of brought this change along.
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there's a lot i don't like about our country's history, there's a lot that hurts me, that i'm angry about, that i'm frustrated and sad about. but on the other side, this is my home and i want this place to get better. when i stand, i am standing for all of those injustices. but i'm also standing because i've seen progress and i want there to be more progress and when you look at what is happening right now, my hope is that we can have that conversation, have that progress. soledad: so, ben, you write a lot about your faith. i know you are very devout. i grew up in a very devout for the virgin mary. i'm curious because in some your posts, your solution is to focus on the gospel. and sometimes i wonder is that enough? ben: we can't sit by and say everything is ok, and that god loves all of us. yes, that's true, but if you are truly convicted of the gospel, then it will spur you to realize and understand and to have compassion and empathy for those who are hurting and those who
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is. i'm not just talking about black and white here, but a myriad of issues, whether it be sex trafficking, the poor, whatever it is. soledad: do you think time will judge colin kaepernick differently? he is being vilified, as you well know, in a way muhammad ali was vilified many years ago. of course, muhammad ali is held up as an example of a person who took a moral stand at a critical time. do you think that is going to happen to colin kaepernick? quite possibly. i think a lot of times when people make these stands there are harsh reactions on both sides. i can honestly say that i seen both sides of it. i have seen people tell him to he needs to leave the country, which is ridiculous, and then i have seen people say they are 120% behind him and they love everything he does. we live in a country of such
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and forth about stuff like that so i have seen both sides of it. but i do think that over time we will know if it is something that will be applauded or not. soledad: ben watson joining us from maryland. thanks, ben. ben: thank you. >> see watson's entire facebook post on our website,, or tweet us @matteroffacttv. next, she wasn't going to vote for either presiia >> i feel very passionate not just election cycle. >> what made this mother a convert to political activism. and later -- >> we got there at 8:54, we really flew. >> the bravery of rescue workers
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soledad: welcome back to "matter
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power. who's in, who's out, who's spending the money. there's more than 2,000 registered pacs, or political action committees, and they have raised $1.6 billion just for this election cycle. now there's a new player on the pac scene. it's created, organized, and managed by a group portrayed by some as subservient. the american muslim women pac is , they say, committed to making who will represent their interests. here's "matter of fact" correspondent diane roberts. diane: meet mirriam seddiq, an immigration and criminal defense lawyer, and founder of the american muslim women pac. mirriam: we're not about making you feel good that we're here, we're good immigrants, good muslims. this is a political action committee. diane: seddiq is very direct about their mission. mirriam: we want to support candidates who understand the contribution we
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seddiq wasn't raised in traditionally cultural muslim ways. she rarely saw a woman in hijab in her home. her family came to this country when she was just two. the naturalized american citizen admits she was so disillusioned with the major presidential candidates this election year, she wasn't going to vote at all, until this. >> he sacrificed his life to save the lives of his fellow soldiers. diane: after khizr k convention about his army son killed in combat. donald trump commented about his wife, suggesting, "she had nothing to say. maybe she wasn't allowed to have anything to say." mirriam: i wanted to say what do you mean are we allowed to speak, yes, we're gonna speak.
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classmates said disparaging things about the mother. mirriam: one of my kids came home from school and said some kid said your mother is a terrorist. and it was shocking to me because we live in a very diverse neighborhood in northern virginia. diane: she says oddly, others don't even realize she's muslim. mirriam: i don't look like they expect me to look. the biggest misconception about muslim women is we are different from other women. feminism, for example. healthcare is huge, childcare is huge. these are very important issues for muslim women, too. diane: and like many people around the world, they too condemn terrorism. mirriam: for example, people will frequently say moderate muslims don't speak out against extremists. we do. millions of us, millions of us speak out every day. diane: seddiq says her pac may have started with this election cycle, but she hopes it strengthens the cause of american muslim women for years
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in washington, diane roberts. soledad: the american muslim women pac has been around for about two weeks. they've raised a few thousand dollars, but say they hope to bring in millions for ad buys and a voter registration drive. so who will that benefit? probably the democrats, according to pew research. their polling shows 70% of the 3.3 million american muslims describe themselves as democrats, or say they lean democratic. calling out the media? soledad: in reality they're not equal and that's where journalists are failing. >> soledad speaking out, about her own profession. but first -- >> good morning. >> who hear knows what a firefighter does? >> women on duty on 9/11. >> i think the purest part of my job is when i'm in uniform. you can't tell my race, you can't tell my gender. >> being recognized, as first
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soledad: this weekend marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11. we remember the thousands who lost their lives, and those who survive them. we also express gratitude to those first responders who reacted heroically to that immense tragedy. across the country there are moments of silence and memorials. still, some first responders have gone relatively unrecognized. they are female first responders. we wanted to take a look at the contributions of some of these heroic women, sharing part of a documentary i produced, called "beyond bravery: the women of ground zero." >> we got there at 8:54, we
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the south tower, though it had been hit second, went down first. all you heard were people screaming. soledad: terri is just one of the extraordinary women who came to the rescue that day. terri: we saw the worst of human beings on this planet and i also think we saw the best. >> we led the charge, this whole group of firefighters. there were 8 officers from my battalion who responded. these are all women. you can't see it too much, but they are holding this line here. soledad: brenda berkman fought for that right in 1979 when she sued the fire department for gender discrimination. three years later, she won. >> over here, we have got the names of all the people we lost that day.
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captain in 2006. she now gives tours of the 9/11 tribute center, hoping to remind people of the women at ground zero. >> people have turned such an awful event into something where they make a difference in today's world. >> it could have been me, if i'm still here, i need to serve a purpose. >> i'm hopeful that i can spend is suspended in a way -- is spend it in a way that creates peace. that i can continue to make the world a better place. soledad: 411 first responders, both men and women, died on september 11, 2001. >> coming up next --
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>> important conversations around the world, and here at home.
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soledad: thanks for joining me for "matter of fact." i've spent nearly 30 years as a journalist and as i prepared to take on this role, i've spent a lot of time considering the role of the media in politics and our responsibility to our viewers. i think we're here to have authentic conversations about and push for direct and truthful answers to tough questions, to create a space for respectful disagreements. i also think we're here to challenge each other's beliefs and the basis of those beliefs. and as americans, i believe we should call out and reject hate - filled speech no matter who espouses it, not just let it slide into the national discourse unchallenged. so as we wind up this week's show, i give you a promise.
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important conversations, and ask the questions that get to the heart of things that matter to all of us. i'm soledad o'brien. i'll see you next week right
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