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tv   Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson  ABC  May 29, 2016 10:00am-10:30am EDT

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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] ♪ sharyl: welcome to "full measure." i'm sharyl attkisson. we begin with the story of a whistleblower, imprisoned by one federal agency, but rewarded by another beyond his wildest dreams. brad birkenfeld's incredible tale begins in 2007 when he turned evidence against one of the biggest and most secretive banks in the world. still, he insists the real scandal isn't what happened to him, it's what happened to u.s. taxpayers. mr. birkenfeld: my government, the department of justice, put
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me in jail, and my government, the internal revenue service, paid me the largest reward in u.s. history. sharyl: as a manager at switzerland's largest bank, ubs, bradley birkenfeld found himself part of a massive, longstanding scheme to help wealthy americans evade taxes. mr. birkenfeld: there were 19,000 offshore, illegal accounts with $20 billion in assets. sharyl: of americans? mr. birkenfeld: only of americans. this was the america desk. sharyl: in 2007, he decided to blow the whistle -- the first banker ever to break open the legendary swiss bank secrecy. mr. birkenfeld: they didn't find me. i sought out the doj, the irs, the sec and the u.s. senate back in 2007. and the problem here is, is that when i gave them this information they were hostile towards me at the doj, from day one. sharyl: birkenfeld suspect's hostility from doj, the
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department of justice, had something to do with ubss powerful connections. the bank was a top donor to then-president george w. bush. mr. birkenfeld: they had over a trillion dollars in assets. so, you can imagine they had offices worldwide, they had a lot of political influence, and they hired politicians to help them, whether it was for marketing, or for representation, or for lecturing, or what have you. sharyl: and there were also politically influential ubs clients referred to as "pep's." mr. birkenfeld: peps are "politically exposed people." we had a very secretive desk in zurich, in which no one really knows who those account holders were. but we did have a dedicated desk, because i knew the gentleman there, and he handled accounts directly out of washington d.c. sharyl: birkenfeld says he was stunned when doj didn't pursue the first name he turned over of the biggest tax evader he knew about -- a foreigner, who lived in a multimillion-dollar new york condo and, birkenfeld claims, was involved in terrorist financing. mr. birkenfeld: he had m
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illegal oil sales with saddam hussein. he had over $400 million in numbered accounts that were set up for decades. he had his own private phone into my boss's office that only he would call in on. sharyl: birkenfeld says a doj attorney told him they simply weren't interested in non-americans. the agency declined comment for this report. it turns out doj was interested in prosecuting birkenfeld in the tax scheme. they used evidence he provided to build a case against him. you did serve time? mr. birkenfeld: oh, i did. yes, i did serve time. sharyl: while he, the whistleblower, was prosecuted, the government worked behind closed doors to cut a deal with ubs, which was one of president obama's top donors. secretary of state hillary clinton took the lead in negotiations with the swiss foreign minister. do you think it was unusual that
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the secretary of state at the time, hillary clinton, intervened in this giant criminal case? mr. birkenfeld: she has no right in getting involved in an international criminal investigation. sharyl: and then in july 2009 -- sec. clinton: there has been an agreement reached. sharyl: the bank agreed to pay a settlement of $787 million. birkenfeld calls it a sweetheart deal because it was about a billion less than the profit ubs made from the illegal accounts. what's more, ubs would only have to give up 4,450 tax evaders out of 19,000. there was no explanation as to who decided which names were divulged and which ones got conveniently buried. mr. birkenfeld: why wouldn't you get all of the names? sharyl: in essence, the secrecy has been allowed to continue, instead of being stopped? mr. birkenfeld: well, that's precisely it. it's a continuation of swiss bank secrecy, american-style. this was not a real investigation. this was to cover up for the rich and powerful people in this country, the millionaires and billionaires, and politicians who had accounts in switzerland. sharyl: clinton and the state
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department and the justice department declined comment for this report. earlier, clinton defended the deal by saying the swiss helped the u.s. on many difficult diplomatic fronts, including in iran and turkey. not long after the deal was sealed, president obama was seen enjoying a round of golf with ubs chairman for the americas robert wolf. wolf told us he didn't know about the deal beforehand and the u.s. businesses he managed were not under investigation. he went on to become one of obama's biggest campaign donation bundlers in 2012. and ubs donations to the clinton foundation skyrocketed, according to the "wall street journal." a clinton campaign spokesman told the "journal" that, any suggestions that clinton "was driven by anything but what's in america's best interest would be false. period." mr. birkenfeld: we still don't know who the "pep's" were. they should be made public to the american public so they can see who was breaking the law. most of the other people in this country pay their taxes but
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not billions offshore. so, why is it that those names aren't made public? sharyl: there's one final twist to the story. whistleblowers are entitled to up to 30% of the money collected from tax evaders. with birkenfeld's evidence, the irs was able to recoup $5 billion. one month after he got out of prison, he got the largest irs award ever. how much money? mr. birkenfeld: it was $104 million. sharyl: punished as a villain, yet rewarded as a hero. he says americans have good reason to wonder what powerful names are among the thousands kept secret in the ubs deal. mr. birkenfeld: we were well aware of many people that had accounts at ubs that were giving to political parties. that was a fact, but yet because it was a numbered account in switzerland, no one ever thought they'd be exposed. so that's very, very, dangerous and something they don't want to have come out.
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sharyl: was it worth it you to expose the practices that you did, to get the $100 million-plus? but also to spend years in prison? mr. birkenfeld: i think i did it out of -- out of courage, and doing the right thing for my country. and i think people see that, and certainly i did go to prison for 2.5 years, but the vindication of getting the $104 million, really makes me smile. because what it does is it sends a message to the doj -- i beat the system, and i beat you. and now, the american people can decide who is right and who is wrong. sharyl: a few footnotes -- yes, birkenfeld got one big check. yes, they took out taxes about $31 million. and his first purchases were two porsches. ahead on "full measure" -- women are now allowed in combat.
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sharyl: the draft or "conscription" to compel service was once a right of passage for many young american men. even though it ended 43 years ago, under the law, young men are still required to register for the draft in case it needs to be revived. now that may include women. both the house and senate have passed versions of a bill to require women to register for the draft. a signature by president obama will open the call to duty to all 18-year-olds. earlier this year, we took a look at the open debate about equality on the battlefield.
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secretary carter: this means that as long as they qualify and meet the standards, women will be able to contribute to the mission in ways they could not before. sharyl: in december, defense secretary ashton carter opened every single corner of the military to women, without exception. secretary carter: they'll be able to serve as army rangers and green berets, navy seals, marine corps infantry, air force para-jumpers, and everything else that was previously open only to men. sharyl: carter's speech opened a door to women -- and a new controversy. sen. mccaskill: part of me believes that asking women to register as we ask men to register would maybe possibly open up more recruits as women . sharyl: senator claire mccaskill raised the issue at a senate armed services committee hearing earlier this month, diving into a decades-old debate, newly framed in gender equality. >> it's my personal view that every american who is physically qualified should register for the draft. army gen. mark milley: senator, i think that all eligible and qualified men and women should regi
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sharyl: the question went straight to the republican contenders to be next commander-in-chief. martha raddatz: many of you have young daughters. senator rubio, should young women be required to sign up for selective service in case of a national emergency? sen. rubio: first, let me say there are already women today serving in roles that are like combat. i do believe that selective service should be opened up for both men and women in case a draft is ever instituted. martha: do you believe young women should sign up for selective service, be required to sign up? governor bush: i do. i do. sharyl: ted cruz went hard in the opposite direction. sen. cruz: the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, i think is wrong, it is . sharyl: hillary clinton had reservations. secretary clinton: the idea of having everybody register concerns me a little bit unless we have a better idea of where that is going to come out sharyl:
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from 2007. secretary clinton: i do think women should register. i do think it is fair to call upon every young american. notyl: bernie sanders did register from the draft, but filed as a conscientious objector. in 1940, germany was in control of most of europe, the battle of britain was underway, and the u.s. feeling pressure to enter the war. president roosevelt launched the first draft in peacetime. >> serial number 158. sharyl: world war ii ended, but the draft remained -- almost unnoticed, until the vietnam war. pres. johnson: i have today ordered to vietnam, the airmobile division, and certain other forces, which will raise our fighting strength to from 75,000 men to 125,000 men almost immediately. sharyl: the draft created its own conflict on the homefront. most of the men fighting in vietnam were volunteers. but of those drafted, many came from poor or middle class families.
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there were accusations that many deferrals were granted to the sons of the rich and well-connected. in 1969 the draft became a lottery. and it was must-see tv. by 1973, direct u.s. military action in vietnam ended. and so did the draft. today the director of the selective service agency, lawrence romo, keeps those same capsules and glass jar in his office. dir. romo: the majority of young men are patriotic, they understand that freedom is not free. they understand the importance of registration. sharyl: it's romo's job to make sure 18-year-old men still sign up. he says the agency is equipped to on-ramp women. it would need at least six months notice. dir. romo: the thing is, we've learned with world war i, world war ii, whenever you have a big national emergency, you can never say never. sharyl: but wars are run by generals and politicians. no one ever asks the young people who will fight. we thought we would, asking a group of high school students -- young men and wome
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tolu olobayo: i think it's definitely going to be a shock for most women, no doubt, but i do think in terms of establishing an equal and fair chance for everyone, it's necessary. ben dormus: under the current system, if there is a draft, and young men are required to, that young women should also be required to. lauryn fanguen: we shouldn't be -- if a woman truly cares about her country, she will go off, no question asked. lauryn fanguen: we shouldn't be allowed to pick and choose where we should be equal. i am a strong believer in woman's rights and woman's equality, so if we want equal pay, we should have the same responsibilities as men do when it comes to serving our country. sharyl: but the larger question many people are asking -- should anyone be required to register for a draft just in case? >> i honestly don't think the draft is a good thing because i think it infringes on our rights.
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but i think registraton is necessary as an insurance policy for our country because we do need that security. >> i think a draft goes against -- are principles that i don't think it should be coerced. >> i have a plan for my life and military is not a part of it, but like ben, i do plan on serving my country in another way. sharyl: the national opinion on registration is split. a rasmussen poll in february reported 52% of women oppose registering for the draft, while 61% of men feel women should sign up. still ahead on "full measure" -- no work and all pay for some federal employees. your tax dollars are at work, so why aren't they?
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sharyl: how about a paid vacation -- for three years! that, in effect, is what dozens of workers at homeland security are getting.
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they're being paid to do no work thanks to your hard work and tax dollars. sen. chuck grassley: there may be some legitimate reason, but i haven't found it, but i think, most often, it becomes a culture within an agency to put people on administrative leave maybe for punishment maybe for just inability to make a decision. sharyl: senator charles grassley says the statistics show systemic issues. 88 dhs employees on paid administrative leave. but that is something that is only supposed to happen under "rare circumstances" according to the rules for federal workers. 17 on paid leave for three years. chris farrell: it's not an "endless guaranteed employment forever." sharyl: chris farrell is with judicial watch, a d.c. watchdog group that monitors government waste. they estimate homeland security spent $1.8 million last year for
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workers who aren't working. chris: it's contingent upon your conduct, and if you've acted in a way that's objectively out of bounds, then you should either be suspended pending final outcome or, if it's serious enough, it's grounds for termination. sharyl: grassley wants to know why those workers weren't put on unpaid leave. for all federal employees, the government accountability office estimates paid leave cost taxpayers $3.1 billion over three years. sen. grassley: i can't give you definitive answers, but it seems to me to be a crutch for administrators not making a decision. it is an example that is difficult to fire federal workers, so it's easier to put them on administrative leave out of sight, out of mind, even though it's wasting the taxpayers dollars. sharyl: we reached out to dhs for comment. spokesman sy lee says the department is reviewing long administrative leave cases and "is considering whether to continue administrative leave or
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appropriate status." we'll keep you posted. in "follow the money" this week, both democrats and republicans are asking tough questions about $86 million of your tax dollars wasted on a plane that was supposed to intercept illegal drugs in afghanistan, but was never used for that purpose. the justice department inspector general recently found that the drug enforcement administration and military spent the money to equip a plane with surveillance gear, but left it propped up on jacks in delaware. senators chuck grassley and dianne feinstein are asking for an audit of the funds. still to come on "full measure" -- battleship grey, the color that defines the navy, even to this day. ahead, we'll go back in time to see some ships of a different color.
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sharyl: the u.s. navy is pressing new ships into duty. there's the nearly $13 billion uss gerald r. ford, a new class of aircraft carrier which goes into service this spring. and the dramatic launch of the new uss sioux city two weeks ago. both claim to have the latest technology for the navy's global presence of late in the strait of hormuz in the mideast and increasingly in the south china sea. but we noticed one thing that hasn't changed for a half century -- ships go to sea painted battleship grey. ♪ jim: as a young boy, i had a poster from world war i that
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hung in my bedroom and it showed a destroyer coming to the rescue of a merchant ship and the destroyer was painted orange and blue and all kinds of different colors and i thought, "this is so ridiculous -- they would never paint ships like that." sharyl: but that's exactly what they did. jim bruns is the director of the national museum of the u.s. navy in washington, d.c. he tells the story of the art of war. in order to evade the german u-boats, the u.s. and british navies took a page out of the sketch pads of picasso and the cubists -- hiding their ships in plain sight -- with paint. jim: you can't disguise a ship on the high seas. it's impossible. you see it on the horizon. it's giving off smoke. they are burning coal. many of these ships. you can't disguise them, you can't literally camouflage them, and what you can do is distort them, and that's what the art and science of razzle dazzle is all about
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sharyl: the brits called it dazzle, the americans "razzle dazzle." on both sides of the atlantic, the two navies transformed thousands of ships into floating works of art. like the rms olympic, a british luxury liner converted into a troop ship to transport americans to the front lines. jim: you can see the wave shape, its stacks are painted so that the portion which would be greatest in the sun is now painted in black. sharyl: and the uss west mahomet. jim: by using vivid patterns and vivid colors, you break the image to the point where you don't know whether you are looking at the front, looking at the back, or how big the actual object is because it is totally distorted to you. sharyl: the "razzle dazzled" ships were stunning. one observer at the time called them "a flock of sea-going easter eggs." jim: artistically, to me, they are phenomenally beautiful.
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phosphorescent greens, vivid oranges, bright yellows, purple, red, fire engine red, i would love to see this ship in honest-to-god color, it's so dramatic. sharyl: razzle dazzles arrived at a critical time for the war effort. by 1917, british morale was sinking as fast as its ships -- with german u-boats torpedoing one out of every four vessels crossing the atlantic. jim: this is a world war ii periscope, but you're basically limited to a portal that's very small. sharyl: facing zig zags and distorting colors, the u-boat captains struggled to target their torpedoes. jim: we know even from german statements that it was hard to plan an attack on a razzle dazzled vessel, because you didn't know where the front was, you weren't sure where the back was, you weren't sure what angle it was sailing at, you weren't
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sharyl: america escorted 18,000 vessels back and forth supporting the war effort. >> we have just begun the fight. that is the slogan of the navy of today. jim: the u.s. navy never lost a vessel in convoy and that was in part due to razzle dazzle. sharyl: the national museum of the u.s. navy is open to the public. it's located in the middle of the navy yard in washington, an active military installation, so there's an extra layer of security to go through. there are plans to relocate it to a more public face. next week, hospitals are for healing, but not all the time. medical mistakes kill nearly 100,000 people every year in the u.s. many of those medical mistakes are the result of doctors too tired and prone to error. >> there is substantial evidence that residents who are sleep deprived, particularly first-year residents, make more medical errors. and those medical errors can lead to ha
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sharyl: so why are some in the medical community pushing hard for doctors to work longer, more brutal shifts? next week on "full measure." tomorrow is memorial day. it is the day we remember and honor those who have died fighting for america. ♪ [taps plays] ♪ sharyl: it began as decoration day after the civil war, when ceremonies were still divided, north and south choosing different days to honor their fallen. almost a century later, memorial day became a federal holiday -- one nation, united to honor our fallen heroes on the last monday in may. we will see you next week. ♪
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it's part of the answer across government. the federal push to buy smarter and more like a single enterprise. we talk about the future of management. they can catch anyone in the federalby asking any magistrate or judge where the crime is suspected to have happened. front in theatest tug-of-war between privacy and security goes by the name of rule 41. one of the challenges with energy efficiency is that so opportunities in so many different parts of our economy. do you have that energy star label on a home appliance? she created it. "government matters" starts right now. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its


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