tv Democracy Now PBS March 14, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
03/14/18 03/14/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! pres. trump: i have worked with mike pompeo now for quite some time. tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. gina, who i know very well who i have worked very closely with, will be the first woman director of the cia. amy: in the latest shakeup, president trump fires secretary of state rex tillerson over twitter and kept to a director mike pompeo to replace him. he also picks gina haspel to become the new head of the cia. >> she was one of the people that rent a cia black sites where prisoners were mercilessly
tortured, waterboarded, etc., and she, we understand, was the agent who led the destruction of the cia torture tapes at the direction of the main torture at theder jose rodriguez central intelligence agency. amy: we will speak to jeremy scahill and lee fang of the intercept, former c.i.a. officer john kiriakou who was jailed after blowing the whistle on cia torture, and we will go to berlin to speak with wolfgang kaleck of the european center for constitutional and human rights, which has asked german prosecutors to issue an arrest warrant for gina haspel. you will find out why. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. president trump has ousted
secretary of state rex tillerson and said he will replace him with cia director mike pompeo. trump also announced tuesday via twitter that cia deputy director gina haspel will be tapped to secede pompeo at the cia. both would need to be confirmed by the senate. gina haspel is now facing major questions and criticism about her direct involvement in the george w. bush administration's cia torture program. she was responsible for running a secret cia black site in thailand where prisoners were waterboarded and tortured. if confirmed, she will become the first woman to head the cia. we'll have more on gina haspel and mike pompeo after headlines. trump's decision to fire rex tillerson as secretary of state is the latest shakeup to rock the administration, which has seen an unprecedented number of top officials ousted over the last year. on tuesday, the white house also fire the fourth highest-ranking official in the state department, steve goldstein, who served as the agency's undersecretary of public
affairs. before he was fired, goldstein released a statement saying tillerson had not spoken to trump and that he, being tillerson, didn't know why he was fired. goldstein was the senior vice president of bp global solutions before serving in the state department. his departure leaves the state department with only one of the six undersecretary positions filled. tillerson's chief of staff and deputy chief of staff also submitted their resignations after their boss was fired. meanwhile, president trump's personal assistant, john mcentee, was ousted on monday, after his security clearances were revoked following an investigation into his alleged online gambling problems and his so-called "mishandling" of taxes. he was reportedly escorted out of the white house so fast, he couldn't even get his coat. but on tuesday, only one day later, trump's 2020 re-election campaign announced mcentee would serve as senior adviser for four trump's 2020 campaign
operations. there is now speculation that president trump will soon oust veterans affairs secretary david shulkin and replace him with energy secretary rick perry. shulkin has been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife's airfare during a trip to europe last summer. and there's also speculation that trump may soon oust national security adviser h.r. mcmaster. all this comes as trump claimed at the white house tuesday that he's very close to having the cabinet he wants. pres. trump: a lot of people over the last year, and i am really at a point where we're getting very close to having the cabinet and other things that i want. amy: british prime minister theresa may is set to announce to parliament today how britain plans to retaliate against russia for the alleged poisoning of russian spy sergei skripal and his daughter in salisbury last week. on tuesday, president trump reluctantly spoke about the alleged poisoning. pres. trump: it sounds to me,
i'm speaking to tree summit today, but it sounds to me like it would be russia based on all of the evidence they have. it sounds to me like they believe it was russia, and i would certainly take that finding as fact. >> do believe rush is responsible [indiscernible] pres. trump: as soon as we get the facts straight, and we will be speaking with the british today, speaking with theresa may today. and as soon as we get the facts straight, if we agree with them, we will condemn russia or whoever it may be. amy: both trump and white house have been reluctant to blame russia for the alleged poisoning. on monday, former secretary of state rex tillerson broke from the white house and issued a statement condemning russia for the attack. he was fired only hours later. students across the country are slated to walk out of their classrooms today to demand gun control and protest against school shootings. nearly 3000 student demonstrations are planned from
coast to coast. the walkouts are slated to last 17 minutes in honor of the 17 people -- 14 students and three faculty -- who were killed in a mass shooting at the marjory stoneman douglas high school in parkland, florida, one month ago today. conornsylvania, democrat lamb is holding a razor-thin lead over republican rick saccone as officials continue to count absentee and provisional ballots in tuesday's special congressional election. on tuesday night, democrat conor lamb, a former prosecutor and marine corps captain, declared victory in the race for pennsylvania's 18th congressional district, which trump carried by 20 points during the 2016 election. the race has not been called officially. lamb is currently 600 votes ahead. the special election is being closely watched ahead of the 2018 midterms. republican groups poured nearly $11 million into the race to try to avoid losing a district that trump won easily in 2016. president trump himself also traveled to moon township, pennsylvania, to campaign for
sick own last weekend. the special election fills the seat left vacant by republican tim murphy, who resigned last year after revelations that the vehemently anti-abortion lawmaker had pressured a woman he was having an affair with to have an abortion. demonstrators took to the streets of san diego tuesday to protest president trump's first visit to california after taking office. and ais a racist xenophobic person, and i am tired of his a trade and that is why i am here. i want to say he is not welcome --e and i am tired of using am using my life as a bargaining chip. throwing my community under the bus. them.e criminalizes we live in constant fear. in our community, they are so close to the border and living in that fear is no way of living. that is why i'm here, to say no more to that hatred. amy: that was a daca recipient,
barbara hernandez, at a demonstration in san diego. during president trump's visit tuesday, he attacked california governor jerry brown and california over its so-called sanctuary laws aimed at limiting cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents. president trump also took a tour of a series of prototypes of his promised border wall. he then held a news conference. pres. trump: who would think? we are getting over the top. these are like professional mountain climbers. you are incredible climbers. they cannot climb some of these walls. some of them they can. those are the walls we are not using. amy: his visit comes as the trump administration faces a new lawsuit challenging president trump's decision to cancel tps, that's temporary protected status, for more than 200,000 people from el salvador, haiti, nicaragua, and sudan -- nations the president has reportedly called "s-hole countries." but he used the full word. the lawsuit is being brought on behalf of the american children of immigrants with temporary protected status.
authorities have arrested three men in connection with the 2017 bombing of a minnesota mosque and the attempted bombing of a women's health clinic in illinois. among those arrested -- michael hari, a former sheriff's deputy from illinois who runs a security company and submitted a bid to build president trump's border wall. this is a clip from a video promoting his bid. culturally will be significant, a powerful architectural statement of the determination of the american people to defend their nation and its anglo-saxon heritage in the western culture, and english language. amy: michael hari and the two other men, michael mcwhorter and joe morris, are all facing federal arson charges. the bombing of the dar-al farooq islamic center in bloomington, minnesota, occurred on august 5. no one was injured in the bombing, but it caused extensive damage. the mosque is about five miles away from one of president
trump's final campaign rallies at of the 2016 election, during which trump attacked minnesota somali community and compared refugees to terrorists. in new york city, dozens of farm workers with the coalition of immokalee workers are in the middle of a five-day fast outside the manhattan office of nelson peltz, the board chair and largest shareholder of wendy's. they are demanding wendy's sign on to the fair food program, which would require the fast-food giant to purchase tomatoes from growers that follow a worker-designed code of conduct that includes a zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and abuse in the fields. this is farmworker nely rodriguez. >> it does not discourage us. on the contrary, wendy's refusal does far too joined the program gives us the strength to be here as women, as mothers with families, as young >> it does not discourage us. people. the entire community of immokalee who is here to fight for respect in the fields where wendy's buys its tomatoes and a show that we have a powerful commitment to the struggle. we have left behind our homes to
show wendy's what this means to was, to show them that we are committed to creating change for all women. amy: and ground breaking physicist stephen hawking has died at the age of 76. for decades, hawking enchanted scientists and science-lovers alike by making groundbreaking discoveries about origins of the universe, and then translating these ideas for millions of non-scientists worldwide. his 1998 book, "a brief history of time: from the big bang to black holes" has sold more than 10 million copies. his career and life itself have been celebrated as a medical miracle. born in oxford, britain, in 1942, hawking was diagnosed with a neuromuscular disorder known as lou gehrig's disease at the age of 21. doctors said he had only a few years to live. instead, he went on to live for more than 50 years, traveling the world in his motorized wheelchair and communicating through a custom-made computerized voice synthesizer. his only complaint was that the synthesizer gave him an american accent.
he also protested against u.s. wars, including the u.s. war in vietnam and the u.s. invasion of iraq. scientists and non-scientists alike are mourning his death. physics professor michio kaku of the city university of new york said -- "not since albert einstein has a scientist so captured the public imaginatioand endear himself to tenof millionof people around the world." this is stephehawking, speaking athe whithouse in 1998. asic science becomes part of general appearss, wt now quantum theory will seem as common sense to our children's children. however, to a large extent, we shall have to rely on mathematical beauty and consistency to find the ultimate theory of everything. any code that is physicist, professor, and bestselling author stephen hawking speaking in 1998 at the white house.
his landmark book was published in 1980 eight. he died on wednesday at his home in cambridge, england, at the age of 76. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we begin today's show looking at the latest shakeup in the trump administration. on tuesday morning, president trump fired secretary of state rex tillerson via twitter. in the same tweet, the president announced cia director mike pompeo, who is a close ally of the koch brothers, would be nominated to become the new secretary of state. trump also tapped cia deputy director gina haspel to head the cia. haspel was directly involved in the cia's torture program under george w. bush. she was responsible for running a secret cia black site in thailand in 2002 where one prisoner was waterboarded 83 times and tortured in other ways. on tuesday, president trump praised pompeo and haspel.
pres. trump: i have worked with mike pompeo now for quite some time. tremendous energy, tremendous intellect. we are always on the same wavelength. the relationship has been very good. and that is what i need as secretary of state. . wish rex tillerson well gina, who i know very well, who i've worked very closely, will be the first woman director of the cia. she is an outstanding person who i also have got to know very well. amy: mike pompeo and gina haspel must now face senate confirmations, but barring any republican defections, both can be confirmed without any democratic support. the hearing will mark the first time haspel has been forced to speak publicly about her role in the u.s. torture program and the destruction of cia tapes documenting the torture. her nomination has been widely criticized by human rights groups.
the american civil liberties union called on the cia to declassify and release every aspect of haspel's torture record before her nomination is considered. last year, german prosecutors were asked to issue an arrest warrant for haspel for her role in the torture program. prosecutors are said to be reviewing the request by the european center for constitutional and human rights. we begin today's show in berlin, germany, where we are joined by wolfgang kaleck, founder and general secretary of the european center for constitutional and human rights. wolfgang kaleck, welcome back to democracy now! can you explain why you are requesting an arrest want for the woman that president trump has just tapped to be the director of the central intelligence? she is currently the deputy director. >> good morning, amy. we have to stop the lying around torture. those who torture promise
security, they create an security. they destroy human beings. therefore, torture is one of the crimes of the crimes. so everywhere in the world, torture should be investigated and prosecuted. beene u.s., there have systematic tortures since 9/11 conducted under president bush. and then under president obama, it was decided not to investigate and prosecute it. therefore, there is no justice in the u.s.. and the result is now the decision of president trump to employ gina haspel first as the deputy director and now as the director. this is where we europeans come in because torture has to be world,ted everywhere the we have a number of laws in europe. if we use the loss in the last 15 years to find numerous numerouscomplaints in
jurisdictions of torture in the u.s.. as you know, in some cases we were more and in other cases we were less successful. the interesting result of our network, legal work, is that the torturers of the u.s. are not untouchable anymore. they have to take care where to travel and where to not. amy: can you explain why you have zeroed in on gina haspel? why you are requesting an arrest wore it for her in particular? warrant for her in particular? >> we decided to target her in particular here when she was employed as the deputy director because as a deputy director, she is traveling a lot around the world. therefore, we think it is important that the justice -- the judicial authorities in germany, but also in other european countries, make -- try to investigate her role in
thailand and elsewhere him and that they are prepared if gina haspel travels to our countries, that they eventually arrest her. and we also will have to communicate now as she is director to our foreign offices, not only in germany, but also in other countries, to declare her persona non grata. so she is not invited to our countries because she is a notorious torturer and should not be allowed to travel freely through europe. amy: talk about her record. there might be many in the united states you're surprised to hear you talking about gina haspel, the deputy director of the cia, possible director, as a notorious torturer. yeah, it is nothing new about that. i mean, she was one of the most prominent persons in the senate torture report from december
2014. so she was mainly acting undercover, but because of the couldtions in 2014, we connect her name with some of the other evidence we have. therefore, it was clear that she played a prominent role in the ca extraordinary rendition program, which is a torture program. it is kidnapping and torture terrorism suspects. her out because of her prominent role in the new government, but we also could have named hundreds of other ca employees. and we did so in other locations. this is not the first complaint. we were active in belgium and france and spain and switzerland and germany before. againstcomplaints donald rumsfeld come against the lawyer, but also against george
tenet and other cia people. amy: i want to reach you from an article written by ray bonner, the former "new york times goes propublica about a secret jail in thailand where she was chief of face. he writes -- "during one waterboarding session, the vital lost consciousness and bubbles begin gurgling from his mouth. medical personnel on the scene had to revive him. haspel allow the most brutal interrogations by the ca to continue for nearly three weeks, even though the cable sent from thailand to the agency headquarters repeatedly stated subject has not provided any new threat information or a liberated on any old threat information. at one point, haspel spoke directly with dubai duck, accusing him of faking symptoms of physical distress and psychological breakdown.
in a scene described in a book written by one of the interrogators, the chief of base came to his cell and congratulated him on the fine quality of his acting. according to the book, the chief of base, who is identified only by title, said, good job. i like the way you are drilling. it has really is him. i am almost buying it. you would not think a grown man would do that." those the words of ray bonner, writing about gina haspel -- publica.for pro >> thank you very much for that quote. evenuld continue to quote official sources, the torture report, where the torturing of abu zubaydah is detailed in description. the highest court in europe condemned poland for abu
zubaydah's torture in poland. unfortunately, the european court was not competent to judge the u.s. role. therefore, we are calling the criminal court. but it is a clear thing what happened to abu zubaydah is torture, is a crime. or in the alternative of crimes against you manage or as a war crime. so many judicial bodies all over europe can take of this case and follow it because it is so well documented. and that is also something important. who is nearlye tortured to death, abu zubaydah, and we have at least one person identified who played a prominent role in his torturing. therefore, we have the crime, the evidence, and we have jurisdiction. salute anything missing right now -- so the only thing missing right now gina haspel travels to one of our countries and then the judicial authorities have to
act. amy: but the arrest warrant has to be issued. >> look some of the arrest warrant can be issued when she arrives somewhere and leaves the airport. but let's clarify one thing. this is not about an arrest warrant are no arrest warned. of course we have to have one, but we have to ask for much more. the danger is now that a person who played a prominent role in the torture system of president george w. bush will use the same methods in future. the message has to be we have to stop torture, and that means that our governments here in europe and our judicial authorities do everything possible to communicate to president trump and the rest of his government that notorious -- torturersust
are not allowed to enter europe. i know that is a difficult task, but the good thing is, we don't know the results of the judicial investigations in the numerous countries i just mentioned. but they, gina haspel, also don't know the results of this investigations. i think that is a progress and that is tooting basement of so many rights groups around the world and so many journalists and people who wrote about the system that we revealed the fact of the extraordinary rendition torture system. therefore, it is -- what we always said, is a long-distance run. it is a long-distance run. but you can see from latin america examples, notorious torturers feel safe because they were kind of sure that if unity
lasts forever. but this is not the case. maybe this year, maybe next year, she is going to face serious trouble -- political trouble, but also trouble with the legal authorities. and that is our task to maintain this level of troublemaking. amy: wolfgang kaleck, thank you for being with us founder and , general secretary of the european center for constitutional and human rights. speaking to us from berlin, germany, where he is based. when we come back, a roundtable discussion on the trump administration shakeup. we will speak with john kiriakou , who spent 14 years at the cia, was an analyst and case officer. he will ask why he and others called the new designate to head the cia bloody gina. we will also speak with them is a good of journalist jeremy scahill of the intercept and lee
amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue to talk about the latest shakeup in the trump administration, let's bring into this conversation former c.i.a. officer john kiriakou who personally knew gina haspel when he worked at the cia. but their careers have taken very different paths over the past decade. gina haspel, who was directly involved in torture at a secret cia prison in thailand, has been promoted to know head the agency. john kiriakou who blew the
whistle on the torture program ended up being jailed for a list two years. john kiriakou, welcome back to democracy now! can you respond to president trump's decision to fire rex tillerson and replace tillerson with pompeo with secretary of state combat, head of the cia pompeo and then be replaced by gina haspel? a yearany of us believed ago that rex tillerson was going to be the adult in the room at the white house. that turned out to be the case in a way, but he was so disrespected by this president and those around him that he was probably doomed from the beginning. on mike pompeo, i said from the beginning, you can disagree with andpolitically ideologically, but he doesn't have the kind of baggage that gina haspel has. i would not have chosen mike pompeo to be the secretary of state, but i guess in the greater scheme of things, we
could have done worse. gina haspel, however, is a problem. a big problem. i have been talking about gina haspel for more than a year. be was a dreadful choice to the deputy director. she is a worse choice to be the director. i think it is wonderful that there's a possibility of a woman heading the cia, but there are 50 different women who are qualified to lead the cia. it should not be gina haspel. amy: so talk about why you and others called her bloody gina. >> we did call her bloody gina. gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. officers ingroup of the cia's counterterrorism center when i was serving there hate to even make the accusation out loud, but i'm going to say it. who enjoy using force.
everybody knew that torture did not work. that is not even issue. lots of different things work will stop was it moral and ethical and was it legal? i think the answers are clearly no. but gina and people like gina did it i think because they enjoyed doing it. they tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information. amy: and can you talk more specifically about gina haspel heading up this secret cia black site in thailand? and for those who are not familiar with even what a black site is, and the fact that she not only headed it up what was directly involved with the torture. >> first, let me preface any comments that i make by saying the cia's publications review board is specifically prohibiting me from talking about gina haspel's resume, especially for overseas duty. with that said, the media has
reported extensively on what gina haspel has done over the course of her career. i will leave it at that. with that said, a black site is a site that is more or less off the books. meaning, he does not officially exists. it exists, but nobody supposed to know it does exist. that includes the congressional oversight committees. in the immediate aftermath of up such blackset sites all around the world with the idea being that if we captured someone from al qaeda or kidnapped someone from al qaeda, we could send him to one of these black sites, interrogation without having to worry about the law, about the fbir morality or breathing down their backs. they could do whatever they wanted. and that is how this torture program spiraled out of control. there were people who were murdered in the course of their
interrogations. amy: i want to turn to former cia clandestine service chief is a rodriguez speaking to cbs news in 2014. he defended the cia so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. >> it was necessary. let me give you a little history lesson on this. at the time of 9/11, we had general information that an attack was coming. but we did not know when, where, how. the reason was the informants, the agents that we had run the periphery of the leadership. so he really did not have any inside information. once we captured abu zubaydah and realized he was the key to letting us know about the incoming, upcoming second wave of attacks, we decided to go with the enhanced interrogation program. and once that happened, we started to learn about the
organization. we got information that added to our base information. we were able to capture and kill the entire al qaeda leadership that attacked us on 9/11. we were able to protect the homeland. we were able to save lives. amy: that was jose rodriguez from 2014 on cbs. i want to get jeremy scahill to co-founder of the , intercept. he is host of the weekly podcast "intercepted." he is a former democracy now! producer. jeremy, your response to both what rodriguez said and also the possible appointment of gina haspel to head the cia. >> jose rodriguez is the guy who wrote in his memoir called "hard measures to score that sounds like a porn movie or something,
that when they started to torture people around the world, it was the cia and the washington establishment putting on their "a boy pants" is how he referred to it, just to give you the sins of the kind of infantile mentality that some of the people john kiriakou describing had. there is substantial evidence that some people involved in this program seemed to really enjoy torturing people. placing them in boxes, exploiting their fears by using psychologists and other mental health professionals to come and say, what are they really afraid of? what is their deepest, darkest fears? then exploiting those. if someone was afraid of spiders, they would put them in a box they referred to as a coffin and put a caterpillar inside the box and tell the person it was a tarantula in the box with them. they did walling. a robe would be on the other side of the wall and on the other -- and out of nowhere, they would yank them
against the wall like a dog on a leash. you have the kind of extreme torture that gina haspel was involved with. jose rodriguez and gina haspel, in addition to being involved with the outright torture of people, both of them were involved with the destruction of videotapes that were filmed at these like sites that showed, we understand, torture. what i think is also important for people to realize right now, gina haspel is not considered some extremist in the cia community. president obama's director of central intelligence john brennan was on msnbc all throughout the day yesterday singing her praises. at one point, and msnbc anchor asked john brennan or said, it now you demoted her when you are at the cia. he goes no, no, no, no. in fact, she is wonderful. and has all of this integrity. she was tasked with very difficult operations,
persevered, and did it with gusto. then youf have james clapper, same thing, a loveest on the so-called opposition media yesterday. -- they had a graphic up that was describing gina haspel's track record. they said she was involved with sending terror suspects to put them in the hands of foreign governments to be tortured but they described what she did in thailand as "rough interrogation." already it is an abomination that anyone refers to this as enhanced interrogation, but out of nowhere, msnbc start referring to torture by the cia as rough interrogation. who ishave someone nominated to be the cia director. it will be interesting to see what happens at the confirmation hearing. we wereibility that discussing yesterday is that trump knows she is going to have a difficult time being confirmed as cia director. maybe that is not true. dianne feinstein has only come out and sung her praises.
but trump is referring to this as she is going to break them glass ceiling and become the first cia female director. part of the idea might be to force the democrats to try to stop the appointment of the first female cia director in an effort to get senator tom cotton , who has been dying to bca director and that i think a lot of neocons want them to be there, to pave the way for tom cotton to take control of the cia. the final point i will make on this micro part of the discussion, is with the exception of people like john kiriakou and others who are whistleblowers and found themselves and across has of the national security establishment, there is no such thing as former cia. i think it is telling that across the board when you hear all of these pundits who were former senior cia, dni, fbi,
naval intelligence analyst -- they are all on the same page. no price, the spokesperson for the cia under obama, heaping praise on gina haspel all throughout the day. nothing will fundamentally change in this country with torture, with war crimes, unless we hold those who did the torture accountable. gina haspel does not belong as head of the cia. she belongs in front of a judge answering to what she was doing running a torture operation at a black site in thailand and destroying evidence will stop and then john brennan, obama's cia director, while the senate was investigating the torture that gina haspel was a key ciaer in, john brennan's starts spying on the united states senate. the investigators were investigating the very torture that gina haspel was directly involved with. it was obama's cia director who was spying on the senate.
the senate investigators were given access to close that computer so they could review documents. the cia wanted no pages released. what ended up happening is the senate released several hundred page second of summary of up report that is still not public. brennan and others at the cia were concerned about this investigation and began monitoring weather senate investigators were looking into. this is not just like we have mr. out of control prudent asset donald trump putting this horde torture and power. no, no, no. #resistance in terms of former intelligence people on the liberal networks, they love gina haspel. they love her. no one is saying the word boo about the fact that john brennan was the one heading the cia when the cia was spying on the unit states senate committee that was tasked with overseeing the
central intelligence agency. amy: i want to go to something written in "the new yorker" by dexter filkins. actually, it was raymond bonner yorker" about questions beginning to swirl about the bush administration's use of black site in the program of enhanced the so-called enhanced interrogation. >> it is rough interrogation of, amy. my: >> another way of putting that, if you and i were involved with a crime and we did that come it is destruction of evidence. clearly, there was a systematic defend theirst to
torture tactics, and then later to say, well, let's remove any evidence that we did this to terror suspects. let's remember guantanamo is still open. donald trump has intimated he was to put more people there. the vast majority people taken to guantanamo were cleared for release. part of the reason that maybe even some people that were involved with terrorism are not ultimately going to be held accountable is because of people like gina haspel. if you are an american and horrified, shocked, angered about what happened on 9/11 and you and people involved with terrorism plots against the u.s., including successful ones, to be held accountable, gina haspel is one of the people you should be furious with. it was the torture that she and her colleagues or running at these black sites that has resulted in some people being able to walk away. and the fact they were held in this lawless gulags in guantanamo rather than treated as criminals and given to
process at trial. amy: we're going to go to break and come back with jeremy scahill, who will be joined by his colleague lee fang, and also longtime cia officer john kiriakou, who worked at a time in the cia with gina haspel who is now being considered to be director of the central intelligence agency. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
amy: this song is from "the wall " by pink floyd. on tuesday morning, president trump fired secretary of state rex tillerson by twitter. in the same tweet, the president announced mike pompeo, close ally of the koch brothers, would be nominated to become the new secretary of state. as we look at the shakeup in the trump administration, i want to bring into the conversation investigative journalist lee fang of the intercept. let's talk about mike pompeo. you ever in about how he once
divided the war on terror as islamic battle against christianity. mike pompeo, the current director of the central intelligence agency, a former congressman. >> that is right. i think this nomination to elevate pompeo as secretary of state signals a much more aggressive posture from donald trump. donald trump campaign for office by portraying himself as a skeptic of foreign intervention, but pompeo represents a very different view. pompeo has supported foreign intervention from yemen to syria . in the last year, he is spoken out and described the leadership of iran and north korea as an existential threat to the united states, suggesting he supports regime change. and, in oh, pompeo represents just a very different
temperament from rex tillerson. rex tillerson has been willing to provide an evenhanded assessment of very complex foreign-policy issues. uae saudi arabia attempt to waskade qtar, rex tillerson willing to push back such as military support to egypt and human rights abuses, willing to speak out. rex tillerson has been willing to speak out and push back against him of the worst impulses of donald trump. on the other hand, pompeo has been a very loyal, kind of sycophant, to donald trump, pandering to his worst instincts and promoting foreign intervention. most critically here, i think -- we took a look at pompeo's different statements to think tanks and churches around the country when he served as a member of congress. pompeo has described the war on terror as a battle between religions. he has depicted fights in the
middle east and the war on terror as a conflict between christianity and islam, and saying the christians need to mobilize against this muslim threat. so he really kind of has taken extreme viewpoints. if you want to serve as the chief diplomat for the united states, this is deeply problematic. amy: i want to go to a video clip your brain about, mike pompeo addressing a church group in wichita in 2014. >> threat to america is from people who deeply believe that islam is the way in the light and the only answer. and so as we think about what the u.s. policy is to be, how we will begin to combat this, we need to recognize that these folks believe it is religiously driven for them to white christians from the face of the from --wipe christians the face of the earth. i will take you it is absolutely
a minority within the muslim faith. but these folks are serious and abhorof war christians -- christians and will press against is until we fight and know that jesus christ as our savior is truly the only .olution amy: that was mike pompeo when he was congressman from kansas in 2014. lee fang? >> that's right. i covered mike pompeo for some eight years now. i reported on his first election to congress in 2010 when he was running for a seat in the wichita area. there is a disturbing pattern that i think we should talk a little bit about. pompeo, from his very first campaign, has had a history of racially tinged comments antagonizing the muslim community. opponent,democratic indian-american, his campaign sent out a statement describing him as "turban topper."
the campaign later apologized, but then put up billboards all around the kansas state reminding voters to "vote american." once he got into office, pompeo has had a long history of antagonizing muslim americans. andalled for a protest encouraged her arrest and of a local mosque in kansas, falsely accusing them of supporting terrorism. after the boston bombing, pompeo went out and made a statement demanding the muslim community condemn and apologize for that attack, even know well before he made that statement, all of the leading muslim civil rights groups had already condemned this attack. this is ridiculous for many reasons. not only because of that, but because he has never demanded something similar from christian groups after christian terror attacks, for incidents like the charleston shooting. dylann roof was a proud christian. you don't see pompeo demanding
an apology or condemnation from the christian community. he has been very selective in his demands. i believe he is been on anti-muslim activist radio show 20 times. has a very close relationship with that individual. this is one of the most influential and aggressive anti-muslim organizations in the country, they have organized protests and harassment campaigns against muslims all over the country. ask -- act for america actually awarded pompeo their highest award. recognizing his long history of antagonizing the muslim community. amy: and his connection to the koch brothers? >> i think this is very important for understanding' tom hales character. pompeo has deep ties. the headquarters of coke industries, early in his curriculum he received an investment from the koch
brothers when he started an era space company. the koch brothers handpicked him to run for that open seat in 2010. his only political experience was appearing at tea party events organized by the koch brothers political machine, and they were his largest country leader. why is this important? once he got to congress, pompeo was a loyal foot shoulder for the koch brothers political agenda. he attacked climate change regulations and advanced the tax on renewable energy. other than tax cuts, this is a top legislative priority for the koch brothers. i think that speaks to pompeo's character, that he has been beholden to his political supporters. again, just looking at his relationship with trump. he was a big from supporter during a presidential campaign and has been incredibly loyal, unwilling to question trump's agenda. if he is secretary of state, he will be very different from rex tillerson, who at least attempted to be evenhanded and
some complicated disputes. pompeo i think is much more likely to be a loyal foot soldier. ay: john kiriakou, yet different feeling about mike pompeo, who president trump just tweeted when he informed rex tillerson he was fired that mike pompeo would be replacing them as secretary of state. >> not necessarily different. i think all of that is true. i think he you why is most dangerous, is on iran. my pompeo has made a very, very clear that he intends to take a tough stand on iran. he opposes the iran nuclear deal. consequences begin. president trump likes to surround himself with "yes" man on issues like iran and terrorism. mike pompeo is a "yes" man. amy: i want to go back to lee fang for one minute on a different issue, and that is the special election that we are the result so.
it looks like in this district, there maybe a complete upset, district in pennsylvania that trump won by like 20%. the republican candidate, who has yet to concede defeat, though he is down hundreds of us, but the final vote is not in, rick saccone for you right -- "former intelligence support consultant for the u.s. army of the infamous abu ghraib prison." can you expand on that? >> rick saccone describes himself as trump before trump was trump. this is someone who has been very bombastic, attacked immigrants. he has a very right-wing agenda. he is a interesting history as well. inviously before he served the pennsylvania state legislature, he was a consultant for interrogations in iraq, actually serving in abu ghraib. he wrote an entire book defending torture. this is a very unusual candidate
in certain respects, but this is a huge election in terms of being a bellwether for the midterm elections. saccone had a lot of money and super pac support, i think over $10 million spent on his behalf. really every advantage in this district. this was a prorepublican district. it looks like conor lamb pulled it out. thatnk this is a signal democrats will do very well in the elections poster amy: a marine corps captain, conor lamb. i want to switch gears a bit and play an excerpt of the latest episode of your podcast "intercepted" worry interview jan schakowsky about eric prince, the founder of blackwater, sister of betsy devos, -- >> brother of betsy devos. amy: erik prince now under investigation by special counsel robert mueller. >> i remember when president obama was elected and we all
panetta was serving as the director of central intelligence agency. he went to capitol hill early on in the first year of the obama administration and he emerged from his meeting with you guys on the intelligence committee and said that there had been an assassination program involving erik prince and blackwater, but that had been shut down. what can you tell us about that chapter in all of this, erik prince, blackwater being involved with the cia assassination program? >> i really can't. i don't think even at this point. we did a study on the committee, had insisted on it, and we actually -- it is on the shelf and i have encouraged current members of the intelligence committee to take a look, especially as they are investigating erik prince right now. but when i say anything goes, when it comes to erik prince and of course he was working closely with the bush administration and there were operations,
intelligence operations overcoming out of the vice president's office and he was a valuable player in carrying out what they may have defined as a mission. erik i think is one frightening guy. one of the current members of the intelligence committee said even after the testimony they had that he is the scariest person he ever met. i have to tell you, jeremy, at one point because on the floor, the house members can say anything they want without liability, and he threatened to sue me. i got a letter from their lawyers. even the he could not assume a, after take, i had my apartment in washington swept. he makes me very nervous. but this time i think that robert mueller may actually be catching up with erik prince and the kind of lies that just roll off his lips, the kind of description of what he did in the past -- which is clearly not true. lying to congress is against the law. what a coincidence that he met
with all of these people in the seychelles. isn't that amazing? amy: that is congresswoman jan schakowsky of illinois talking about eric rentz, founder of blackwater. a lot to unpack, also talking with officials meeting of erik prince in january. erik prince, founder of blackwater, we broke the story that he was advising donald trump in the shadows and a few weeks later it came out a meeting arranged by powerful people in the united arab emirates, erik prince sees to arabin the united emirates. amy: when he fled the united states. >> when he fled in the middle of obama's first term. erik prince's meeting with these m.r.i. these. according to, they say there is this manager you have to me from russia. air prince says, ok, sure. care prince said he met long enough to have a beer. it turns out this guy is a very close associate of vladimir putin and operates a $10 billion
fund. we don't know the truth of what happened, but what we do know is now a guy named george nader who worked with erik prince and blackwater in iraq and has been visiting the trump white house all through 2017, he reportedly testified in front of a grand jury and is cooperating with smaller and says the explicit purpose of erik prince taking this meeting with a russian oligarch was to establish a back channel for donald trump and the russians. even if that is true, that probably is not illegal or illicit for erik prince to have done that. but it is, as jan schakowsky pointed out, illegal to lie to congress about it. erik prince continues to be the of yet another sort of national security scandal. the connection to the broader picture is that erik prince was involved with this cia assassination program from very early after 9/11 and pose a rodriguez wasose the cia liaison for that program
that jan schakowsky is talking about. do your sitting member of congress say that she has to get her house swept for surveillance devices because of a civilian that the congress is investigating is pretty chilling. amy: the significance of her, it's about prince and cheney? >> for a long time we have heard that dick cheney's office was coordinating a whole series of torture and targeted kidnapping and kill operations around the globe, and that erik prince and dick cheney are very close. this is the first time he of a member of congress who had access to high-level, top-secret intel confirming that erik prince was involved with operations that were being run directly by vice president dick cheney. in the whole scheme of things, what happened under bush-cheney needs to be investigated and erik prince needs to be held accountable not just for lying, but for killing a lot of iraqis.
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