tv PBS News Hour PBS December 9, 2014 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> ifill: the senate intelligence committee charges the c.i.a. with deceiving the white house, congress and the american people, in a new report that reveals brutal new details of the interrogation techniques critics, including the president, call torture. good evening, i'm gwen ifill. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we dig into the details of the report, with senator diane feinstein who led the investigation, and robert grenier, former head of the c.i.a.'s counter terrorism center. >> ifill: then, we continue our series on innovations and inventions that could affect how we relate to man's best friend. scientists develop new ways for humans to talk to dogs.
>> we're developing the technologies that are going to help us, what we like to say decode, or interpret, what our dogs are saying or communicating to us, as well as help us communicate back to our dogs. >> woodruff: and, rock star melissa etheridge on life, music and her latest album. >> i still believe in the art form of the album that, that i want to spend you know 45 minutes with someone. i want to listen to it. i want to, i want to be on their drive from here to there. i want them to have it in the car and, and share that time with me. >> woodruff: those are some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> at bae systems, our pride and dedication show in everything we do; from electronics systems to intelligence analysis and cyber- operations; from combat vehicles and weapons to the maintenance and modernization of ships,
aircraft, and critical infrastructure. knowing our work makes a difference inspires us everyday. that's bae systems. that's inspired work. >> lincoln financial-- committed to helping you take charge of your life and become you're own chief life officer. >> and the william and flora 9hewlett foundation, helping people build immeasurably better lives. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
>> ifill: the debate over what american agents did to terror suspects in the years after 9/11 was rejoined today at full volume. a sweeping senate report leveled damning charges against the central intelligence agency and gave graphic details of how it carried out interrogations. >> history will judge us. by our commitment to a just society governed by law, and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say never again. >> ifill: it was late morning when senator dianne feinstein, who chairs the intelligence committee, came to the floor to address the report. >> it shows that the cia's actions a decade ago are a stain on our value and on our history. >> ifill: the findings follow a five year examination into c.i.a. interrogation tactics authorized by the bush administration. the full report, crafted by the committee's democratic staff, runs 6,700 pages and remains
classified. today's release was a de- classified executive summary of more than 500 pages. it found: the c.i.a. program was far more brutal than previously disclosed. so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in producing intelligence. the program had little oversight and was managed poorly, and, the agency provided extensive inaccurate information to the white house, congress, the media and public. the report does not explicitly call the interrogation methods torture, but in her hour-long speech, feinstein outlined a number of practices that are considered torture under international law. >> in contrast to c.i.a. represenations, detainees were subjected to the most aggreesive techniques immediately. stripped naked, diapered, physically struck and put in various painful stress positions for long periods of time.
they were deprived of sleep for days, in one case up to 180 hours. that is seven and a half days. >> ifill: the report also detailed harsh techniques, including rectal forced feeding and hypothermia that led to the death of at least one detainee who had been held naked and chained. perhaps the most infamous technique, waterboarding, was used repeatedly on khalid sheikh muhammad, the accused 9/11 mastermind who was captured in 2003. the report says he became so resistant to the simulated drowning, that one interrogator told superiors muhammad beat the system. in all, 119 detainees were subjected to what were described as enhanced interrogations. but feinstein made clear the cia was not the only responsible party. >> what we have found is a surprisingly few people were responsible for designing, carrying out, and managing this program. two contractors developed and lead the investigations.
>> ifill: according to the report, the cia effectively outsourced elements of the program to those contractors, who in 2005 formed a company that collected more than $80 million for its work. the use of most of the tactics reportedly ended in 2006. and upon taking office in january 2009, president obama signed an executive order banning the enhanced interrogation he later termed torture. >> woodruff: in a statement today, the president said these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as a nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests. but the question of whether the but the question of whether the c.i.a.'s toughest methods actually produced substantial results remains much debated.
most republicans on the intelligence committee, led by senator saxby chambliss, defended the practices in their own, minority report. specifically, we found that, one, the c.i.a.'s detention and interrogation program was with effective and produced valuable and actionable intelligence. two, most of the c.i.a.'s claims of effectiveness with respect to the use of e.i.t.s were accurate. three, the c.i.a. attempted to keep the congress informed of its activities and did so on regular basis. >> woodruff: the current director john brennan was involved in >> ifill: the current director, john brennan, was involved in some of those decisions during the bush administration. in a statement today, he acknowledged wrongdoing, but said the interrogations did prevent attacks.
three former cia directors, george tenet, porter goss and michael hayden agreed. in their own lengthy statment, they argued that the interrogations "led to the disruption of terrorist plots and prevented mass casualty attacks, saving american and allied lives." the former directors also said the c.i.a.'s enhanced interrogations, or e.i.t's., made possible the 2011 operation that killed osama bin laden. senator feinstein sharply disputed that claim in her speech. >> ifill: as to the decision to release the report, republican john mccain, a survivor of extensive torture as a prisoner in vietnam, strongly endorsed it today. i believe american people have a right and responsiblity to know what was done in their name. >> ifill: other republicans warned that making the executive summary public is a dangerous mistake that will prompt attacks on u.s. interests overseas. and, over the last several years, the obama administration repeatedly sought to delay the
release of the summary, and it continues to withhold some documents related to the interrogations. there is no indication when, or if, the entire 6,700 page report will be released. we'll talk to senator feinstein and get the views of a former top c.i.a. official after the news summary. >> woodruff: congressional negotiators worked today to hammer out a $1.1 trillion spending bill, as a thursday deadline looms. the legislation would keep the government running through next september. passing it will avert a government shutdown. by late today, most of the potential snags had been worked out. congressional aides said a stop- gap measure-- funding the government for one or two days-- might be necessary to give lawmakers time to finish the main bill. >> ifill: secretary of state john kerry is calling for congress to grant the president new war powers to battle the islamic state group. at a senate hearing today, kerry said it's time to pass a new
authorization for military force, or a.u.m.f. he said it should not limit the fight to iraq and syria, and should not bar the use of combat forces. howeever, while we certainly believe this is the soundest possible policy, and while the president has been clear he's open to clarifications on the use of u.s. combat troops to be tlined in an a.u.m.f., it doesn't mean that we should pre- emptively bind the hands of the commander in chief or our commanders in the field in responding to scenarios and contingencies that are impossible to foresee. >> ifill: meanwhile, outgoing defense secretary chuck hagel arrived in iraq for a first-hand update on the fight against islamic state. prime minister haider al-abadi said his army is taking the offensive, but he asked for more american planes and weapons. >> woodruff: the united nations' world food program has resumed aid to more than 1.7 million syrian refugees. the agency said today a social
media campaign helped raise more than $80 million, enough to resume its food voucher program at least through january. the vouchers go to syrian refugees living in egypt, iraq, jordan, lebanon and turkey. >> ifill: in ukraine, government forces and pro-russian separatists largely pulled back from fighting today. the so-called day of silence was a bid to revive a long-term cease-fire that was signed in september. since then, more than 1,000 people have been killed in fighting across the luhansk and donetsk regions of eastern ukraine. >> woodruff: doctors in sierra leone spent a second day on strike, demanding better care for medical workers who get ebola. three doctors died in just two days last week, in the west african nation. meanwhile, the world health organization said the virus is spreading rapidly in western sierra leone and central guinea, and it warned against letting up in the fight to stop the epidemic. >> we can't sit back and say the
job is even partially done, because of this fear that we have all the time, that as long as there is infection in a part of the total area, that could easily spread, it could even spread to places where current infection levels are zero. >> woodruff: the ebola death toll in west africa now stands at 6,331. >> ifill: back in this country, police in berkeley, california reported nearly 160 protesters were arrested overnight in a third round of demonstrations against police brutality. they were among hundreds of activists who marched in the city. demonstrators blocked traffic on a major interstate and even forced an amtrak train to stop. the rallies were mostly peaceful with no reports of injuries or looting, after two previous nights of violence. >> woodruff: the president's health care law was back in congressional cross-hairs today. republicans zeroed in on a consultant who's said supporters
relied on "very tortured" language and voter stupidity. >> i'd like to begin by apologizing sincerely for the offending comments that i've made. >> woodruff: that became a recurring refrain as jonathan gruber faced the house oversight committee. the m.i.t. economist helped craft the affordable care act, but was later caught on video saying this: >> lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. and basically, call it the stupidity of the american voter or whatever, but basically that was really critical to getting the thing to pass. >> woodruff: today, gruber said he spoke out of inexcusable arrogance. >> in some cases, i made uninformed and glib comments about the political process behind health care reform. i'm not an expert on politics, and my tone implied i was, which is wrong. in other cases, i simply made mean and insulting comments which are uncalled for in any context. >> woodruff: but republicans, led by committee chair darrell
issa, said, in effect, gruber was right the first time. >> professor gruber is often said in washington to be the definition of a gaffe. that's when somebody accidentally tells the truth. you made a series of troubling statements that were not only an insult to the american people but revealed a pattern of intentional misleading the public about the true impact and nature of obamacare. >> woodruff: the committee's top democrat, maryland representative elijah cummings, defended the health care law, but called gruber's earlier comments "absolutely stupid." >> i'm extremely frustrated with dr. gruber's statements. they were irresponsible, incredibly disrespectful and did not reflect reality. and they were indeed insulting. >> woodruff: also on the hot seat today: medicare and medicaid administrator marilyn tavenner. >> this was an inadvertent
mistake for which i apologize. >> woodruff: tavenner's agency initially reported 400,000 more people signed up for health coverage last year, than actually did. she blamed a double-counting of people who enrolled for both dental and medical coverage. president obama has said the health care law was fully debated, and there was no attempt to mislead the public. >> ifill: the federal reserve voted today to have the country's eight largest banks set aside more reserves, in the event of unexpected losses. the goal is to prevent the need for future taxpayer bailouts. requirements will vary, depending on how regulators assess a bank's risk. the banks include: j.p. morgan chase, citigroup and bank of america. >> ifill: on wall street, stocks followed the lead of overseas markets that tumbled, particularly in china. the down jones industrial average lost 51 points to close at 17,801.
the s&p 500 edged down half a point to 2,059. the nasdaq rose more than 25 points to close at 4,766. >> ifill: still to come on the newshour. crossing the line between interrogation and torture. who gets to argue before the supreme court, and why it affects your life. scientists work to help humans talk to dogs. and, rock star melissa etheridge on life, love and music. >> woodruff: now we turn to a more in-depth discussion of today's senate intelligence report on the harsh physical and mental techniques the c.i.a. used on scores of detainees. in a few minutes, we'll hear from someone who was a high- ranking c.i.a. officer during the time period covered by the report. but first, we turn to senate intelligence chairwoman dianne feinstein, who was the leading force in today's release.
senator feinstein, thank you very much for joining us. let me just ask you first off, what do you accomplish with the release of this report? >> well, i think we accomplish a number of things. once we say to the world this is not what we stand for. secondly, we make a record that's been dark and clouded very clear. and thirdly, this was a five and a half year effort by a number of our staff to get to the truth and to look at records, look at documents that were contemporaneous that weren't reinterpreted 12 years later. >> so this report has been carried out. it's being made public, and i think what it says to the world is this must never happen again in this country. >> woodruff: senator, we've talked to some c.i.a. officials. some of them are calling ate political witch hunt. they say that no one at a top level of the c.i.a. was
interviewed by an intelligence committee member. >> well, if you listened to my remarks this morning, what i pointed out is the reason why there were no interviews, and that was the fact that there was a criminal investigation going on by the attorney general, and, therefore, to do interviews, put some culpability and liability on the interviewees, plus the fact the c.i.a. did not compel them to interview. but what this was was a very careful look at documents, cables, e-mails, all a kinds of messages to weave together a documentary analysis of what has happened. now, the c.i.a. can say anything they want, but all we're asking is that people read the report and read the findings, and i think they will see that the big
finding is that torture does not work and should not be employed by our country. >> woodruff: well, i'm sure, as you know, the c.i.a. is saying something different. they're saying they did get important information from these interrogations and that the united states is safer today as a result of that. >> well, we don't find that to be true. we find that there were other methods by which a lot of this intelligence was gathered, some even before the heavy interrogation started, some by human intelligence, some by technical intelligence, but by using torture the fact that we stopped terrorist attacks is simply not correct. >> woodruff: they also say, senator, that what they did is approve at the very highest levels of government, at the white house, by members of congress, that there were key
members of congress who were briefed on what they were doing. >> well, we were briefed in 2006, and i can tell you that that briefing was de minimis. as a matter of fact, it was given to us by the then director michael hayden, who used the word "tummy slap," who said these were under professional guidance, strongly monitored. in fact, they were not. and i think what we found is that the president may well not have been told the depth and breadth of this torture program. he, we believe, was involved somewhat, but not like this report leads. and i would challenge him to read the report. and there is another 6,000 pages that remains classified that
certainly people with security clearance can read. and that will be added documentation to the kind of torture that went on. this was a program that at a certain point was turned over to two contractors who got $80 million from the federal government for conducting this torture. we do not believe they were qualified. we do not believe that the quality of people in some of the black sites was what it should have been and we do not believe that there was sufficient oversight, management that showed a strong control of the program. as a matter of fact, what we found in places was that analysts were making operational decisions. that should never happen. >> woodruff: let me just bring you back to one of the fundamental arguments they make and that is so much of this was
in response to what was done on 9/11. 3,000 americans were killed and there were a long list of attempts made by terrorists to come after the united states and they say that's what needs to be kept at the center of this argument. >> well, there is no question about that, but with certain people -- you know, the f.b.i., for example, one f.b.i. agent who's very well known, going back to the '93 attack on the world trade center, spent a lot of time with the sheik, built up a rapport, got the response and he ended up pleading guilty. what am i saying? i'm saying if you are really trained in interrogation, if you take time to do it right, there's a very high likelihood that you will get much more information than pulling somebody out of the cell,
undressing them, dragging them through hallways and doing terrible things to them. >> woodruff: and finally, senator, do you believe this kind of treatment is still going on today? >> no, not to the best of my knowledge, it is not. and what we hope this report will stand for is that it will never again happen. and i want to say something else, if i can, because some of my colleagues are saying this is an attack on president bush. it is not an attack on president bush. as a matter of fact, from the documents we looked at, the records we looked at, president bush did not actually know the depth and breadth of the program. at one point, people made an effort to keep it away from him. those of us who had an opportunity to get to know president bush, i don't believe
he would agree with the kind of activity that went on for one moment. >> woodruff: dianne feinstein, chairman of the senate intelligence committee, thank you v >> woodruff: those who have led the c.i.a. have a different perspective on this report. for that view i'm joined now by robert grenier, he was the director of the c.i.a.'s counter terrorism center from 2004-2006. he's also the author of the forthcoming book "eighty-eight days to kandahar." robert grenier, you just listened to what senator feinstein said. i asked her essentially what you and others in the c.i.a., former c.i.a. officials are saying, that this report is just way far exaggerating what actually happened. >> yes, i think that the report gets a lot of things factually wrong. i think that it incorrectly analyze as number of things.
not to say everything is false by any means, but many of the true assertions in the report are presented in a very misleading light and lead to false conclusions. >> woodruff: the picture that comes through loud and clear are extreme methods taken time and again for dozens, scores of detainees being held, in some cases leading to their death. >> you know, this is a really important case in point. one of the things that is pointed out -- in fact, in the press summary that was handed out that was first released, it states that the case of a detainee in afghanistan, actually an afghan national, an individual who died as a result of exposure. he was being guard bid afghan militiamen at the time. this is a failure by the overnight c.i.a. person on the scene. >> woodruff: that happened?
that actually happened. one of the main points that needs to be made is this happened outside the c.i.a. program. that doesn't mean the c.i.a. isn't culpable in any way but, this incident, as unfortunate and tragic as it was, is an argument of in favor of having a properly disciplined program led by trained interrogators. >> woodruff: are you saying the c.i.a. is not responsible for all the instances laid out in this huge report? >> you would have to cite specifics. >> woodruff: but the bulk of the report lays out, again, dozens, scores of instances where detainees were mistreated to the point -- to an extreme degree. >> well, this program included the use of so-called e.i.t.s, harsh intertation techniques,
and we're not going to sugar coat that. this is not a picnic. that said, a majority of the detainees in the program never had any of these techniques employed on them. they were shackled, they had hoods put over their heads, loaded on airplanes, flown for many hours, ended up in a c.i.a. black site and decided to cooperate. there were other cases, many a minority but still a significant number, who were subjected to these techniques because they were not compliant. there were things in their head we had to have and we used the techniques to extract them. >> woodruff: the report is calling it torture in many instances. what about senator feinstein's point that she said there are a number of experts and others who they've talked to who have proven that you get more information out of someone by other methods, by methods other
than these extreme methods that were used which, in many cases, she said were illegal. >> well, first of all, the c.i.a. in order to make a judgment as to whether these things were legal, had to turno the department of justice and the office of legal council. i can assure you we didn't do anything unless we had full assurances everything we did was legal. people can disagree with the judgments by the office of legal council, but we hadsurances from the highest level of government that what we were doing was legal. so let's table that. but on this whole issue of could we have gotten the same information using more gentle methods, look, every interrogation is unique. many of the individuals who came into c.i.a. custody, in fact, gave up what they knew and we were able to verify they were giving up what they knew truthfully without the use of these techniques, and we're talking about an incident where
it's a skilled interrogator, somebody who knows what he is doing. and to say that we could get the same results in a short amount of time from a hardened terrorist -- these are people who in com some cases were mass murderers, sheikh mohamed had the blood of over 3,000 people on his hands. to think he would give up valuable information if you were simply nice to him, give him a nice room and three square meals a day and treat him with a lot of respect, i can tell you that wouldn't work in his case. maybe some it will. whots important to stress is contrary to what's stated in this report, we had a very firm trine within this program and that's we would only use the least coarsive methods necessary to gain complains in. some cases we gained complains right away in the case of sheikh
mohammad, we had to use a lot of techniques on him. >> woodruff: but it's water boarding, force feeding -- >> force feeding is not one of the methods we used tore interrogation. it said it in the report. i would like to see the evidence for that. i don't know. i would have to look at that. as far as water boarding, there were three individuals total who were ever water boarded, only in the early days of the program. i think it was required in the case of khalid shaikh mohammad. but it was terminated in early 2003. >> woodruff: what about the point of senator feinstein and her colleagues was that the c.i.a. misloud the white house, misled the congress, led them to believe this tec these technique
not being used and information was not gotten from detainees. >> those are the two most salient parts of the report. they're saying the c.i.a. lied to the president, to the national security council, to the congress. that's farcical. it's simply not true. president bush knew everything about this program that he wanted to know and i can assure you that he and more particularly other members of the administration who were charged with dealing with this on a day-to-day basis, they knew everything that was going on and were fully briefed. in fact, we briefed those members of the committees and other leaders, both the house and the senate, who we were permitted by the administration to brief. so quite frankly, i was the director of counterterrorism center from late 2004 to early
2006, and i can tell you i had difficulty getting ton calendars of senators whom i wanted to brief. so there ar their air door for h is greater at this time than in some cases. >> woodruff: robert grenier, former director of c.i.a. counterterrorism, we thank you for joining us. >> you're very welcome. >> ifill: the supreme court today ruled against amazon warehouse workers who argued that they should be paid for the extra time it takes them to be screened at the end of the work day. cases like this are often argued by a relatively tight circle of lawyers who are well known to the justices, and are more likely to share the same education and private firm pedigrees. reuters looked at 17,000 petitions filed with the court to try to put numbers to that
conclusion, and uncovered an unusually insular legal world at work at the nation's top court. reuters legal editor joan biskupic joins us to detail the findings. start by telling us, exactly what does it take to become a lawyer who argues at the court? >> you can be admitted to the supreme court bar by virtue of being a lawyer. this tight group, the repeat performers, the people who come up mostly, perhaps supreme court law clerks themselves, work behind the scenes, work for the prestigious office of the solicitor general, those are the people come nateing now. generally speaking, anyone who's a lawyer who's admitted to the supreme court bar who covers tens of thousands of americans, we found more and more clients are turning to the select group and the justice system themselves seem to be signaling they're interested not just in the merits of a case presented to them but the merits of the
lawyering just because to have what the data had shown. >> ifill: you narrowed it down to the elate eight? >> in terms of people who argue, right. we went from 17,000 to 66 people getting the petitions heard. over the last decade, these eight had 20% of the cases. in the previous decade it took 30 lawyers to have 20% of the cases. that's how much it attracted. >> ifill: the court assumes there's a unique group of people that can argue before the supreme court andeth not terribly surprising. is there self fulfilling prophecy that if you find someone who can argue before the court, they are more likely to get hired? >> i think so. it's reinforcing. the justices look for people who are getting the cases, who have been there before, they advertise numbers on web sites and pitch themselves to clients
that way. the lawyer who won the case at the outset, that was paul's 75th argument before the court. he had been a supreme court law clerk to justice scalia and u.s. solicitor general. other 66, i think 25 worked in the solicitor general's office. >> ifill: what harm does it do to have the people who are most experienced do the most work? >> it's not just that they're most experienced, they have with respect identifications. 51 had ties to corporate america. if you're in the corporate law firm, you're going to represent big business and you would have conflicts of interest not to represent individuals, employees with grievances, consumers, for example. >> ifill: when the justices sit on the bench and look at these folks arguing before hem, do they see themselves, pretty much? >> chief justice john roberts was once a member of the appellate bar. he argued 39 case before the
justices and several people who appear before him want to be models of him. >> ifill: you talked to eight of the nine justices about this. >> yes. >> ifill: did they say, yeah, this is a problem? >> no, i went to the more liberal justices first thinking they would be concerned about the lack of broad diversity before them. they weren't. they said what we want are experienced counsel, that's what matters to us. they said the corporate could be countered by lawyers who might be in the law school clinics and help out individuals. but when we talked to people in the law school clinics they said, you know, we can only do so much. >> ifill: that's the question. if you talk about the case that paul won today that workers labor on the other side of it, do they have access also to attorneys who represent those kinds of interests against the corporate interests? is it a fair fight? >> well, do you know that labor, as a matter of fact, for this
year for the first time went to outside counsel in a case argued earlier this year in part because of this trend thinking let's not just stick with people in the trenches, let's go to lawyers who might speak the language of the justice, but that could disproportionately favor certain lawyers and certain clients. >> ifill: so if a corporate tilt because of who they represent or the nature of the law firms they come from? >> both. first of all, i want to say that certainly the predilection to the roberts court has been documented in some ways favoring corporate america, so it's kind of reinforcing that way. it's that they come from corporate law firms so they're bound to be representing more big business than the little guys, so to speak, the employees. 51 of the 66 were from there. so you have that. then again, there are more familiar lawyers who would be sort of more on the justice's radar screen and not able to take the other kinds of cases.
>> ifill: does anybody see this as a problem enough to reform it in any way? >> well, critics. the judge on the 4th circuit, a lot of people knew hi, now general counsel at boeing, he was a former supreme court law clerk. he said we have a very narrow conversation going on with a lot of elite lawyers appearing before elite judges and just kind of not having the broadest policy discussion that would be more helpful to america. >> ifill: very interesting way to have looking at the court. joan biskupic, thanks for taking this look. >> thanks, gwen. >> woodruff: dog lovers will want to pay close attention to our next story. researchers in north carolina are working on ways to listen to and speak with man's best friend. hari sreenivasan reports, the idea of talking dogs isn't so far fetched.
>> alright buddy you ready? relax, relax. >> sreenivasan: man's best friend is getting a digital nudge. >> just stick his head through there. >> sreenivasan: david roberts, a computer science professor, and his team at north carolina state university, are inventing new ways to talk, and listen to dogs, like robert's labrador retriever, diesel. >> we're developing the technologies that are going to help us, what we like to say decode, or interpret, what our dogs are saying or communicating to us, as well as help us communicate back to our dogs. >> sreenivasan: this prototype harness allows researchers to send wireless commands to dogs in the form of vibrations, while multiple sensors on the device send information from the dog back to researchers. the mission that i have in connecting communications in dogs and humans is to help improve that vocabulary. >> the wireless transmission is using the wifi internet. >> sreenivasan: a dog of the future won't wear anything so clunky, if collaborator alper bozkurt has anything to do with it. he's with the university's computer science department of
electrical engineering, he hopes to shrink all the sensors down into a collar. bozkurt says his inspiration came from the movie "up." >> speak. >> hi there. >> did that dog just talk? >> oh yes, my name is doug, and i just met you, but i love you. >> sreenivasan: while the researchers don't make any claims to develop actual voices for dogs, they believe multiple sensors which monitor canine physiology, like changes in heart and respiratory rates, can help their human companions hear and understand what a dog is feeling. >> we try to understand emotion of the dog. >> sreenivasan: the emotion of the dog? >> the emotion of the dog, they have a sympathetic system, and as you know when we get excited our heart rate goes higher, and we start to breathe faster, and sometimes it also affects our body temperature, and our voice changes, so we have physiological sensors, or health sensors, and those send
information about the sympathetic system, or the health of the dog. >> sreenivasan: so you can tell when the dog is stressed. >> exactly, when dog is stressed or when it's excited, yep, exactly. >> it enables us to identify things like stress and anxiety, and differentiate those things from excitement, happiness, relaxation, and so we, people, often misinterpret these things with dogs, and by being able to monitor these things that are not necessarily obvious. we can fuse those data together, and provide information to handlers in real time, maybe through a cell phone, or a tablet app, or sending them a text message, just a subtle way to alert them to things that are going on with their dogs. >> simba, go forward and left, find your way, go on through. >> sreenivasan: for sean meallin, the ability to both talk to, and understand his guide dog simba is crucial. >> find the stairs. >> sreenivasan: a graduate student in the university's computer science department, meallin lost his eyesight early in life. >> lets go up stairs, good boy,
>> sreenivasan: guide dogs are trained to stay calm in all situations, and without the ability to see simba's body language, meallin says it can be hard to recognize his dog's emotional state. if they're distressed emotionally or actually in physical pain, a lot of time they won't show that. >> what is is it someone with a guide dog would do on a daily basis that would be assisted by computers? >> i envision having a mechanism in the handle that vibrates when he's feeling upset about something. so maybe we're walking down the street and there's a dog loose two blocks ahead of us and simba sees this but has no way of saying that to me. so by getting a representation he's stressed out about something up ahead, i can
actually decide before we get there to find another path around. so i might not be actually aware of what was stressing him out, but i can still take that action to move us away from that area. >> sreenivasan: one of the most interesting applications for smart harnesses may be with search and rescue dogs whose job is to go into dangerous spaces humans cannot reach. like the aftermath of the world trade centers bombing, or the earthquake in haiti, disaster sites where dogs played a prominent role in recovery. tiny cameras, microphones, gas and heat sensors could relay vital information to first responders who may be out of sight. roberts has been consulting with north carolina search and rescue volunteer tracey collins. >> the next generation of search dogs could be very techno-savvy dogs. >> sreenivasan: search and rescue handlers could communicate with their dogs too. >> so here's vibration motors here, here, back here,
>> sreenivasan: vibrations are controlled by a tablet or smartphone so these correspond to the vibration motors that are on the harness. >> exactly. >> sreenivasan: so i press this button and the dog feels the vibration? >> exactly, yep, it's gentle, it's non-aversive, it's not painful, it's not a punishment, it's purely a signal to the dog. >> sreenivasan: to demonstrate, two treats are placed in front of diesel, one to his left and one to his right. >> we're going to have diesel sit in front of you. sit. good boy. >> sreenivasan: by pressing a button on the wireless device, vibrations tell diesel which treat he can choose. >> give it about a second, hari. >> sreenivasan: right >> good job. >> sreenivasan: roberts says such commands can get dogs to critical areas faster, and get them out safely. i'm going to press the left. >> good boy.
>> sreenivasan: roberts and his team plan to advance their canine computer technology in the next two years with a recently awarded grant from the national science foundation. hari sreenivasan in raleigh north carolina. >> ifill: finally tonight, a change of pace. my conversation with rock legend melissa etheridge on how her life, and her music, are changing. >> ifill: it's been a big year for melissa etheridge, personally and professionally. she got married to hollywood producer linda wallem, shook up her 35-year music career by founding her own record label and used it to release her 14th album: "this is m.e." >> ♪ ♪
the 53 year-old rocker was born in kansas, earning her at one point in her career the label: "queen of the heartland." >> ifill: hits like this one, from her 1988 self titled album, rocketed her into the spotlight for their raw and honest lyrics. she went on to win two grammies for the songs "ain't it heavy" and "come to my window." in 1993 she came out at an inaugural party for president bill clinton. >> i'm proud to say i have been a lesbian all my life. >> ifill: by 2005, she'd earned 14 grammy nominations and a star on the hollywood walk of fame. that was the year of perhaps her biggest grammy star turn, singing janis joplin's "piece of my heart," bald after medical treatment, as she was recovering
from breast cancer. etheridge also nabbed an oscar in 2007 for the song "i need to wake up" from the documentary "an inconvenient truth." now, the mother of four says, she is defining life on her own terms. i sat down with her recently before her concert at the historic lincoln theatre in washington, d.c. to talk with her about her life, her work, and the last time she went to the white house. >> ifill: when i think of your music i think of pop, i think of rock, yet i saw you at the white house at the women of soul concert performance and it was a shock to me. >> ♪ i'm the only one >> ifill: i didn't expect to a: see you on that bill. and b: to see you break out the way you did that night. ♪ ♪ >> i tell you, i grew up in the midwest and we had one radio station in the 60's. it was an am radio station and it played everything. i would hear led zeppelin, i
could hear tammy wynette, and then i could hear marvin gaye or you know motown, and there was no barriers. there was no boxes that the, you know, that these genres were in. and i loved it all and then as my career went on, well first i played country music just cause that was the music that people wanted to see live, and then it was um, you know pop music. and then when i went out on my own, i was, it's kind of rock and roll is where i landed. but i have such a love of soul and r&b. it's, it's because rock and roll and soul and r&b they're you know they're related. they're very, very similar. >> ifill: you know i did a little experiment which is i went on pandora, we were talking about technology, and i put your name in to see what else popped up. and it was all kind of acoustic women singing melancholy songs. it was tracy chapman from back in the day, and it was sarah mclaughlin, and it was adele, but not cheerful adele.
sad adele. what do you think that tells you about how you're characterized? >> i think there can be a lot of assumptions made if one only knows me for the couple of you know hits that they knew in the 90's. if you give a little more look, or a little more thought into it or ever come see me live, you'll see that there's a whole wide spectrum of a whole lot of amazing music and there's a lot of joy, a lot of joy. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> ifill: which is why seeing you on stage with aretha franklin and patti labelle, pretty much sums it up. >> that's what it's about. it is, it's about the love of performing, the love of music and how it can make people feel. >> ifill: okay, you're 53 years old. you've had an amazing career, how do you define your, your sound now? >> you know, well this album, where i am right now is, is it
straddles the r&b, soul, rock 'n roll all the way over to country. it, it's, that's why i called it, "this is m.e.," because it's it's just the, the car that i'm driving in is a little you know a little cooler. >> ifill: was it also a different kind of project for you because you were doing it on your own for the first time in how many years without a record label? the recording industry changed. it, it, the digital age came in and, and the game changed and the, the money and the attention and the promotion went to those records that can sell instantly to 13 to, you know, 17 years olds because that's what they're, those are the ones who are buying right now, that go out and buy it. so everything narrowed down so it make sense, okay, i can do this now on my own. i'm, i'm connected with my fans, i have social media, i can use and so now i own my records. a whole different situation but i love it.
>> well it affected it mostly by record sales. you can't tell any more who's listening to your music or who bought it or who has it. because record sales are so low because people don't have to buy it anymore. you go on spotify, you can, you can listen to it over and over before you make that commitment. >> ifill: right. >> so it's-- i wanted to create an album that had lasting, that people would want to keep going back to. i still believe in the art form of the album that, that i want to spend you know 45 minutes with someone. i want to listen to it. i want to, i want to be on their drive from here to there. i want them to have it in the car and, and share that time with me. >> ifill: so how has your audience changed? for older women in general in the entertainment business people think that the audience sometimes shrinks, or that the people, the decision makers decide that it's going to shrink. but you look at that audience every night when you're on tour. is it different?
>> oh yeah, my audience, there are people that have come to see me for 25 years and i know them. you know they're, they're getting older like myself. and then there's the people along the way who have discovered music. i have people in the audience, i have young, i'll get you know teenagers in the audience. i'll get um, 20 to 30, i have such a mix in my audience. >> ifill: tell me about "a little bit of m.e." >> well "a little bit of m.e." is, is one of the songs that i play just on my acoustic guitar which is funny because a lot of the, the new songs i play on electric guitar. but that song is, it's kind of like an older song of mine. it's a real comfortable shoe that i play and i have background singers for the first time. ♪ ♪ >> ifill: do you have an opening for a backup singer? >> come on, i think you should, come on... >> ifill: i'm just saying, i could do it.
>> ifill: it would be a dream. >> now the girls wear little short skirts. and then you know you get a song like "ain't that bad" or something where they're, they're, you know that's the naughty side of me. which is, i'm a gemini, i've got lots of sides. >> ifill: and the naughty side we're going to hear a little bit more about than we have in the past. ♪ ♪ >> ifill: melissa etheridge is, as she says "sharing time with audiences" on a nationwide tour. she shows no sign of slowing down. ♪ >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. a sweeping senate report found american agents brutalized scores of terror suspects in the years after 9/11 and misled the government and the public about its actions. and congressional negotiators hammered out the final details of a $1.1 trillion spending
bill, ahead of a thursday deadline. passing it will avert a government shutdown. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, we continue our "12 days of newshour" with another gift for you, a printable newshour cross-stich pattern. see an example of the finished product, and then share a picture of your creation on social media by using the hashtag "12 days of newshour." all that and more is on our web site, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, working with police to prevent unnecessary deadly use of force. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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