tv Charlie Rose PBS June 23, 2011 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
>> rose: welcome to our program. tonight we begin with more reaction to president obama's speech on afghanistan with general jack keane and vali nasr. >> there's no military reason i know of to make the decision. i think the decision has to be coming from some other place. i think it's obvious there was some other concerns. political concerns, the coming election, i'm not sure. i can't get into the head of the president, i can only take it at face value. t i know there's no military reason to drive that significant a reduction so prematurely while we're still trying to execute these plans. >> rose: we continue this evening with the incredible story of the arrest of one of the people on the f.b.i.'s ten mo-wanted list, the notorious boston criminal james "whitey" bulger. >> this is a guy who murdered people.
who murdered real people who ruined real families. and of all the families that i've come in contact with, of the ones that i think of the most at a time like this are the donahues of dorchester who were... pat donahue was left with three little boys to raise and the wheelers of oklahoma. two totally innocent men who came across a guy who was out there and with the assistance of the f.b.i., with the active complicity of the f.b.i. was out there murdering potential witnesses against him. >> rose: we conclude this evening with rick stengel, the editor of "time" magazine who write this is week's cover story on the constitution. >> whether people can carry guns in arizona whether drone warfareiolates t constitution, whether obamacare violates the commerce clause, those are not crises. what the constitution is fors to deal with conflict. there was no greater conflict in some ways in american hiory than the conflict in that room when those framers were writing
the constitution. they were disagreeing about the most basic principles, including of course,slavery, which was the original constitution. >> rose: more on afghanistan, the arrest of a notorious criminal and a new look at the constitution when we continue. every story needs a hero we can all root for. who beats the odds and comes out on top. but this isn't just a hollywood storyline. it's happening every day, all across america. every time a storefront opens. or the midnight oil is burned. or when someone chases a dream, not just a dollar. they are small business owners. so if you wanna root for a real hero, they are small business owners. support small business. shop small.
captioni spoored by rose communications om our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: tonight we update our coverage of president obama's withdrawal strategy from afghanistan. 10,000 troops from the 2009 surge ll return by thend of 2011. the remainder will return by 2012. the drawdown will leave roughly 70,000 u.s. troops. today president obama traveled to fort drum in new york and spoke to the 10th mountain division. he thanked them for their service and spoke about the challenges ahead. >> because of what you've done, areas like kandahar are more secure than they have been in years. because of you, we're now taking the fight to the taliban instead of the taliban bringing the fight to us. and because of you, there are signs that the taliban may be interestedn figuring out a
political settlement,which ultimately is going to be critical for consolidating that country. it's also because of you that we have the platform to be able toll go after bin laden and al qaeda and we have decimated their ranks. al qaeda leadershi half of them, have been killed and most of them are now on the run and they can't operate as effectively as they could. so the main message i ha for all of you here today is that the american people understand the sacrifices you're making, they understand the sacrifices your families are making. our job is not finished. if you looked at the schedule that i set forth, we're only bringing out 10,000 by the end of this year, we're going to bring out all 33,000 thate surged by next summer. but there's still some fighting to be done. and then we're still goi to have 68,000 and, frankly, the 10th mountain division is still going to be represented there until we
have fully transferred to the afghan military. >> rose: also today, there was testimony about the president's decisiony the secretary of state hillary clinton and the chairman of the joint chiefs mike mullen. >> it woul be totally understandable that a military commander would want as many troops for as long as he could get them. but any military commander with the level of expertise and experience that general petraeus s also knows that what he wants is just part of the overall decision matrix. and that there are oer factors at worknd so at the end of the day, i think the president made the right decision. >> rose: the president's decisions are more aggressive and iur more risk than i was originally prepared to accept. moreorce for more time is, without doubt, the safer course. but that does not necessarily make it the bestourse. only the president in the end can really determin the acceptableevel of risk we must take. i believe he has done so.
>> rose: joining me now general jack keane, the former vice chief of staff of the u.s. army and from washington, vali nasr, a professor of tufts university and was on the staff of amssador richard holbrooke. i am pleased to have both of them on this program a this time. i start here in new york with general keane. the military-- petraeus, admiral muen in testimony-- seem to say "this is not the decision we wanted but we can live with it because the commander-in-chief has decided this is way we go." >> yes, certainly. i think they probably gave him about three options, identifying the risk in each option and put forward a recommendation themselves. i'm somewhat confident their recommendation was a very modest withdrawal of forces in 2011 and mainta approximately the same nuer of troops getting 4,000 or 5,000 less through 2011 and into 2012 so a reduction of some 30,000 troops is significantly different, i believe, than what they recommended.
what's happened, charlie, when the president made the decisio to ealate the war and provided 30,000 forces, they had requested 40,000. they knew they had two campaigns to conduct, one in the south and one in the east. because they had 30,000 versus the 40,000, they had to do those campaigns sequentially. we are finishing up the campaign in the south in 2011 and we have significantly defeated the taliban in the south. they're trying to come back right now but they're not making it in any single fight they have engaged in. so 2012 was the plan to go east, reinvest a lot of those forces in the east as phase two of that plan. this reduction in forces probably puts that operation at so risk. i mean, they'll have to do an analysis of what they can do and what kind of risk theye willing to assume in the south. but that was their plan. and that's at they wanted to execute. and then they would have reduced the forces very dramatically at the end of 2012-- not too different than probably what this recommendation... >> rose: so at the end of 2012 they would have come to the same
place? >> pretty close. i think they would have recommended a pretty significant reduction. because the major combat operations ptty much would have concluded and we would have been beginning the significant transition to afghan national security fors. one of the problems with the president's decision, wants the forces out of there by september. to get the forces out by september, we have to start pullinthemut in the spring and summer. that is right in the middle of the 2012 fighting season. ife could push tha back to november/december, it would keep that additional 23,000 forces in the fight all through that fighting season in the summer of 2012. >> rose: why do you think the president made the decision he made? >> there's no military reason i know of to make the decisio i think the decision had to be coming from some other place. i thin it's obvious there was some other concerns, certainly political concerns, the coming election. i'm t sure. i can't get into the head of the president, i can only take it at face value but i know there's no military reason to drive that
significant a reductiono prematurely while we're still trying toxecute these plans. >> rose: do you think the country turn against the war? >> yeah. now, that's understandable. i mean, these wars, charlie, they test the mettle of democracies. they're protracted. how you measure progress and success is ambiguous at best. how you define termination and an exit strategy and success is somewhat obscure. you have to truly continue to educe and inform the american people abouthese wars. president bush didn't do much of it over iraq and afghanistan and this president has not done much either, in educating the people and keeping them informed. we're finally making progress as a result of his decision to escalate the war, but even the people underappreciate the significance of that. >> rose: vali, how do you see the decision by the president? >> well, as general keane said, i don't know what led the president to make his decision, but what is clear is that we are going to be reducing our forces
without a clearattlefield ctory against the taliban, without a psychological victory, without a turning pointn the war and without a strategy about how to get to a political settlement, either. so the way in which the region-- all of afghanistan's neighbors, pakistan in particular-- are going to see this is that we tried the third strategy for a year and then unilaterally we decided to abandon the surge, we embraced counterinsurgency and now we're saying we no longer want to do counterinsurgency and therefore it creates a situation in which the r acception is that we don't have a clear strategy going forward. and what the taliban can do is essentlly wait us out until the 30,000 troops are withdrawn and then the 70,000 troops is neither in a position to push the taliban militarily nor is it compelling enough to force them to agree to a peace treaty. so by and lar it creates a
sense ofndecision in terms of how do we go from this point forward? how do we get to an end to this war? >> rose: those people who think we should leave in part think we should leave because they don't think governance was working. that was the goal and that was the responsibility of the man you work for, ambassador holbrooke. did it fail? did it have no chance of success >> well, the civilian side of this is partly governing and partly diplomacy. in the past two years we have done very little in terms of laying the ground work for a diplomatic end to this war. we should have at the time that we put the 30,000 additional troops in and we begin the surgee should have also embarked oa much more serious regional engagement about how to get everybody on the same page to put pressure on the taliban to make a deal with the karzai government. that would have provided the right pre-text for now withdrawing these troops. without that essentially there
is no path forward. the governance part is... has been problematic. it hasn't worked. and the parts of it that can work are not likely to work in the time frame that we set before it. in a year or two year's time frame. and it's easy to blame the failures of this war now all on the governance side, but in reality, the reason we put the troops in and the reason that we are taking the troops out have nothing to do with governance and have everything to do with the battlefield reality of confronting the taliban. >> rose: do you agree with him? >> i absolutely do. one of our challenges, certaly in terms of governance is this current administration, karzai administration. significantly ineffective and also corrupt. i think any attempt to change that behavior will work at the margin. i think most of us are looking at this, really looking to 2014 with new political reformers running for that office. >> rose: there's an election in afghanistan in 2014.
>> that's correct and moving on with a new government. we also are sending absolutely hands down our best diplomat that we have coming out of retirement in ryan crocker who will be joined in afghanistan this month. and he has had such success in iraq and he's also been in this region before. he clearly understands that we need a political strategy to move forward. one to definitely have an election in 2014. there's a red line about karzai staying beyond that and changing the constitution. and that we have as best we can an open and fair election sohe people can get their... the people that they choose into this government. >> rose: when was the last time you saw general petraeus? >> i saw him a couple of months ago. >> rose: his theory of the case is what? what is his mission? >> his mission is to provide a stable and secure environment in afghanistan that will enable a political strategy to move
forward that are would provide better governance to its people and also provide better ecomic development. we d't need all the troop there to do all of that, to be quite frank about it. the initial part of that is what we did in iraq: stable, secure environment to provide an opportunity for the political procs to move forward. that's what he's attempting to do. and that has been achievable. i think now it's under considerablyore risk given the reduction in forces. but that, many my judgment, having looked at it myself ve closely, is achievable. >> rose: can you tell us anything about the negotiations that have already begun with the taliban, vali? >> well, there are reports of contacts with the taliban and, you know, there's been all kinds of other governments that have reached out to the taliban. but, you know, these don't the quality of really serious negotiations yet. initial contacts basically may
clear the air, each side may come to the table putting their demands and the taliban will probably have demands like the united states ought to leave afghanistan immediately and no negotiations would begin until that point in time. but there really is not a process, there's not a framework it's not clear what the agenda for the talks are. none of afghastan's neighbors who ultimately will have to be the ones that protect whatever deal is made have been engaged in this. even karzai when two days ago he mentioned that the talks are ongoing he said it's between the united states, afghanistan, and the taliban. which means that pakistan, for instance, a very big player here india, russia, uzbekistan, iran, none of them have a seat at the table yet and therefore, you know, it's not very clear how we could get to a politic deal that wouldllow us to leav when none of afghanistan's neighbors are involved and also given the fact that we're reducing our military pressure on the taliban, it's not clea
why the taliban would negotiate in good faith and agree to compromises that are absolutely necessary for a deal to work. >> rose: can you confirm this? >> yeah, absolutely. first of all, the taliban, even though we've talked to them in the south, they have not intealized that to the poi where they would be willing to make major concessions, much more would have to take place, particularly as we fight in if east. secondly, the northern alliance want no partf this. the paktanis do not want it and as vali said, they don't a seat at the table. part of karzai's government is not in agreement so the idea of reconciliation, it's only... it should be a goal, we should talk to people. i'm not suggesting we don't but we should keep both feet clearly planted on the ground in terms of what our expectations here and what is truly realistic. >> rose: vali, what was richard holbrooke's plan? what would he have advocated in the counsels of the white house and state department?
>> well, i think one of the things he would have advocated is that we shouldn't have allowed our relationship with pakistan in the past two months to deteriorate to the degree that it has. every calculation we made about afghanistan was premised on a positive relionship with pakistan. the sk factor in that relationship has gone up at the very time that we want to withdraw troops from afghanistan. for instance, as general keane saysif we're not going to be able to go into the east, that where's the haqqani network which is very close to pakistan and offer it out of there is active then, you know, a worsening relationship with pakistan means that we are at greater danger in the east than we were before. secondly, i think richard would have agreed that this war ultimately has to end in some form of a negotiation, but that to get there you have to keep the military pressure on the taliban. that you have to use military force in order to serve the
interests of diplomacy. and we don't yet have the kind of diplomatic agenda this that he would have liked to see and he was working for but the elements of pressure he would see that is declining. >> rose: genal keane, last question. can this transformation from a war, a counterinsurgency to a counterterrorism strategy work? >> not at the lel the talan are at right now remember, wead ,000 troops in this country back in 2009 and the taliban had been succding against those numbers. increasing the level of violence every year. so much so that they had the momentum. it was the request of general mcchrystal andeneral petraeus one, to put in place a counterinsurgency strategy and then to have the appropriate level of forces thus the additional 30,000. the return to that 70,000 as prematurely as we're doing it will give the taliban
the opportunity, i think to retake some of the territory that they'd lost. and also at least with the qqani network... if that's not the case, at least wh the haqqani network to continue the stalemate we have with them which protract it is war. counterterrosm in and of itself will not bring the taliban down to the levels that we need to to be able to mov to a political solution. >> rose: there is finally this, and it was articulated at this table last night by richard haas and the council on foreign relations and others have made the argument that our economic circumstances need... demand we do nation building at home, i think president may have eluded to that. secondly, they look at so much evidence that karzai's corruption, they look at the haqqani network, no ability yet to have the pakistanis engage them because they want to use them for other purposes. so people say there was no light at the end of the tunnel, to use
another bad phrase. and so therefore it was the wrong war for us when we have so many other demands on our resources. >> wl, i couldn't disagree more. i think the consequences of failure in afghanistan... >> rose: are? >> ...which would pmit an al qaeda sanctuary again, which would help to destabilize pakistan which is truly a country of more significant strategic consuence with a very inif he can which you will government with a raging insurgency in the country and with growing nuclear arsenal. these two countries have to be considered together and stability in that part of the world and that region has to be our goal to achieve that. >> rose: vali, are you pessimistic or optimistic now? >> i'm... i think we're in a period of... in a critical period and i'm not terribly optimistic. i don't believe that we should buy into complete state building in afghanistan as a solution.
it mig not be an absolute military victory down there. i think best way of getting out of this war is to arrive at a politil deal that encourages all sides, including pakistan and the taliban, to lay down their weapons and agree a political settlement. we have to have a strategy of getting there. in all of this debate, i don't see a strategy for a political settlement. i don't think even counterterrorism will work. if we look at it, it's already collapsing in pakistan. the government of pakistan is shutting down a lot of our operations. it's not give than we'd be able to rely on counterterrorism. we've given up on counterinsurgency. state building is expensive, we say we cannot afford it. so the onl alternative, really, is to see how we're going to end this war through negotiations and i don't see any strategy there and that's cause for concern. >> rose: thank you very much, vali nasr, thank you, jack keane. we'll be right back. stay with us.
>> rose: it reads like it came from hollywood but it's very real. there's one less entry on the f.b.i.'s most wanted list today. >> he was the number one most wanted criminal in america and today the f.b.i. got their man. here he is in the police photo we just received looking like your friendly neighbor next door. >> anyone who's ever been in boston knows who whitey bulger is-- a ruthless mobster accused of over a dozen murders, on the run for years, a fixture on the f.b.i.'s most-wanted list. >> tonight, after more than a decade as a fugitive, bulger in custody. >> rose: the capture came as a dire result of a campaign aimed at locating bulger's long-time companion, catherine grieg. he originall disappeared in 1995 after retired f.b.i. agent alerted him to an imminent indictment. bulger was a leader of the winter hill gang, a group of local criminals based in south boston. he has been indicted in 19 murdersment s story has long captivated the city of boston
and has been the subject of several books as wells the 2006 martin scorsese film in which heas played by jack nicholson. >> when i was your age they would say you become cops or criminals. today what i'm saying to you is this, when you're facing a loaded gun, what's the difference? >> rose: part of bulger's story was the subject of reports on cbs' "60 minutes." >> the business they were in was organized crime. and what set whitey bulger's organization apart was his penchant for violence. weeks says it was all part of the folklore of this irish working-class neighborhood known as souie. was it a tough neighborhood when you were growing up, kev? >> you had to fight. you didn'tave to win, but you had to fight. >> reporter: on these streets, whitey bulger was known as a vicious gangster who never hesitated to use violence. weeks, who had a reputation as a tenacious street fighter, caught
the crime boss' eye while he was working as a bouncer at local bar. over the years, he became bulger's most trusted confidant. what did you do for him, what was your job? >> anything he asked me to do. >> including murder. for 20 years weeks was with the crime bo nearly everyday, but they were exceedingly careful. this is one of only two known photographs of them together. it was taken at a park called castle island where they talked business out of earshot of police bugs. weeks says the man he called jimmy was a criminal mastermind. >> 98% of his waking hours was dedicated to crime. 2% to pleasure. he was very disciplined. had no bad habits. he didn't drink, didn't gamble, didn't do drugs. >> no bad habits if you don't count murder. and it was something weeks says whitey thoroughly enjoyed. how did he kill people? >> well, he'd stab people, beat people with bats, shot people, strangled people, run them over
with cars. >> you said also that he liked killing. >> yeah. >> explain that to me. >> after he would kill somebody, he... it was like a stress lief, you know? he'd be nice and calm for a couple weeks afterwards, like he just got rid of all his stress. >> rose: joining me now from boston to talk about this case, kevin cullen of the "boston globe" and abby good nau of the "new york times." what surprises you about this story? that they caught him or how they caught him? >> that they caught him at all. the charlie, i think you can put me the camp of cynics here that wasn't absolutely convinced that the f.b.i. wanted to find this guy. and i knowhey're saying that this was an arrest that led... directly from the campaign of public service announcements they put out, but i've just spent the day talking to law enforcement officials who were not in the f.b.i. who spent their entire career trying to take this guy down the right way and i haven't found one who believes this story. nothing that the f.b.i. has said
about this case has ever been on the level, so the idea that this is how it's gone down, i have to tell you, no one i know in law enfoement outside the f.b.i. accepts that. >> rose: so how do you think it went down? >> who knows? maybe she got tired of being on the run. maybe he got tired of being on the run. but the idea that somebody was watching "the view" the other day and remembered seeing a woman getting her nails done near santa monica and turned her in and they did this in 48 hours it just... i don't know, i... i've done this story too long. i've been following this close to 30 years so i guess i'm skeptical about everything associated with it. >> rose: abby, tell me what about here. >> well, the story we've been given by the f.i. ishat they started this media campaign with this 30-second public service announcement trying to raise the profile of his girlfriend, catherine grieg on monday. and within 48 hours, as kevin said, they get this tip, supposedly, they won't say
anything about the tip, who the tipster was, a man, a woman, whether they were in l.a. or not. but based on the public service media campaign they just started giving them national ledo thi address at this kind of shabby apartment building this santa monica. and they did some surveillance on it for a couple hours yesterday, they got a glimpse of them and decided it was really the couple they were looking for and according to the story we've heard, they went in and arrested them without incident. >> rose: kevin, you wrote a five-part series i know and have done a lot of other work about him. tell us about who he was and why there's so much fascination with him. >> whitey bulger was a... his incarceration in the '50s and early '60s for bank robbery was fortuitous for him because in the 1960s there was an irish mob war and over 60 guys were murdered as a result of it.
and when he came out of pson, whitey bger, he wasble to rise very quickly in the underworld here in boston. now, what happened is he was turned into an inrmant by the f.b.i. in the late '70s. and that's because the f.b.i. had a national policy to take out la xhosa nostra, the itali mafia. the problem with that national policy is it didn't fit boston because in boston while the mafia was preoccupied with running numbers and making money and bookmaking, most of the murders carried out in the mob-- including those for the mafia-- were subcontracted to the irish mob which at that time was run by whitey bulger. so whitey bulger was a far more dangerous murderer and a dangerous criminal than the people he supposedly was used to get. but as we found out during our investigation is that he was the f.b.i.'s highly if... highly prized but highly overrated snitch. he gave them virtually nothing. and the guy was protected... the narrative... i'd say, charlie, the big difference of today, where we sit now, is the
narrative is about to change. the justice department narrative has always been that there was this rogue agent, john connolly, assisted by aogue supervisor, agent john morris, who assisted whitey bulger and allowed him to go out and kill with impunity. but e reality is, there was many other f.b.i. agents and many other f.b.i. supervisors that knew about this for years. and that's where this goes now. the key is who gets to debrief... i mean, we could spend all day talking about the arres and theips and all that sff. i don't think that's the issue. the issue is now that he's in custody, who gets to debrief whitey bulger? i would argue that the f.b.i. has an inherent conflict of interest in th and should not control the investigation from here. there are members of the massachusetts state police and the u. drug enforcement administration who built the casegainst whitey bulger for the charges he is now facing and who have proceeded in the last few years to push for the truth. i would argue those are the
folks who should be able to debrief whitey bulger. because the story now goes who else protect him and the f.b.i.? >> rose: so tell me what you think the questions they ought to be asking him are? >> the questions are... and, like i said, there have been allegations made in the u.s. district court and also in the... in a district court in miami where john connolly who has been convicted of murder and racketeering in his protection of whitey bulger, john connolly was his f.b.i. handler. there have been open allegations made by other criminals who were used to convict connolly about other f.b.i. agents receiving money and gifts from whitey bulger. none of those ents have ever faced criminal charges. and i've been told by people who have tried to invtigate and try to bring more charges there was a lack of corroboration. and now the potential corroboration is sitting in a court in los angeles right now. if whitey bulger used to ha the f.b.i. in his pocket, right now the only thing he has in his pocket is revenge. whether he chooses to exact that
will really depend on who gets to debrief him and who gets to ask him the questions an whe the justice department is prepared to take this. >> ros revenge meaning where he will point his fingers? >> absolutely. anwe know for a fact that he thinks the f.b.i. reneged on a deal. the deal was he would never be taken, he would never face charged as long as he helped them. he thinks he kept up his bargain. of course, the evidence is overwhelming that whitey bulger was murdering people and particularly murdering people who might be able to turn evidence against him. and as the cases both here in u.s. district court in boston and in the district court in miami showed, the f.b.i. and exactly john connolly and other people within the f.b.i. helped whitey bulger to identify potentl witnesses against him who would expose this sordid faustian relationship between whitey bulger and the f.b.i. and those people were murdered.
>> rose: abby, what do we know about catherine grieg >> the kevin probably knows more than me but i know she's a form erdenal hygienist who was his girlfriend. he actually had initially gone on the road with his... another girlfriend who was sort of like his common law wife and came back to boston and dropped her off because she didn't want to go on the roadwith himhen he fl. picked up catherine and they hit the road together. the f.b.i. would let us knee thathe lov animals, that she got her teeth cleaned all the time, all this wrd stuff that they thought... they put out there hoping or saying it might make people realize that they had seener in a dentist's office or something. and so from neighbors thate have talked to today out in santa monica in that apartment building, everybody said she was a really nice woman who w chatty, who liked to talk, she'd go out to the santa monica farmer's market and buy orgac
vegetables. she would tell people that he was... had alzehimer's disease, she told a few people. that he s sick all the time. neighbors saw him lying on the couch and watching t.v. and one neighbor saw him snapping at catherine all the time and described them to us as a rage-a-holic. so the way the neighbors made it sound out there in santa monica is like she put up with a lot from him, that he was... he bossed her around a lot. that was their impression. >> rose: kevin, you know much about her? >> one of the possibilities here is that cherine grieg just got tired of being on the run with this guy. i think what abby was saying is if fits the whitey bulger i know. he's more than a murderer, he's a jerk. he would have been hard to live with. and he ctainly would have been hard to live with on the run. and especiallyf h health was declining, which is what we're getting from our people on the ground out there, that's what the agents involved, the law
enforcement involved in the arrest out there suggest, that he... while he looked younger than 81, according to the neighbors, he seemed slightly infirm. which is interesting to me because whitey was a health fatic. i remember seeing survelance photos that state police showed me of him slapping one of his henchmen around because the guy was eating a big spread of mcdonald's greasey food and put it out on the car and whitey came out and started whacking him around. whitey was a real health nut and ok care of his body, didn't abuse himself. he liked a glass of wine but he wouldn't go sit around the bar and drink beer and talk about his criminal exploits. that's what what the italians did in their gambling clubs in boston, that's how they got put away. >> i was just going to say that i heard some of the same things kevin was talking about earlier toy from some peop in other law enforcement agencies saying they just don't buy for a minute that this is... the f.b.i. story is actually how this came down, for what it's worth. they just think it's impossible
that 48 hours passed after the latest attempt at a publicity campaign-- and there have been several-- and the magic bullet tip come in. and, you know, some of the theories were that it was actually an informant that wanted so much protection that they went ahead and mad up this story about the tipster and the p.s.a. campaign. who knows? >> the p.s.a.... i'm sorry, abby. i didn't mean to cut across you. the p.s.a.s didn't even run in the los angeles market. >> right. they ran in san diego and san francisco, apparently, but not los angeles. and the f.b.i.... the special agent in charge here refused to confirm today whether the tipster hactually hear the p.s.a. >> rose: so the movie "the departed," kevin, does it bear any resemblance between the character jack nicholson created and the character you have covered? >> maybe the menace, but certainly not the physical appearance. as i said, there was something
fastidious about whitey bulger and he took great pride to his appearance, no offense to jack nicholson, but he appeared more slow vennly than the whitey bulger i remember when i tried to talk to him in the liquo store some years ago. a failed attempt. whitey wouldn't talk to me. he never talked to any reporter except onewho he threatened to kill. he did talk to him. >> rose: he is still in los angeles and will he be brought to boston soon? >> they said he'd be brought to boston they expected within 48 hours of this morning's press conference, which was around 10:340. and i think he's being arraigned right around now as we speak. >> rose: but, kevin, did i hear you say you think he might have wanted to be caught? >> i mean, it's possible. like i said, i'm just saying, charlie, and abby back this is up, she heard the same things i was hearing fromaw enforcement people, it doesn't make any sense. it just doesn't make any sense that it went down. like i said, i talked to a state cop who told me he couldn't buy
any of the other lies the f.b.i. has told us. if they' lying about this to protect an informant or her you could handle that. but the story just doesn't seem... it just seems way too pat. it happened way too quickly and, like i said, personally i think that's probably the least interesting aspect of the whole story because the question of it is will whitey bulger talk? and if, in fact, he's going to talk, who is he going to talk to? if i'm whitey bulger, i'm not talking to the f.b.i. if what i've got on them. i'm talking to somebody else. >> rose: has there been an ongoing series of journalistic inquiries about the f.b.i. and the way they handled this case >> oh, god. (laughs) where do you want to start? i mean, like i said, every time there was a reported sighting... i wrote a column a couple years ago saying they have sightings of him in london and dublin and rome. why is there never, like, a sighting of him in montenegro?
it's always in these beautiful places that they have sightings. and the f.b.i. agents jump on a plane and fly out there. was... we've always qutioned were they really looking for him. and, you know, the special agent in charge of the boston office here addressed that today and said he knew that people didn't believe that they were out there or that there were some people who didn't believe the f.b.i. was really out there looking for him but he contended thathey never waivered. and, you know, i always looked at it... i know some guy on the task force, they called me over the years asking me what i knew, especially when it came to this idea that he would go to ireland which is patent nonsense. the last place whitey bulger would have went to hide out is ireland. but, you know, i have no doubt that the individual law enforcement officers on that task force to find him wanted to find him. the question is how much backup was there in pay grades above him? and was the varplt... the justice department has dragged its feet on many of these cases
from which victims' families have been seeking justice and apology and compensation. i talked with one of the... i got a text at 5:00 in the morning today from a guy named tommy donahue. tommy donahue was eight years old when whitey bulger murdered his father michael donahue, a truck driver. totally innocent. made the mistake of giving a ride to somebody that whitey bulger wanted dead because john connolly and the f.b.i.old whitey bulger that this guy was going togive him up. and tommy donue said to me "you know, we may never get justice, we may neveret any money, but i was able to wake my mother uon the second floor today and tell her they caught the guy who killed dad." >> rose: that's the story you wrote today in the "boston globe." >> yeah, that's...hat was online by 9:00 this morni. yoknow, a family. because, like i said, i think when people see these images of an 81-year-old doddering... you know, he's the guy walking around in the bathroom in new york. he's going to be thisguy that
looks infirm, who knows. but this is a guy who murdered people, who murdered real people who ruined real families. and of all the families that i've come in contact with, of the ones that i think of the most at a time like this are the donahues of dorchester who, you know, pat donahue was left with three little boys to raise and the wheelers of oklahoma. two totally innocent men who came across a guy who was out there and with the assistance of the f.b.i., with the active complicity of the f.b.i. was t there murdering potential witnesses against him. >> rose: do we know anything about where he's been in the last 16 years. >> they did say, right, kevin, that the only... the last credible sighting of him was in london neariccadilly circle or square in 2002? >> yeah, exactly. and i thought that was an intesting choice of words. credible according to wm? it was creble according to the f.b.i. they never let us talk to e leged witness. and i'll tell you the other thing. the people on the ground in
santa monica were telling our reporters throughout today that these people have lived there since the mid-'90s. jimmy went on the run... i call him jimmy because nobody in southie calls him whitey. whitey bulger went on the run in 19... well, he left before the indictment in '94, was heading back and wasarned not to come back to boston and took off in '95. so that would jibe with what the... it sounds to me like he was there the whole time. he went right out eventually, crisscrossed his way across the state and went to california. the other thing i find really interesting is that when he picked up... his original... more or less as abby said a common law wife, theresa stanley she decide shed didn't want to be on the lam with him so he dropped her off and went to get kathy grieg. he picked her up in a down by the heels beach here in boston called malibu beach. that's where their run began. and if you go across country and walk down the promenade in santa monica and walk out on the pier
and turn right up in the distance you can see the real malibu beach. >> rose: (laughs) >> great point. >> rose: what kind of conversations are you having today, abby, with... following this story? >> well, a team of us, our conversations are people who live in that apartment building and around it out in santa monica. people of various law enforcemt agencies who have followed him in this case over the year people who've written books on the case. god know there is have been a lot of them. and just people in... out in boon on a street because really, like, everybody was waking each other up in the night last night, it wasn't just reporters, it was so many people in boston with the news. and people couldn't sleep and people... really somebody said it's kind of like boston's own osama bin laden being found. obviously it's different but there really was something of that to it. so we talked to a lot of people in southie and other people around town, too, just about
what... what it means to them. because it is just kind of a huge piece of the culture. >> rose: kevin, last question. among the people you know who've been following this case closely do they accept and believe the theory of the case that you have articulated throughout this conversation? >> well, can like said, i would say everybody outside the f.b.i. accept it is theory that i just outlayed. they're the ones that gave me the theory. >> rose: (laughs) >> withll sorts of other corroborations. but, you know, i mean, this is the ultimate... this was whitey's greatest strength. he divided law enforcement so that they were figing with each other more than they wer actually trying to get him. and that's where this goes from here. let's see if law enforcement can actually do the right thing and finally lance the boil that's been there for the f.b.i. hey, it's been a great day for the f.b.i. they made the arrest. let's see how the year turns
out. you know, osama bin laden, ratko mladic and now whitey bulger. it not been a couple good months for serial killers. >> rose: (laughs) thank you very much, kevin, thank you, abby. >> thanks. >> rose: in his famous 1944 speech "the spirit of liberty" judge learned hand told his audience in central park "i often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, upon courts. these are false hopes. believe me, these are false hopes. liberty lies in the hearts of men and women. when it die there, no constitution, no law, no court can ever do much to help it." the debate over the scope and the meaning of the constitution is as alive today as it was on september 17, 1787 when it was first adopted. joining meow is "time" magazine's managing editor richard stengel. he has written about the u.s. constitution in this week's issue. it asks "does it still matter?"
i'm pleased to have rick stengel back at this tle. welcome. >> thanks, charlie. great to be here. by the way... >> rose: yes he? >> learned hand also said in that speech-- one of my forite speeches-- the great judge, he said "the spirit of liberty is the spirit that's not too sure it's right. >> rose: wow. >> and that is a lovely motto, i would say, for our politics, for our judicial system but nobody follows it because everybody thinks they're right. >> rose: this is the tenth annual history issue. the tenth annual history issue. but the first timyou have not had a historic person on the cover. >> right. >> rose: so what led to this editorial? this issue? >> whad a bunch of the framers already, we have jefferson and lincoln. >> rose: but no learned hand. >> no learned hand. that's a good idea. maybe next year. but this year i wanted to do something that wasn't so much looking back but was a combination of looking back and looking forward. i mean, the constitution is the new old thing, right? it's discussed on the campaign trail everyday. people in left and right are
looking at the issues are in our daily politics and saying "hey, is this constitutional? you're violating the nstitution." >> rose: constitutional principles, all of that. >> yi, exactly. >> re: so you set out to do what? >> what i set out the do is address some of those issu that people are discussing everyday. so, for example, you know, i start out the piece... you hear all the time, particularly on conservative politicians saying "what would e framers say? the framers would s x and y." well, basically, you know, i stt out the story by saying what did the framers notnow about? they didn't know about world war ii. they didn't know about d.n.a. they didn't know about drones. they didn't know about germs. and so all of these things where we're asking what the framers would say, a lot of it is a little silly because to say "what wod george washington think about whether the drone warfare in libya violates the constitution or not?" m not sure you're going to get an awer. >> rose: as you know, justice scalia would say "mr. stengel, you have it quite wrong. what was important were the
values that they were enunciating and what it was that the eence of those values that they put into that document." >> and what i'd say to... >> rose: the principles. >> i don't disagree with that. what i'd say to justice scalia is we're all originalists, right? everybody's trying to dine the meaning and what they were thinking. but after you do that, you have to think, well, is that still relevant? yes, theroad principles in some ways are unchanging, but how they are adapted to each situation, which is what lawyers and judges do, that's what you have to look at. and to me it's a combination. it's not one nor the other. and... because the spirit of liberty, charlie, is the spirit that's not too sure it's right. >> rose: you say today's debates represent conflict not crisis. >> yes. so that's the other question you hear all the time. are we in a constitutional crisis? well, i mean, the civil war was a constitional crisis. when lincoln suspended habeas corpus. there was a constitutional crisis when the constitution was written in the first place as a... and it was written in
secret and as a violation of the articles of confederation and the u.s. might not have ever en born. that's crisis. but whether people can carry guns in arizona, whether dne warfare violates the constution, wheer obamacare violates the commerce clause those are not crises. what the constitution is for is to deal with conflict. there was no greater conflict in some ways in american history than the conflict in that room when those framers were writing the constitution. they were disagreeing about the most basic principles, including of course, slavery, which was in the original constitution. >> rose: why is the constitution of the united states so admired around the world? >> it is very admired... i actually think it is not as admired as it used to be. i mean, there have been new constitutions written in the last ten, 15 years, including in places like south africa that are very interesting and progressive. >> rose: and they do not use the u.s. as a model? >> well, actually, south africa
used mainly the german constitution. >> rose: oh! >> so there are those folks who think that the u.s. constitution is a creeky told antiquarian document. so one of the things that really has gone forward, i would say-- and i'm just guessing now-- the u.s. constitution has about 7,000 words in it. i would guess that the south african constitution has 25,000 words in it. it's much more of a code of laws the reason our constitution has survived and i think still is essential and still guiding us is because it is so brief. it is about principles. it's not code. it's... >> rose: its strength was in its essence rather than its specificity. >> beautifully said. and it's a guardrail for souse we don't go off the road. it's not the yellow line in the center about where we have to be. >> rose: you wrote "when it comes to presidential executive power where you stand is where you sit." >> and if you're sitting in the oval office presidential
executive power looks pretty good. but when you're running for president against a sitting president you're against the concentration of executive power. when you're sitting in the oval office you're almost always for it so barack obama criticized george bush for itary government concentration of executive power. now people are criticizing him for e same thing. >> re: you write "the fault on our... default on our debt is not only reckless" you write this. "it is probably unconstitutional." >> well, in article... in the 14th amendment, the last clause of the 14th amendment, it basically says that the united states under... not under any circumstance cans default on what it owes. and it's a little part of the 14th amendment that people don't really member or know abou obviously the biggest partsf the 1h amendment is due sprosz and birth right citizenship which basically made african americans citizens. but the last part it says that america cannot welsh or
relinquish or not pay up, pay what it owes. and to that to me you could argue is unconstitutional. the presidt of the united ates, barack obama, could say you know what? you haven't voted to raise the debt ceiling but i am not going to have this unconstitutional action whereby we do not pay our debts and therefore i am now doing the following things. i' furloughing government workers. i'm selling national parks. i'm doing anything to make sure that we do not default. >> rose: you also talk here about health care. health care reform. why is that unconstitutional? or what's the arguement. >> the argument... well, there was the district court judgen florida, vinson, i believe his name, who declared it to be unconstitutional. >> rose: a portion of it. >> that the invidual mandate. >> rose: exactly. >> and he said the government n't just ask you to do something because you're there, because you're just a citizen. well, the government does ask us to do things. it askss us to vote.
it asks us to pay taxes. it asks us to register for the draft. george washington dwl n 1791 signed a bill that asked people to buy muskets and ammunition. the government can ask people to do things. it may not be right, we may not like it but that doesn't mean it's constitutional. >> rose: here's an interesting one which you talk about. you say it's stng a nation that was forged through immigration islso a tion that makes its constitutionally impossible for someone who wants... who wasot physically born here to run for president >> i think it's very unreason blg. >> rose: why did they put that in there? >> what scholars say is what they were afraid of was that europeans, particularly english nobility, would come over to america some time that early period and say, hey, i should be king. and they were afraid of foreign usurpers. the tea party is right.
they feared kings and as a result they made a not very powerful execive in theriginal constitution. but they did not want somebody who wasn't born here to be able to be president. they were afraid of that. that to me has changed. we're a country that is so based on immigration and so based on people coming here, living and achieving the ameran dream and then we forbid any of those people from running or being elected president. >> rose: if you were not born here you can't run for president. >> i think it's silly. rose: president obama is a constitutional lawyer, taught constitutional law in chicago. do you think he'd like this article? >> you kw what i would love to know, chlie? here's a man who was a constitutional professor. he's now living these issues that hence taught. >> rose: ds he see them different any sfli >> i would love to know. and as i was saying before about where you stand is where you sit he is sitting in the oval office. i mean, the issues of presidential power. he now deals with them a practical basis. i would bet that he would say,
you know, a lot of those issues that i carped about and wrote about and argued about it, constitutional issues, it's out the window. there's a latin saying "in time of war the law is silent." when you're a president there's a lot of things where you say dwht may be a constitutional issue but we need do this." f.d.r. did that, lincoln did that. jefferson did that when he did the louisiana purchase which he thought was unconstitutional. >> rose: here's wt i want you to do. assign one of those very fine "time" magazine reporters to look and see all the things that this president said, all the principles he enunciated and look at the decisions he's made, whether it's guantamo, whether it's some civil rights issue, or whether it's some theory of the case. >> we'll do that and i'll come back here and talk about it. >> rose: i'd like to have that happen. this is the 10th annual history issue. "does it still matter" by rick stengel. we all talk about the constitution, here's an opportunity to learn more about it.