tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC April 11, 2017 1:00am-2:01am PDT
why it's hard to keep track of this. so far the administration said that missile strike last thursday destroyed 20 planes at that one base. they've also said that it destroyed 20% of the planes in one wing of the syrian air force. they've also said it destroyed 20% of the planes that are actually operational in the syrian air force. and they've also said that it destroyed 20% of all the planes total in the syrian air force. all those things cannot be true simultaneously. which of those things is true? who knows? but by tomorrow they'll be seeing it destroyed 100% of the planes.
you guys got to figure that one out. it's been five days. today the deputy national security adviser lost her job. they are going to trying to send her to singapore to be an ambassador despite her lobbying for a job that would keep her in d.c. d.c. this administration has not been around, but already this is the second deputy national security adviser to leave, and of course the actual national security adviser left after 24 days on the job. we've seen a top white house communications guy named boris, we saw him mysterious leave as well and the white house chief of staff got the boot a little over a week ago, that's not counting steve bannon getting demoted off the national security council last week. nor does it count the staffers who failed their background checks. it's shedding staff like water off a lame duck. tonight this hour on the show
we've got the latest from alabama with the political reporter who was absolutely tip of the spear when it came to the sex and ethics scandal that today resulted in the resignation of the governor of alabama, robert bentley. we've also got a fascinating report this hour on why all the tornado sirens went off all at once in dallas this weekend? did you hear about that? the emergency warning signals all over dallas all went off in the middle of the night friday night when they were not supposed to. wait until you hear why that happened. that story is absolutely nuts, and that is coming up tonight. we've also got a report on the special elections that are going to be held tomorrow in kansas and next week in georgia. these are elections to fill the congressional seats of these two republicans who got bumped up from the house of
representatives to take positions in the trump administration. these are both red districts in red states, but the republican party is freaking out about the prospect these seats are being pilled in kansas and georgia. there's a lot going on. i want to start tonight with an intriguing piece of news out of spain. now, this is an fbi story, but the fbi is officially not commenting on it. so i will tell you at the outset we're on our own. this is a website called spamhaus which sounds like a delicious idea far downscale retro hawaiian fast food place. it's an online international clearinghouse for information and news and statistics and leads about the ways people use the internet to commit crimes and steal stuff.
it's about spam and hacking and malware and viruses, all the means people use to mount online attacks. they've done their best at spamhaus to make the worst spammers in the world very famous. obviously this is the sort of crime that you can commit without anybody ever laying eyes on you, but spamhaus has done their best to create an fbi style ten most wanted list for spammers, quoting from spamhaus, do up to 80% of spam targeted at internet users around the world is generated by a hard corey group of 100 known persist tant spam gangs who's names, aliases are documented in the register
of known spam operations database. and they post that explanation right along what is basically their version of the ten most wanted list. this top ten chart of spammers is based on spamhaus's view of the highest threat, least repentant, most persist tant and journal the worst of the career spammers causing the most damage on the internet currently. if you need to puff up your patriotic pride a little bit, worrying about whether the united states of america is not holding our own rest assured turns out we're doing great. of the top ten worst spammers in the world, seven out of the ten are usa, usa! two of the ten are from ukraine. and there's one guy on the list who's been on that list for a long time who is russian. and this is the news. the russian guy just got arrested. he is known online has peter severa.
he's also known as peter levashov. according to spamhaus.org he's a spammer who writes and sells virus, spamming spam ware and bottom net access. he's probably involved in the writing and releasing of advisors and trojans. he's one of the longest criminal spam lords on the internet. now, the reason this kind of criminal arrest is now american politics news is because one of the things we've all had to learn in reporting and understanding the story of the russian government hacking our presidential election last year, one of the things we had to get familiar with about those attacks, we've had to learn about the overlap in russia between criminal hacking, hacking for profit, hacking just for thievery, and russian government intelligence work.
yes, america is still king. world when it comes to online spam and stealing, but russia is pretty good too. over the years, the russian intelligence services including their military intelligence service, they have moved beyond just trying to tap bright, young computer science undergrads to enlist and join the spy services. they have moved beyond that sort of recruiting of people into the intelligence services from the commuter world, and they instead have moved into the criminal part of the hacking world. they have taken great pains to coopt the most successful criminal hackers and spam artists operating illegally in russia. rather than prosecute them,
instead they use them. they essentially piggy back on the criminal activity and take over some of that criminal activity for their own purposes. they are stealing information from tens of millions, hundreds of millions of users of yahoo.com. fine, that's a criminal act, they're doing it for profit. but russian intelligence uses that hack to specifically target individual journalists and opposition figures who they want to go after for political reasons. that's the way it works. and with this guy who just got arrested in spain, that particular overlap between criminal work and intelligence work for russia, that overlap is very, very clear with him. as long ago as 2012 there was open source reporting in russia he crossed over from russia from being a hacker to working for the fsb, the successor agency to the kbg. he was making the pitch to other hackers asking other hackers to do work on behalf of the russian spy service.
also, his own online criminal activity was complicated in a pro-putin russian government operation. i'll quote this part from today's "new york times." peter severa ran a family of computer viruses. a sophisticated evolving family of computers called waledec and kelihos. the kelihos virus has been designed to spread spam, but during the election in 2012 it was used to send political messages to e-mail accounts on computers with russian e-mail accounts that led to fake news stories that vladimir putin came out as gay. these viruss made him fabulously wealthy. when buzzfeed wrote up this story today, they quoted a fellow russian hacker is describing peter love shove living a lifestyle it would have been embarrassed an oligarch. he's a top ten internationally listed criminal spam kingpin. he's reported to have recruited other hackers online to work for the russian intelligence service. his own viruss were put to work in a russian election. and now he's been arrested in spain. and get this, he was arrested in spain at the request of the fbi. and the fbi is not talking about why they wanted him arrested or what this is about but in russian language media reporting on this arrest today and in spanish media reporting on this arrest today, multiple publications have run quotes from this guy's wife who was with him in barcelona when he
when buzzfeed wrote up this story today, they quoted a fellow russian hacker is describing peter love shove living a lifestyle it would have been embarrassed an oligarch. he's a top ten internationally listed criminal spam kingpin. he's reported to have recruited other hackers online to work for the russian intelligence service. his own viruss were put to work in a russian election. and now he's been arrested in spain. and get this, he was arrested in spain at the request of the fbi. and the fbi is not talking about why they wanted him arrested or what this is about but in russian language media reporting on this arrest today and in spanish media reporting on this arrest today, multiple
publications have run quotes from this guy's wife who was with him in barcelona when he got arrested, and she says what he told her about why he was being arrested is it had to do with a computer virus that he had created that was related to donald trump winning the presidential election in the united states last year. so this guy has been a known notorious spammer for years. for years. but he has traveled freely around the world and he has never been arrested that we know of, never behaved as of he feared arrest by the fbi by traveling to a country that had an extradition treaty with the u.s. like in spain. why now? should we believe these quotes from his wife who says that he told her his arrest had something to do with the u.s.
election? we don't know. the fbi will not say. the no comment that the fbi's giving on this story came from the criminal division of the fbi, not from the national security division of the fbi. so maybe the origin of the no comment is significant in some way. i don't know. this comes at a time when new pieces are starting to fall in place in terms of pace and scope and focus of the investigation into the russia attack and this crucial question of whether the trump campaign was involved in the attack. the "financial times" reported last week that the fbi has created a special unit in washington to oversee all aspects of this investigation. of it had previously been reported that the investigation was spread out among multiple fbi field offices around the country. now they will be operating out of a single unit in washington. although the fbi investigation didn't start until july of last year, according to cbs, the
focus of the fbi investigation has now shifted to months earlier than that. cbs reports that the fbi is now looking at the initial russian hack of the democrats which happened all the way back in march. they are reportedly whether or not people associated with the trump campaign might have helped direct that initial hack, direct those russian efforts as early as last march when the hacking and the stealing first started. in addition to that, on thursday night as the u.s. navy launched tomahawk missiles at a syrian air base, one of the pieces of news that night that got lost in the sauce was word that the cia had come across news about the russian attack and about the trump campaign's possible connections to that attack that the cia apparently found very alarming last summer. according to "the new york times" in late
august, cia director joan brennan was so concerned about what the cia was seeing about increased evidence of russia's election medaling that he began a series of urgent individual briefings for eight top members of congress. quote, it is unclear what new intelligence might have prompted the briefings but concerns were growing internally and publicly at the time about a significant russian breach of the democratic national committee, and the cia began seeing signs of possible connections to the trump campaign. in august 25th briefing for then senator harry reid, unnamed advisers might be working with the russians to interfere in the election. so the cia thought that that was enough of a possibility that he needed to individually start briefing senior leadership in congress, not just the russian attack, trump involvement in the attack.
so in terms of division of labor and national security law here, the cia can only handle the foreign part of this, the russian attack part of this. when it comes to the possibility of the trump campaign or any other americans helping that effort, then you're talking about americans. that's a domestic issue. that becomes an american law enforcement operation, right? and that sort of thing is not handled by the cia. that has been handled by the fbi. but this new reporting indicates that the cia last summer somehow came into possession of information that the director did one-on-one things with the leadership in congress to tell them about russia interfering with the election and the distinct possibility that trump campaign was helping russia do that. so the trump campaign side of this is something that the fbi would have to handle ultimately, not the cia.
and because of that, because that's fbi territory. at that point the investigation becomes a black box to us in terms of what we know about it. but whether or not they are talking about these things, we can see what they're doing. one of the things they have just done is request the arrest of this russian intelligence linked criminal mega hacker who's now sitting in a jail cell in barcelona presumably about to be extra indicted to the united states. and the fbi won't say beep about it. so there's a lot going on in the world right now. in politics, in the news that doesn't look like politics until you scratch the surface a little bit. as secretary of state rex tillerson prepares to go to moscow as this administration continues to enjoy its first real bout of shallow good press about their abomination 2,000% of all the planes in syria, the one scandal of this
governor robert bentley clearly got the memo. smile, sir. we have been the covering robert bentley story for months. we were on the bentley story even before the tape came out. i'm not going to promise, but i think i can tell you, i think i can tell you, this is the last time we're ever going to play it. >> you'd kiss me. i love that. you know i do love that. that, when you know what, when i stand behind you, and i put my arms around you, and i put my hands on your breasts. and i put my head on your -- and just, and pull you in real close, i love that too. let me tell you what we're going to have to do. we're going to have to start locking the door.
>> i think that's it. i think we are now officially -- i was going to say we can put that to bed, but, ah! it pollutes all words that get anywhere near it. anyway, i think we're done with that now because today this thing arrived at its inevitable conclusion. it resulted in a reply deal in which he pled guilty to two misdemeanor counties. he agreed to pay back funds he misused and he will do dozens of hours of unpaid community service. it is possible they could trying to put him on jail to the misdemeanors he pled guilty to today but nobody really expects jail time. alabama's basically a one-party
state at this point. republicans dominate all levels of government. just over the course of one year over the space of one year, the republican speaker of the house was arrested, convicted and sentence today four years in prison for corruption charges. the chief justice of the supreme court was thrown off the bench, and now today, smile, the governor resigned and had his mug shot taken. as kaye ivey took the oath of office today, something is poetic about a governor cheating on his wife and using state funds to cover it up, that scandal will now result in alabama getting a governor for only the second time in the state's history. but we may be able to write the ending of this yet. this thing might not be over.
alabama political reporter john archibald broke many of the developments in the beginning. and today as the governor resigned, arch bald says there may be other shoes to drop. the head of the alabama law enforcement agency is implicated here. also, luther strange who robert bentley appointed to a united states senate seat in the middle of these morass, there are questions he's going to have to answer. it was robert bentley who appointed jeff sessions successor in the senate and now helping me be all mixed up in this too. john arch bald is the alabama reporter who bust this had story open in the first place. john archibald joins us from alabama next.
the time has come for me to look at new ways to serve the good people of our great state. i have decided it is time for me to step down as alabama's governor. i'm leaving this office that i have held, that i have respected, that i've loved for seven years, to focus on other and possibly more effective areas of service.
>> now former alabama governor robert bentley resigning from office today. i don't know what he thinks his more effective service is going to be but ed ceased to be effective a long time ago when this sex and ethics first broke in alabama news. joining me is john archibald, columnist for the birmingham news. it's really good to have you with us tonight. i'm sure it's been a busy day for you? >> yes, it has. thank you for having me. >> first of all, let me just ask about the governor's decision here. this was not a simple resignation. it was part of a plea deal. for people who haven't been following the criminal part of this, can you tell us the distance between charges he was facing and what he actually pled to today while he resigned? >> sure. last week the ethics commission
referred to prosecutors four charges which were felonies, campaign violations, each carried out a 20-year maximum prison sentence. going from there to two misdemeanors seems like a long way to fall. but there are other conditions, and that's why he was able to make that deal. >> obviously him resigning as governor, pledging to never stand for public office again, him repaying some of the funds that he's accused of misusing, he's paying a penalty here, will this be a controversial plea deal in alabama? will people want to see him have jail time? >> i think initially a lot of people are really upset. honestly, it's one of the strangest things that it's been one of the most using things i've seen in alabama. everybody looks at this and says
this is crazy. he should have resigned long ago. i think there's some anger initially. but when people start to realize the cost of the trial is going to be avoided and he really has lost everything, i think that people will probably be more forgiving. >> it's not just his career. one of the things that you were highlighting today when you wrote up at al.com basically the overview of what happened today, is that there may be some other shoes to drop here. there's a lot of stuff that came out in that report that was just released in all those thousands of pages of exhibits atlas utility company that had the governor's alleged mistress on its payroll. do you expect those things to be
pursued? >> i think there will be some things pursued. i do think the head of the law enforcement agency is particularly in trouble because he is painted time and time again by sworn testimony as having intimate knowledge. affair, text messages and such. when he was head of law enforcement he stood besides the governor and said he had no knowledge of it and he has continued that. and it is inexplicable and troubling. there are others, rebecca mason, the aide, her husband will face real scrutiny. as you mentioned before, this will not wash off of luther strange. >> luther strange is obviously a law enforcement connection to this. he was the state attorney general when the governor appointed him to take jeff sessions seat in the united states senate. why might this be a problem for him?
>> we all know it's hard to unseat a sitting senator, but he was supposed to be in charge of the investigation that was looking into bentley and implored the alabama house of representatives not to pro-with an impeachment because his office was going to handle it. then he immediately when session' seat became available went to the governor is par laid that into an appointment as senator. and i just think he way underestimated how much alabama will hold him responsible for that. >> john archibald, columnist for the birmingham news did more than anybody anywhere to break this story that has resulted until the resignation of the governor. this is still an ongoing project for you. thank you for letting us know. it is a feet of reporting and journalism. you deserve a lot of the credit here, sir. >> thank you, rachel. >> much more ahead tonight. stay with us.
spring last year toward the end of the presidential primary season, the city of dallas started experiencing something weird. many outbreak ever tampering with their highway signs. road side traffic warnings instead were turning into political messages. >> this is the kind of information you would expect to be posted on one of these traffic signs along i 30, but earlier today the message was urging voters to feel the better than. another sign displayed the
statement "donald trump is a shape shifting lizard." >> it's still funny to see. you can also see how that kind of hacking could potentially be dangerous. i should also mention it's a felony. whoever was responsible for that lizard sign did it by physically breaking into the highway signs and reprogramming what they would say. i should say the dallas authorities never actually caught who did that last year, but that was may of last year. then on friday night, this past friday night, dallas got hacked again, except this time it was way worse, way louder, and less funny.
[ sirens ] if you were in dallas, texas, on friday night between hours of 11:40 p.m. and 11:20 a.m., this is what it sounded like everywhere a calm, otherwise warm normal night suddenly interrupted by the sound of -- listen to that. all 156 of the city's emergency sirens going off simultaneously. these are emergency sirens that warn in the event of tornadoes or other big weather emergency rooms, but there weren't tornadoes o or anything else but all 156 of them started going off almost continuously for an hour and a half. ultimately the only way officials could stop the sirens was to pull the plug on the whole system. 911 lines for flooded with a surge of calls from people who understandably were freaking out, what's the emergency?
initially the city said it was a malfunction. but by saturday afternoon officials said, actually, it was a hack. but not a hack in the way we traditionally think of hacking. it was not a hack done remotely. in fact the sirens are not operated by a computer-based system at all. they're radio controlled. they get turned on and off by radio transmissions. it appears somebody took control of the frequency and transmitted the tones that turned on all 156 sirens across the city. today the city said the system was finally back up and running, all fixed. they are knot not discussing the details how their infrastructure was targeted, but they do say they believe the attack on the sirens came from the dallas area. they say, quote, we are taking friday night's incident very seriously. as for who might have done this, whether it was just a benign hack designed to point out a
security weakness, we have no idea. dallas pd and the fbi are investigating. joining us is xeni jardin, she's an american hero. thanks for being here. >> thank you, rachel. it's you who's the hero. >> well, let's just end here. seems like we've peaked. when i first heard this story, i assumed it first a computer-based hack. when i heard it was a sound-based hack, i thought this is like the beginning of hackers school. this is how people used to hack long distance phone calls, right. >> this is o.g. hacking school. back in the '80s and early '90s, captain crunch was taking the whistles out of captain crunch cereal boxes.
when you pick up the land line phone and there's two tones, that's a tone that municipal advertise might use to turn on an emergency alert system or control waters or like control a dam or flood control systems. the idea of these systems is that they were pre-internet, radio broadcast, so if there's a legitimate emergency, they can't be shut down. let's see all the power goes out, chances are you can broadcast a sound to these alarms. and the reason you had 156 of them going on for 90 seconds each, 15 different times, nobody's sure exactly how this was pulled off, but they didn't have to gain access to a computer. it seems like according to the smartest tech mind i've spoken to, seems like there was a combination of somebody having
access to the codes, perhaps somebody in dallas having access to the physical boxes, somebody knowing the exact frequencies. signs point to this if not being an inside job, at least having inside access. >> xeni, in terms of infrastructure hacks, obviously we all learn about different kinds of hacks -- [ no audio ] trump story -- cultural in hacking about showing off what you can do with infrastructure about embarrassing -- -- you freaked everybody out. in terms of pranks, whoever pulled this off got good bragging --
imminent danger themselves. but even beyond the emergency reaction, what if this was the water system? what it was the electricity system? they're high impact event. we know that municipal governments spend very, very little of their i.t. budget on security. big concerns now as the federal government is being -- it's being shrunk before our very eyes. it's going to happen on the state and local level in terms of protecting this very unsexy, but high-impact infrastructure? in my opinion there should be a chief information security officer for every city in america that's not going to happen. private/public partnerships where google or facebook will say we think this part of the grid ought to be protected,
these arcane systems. let's create a new security infrastructure. i don't know how that will play out now under trump, but not all of the hacks are digital. >> yeah, and dallas going through something like this may be -- we may see change of that kind come from dallas because they've been through this annoying but not ultimately dangerous experience. >> that's right. they've been touched by real terror scares as well. this is more than just a joke and everybody's on edge right now. >> xeni jardin, tech culture journalist. xeni, great to see you. >> thank you, rachel. >> we have some unexpected news tonight on the fierce and current battle for the control of congress. congress will not be decided by the midterms next year. it's happening right now. that story is just ahead. stay with us. my daughter is...
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his wife is named betty price. she is a state rep for the 48th district. since her husband was nominated to be the health and human secretary, health companies from outside her state, certainly from outside her district have suddenly become very interested in her little house district and have started flooding her with money. and it does open this new avenue of questioning as to whether it is appropriate for the wife of the health and human services secretary to continue to receive donations from the health care industry that her husband is now intimately involved with. and now she is playing an active role in the special election to replace her husband in georgia's sixth congressional district. she has just cut -- betty price has, has just cut a brand-new radio ad in support of republicans in the upcoming congressional election. that race, the race to replace tom price, that's six congressional district in georgia is getting a lot of national attention right now, in part because national players remain intimately involved with the politics back home. but also because that race is one of the first tests of is the
trump effect. the trump effect. what the nation's reaction to trump look likes back home in these congressional districts around the country that are about to start having special elections. today something practically unthinkable, even just a few months ago, happened in that georgia race. we've got more on that next. stay with us.
texas senator ted cruz showed up at a surprising place today, yuengling aviation, which is a little add-on part of the regular airport in wichita, kansas. it's a part where they land private planes. ted cruz was there holding a rally for a republican running in a special election for congress tomorrow when
republicans got the white house this year, one of the knock-on effects of that is a bunch of republican lawmakers got pulled out of congress and into the new administration. and now their congressional seats are open. these are all republican seats in red states. but republicans are worried. actually, a little bit about all of them. kansas, georgia, south carolina, montana. could democrats take one of these congressional seats? could they take more than one? republicans are pouring in resources from trying to stop that from happening. so ted cruz you were at yingling aviation for the day try,ing to save a kansas congressional seat that had been occupied before by mike pompeo who is now running the cia. both vice president trump and vice president pensacola sent robocalls into the district for tomorrow. they won the district by 27 points. they shouldn't have to help here. the race happens tomorrow. the next week, the week from tomorrow, it's georgia. it's an all comers primary to fill the seat that used to be held by tom price. congress price now secretary of
health and human services. look at the field of people trying to replace him. look at this. 18 candidates, all lumped in together in the same primary, regardless of party. if anybody clears 50% of the vote, that person will win the seat outright. if not, the top two candidates will compete in a runoff. the game here is that a bunch of republicans could win. they're all slugging it out. but democrats have mainly coalesced around john ossoff. the report has him pulling away from everybody at 43%. he is not at the 50% threshold, but he is not far off. his candidacy has been a lightning rod for democratic energy around the country. he has gotten a ton of national attention and support. he's got over $8 million in his campaign war chest, which is bonanza money for any congressional election, especially for a candidate nobody had heard of before this. and republicans do seem a little bothered by the possibility that jon ossoff could actually win this thing outright a week from tomorrow. trump won this district by less
than two points. well, now in this special election, national republicans have been pounding jon ossoff with attack ads and mailers. they sent national republican staffers to the district. they're opening a new field republican office, all this to defend a republican seat that they didn't know before now that they'd have to be defending. and look at this. we just got this today. cook political report, gold standard of tracking elections at the granular level. they've been tracking these races from day to day, predicting how likely they are to tip in a certain direction. today cook moved this kansas race tomorrow towards the democrats. moved it from likely republican to just lean republican. they moved the georgia race to a toss-up. that seat hasn't been held by a democrat in nearly 40 years. no democrat has held that seat since it went to newt gingrich in 1979. now georgia says it's a jump ball, toss-up. early voting is already happening in that georgia race. polls open tomorrow morning at 7:00 in the kansas special
election. this is going to be fascinating to watch. we will bring you the kansas returns tomorrow as we get them that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again tomorrow. another shooting tragedy in san bernardino. a husband open fire on his wife inside an elementary school, killing her and an 8-year-old student before turning the gun on himself. alabama governor bentley retires, with a tom aide to a guilty plea on campaign finance charges. united airlines is under fire. after a passenger was forcibly removed from a flight to make room for employees. good morning, everyone, it's tuesday, april 11th. i'm