tv The 11th Hour With Brian Williams MSNBC November 29, 2019 11:00pm-12:00am PST
were wi were in 1948. >> we have to leave it there. congratulations on the nobel. this is a very important book "good economics for hard times." this book belongs at the center of the presidential campaign. that is tonight's "last word." "the 11th hour" with brian williams starts right how the. we start with a guide of donald trump's take over of the republican party to kim jong-un's prutal regime in north korea to the most brutal and brazen heist and the it raid that took down bin laden. greetings once again from our headquarters in new york. thanksgiving 2019 puts us at some of the most compelling stories that we have been told in this very studio. throughout this broadcast, we'll listen to the people who told those stories.
the authors of some of the most compelling books we've read and talked about this year. these men and women take us where we can't go ourselves, the childhood bedroom of a future dictator and friend of donald trump. the daring escape from capture by one of the most wanted men in the world. and dinner with the 45th president of the united states. it makes for an hour of storytelling from the writers who know it best as we listen to the authors as they told us their stories. and we begin with a four-star admiral who in his book tells the harrowing tale of the raid to kill bin laden. admiral william mcraven. as a young man, he had a chance to really excel, but he turned it down. you see, he graduated from ut austin-hook 'em horns -- with a degree in jumournalism. but then for reasons all his own, decided to volunteer for
navy s.e.a.l. training. we don't know how bill mcraven would have improved journalism. but a grateful nation can thank him for 37 years of service. that included jumping out of a lot of perfectly good airplanes and being involved in the capture of, in no particular order, saddam hussein, the rescue of captain phillips, and the biggest mission he ran, the biggest of our time, the one behind that picture. the raid to get osama bin laden. admiral william mcraven retired with four stars. military acronym fans, please note he ran jsoc as port of socom. in plain english, all that means the secret and spooky stuff that we civilians aren't supposed to know about. he commanded all u.s. special forces. he's here tonight as the author of "sea stories: my life in special operations." we're awfully happy to have you here in our studios. >> thanks, brian. good to be here. >> talk to an audience mostly made up of civilians about chain of command and why we hear civilians so frustrated
wondering who's the first big name military person who's going to push back on this president? really push back and let him have it. and why in your view will live a long life without ever seeing that happen? >> yeah. i don't know that you're not seeing it happen. i mean -- >> in their own way. >> the fact of the matter is the military will follow the commander in chief's orders unless they are an unlawful order. and you have some magnificent military leaders out there. i mean the chairman of the joint chiefs, dunford, one of the finest officers i've ever worked with. you've got frank mckenzie running u.s. central command. these are terrific officers. they will provide the president the best advice and counsel they can. they are going to follow the president's orders unless they deem it to be an unlawful order, and at that point in time they always have the option to resign. but i think the president will listen to his military advisers. i know this doesn't seem like it would be a normal occurrence for the president, but the fact of the matter is he will listen to mike pompeo, and he will certainly listen to the uniformed officers. i am concerned the rhetoric has
gotten a little too heated, and hopefully we can bring that temperature down a little bit. >> has there ever been a time in your view of u.s. history when we have had this number of really experienced warriors, especially given the kind of combat they have been fighting, the battle tempo they have been fighting on and off for 18 years? >> yeah. i think if you look throughout history, i'm not sure any force throughout the history of mankind has fought for this long, this long of a sustained fight. i mean you can go back to the roman alle rom roman allege legion and find battles that go on for years but not everyone was fighting in that fight. but i would also tell you that i believe this is the finest military in the history of the world because, one, unfortunately because of the tragic events of 9/11, we have been at war for 18 years, and we've gotten very, very good at
fighting. and the heroism and the sacrifice of these young men and women is absolutely incredible. >> 37-year career. how many times did you move your family? >> 18 times. >> is that about average for a naval officer? that is about average. that's not beyond the pale. i no some army officers and marine officers that have moved a lot more than that. we were fortunate to only move 18 times. >> do you bemoan what has happened since world war ii. we had such high percentage involvement in that conflict. of course we had a draft. but these days what you just said about moving your family 18 times will come as such a shock to so many civilians who luckily have been able to avoid 18 years of full-on -- >> but i will tell you, it is an all-volunteer force and the men and women that volunteer do so out of a sense of service and sacrifice to the country. they are honored to do it. they are happy to do it. the moves come as part of the
job, and they understand that going in. and i don't think they would trade it for anything. >> you don't worry we're become military families and civilian families? >> well, i do worry that there is becoming a warrior class if you will because, to your point, a very small percentage of those within the united states really move into the military service. and certainly the good trend is you begin to see alet of those veterans moving into congress, and i think that's good for the nation. >> the most harrowing account of the death of bin laden i have read anywhere is in this book. i'll show you picture again from the situation room. the president ended up in a small, actually folding chair in the corner of the room. you were a little busy when this still photo was taken. what feelings does this conjure just seeing what the other end looked like? >> yeah, this is a great iconic photo. i think it was taken by pete souza's, the president's photographer. this is interestingly enough not the situation room. >> it's a side room.
>> the gentleman there in the middle is general brad webb. he was my deputy i had sent to the white house to be my liaison. right about this moment of course is i believe when the helicopter came into the compound and had a hard landing. and obviously there's a little bit of concern on the faces of most of the people sitting around the table there. but frankly we had plan b and plan c and plan d, so i wasn't particularly worried as long as i knew the guys were safe. and i could tell from the radio calls that while the helicopter landed hard, the boys were safe and we were moving on to plan b. >> admiral mcraven's most quoted speech was about the simple life lesson of making your bed. he goes on further in the area of thought and philosophy in this book. if i may quote, if a nation is to survive and thrive, it must pass on the ideals that made it great and imbue in its citizens an indomitable spirit, a will to continue on regardless of how difficult the path, how long the
journey, or how uncertain the outcome. people must have a true belief that tomorrow will be a better day if only they fight for it and never give up. further, most of all i learned that for all his faults, man is worthy of this world. for every reckless belligerent who seeks war, there are thoughtful wise men and women who strive for peace. for all the unbridled hatred that abounds, there is an even greater amount of unconditional love. i don't think in our society we are used to our warriors being thinkers and academicens. you're viewers don't know you were chancellor of the university of texas system. in all those helicopter rides, i guess you had a long time to think about and write about the human condition. >> well, you know, you see the human condition every day in dealing with the young men and women that are serving with you. and the first quote you put up there was in a chapter where i
talk about three, you know, remarkable -- two soldiers and a sailor that i spent time with, and they were part of this kind of millennial generation. i say the oft maligned millennial generation. i think people would be surprised to find i'm one of the biggest fans of the millennials you'll ever meet. >> you are. >> because the fact of the matter is these are the young men and women that stepped up after 9/11, that served as our first responders, that are teaching in our inner city schools and that are obviously soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. if you think they're soft, you've never seen them in a fire fight in afghanistan or trying to make a better life for themselves going to school in teen texas. this is a remarkable generation and it gives me a lot of home. >> what can we learn from a guy who over the course of his career operating under the flag of the united states has taken a lot of lives and broken a lot of things, about people who need hope right now, about the survival of their beloved democracy? what have you got? >> yeah. i'm not worried.
i am hopeful because i have spent time with the young men and women. and the young men and women of this generation -- and they will be, i think, the 21st century's greatest generation. we talk about the greatest generation of world war ii. i was raised with my parents were part of the greatest generation. >> your dad was a spitfire. >> my dad was a spitfire pilot in world war ii, and my mother was a teacher from east texas. they grew up as, you know, children of the depression, and they all -- all the men went off to world war ii. this generation today will take us through these troubling times. these millennials will find a way to preserve the democracy, and i think will pave the road for a bright future. >> here is the book, everyone at home. admiral william mcraven, thank you again. it is called "sea stories: my life in special operations." thank you. >> great to be here. still ahead, our colleague rachel maddow is up next to talk about her new book on the black gold that powers our world and
many of its problems. and later, making a transition from a young michael jordan fan to a brutal dictator. how kim jong-un became murderru a murderous regime. we'll speak to a journalist who has been inside north korea. plus a never before aired portion of our conversation with edward snowden, where he shares his views on our founders and how they might feel about the state of surveillance in our present-day lives. "the 11th hour" just getting started on this thanksgiving weekend. if you have medicare, listen up. the medicare enrollment deadline is only days away. with so many changes, do you know if your plan is still the right fit? having the wrong plan may cost you thousands of dollars out of pocket, and that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. with their new fitscore, they compare thousands of plans from national insurance companies to find the right medicare plan that fits you.
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all roads seem to lead to putin with the president, though. isn't it so? i have concerns about all roads leading to putin. which again all roads lead to putin. the list goes on and on. i also pointed out to the president i had concerns that all roads seem to lead to putin. >> in fact, nancy pelosi believes that is the very point she was making when she stood up to the president prior to walking out in the now famous photo that, while it might have been tweeted out by our president, has certainly broken the other way in terms of public opinion. just look at the men at that table and their unambiguous body language. but we digress. back to vladimir putin and specifically the question of what motivates him. rachel maddow explores that in her new book and makes a compelling case that the oil
industry is a huge part of the answer. an industry she notes, quote, is essentially a big casino that can produce both power and triumphant great gobs of cash, often with little regard for merit. that equation invites gangsterism, extortion, thuggery, and the sorts of folks who enjoy these hobbies. the book, as we mentioned, is "blowout." it happens to be number one on "the new york times" nonfiction best-seller list. the author is here with us. talk about -- the business networks talk about roi, like we're all kwwalking around usin those three letters. return on investment. talk about the initial russian investment in screwing up our elections, how cheap it is, how vulnerable we remain right now tonight. >> that was why i ended up writing this book. i had no native interest in the oil and gas industry. i was not setting out to write a book about a particular industry of any kind offer any business.
but i remained stuck having spent so much time covering the russian attack, really ended up stuck on why it made sense for them to do it, why the risk and reward balance made sense. and it was a very strange attack, right? it was a very sort of macgyvered together sort of thing. this guy who is an oligarch who has catering contracts and also runs mercenary armies in syria for putin sets up a weird social media factory in st. petersburg where a whole bunch of people get paid to pretend they're americans. then there's a military intelligence hacking effort targeting democratic institutions, and then they invent guccifer 2.0 to send them out. then they join up with -- i mean it was a really weird thing to do. it was also very, very cheap. it also was a very desperate thing for them to do. had hillary clinton won and all impressions that the russians have given us is that they thought hillary clinton was going to win as much as most people in this country did. hillary clinton was already a hawk on russia coming into this.
if she had been elected president after russia had taken this wild swing at her in her presidential election campaign, i mean imagine what that would have meant in terms of the coin of power that could direct russia's way. yet they still saw it as worth it. i think the reason is because they were so desperate. and the reason they were so desperate is because their economy is such a disaster. and the specific way in which their economy is a disaster is about oil and gas. and it's worth it to them almost to try anything to get out from the u.s. sanctions that have precluded western oil makers from helping them drill what they need to drill to keep their economy going. >> i always say the economy of texas is larger than the economy of russia. >> yes, that's exactly right. russia has 150 million people. gigantic country. their economy is smaller than texas, smaller than italy, smaller than south korea. they've got one industry, and that was a putin decision because he really wanted to use
oil and gas as a weapon. and so he allowed -- he didn't want it for a diversified economy. you'd need sort of a real country to have that. he preferred to let this be their one industry. that's fine for a while but eventually you run to the economic road there, and that's where they are. >> devil's advocate. in a world addicted to dinosaur juice, oil and gas, how should oil companies be? oil companies wake up every morning to fulfill our addiction to oil and gas. what should they be doing? how should they be behaving that they have not been? >> the thing that is interesting to me in the big picture for this book is that i think we really underestimate oil and gas's geopolitical influence. like, for example, magic wand, if you can imagine the climate activists get everything they want. america and every other big economy on earth says, know what? we're turning off oil and gas.
we're going to renewables. this industry is going to shrink magnificently. they're going to lose all their market share, lose a lot of their power. i think we would see the boundaries of countries change. the oil and gas industry is propping up despotic governments and terrible governments all over the world, and it's because the way they operate, which is convenient for them, is non-transparent, often brings out the worst in democracy, and often is counterdemocratic because it works for them. if u.s. regulations on oil majors that either operate here or are headquartered here, forced them to be corporate citizens, they would be bribing fewer despot, propping up fewer terrible governments around the world, and working in governments that were answering more to their citizens and less to their industry. those kinds of changes are within our grasp if we change regulations here in the united states. >> it's not like we're naming oil company ceos to secretary of
state. something i heard you say in an interview recently, in effect, that you still have not gotten over this. >> rex tillerson is an amazing character, but he did a half trillion dollar oil deal with russia that was put on ice because of u.s. foreign policy. putin gave him a medal. putin elected the next u.s. president arguably, and then even though donald trump and rex tillerson had never met each other and didn't get along, all of a sudden rex tillerson ended up being the next guy in charge of u.s. policy. it's a really, really weird thing that we still don't actually have a great explanation for even as good as i got to know rex tillerson over the course of writing this book. >> thank you, friend. here is the book. it is called "blowout." nothing to see here obviously. coming up, the journalist who got the inside scoop of one of the strangest, most enigmatic characters in our world, who also happens to count donald
i didn't realize how easy investing could be. i'm picking companies that i believe in. ♪ i think sofi money is amazing. ♪ thank you sofi. sofi thank you, we love you. ♪ he just wrote me a very nice lettered, unexpected, and someday you'll see what was in that letter. someday you'll be reading about it. maybe in 100 years from now, maybe in two weeks. who knows? but it was a very nice letter. it was's very warm, very nice
letter. i appreciated it. >> the president speaking in glowing terms about a letter he received from the north korean leader kim jong-un. it's worth remembering that kim is a rather ruthless fellow who exiles and murders his enemies on a whim, including members of his own family and whose people live in poverty and starvation. the author of a new book who joins us in just a moment describes kim's rule this way, and we quote. he injected a new dose of terror into society, ensuring everyone lived in constant fear. the general populace came under new levels of repression, and elites in the regime who accumulated too much power risked being exiled to the far corners of the state, or worse. we are so happy to have anna fifield with us tonight. she happens to be the beijing bureau chief for "the washington post." she's the auth oregon or of "th successor." let me start at a place i wasn't
going to start just to ask you about the letters. what wording is he putting in these letters to get that response from the u.s. president? >> just imagine extreme flattery. kim jong-un has donald trump figured out. he's, you know, using very deferential language, using all the superlatives he can think of to say, you are the greatest president america has ever had, this kind of thing, you know, to appeal to his ego, and it's working. look at the reaction. he doesn't have to offer any substance. he doesn't have to offer to give up his nuclear program. he just flatters the president, and the president is won over. >> and now to go back to where i planned to begin, around about page 50, there's a portrait of this young man, reminds me of some of the kids i grew up with. when you're obsessed with basketball, you sleep with a basketball. kim jong-un slept with a basketball at boarding school in switzerland. it's almost a tender half-page portrait before we realize that when he grows up, he becomes
someone else. is he now a full-on sociopath, and talk a abobit about how he e to be. >> yeah. i think there is a tendency to view kim jong-un as this madman, as a total nutjob as donald trump once said. but, in fact, you know, while he did have a very abnormal childhood, he was treated like a little princeling. he wanted for nothing while the people around him died. and he grew up in this very cloistered, decadent environment. he didn't show himself to be a sociopath like from an early age. he was -- you know, he was a spoiled brat but he want torturing kittens or anything we might see as evidence of future craziness. you know, i think that his time in switzerland, far from convincing him that he should, you know, eventually take his own country down this kind of liberal democratic path, probably proved to him that if it wasn't for north korea and
this fantastical state that his family had created, he would just be no one. he would be another normal kid sleeping with his basketball in his bed, and he wouldn't be somebody special and revered. >> the resistance to him a few years back, i know, tried a system of launching balloons over the north that would burst at a certain altitude and drop clusters of thumb drives on the population, hoping that they'll plug it in a computer and see western tv shows and media as a way of letting them know about the outside world. i know you'll be asked a lot, and i'm wondering about your answer. what would it take to topple this guy? >> i mean that's a question that's been asked many times and predicted so many times over the decades. i mean and so far, nothing has worked. this regime has defied the odds. they survived the collapse of the soviet union, the economic transformation of china next door. they survived the death of the eternal president, kim il-sung, a famine.
it's so anachronistic. it keeps on surviving and we don't know why. i think part of the reason the regime has survived is by isolating itself from the outside world, by closing those borders, by trying to stop information getting in. so the more of these thumb drives that make it to people, the more that they see that they do not live in a socialist paradise as they are constantly told, maybe the more they will increasingly feel empowered to do something about it. >> and yet to our viewers, the portrait painted in here of the life kim jong-un has made for wealthy millennials in that country, who are eating steak and red meat and foods and beverages that can't be dreamed of by the general population is worth picking up the book in the first place. anna fifield has been our guest. the new book is "the great successor: the divinely perfect destiny of brilliant comrade kim jong-un." thank you so very much for making a stop here in our
studio. coming up, a revealing look inside the republican party from the early prairie fire that became the tea party right on up to the presidency of donald trump. we'll tell you which trump ally once knelt down and begged john boehner for forgiveness and how author tim alberta says trump has changed 180 degrees on one particular score. "the 11th hour" back after this. finding dental insurance plans can be confusing, confusing like, "why am i sitting here in a hospital gown waiting to get my eyes checked?" ready? absolutely not. see, having the wrong coverage can mean you get the wrong care, or you're paying more than you have to. that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. they make sure you have the right coverage, health insurance, medicare, and yes, dental too. wow, think that's painful? wait 'til he gets the bill. a cavity can cost as much as $350 and a root canal, whoa.
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>> it was easily the darkest inaugural address ever delivered, and that right there was the tone that donald trump set on day one. american carnage also happens to be the title of a new book on the political climate that allowed for a trump victory. tim alberta, the author, writes, quote, his was a canopy of discontent under which the grudging masses could congregate to air their grievances about a nation they no longer recognized and a government they no longer trusted. these voters were far less likely to respond to policy arguments than they were to emotional appeals aimed at their long-simmering sense of grievance, displacement, and marginalization. here with us tonight is the aforementioned tim alberta, chief political correspondent for politico magazine. the book officially "american carnage: on the front lines of the republican civil war and the rise of president trump." tim, you may not want to hear this, but your book in my view
has a lot to do with the mueller report in that there is so much in here you hope for people to really read it, all of it, and get through it. it is so dense, and your reporting is so original. let me start with a very basic question. how is it a cultural democrat from new york was able to walk in and take the keys of the republican party and drive away? what do the old-timers say allowed that? >> brian, it's a really good question, and i think it actually goes back to one of the passages you were just reading, which is to say that trump, i think, was quite prescient in identifying that at a core, visceral, gut level, these cultural issues were really driving the republican base much more than were the policy issues. so in other words, in 2010, we all remember the tea party wave
came crashing over washington, and we heard so much about debt and deficit and spending and obama was bankrupting the country. and i was covering congress at that time. i was covering republicans and covering these tea party conservatives who were coming to washington. and i always felt this sense of dissonance because as much as i would hear them talk about that, when i would spend time with them and i would go back to their districts and talk to some of their voters, it always seemed to me there was this cultural churn beneath the surface that was really much more, i guess, galvanizing in moving these voters and certainly animating their opposition, not just to barack obama, but to the republican party's leadership, which they perceived to be sort of feeble and weak and afraid to fight back against obama and against the cultural left, the forces of secularism, what have you. so i think what trump was able to identify better than any other republican frankly was that many of these voters on the right, sure, to some degree they care about tax cuts. they care about deregulation.
they care about conservative justices, no question. but they really were looking for somebody who was willing to fight for their way of life, somebody who was willing to sort of step in the arena and throw haymakers at a time when the republican party writ large was viewed as weak and unwilling to fight. >> just one of the stories on one of the pages of this book is one of your conversations with john boehner on our current politics, and it just knocked us out. it reads, at some point we're going to have to realize we're americans first and democrats and republicans and conservatives and liberals second. the country is more important than what each of the parties believe in, he says. it's going to take an intervening event for americans to realize that. the author interjects, an intervening event? something cataclysmic, boehner responds, gazing upward. do you have any idea what he had in mind, tim? >> well, yeah, i do sadly. and this conversation came against the backdrop of talking about, you know, 9/11, brian.
and my book focuses on this period of history from 2008 to 2018. it's a sort of neat ten-year window that we can look at the trump rise and the change within the republican party. but much of this, i think, does probably go back to the post-9/11 environment because that was really the last time in which you saw the country unified, not just politically but culturally as well. there was a real sense of societal cohesion. and i think what boehner and i were discussing -- and i've had this conversation with other republicans as well. marco rubio raised this same point to me unsolicited when we were talking for the book. they said essentially, look, if 9/11 happened today, do any of us think the response would be anything close to what we saw back in 2001 and sadly i think the answer is no. i think the company has become so deeply polarized, not just along political lines but along those sort of cultural fault lines and we have become self-selected into these
ideological echo chambers and the geographic clustering of the electorate. there are so many of these dynamics obviously, brian, that we can examine the political change through. trump clearly exploited some of that uneasiness, some of that tension that was simmering within the party and within the culture itself. >> another story in this book we've got to share with our viewers is about mark meadows, republican, north carolina, he of the freedom caucus. here it is. when word leaked to gop leadership that meadows had been involved in the plotting against boehner in 2013, even though he ultimately did not oppose him, the brand-new lawmaker requested a meeting with the speaker. quote, he's on the couch, sitting across from me in my chair, and suddenly he slides off the couch, down onto his knees, and puts his hands together in front of his chest, boehner recalls. he says, mr. speaker, will you please forgive me?
boehner's chief of staff, mikesome mers, who witnessed the encounter, said it was the strangest behavior i've ever seen in congress. tim, we're running out of time, but is this a new era of fealty, or is this just the story line we're seeing a lot of these days? >> well, brian, look, if the book captures one thing, i hope, is that you have some real characters in the republican party circa 2019, and meadows is one of them. in fact, i compare him at one point in the book to frank underwood in "house of cards," and readers can digest that on their own time. look, the donald trump republican party that we see today is so fundamentally dissimilar from the george w. bush party a decade ago that is almost recognizable. it almost feels surreal. we are so far through the looking glass that we cannot remember the days of compassionate conservatism and the pursuit of comprehensive immigration reform and a big
priority of refugee resettlement and aids relief to africa and all these commitments that george w. bush had made to try to soften the image of the republican party. donald trump obviously has done a 180, and what's more surprising than that, brian, is that there has been so little resistance from within the gop to this new direction that trump has taken the party. >> the book is "american carnage." coming up, one of the more attention-getting interviews we conducted this year from moscow. more on "the 11th hour" when we come back.
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protracted negotiation, i traveled to moscow where at the appointed hour, there was a knock at my hotel room door, and when i answered it, there was a young man who introduced himself as ed and shook my hand. we had both taken extraordinary security precautions to be able to meet and speak to each other in person, and we talked for hours. all of it was fascinating, especially considering he was just about the most sought after man in the world at the time because of what he had done. the largest intelligence breach in history. ed snowden has now told his story in a new book called "permanent record," and so from this studio, i interviewed him in moscow. something you've been asked before, something you have answered before, but since this is a fresh occasion, we'll ask it again. why not stay in this country and face the music if you believed in the strength of your
conviction? >> this is a great question, brian, and i'm glad you asked it. when we say face the music, the question is, well, what song are they playing? i was intentionally charged, as every major whistle-blower in the last decades has been, with a very particular crime. this is a violation of the espionage act of 1917. and this is a law that is explicitly designed to prohibit a meaningful defense in court. i would not have received a fair trial. there would not have been much of a trial at all. i would only have received a sentencing. and the question there is what message does that send, whether you like me or not? i could be the best person in the world. i could be the worst. what message does a conviction where you spend the rest of your life in prison for telling journalists things that changed the laws of the united states,
that have resulted in the most substantive reforms to intelligence authorities since the 1970s, if the only result of doing that is a life sentence in prison? the next person who sees something criminal happening in the united states government will be discouraged from coming forward, and i can't be a part of that. >> you said your greatest fear over what you did was that things would not change. have things changed? would you do it again today knowing what you know now? >> this is a significant portion of the final chapter of my book. things have changed, and i would do it again. if i changed anything, i would hope that i could have come forward sooner. it took me so long just to understand what was happening, and it took so long to realize that nobody else was going to
fix this. believe me when i say i did not want to light a match and burn my life to the ground. no one does. nobody really wants to be a whistle-blower. but the results of that have been staggering. i thought this was going to be a two-day story. i thought everybody was going to forget about this a week after the journalists ran the first stories in 2013. but here we are in 2019, and we're still talking about it. in fact, data security, surveillance, the internet, manipulation and influence that's provided or produced, rather, by corporate or governmental control of this permanent record of all of our private lives that's being created every day by the devices that we have. >> what about the public attitude held by millions of everyday americans? all i've got on a computer is pictures of my family, cctv
cameras that are prevalent in a ton of american cities and overseas capitals. those cameras are your friend if you're innocent and have nothing to hide. >> well, i'd say that's very much what the average chinese citizen believed, perhaps even still to this day believes. but we see how these same technologies are being applied to create what they call the social credit system. our devices are casting all of these records that we do not see being created, that in aggregate seem very innocent. you are at starbucks at this time. you went to the hospital afterwards. you spent a long time at the hospital. after you left the hospital, you made a phone call. you made a phone call to your mother. you talked to her until the middle of the night. the hospital was an oncology
clinic. even if you can't see the content of these communications, the activity records, what the government calls metadata, which they argue they do not need a warrant to collect, tells the whole story. and these activity records are being created and shared and collected and intercepted constantly by companies and governments. and ultimately it means as they sell these, as they trade these, as they make their businesses on the backs of these records, what they are selling is not information. what they are selling is us. they're selling our future. they're selling our past. they are selling our history, our identity and, ultimately, they are stealing our power and making our stories work for them. >> what do you make of donald
trump? >> there are so many things that are said about the president right now and so much thinking, and honestly i try not to think about it. there's so much chaos, and there are so many aggressive and offensive things said. i think even his supporters would grant that. but i think he's actually quite simple to understand. donald trump strikes me like nothing so much as a man who has never really known a love that he hasn't had to pay for. so everything that he does is informed by a kind of transactionalism, i think, and what he is actually looking for is simply for people to like him. unfortunately that produces a lot of negative effects. >> a quick break for us. then coming up, more edward snowden on the topic of trust in the government and what the founders might make of it all when we come back. finding dental insurance plans can be confusing,
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we are back, and now as promised, part two of our interview with edward snowden, notably a portion of our conversation that has not aired before. final question has to do with the fourth amendment. we have it today because mr. adams and others wanted to keep the british out of their homes and their horse carriages.
what would mr. adams and the founders make of the reach of the government, in your view, into our lives given its humble beginnings? >> i think if any of the founders of this country looked around today, they would be shocked by the kind of rhetoric they hear, and they would be shocked by the kind of activities of government they see. if you read the bill of rights, something that struck me when i was writing about it in this book, was that fully half of the first ten amendments are explicitly making the work of government harder. they're making life for law enforcement officials harder. and all of the founding fathers thought that was a good idea because they recognized the more efficient a government is, the more dangerous it is. we want a government always that
is not too efficient. we want a government always that is just efficient enough because government holds extraordinary power in our lives. we want them to use their powers only when it is absolutely necessary in proportion to the threat that is presented. we want government always to be using their powers in a way that is only necessary and proportionate to the threat presented by whoever it is that they're investigating. when the government is getting by by the skin of their teeth, the people are free, right? the government should be afraid of the people. people shouldn't be afraid of the government. one of the ironies about the founding fathers, for those who are september cal of skeptical which is fair. i want you to question me, but i want you to look at the facts. i want you to look beyond how you feel in the moment, how we
all feel in the moment and see what these stories said in 2013. see that the courts of the united states, where i'm being charged as a criminal, said that the government itself was engaged in criminal activity. look at these things and then remember the people who founded this country were called traitors. the signing, the writing of the declaration of independence was an outrageous act of treason. it was criminal, but it was also right. the question whether or not i broke the law is less difficult and less interesting than whether you think what i did was right or wrong. what is legal is not always the same as what is moral. >> edward snowden from our interview with him earlier this fall. and that is our broadcast for this thanksgiving holiday 2019. we hope it is a happy and safe one for you and yours. as always, thank you for being