Skip to main content

tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  July 8, 2010 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

6:00 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. a complex u.s.-russia spy swap was underway late today, involving ten russian agents here and four people convicted of espionage in russia. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. on the "newshour" tonight, we get the latest on the action in a new york court today and look at russia's deep-cover spy program.
6:01 pm
>> lehrer: then, we talk to white house chief of staff, rahm emanuel. >> woodruff: tom bearden reports from the gulf of mexico, where scientists are turning to tiny microbes to help clean up oiled marshland. >> lehrer: margaret warner examines the pentagon's new rules for dealing with the news media. >> woodruff: and jeffrey brown has a conversation with jean- michel cousteau about his famous father-- ocean explorer jacques cousteau. >> when people ask what do you expect to find? he would always say if i knew, i wouldn't go. so it was the sense of discovery which is, obviously, related it to adventure. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
6:02 pm
>> this is the engine that connects abundant grain from the american heartland to haran's best selling whole wheat, while keeping 60 billion pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere every year. bnsf, the engine that connects us. >> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy productive life. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for
6:03 pm
public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: the u.s. and russia put the legal machinery in motion today to exchange accused and convicted spies. russians arrested in the u.s. were being traded for convicted spies being held in russia. the stage was set in new york city. ten people accused of spying for russia entered guilty pleas this afternoon. within hours, most were being deported in exchange for four convicted spies held in russia. the ten were arrested last month on suspicion of being members of a russian spy ring. they allegedly tried to infiltrate policymaking circles in the u.s. word of an imminent swap had emerged on wednesday.
6:04 pm
the state department confirmed the spy issue was discussed at the russian ambassador's residence in washington. the ambassador met with u.s. undersecretary of state william burns. of the four prisoners being released by moscow, three were reportedly colonels who'd served in military and intelligence roles. by some accounts, a fourth prisoner was already in motion. a russian arms control analyst convicted of spying for the u.s.-- igor sutyagin-- was reportedly spotted in vienna, austria today, apparently just released from a moscow prison. other reports disputed that account. in moscow, security around the lefortovo prison intensified, with armored vans seen coming and going. the prison is believed to house those convicted of spying for the west.
6:05 pm
there had been nothing like this since february 11, 1986, when the u.s. and the soviet union exchanged spies on a bridge, separating what was then east and west berlin. for more on what's afoot between the u.s. and russia on a possible swap and how these deals have been organized before. we go to "newsweek" investigative correspondent mark hosenball and former cia general counsel jeffrey smith. he's now a lawyer in washington. gentlemen, good to you have back. mark, you have been on this story today and yesterday, bring us up to the minute on what's happening. >> well, what happened today was that these ten people who had been picked up by the fbi late last month, about ten days ago, went into court in new york in front of district court in manhattan and they all pled guilty to charges of, i believe, failing to register at foreign agents. they didn't actually plead guilty to espionage charges. and then they agreed to allow themselves to be deported from the united states. and that deportation is in-- we don't know exactly where they are. they are probably still in
6:06 pm
the u.s. but about to be flown out presumably to russia and the russians reached an agreement with the united states government by diplomatic channels to release four individuals including i think you reported three colonels who had been convicted of spying for the united states who at some point will be flown out of russia and resettled, we presume, perhaps in the united states although we don't absolutely know that, with their families it is my understanding also that some of the children of the ten people that have been living in the united states have already left the united states. some of those children were probably born in the united states so they would be entitled to stay here because they are american citizens. my understanding is the government basically expects all the children to leave the united states and within their parents. >> woodruff: so again the ten who had been arrested in the u.s. have pled guilty to what? >> to charges as i understand it of conspiring to fail to register as foreign agents with the justice department. but not to charges of espionage. >> woodruff: not to spying. now tell us some more, mark
6:07 pm
hosenball about the four who were imprisoned in russia. >> well, the neither the u.s. government nor russian government to my knowledge has officially identify these people. there is a list of four people who might be part of this spy swap deal which appeared in a russian newspaper today and also appeared on the bbc. it's my understanding that at least one of the names on this list is inaccurate but as i understand at least one of the people on the list is this igor sutyiyagan who was probably dealing with unclassified information but was nonetheless put in jail by the russians for spying for the united states. tls is my understanding that one of these people who was a former military -- that he had been jailed by the russians for spying for the united states and may have been involved in helping the united states find a mole in the fbi, a notorious mole named robert hanson who the film made about and everything like that. so you could argue here-- .
6:08 pm
>> woodruff: we remember him from about a decade ago. >> that's right. you could argue that the united states got some real spies or real benefit out of this deal whereas the russians only got back a bunch of people whose cover had been blown and who from what we without tell weren't very successful spies at all. >> woodruff: so given that, jeffrey smith, is this considered a fair swap or is that how one judges these things? >> it's always hard to judge what's fair and unfair in spy trades. but in the past, the united states had worked very carefully to try to do the best we could with the circumstances that we faced. and based on what we've just learned this afternoon t sounds to me like the united states got a very good deal here. >> but giving up ten people and there was still an investigation under way with those ten, right? >> yes, there was. although they pled guilty and the fact that the fbi had been very effective in following them for all of these years and the justice
6:09 pm
department undoubtedly agreed to this exchange, so i think it's fair to conclude that they had not done much harm here and were unlikely to have done any real harm in future. >> woodruff: so explain why you think it's a good deal for the u.s. >> if what we know from what the justice department said in court this afternoon, that these four individuals were convicted of espionage for western intelligence agencies, i have to assume that from my own personal experience the united states would make very hardheaded decisions about what's in our national interest. and so i am assume frling that that these individuals were people who had, in fact, been spies for some western service, perhaps our own, and that we were very pleased to get them out. >> woodruff: and just quickly, any, in your reporting, any sense of why this was happening, how it came about and why it was happening? >>. >> why the spy deal came about? it, i think the american government felt it was a pretty good deal and they felt that they had
6:10 pm
completely blown the network of illegals, undercover op ratives who had been here for areas under the water. they also tell me, anyway, u.s. officials do, that they believe that there is no additional network like that remaining in the united states. so i think they felt that they had really nothing to lose except a whole bunch of money putting these people in prison and keeping them locked up for years by letting them go and perhaps a lot to gain if these people who are being let out by the russians really did do the united states or other allied services and the british may have been involved in this as well, a big service. >> jeffrey smith, how does this compare to spy swaps during the cold war? >> well, i'm not sure. there was a typical spy swap during the cold war but in most instances the individuals that were traded on either side had served a considerable portion of their sentence. we-- it was rare, in fact as i think about t i can't recall any circumstance in which we traded somebody so quickly after they had been arrested.
6:11 pm
that makes this a little unusual but times have changed. >> woodruff: what does this is a, do you think, about the state of u.s.-russia relations? >> i think it is as that it was important to both the leadership in moscow and washington that they put this quickly behind them. and it was important because we had bigger fish to fry. >> woodruff: what do you mean by that? >> well, there a lot of issues in u.s.-russian relations and they did not want this to get in the way of addressing those issues. >> woodruff: and what does it is a about spying still ongoing between our two countries. do we assume it's still happening? >>. >> oh, yes. it's important for the united states to continue to have an active intelligence service. and to be keeping an eye on governments that might sometime have interests adverse to our own and vice versa. it will go on and should go on. >> woodruff: and in terms of, so how does the u.s. view russia then. is russia the enemy?
6:12 pm
>> of course not, no. but in some respects its president reagan's comment about trust but verify. we clearly have interests in russia. we have also areas where we compete. the russians still have a great many nuclear weapons. they are still a power in the world with which we pus deal. they see us the same way. but forever nations have dealt with one another and at the same time used intelligence to find out what's going on in part as a way of reassuring what we know for more public sources to try to find out whether what we are seeing publicly is what is also going on privately. >> woodruff: an mark what dow pick up from your sources in terms of whether they assume there are still other spying going on in this country. >> well, they have to assume that there is other spying going on in this country. the russians still have certainly diplomatic missions based in new york and washington and probably
6:13 pm
consulates i think on the west coast. they have to assume that some of the officers, maybe quite a number of those officers in those installations or intelligence officers, what i am told is that they are confident the u.s. government is confident, pretty confident, well, quite confident that there is no other illegal networks like this one whose people are being thrown out still in existence in the united states and i have heard this both from current officials and former officials who are pretty expert in this matter who say that it's just very burdensome, costly, time consuming to support i network like the one that the united states rounded up here. and they just can't afford to keep another network like that going. now whether there are similar networks operating in other friendly countriesing enland, france, whatever. you probably have to assume that there probably are. >> woodruff: fasinating story, mark hosenball, jeffrey smith, thank you. >> thank you. >> lehrer: still to come on the "newshour": white house chief of
6:14 pm
staff rahm emanuel; oil eating microbes; the media and the military and explorer jacques cousteau. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: the u.s. today welcomed reports of political prisoners being released in cuba. the cuban government promised the roman catholic church on wednesday that it will free 52 dissidents over the next few months. the agreement followed meetings between cuban president raul castro, the archbishop of havana and the spanish foreign minister. in washington today, secretary of state clinton said it's encouraging. >> i spoke late last night with the spanish foreign minister, minister moratinos. and we welcome this. we think that's a positive sign. it's something that is overdue but nevertheless very welcome. >> sreenivasan: most of the dissidents have been in jail since a crackdown in 2003. this would be cuba's largest such release since pope john paul the second visited in 1998. three men believed to have ties to al-qaeda have been arrested
6:15 pm
in norway and germany. norwegian and u.s. officials said they were plotting something similar to foiled efforts to bomb the subways in new york city. the men were allegedly trying to make powerful, peroxide bombs. it was not immediately clear if they had selected a target. three international troops-- one of them an american-- were killed in afghanistan today. in addition, a senior afghan police official was assassinated. meanwhile in iraq, bombings killed at least 15 people across baghdad, on the final day of a shi-ite holiday. nearly 60 iraqis were killed a day earlier. marine corps general james mattis has been tapped to take over the u.s. central command. defense secretary robert gates announced it today. mattis would replace general david petraeus, who left to become the top commander in afghanistan. that's after general stanley mcchrystal was fired for criticizing administration leaders in "rolling stone" magazine. mattis was criticized in 2005, for saying: "it's fun to shoot some people." but gates played down that incident today. >> that was five years ago.
6:16 pm
action-- appropriate action was taken at the time. i think that the subsequent five years have demonstrated that the lesson was learned. obviously, in the wake of the "rolling stone" interview, we discussed this kind of thing. >> sreenivasan: the nomination of mattis is subject to senate confirmation. wall street regained some more ground today. stocks rose on news that first- time claims for jobless benefits fell. the dow jones industrial average added more than 120 points to close at 10,139. the nasdaq rose nearly 16 points to close at 2,175. an experimental plane powered only by solar energy completed 26 hours of non-stop flying over switzerland today.
6:17 pm
the "solar impulse" has the wingspan of a boeing 777. it used 12,000 solar cells to store up enough energy from the sunny day to power it through the night. the single-seat plane touched down this morning, at an airfield outside bern. bertrand piccard co-founded the project. he said it's clear a solar plane can stay aloft indefinitely. >> after landing, we have shown that with renewable energies and energy savings, we can achieve impossible things, so there is a before and after in terms of what people have to believe and understand about renewable energies. >> sreenivasan: organizers next hope to cross the atlantic and eventually fly around the entire planet using nothing more than the sun's energy. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jim. >> lehrer: and now to our newsmaker interview with the president's chief of staff, rahm emanuel. rahm emanuel, well company. >> thank you. >> lehrer: was the decision on the spy swap the president's?
6:18 pm
>> well, first of all, what the president does appreciate is the work of the law enforcement community as well as the intelligence community for their hard work in this case. it was not the decision of the president, it was the decision obviously of the law enforcement community and the intelligence community. but he does appreciate what they did and making america safer and the hard work that they did to get this done. >> lehrer: let me rephrase it then. did the president sign off on this. >> the president was briefed about it. >> lehrer: he said it was okay with him. >> he understood-- you know, these type of things are done by the law enforcement community and intelligence community. he was briefed about it, given the information about it. but the actions were taken by the law enforcement community. >> lehrer: but as jeffrey smith just said, former cia general counsel, this was an arrangement designed to benefit the united states of america. wouldn't the president be involved in making that kind of decision? >> i think for what's important, there will be a lot of analysis. >> lehrer: sure, sure. >> for the purpose here, the president was fully informed of what was going on along the way.
6:19 pm
>> lehrer: but why is it a good thing? you spend years following these ten people, catch them. >> uh-huh. >> lehrer: disclose who they are, arrest them and turn them loose. >> well, a, they pled guilty. >> lehrer: okay. >> b, they are deported. c, we also as you know, there are four people now coming back to the united states, or coming to the united states, to the back. >> lehrer: do you agree with mr. smith that this is a good thing for the united states of america? >> i think there is no doubt it's a good thing because we've uncovered individuals here who although they didn't plead to being spies. >> lehrer: right. >> were clearly caught in the business of spying. and it sends a clear signal to not only russia but other countries that will attempt this that we are on to them. >> lehrer: was the president aware that this spy ring existed before it was revealed publicly and these people were arrested? >> i think, jim, there will be a lot of postscripts on this. i think what you should take
6:20 pm
away from this, obviously the president was informed appropriately, known what was going on. and they made the decision to go forward on this action. there will be a lot of writing about it but i think at this time, let me just say the less said the better or how about as i always like to say, less is more. >> lehrer: less is more, yes, sir whatever you say. was the president's decision for the justice department to sue the state of arizona about its immigration law yesterday? >> the justice department made that decision itself. obviously the president was briefed as was other departments. >> lehrer: did the president think-- here again, the reason this is an issue, obviously, because a lot came up about when attorney general holder made the decision, the original decision to try some of the 9/11 terrorists in new york. i asked the attorney general, in fact, did you clear this with the president. he said well, i informed the president. >> the president doesn't tell you what cases to take and what-- how to file them
6:21 pm
and what positions. obviously the president was briefed. there are other agencies and departments that have equities in this. they were also briefed. but the ultimate decision is the decision of the attorney general and justice department. >> lehrer: so the president should not be held accountable for-- filing this lawsuit. >> well, no, it's obviously his administration, his attorney general, justice department. but in the sense did he say to the attorney general, you have to go do this, that is not the way the cases are filed. that's not how it's done. i think the right way to see it, and to give perspective to your viewers is he was briefed on this. the ultimate decision on how to file it, where to file it, what was the premise of it, is one done by the justice department. >> lehrer: let me go at it one other way. >> i think will you get a similar answer but give it a shot. >> lehrer: okay. >> let's see if i can get the right answer. >> lehrer: let's see if you can get the right answer. let's say the attorney general -- >> i feel like i'm dealing with my children and their homework, okay. >> lehrer: let's say the attorney general comes to
6:22 pm
the president and says i think we should sue the state of arizona on this immigration law. the president can very easily have said forget t i don't want to you do that, right? >> i-- that is a hypothetical. >> lehrer: it is, right. >> and the good news is i'm not a lawyer. and so i think the way to see this is the president's been clear about, and i think the most important thing is the take away, that on this case, he does not believe 50 states should-- we should have 50 separate immigration laws. that is where the president's view is. let's walk back since you are mostly trying to get at the president. he believes that we do not need 50 separate immigration policies, one per state. he understands the frustration that exists in arizona, the frustration that there hasn't been an account ability by the government to secure the border, there hasn't been an account ability by employers to abide by the laws as it relates to hiring illegal immigrants. and there hasn't been in the sense of accountability for people who came here breaking our laws and what it is going to require of
6:23 pm
them if they plan on staying in this country. and the most important thing is it's a call to passing comprehensive immigration reform and a call that both parties work on solving it. that is what the president's view is, as it relates to this case, this is the case of the attorney general. tas relates to the president's view is that we can't have every state go in different directions. and that's why he gave a speech last week calling for addressing the issue in a bipartisan fashion from a comprehensive perspective, one that, a, remembers that we are a nation of laws and they have to be enforced. and two, we are a nation of immigrants and i can say that as a son of an immigrant, and also a grandson of an immigrant that it's important we also honor and respect our history as a nation of immigrants. but that has to be found as a balance between those, a, a nation of laws and b, a nation of immigrants. and b, we have-- or c rather, we have to do in a comprehensive way with bipartisan. >> lehrer: and dow not agree with the republicans and others who say first of all
6:24 pm
we've got to seal the border. we've got to stop illegal immigration, and then worry about the other part. >> well, i-- look, there's a number of reblicans also who have worked on this who believe it's not an either/or choice. of course you have to secure the border. it's a border. you have to be done. it hasn't been secured and there have been more boots on the ground, more resources put at it. >> lehrer: you ordered more national guardsman. >> there are over 25,000 national guard on the border. second is you have to --. >> lehrer: talking about new in the last several months. >> right, but there has also been other types of technological support given to the resources on the border to help secure it. but-- and that's a problem. because we haven't really done it but secretary we also have to enforce the laws of the workplace. and people, we have to have a system to ensure that people aren't hiring illegal immigrants who aren't here legally. third is, our system as it relates to dealing with the legal immigrants that are here, who came here rightfully who are choosing america as a place to raise
6:25 pm
their families, start a business, those laws have to be updated. and so it has to be, and so when you ask what is the president's position t is bigger than filing this case in arizona. it relates to what is our obligation. because it's key to our future as it has been in every juncture in this country's history, that immigrants are one way of always refreshing america, making it young again. and people that choose america as their home where they want to raise their family, that has to be a land that's welcoming. on the other hand, it can't be a place where people are able to break our laws and come here illegally. so either way, it's not an either/or choice. you have to do both. >> lehrer: got you. let me go back to an underlying point in relation to both of these first two subjects. and that has to do, the president-- president obama has been criticized for not being strong enough, not a firm enough leader, not making decisions as quickly and as firmly as he should. and that's the underlying, why i ask these questions about is he-- the idea is he
6:26 pm
in charge. is he making the decision well hey, we're going to do the spy thing, the president is in charge. there's going to be immigration, on the lawsuit. president is in charge. that is what i'm getting at. >> a, i'm glad after five questions we got right to it. but let me say it this way. two weeks ago, a lot of people talked about just the opposite. the decisive action he took with general mcchrystal and also replacing with general petraeus. i can also point to other places, and give you an example. you and i talked about this. on health care. where i gave counsel with the president, which is what he wanted, was i would have done a different road. he wants that kind of open debate. but he is stuck with his guns and solved a problem that basically had been at this country for over 100 years which is comprehensive health-care reform that controlled costs. and i've seen him up close. another example, we can talk about, as we talk about the economy, the tough decisions he made when this country faced an economic crisis, a
6:27 pm
fiscal crisis, two wars, and the tough decisions in the auto industry that was on its back, that was what he walked in on the to-do list on day one in his office. he made tough decisions to help right the ship tas related to the banking and financial system and unpopular decisions that have turned out to be right and saved money for the taxpayers. de the tough things as it related to the auto industry, requiring to make changes they had not made themselves over 30 years. and now they are starting to get their cost under control. and for the first time in 50 years an auto industry company is doing an ipo. i have seen a tough gentleman whose's up front, faced with the tough choices on afghanistan. hear all the ideas and then make a clear decision where he lead both civilian, political and military people in a clear set of policies. so just for you to ask two weeks after the decision of mcchrystal, i think questions, i hope you take
6:28 pm
this kindly, a little outdated. >> lehrer: a little outdated. do you agree with republican chairman michael steele that afghanistan, you mentioned afghanistan, is now obama's war? >> well, since there are men and women, fathers and daughters, sons and daughters, cousins and uncles, everybody, all of america when you send your troops over there, that's america's war. and if you think that that is only one president's war, then you don't understand the obligation a country makes collectively, but the commander in chief ultimately has the decision. but the country is at war. i mean i can say this as a former congressman, whether you agree to it or whatever, when an individual, a family member has somebody over there, the entire country, that entire family is there. well, our entire country is there because that was a place, and the place of origin for the 9/11 crime that was committed and terrorist act commited in this country. and all of america is at
6:29 pm
war. and i think that's a horrible way, and a wrong way to look at it, and that's why i think a number of republicans have criticized chairman steele. all of america is there because there are people from all across this country, all walks of life who are there. >> lehrer: president obama went to missouri and to nevada today to talk about the economy and do some politicking for democratic candidates. does he help a lot when he goes to places like missouri and nevada with independence and others who are very much at issue here as we approach the neff elections? >> well, i believe absolutely. because let's talk about what he was doing in missouri. and that he was at a factory that had received an investment to create alternative batteries . >> lehrer: for cars. >> for cars n this case for trucks. the united states, when the president was sworn into office represented about 2% of the production of alternative batteries. through the recovery act, about 3, 4 years it will
6:30 pm
represent about 40% of the production of alternative batterys in the country. that was a clear eyed choice of how to keep america ahead of the game and make it competitive in one of the most promising fields in the sense of alternative batteries. and governing is about choosing. and making tough choices. elections are about choice. do you want to make that investment to those 50 workers that just got hired or did you vote no so those 50 workers don't have a future? next week they will be in michigan for wufernt final factories that are literally going off to produce alternative batteries. those were the choices. we either can lead in the most promising field or we can put america back in. and as the president said today a lot of people had a set of policies that drove their car into the ditch. this is not the time to give them the keys again. >> lehrer: is it still? does it still work to blame the economic situation on the bush administration? >> well, you know, there are choices here. there are clear choices, there are a set of policies that lead to the recession. there were a set of policies
6:31 pm
and lack of enforcement that lead to the financial crisis on wall street. there was a set of policies that also lead to, i believe, leading us in the worst fiscal condition we had ever seen in this country. and the president understands he's made a series of choices, willing to explain them, live up to them and defend them. but understand president kennedy once said, jim, to govern is to choose. there are choices. and then in politics as well, there is going to be a set of choices. do you believe like chairman boehner that when it came to the problems on wall street that's just an ant that is just a minor problem. do you agree like chairman, ranking member barton, do you think b.p. was the aggrieved party here? that's a set of policies, that is their ideas. i admire them for speaking up and saying what they believe. the president believes we have a clear set of choices to make as a country. do you invest in the people there, as a country in that private sector company, or dow just walk away and say you have to figure it out on your own.
6:32 pm
>> lehrer: as coincidence would have it, john boehner issued a statement today and i happy to have the statement right here . >> someone in the office is doing good research. >> lehrer: it was about his trip today. he said on president obama's watch more than 3 million americans have lost their jobs. and unemployment is near 10%. the american people continue to ask where are the jobs. but the president keeps whining and indulging in childish partisan attacks. how out of touch can he get, end quote. >> okay, first of all, as congressman boehner knows, the last six months we've produced about 600,000 private sector jobs. that is what the economy produced. when president obama walked in on day one, we were losing on average 700,000 jobs a month. the economy was contracting by about 6% in the first quarter, in the first quarter it grew about 2.7%. one of the biggest swings in american history from declining to growing.
6:33 pm
you got to make key -ou got to make key s now producing private sector job, not fast enough but we are producing there was a lot of decisions. congressman boehner in ohio knows, the president made some tough decisions that wir required for the auto industry to take one industry by example. criticized by business, criticized by republicans. he said we're not going to support you unless you make the tough decision to get your costs under control. they have restructureed. they are-- they have come out of bankruptcy. this month gm, rather than close 9 factories kept them open because they've turned around. they are filing an ipo which will be the first ipo in the auto industry in over 50 years in the united states. and a bunch of suppliers have kept people on because gm is profiting. that was a tough, going back to leadership, that was a tough decision. criticized at the time. and america where he said and the president said, the auto was invented, the industry was created here,
6:34 pm
and we have now gm back, starting to be aggressive again. good for future shareholders and good for its workers. and the president believes good for the united states. and that was a decision that republicans at the time criticized and turned out, and so far to date, has turned out to be the right decision for america's economy. >> lehrer: why then do the public opinion polls not reflect this? >> it makes sense. i mean you have 10% unemployment. the worst-- . >> lehrer: people are still hurting. >> of course, as the president says while we've turned the corner-- . >> lehrer: he share those responsibility or blame. >> no, he-- he-- it is absolutely his belief he's accountable for helping turn this economy around. the ultimate place that is it is going to be turned around is in the private sector. but what we, i.e., the government's role is to help in key areas like at that battery factory, that car company that has hired 50 new workers that we have a role to help on that. and he has an account ability but we should not forget, a, what was the condition of the country on day one. what were the set of
6:35 pm
policies that lead to those conditions. let's go back. the worst recession since the great depression, some people now have labeled it the great recession. two, the worst fiscal condition the country had ever been in. three, the worst shape the auto industry has ever been in the history of it, four, we had two wars going on, one in iraq, one in afghanistan. that was the moment of crisis. there was a to-do list that was that long. now where are we today. because that's the measure. the measure is the financial system is in a better place but it has to be better by lending. and while we have stabilized it, the next step is to reform wall street because we have to ensure that that accident doesn't happen again and that reckless and careless type of risk-taking doesn't happen again. number two, we just went through the auto industry by example. number three, the economy is not shrinking but it's
6:36 pm
growing but not fast enough. number four, we have a bipartisan commission set up to deal with our long-term deficit that the country inherited and how to get that under control. so step-by-step, a lot of coverage, a lot of toing and frog but the country is making the steps necessary for its long-term economic competitiveness and its long-term growth as a strong, and maintain its growth as a number one economy in the world. >> lehrer: whether the public gets it or not. >> but it makes-- let me say this as a former member of congress and also somebody that enjoys politics. it is understandable for their frustration because they are in the economic conditions. that doesn't take away from where we have been, where we are today and the road going forward. >> rahm emanuel, thank you very much. >> thank you, jim. >> woodruff: the obama administration asked a federal appeals court this afternoon to re-instate a moratorium on deepwater oil drilling. a federal judge threw out the moratorium last month. also today, the governor of florida called a special session of the legislature to put a ban on offshore drilling into the state constitution. meanwhile, as the well keeps
6:37 pm
gushing and the massive cleanup continues, some scientists are looking to microscopic bacteria to help get rid of the oil. "newshour" correspondent tom bearden has the story from coastal alabama. >> reporter: wading around in a salt marsh on the alabama coast on a hot july day collecting water and mud samples isn't a lot of fun. insects of all kinds are these three researchers from the university of alabama tolerate it because they're trying to figure out whether science can help nature deal with the influx of oil that's expected to hit this marsh any day now. the b.p. spill may be killing marsh grasses all over the coast, but it's a potential buffet table for some varieties of microbes. and it's those microbes-- naturally occuring bacteria that actually eat oil-- that these scientists want to study. patricia sobecky is the chairman of the department of biological sciences. >> we got this project going, i guess, about a month or so ago, we wanted to get a baseline of the salt marsh and the water column microbial populations
6:38 pm
before any oil impact had come in. and getting sediments, plant >> reporter: these are the same organisms that are responsible for natural decay in the environment. they're critical, because marshes, which are nurseries for fisheries, can't be cleaned mechanically the way beaches can. but the microbes might be able to do the job by themselves. behzad mortazavi is a marine scientist. >> they're going to be challenging as far as cleanup effort goes. because unlike the beach environment where maybe a truck could be driven over the beach and tar balls collected or the sheen pressure washed, at the marsh eco-systems its nearly marsh eco-systems it's nearly impossible to do that. >> reporter: mortazavi wants to find out if science can help the
6:39 pm
microbes grow faster and eat the oil more quickly-- if they feed them-- like shrimp, for one example, to speed up their metabolism. >> we would like to supplement these microbes with organic matter. basically giving them a vitamin pill to accelerate the metabolism of these bacteria, to enhance their growth rate, and along with that potentially enhance the degradation of the oil. >> reporter: they also want to see if too much oil could kill the microbes outright. dr. robert martinez, a postdoctoral fellow on the project, wants to see if the oil-- the hydrocarbons-- start crowding out other food supplies. >> that is the biggest problem you know, once you have a change in the environment, with these hydrocarbons coming in, they have a different food source, so will they deplete other nutrients that they need and kind of slow down. so we want to make sure that they keep that pace up and degrade the contaminants as rapidly as possible. >> reporter: mortazavi is particularly concerned about weathered oil-- the heavy clumps that have washed up on many
6:40 pm
beaches. it's likely to wind up here, too. >> we are interested in this specific example where there's going to be a lot of weathered oil. oil that's been leaking and that's been at the surface of the ocean for 40, 70 days and that has gone through some of the initial degradation process. a lot of the volatiles have been lost from the oil, and what remains mixed with the dispersants. how degradable that material is a question that needs to be answered. some commercial companies think the answer might lie in taking microbes from many different environments, strengthening them, and releasing them where needed. b.p. is now testing what a company named ultra tech calls its "microbe consortium" in a contained area to see how it works. mortazavi is leery of introducing outside life-forms, so his team is concentrating on the organisms that are here naturally. at the end of the day, the
6:41 pm
university of alabama team puts their samples in coolers for the four hour drive back to their lab in tuscaloosa. they hope to find something that will supercharge this area's microbes. but mortazavi cautions what works in this marsh might not work everywhere. >> lehrer: now, the spotlight falls again on the relationship between the military and news media after the u.s. afghan commander is brought down over a magazine interview. margaret warner has our story. >> reporter: two weeks after president obama fired general stanley mcchrystal, secretary of defense robert gates today laid out his reasons for a new pentagon policy on dealing with the media. >> i have grown increasingly concerned that we have become too lax, disorganized and in some cases flat-out sloppy in the way we engage with the press. >> reporter: gates was referring to a directive from the pentagon
6:42 pm
july 2, outlining how the military should and should not interact with the media. the memo, signed by gates, said that the public affairs office at the pentagon must be notified before any military or defense department officials grant interviews that could have national or international implications. the aim, the directive said, is to prevent "incorrect, out of proper context, unauthorized, or uninformed" information from being disclosed to the media. the guidance came out just days after general mcchrystal was relieved of duty over a "rolling stone" magazine article by journalist michael hastings. the article quoted making critical and derisive comments about top officials in the obama administration. gates today denied that the new guidelines are a direct result of the mcchrystal flap. >> last week's memo was not about how the media does its job, but about how this department's leadership does ours.
6:43 pm
it is not a change of policy, but a reaffirmation of an existing policy that was being followed selectively at best. >> reporter: but reporters covering the military have already voiced concern that the guidelines will have a chilling effect on access to officials and information. the "rolling stone" story also has ignited a dispute within the press about whether the writer breached an unofficial code between journalists and the military over what can be quoted in what circumstances. on cnn's "reliable sources" recently, lara logan of cbs news said hastings broke that code. >> there is an element of trust. and what i find is the most telling thing about what michael hastings said in your interview is that he talked about his manner as pretending to build an illusion of trust and, you know, he's laid out there what his game is. that is exactly the kind of damaging type of attitude that makes it difficult for reporters who are genuine about what they do, who don't-- i don't go around in my personal life
6:44 pm
pretending to be one thing and then being something else. i mean, i find it egregious that anyone would do that in their professional life. >> reporter: doesn't believe hasting's assertion that mcchrystal's aides did not lay down any ground rules for what remarks would be off the record. today, gates said informing the press and the public remains a top pentagon priority. >> warner: for more on all of this we get three views. geoff morrell is the defense department's spokesman. john burns is the "new york times" bureau chief in london. he has extensive experience covering the u.s. military in war zones, including in iraq and afghanistan. and christopher hanson is an assistant professor of journalism at the university of maryland, following a 20 year career at "time" magazine, reuters and hearst newspapers. geoff morrell, secretary gates said today these two events were not related, it was not triggered by the mcchrystal flap.
6:45 pm
but do these two events taken together, the mcgri mcgris-- mcchrystal fee as sow-- fiasco and the new guidelines issuing a new chill between the military and the press. >> we hope not. and we are determined to make sure that does not result from all this. i think it's understandable that in the wake of the mcchrystal incident that there may be some members of the military who may become more reticent, more reluctant to engage in with the press for fear of the consequences. and in the wake of this memo there may be some who overinterpret it, misinterpret it as some sort of clamp-down between our engagement with the press. and that is not the case on either count. we are not trying to throw up barriers. what we are trying to do is create better communication between our building and the press corps and by extension the american people. because right now as you heard from the secretary, we are just terribly undisciplined, lax, uncoordinated, not synchronized enough and as a result, unauthorized information is getting out there uninformed opinion is
6:46 pm
being passed off as official government positions. and people are speaking when we don't have full visibility on it. and that puts the secretary in a difficult position it puts the president of the united states in a difficult position. when predecisional information is getting out before he's had a chance to come to a decision on these matters. >> so chris has listening to secretary gates, and geoff morrell what do you see happening. >> i think will have a chill on reporting on u.s. military. the trickledown effect on bureaucrats is well-known as geoff alluded to. more and more ferrs will be holding back information. there will be bottleneck in the pentagon where requests for interviews will be sitting. and the public will end up getting less information that it needs. also, i think that the-- there was a policy there of-- the rolling stone article pointed out that there was a split on policy over how to
6:47 pm
run the war in afghanistan with disputes between different factions. under this new regime, under this new set of guidelines, i don't think that you would be able to ascertain that as well. so it's not simply the, you know, a united front. it conceals when there's not a united front. >> john burns what do you think we're seeing here, what do you think this will signify? >> oh, i think regardless of what secretary gates said today, the news conference and what was written in the pentagon memo, this is going to have a pretty dire effect on relations between the military and the media in the field. i mean we've seen the most abrupt and humiliating depar ture of an american general at war since mcarthur. and it would be strange indeed if officers in every rank, indeed enlisted men did not look at that and take the obvious conclusion from it. so i think it's going to
6:48 pm
have a dire effect and there is, as you have already mentioned, an energetic debate amongst journalists about the rolling stone article and about how all of this came about. and i think that we need to, as lara logan suggested in that clip, we need to also look, take a look at the vote or maybe i should say the beam in our own eye and look at the question of trust pretty carefully. and there can be no absolutes here. we can't decide these issues on the basis simply of was it on the record or was it off the record. because soferp of what occurs in the field between reporters and military people, reporters and commanding generals and reporters and enlisted men occurs in a situation of informality where it is ambiguous. and it's there that trust is absolutely essential. >> and are you suggesting that you think hastings violated that trust? >> you know, i obviously was not there.
6:49 pm
i'm not in a position to say that. but from everything i've read it seems to me that it's pretty obvious that the remarks that were quoted that did most damage here were remarks that were said in cafes in paris during that whole, during the volcanic ash period. and all of us have been through that. kind of experience where we hear military people saying things. i think the fair question to ask when something like that is said there are two questions. number one, did the person saying this have any reasonable expectation that they were going to be quoted by name. and number two, if they didn't and you decide to go ahead anyway which may have been the case with hastings, is the end in view so important, so overriding that the issue of trust becomes secondary. >> so geoff morrell how would need new guidelines prevented that from happening. in other words, how would it work in practice --
6:50 pm
>> i don't want to get into relitigating the hastings case but let me tell you, though. listen, an interview like that under these guidelines would have come into our office. and the benefit there would have been we would have provide the perspective of washington. so a decision that may have looked wise in kabul with outside eyes, we may have been able to provide some perspective, some advice that would have lead the general and his staff to choose otherwise in terms of progressing with it. but let me address one concern of john. because i have enormous respect for john as to the secretary and all reporters who go down range and embed. their lives will not change as a result of this. their engagements with embedded military or with the military units they embed with should not change under this. captains, commanders will have the authority to speak to their area of responsibility without running it up to our office. the idea here is to get people to speak about what they know about. what they're responsible for and to stay within their lines.
6:51 pm
now should a gentleman who he is embedded with in hellman province or khandahar province speak to the war at large? now, he probably is not in a position to speak to that. but can he speak to the operations in his specific area? absolutely. the secretary said today a captain down range should speak to what he is doing. a captain in the pentagon who is working on the budget should not speak to it. he should keep his mouth shut and go through properly channels. >> warner: chris hanson, does that sound like the right line there to you? i mean do you find that reassuring? that if you are embeded with a unit in the field and you have been cleared to do it that they will be free to speak about what they know? >> no, i don't find it reassuring at all. the issue here is what are national and international implications. i mean you had a segment recently on -- sebastian younger's documentary about a year in afghanistan with troops. the company commander there had a lot of trouble in his relations with the local afghan leaders. he spoke about that.
6:52 pm
that has national and international implications. >> but i'm telling it you here right now, we're not trying to restrict that kind of speech what sof ever. >> but it's going to happen. >> it's to the going to happen. if we do this right t should not happen. we should empower people to make wise decisions. all we're asking for is when something rises above one's individual area of responsibility, that we eventually get visibility on it so we can be aware of it, so we can provide insight and perspective and advice. because the reality is, somebody speaks to one thing that they may know about but it has a ripple effect through the rest of our operations, including decisions that are being made in the nsc or within our department or across the river in other departments. >> warner: so john burns, weigh in on this? i mean can you draw this line and would you as a journalist feel comfortable that you were getting the full story out there? >> well, you know, bad cases make bad law as they say. the mcchrystal incident, there are many conclusions to be drawn, have been drawn from them. and some of them already looking negative for news the press.
6:53 pm
but if we look at his successor, general petraeus who has been, in my experience, very accessible to the press and very camp candid, he has not had this trouble. and it may be that the difference is that general petraeus, and i say this in the best sense of the word, a political general, you know, in other words, he has a very good sense of the resonance of what he is going to say in washington d.c. and around the world. i don't anticipate that he will get himself into that kind of trouble. but as i say, i don't think that we can stand on absolutes here. i think we, in the press, have to really look at cases like this and say to what extent can we change the way we behave in such a way that this sort of thing doesn't happen again. >> warner: all right, we are going to have to leave it there, john burns in london, geoff morrell and chris hanson, thank you. >> thank you, margaret. >> woodruff: we had planned
6:54 pm
to bring you jeffrey brown's conversation with jacques cousteau's son, jean-michele cousteau, we will have that another night. >> lehrer: again the major develops, the u.s. and russia began a swap of spies after ten russians admitted spying to the u.s. on the newshour tonight, white house chief of staff rahm emanuel said the president was briefed and endorsed the swap. he said attorney general holder made the decisions. and a federal appeals court refused to reinstate a moratorium on deepwater drilling. the newshour the "newshour" is always online. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan: we look at the media debate over "rolling stone's" portrayal of general mcchrystal with former cnn correspondent jamie mcintyre and kelly mcbride of the poytner institute. find our political editor david chalian's take on tonight's interview with rahm emanuel-- david's blog is on "the rundown." all that and more is on our web site, >> woodruff: and that's the "newshour" for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you on-line. and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks, among others. thank you and good night.
6:55 pm
major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
6:56 pm
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions captioned by media access group at wgbh
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on