A Pentagon official predicted Thursday the war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates could last up to 20 more years. The comment came during a Senate hearing revisiting the Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, enacted by Congress days after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. At the hearing, Pentagon officials claimed the AUMF gives the president power to wage endless war anywhere in the world, including in Syria, Yemen and the Congo. "This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I’ve been to since I’ve been here," said Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine. "You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution here today." We play excerpts of Thursday’s Senate hearing and our recent interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of the new bestseller, "Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield."
The Justice Department’s disclosure that it had secretly subpoenaed phone records from the Associated Press has prompted a wave of comparisons between President Obama and Richard Nixon. Four decades ago, the Nixon administration attempted to block The New York Times from publishing a secret history of the Vietnam War leaked to the newspaper by whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Two days after the Times first published excerpts of what became known as the "Pentagon Papers," the Nixon government asked for and received a Supreme Court injunction against the newspaper, arguing that publication of the documents posed a "grave and immediate danger to the security of the United States." We speak to James Goodale, the general counsel at The New York Times during the Pentagon Papers crackdown. Goodale is a leading legal expert on the First Amendment and has just published a new book, "Fighting for the Press: The Inside Story of the Pentagon Papers and Other Battles." Goodale said he wrote the book in part because of the work of Julian Assange of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, and how he is likely being targeted by the U.S. government in an ongoing grand jury probe. "My book is meant to be a clarion call to the journalist community: Wake up! There’s danger out there," Goodale says. "You may not like Assange, but wake up! The First Amendment is really going to be damaged. If Obama goes forward and succeeds, he will have succeeded where Nixon failed."
We turn now to climate justice activist Tim DeChristopher, who was released last month after 21 months in federal custody. DeChristopher was convicted of interfering with a public auction in 2008 when he disrupted the Bush administration’s last-minute move to auction off oil and gas exploitation rights in Utah by posing as a bidder. He is the subject of the new documentary, “Bidder 70.” “We need to be building power as a social movement. One of the weaknesses for the climate movement,” DeChristopher explains is that “we still have this huge divide between the political side of the movement that focuses on Washington and the grassroots side of the movement that’s been building real power.”