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Government Secret Seizures; Interview with Glenn Greenwald; Valedictorian's Prayer; Interview with Christine Quinn; Breaking the News

Aired June 6, 2013 - 21:00   ET


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, breaking news. The government is watching you. More secret seizures and it's not just phones. Now Google, Facebook, Apple and more, giving up your photos and e-mails to the government. That's according to the "Washington Post" and the "Guardian."

I'll talk to the reporters who broke the story, plus the senator who's been against the Patriot Act from the beginning.

And on "The Grill," Christine Quinn, a woman who wants to be the first female openly gay mayor of New York. But could a comeback by one-time congressman Anthony Wiener get in her way?

Also, the high school valedictorian that tore up his speech and said the Lord's Prayer, defying a school ban. His proud father is here to talk about it.

And we're breaking the news and digging deep into the stories making the headlines, including a truly unbelievable story of a Texas man who shot dead an escort for not having sex with him and literally got away with murder.

A lot to get to tonight and we begin with our breaking news. U.S. intelligence agencies have been secretly operating a broad data mining program that collected e-mail, photos and just about everything else from private communications from most Americans. That's according to the "Washington Post" and "The Guardian." The "Post" says that Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple were all involved.

CNN is attempting to confirm the reports but it's clearly a stunning development, particularly for a president who said this on his first full day in office.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness, transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.


MORGAN: What happened to that, Mr. President? How things have changed. Today the "New York Times" editorial board said, "The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue." Quite damning remarks. Now the "Huffington Post," said we have a new president. Take a look at this. George W. Obama.

Well, joining me now is a reporter who was first with the Verizon story last night, Glenn Greenwald of "The Guardian."

Glenn, first of all, congratulations on two terrific days of scoops from you and the "Guardian." In terms of what happened tonight, tell me briefly what the latest development is. Because it seems on the face of it to be even more serious than yesterday.

GLENN GREENWALD, COLUMNIST, THE GUARDIAN: I think you could definitely make the argument that it is, because what this program enables the national security agency to do is to reach directly into the servers of the largest Internet companies in the world, things that virtually every human being in the western world now uses, to communicate with one another, and take whatever it is that they want without any checks of any kind.

There's no courts looking over their shoulder to see what they're taking and they don't even have the check that they have to go to the Internet companies and ask for it any longer. They've been given or have taken, depending on who you talk to, direct access into the pipes where all of these conversations take place, and can suck up whatever it is that they want at any given moment.

MORGAN: What this means in a nutshell is that the NSA on behalf of the Obama administration had been secretly looking at just about any kind of communication they see fit from any American.

GREENWALD: Yes. I think this is really the important point, Piers, is that there is a massive apparatus within the United States government that with complete secrecy has been building this enormous structure that has only one goal and that is to destroy privacy and anonymity not just in the United States but in the world. That is not hyperbole. That is their objective.

To make it so that every single form of human communication, human interaction, human behavior, can never be beyond their reach. And they have developed extraordinarily sophisticated technologies and enormously expensive mechanisms in order to make that happen. And it's well past time that we have a debate about whether that's the kind of country and world in which we want to live.

But we haven't had that debate because it's all done in secrecy and the Obama administration has been very aggressive about bullying and threatening anybody who thinks about exposing it or writing about it or even doing journalism about it. And it's well past time that that come to an end.

MORGAN: Absolutely. Now this new bombshell tonight involves a setup called PRISM. It sounds like something out of "Star Wars" but PRISM is now responsible, I read either in your report or the "Washington Post," we've got Barton Gellman coming up, who wrote that, that PRISM is responsible for one in seven of all the intelligence reports by the NSA and is likely to be an even bigger percentage going forward. I mean, that's quite a staggering thing to discover when no one even knows what PRISM is.

GREENWALD: Precisely. I mean, no one has ever heard of it before. And yet it has extraordinary consequences for what our government does, for how the world is impacted. If you look at the pages of reports that the PRISM program talks about and that the NSA boasts about, they pride themselves on discovering all sorts of political conversations in places like Turkey and Israel.

They use Facebook and Google and Skype to invade conversations about a whole variety of things in South America, in Asia, and many times, people who are involved in these conversations and where they originate are people in the United States. It's all done without warrants and without accountability and the entire world is impacted.

MORGAN: Now I've got to ask you this because we've seen what's happened to A.P. journalists and to Mr. Rosen at FOX News. Are you worried now that they're going to come after you, big brother style, and try and come after your sources?

GREENWALD: Well, I mean I think the sources behind this are incredibly courageous people who could have sold this information for extraordinary amounts of money to foreign governments or handed it over, had that been their objective to harm the United States to enemies of the United States. They didn't. They came forward with immense amounts of courage because they believe that their fellow citizens should be aware of what their government is doing.

And so when I look at their courage, I get inspired by that and I know that the Constitution right in the First Amendment says that as a citizen and as a journalist, I'm guaranteed the right to engage in freedom of the press and to report on what my government is doing in the dark. That's not my -- just my right but my obligation.

And so whatever the Justice Department wants to do, they can beat their chest all they want. People like Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss can have press conferences threatening people for bringing out -- bringing light to what it is that they're doing but the only people who are going to be investigated are them.

And it's well past time that these threats start to be treated with the contempt that they deserve. And that's certainly how I intend to treat them moving forward with more investigation and disclosures.

MORGAN: The response from the people who think this is not a bad idea can be summed up by Congressman Mike Rogers. Listen to what he had to say today.


REP. MIKE ROGERS, CHAIR, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I can tell you why this program is important. It was in the last few years, this program was used to stop a program -- excuse me, stop a terrorist attack in the United States. We know that.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MORGAN: I mean, we don't know what that is. And it's the kind of thing you'd expect him to trot out, I guess. But I mean, what is your reaction to that?

GREENWALD: Well, it's fascinating that the most right-wing members of the Congress like Mike Rogers and Lindsey Graham have become the administration's most vocal defenders. The Obama administration's most vocal defenders. Because it's a right-wing mentality that says that we should just trust the government to know everything about us in the name of security.

But I think the tactic that you're seeing there which is increasingly being exposed as frivolous and manipulative is that every time the U.S. government gets caught doing anything that they shouldn't be doing or that people are stunned to learn that they're doing, the playbook that they use over and over, and that they've used over and over for the last decade is to just simply scream terrorist or terrorism over and over in the hope that they will put Americans into enough fear that they'll simply acquiesce to whatever the government is doing.

And I think it's critically important that Americans understand that this, quote-unquote, threat is one that is less likely to kill them than things like a lightning strike or a bathtub accident. And that it's time to stop allowing the U.S. government to get more and more power for itself and destroy more and more of our rights simply by invoking this terrorist canard over and over and over again.

We see with the phone records, they weren't targeting terrorists. They were targeting all Americans indiscriminately. And that's the same with this PRISM program as well. And that's why the light is so vital because it exposes how false their justifications continuously are.

MORGAN: And just finally, Glenn, to try and clarify what their purpose was here. Was their primary purpose to root out Americans who may be up to no good or foreigners who are up to no good?

GREENWALD: Well, under the Surveillance Law that passed in 2008, that the bipartisan Congress passed, they eliminated the warrant requirement for all conversations except ones that take place by and among Americans exclusively on American soil. So they don't need warrants now for people who are foreigners outside of the U.S., but they also don't need warrants for Americans who are in the United States communicating with people reasonably believed to be outside of the U.S.

So these programs almost certainly, such as the PRISM one, almost certainly are sweeping up conversations of American citizens on U.S. soil as long as the NSA decides that the person they're talking to probably is outside the U.S., but again, the fact that there are no checks, no oversight about who's looking over the NSA's shoulder means that they can take whatever they want.

And the fact that it's all behind a wall of secrecy and they threaten people who want to expose it means that whatever they're doing, even violating the law, is something that we're unlikely to know until we start having real investigations and real transparency into what it is that the government is doing. That's what we need first and foremost.

MORGAN: Glenn Greenwald, congratulations again on exposing what is a true scandal. I appreciate you joining me.

GREENWALD: Thank you.

MORGAN: The "Washington Post's" Barton Gellman joins me now from the nation's capital with late-breaking reaction for scandal that has exploded over the last 24 hours.

Barton, you've got this extraordinary report as well tonight involving this new thing, PRISM, which just seems to be a license for the government through the NSA to get into almost any Internet server and find and retrieve anything they like.

BARTON GELLMAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, they certainly have that technical capability. You know, once you have your hooks into the server, then you take what you like and they are not interested in asking Yahoo! or Google or Facebook either to do it for them, because they want to do it in real time, and they're not interested in telling Yahoo! or Facebook -- you know, this is who we're targeting, this is what we want to get. That's not the way security people think if they can help it.

I do not believe -- I mean, Glenn broke an important story about the order to Verizon for bulk call records. The complete records of who called who and when and where their calls went and that sort of thing. That is entirely indiscriminate. That is so they can data mine the entire universe.

That's what it's for. That is not what I believe PRISM is doing. They want access to PRISM so that it can get this unbelievably rich never-before-existed in history, didn't exist 10 years ago, cache of online material that people collaboratively hand over and that their friends hand over. And -- there are jokes about Google or Facebook as the world's greatest intelligence agency. I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner that the NSA would want --


MORGAN: Right. Now the -- here's the thing. The PowerPoints that we've been showing while you've been talking, these are from the PRISM PowerPoints. Quite extraordinary they put them into PowerPoint form, really when you think about it, but they did. What do they tell us, these PowerPoints? Because the key thing to me is the suggestion from them that they have worked hand in hand with these Internet companies but many of these companies have come out strongly tonight saying absolutely, we did not work hand in hand with them.

GELLMAN: Well, There are a couple things to know about that. One is that it's very clear from the fine print of the document and not just the fine prints. I mean, there's something in the speaker's notes but also in the slides themselves. The government is clear that the most sensitive secret in this top secret/SI/ORCON/no foreign document is the identity of the companies.

They know that it puts the companies in awkward position, that it could have regulatory, legal market reputational consequences for the companies. And they really, really don't want the companies to stop cooperating. I'm not shocked that the companies are denying it. I don't assume that --

MORGAN: You believe them?

GELLMAN: I -- there may be some technical basis on which they can say that we are not actively collaborating or that they don't have what we consider in our own definition to be direct access to our servers but what I do know is that I have talked to more than one person who has sat at a desk at a Web portal and typed out commands and reached into those servers from a distance. So whatever they want to call that, that's what's happening.

MORGAN: What I -- what I would call it is the biggest infringement on American civil liberties. Probably of all time. Isn't it?

GELLMAN: Well, it depends entirely how they're using it and that's the problem with the secrecy here. You have -- the administration saying Congress passed this -- two different presidents of different parties think it's a great idea. The FISA judges all think it's a great idea and the problem is that the public never got even a peek at what is happening.

The actual law that was passed in 2008 and re-passed in 2012 says nothing about what they can do with this power. They have a secret highly classified legal interpretation of their own powers which they then bring to a secret court which hears only from them and says, yes, that's OK with us, you can do that with your powers, and then they do it. And companies are not allowed to say what they're doing, either.

So the public which is in fact paying some price or other in terms of privacy, and we don't know how much, never gets to say that's not quite how I would draw the boundary between security and liberty here.

MORGAN: Right. Barton Gellman, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

GELLMAN: Thank you.

MORGAN: And now I want to bring in a man who's been against the Patriot Act from the very beginning. Senator Bernie Sanders says the government has far too much power to spy on Americans.

Senator, this is just unbelievable, isn't it?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: It is. I voted against the Patriot Act time and time again because I worried about giving the government incredible powers and I'm afraid that all of the fears that I have turned out to be justified.

Look, the bottom line is that the United States government now has phone records and other records of tens and tens and tens of millions of Americans who have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with terrorism. I happen to believe terrorism is a serious issue. I want our law enforcement people to be vigorous and aggressive in going after terrorists.

But we can do that without undermining the basic constitutional rights that have made this a great and free country. So I hope that we re- visit this issue of the USA Patriot Act and that we constrain what the government can do.

So I want kids out there, I want every American to know when you get on the telephone, the government is not going to have records of who you were talking to and what time you were talking. I don't want that kind of feeling to inculcate Americans that this --


MORGAN: It's not -- right. It's not just phone calls, though. It's e-mails, photos.

SANDERS: That's right. That's right.

MORGAN: Video, audio, documents, connection logs, everything. What has been going on here in the name of terrorism investigation is so all-encompassing, it almost embraces every single aspect of every American's life online.

SANDERS: Bottom line is if we believe in freedom, if we believe that you and I have the right to live our lives without the government knowing what we are doing, then we have got to have a serious debate on this issue and, in fact, we've got to change the law.

MORGAN: How can you believe in freedom, do you think? I mean, try and play devil's advocate for me. How can you believe in freedom and boast about, you know, fighting for freedom when you have secret courts, secret operations like PRISM, secret investigations which go into every spit and cough of every American's life without any member of the American public knowing about it. That's not freedom, is it?

SANDERS: Not to my mind it's not. And that's why I voted against the Patriot Act. I think what the American people have got to rise up and say, look, yes, we want protection from terrorism. I happen to believe that's a serious issue. There are people who want to do us harm. But I am absolutely convinced that we can do it in a way without accumulating the records of tens and tens and tens of millions of innocent Americans. And that's what we have got to do.

MORGAN: Senator, you're an independent. The "New York Times" editorial board said tonight the administration has now lost all credibility. Has what Barack Obama has been doing, and his administration, not just with all these revelations in the last 24 hours but also the IRS and going after A.P. and FOX News and so on, when you put it all together, is what he's doing worse than anything George W. Bush did?

SANDERS: I think Bush started the process and what I had hoped and I think millions of Americans had hoped, that Barack Obama, who knew something about constitutional law, would not only change Bush's policies in a number of ways, but certainly with regard to civil liberties. And I think it's fair to say that many of us are deeply disappointed that he did not end many of those programs and provide a lot more transparency than he has.

MORGAN: No. But you could argue he's right to say he would be different. He's worse.

Anyway, Senator, thank you very much indeed for joining me.

SANDERS: Thank you.

MORGAN: When we come back, how far do you want your government to go to protect you? How much of your privacy are you willing to give up? A heated debate on the big questions of the night.




SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I'm a Verizon customer. It doesn't bother me one bit for the National Security Administration to have my phone number because what they're trying to do is find out what terrorist groups we know about and individuals and who the hell they're calling.


MORGAN: Senator Lindsey Graham today defending the NSA. He's a frequent critic of the Obama White House. This time he's on the president's side.

This is a country that's grappling with the question how far should a government go to protect its citizens.

Joining me now for that debate is attorney Alan Dershowitz and Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director and CNN law enforcement officer.

Welcome to you both.

Alan, let me start with you. I mean, I have to laugh at Senator Lindsey Graham there, same Lindsey Graham who abjectly refuses to even countenance universal background checks or any kind of gun register because of the terrible invasion into privacy of American lives, and there he is basically endorsing the single greatest invasion into privacy of American lives you could possibly imagine.

ALAN DERSHOWITZ, LAWYER: There's hypocrisy on both sides. Look, the man on the top of your show, Glenn Greenwald, does a terrible disservice. I'm also opposed to this intrusion but he makes it sound like the Obama administration is doing it in order to go after people like you and me and ordinary Americans.

MORGAN: How do we know they're not?

DERSHOWITZ: Well, we know they're not. And if --

MORGAN: Do we?

DERSHOWITZ: Yes. They're not going -- they're going --


MORGAN: Didn't you know that they were targeting Tea Party members through the IRS?

DERSHOWITZ: And we still don't know --

MORGAN: And we're shocked by that.

DERSHOWITZ: Still don't whether the White House --

MORGAN: We didn't know they were secretly targeting journalists at A.P. and FOX News.

DERSHOWITZ: And remember there is room for secrets and journalists who deliberately publish classified information are in fact violating the law. The road to hell may well be paved with good intentions but let's at least recognize good intentions when they're there. I do not believe the Obama administration has set out to try to find out what its political opponents are trying to do the way the Nixon administration did during Watergate. I believe --

MORGAN: You're very -- very trusting, Alan.

DERSHOWITZ: No, no. I'm not trusting. I don't -- I strongly oppose this system. And I think it should be stopped. And the big problem is we don't know what we don't know. But to overstate it the way Greenwald overstates it and overstates everything, he has a long history of exaggeration because he represents a radical ideology, doesn't help the problem. We have to resolve it by nuanced debate, by giving appropriate weight to the need to have some secrets.

MORGAN: Right.

DERSHOWITZ: The need to do some investigation and let's balance.

MORGAN: Let me bring in Tom Fuentes. Leads neatly to you, Tom. There is obviously an argument, of course there is, that a government has to do what it can to try and thwart future terror attacks. They have already indicated today that they thwarted one through this process, maybe they thwarted others. We don't know about that. But at what point do you draw the line, do you think?

TOM FUENTES, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I think, Piers, one of the big problems here has been that our society, the American people, and the Congress, and the media, have basically said to the authorities, to the FBI, to the CIA, and other intelligence services, we will not tolerate one single terrorist death, and that's the problem we've had, is that we had the terrible events of 9/11 and 12 years later, you know, if one or two or four or five people get killed in a terrorist attack, people are outraged, the FBI dropped the ball, why didn't they know about this, how come they can't read the bad guys' minds.

MORGAN: That's a good point.

FUENTES: So we've created a -- a situation for the authorities to basically know they will not be excused or there's no explanation if a terrorist act occurred, it had to be because the government dropped the ball.

MORGAN: You see, I think that's a very good point. And what it comes down to, Alan, isn't it, it comes down to trust. I think Obama's big problem is that this comes so soon --

DERSHOWITZ: Absolutely.

MORGAN: -- after first Benghazi.


MORGAN: And then particularly the IRS scandal, because there you have information being collated in an apparently normal trustworthy manner, and then being abused, and the fear here is that, you know, they've done it once, they'll do it again.

DERSHOWITZ: It's an absolutely legitimate fear. Absolutely legitimate. But what we have to do, though, is take a deep breath. We have to examine what's going on. We don't know what we don't know. If it turns out that in order to focus on a particular individual, you have to go and get a specific warrant, that gives a level of protection. I don't like the secret court.


MORGAN: Here's the thing. Once you have that information.


MORGAN: And they can get anything they want by the look of it, imagine come the next election, right? Imagine Chris Christie is the candidate.

DERSHOWITZ: Right. Right.

MORGAN: And they suddenly one person lower down the food chain as with the IRS thinks I wonder what Chris Christie has been up to on the Internet and finds something damaging. Once it's there, it's there to be abused.

DERSHOWITZ: We need to have firewalls. We need to create balances. We need to create -- the Supreme Court the other day said you can get DNA from people who are arrested for crime. If the only DNA you could get is that which is like a fingerprint, that's one thing but if you can then use it to go and find medical records, we need firewalls. We need safety. We shouldn't ever trust. But we need to think hard about this and strike the appropriate balance. We shouldn't overreact by taking away from our government essential technological powers that do in fact protect us.


MORGAN: Tom Fuentes, is the biggest problem here new technology in the sense this wouldn't have been even an issue 15 years ago because even if you'd wanted to, there wouldn't have been an Internet or any of that kind of stuff available to invade. So it's kind of a symptom, really, of modern times, isn't it?

FUENTES: Well, that's absolutely true, that you would not have had this capability. I know during my career with the FBI, we didn't have this ability to get such huge quantities of data so quickly.

But don't forget also, Piers, these companies have the data so whether or not it ends up in an NSA data base somewhere so that it can be reviewed at a future time if an issue comes up, all of these companies have that.

MORGAN: That's a good point.

FUENTES: They're tracking your spending every day. They're tracking everything, where you go, what you do now. When you get on your computer tonight, when you get home on your personal computer, those pop-up ads come up for you. They're geared toward the way you've spent money on the Internet, the way you've shopped, the sites that you've visited. So these companies already have that.

MORGAN: OK. Now you're freaking me out --


MORGAN: Now you're freaking out, Tom.

DERSHOWITZ: There's a big difference --

MORGAN: I think I'm shutting my computer.

DERSHOWITZ: But there's a big difference between 15 different companies trying to use the data for their own personal use, and the government having it in one place.

MORGAN: Yes. Yes.

DERSHOWITZ: Having it in a bank. That gives too much power to the government.

MORGAN: OK. It's a fascinating debate. I'm sure there will be more revelations and more debate to come.

Alan Dershowitz, Tom Fuentes, thank you both very much indeed.

Coming up, a protest and a prayer. The valedictorian whose defiant show of faith is going viral tonight. I speak to his father next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: A display of faith stuns a crowd at a graduation in South Carolina this weekend. Liberty High School banned prayers during the ceremony but valedictorian Roy Costner IV took the issue into his own hands, ripping up his prepared speech and using the big moment to deliver the "Lord's Prayer." Watch this.


ROY COSTNER IV, LIBERTY HIGH VALEDICTORIAN: Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done.


As we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.


MORGAN: The young man's father, Roy Costner III, joins me now live.

So, Roy, what was your feeling? Did you know your son was going to do this?

ROY COSTNER III, VALEDICTORIAN'S FATHER: I actually -- I did know that he was going to do it. He and I talked about a couple of days before and he wanted me to look over his speech, and I did, and as a parent, my first thought was, you really need to think about this, I want you to be responsible in how you're doing it.

MORGAN: Explain to me why the school district had said there can't be any prayers in the school.

COSTNER: Well, originally, the Freedom from Religion Organization contacted the school district and they wanted to remove prayer from the school board meetings. Originally, the student would come and would lead prayer there. Then they -- because of that, they took a different look at the policy and changed everything. So my son and I were in a School Improvement Council Meeting and the principal said, we're not going to have any prayer at all. Matter of fact, we're going to move the back alert service away from the school and there will be two minutes of silence at the beginning.

And my son came to me with his speech that had the "Lord's Prayer" in it. And I said look, if you're doing this for political reasons, don't. But if you're doing it because you feel led to do it and you feel this is a part of your speech, then I want you to do it and I'll stand by you. He said good. Good enough for me. That's all I needed to hear.

MORGAN: And we heard the reaction from the audience there, obviously very supportive. Let me ask you, on the side of it, if it had been a Muslim student who stood up and read a passage from the Quran, say, would you have been as supportive? Would the audience have been as supportive?

COSTNER: Well, I would have absolutely been as supportive. Because to me at that point it was a freedom of speech --

MORGAN: Right. About any religion.

COSTNER: Yes. It doesn't matter.

MORGAN: But how do you think it would have played out?

COSTNER: I don't think he would -- something like that would have had that kind of a reaction. But it may because I mean that -- my son has been inundated with, you know, phone calls and well wishers, including messages from atheists who say, you know what, don't agree with you, but good for you for standing up for what you believe in.

MORGAN: This is all about the separation of church and state, obviously, but there's also a wider issue that religion is slowly going out of fashion in America. There are far less churchgoers today than there were 25 years ago, say.

What do you make of that? How important is it for people like your son maybe to stand up on behalf of the young and say what he did?

COSTNER: I think it's incredibly important. I'm overwhelmed with pride. In today's world, I think there are a lot of Christians who are part-time Christians, who just kind of say they are but they aren't really. I think that there are a lot of folks that are out there that really want something to hold on to for hope, and I think that's why this speech had such an impact, because all of a sudden, you know what, he's speaking for me, too, because I want to be able to do that.

MORGAN: Well, he's a gutsy guy. I shouldn't be surprised because your name is Roy Costner, as is his, and you are related --

COSTNER: Well, yes.

MORGAN: To Kevin Costner.

COSTNER: My grandfather, his grandfather are brothers. We don't hang out --

MORGAN: So you're his cousin.

COSTNER: I'm a cousin.

MORGAN: Which makes your son also a cousin.

COSTNER: A cousin, yes.

MORGAN: So one of my favorite movies, "Tin Cup," and Kevin Costner in that movie showed incredible courage against all, he has to beat Don Johnson.

COSTNER: And his name was Roy. MORGAN: Exactly.


Exactly my punch line.


Roy Costner, great to see you. Do send your son my very best.

COSTNER: I absolutely will.

MORGAN: It's a gutsy thing to do. I'm right behind him. Completely ridiculous banning the "Lord's Prayer" from school. What the hell is going on. Nice to see you.

COSTNER: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming next, will Christine Quinn be the first female mayor of New York? The candidate is on the grill talking about her historic campaign, her struggles with alcohol and bulimia, and more importantly, how is she going to stop the Weiner?


MORGAN: Reports that the NSA has been reading the private messages of millions of Americans raising new questions about how far government should go to stop terror attacks. These questions are literally a matter of life and death in a city like New York.

On "The Grill" tonight, Christine Quinn. A woman who wants to be New York's first female mayor. She's speaker of the New York City Council. And the author of "With Patience and Fortitude: A Memoir."

And we'll come to that memoir in a minute, Christine, but let's talk about this issue of the NSA because to me, this looks like the single greatest attack on civil liberties and privacy of Americans I have ever seen.

CHRISTINE QUINN, SPEAKER OF THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL: Look, I understand how it can look that way. And I think --

MORGAN: You agree?

QUINN: Well, I think Mr. Dershowitz got it right. We don't know what this is because we don't know what we don't know. And it is really incumbent upon the Senate and the Congress to answer the questions about what exactly has happened here and what the breadth and depth of it is. Now I also understand as someone who is an elected official in New York and wants to be mayor that in the world we live in, we have to do monitoring. We have to do surveillance. It's important for us to be doing that to see --

MORGAN: Where do you draw the line?

QUINN: That's the question. MORGAN: Where would you draw the line?

QUINN: Well, I don't know exactly what they've done here. So I can't tell you where I would draw the line and what the NSA has done.


MORGAN: Well, what we do know --

QUINN: And what PRISM is.

MORGAN: What we know is they've been going in and they've got all the phone records, we think of almost every American that uses a cell phone. They've also gone to nine different Internet servers, gone in and helped themselves to people's e-mails, pictures, social, Facebook posts, and so on and so on, Internet history, of whoever they want.

Now the argument is of course that some of these people may well be legitimate bad people. When they take out their inbox, they're going to get all sorts of people who might be completely innocent, nothing to do with it.

QUINN: Well, look, if you believe somebody is a legitimate criminal, terrorist bad guy, as you've said, then we want -- we need law enforcement to be looking at their information. We need to be doing it in a way so that if they find something out about someone else who happens to be corresponding with that person, that that's separate.

MORGAN: If you become mayor --

QUINN: But if you see that --

MORGAN: I live in New York, if you become mayor, are you going to start snooping on my e-mails?

QUINN: Look, the city of New York, I don't believe, has that power or will ever have that power.

MORGAN: Would you like it to?

QUINN: No. I don't think that's appropriate for the city of New York. But it is appropriate with the right balance for the federal government. But I do want the city of New York to be doing the type of monitoring and surveillance that is within the power of a municipal government at times working with the federal government.


QUINN: Because the biggest job I'll have as mayor is to keep New Yorkers safe and alive.

MORGAN: Let's move to the big question for you in the mayoral campaign.


MORGAN: How do you stop the Weiner?


QUINN: Well, I think I'm doing OK in that regard. So far, let me tell you. But --

MORGAN: I mean, you're still ahead of him but he's creeping up, isn't he?

QUINN: You know, look --

MORGAN: The Weiner is coming.


It's not my fault he's called Weiner. That's his name.

QUINN: You know, this race, all joking aside, in my opinion, isn't about who is or isn't in the race, the other candidates. It's about the needs of New Yorkers and making sure the next mayor is somebody who has a real record of experience dealing with those needs, education, housing, job creation and a vision to keep delivering on those problems.

MORGAN: Is it appropriate for New Yorkers to vote as their mayor somebody who sent naked pictures of himself over the Internet to random women?

QUINN: Look, that's for New Yorkers to decide. But what I know --

MORGAN: What do you think as a New Yorker?

QUINN: I know New Yorkers are going to vote for the candidate, me, who has the longest record of delivering for them because what they care about is that -- they've gotten and are going to get more housing. That is tenants which is three-quarters of New Yorkers, that they have more rights as tenants now because I have been speaker than they ever did before.

People who care about reproductive choice want a mayor who is the toughest defender of that and the laws in New York now are the toughest they can be, because of what I've done as speaker. That's what New Yorkers care about. And they want a mayor who can deliver for them. And I'm the only one.


QUINN: I don't care who gets in. Who has that record.

MORGAN: They also want a mayor with patience and fortitude, which leads me to your book. It's a terrific memoir.

QUINN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Very poignant because you talk a lot about your relationship with your mother. She died obviously when I think you were 16 years old.

QUINN: Sixteen. Of breast cancer.

MORGAN: In the early '90s. And it propelled you into a sort of downward spiral of bulimia and also alcoholism which you eventually came through. But I mean, pretty startling to read all that. How did you come through it?

QUINN: Well, you know, it's very tough when you lose a parent when you're young and she was sick for about 10 years so most of my time with her, she was sick and it's hard because you feel as a child that somehow you're responsible, even though you know you're not. And I came out of it and got through it because of what she taught me.

You know, we weren't together all that long but she made it clear to me that my job was to persevere, to make the world a better place and eventually I did what she always did, asked for help, got help and kept moving forward.

MORGAN: Do you still have an issue with food?

QUINN: I don't -- I mean, everybody in the world has issues with food, right?

MORGAN: You look fantastic to me.

QUINN: Thank you very much.

MORGAN: I'm just curious. Have you been --

QUINN: No, no.

MORGAN: Do you ever recover fully from bulimia?

QUINN: You know, I'm not bulimic now. Not actively bulimic. Anybody who has any kind of addiction challenge will tell you it's always part of them just like a diabetic, whether they're needing insulin or not.

MORGAN: You're like in permanent recovery.

QUINN: And that's good because it makes you focused on who you are and how to be a better person and it makes you realize that every New Yorker out there with a challenge is always dealing with it, but in that struggle, we're better, stronger, more focused people and I hope folks read this book and see that somebody who is successful had challenges and got through them and that they know that if they're in those really bad dark moments, there's light at the end of the tunnel. That's not just a phrase. It's the truth.

MORGAN: Well, you are living proof.

QUINN: I got through it.

MORGAN: You are the light at the end of the tunnel. Lovely to see you again.

QUINN: Thank you. Good to see you.

MORGAN: Christine Quinn. It's called "With Patience and Fortitude." A cracking memoir. Good to see you.

QUINN: Thank you.

MORGAN: Coming next, a Texas man kills an escort girl for stealing his money. You won't believe what the jury says about it. They just released him. Off you go, mate.

We're breaking the news on that story and the rest of the headlines. That's coming after the break.


MORGAN: A Texas man is free tonight after a jury found him not guilty of murder, saying he was justified in shooting and killing an escort who took his money but then refused to have sex with him.

The jury says Ezekiel Gilbert was just trying to get back stolen property. And in Texas it's OK to use deadly force in that situation.

And breaking the news tonight, Marc Lamont Hill, HuffPost Live host and Columbia University professor, and CNN contributor and author, Margaret Hoover.

Marc Lamont Hill, I read this story. I want to talk about this with you guys because I was so outraged, just outraged that in modern America, anywhere in America, this kind of nonsense can happen.

MARC LAMONT HILL, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: Yes, this is ridiculous. And this speaks, again, to why gun -- people who approach Second Amendment are so marginal in this country at this point. Again I support gun rights, but when you can't yield on even the most commonsense laws like this stupid Texas law that says you can use a gun to retrieve stolen property -- if your property is lost in a theft, according to Texas law, you can get a gun and go shoot the person.

That is ridiculous. They're saying essentially that you can use a gun to -- to hurt somebody to use deadly force even when your life is not threatened. That's a ridiculous and dangerous law.

MORGAN: But Margaret Hoover, you're pro-gun, you've been berating me for the last two weeks about guns. You support -- what's happened here?


MORGAN: Yes or no?

HOOVER: Under Texas law, this is perfectly legal.

MORGAN: You support it?

HOOVER: And a jury -- and a jury acquitted the guy. I mean, they deliberated for 11 hours, the guy served four years in jail. (CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: The guy shot a woman dead because he's paid her --

HOOVER: He didn't shoot her -- she -- by the way, was alive for seven months and then died.

MORGAN: And then she died. My apologies for that.

HILL: He paralyzed -- he paralyzed her first.

MORGAN: He just paralyzed her first then she died. My apologies. Let's clarify that.

This guy paid her $150 for sex, whatever went down, when they were together --

HOOVER: She didn't -- he didn't get it.

MORGAN: She didn't deliver the sex.

HOOVER: And then he went back to recover her $150.

MORGAN: He then used that as a justification to shoot her dead.

HOOVER: It sounds to me like you have not a problem with guns but a problem with Texas state law.

MORGAN: I've got a problem with both.

HOOVER: Both. Yes. Yes. OK.

MORGAN: And this is exactly why I've got a problem with the American gun laws. Because this should not be permissible in any civilized society.

HOOVER: Look --

MORGAN: You shoot a woman dead because she may or may not have taken $150?

HOOVER: I can't say --

MORGAN: And a jury, and a courtroom in America, allows you to just walk out and go home to do it again?

HOOVER: Look, I can't say I agree with the Texas law, either. But when it went down --

MORGAN: Do you not?

HOOVER: No, I don't agree with the Texas law. But what went down is actually an entirely consistent ruling within the -- within the boundaries of Texas law.

MORGAN: So you're not angry about it. HOOVER: Yes, yes --

HILL: But it's also -- but it's also not the spirit of -- it's also not the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law wasn't that I could pay an escort, and she says, you know, I'm an escort, I'm not a prostitute. He says, well, I think -- the implicit narrative was that we were going to have sex and I want my money back, or I'm going to shoot you if you don't give it to me. That isn't what the architect designed. That's a little different and so is stealing my wallet and running away with it. Right?

I mean, it's a whole different principle here. All of it is bad, though. We need to change these gun laws or else we're going to have more like these places like Florida with stand your ground. Places like Texas with this. They're moving in the wrong directions, making your country a warzone.

MORGAN: And just -- and also I have to say, a sort of rather dark laughing to stock when people around the world restores like that. I think what on earth is America doing. Sorry, it has to be said.

Let's turn to Sarah Murnaghan. She's the little girl who got the adult organ transplant addition to the list last night. And she got it for 10 days.

Margaret, you know, you're about to have a baby yourself. If this is your daughter, do you think there should ever been a debate about this? I mean, shouldn't kids get priority over these kinds of chance? Because I feel quite strongly, as a father of four kids, that they should.

HOOVER: I mean, I'm glad the federal judge ruled the way it did. And frankly when these rules were written in Britain, there were actually far more child organs available than there were even adults organs. And so yes, it's a good fix. I'm glad she's on top of the list.

Do you know also reading this, I found that there are seven people, only seven children on the list nationally in the United States? Actually it's a huge advertisement for organ donors.

MORGAN: Right.

HOOVER: I think look, everybody should just go sign up to be an organ donor.

MORGAN: I mean, Margaret, it's a complicated thing. I have an eminent doctor on last night explaining, you know, obviously for her to be put on this list when the law currently doesn't allow it, somebody else has to come off of that in terms of priority. And that's another family and so on.

But in almost every other form of medicine that I know, young people would always get a priority. Here, they seem to get the opposite. And that's why I feel quite strongly that they should make this law more permanent. HILL: No, I think you're right. And again, this goes down to what laws were intended for. I don't think this law was intended to punish small children. Again, there was a bigger pool of child organs back then. The idea was that we needed to create separate pools so that everyone would have equal access to saving their own lives, like having their lives saved. But, in this case, obviously the right thing was done. This is a great story. I'm so excited to hear that this young child has the opportunity to be in the pool and maybe have --

MORGAN: And another boy, another boy tonight is also being allowed to have an adult donation, I figured lung as well. So that's two of them. And hopefully they'll get what they need and we'll both go on to live full lives.

One final point. This story I had earlier about this high school valedictorian speech, are you in favor of it, Margaret?

HOOVER: Absolutely. One hundred percent. Look, what you have here is a group called Freedom from Religion who's out in Wisconsin who's proselytizing atheism and they're sending out legal threats, basically, to school districts across the country. This is a valedictorian and his graduation speech absolutely capitalizing on freedom of speech and, by the way, being one of the most religiously observant places in the United States.

MORGAN: Well, this may -- this will be her biggest (INAUDIBLE).

HILL: Yes.

MORGAN: A few times with the Republican nominee race. And the idea that they could actually get away with banning prayers from a school, though, I find quite extraordinary, Marc.

HILL: I think it's -- I mean, look, there's nothing wrong with practicing your own -- there's nothing wrong with practicing your own religion but at a ceremony for a graduation, everyone doesn't have to be subjected to -- it's not just religion, it's Christian religion. If that kid had broke out and sort of Fatihah which is the opening of the Quran --

MORGAN: Subjected to the "Lord's Prayer"?


HILL: I'm sorry, what did you --

MORGAN: Subjected to the "Lord's Prayer."

HILL: Yes, subjected --

HOOVER: Marc --

HILL: Yes, subjected to the "Lord's Prayer." People have freedom of religion, people also have freedom from religion. I happen to like to the "Lord's Prayer." I'm find with it. But if you're not you shouldn't have to sit through a ceremony where that becomes -- in a public school where that becomes part --

MORGAN: OK. OK. I've got to leave it there. Come back soon you two. And this is warming up nicely.

HILL: God bless you.

MORGAN: Yes. And God bless you, too.


God bless you, too.

We'll be right back after the break with a weather update from Chad Myers.


MORGAN: Quick update on tropical storm Andrea that made landfall this evening in Florida where at least six tornadoes were reported. Stay with CNN for the very latest on that story all night --