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PIERS MORGAN LIVE

Santa Monica Survivor's Story; Interview with Ron Paul; NSA Leaker: Hero or Traitor?

Aired June 10, 2013 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: We're taking your questions and comments. Tweet us @piersmorganlive.

Tonight the incredible story of a woman who came face to face with a killer. Take a look at this extraordinary video moments after Debra Fine risked her life trying to stop a Santa Monica rampage killer. He shot her four times yet she survived. Now she says this about people who believe that guns will make it safer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEBRA FINE, SURVIVED SANTA MONICA SHOOTING RAMPAGE: Anybody who goes out to buy a gun thinking that they could defend themselves against somebody like this is crazy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: She joins me exclusively in just a moment. Also, our version of a town hall. How many of your privacy are you willing to give up? The government tracks your calls and e-mails. How much safer will you feel?

I'll talk to whistleblowers, a former head of the CIA and Ron Paul who says that NSA leaker Edward Snowden has done a great service for Americans. On the other side, our own Jeffrey Toobin who says Snowden is no hero and should go to jail.

And on "The Grill" tonight, Robert Zimmerman. My exclusive with the brother of the man who shot Trayvon Martin.

This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE.

We have a lot to get through tonight. But I want to begin with the Santa Monica rampage shootings. Police say that John Zawahri shot his father and brother and set their house on fire. He then shot strangers in cars and on the campus of Santa Monica College, ultimately killing a total of five people.

Debra Fine survived his rampage. She was shot four times and she joins me now exclusively with her husband, Russell.

Welcome to both of you.

Debra, what an extraordinary thing. I actually have a home not far from where all this happened. It's one of the last places you'd expect to come face to face with a mass shooter like this. What was going through your mind? What were you doing right up to the moment you saw this man?

FINE: I was -- I'm an executive, and I've run several companies, but I've taken time off to be with my children. And I was at a singing lesson and laying down tracks to send to Carson Daly for "The Voice."

MORGAN: Really?

D. FINE: And that's why I was in the area. Yes, I was.

(LAUGHTER)

MORGAN: There you were, you were just driving along on your way to an audition and then suddenly, you see what?

D. FINE: I turn the corner and what I saw was a man with black hair in a Kevlar vest with a black shirt and a rifle standing on the corner, on the left-hand corner, motioning a girl in her car to come forward. And she did, but he still had his gun trained on her, and he was so intent on looking at her, and she started to get out of the car.

I got angry and I thought, why isn't he leaving her alone? She's doing what he's asking. She's pulling over. And she started to get out of the car, I accelerated, and when his gaze went from her to me, what I saw in his eyes was terrifying, because that was not a human being. That was somebody who was going out to execute.

He had no higher functioning going on that I could tell, just absolute execution. And when he turned his gaze to me I realized that that's what he was going to do, and when he shot into the car, I hit the curb that he was on. And the bullet entered -- two bullets entered my left shoulder and threw me over to the side.

And then he just stood in front of the car as he was walking to her, to carjack her car and he just kept shooting and shooting. And I felt the bullets go into my other side, it crossed my eye. It tore my ear in half, so it was very, very close. And I just ducked and I just remember laying on the passenger side thinking, please stop. Just please stop shooting. And -- but I needed to play dead so he wouldn't come back.

And then I had my cell phone and I was calling my husband and just praying that somebody would come out to the car to help me which she did. They did, as soon as he left.

MORGAN: And, Russell, I mean, what was the first that you heard about this?

RUSSELL FINE, DEBRA FINE'S HUSBAND: I'm sitting in my office, my phone rings, it says my wife is calling, I pick it up, expecting a normal conversation about what time I'm going to be home and what we're going to do with the kids that night. And I hear my wife yelling she's been shot. And it's a call you never want to get.

MORGAN: It certainly isn't.

Debra, I mean, what kind of gun was he using?

D. FINE: He had an automatic rifle. And it was very obvious that it was. And that's why at first I thought he might be with the SWAT team, because I couldn't understand how a civilian would have a rifle like that. And he had magazine after magazine of ammunition, so I thought he was official.

MORGAN: We know now officially that he had a handgun, but that he also had a 223 Bushmaster AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, which is exactly the same type of weapon that was used by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook and the same weapon used by James Holmes, the shooter at Aurora.

When you come face to face with that, had you ever as a couple had much thought about guns before this?

D. FINE: I know a bit about guns and I have shotguns at a range, so I know what they look like, but I've never seen somebody out on the street with an automatic rifle the way it was -- it was aimed at first the girl that he hijacked and then myself. I have never seen that, of course.

MORGAN: I think I mean --

D. FINE: It was somebody on the SWAT team.

MORGAN: I think, just to clarify and to be accurate about it, is I think it was a semiautomatic, but I fired both the semiautomatic Bushmaster AR-15 and the automatic, and I would imagine from what I experienced that at close range there's not much difference. They fire incredibly quickly, don't they?

D. FINE: They fire incredibly quickly. Eight bullets entered the car right away. Two hit me on the left side, three more hit me on the right side. And the rest just exploded into the seats and the shrapnel went across my chest and one bullet went through my ear. So it was very fast.

MORGAN: I believe, Debra, that you actually have the shirt with you that you were wearing which has your blood on it, and obviously -- a hideous memento of this awful, awful experience. Have you got it there?

I mean, Russell --

D. FINE: I do. It's -- I didn't realize that I had this until yesterday when I got back from the hospital. But when they picked me up and they put me in the ambulance, this was all that was left of my T-shirt. So this is where the two bullets went in to my left side and then it just tore across my chest and all the shrapnel went across my chest. And then on the other side is where the other three bullets went in. So this was all that was left of my shirt in a matter of three seconds, four seconds.

And I just -- I can't believe this was literally torn off my body. The force tore it off my body within three seconds.

MORGAN: You must feel -- I mean, I feel it's a miracle you survived. You must feel incredibly lucky to be alive, don't you?

D. FINE: I feel very lucky to be alive.

MORGAN: You also, Debra, were --

D. FINE: I'm glad. I'm --

MORGAN: I just wanted to say, I -- you were a real hero. I mean, what you did may well have saved the life of the other woman in the car. She gave an interview earlier to my colleague Anderson Cooper. And he asked her about you. Let's watch a little piece of this.

D. FINE: I'm so glad that I was able to help her when I saw her being pulled over to the side, and I saw her getting out of the car, and he was aiming at her. I knew that he was going to shoot her. So that's why I sped up to get in between the two of us. And thank God I was moving so much in the car that he didn't actually kill me because I think I'm the only person that he shot that he didn't kill.

And she and I are the only two people that survived. And I can only imagine what her -- after seeing me shot, having him get into the car with her, my heart goes out to her, I'm so glad that I could be there for her. It's been very painful. But I'm very glad that I could help her in anyway.

R. FINE: In a strange twist of fate, I think that this event that occurred with Debra, also raised the alert about this event to police before he'd time to quietly get himself on to the campus and perhaps execute the plan that he had been thinking about for quite a while. So by the time he got to the campus, there had been time to mobilize, so I personally believe my wife hopefully saved many more people than just the one.

MORGAN: Well, she certainly did. And the clip I was talking about that we have got it here now. This is from an interview Anderson did with the woman who you came upon about to be carjacked. Listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA SISK, SURVIVED SANTA MONICA SHOOTING CARJACKING: I tried to escape from him, but the direction I was facing was right into a cement wall, and I would have had to turn around and go back past him, so I entered the campus on sidewalks that were pedestrians sidewalks and drove through the campus, wildly screaming at people, go the other way, there's a gunman, go the other way, and then I got to where I couldn't drive any more, and I jumped out and I ran into a building. But I panicked that he had a bomb, and so I decided I should get far away from there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Absolutely extraordinary. What both of you had to go through. She did say later in the interview that she'd like to meet up with you. Would you be prepared to do that?

D. FINE: I would love to meet up with her. I would. We both went through something that was very profound, and I -- again, I'm so glad that I could help her and what she still had to go through after that was terrifying, I'm sure, him shooting while she was driving. So I'd love to reach out to her and to meet her.

R. FINE: When we got to the hospital, Piers, we didn't know the extent of what had happened. We were not aware of where he had gone or that he had carjacked this woman, we just -- we knew what Debra had done and we knew what had happened. And all Debra kept saying in the hospital is, does anyone know what happened to that woman that he was pointing the gun at for an hour until we found out she was alive.

MORGAN: Yes. Truly another miraculous escape.

Finally, Debra, I just -- I don't want to harp on about this, but I'm going to for a moment. And that is just how you feel about somebody like this who we now know had had mental health issues, was known to the authorities, is able to arm himself with this killing machine, assault rifle, the same one used in Sandy Hook and Aurora. He's able to arm himself with 1,300 rounds of ammunition and a handgun.

Dress up like he's in some kind of military combat and just march around, carjacking, setting fire to homes, shooting people, people he knew, people he didn't know. And then went to a school where he could have caused absolute mayhem, and fortunately didn't because of the speed of people responding.

How do you feel as an American that this is continuing to happen again and again and again. But nobody in Washington seems to care enough to do something about it?

D. FINE: I've always been very neutral in terms of gun control. So what you're hearing is no agenda whatsoever. But how I feel about it is, how was he able to get this weapon? How was he able to amass so much ammunition? He had had a record that was a juvie record so it couldn't be checked into, and yet we still don't know what he did at the age of -- you know, under 18.

So my question is, when is it going to stop? When is enough enough? When have enough children been shot? When have enough schools been raided and just when is it going to stop? And what is it going to take?

This was in Santa Monica, this was just a normal day. Is it going to take -- God forbid, but is it going to take a senator to get shot? I don't know what it's going to take, but I would have to say, enough is enough. Over the last year, what, seven times this has happened? It's enough.

R. FINE: Clearly the system failed.

MORGAN: Russell, please, have your say.

R. FINE: I would just say that, you know, this was a -- this was a huge tragedy for everyone involved, for the shooter, for his family, for everybody who was injured or passed away. You know, the system totally failed here. It failed to keep someone from arming himself who should not have been armed. It failed to help him before he got to a situation where that was the only road that he even felt like taking. I mean, there were a number of places this could have been stopped.

And yet here we are at the end of this with a tragedy that I just have to say, where were all the safeguards that stops something like this from happening.

MORGAN: Well, it has to stop, and people have to be speaking loudly about it, and it must not be allowed to just go quiet. And Washington has to wake up to the fact that you, Debra, could have lost your life on Friday. Laura Sisk could have lost her life, others did lose their lives. And this insanity has got to stop.

But, Debra, I just want to say on behalf of everyone how grateful we all are to you for your heroic actions on that day. You showed true heroism. You're a great American and we all appreciate it very much indeed. Thank you very much for joining me.

R. FINE: Thank you.

D. FINE: Thank you very much, Piers.

MORGAN: A remarkable woman.

When we come back, Ron Paul, why he says Americans should be thankful to NSA leaker Edward Snowden and former CIA director James Woolsey.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: I had access to, you know, the full rosters of everyone working at the NSA. The entire intelligence community and undercover assets all around the world. The locations of every station. We have what their missions are and so forth. But I sitting at my desk certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal e-mail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MORGAN: Chilling words from the NSA leaker, Edward Snowden. Out with himself in a "Guardian" newspaper interview as the source of leaks that unleashed a storm of controversy in the country and around the world. He revealed massive -- NSA surveillance program, to collect phone record and intimate data on a scale that many people never imagined.

Snowden is a former CIA employee and also worked for the computer consulting firm, Booz Allen Hamilton.

Well, joining me now is James Woolsey. He's a former director of Central Intelligence and a former vice president and officer of Booz Allen Hamilton. He's currently chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy.

Welcome to you, Ambassador. What is your reaction to Edward Snowden's decision to leak this information?

AMB. R. JAMES WOOLSEY, FORMER DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE: I think Mr. Snowden had no right to arrogate to himself the right to decide where to strike the balance between liberty and security. President Obama pointed out a couple of days ago that this balance has to be struck and that the court system, particularly the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, the executive branch, the president, the attorney general, and the Congress, with the reviews by the congressional committees involved, every few months.

This has been a very precisely crafted system for making the decision about where to strike the balance between liberty and security. And Snowden arrogated that entire decision to himself. He decided that it was him who got to strike that balance, not the elected representatives that we vote for, not the president, not the courts.

And I think for arrogance and improper behavior, the -- arrogating to yourself that kind of power when you're supposed to be taking care of your duties in the intelligence community is stunningly wrong and since he's confessed to the crime, I hope that when we are able to take him into custody, he's locked up for the rest of his life.

MORGAN: What do you believe the consequences of his decision could be at their worst?

WOOLSEY: Well, the problem is, that once you start explaining to al Qaeda and Hezbollah how you are operating, they can avoid what you're doing, and you can't explain to the American people without explaining to Hezbollah and al Qaeda. Once you're sitting there blabbing about how these decisions are made, you have decided you're going to tell our enemies -- those who want to kill us, those who want to fly airplanes into buildings and all the rest -- how this all works.

And you've decided that yourself if you're Snowden. So he could well be responsible in the future for many, many deaths. We don't know and we may never know for sure, because one doesn't know what goes into individual decisions by the terrorists. But Snowden has made it easier for them to kill Americans and others.

MORGAN: Isn't the reality, that if you're in al Qaeda, of course, you imagine that the American intelligence agencies are probably trying to check your e-mail or your Internet traffic or your cell phones? I mean, I've watched dramas on TV for years, where this exact thing is done. It's not a trade secret.

What is concerning many Americans is the sheer quantity of private data that appears to be being amassed by the government without anyone outside of a few select people in the judiciary, the executive, and Congress, knowing about it, and it may be a symptom of modern times. But you know, I feel uncomfortable that people I don't know know everything about my online activity. Why should they? WOOLSEY: Well, they don't know everything about your online activity, because it's illegal --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But they could, right?

WOOLSEY: It's illegal for them to take some steps with respect to it such as to get into the substance of the -- of the intercept. What this is as far as Americans are concerned which is called metadata, it's whose calling whom and so forth. If you and I talk on the phone to one another every day, and then one day I call Ayman Zawahiri, al Qaeda in Pakistan, yes, somebody is going to say, you know, I wonder what has been going on between Woolsey and Piers, let's have a look at that. But routinely and systematically, there's no looking into the substance of your calls or mine. It doesn't work that way.

MORGAN: Ambassador, just hold that for one moment. I want to bring in a man who says that Edward Snowden has done, and I quote, "a great service" to the American people by exposing the truth about what our government is doing in secret.

Ron Paul is a former congressman and former presidential candidate. He's now chairman of the Campaign for Liberty.

Ron Paul, thank you for joining me. You are a supporter of Edward Snowden and his actions, why?

RON PAUL, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: Well, from what I hear and what he's done, I mean, he's done a great service because he's telling the truth and this is what we are starved for. The American people are starved for the truth. And when you have a dictatorship or an authoritarian government, truth becomes treasonous, and this is what they do. If you are a whistleblower or if you're trying to tell the American people that our country is destroying our rule of law and destroying our Constitution, they say -- they turn it on and say, you're committing treason.

So this is -- this is a big problem. And to expect any changes without an announcement like this, things keep getting worse. They've gotten worse steadily for the past 10 years, so essentially there is no Fourth Amendment anymore. And for somebody to tell the American people the truth is a heroic effort, and he knows that it's very risky, he knows he's committing, you know, civil disobedience and he knows that he could get punished, but he believes very sincerely, I'm sure, I've never met the man.

But he believes very seriously that what our government is doing to us is so serious that somebody has to speak out. And I think the large majority of the American people are sick and tired of hearing how many people are having surveillance on them whether it's their phones, their Internet, and e-mail and everything else.

As a matter of fact, I think -- I think the president ought to send him a thank you letter because -- the president ran on transparency, we're getting a lot of transparency now so finally we're getting the president to fulfill his promise about transparency. So that's pretty exciting for me because I believe in transparency.

But we have our government -- we have our government turned on its head. The government is supposed to be open and we're supposed to have our privacy, but we don't have any privacy and the government's totally secret. And then they combine this with what they do with the IRS? Maybe that's how they line up their targets in the IRS, they -- you know, they check on our phone calls and find out what kind of business deals we're doing.

MORGAN: Well, let me --

PAUL: So we can audit them and do all these kinds of things. It's just totally out of control.

MORGAN: It may be, but the reality is that a new Pew Research Center tracking millions of Americans June 6th and the 9th said the following, is it acceptable for the NSA to track calls of millions of Americans to investigate terrorism? Acceptable 56 percent, not acceptable 41 percent. So the significant majority of Americans appear to be in favor of this.

Going back to you, Ambassador Woolsey, if I may, I just want to read the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to remind people. "The right of the people to be secure in their person's houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrant shall issue. But upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized."

Now I just don't see how you can say that what is going on here in complete secrecy from 99 percent of the people it's being done to, lives up to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

It's palpably a breach, isn't it?

WOOLSEY: Well, it depends on whether or not you want to preserve your country's ability to operate in a world of terrorism in which a lot of terrorist are very technically sophisticated.

MORGAN: Well, yes, but that --

WOOLSEY: If you want to defend the country, you're going to have to defend it.

MORGAN: Right. Right. I understand that. And there's been a lot of sympathy for that from many Americans. But that wasn't the question. The question is where --

WOOLSEY: It is the question.

MORGAN: Well, it's not --

WOOLSEY: It is the question. The balance -- that balance between security and liberty is the question.

MORGAN: I understand it. I understand that is your answer, but the question I was putting to you was whether what is going on given the absolute secrecy with which it has been going on, until Edward Snowden revealed this, whether it is actually allowable under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Where is the -- where is probable cause --

WOOLSEY: Given the fact --

MORGAN: -- 99.9 percent of the information being effectively seized here?

WOOLSEY: Given the fact that this system was put together by the people's elected representatives that it's been upheld by the courts. That it's monitored by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court. That it's monitored by attorney general and officials in the executive branch every 90 days. It was one of these 90-day reports that was leaked.

And that it is systematically supported by people of -- like the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Feinstein. I think you would have to say that the government on this subject has done a reasonable job of balancing these two very important interests. If you try to look at liberty without considering security at all, you're putting on blinders. You -- it really -- you can't answer the question.

MORGAN: OK.

WOOLSEY: Just as you couldn't answer it if you just talked about security and not about liberty. They both have to be considered and you apparently -- Piers, not to want to consider security?

MORGAN: No, no, I absolutely do want to consider it. I was putting a question to you because I was intrigued by what your answer would be because I've been fighting, as you're probably aware, a lengthy gun control campaign where the absolute letter of the Second Amendment is deemed sacrosanct to so many Americans. And yet it seems to me that many of the same Americans that feel so strongly about the wording of that amendment are quite happy for their rights under the Fourth Amendment to be written over. And that's what I find an interesting contradiction.

WOOLSEY: Well --

MORGAN: But let me just go to Ron Paul --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: I'm going to get to Ron Paul to put a different question to him.

Ron Paul, if you had been president, which you could have been, you ran for office this time, and you could have won. If you had been president, are you in all seriousness telling me that you would have stopped all of this tracking of data in the way that the NSA has been doing it? PAUL: An awful lot of it, but it wouldn't be stopped. You would still have your -- you would -- you would still have your transparency. I mean, you'd still have your intelligence gathering, but it would be done under the law. You would have probable cause and you would have courts. This idea that you can go to the FISA court and get a warrant, that's ridiculous. That's like the monitoring of the president saying, oh, well, we're going to pick and choose who we're going to assassinate, American citizen or not.

But we have monitors, we're going to study this. That's the rule of law? What he's doing is repealing the Magna Carta. You can't just do this kind of thing. And this one is only repealing the principles of liberty, but it's destroying the Constitution. So my question should be, to all of you who defend this nonsense is, what should the penalty be for the people who destroy the Constitution?

They're always worrying about how they're going to destroy the American citizens who tell the truth to let us know what's going on. But we ask the question, what is the penalty for the people who deliberately destroy the Constitution and rationalize and say, we have to do it for security.

Well, you know what Franklin said about that, you end up losing -- you lose your security and you lose your freedoms, too. So I think we've embarked on a very, very dangerous course. The American people are with us on this, it's totally out of control, and I would say if you're -- if you're confused about what we should do, just read the Constitution. What's wrong with that?

MORGAN: Well, I just --

(CROSSTALK)

PAUL: You know, that's -- if you don't like it, get people -- get people to -- get people to repeal it and change the Constitution, but not just to deny it. I mean, we go to war without a declaration. We totally ignore the Constitution. That is what our problem is today. We have no rule of law, and people say, well, just let secret courts do this, and the governments to know everything. And the American people are -- to have no privacy. I mean you're -- that reflects an intimidation, people are insecure, and think that --

MORGAN: OK.

PAUL: -- we need more authoritarianism. You're justifying dictatorship, is what you're doing.

MORGAN: Ron Paul, I have to -- I have to leave you there in full flow. It's a fascinating debate. I want to thank you, Ron Paul and Ambassador Woolsey both, for joining me. It's a -- it's a very contentious issue. The American public as the polls just are split.

Before we go to the break, quick show of hands, who here thinks of what Edward Snowden, the leaker, did was right? A few hands. And who thinks absolutely what he did was wrong? Just by my quick look around, I'd say slightly in favor of those who think what he did was wrong, which would be in keeping with the poll results earlier. But it's a great debate.

When we come back, I'm going to talk to people or two men actually who know what may be going on behind closed doors at the White House tonight.

Plus whistleblower (INAUDIBLE) and more questions from our studio audience.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: The storm over the NSA leaks shows no sign of dying down. Least of all in Washington. Joining me now two men who know all about a White House in turmoil, Ari Fleischer is a former Bush White House press secretary and Lanny Davis is a former Clinton White House special counsel and the author of "Crisis Tales: Five Rules for Coping with Crisis in Business, Politics and Life." Also joining us, CNN's legal genius, Jeffrey Toobin.

Welcome to all three of you.

Let me start with you, Ari. I mean, you've been in the White House through many a crisis. I find this debate absolutely fascinating, because I think it's perfectly permissible to see both sides of the argument. And to find yourself nodding away as I have done the last few days at what both sides are saying.

ARI FLEISCHER, FORMER BUSH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, you know, I don't find myself agreeing with the Obama administration very often, but I'm strongly with the Obama administration on this one. Both about how the president came out, first of all, has continued this Bush era policy.

I think it's necessary to keep us safe. I think it is constitution. It is legal. It's been authorized by all three branches of government. And anytime you have this unusual marriage of George Bush policy that's continued by Barack Obama, you really have found a broad center in the United States is doing what's necessary to keep us safe.

MORGAN: Jeffrey Toobin --

FLEISCHER: That's supportable.

MORGAN: Right. Jeffrey Toobin, is anything that's happened here illegal?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Certainly not, as far as we can tell. I mean, again --

MORGAN: If it's perfectly legal, why all the fuss? Why are people like Ron Paul --

TOOBIN: Well, I mean that's so --

MORGAN: -- so exercised (ph).

TOOBIN: That's only the beginning of the debate. There are lots of things that are legal that people object to. There are laws that we think are wrong. And I think there are many good reasons to protest this law. I'm troubled by this law. But I think there are right ways to do it and there are wrong ways to do it, and by a 29-year-old kid, just throwing open the safe and giving away documents that people have devoted years of their lives to creating and protecting. That's the wrong way to protest.

(APPLAUSE)

MORGAN: Lanny Davis, you've obviously been through many a crisis in the Clinton White House. Is he a hero or a villain or somewhere in between? This character Edward Snowden.

LANNY DAVIS, AUTHOR, "CRISIS TALES": You know I read Jeffrey Toobin's article in the "New Yorker." I'd recommend it to everyone.

MORGAN: I think it's a great piece.

DAVIS: He violated the law. So rather than label him, he chose to take a job, sign a statement swearing he would uphold classified information, as I did when I served on the Civil Liberties and Privacy Oversight Board. He knowingly violated the oath. That's a crime. Now there's a tradition of civil obedience in this country where somebody who knowingly violates a law that he thinks is unjust takes the consequences of that violation and is often upheld in the long run.

But, Piers, to answer your question, the Fourth Amendment has been upheld in this particular program. It applies to foreign citizens, the program does, not the Fourth Amendment. I've seen this program operating in real time when I was a member of this privacy board. And I saw the careful scrutiny that each person involved in the terrorist surveillance program, when they approached the line of encroaching on the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens, they pulled back to the point where there were so many checks and balances within that agency, where I was watching the program, I sometimes wondered whether we were missing evil terrorists because of concern about privacy and civil liberties.

MORGAN: OK. OK. Now here's my problem with this. I don't disagree with almost anything the three gentlemen just said. However, what I do find disconcerting, when you look at what happened with the IRS, it comes down to trusting the government and the people that work in it, doesn't it? And I'm just not sure after what happened with the IRS, that trust is still there the way it was.

Let me go to Steve Ramsfield (ph). You have a question along this line.

STEVE, AUDIENCE MEMBER: A comment and a question. Really I think that it's interesting the fact that --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold the microphone, please.

STEVE: What the NSA is doing doesn't surprise me because I'm not a terrorist and it doesn't bother me. Also it doesn't surprise me because I am an American. But after the Gateway legislation called the Patriot Act, as an American I think anybody living in this country isn't any expectation of privacy and personal, you know, security -- isn't that really a moot point, the whole discussion about having any kind of privacy?

MORGAN: That is a really good point. And I also want to just bring in Walter, actually. Just to ask your question as well because they go -- they go hand in hand. Pass the microphone, if you would, to Walter.

Walter, you're a 9/11 first responder. Take the microphone.

WALTER, AUDIENCE MEMBER: I have one.

MORGAN: You have one on you. Say what you want to say.

WALTER: Well, basically, Ron Paul the president, would he utilize the information that was collected to prevent another 9/11 or what would he use in place of it?

MORGAN: Right. So you mean -- this seems to me --

(CROSSTALK)

TOOBIN: And also I think technology matters a lot here. You know, when I started as an assistant U.S. attorney in the '90s, you know, it was a big deal to get a wiretap on a phone which was a thing that hung on the wall.

MORGAN: Yes.

TOOBIN: It was black usually. And I remember I was involved in one of the first wiretaps of a fax machine. Now we're in a world where people throw away phones daily and change phone numbers. The technology is so much more sophisticated than it used to be and the bad guys know this, too.

And you know, earlier you were saying, well, of course everybody knows -- the terrorists know that they're being tapped. Yes, that may be, but they also need technology. They can't do what they do without using phones and pagers.

MORGAN: All right.

FLEISCHER: It's important to point out what this program really is because it sounds -- it's overhyped and it sounds as if they're list thing to our conversations. All they're really doing is getting our phone bills. This is an aggregate of our phone bills without our names on them. They're detecting the patterns of phone calls so they could see if there's a break in the usual pattern, would suggest there may be some terrorist activity, and then we get the warrants to go after the individuals to listen if and when --

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: OK. But Lanny Davis -- FLEISCHER: This is overhyped.

MORGAN: OK. Lanny Davis, is that all that's going on here? Because there is a huge amount of data being collated and the reality is we just have to trust the government. Most people don't really trust the government over treating this kind of thing as sensitively as Ari would have us believe.

DAVIS: Look, I don't think we should trust the government. The framers founded our constitution on distrust of government. But we have a rule of law. And we have a Congress that approved the Patriot Act, approved the FISA court. We have a judiciary in the FISA court and we need to reform that FISA court.

Jeffrey, I think we need an adverse representative arguing the other side rather than an ex parte one sided presentation. Senator Wyden and Senator Udall have proposed reforms that I would support and I'm a privacy advocate. I represent a company that allows people with smartphones to be sure they can encrypt their conversations and text messages.

But we're a rule of law, Piers. And the rule of law requires this man to be prosecuted. He broke the law. And if Mr. Paul wants to run for president or persuade his colleagues in Congress to change the law -- he did run for president and he lost and he's unsuccessful in persuading his colleagues.

That's a democracy and he's just not winning the argument. And democracy is what Mr. Snowden turned his back on when he did what he decided to do unilaterally, being judge and jury. Rather than changing his politicians or changing the policies through democracy, rather than through leaks.

MORGAN: OK. OK. Lanny Davis, Ari Fleischer, and Jeffrey Toobin, thank you all very much indeed.

When we come back, three people who were government whistleblowers themselves and more questions from my studio audience.

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MORGAN: Leakers are heroes or traitors, depending on whose side you're on. Joining me now three people who were whistleblowers themselves.

Thomas Drake, a former senior executive of the NSA, Bill Binney, also an NSA whistleblower who worked at the agency for decades, and Jesselyn Radack who's a national security and human rights director of the Government Accountability Project.

Welcome to you all.

Let me start with you, Thomas Drake, if I may. You've been exactly where Edward Snowden has been, worked at the NSA, and you blew whistles. Why did you do it and what do you make of the parallels perhaps with this case now? THOMAS DRAKE, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: Parallels are just 12 years ago. They're very similar. Let me just be crystal clear. The government cannot handle the truth. I was at the very nation beginning of the secret surveillance state. The government is lying. They actually violated the Constitution willfully and deliberately in the greatest of secrecy ostensibly for the sake of national security.

In a democracy, in particular a constitutional republic, we cannot have any room for secret laws that are controlled and manipulated and interpreted by the executive. The public has the right to know what the government limits are in terms of its own surveillance. They also have the absolute right to know what those safeguards are to protect individual privacy. So in a surveillance state, we simply create more suspect individuals.

MORGAN: OK. Bill Binney, the problem as you've heard from many of my eminent contributors tonight, is that many people believe this kind of stuff has to remain secret. It's almost as if it's protected by the three pillars of state as it currently is including courts. It has to be secret to prevent the enemy knowing what is going on. What do you say to that?

BILL BINNEY, NSA WHISTLEBLOWER: I think that's pretty much a red herring, I mean, it's nonsense. The point is, they don't know how successful we are at any of these operations. That's the real key. Plus, the government could have been detecting terrorists from the very beginning without violating anybody's privacy rights. I left that technology with NSA when I got out of there because they were violating the rights of everyone in the country.

And they threw them away. And they did that principally because it was clear to me that the intent from the beginning was to assemble information against the U.S. citizens so that they could have leverage against them. For -- what tells that to me is the CEO, Naccio, Qwest, when he refused to give his caller data of his customers, that meant everybody in the country that was part of Qwest, that was all U.S. citizens, basically, why they of course cut off any contract with them and they went after and eventually got him and put him in jail.

MORGAN: OK, let me turn to Jesselyn Radack. You're a lawyer. Here's what's (INAUDIBLE) really hit home to me. He's run off to Hong Kong, now run by the Chinese again. What's to stop the Chinese getting hold of all his information now? He's extremely valuable to them. Then you're handing the great emerging superpower, a great rival to America, all these state secrets. How does that serve the American public interest?

JESSELYN RADACK, GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY PROJECT: Well, there's no -- there's been no accusation at all that he's handing any kind of information to China. He was quite clear that --

MORGAN: No, no, he's in -- he's in China.

RADACK: I know he is in Hong Kong.

MORGAN: He's fled America. RADACK: He's actually already left.

(CROSSTALK)

MORGAN: But what is to stop -- what is to stop the Chinese doing that should they so wish if they get a hold of him first?

RADACK: I mean, that's an interesting question, but I think it side- steps a real issue, which is that he showed that the United States was violating multiple laws in both the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

MORGAN: Which law are they violating? Because this is being denied.

RADACK: Sure.

MORGAN: Tell me.

RADACK: The Patriot Act Section 215 is being violated, as is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The piece of paper that we saw that was supposedly a lawful order was not, because the FISA court is not allowed to rule on domestic-to-domestic surveillance. So while your earlier guests are talking about, why shouldn't we be allowed to surveil foreign terrorists? No one has a problem with that. We're allowed to do that.

The problem is, why is the government spying on its own people without any probable cause, without any reasonable cause, without any suspicion whatsoever, on completely innocent people? That -- that violates the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and two major laws on the books. And even the laws on the books, there's a secret interpretation of those.

MORGAN: OK. Let's take a short break. We're going to come back after with a bit more of this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MORGAN: Back with me now are three people who are whistleblowers themselves, Thomas Drake, Bill Binney and Jesselyn Radack.

Thomas Drake, all 10 charges against you, I believe, were dropped in the end, which sets an interesting precedent for what may or may not happen to Edward Snowden. I suppose the key question that I keep coming back to is this, is if you listen to Edward Snowden, he keeps saying that he had virtually unlimited powers to wiretap, to read e- mails and so on. That has been categorically denied right to the top of government.

What is the truth? I mean, is he just a -- collection of metadata, like they claim, or can the people at the sharp end, and there are 1.4 million Americans currently working intelligence in some way who have that kind of access -- can they read e-mails, listen to phone calls, et cetera?

DRAKE: Yes, they can. One of the elephants in the room. The reality is that much of the surveillance state has been outsourced to companies and it's become a profit center for them. And so many of what were traditionally government functions only have now -- are now being done by contractors in some of the most sensitive positions.

MORGAN: Well, listen, this has been a fascinating debate. We've got to leave it there. We could talk all night about this because I'm still raveling through it. I think like most people watching are now, too. And both sides have good arguments and we just need some transparency, which we now appear to be getting at the very least.

And to Thomas Drake, and Bill Binney and to Jesselyn Radack, thank you all very much.

And to our studio audience, you've been terrific. Thank you very much, indeed.

Anderson Cooper will be with you in a few moments.

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