Morning Joe | November 20, 2012
>>> 25 past the hour, a live look at the white house , a beautiful day in washington.
>> gorgeous. here it is now.
>> by the way, i had a friend text me yesterday.
>> yes, yes?
>> useless information. what i'm all about.
>> you've been full of it this morning.
>> this is the first time i can remember, my friend can remember that thanksgiving is going to fall on the same day, the anniversary of jfk's assassination. i don't think that's ever happened. can you remember that happening?
>> well, wouldn't it happen every --
>> wouldn't it happen every eight years, seven years?
>> i'm just saying, i don't remember it happening.
>> i think our problem is --
>> a wonderful way -- every segment. every segment since 6:00 a.m . for an hour and 25 minutes has started awkwardly and jumbled. here with us, now, though, to straighten everything out is senior adviser to the open society foundation 's morton haleprin, father of -- it is very good to have you on the show this morning. an honor.
>> have you noticed mark is just as nervous with his dad here as you are.
>> oh. no, no, no, no -- no one's as nervous as i am.
>> tell us about your encounter --
>> you know my father.
>> dr. brzezinski was trying to pull you to columbia .
>> i was teaching at harvard and he was teaching at columbia and trying to get me interested in teaching at columbia . as was the typical thing, he invited me to do a talk and his introduction was the following. he said, it's a pleasure to have dr. haleprin here. i have often been accused of being an arrogant young man and so it's a pleasure for me to introduce one.
>> that's the way he likes to start things off well, just a shot. just a shot off the bow.
>> good recruitment tool.
>> i'm sure you felt so welcome.
>> the warmth, you know.
>> well, that was affection.
>> and joe knows something about my father and the way he expresses affection.
>> he called me stunningly superficial on tv.
>> let's talk about the president's trip to asia . what should we be looking at here?
>> i think the white house motivation is mostly about china. i think they see an opportunity to move the burma out of the chinese orbit into an american orbit. of course, they're concerned about the human rights issue. and many people in the human rights community thought it was too soon for the president to go. secretary of state went, that was okay. but aung san suu kyi asked him not to come. and the compromise was he didn't go to the new capital. he didn't go there. he went to rangoon to the capital and went to aung san suu kyi 's house, and he got some concessions from the burmese government. they released more political prisoners.
>> pretty tough talk. he did not measure his words at all when he went there. he talked about human rights , he talked about the rights of women . he talked about a civilian-led government running the military. the president was pretty forceful.
>> i think he was. that was the tradeoff. the white house wanted him to go. he knew if he went, he was going to be very tough, and he was.
>> explain the significance of this trip being the first trip abroad of his second term and the significance of the region to foreign policy overall, even the middle east .
>> well, they have decided -- i think early on in the administration that we had not put enough attention into east asia . into asia as a whole. and that, therefore, we should tilt more in that direction. and as the troops are coming out of afghanistan and, of course, now out of iraq, they're moving more military forces into asia and beginning, i think, an offensive to try to pull countries back from feeling they have to accommodate china because we're not going to be there to defend them.
>> you know, dr. haleprin, we hate to do this, we're going to throw it over to john heilemann. i know it was tough for you to find out your son was hanging out with a pot-smoking radical. such is the case, it turned out nice for him.
>> be polite.
>> i don't know how much people know about your background, but, you know, you famously are a civil libertarian of great repute and record. and you also had the experience at one point of having your phone tapped by the fbi .
>> it was a home phone.
>> once the director of the aclu, director of the washington, d.c., we talked about the petraeus scandal, what had gone on there and the fbi investigating that whole thing. when you say that unfold, there were a lot of questions about whether the fbi had gone too far, in terms of what it did. what was your take on that from the civil liberties point of view.
>> well, i think it underscored what i think this is a very serious problem i think we have to deal with. our e-mails are not protected. we all think our own information is protected from the government and at least they need a warrant. but the fact is, the supreme court said a long time ago that if your records are in somebody else's possession, at that time, they were talking about bank records . but if your e-mails are at google or yahoo or wherever, in the cloud somewhere, and they don't have to get a warrant. they just go to the company and say give us the records and most of the times the companies do give the records . we don't know exactly how they got these records , but it's pretty scary on the basis of somebody saying i got e-mails i was uncomfortable about, the fbi reads every e-mail of a journalist. and i think we're going to have to do something about that.
>> it really is unbelievable that you have a personal vendetta , you have a personal relationship , a guy that sends shirtless photos and a woman asks him to start an investigation in the cyber unit of the fbi in days of terror.
>> and like you said, then they start a fishing expedition , paula broadwell's e-mails, then they bust through a wall and start a fishing expedition of the people who sent paula broadwell e-mails and bust through that wall, as well, and say we need to check everything to see if national security 's not been compromised and find out it hasn't been compromised and then instead of keeping it internal, they then bust through another wall and make sure we all find out about it. shouldn't americans regardless of how they feel about this scandal, shouldn't they be really concerned? and what should congress be forced to do to stop this, to protect our privacy?
>> the simple thing is for congress to enact a law that says your personal records whether you have them or your e-mail company has them or your bank has them are your records and they need a warrant under the fourth amendment for probable cause you've committed a crime.
>> why won't congress pass that? and why won't the president sign that?
>> well, the fbi says it'll make investigations harder, we might not be able to read terrorists' e-mails, make it tougher to conduct white crime investigation. it's almost impossible to get congress to do anything. but i think hopefully this will have educated people and that therefore this may be on the agenda. there's a bill on the e-mail part of it that he's trying to push still in a lame duck session .
>> it's a false choice , isn't it, to say, you know, we have to have the right to investigate people's personal e-mails about their personal life or else we aren't going to be able to investigate an e-mail that comes to us from afghanistan.
>> oh, absolutely.
>> it's ridiculous.
>> it's a choice we made a long time ago.
>> people are secure in their homes and with their property and nobody thought that didn't somehow make it a little harder to do critical investigations. as you know, the whole constitution was based on the notion of curbing government power.
>> so we have to do what i always force mika to do and make you uncomfortable and ask your father a question.
>> you want me to?
>> or tell us something about him.
>> let's see.
>> this is very dangerous.
>> how good a son --
>> here's my question, we were talking before about the confirmation fight with susan rice . you know a lot about phil filibusters, how tough would it be to filibuster a nominee?
>> i think thomas was filibustered --
>> and they had to withdraw it.
>> they were questions about his personal life and whether he was drinking and so on. just to do it on the basis of a policy difference is i don't know of any such case. i would be extremely surprised if in the end of the day they actually carried through on the filibuster. i think at the end of the day , there will be 60 votes for this. even if they do filibuster and i think, you know, they now only need five republicans to get it, and i think they'll have five republicans.
>> mika, this has been very instructive. we find out that your father --
>> insults people from the getgo. i told you not to have him on.
>> and i found out --
>> phone was tapped by herbert hoover .
>> by the fbi . and a damn good thing because people wanted to know what albums mark was listening to.
>> 4 years old, 21 months of wiretaps, didn't get a lot on me.
>> such a pleasure to meet you. we're so sorry about heilemann being here, otherwise, it was great to have you.