The Rachel Maddow Show | January 25, 2013
>>> november 26th , 2008 . we began to hear news late that night about something going very wrong in one of the busiest parts of one of the busiest cities of the world, the city of mumbai , bombay in india was under attack. but at least at first it was hard to figure out what was going on. and once we figured out what was going on, it was hard to believe that it could be possible. there were explosions at a lot of different heavily populated places around the city -- a train station , a cafe, two hotels, a state bank of india building. there were multiple attackers at multiple sites simultaneously, killing people with machine guns and grenades. and it just kept going on and on and on. the gunman had stormed two hotels. they had taken hostages. people were barricaded in their rooms. and when november 26th turned into november 27th , and there was still no end in sight, it was still ongoing, it became clear that this was an unusually well coordinated, highly researched, highly planned terrorist attack . by the time the three-day siege had ended, 11 different locations had been struck around the city. this were ten attackers. they killed 166 people. the majority of the people they killed were indians, but among the dead were six americans, including a 13-year-old american girl . even once it was over, it seemed impossible that this had actually happened and had gone on for so long in such a big city in such a cosmopolitan place with so many different attackers and so many targets and so many people killed. it was almost impossible to get your head around. and for americans in particular, what remains almost impossible to get our heads around is one of the main planners of that attack is an american guy . his name is david headley . he was born in the united states . his mother is american. his father is from pakistan. the thing that made david headley most valuable to the terrorist groups that trained him was that he was an american, which meant that he could travel easily all over the world without attracting suspicion thanks to his american passport . when the ten attackers arrived in india for the mumbai terrorist attack , none of them had ever been to that city before, but they were able to pull off this highly coordinated, highly mobile multisite attack in a strange city they didn't know because of david headley . they knew exactly where to go because david headley had scouted everything for them. he had given them meticulously prepared videos and reports and gps coordinates about how to wage that assault on that city in november 2008 . david headley was not arrested until almost a year after the attack in october 2009 . u.s. officials picked him up at o'hare airport in chicago when he was en route to denmark in the midst of planning a second mumbai -style attack. the attack in denmark was going to involve terrorists storming a newspaper office in denmark , beheading the employees and throwing the heads out of the window of the newspaper office out on to the street. they were going for the highest level of horror possible. that's the terror in terrorism. american david headley was in the process of scouting locations for the danish attack, just as he had done for mumbai when he was arrested in chicago . and then yesterday david headley was finally sentenced to 35 queers in prison. he was sentenced in chicago . the only reason he didn't get life is because he turned state's evidence in what prosecutors say was a big way. only one of the actual gunman from the mumbai attack survived the attack itself. he was hanged in india last year. but as an orchestrator of the attack, david headley was tried here in the u.s. and you may recall that precisely nobody complained that it was too dangerous to try david headley here even though he was a terrorist involved in a complicated international terrorism plot. arrested here, questioned here, he turned against his former comrades and helped the u.s. catch more terrorists. he even testified against some of his fellow co-conspirators. and now he has been sentenced here. and he will do what is likely to be the rest of his life in prison here in federal prison . despite the high-pitched whining about the need for guantanamo, terrorists get prosecuted here all the time. american prosecutors do it. these cases can take years to build, but they can be done, and people go to federal prison . these things have been done even in the highest profile terrorism cases. and they have often been done by this person. this is mary jo white . when it came time to prosecute the people who carried out the 1993 attack on the world trade center , the person who led that prosecution was mary jo white . that was ms. white's first year on the job as the u.s. attorney . the federal prosecutor for the southern district of new york . she is the only woman who have ever had that job in the 200 years that job has existed. one of the first things she did her first year is help prosecute the people who bombed the world trade center in '93. that same year her office prosecuted the blind sheik , omar abdul rahman for his role in conspireing to bomb the u.n. in the wake of the blind sheik case, ms. white created a terrorism unit in her office. no other u.s. attorneys office had one at the time. she was the first to do it. she also led the prosecution against mob boss john gotti . she won the conviction that put him in prison for the rest of his life. several other prosecutors had tried to do that, but had failed to it. she did it. in 1996 she helped convict ramzi yousef for his attempt to assassinate the pope and blow up multiple planes in flight. he was the nephew of sheik khalid muhammad. in 1991 she helped prosecute four-the men who helped orchestrate the embassy bombing in africa. president obama nominated mary jo white to be the what is essentially the top cop of wall street .
>> as one former chairman said, mary jo does not intimidate easily, and that's important, because she has a big job ahead of her there is much more work to be done to complete the task of reforming watts to make sure american investors are better protected going forward.
>> it's not the only thing you should know about her career given this nomination. it's also the matter of her decade as a defense attorney , not a prosecutor, but a defense attorney . when she left the prosecutor's office in '02, she went to a private law firm. she started prosecuting cases and started defending defendants. among her areas of focus at that law firm , why collar criminal defense and white collar internal investigations. from that side of the legal aisle, mary jo white defended the giant global financial firm morgan stanley . she defended the ceo of bank of america . she defended jpmorgan chase and the financial cases that almost swallowed hole the nation's economy. if she is confirmed, her new job would be to oversee some of those former clients of hers to make sure they follow the rules. she is an interesting choice, right? a highly qualified but interesting choice. if you are the kind of wall street guy who can't believe you didn't go to prison for what happened in '08? who can't believe what you guys got away with when you crashed the national economy by knowingly breaking all the rules ? if you're that guy on wall street tonight and you're still behaving that way when you go to work every day, are you happy to hear that this wall street white collar defense attorney is going to be the new top cop on wall street ? are you happy about that? she defended the bank of america ceo. or are you scared because the cop who put away john gotti and the blind sheik might be coming for you on wall street next? which is it? are you bummed or are you psyched? the one and only eliot spitzer joins us next.